The Life of Ginette Dixon: From tough fishing towns to lacy night gowns

28 February 2019

Our story starts with the life of Giovanni Rossi, a lad like any other, growing up in the north-east of England. Employment opportunities at this time favoured those who wanted to work with their hands, and there was no better way of getting started than helping out with ‘the catch’ over on the coast. Fishing was big business. The government did its job to promote it back then, too. If you were in a chippy, with a belly grumbling and a fiver in your pocket, you would see the sign, and smile: ‘Fish ‘n’ chips, a healthy meal for the whole family’. That was government-sponsored.

fishing life

What wasn’t government-sponsored was the fact that Giovanni began to dress as a lady, on evenings and on weekends. He had been married a long time and was eventually to have a child. Dressing up like this was a way of winding down, and trying to live his life in a climate that mightn’t have taken too kindly, had the full facts been known.

He must have been in his forties when Giovanni became Ginette, taking the name and beginning to live full-time in his new gender. She chose her mother’s maiden name as her surname, suggesting that the mother had been a sympathetic character as young Giovanni/Ginette had been growing up. We know very little after this time. Ginette settled in a one-bed terraced bungalow in East Anglia, having little contact, it seems with her family. With the change of town, came the opportunity to start afresh.

She died in her sixties. Over ten years later, details of her account appeared on the unclaimed estates list, listed under both names. We were able to locate her child, and only next of kin, and reunite her with the funds. What a pity the stories and history have all gone, and these few words are all that remain.

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