GRANDFATHER OF SIX AND VIETNAM VETERAN FROM KENTUCKY

Interview and Photography by Cesar Padilla

Sometime just under five years ago, a slender 6’7” cross-dresser in his 60s who goes by the name Miss Laci started to appear in Louisville, Kentucky. To most people, Miss Laci is an institution and an enigma at the same time, standing in the back corners of two of Old Louisville’s neighborhood gay bars, Woody’s and Teddy Bears, usually on karaoke nights. She will sing a few old country ballads from George Jones or Conway Twitty in the deepest, manliest country voice and the shortest skirt ever, hang around for a fair share of adulation from the regulars, and then walk out of the bar, cross the street, get in his van and just disappear into the night. Very few people know that Miss Laci is actually a retired heterosexual grandfather of six and a Purple Heart Vietnam veteran. On a recent Sunday evening, just before karaoke, I caught up with her to talk about the fantasy of cross-dressing, Miss Laci’s fashion choices, and the difficulties of hanging up her heels.

Cesar: How many nights does Miss Laci come out?
Miss Laci: About four or five nights a week, so quite often.
How old would you say Miss Laci is?
Miss Laci is in fact four and a half years old. I, on the other hand, am a little bit older.
How did you come up with the name Miss Laci?
Laci just came to me one day when I had to make up a name. And the gay community added the ‘Miss’ to it. You see, I didn’t know any gays in my life until I became Miss Laci, and I have learned that they are some of best people that I would ever want to meet. For the most part, the straight community wouldn’t accept me, but the gay community really respects and embraces Miss Laci.
Were you wearing that hose with the white socks that first time you came out? Because they have become your signature.
I was wearing white socks that night, but they didn’t have the lace on them yet. You see, regular pantyhose are just too short, so I had to do something with my feet. I cut off the toes and that is where the white socks came from.
Where do you shop for Miss Laci?
I buy everything online. If I see something I like, I just buy it. I don’t shop at one particular place. Miss Laci has a lot more clothes than I do.
What is a regular day’s wardrobe like for you?
Laci doesn’t usually come out during the day. A lot of times I want to stay home but Laci wants to go out, and she usually gets her way. During the day, I just wear jeans and western shirts.
What’s Laci’s favorite shade of lipstick?
Red. I like it glossy and I like it shiny. I like the wet look, you know what I mean? I think it looks more sexy. At least for myself, I don’t know about anyone else. I’m wearing it just for myself.
And Miss Laci’s favorite outfit?
Anything that’s flashy. You know that I am kind of dressed like a hooker. I’m not a hooker, but that is how Miss Laci likes to dress. Like a streetwalker. The reason why I dress the way I dress is because if I was dating a pretty woman, I would always be turned on by dark hair and a lady on the flashy side. So I’m wearing what I would want a woman to wear who I would be dating. I fulfill my own fantasy every time I walk out the door. Some people have told me to get Laci a blonde wig, but that just wouldn’t be Laci.
Is Miss Laci shy?
Yes!
How did you even start being Miss Laci?
At some point I just gave up on women. I tried paying $49.95 with match.com, but either I clicked with the women and they didn’t click with me or they clicked with me and I didn’t click with them. Sometime about five years ago, I decided I would start dating myself. So now I date Miss Laci.
You told me not too long ago that you are a decorated Vietnam veteran. When you were in the service, did you have dreams of Laci and cross-dressing?
No, never. I was a straight-laced young man back in those days. I used to get called Clint Eastwood, because I would wear a poncho and a leather hat. Most people don’t know that I am a decorated Vietnam veteran and that I earned a Purple Heart medal. Miss Laci has a card that reads ‘Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran in 1967 — Promoted to Mudflap Girl in 2007.’
Where did you get your tits? Those are big!
Laci is a 40d. I still have the same boobs I started out with. They have been good ones. Right now I am nipple free; I can take them out. Just lick it with your tongue, it’s like a suction cup. It is high dollar. You would be surprised at the amount of people who actually think these are real. But I never wanted to be a woman. And I still don’t to be a woman.
Are you currently married?
No, I am not married. I have been married. I have two grown kids, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Do your children or ex-wife know about Miss Laci?
No one in my family knows about Miss Laci. I recently told my son that if something should happen to me, he might come across some things he might not like and if he wanted to know now, I would tell him. He said he didn’t want to know and that he loves me no matter what.
What was it like the very first time, being Miss Laci?
I wasn’t scared, but I was a little intimidated. I wasn’t sure how people would react, because I’d never hung out at home — Miss Laci came straight out on the boulevard. I’ve met a number of people who cross-dress at home and just look in the mirror, but I never did that. Miss Laci was never in the closet. But the first time I called the bars, like Teddy Bears, or Connections, another bar in here Louisville, I asked them if they allowed cross-dressers and they said, ‘As long as you don’t cause any trouble, it’s okay’.
Has Miss Laci been to any other cities?
Never. I did drive down to Florida once to visit my mother and I drove half the way and Miss Laci drove the other half because I needed to stay awake and keep myself entertained. A couple of truckers actually pulled up next to me.
Has Miss Laci ever had sex?
Miss Laci is a virgin when it comes to men. We’re dating, but I’ll never get more from her than a handjob. Sometimes men pat me on my butt and I had to get used to that. And I wouldn’t ever let anyone go near my front side. Last week for the first time I went to the car with a guy. It was outside of Woody’s and he just wanted to look at me while he was playing with himself. He put his seat back and did his thing and after he was finished he gave me $20. I have been approached on many occasions, but this was the first time Laci actually did it.
Have you ever been harassed by cops?
No, I have been very fortunate. I know a few of them now. Sometimes I wait for them and I think to myself ‘Okay, I need to let them know that I am not intimidated.’ One time a cop asked me if I shaved my legs, and another time a cop had a spotlight on me and wanted to take a picture with his camera phone. I asked him who he was going to show that to, and he said his wife. So I said yes, and when he showed me the photo and I said ‘Wow, that really gets me hard’.
How did you get to be so comfortable walking out like that?
Attitude. The whole country is all out of order and I’m just following suit. I told a cop that one time and he just laughed and said, ‘You’re right.’ But Miss Laci is going to hang up her heels real soon. I figure five years is enough. I will retire about 90% and just come out a few times a year. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this for the short time that I have been Miss Laci.
Why are you retiring?
Because of my age.
Will you disappear into the night?
Yes, I will just disappear into the night, in my Laci-mobile. But there is something I hadn’t planned on: I hadn’t planned on making friends. Laci always just hung around in the back of the bars and had no friends; but Laci has friends now and when she hangs up her heels she will have to deal with that.
Does that make you sad?
It does. I have mixed feelings about that, because it wasn’t supposed to happen.
Last question: men’s room or ladies room?
It doesn’t really matter. But I’ll tell you what: cross-dressers don’t want to shake it when we use the restroom. We just want to dab it with a napkin, ’cause if you don’t dab you are going to drip.

End