Spark to Flame

The persona of Codille was born September 16, 1983 out of the mind of a confused teenager, probably not unlike quite a few of you.  The last name Benton was added much later.  The term crossdresser certainly was not a mainstream term, and at that point, I am sure that I had never heard of it.  I really had no resources for which to look or anyone to whom to turn.  So while dressing, confusion reigned in a hormonal teen.

Then this strange system called the World Wide Web blossomed in the early 90’s.  AOL and dial-up let the world start talking to each other.  Well, as most of us know, support sites for crossdressers were nonexistent and what was out there were sex-chat sites.  The information highway was not yielding information and the cycle continued.  The term crossdresser came to light as an identifier and the information that the phenomenon called crossdressing was not just being done by ourselves, but by others as well.  Sex sites, though, were still the only thing crossdressing related on the Web.

Fast forward twenty years to 2007,  little progress with regard to genuine support had been made.  A site, a web journal really, was started by an amazing person who needed to chronicle the process of transitioning as both a personal outlet and an avenue to help and communicate with others.  That person is the woman who we know today as Vanessa Law, founder of the site, CrossdresserHeaven.com.  For four years Vanessa logged her personal experiences and information all while trying to find the end of the yellow brick road which she did in 2011.  She did one of the bravest things in baring of her soul with her writing (which is still available on the site).  I am blessed to have gotten to know her better over the last two years.

From 2011 to 2015, Crossdresserheaven.com was idle.  For some reason that I still have not figured out, Vanessa felt the need to relaunch the site in February of 2015 , not as a blog, but as a support site.  Well, having used every search engine and keyword known to man or woman,  I  stumble across this fledgling support site a few months later.   I mean it was a REAL support site and like nothing that I had ever seen before on the web.  Why?  Because there was and is nothing like it.  All of you here reading this know this through your own experiences.

The site was so new in those days.  I often introduce myself as member 62.  Claudia C was member 55.  We probably joined within two days of each other; she beat me by THAT much.  At the time, the forums were our main resource and way of talking to each other (and still are the best place for resources), the majority of the articles were still written by Vanessa, and the groups were starting to form slowly.  But for the first time in my life, I was not alone and was talking to people about real things – general life, coming out to friends and family, clothing, make-up issues, heck I still have wig problems.  This wasn’t a sex site, but a true support site.

In June of 2015, Vanessa got the silly idea that she needed help moderating the site, maybe all of 500 members at that time, and ask Claudia and myself to become the first Ambassadors.  I think there are times she is very glad that she asked the two of us, and other times that she is like “What have I done?”, but you will have to ask her.  And the site started to grow; a lot was just by word of mouth.  In December of 2015, the big mistake was made – Vanessa graciously asked me to head the now-growing team of probably six or seven Ambassadors and help her find more.  We were now global.  We have Ambassadors hailing from England, Australia and 3 of the 4 time zones in the United States (we now have Canada as well).  Crossdresser Heaven was becoming truly that, a peaceful place for crossdressers to come and get support and friendship without ridicule from the outside world.

Fast forward again.  On June 1, 2016, I retire from my past life and come onboard officially as Managing Ambassador.  I now possess all the power to blow the site up because I have no idea what the heck the technology that Vanessa just turned over to me is. We are at a dozen Ambassador and 5848 members.  We have added Local Places to Go, a Significant Others Group, and of course by now, Chat is up, alive and thriving.

With more ideas on the drawing board, I am thinking can this really be for real?  I mean, after personally searching for thirty years, could a community like this finally be real and am I a part of it?  Yes, it is, and here we are!  All of us were looking for a friend, someone that understood what at least a little we were thinking, and a place where we are free just to talk and grow from each other.

That brings us to today.  When, in December of 2015, I took over the Ambassadors, Crossdresserheaven.com was the #47 hit when you Googled searched Crossdresser Support — we are now #1.  In 8 months, we have gone from twelve Ambassadors to twenty-six now on our roster.  And now my personal reason for writing this article, in 1983, I was alone in the dark and confused.  Today I am proud to say that I was the 62nd registered member of Crossdresser Heaven, a family that hit a major milestone with NOW over 10,000 registered Members.  THANK YOU for finding our little, well maybe not so little anymore, corner of the web and being a part of this growing and thriving community.

 

Yours Truly,

Codille Benton

Managing Ambassador, Crossdresserheaven.com

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36 Comments
  1. Gracie Ann 7 days ago

    I had a similar experience a year or so ago at Victoria Secret. I was Christmas shopping and one of the sales ladies just straight up asked if I was interested in a free sizing and fitting session and didn’t even bat a eye. I’m still noooowhere near comfortable enough to do something like that. However, it caught me off guard at how she didn’t even think twice to ask. I wonder if they ask every customer or if they just have an idea….hmmm

  2. MaryJo 3 months ago

    This site was an unbelievable find for me on Google+. I’m so glad you helped the site along, and that it continues to be a help to so many, including myself.

  3. Sophie Frenchie 8 months ago

    Dear Codille, I would just like to say, that I am so very happy to have found this site.
    It really is an oasis in the world, especially for those of us that live in remote and rural parts of the world. And yes I confirm your point that there isn’t anything else like this out there.
    I need to find some support in my life this year as here in the Centre of France I haven’ managed to find anything – not a surprise to be honest. So, in the absence of anyone I can talk to face to face where I live, this is a great place for me to feel comfortable and dare I say ‘feel at home’.
    In the short space of time I have been on this site, I have seen such a wonderful warm welcome to everyone, genuine support no matter what and a great resource which I am still exploring.
    Some days, I can’t deal with talking with people and other days simply I need to, but I guess we go through ups and downs. Happily I can say that I am mainly the up type of girl and helped now by this excellent site.
    A sincere thank you to you and your team for making this not only a safe place, but one that is nice to return to as frequently as you like.
    Sophie xxx

  4. Thomas Coleman 8 months ago

    I go to womens specialty shops like CJ Banks. They are great there, make you feel welcome and don’t make a deal out of the changing rooms. Macy’s and JC Penny are good too since they always have a ton of clearance especially plus size

    • Melanie 8 months ago

      I agree with you totally. As long as we are polite, respectful of the other customers and the business owners, I have NEVER had a problem shopping in a women’s store / department. In fact the opposite has been true. I have had more than one store associate tell me they wished the cis-gender women were as nice and reasonable to deal with. In addition to CJ Banks, I would also like to add Catherine’s, Layne Bryant, Dress Barn, Torrid and Dillards to the list. All have proven to be very welcoming, trans-friendly and inclusive; not to mention, more than accepting of me as a legitimate customer.

    • Thomas Coleman 8 months ago

      I’ve actually applied at Dress Barn recently for a stock position. Hope I get it!

  5. Katie 8 months ago

    Where is the best place to buy lingerie and dresses/skirts and all the stuff us wannabe girls need

  6. RUBYDE 9 months ago

    its because we love women so much we emulate them

  7. zena simmons 9 months ago

    If more people would understand us girls and not criezise or make such big deal of the way we dress up I know we’re not all real women but we try be can’t help their more equipped they to sometimes wished there body’s are different that’s part of problem their changing from female to males the same with guy’s\ zena

  8. Dara lepek 9 months ago

    I have been searching for a support group for too long , now that i have one hopefully i can find the strength to talk .

    • Codille Benton 9 months ago

      Dara,

      Raise your voice! People deserve to hear what your thoughts and opinions are!!!!

      Codille

    • Gracie Ann 7 days ago

      I’ve been looking for a long time myself. I’ve never been open about this before and it’s a intimidating thing for me

  9. Caren 9 months ago

    This site has been a Godsend. I am grateful for the few true friends that have made themselves known to me as well as being made aware of those who use sites like this to fulfill their “urges”.Thank you Codille and Vanessa for giving us a place to believe in ourselves. I have been a member off and on for almost two years and I love you all!

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      Caren,

      It is members like you that have been with us from the beginning that make me remember that when Vanessa reopened the portal to Crossdresser Heaven it wasn’t just myself and Claudia that saw this thing from the start. Thank you for being part of the foundation that this site was built for and staying through all the growing pains. This site is for you!

      Hugs,

      Codille

      • Caren 9 months ago

        Codille,this site is a place where we can be ourselves! Thanks again to you and Vanessa for caring.

  10. Codille – I can’t believe it still hasn’t been a year since I first joined the site. I feel like CDH is such an integral part of my life that I can’t imagine not having it. In less than a year I’ve gone from hating my life and who I was to embracing my life and who I am. And I know CDH and all the wonderful girls here are a big part of that turnaround. You are doing an amazing job hon! I met my BFF here (you know who you are girl) and I have been honored to be an ambassador for the last 8 months.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Hugs,
    April

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      April,

      I don’t think any of us can believe how long we have been here, it always feel like it has been much longer. Thank you for helping the community and all the efforts you have put forth. You have been an amazing Ambassador and friend.

      Codille

  11. Claire Mueller 9 months ago

    Thanks for being a great resource. Along with the help its just reassuring to know others have the same struggles and can find joy.

    By the way .. the United States has 6 time zones so you have more horizens to reach … Come out and visit some time.

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      Claire,

      Yup, the US does have six and I am looking for an Ambassador in Alaska or Hawaii. Thanks for the nice compliment and the needed correction. 🙂

      Codille

  12. zena simmons 9 months ago

    That’s because most church’s are set up for people who believe in doing things a certain way and they stick to that way of life in doing things that has been established down the line also trying to stay within grounds of rules that’s been set long ago although there are some starting change their ways of thinking n doing things from old ways but becareful not fall into wrong type of church it’s becoming=zena

  13. Gina 9 months ago

    Great and SWEET Story !

  14. Jackie Wild 9 months ago

    Codille you have been a true inspiration and somewhat mentor for me. I truly admire you, Vanessa and so very many others representing this community/site. It takes allot of devotion and time to achieve what CDH has achieved in so little of time and it’s people like you and all the others handling they’re individual duties to make a place like CDH blossom and grow. I for one am truly grateful to have found my way here and to have began being a part of it’s population. I have gained so much strength from it and you it’s sometimes seems surreal at times. Thank you for all you do and for the unconditional love and support you give each day. Above all I thank you personally for all of your patience and ongoing strength, advice, welcoming and direction you have taken the time to give so freely to me. I look forward to being a part of this community for years to come. As said in the beginning of this post, I you, Vanessa and so many others are a true inspiration to me and hundreds maybe even thousands of others here. Thank you for all you do. Your wild child, Jackie.

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      Jackie,

      You know how I feel about you and how you brighten my day by proudly being MLIPTA. You are here for the long haul and this community needs you. You have amazing things in you and I can’t wait to see what comes.

      Yours Truly,

      Codille

  15. Pinkie 9 months ago

    Thank you Codille. When I first joined CDH I knew nothing about it or even what the site was for. It was the asking of a home care nurse that sent me looking for a support site for crossdressers . It still took me 2 days to finally look on the web and yes this was the second place I click on to check out since then it been one heck of a journey. I have gone from a lonely crossdresser to a transgender in transition with more friends ( who I consider family now more then anything ) Then I can shake a stick at. I love what CDH has done for all the girls here, God bless everyone involved.

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      Pinkie,

      Thank you. I have seen you come a long way but toy are just beginning to bud, you have a long way until you bloom and you know you have a lot of friends that are here to help and support you as you begin to fully flower.

  16. Leonara 9 months ago

    Thank you Codille for a great article. I love history so thanks for the info. I do appreciate that with over 10,000 lovely ladies, you found the time to personally resolve one of my concerns. You are very special . I am also grateful to all the ladies who have given me support on the website … Thank you also Vanessa for your great vision for the CD Community

  17. Patty Michelle 9 months ago

    Codille,

    I find it amazing how the site has grown. But it also grown for those who join, looking for help with their journey, enriched by the love and support provided. I know I have learned so much about myself from the friends I have met here and touched my life.

    Here’s to CDH and may it continue to grow and enrich all it touches,

    Patty

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      These last six months would not have been the same without my Maryland Partner and Ambassador! Thanks Patty!

  18. Vanessa Law 9 months ago

    Thank you Codille for your passion, vision and care. You have nurtured our community with love and showered your attention upon those seeking help, encouragement and a place to belong.

    I’m looking forward to where we can go from here. This is just the beginning…

  19. skippy1965(Cynthia) 9 months ago

    As I replied to Vanessa in her article, the same words apply here. “We love you ” and “Thank you” for sharing of your life story and your time. I feel blessed to know you and consider you a friend (in MY view my BEST friend-or as we call it FF ! ) I even have the honor to have met you in person, an honor I am humbled by and thankful for. From the first day you made me feel welcome and for some reason you put up with me despite my many eccentricities and foibles. I am also humbled by the faith you put in me by allowing me the privilege and responsibility to be a member of your ambassador staff. I have made so many wonderful friends here that I can’t imagine being anywhere in the world without feeling welcome by one of y’all. Thank you for allowing me to serve and be a part of the #1 community on the web! I can’t wait to see where our future leads. Next goal 25,000????

    Cyn

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      It has been my pleasure as well Cyn, my FF and team cheerleader. The future is remains unwritten so we will write it together.

  20. Robin Twain 9 months ago

    I Thank God I found this site Codille. I never feel alone, and the insight and joy I recieve on a daily basis is criminal! There are so many ladies out there who need help expressing themselves. Hopefully they’ll get out of the sex sites and come here and learn to love and nurture their femme side while getting a laugh or two along the way!

    • Author
      Manager Codille 9 months ago

      Amen Robin!!!

      • Jesse Nicole(Smokey) 9 months ago

        Thank you all for your support and friendship. As Cyn said it is an honor to serve as an Ambassador for CDH, and I know the future holds great promise for this wonderful place!

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