It was a difficult time, and a heavy cloud hung over Stephanie Anne Lloyd as waited to learn whether she would be sent to prison – it would have been a male prison at that – but it was a cloud with a silver lining. At the trial, the prosecution pushed for a deal. If she would change her plea to guilty, all charges against Raiko would be dropped. Raiko objected, but Stephanie went in to the dock alone, admitted she may have broken an archaic law, and was sent home with a suspended sentence.
With her days of sexual services now over and Transformation a going concern in it’s own right, things looked good. But the best was yet to come with David’s proposal of marriage.
Accepting the proposal was easy, but carrying it through through would be different again. Another archaic law in the UK prevents transsexuals legally marrying someone of the opposite sex. So, in February 1986, the couple flew to Sri Lanka for a Valentine’s Day wedding in the sun. It was a second marriage for both of them, although for Stephanie of course her first as a bride resplendent in a beautiful, off-white dress.
“David had taught me what true love really means, and I couldn’t have been happier,” she said. “It was a fairy-tale wedding and honeymoon for us both.
“Obviously, we would have liked our marriage to have been recognised as lawful in this country, and it’s quite ludicrous that it still isn’t to this day. But we weren’t going to let that get in the way of our happiness.”
Back home, David concentrated his efforts on his food chain business, while Raiko and Stephanie looked to the future of Transformation. Customers were now coming into the shop, but there was a vast untapped market out there still trapped in a secret, hidden world and who hadn’t yet dared cross the threshold. They needed a top quality mail order service.
The first Transformation catalogue was to be like one never seen before. Stephanie wanted only the finest photography, the glossiest printing and the prettiest models – both male and female – to wear the most feminine clothes. But of course, she faced problems.
“It was difficult to find a good studio willing to take on such an unusual project, as nobody had ever photographed TVs before except for places who specialised in porn. We wanted elegant photos to show how well our clothes looked on TVs.
Eventually we were lucky in persuading a top studio in Manchester to take us seriously, and we’ve never looked back. The results from that first shoot were breathtaking, and the photographer was amazed at how professional the TV models could look. We’ve regularly used the same studio ever since.”
Finding someone to print Transformation’s catalogue – and its new range of contact magazines and the fledgling TV Scene – was even more problematic. The lads in the printing trade weren’t happy about being linked with transvestites and their bosses just turned down the job.
Again, it took Stephanie’s powers of persuasion to finally break down enough prejudice to have her magazines printed. She wasn’t to be held to ransom, however, and within a short time the company invested in its own five-colour Heidelberg printing press.
Expansion continued in other ways. In Manchester, Stephanie started the country’s first exclusive hotel for TVs, where they could have dinner, bed and breakfast in comfortable feminine surroundings, while in London came the opening of Transformation’s second shop in a prime site by Euston station.
However, for Stephanie herself, the opening of the Albany Clinic was perhaps the major milestone of this period. This was to be a centre of excellence for latent transsexuals to seek proper medical advice and guidance on their condition – a service so sadly lacking when Stephanie had been in that position.
“There’s very little understanding amongst the general medical profession about transsexuals, as I personally experienced in those early days”, said Stephanie. “There was a crying need for a centre where clients could receive the best possible help and information, and I was delighted when we were in a financial position to provide it.”
The charges to the Albany Clinic clients have never covered the overheads and it has always been financially subsidised by David. It’s a loss-maker that is maintained with pride.
The basis of Transformation’s success has always been the quality of its service. Stephanie never would accept second-best just because here customers were TVs, a policy which was soon to bring her into even more trouble than ever before.
Transformation had always had its clothes specially made to suit the male frame, and had later moved into full publishing to print the type of books and magazines TVs wanted to read. So why not videos?
The only videos then available were mainly American and had a strong sexual content. There was a call for softer video films along the lines of familiar TV fantasy stories like ‘boy meets girl, girl dresses him up’. So Stephanie and Raiko decided Transformation should make their own.
It seemed a good idea in theory, but by making transvestite videos Stephanie found herself back in conflict with the authorities, under yet another set of laws. And this time they were determined to get her…