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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Meg

T-Central first featured Meg in this post, back in October.  She continues to be a prolific blogger and holds true to her crossdressing "ideals".  I love her humor and her honesty.  For instance, this comment in a recent post:

It's a lot, but many transgendered males do not and will never pass as women.  It's a fact.  Some I've seen are breathtaking.  Some, not so much.  As Meg, I'm never sure if I'm turning heads, or stomachs.

So, today we'll let that one we call, Meg, have her say...

 - Calie


I haven't been out, dressed, a lot.  Maybe ten times, probably fewer than twenty.  I'm not counting the rite-of-passage trips, like a solo drive, or a walk around the hotel hall, or a few seconds in the back or front yard.

I’m counting trips where I got dressed and went out.  Trips where I went somewhere, where I saw and was seen.  I’ve been out shopping, for a manicure, for a makeover, to a party, for some gambling time in a Las Vegas casino, to a transgender group meeting, to a clothing swap....  I’ve been out alone, with a gg friend, with women I’ve hired to do my makeup and prevent me from going out alone, and (once) with my wife and a couple of friends who don’t know my dressing up was more than that one-time thing.  Readers of my blog know my biggest outing ever was a flight from Washington DC to Kansas City, then on to Topeka.

After every trip, I feel two things:
* euphoria
* regret

Finding myself back home, or back in my hotel, after spending time out dressed feels GREAT.  It's a high like no other. 

There's never a "crash."  Sometimes I really don't want to change back, and sometimes I can't imagine ever changing back.  Sometimes, I'm ready to change back right away.  Sometimes, I don't even think about it ~ I just kick off my heels and pull off my wig and start my... I'm not sure what to call it.  I like "transformation" when I change to a female.  It has a hint of something positive, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.  It has a hint of something magical, like a wizard transforming into a graceful animal.  I can't use that word for going drab.  Revert, maybe.

...I just kick off my heels and pull off my wig and start my reversion to male mode.

But I ALWAYS feel great.  Perhaps if I had a bad experience out I'd feel differently, but deep down inside, I don't think so.  I hope I don't find out though.

I never regret going out.

I always regret stopping short.

I spent a couple of hours over two nights in a casino.  I asked a waitress for drinks, I played different slots.  I would have preferred to play craps, but I didn't want to stand around the table in tight quarters with a dozen other people, where I'd be doing a lot of talking.

I went to a clothing swap.  Some other t-gurls were there.  Fifty or more g-girls were there.  One started a conversation and I enjoyed chatting with her.  I spoke to the woman doing manicures, and had one done.  I could have said to someone picking up an outfit "that's beautiful" or "you'd look great in that" or "I wish that was in MY size".

After the swap, a tire blew out.  I had to call Geico to change the tire (I was not about to change a tire in a dress and heels!).  I waited in my car instead of walking around the neighborhood a bit (granted, it was 100 degrees out).  I just got out of the car when the repair guy arrived and said "thanks for coming out."  I could have had a bit of fun, gotten out slowly, walked up close and tried my girl voice, just to see what he'd do, or say.

I've gone to local malls several times.  I've spoken to sales associates.  I've had my nails done.  I should have sat down and had a cup of coffee, or lunch.  I should have spoken to other shoppers in the stores.

I've also found clothing I like, but rarely have I tried anything on.

I was in two airports, a restaurant, the rental car counter, and the hotel lobby when I traveled to Topeka.  I did no unnecessary talking.  In drab, I kid with people suffering along with me on the security line.

I was at the Jon Stewart rally last October.  I wanted to walk around, and at the very least, confront people making fun of Christine O'Donnell (my costume du jour).

Each of those experiences has an unspoken ending: I didn't.  I should have.

There are some things I should have done but I didn't because I don't have enough experience thinking like a girl.  I see a skirt I like, I consider buying it.  Or not.  It took one of my makeup lady "girlfriends" to hold it up to me to see how it would look.  How many times have I seen a woman do that?  Hundreds.  Why didn't I think that I could do that now?  I don't think enough like a girl.  I think about all of the things I need to do to pass better.  Stand straight.  Remember my purse.  Smile at women.  Avoid smiling at men.  Take smaller steps.  Don’t touch my face or lick my lips.  Sit right!

There are other things that I know I can do, but I'm not ready.  I've never been in the ladies' room.  I've never sat down to eat by myself.  I've never started a conversation with a stranger, outside of a shop situation.

I should.  I don’t need to go outside my comfort zone.  I need to expand my comfort zone, until it encompasses the world.  I've done a lot ~ there's more to do.  And I need to be more comfortable as a woman, so I can forget all of the things I have to think about all the time (stand straight!) and remember all of the things I’ve seen women do and add them to my list of Things I Do Automatically.  And if I do them in drab mode, that’s OK.  I’d rather do femme things as a male than male things when dressed.

Sometimes, I'm not prepared.  Something will happen and I could react as a woman, but I'm not ready and I’m still focusing on maintaining my female persona.

So someone says something to me and I'm not prepared.  I respond stupidly or not at all.  Sometimes the closest thing to an appropriate response I can achieve is to smile.

After a patdown at the airport by a female agent, a man walked up and said “what do I have to do to get her to do that?”  My answer: I smiled.  I could have said something.  If he knew, well, he had a reason to say something.  If he didn’t, what could happen?  I’m surrounded by security people.  I’m safer than the President.  I didn’t.  I should have.

My former manager has a little magnetic sign on her office door.  "Destined to be an old woman with no regrets."  Alas, that isn’t to be my destiny.

My goal is to go out once and come home with no regrets.

That's real euphoria.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - The Wife

I discovered "The Wife" via a comment she left on another blog.  Then, as I always do, I followed the links to her site and found this fabulous website/blog authored by the wife, The Wife, of a crossdresser.

I don't know her name, where she lives, or what she looks like.  She does have a way to contact her via her site, so I asked her if she would like to write something for this series of guest posts.  What she wrote is simply beautiful and I have got to believe that many of you will read it and just wish it was written by your own wife or girlfriend.  Maybe print it out and just leave it on the kitchen counter?  If anyone is brave enough to do that, leave us a comment!

Since I don't have a picture of The Wife, I lifted this from her FAQ:

What do you and your husband look like?
Well, I’m a reasonably attractive curvy girl with brown hair, brown eyes, and fairly large tracts of land.  (And remarkably straight teeth if I do say so myself. lol) I’m a bit of a tomboy, so I tend towards jeans or comfy pants and a tee shirt or nice blouse.  I don’t wear a lot of makeup (I had a ‘competitive’ phase where I tried to out-girl him and it failed miserably) and I generally wear my hair in a simple ponytail.

My sweetie is smaller than I am, a delicately made little thing (and don’t think that hasn’t caused some grief over the years, let me tell you) who “can pass” for the most part.  His lady-self has a good selection of wigs, so the color and style changes day to day, but the natural hair color is dark brown and the natural eyes come in a very pretty shade of grey-blue, if I do say so myself.  His style when not dressed up coincides with my own – shirts and jeans – but Melanie tends towards the emo or gothic look when going out on the town.

Although she writes this from purely the view of the wife of a crossdresser, I do believe that all of our readers will enjoy this post and that includes spouses, crossdressers living with spouses, and transsexuals living with spouses.

The Wife and I share a philosphy.  In her words:

"I’m not big into policing people, so the comments won’t be moderated too stringently.  All I ask is that you respect one another and don’t be a jerk.  We’re all people here – have some dignity and respect, folks."

 - Calie 

As I sit here, my sick baby breathing snottily beside me, I'm attempting to muse on the state of crossdressing and being married to a crossdresser.  You'll have to forgive me for my informal tone, but I'm finding the idea of delving any deeper than I normally do on my own blog somewhat difficult.  I know that may seem strange to you, but in my family crossdressing is a natural part of life.  It just is.

Once upon a time crossdressing was dramatic and full of tension - the mere act of bringing up crossdressing enough to ruin a night or cause a fight - but now it's no more exciting or stressful than choosing what to eat at a given meal.  Sometimes there are special occasions - Halloween, for example, is like crossdressing Christmas for my husband - but in general his choice to wear a skirt, to apply makeup, to shave his beard and go from HE to SHE is just that... a choice.  A fancy.  A whim.  We've reached a point in our relationship where he knows that he can wear a skirt all week if he wants and not only will I not be bothered by it, I view it as commonplace.

There are limits, of course.  Rules.  Structure to our choices, outer boundaries to what and when and where, but generally he's willing to live within these loose confines in order to shed his masculine persona and don the girl he is inside.  It took a great deal of struggle to reach this place of equanimity. Many evenings were spent hand-in-hand with heightened emotions, discussing, debating, approaching and retreating, and compromising.  


Some folks feel that the state of compromising with your spouse once you've discovered that you're a crossdresser or transgender is the same as denying who you truly are and, after so many years of conforming to fit society's standards of what is "right", they are unwilling to forgo even the idea of eyeliner or underwear.  It is a battle for them, the right to shout proud and loud, "THIS IS WHO I AM!  DEAL WITH IT!".

I can't say whether that is true or not for most crossdressers or transgendered individuals.  All I can speak with authority on is my own family and in my family compromise is not a dirty word, it is how we live and how we love and how we show our respect and devotion to one another.  I respect my husband's need to wear a bra and stuff it with realistic silicon breasts and spend hundreds of dollars in clothing that society says he shouldn't be wearing.  I respect that these acts make her feel more whole, make her feel attractive, make her feel more herself.  And she respects my desire for a break from my wife and the fact that I am not primarily a lesbian.  She knows that when I say that I need my husband then it's time for the skirt to go in the hamper and his strong arms to hold me, versus my loving arms holding her.  It's a delicate balance and we still falter now and then, but on the whole, we've made it work for us, which is all that is important.

If it were not for my husband, I would not have my glorious, wonderful  little boy.  If it weren't for my wife, I would exist in a relationship where I would feel discomfort discussing the myriad of mysteries that exist for women, the strange intricacies of our female-stratosphere, the occasionally envious give-and-take we must struggle with in our patriarchal society.  I'm free to admire and envy Melanie - she can discard the clothing and walk like a particularly masculine sheep amid the wolves.  Perhaps every now and then a hoof is exposed, but only around the wolves who love us, who've heard tell of my husband's vast collection of attractive skirts.  I, on the other hand, can not vary my gender to suit my mood.  I am who I am and she who is occasionally he, can choose who she feels like being today.  That, I feel, must be very freeing... and very confusing.  For myself, I prefer being solidly female.  I like my chest.  It's squishy and nice to poke when I'm bored.

Hmm, I feel I've lost my way in this talk.  I'm feeling through the text, trying to find a neat, polite way to sign out, to close the post, but doing so is difficult and uncomfortable.  It feels false.  I suppose then, instead, that I'll leave my goodbye rather open-ended, mutable, and open to interpretation.  I'd rather leave with a piece of advice - a truism that I repeat every chance I get when referencing this complex and varied crossdressing/transgendered world we choose to exist in.

Simply put: If you are the SO/Spouse of a crossdresser/transgendered individual and you don't want to leave... You Don't Have To.  I know it's difficult.  I know it's complex and confusing and hard and you are facing a possible lifetime of confusion and angst.  But-but-but...if you love that person - not the gender but the PERSON - if they make you laugh, if they buy you your favorite food at the grocery store without having to be asked first, if they always kill the spider or climb up on a high, rickety ladder to hang the Christmas lights, if they hold your hand when you're happy and let you wet their shoulder when you're sad... if you LOVE THEM, then you can make it work.

If you want it, you can always make it work.

I swear.
Good luck.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Stana

What's a series of guest posts, focusing on crossdressing, without featuring one from my friend, Stana?   Stana is very well known in the T Community, both internationally via her blog, but also locally, via her outreach activity. 

Femulate has an incredible following, which is quite apparent when I look at where the readers of my personal blog, and even T-Central, are coming from.  I often refer to Femulate as a Mega-blog and I'm sure there are many of you out there who have visited Stana's Femulate site.  If you haven't visited Femulate, do it now!  It's a wonderful resource for fashion, and crossdressing and also includes Stana's daily activity updates and even a touch of her own brand of humor.

So, without further mindless babble from me, let's hear from Stana.

 - Calie

My Theory of Operation
By Stana (,

I identify as transgender, more specifically, a heterosexual male-to-female crossdresser, who crossdresses once or twice per month (in deference to my spouse). However, I readily admit that if I had the opportunity, I would crossdress 24/7 and live full-time as a female without surgery, hormones, or other body modifications. I likely would get electrolysis, but nothing more than that.

If I desire to live full-time as a woman, am I still a crossdresser? Or am I something else... something beyond a crossdresser, but not quite a transsexual mainly because I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male.

As a youngster, I participated in sports (baseball and football) and played "boy games" (cowboys, war, spacemen, etc.). I felt that I was a typical boy and I enjoyed doing "boy things," unlike many trans sisters, who as children, hated "boy things" and preferred "girl things."

I enjoyed boy activities... to a point. I was not your typical rough and tumble boy and I did not like to take part in any activities where pain was a possibility. For example, I liked to play football, but I preferred touch football and avoided tackle football. So, I definitely had a sissy streak in me and some of the other youths let me know it by taunting me and calling me names.

And I enjoyed creative activities (writing and drawing) and there were other activities, i.e., some that were downright female that I would have pursued, but I knew if I followed those girlish interests, I would be pushing the envelope too much, so I avoided them.

Despite my participation and enjoyment of boy things, other boys called me names like "sissy," "fairy," "faggot," etc., which indicated to me that I was not necessarily all the boy I thought I was because others perceived me as being effeminate. That perception may still exist, but as an adult, most people I encounter are polite enough to keep such opinions to themselves.

In my youth, it was not just a case of bullies using random offensive names to raise my ire. Even some of my friends told me that I was not acting like a boy at a 100% level and that I should do something about it.

I wondered if there was something in my speech or mannerisms that caused their reaction? I was not intentionally speaking or acting in an affected manner. Rather, I was speaking and acting in my natural manner.

The fact that even friends told me that something was amiss indicated that something really was amiss, but I was clueless. I had no idea what I had to do differently to be more boy-like. So, I continued acting the same way I always acted.

I did not and do not make any effort to be effeminate (or masculine, for that matter). I always acted in a way that was natural to me and my natural inclination was to act effeminately according to the "standards" set by our society.

I never felt I had a masculine or feminine side and I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male like the typical transsexual, who hid or suppressed their femininity in boy mode.

I never felt that I was a woman trapped inside the body of a male because she was never trapped! I never suppressed my femininity because I never realized I was acting effeminately, so as far as I was concerned, there was nothing to suppress.

Back in college, I attended a Halloween party in drag. One of my classmates who knew me well was impressed with how my normal persona was such a good fit for my female Halloween costume. Until he saw me in drag, he never realized that my everyday persona was so feminine. That confirms what I always believed, i.e., "I" am the same person in boy mode or in girl mode except that "I" am a better fit in girl mode.

In conclusion, I am not a woman trapped in a male body; rather I am a woman with a male body and I’m OK with that. I realize that my body has nothing to with my gender and further that having a male body does not make me less of a woman.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Alice

Click on the Picture to Learn More
A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine strongly recommended Alice Novic's book, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age.  I read the book, absolutely loved it, and recommend it highly to not only crossdressers but to anyone who feels that they fall under the transgender umbrella.  The book is brutally honest, yet entertaining, and a very easy read.

Doctor Richard Novic is a psychotherapist, based in Southern California.  As Alice, she has a website, Alice in Genderland, with information on her book and a series of essays, Through The Looking Glass, that, in her words, "...explore issues like crossdressing, transitioning, relationships, and sexuality from the special perspective of a fun-loving transvestite psychiatrist."  Links to the essays, below.

"An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D." "Going on a Manhunt"
"Autogynephilia, Bisexuality, and Mr. Opportunity" "Jury Duty in a Dress"
"2010 and Most Is Well" "What Can We Learn From Gay People?"
"Communication, Compassion, and Creative Solutions" "Am I Gay?"
"Interview on Writing and Therapy" "Face and Hair Revisited"
"Interview on Self-Publishing" "Why am I a Crossdresser?"
"Shifting Gears" "The Mysterious Case of My Vanishing Purse"
"Seven Great Myths Among Us MTFs" "The Two Types of Transwomen"
"An Artist Out and Proud" "Crossdressers and Hormones"
"A Woman on the Verge of Transition" "Could Yours Truly Be TS?"
"Analyzing the Poison" "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"
"A Pillar and Part-Timer" "Shall I Bring My Wife Along?"
"Manhunt Over: Thank Goodness"

I'm honored that Alice has agreed to do a guest post for our T-Central series on crossdressing.  

 - Calie

Why am I a Crossdresser?

Well basically because it’s been the most fun, fulfilling way for me to live. After all, what are the options: Be a man who holds back from crossdressing? Be someone who makes it her life? These paths are great for some folks, but I’ve found happiness walking right down the middle.

But let’s take a step back and ask a few more fundamental questions. What is a crossdresser? I define crossdresser as a primarily straight man who is profoundly satisfied to imagine himself as a woman. Does profoundly satisfied include sexually aroused by? You betcha, but it’s also much deeper than that, as many of you will discover with experience and age.

Why does an otherwise normal, healthy male become a crossdresser or transsexual? One explanation, derived from animal research, I call the intersex brain. It suggests that something happens as we’re developing in the womb that causes the brains of CDs and TSs to develop along female lines and be inclined to feminine behaviors later on. For instance, if male rats are exposed to extra estrogen during one particular week during central nervous system development, then later in life they’ll show a tendency for lordosis, a female mating behavior that involves arching one’s back to bring attention to one’s buttocks—like a bird shaking her tail feathers.

An alternative, more disturbing, explanation of why someone becomes a crossdresser is that of autogynephilia. By this theory, crossdressing or MTF transsexualism occurs when a heterosexual male’s attraction to females (his gynephilia) gets directed at himself (auto). The main evidence for this so far is that we crossdressers tend to be aroused by the image of ourselves as women and that pattern bears a close resemblance to the auto versions pedophilia and amputee-philia. Yes, there are men who are attracted to the image of themselves as children or as amputees, strange as that might sound. (For more, see the writings of Ray Blanchard, Ph. D.) As far as when or how a male’s normal attraction to females might turn itself inward, no one knows.

Just like the intra-uterine environment, one’s childhood experiences can also have a profound impact on brain biology and behavior. But whether we’re talking about autogynephilia, intersex brain, or a yet unknown mechanism, no particular childhood events or exposures have been correlated with crossdressing or transsexualism. As a psychiatrist, I once even worked with a Latin man whose mother used to punish him by making him wear his sister’s skirts. Subsequently as an adult, he suffered relationship and self-esteem problem, but bore no predilection for petticoats.

Can crossdressing be acquired like an addiction? Yes, I first feared. No, I later learned. Yes in a way, I ultimately came to see. Yes, lingerie can feel like a tempting, euphoric thing. Once you break the ice, and reach into the panty drawer, you may never be able to stop.

But no, no regular straight man would find such pleasure in panties and be vulnerable to such a substance? I’m afraid not. Ask a few, in private of course, so you can be more confident you’re getting the truth. Most wouldn’t even be curious enough to try on women’s underwear. The experimental few who would, might experience a different kind of fabric and feel but not the euphoria that keeps us coming back.

Okay, I say as an M.D., but not everybody is at risk for alcoholism, yet it’s still considered an addiction. Maybe crossdressing is one that only we estrogen-tweaked pups are prone to. After all, once a one of us “borrows” his first bra, he may bring on a habit that can spiral out of control and jeopardize his marriage, job, and reputation. And that, my fine, feathered friends, is what defines addiction.

I must add two important caveats, though, that I believe keep crossdressing or transitioning from sharing the same category as cocaine. 1) Aren’t our people usually more stable and content after they’ve developed a crossdressing habit? 2) And if not, isn’t it more due to the harsh reactions wives and others might have to the habit, rather than the activity itself? Which is still very serious, though, and means that a person like me might find a few more lovers, but compromise my career, lose my wife, and still not find a husband, if I went woman full time.

Because we live in a culture in which crossdressing and transsexualism don’t put you on top of anyone’s wish list, most of us, at least at first, want to know Is there a cure? No, there isn’t, I must report, not at this time. I’m sorry, but there isn’t a cure for being gay or albino either.

Sure, with enough will power, support, and spirituality, you may suppress your more femme impulses, but then again, you might be able to go through life resisting your favorite sport or flavor of ice cream. There’d better be a great heaven, or you’d better get tremendous joy in living to please your loved ones, to make that worthwhile. Otherwise, I’d recommend getting as comfortable as you can with something others may find uncouth and casting your own small vote for change. You’ve got a lifetime to work on it!

Alice Novic, M.D.

To learn more about me than you’d ever dare ask, please see my smart, sexy memoir, Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age (available now on

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Aeify

This series on crossdressing thoughts and reflections has produced some really excellent posts from some fine bloggers out there.  Today's post is not from a crossdresser, however.  This time we're featuring the thoughts and reflections of a spouse.  Her name is Aeify and you can read more about her by going to Aeify's blog, A Perfect Love.

I really enjoyed this post.  I think I've read it three times now!  I guess what I like about it is the obvious love these two have for each other.  I hope you enjoy it too.

 - Calie
Reflecting on the T-lifestyle

I have known my spouse liked to crossdress since before he even proposed. I was excited by the prospect of the "dressing" during our lovemaking on occasion. I rarely thought about it for great drifts of time in our marriage. I didn't want the dressing to stop, it just never occurred to me the extent that one of us might want it to occur. I never tried to keep it from happening, but I didn't encourage it either. 

Shame on me.

The year 2010 will stand out in my memory as the year we came even closer together as a couple. I learned more than I ever thought there was to know about crossdressing. I learned the word transgender and the difference between a transsexual and a transvestite. I'm not an ignorant person, I just didn't think I had a reason to know more than I did, which was shockingly little.

I learned, I have grown, I am continuing to learn. 

Not everything I have learned has been good. I have met people both in person and (mostly) online who did not have a spouse that was accepting when they learned their partner's "secret." I still can't fathom why you would throw away a relationship based on what your partner wants to wear, but that being said, I haven't hired a skywriter to announce P's news to the world either.
I am so glad that I have a spouse who loves me just the way I am. I am loved no matter how much I weigh, if my legs are hairy, if my hair is done or if I am wearing makeup. I am loved unconditionally and even my most insane She-Hulk crazy (I'm a little OCD...shh don't tell anyone) needs are attended to. How lucky am I to have a spouse that can help me with my makeup?

I wish health and happiness to all of you. I wish that each and every one of you has a partner who loves and accepts you just as you are. (Even if you are just about to tell them after many years!) 

There is one thing I would do differently if I could turn back time. I would talk more in the beginning about dressing. I would have looked up years ago and learned about the communities of love and support that were/ are out there. I would also have been more understanding of the one trans person who used to come to the gift shop where I worked to use the restroom. She came by some time almost every Saturday. I told P this story not too long ago. 

She would come right up the stairs and go straight to the bathroom. Our sweet-smelling unisex bathroom that was almost always available. She'd go in there, fully dressed but sometimes she wouldn't be wearing her wig. She'd come out and take a turn around the store, not meeting my eyes and quickly leaving. I always wondered why she didn't linger like most of the other ladies. The shop was designed to make you relax and slow down. Then while I was telling P about this I looked at her and we talked about how this was probably one of the very few restrooms in town where she was free and safe to go. (And it was nice and girly). I so wished that I had made more of an effort to be her friend, but I'm also glad she came.

I wish you all a happy holiday season!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Sally

A few months, ago, I put out a request for guest posts on the subject of crossdressing.  Sally Sapphire replied right away and, when I read her email, I immediately knew that we had an excellent guest post in the making. 

Sally has a couple of blogs and you need to check both of them out.  TGirl Revelations is her main blog and is well worth your time to visit.  

Her other blog really intrigues me because I'm a book nut, when it comes to transgender reading material.  This site goes well beyond the transgender theme, however, and includes book reviews and recommendations for anything that qualifies under the LGBTQ umbrella.  The title?  Bilibrary Bookslut.  Unique!  Be sure to check out Sally's Gender Identity & Expression Challenge 2011.

So, now read on and see just what Sally has on her mind.
 - Calie

Am I really a crossdresser? It’s the first question I asked myself when I saw Calie’s call for guest bloggers, and I admit it made me pause. It’s just a word, but it’s amazing how much power words can have over how we define ourselves. We live in a society that loves to label people, and which is never satisfied with one word when a dozen others can be used to eliminate all ambiguity.

What, I ask you, is wrong with a little ambiguity? Ambiguity is all about diversity – it allows room for variety, for those little quirks of expression and identity that define us as individuals, while still allowing us to share a sense of community.

Like so many of us, I’m most comfortable with labelling myself as transgender. It’s a safe, all-inclusive word that embodies complete and total freedom of expression.  Ironically, it’s also a word that was originally coined to label cross-dressers who were not pursuing sexual reassignment surgery. What I find I’m less comfortable with, and what seems to prompt so much debate, are the labels that fall under the transgender umbrella – Transsexual, Crossdresser, Transvestite , Drag queen, Genderqueer , Androgynous, etc.

Why, I ask you, do we allow words to make us so uncomfortable? It shouldn’t matter how, when, where, or why we choose to express ourselves. The fact that we are all expressing a gender identity different from the norm is what makes us special and unique, even while making us part of a broader community.

Personally, I am proud to label myself as transgendered. Beyond that . . . well, I really don’t see a need to define myself beyond that. Yes, I indentify very strongly with the woman inside me, and I am absolutely more comfortable in expressing her identity than in putting on my day-to-day drab façade.  In an ideal world, her expression would be a 24/7 reality. Does that make me more transsexual than transvestite? Does it really matter?

At this point in my life I simply don’t have the opportunity or the freedom to pursue medical and surgical modifications to express the woman inside me. Yes, I’ve thought about it, considered it, and I’ve even made an appointment for laser hair removal, but I’m not ready for the rest of it . . . and may never be. It’s not a lack of desire or commitment, just an acknowledgement of the restrictions of life. Does that make me more transvestite than transsexual? Again, does it really matter?

Coming out to my wife earlier this year was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it has also been the single most rewarding experience of my life. During that momentous discussion, it made me uncomfortable when she asked if I was just a crossdresser, and it made her equally uncomfortable when she asked if I was a transsexual instead. One term implied limitations or restrictions to my expression, while the other implied a permanent change in our relationship. Since then, we’ve talked a lot about how I express myself, and what it means to each of us, but we’ve deliberately chosen not to put any labels on it.

Is that, I ask you, really such a bad thing? Some people might see it as avoiding the issue, or as an act of cowardice on both our parts. At the end of the day, however, it’s that very lack of a label that provides us with free reign to have open and honest discussions about my identity, and to enjoy the expression of that identity, without putting arbitrary expectations around it.

There are nights where we each dress in our naughtiest lingerie, get elaborate with our makeup, and enjoy ourselves in the bedroom. I won’t deny that there’s a strong element of sexual fetish to the experience, but that doesn’t take away from the expression of femininity itself. There are also nights where I’ll slip into one of my favourite nightgowns, touch up the polish on my toenails, and curl up alone with a good book. It’s almost an unconscious mode of expression, as natural as taking off my tie at the end of a hard day at the office.

There are days where the wife and I will both do our hair and makeup, put on a skirt and a blouse, slip into our heels, and go out shopping as two BFFs. Sure, there’s an element of exhibitionism involved in wanting to ‘pass’ convincingly, but there’s also a wonderfully wholesome sense of satisfaction in comfortably expressing myself.  There are also days where we’ll go out in day-to-day drab, as husband and wife, yet still share our thoughts and feelings as if I were visibly expressing the woman inside. Again, it’s almost an unconscious mode of expression, and I love that it’s become so natural for us both.

I know that I’m happiest when fully expressing my femininity, and that I thoroughly enjoy the ritual of revealing the woman inside of me. I love the feel of my most feminine clothes, the taste of my lipstick, and the smell of wet nail polish. Being called ma’am gives me a giddy little thrill, and finding a perfect pair of heels in my size is almost an orgasmic delight. The feel of stockings rubbing together beneath my skirt is absolutely divine, and the simple act of adjusting a bra strap is a pleasure. At home, I avoid the mirror like the plague, afraid of the disconnect between identity and expression. When I’m out and about, though, I simply cannot pass up a chance to admire the woman in the mirror when I pass by.

So, I ask you, what does that make me? Am I a transsexual who can’t commit? A transvestite with delusions of grandeur? An ill-adjusted crossdresser? A drag queen without a stage? Am I just genderqueer or, perhaps, androgynous? Depending on who you ask, I may be none of the above, all of the above, or something completely different. Guess what . . . I’m OK with that.

Ultimately, we are who are, and we are what we make of ourselves. It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to accept that – and far too many drafts of this post to stop worrying about it. Personally, I don’t need to label myself to understand myself, and my wife doesn’t need to label me to appreciate who I am. That works for us, and that’s great. However, reading through the blogs featured here, I’ve also seen that labels can help friends to better identify and relate to each other. If labelling myself a crossdresser helps to make a connection with even one new friend, then that’s great too.

So, with all that said, please consider these my personal Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections. Should they reflect your own [insert label here] Thoughts & Reflections as well, then I guess we’ve made a connection . . . one that I hope you’ll share with us all. J


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections - Petra

I have many, many friends who proudly proclaim themselves as crossdressers.  Nothing more, nothing less, and I very much respect that. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be featuring guest posts on the subject of crossdressing.  Our authors are excellent writers and you will probably recognize most of them.

Our first post is from Petra Bellejambes.  Crossdressers like to....well....dress, and Petra knows her fashion.  She has graciously allowed us to display some of her favorite pictures with this post.  I'm sure you will agree that this girl looks just fab!  And, her writing ain't bad either!

Petra's blog is Voyages en Rose.

 - Calie

I am not a psychiatrist, but If I played one on TV, my character would wear a smart lab coat, belt looped at the back, and a sleek pencil skirt. The shoes would click of course, only borderline office appropriate.  Sexy/brainy eyeglasses and savage tousled dark hair recently set free from pony tail frame my face. My bright young complexion, only lightly made up, somehow unlined by the thorny problems I wrestle with daily. I would, of course, effortlessly and unknowingly drive male colleagues to distraction and female ones to smoldering furies of envy …

Rather flip and fanciful, yes. And precisely the attitude that exposes a fault line that for many exists between the Cross Dresser and much of the rest of the TG spectrum.

I am trying, today, to picture the (periodic) Cross Dresser through the eyes of the Transitioned, the Transitioning, and the resignedly troubled Non-Transitioner. There goes the Cross Dresser, seemingly happy to set sail en femme and explore new shores. A nice lark for them. And then the wind turns, and blows them timely back home. While you, the committed, with your ships burnt on distant rocky shoals are marooned, severed wholly or in part from your pasts, from family, former friends, perhaps even from the greatest loves in your lives, and god yes, even your children. Free yes to discover a new world, but lost to the old one. What prices you have paid.

I suspect that these are some of the sentiments that flash and flicker in the minds of those you who feel a genuine incongruity between your assigned gender and every thing you feel when you consider the relatively flighty plight of the Cross Dresser.

I suspect that these sentiments contribute in part to a label that I have heard applied to me, and others of my kind. Cross Dresser may not be a perfect label, but it is a label I wear. I wear it with pride too. I hear it cheapened sometimes with the application of a simple prefix.


Just a Cross Dresser.

The connotations of “just” trouble me just a little. “Just” connotes a state of incompletion, of inauthenticity, of partial apprehension of a bigger undiscovered whole. “Just” connotes that we Cross Dressers may have some nice feathers, but we haven’t earned our wings.

I am not the sensitive type, really. One can’t embrace honest discovery of their own gender complexion with very thin skin after all. And I do not mean to suggest that “just” is a majority sympathy or entirely dismissive sentiment. Perhaps it is just an accident of language, a convention of conversation. And to be fair, my female personae has been warmly met by strangers and well embraced by the very select handful of people intimate with the rest of my life. Without this embrace, my own embrace would be weaker, more episodic, less complete. And to be honest, perhaps a little more adolescent, fetishy and, O dear, maybe just a little icky.
But “just” does lurk. In point of fact, I used the prefix “just” myself once over a cocktail with a M2F acquaintance well en route. So I wanted to address “just” here today.

Well, earned or not, I do have wings, and they help me soar. My periodic adventures en Femme in the big wide open are a source of exhilaration. I achieve a heightened state of attenuation and receptivity to the world around me. And then yes, the clothes, the hair, the accessories come off. The makeup is scrubbed away and the nails are pried off. There I stand with all the surfaces re-arranged and congruent with my assigned gender. Beneath the surfaces though, something important has been touched, cultivated and nurtured. Something that lasts long after the tidy up and fold away. Something that gets expressed in the rest of my “male” life, and changes for the better all of my interactions with the world around me.

These periodic privileges, to use a shopworn phrase, complete me.

And perhaps here lies the essential difference between those who will not transition, by preference, and those who have, who will or, with a different hand dealt to them, would.

I do not feel any incongruence with my biology, my appearance, my bodily inheritances, or the most of the expectations that the world has of me as a result of my evidently masculine presentation. I do feel however that my inheritances are inadequate. Inadequate to the opportunities of experience and sensation that are available to us all, if we are but willing to shake things up a little.

I must share as well in all honesty that I am relieved. Any chap who slides into a pair of panties the second time and is ensnared by curiosity and a need that cannot be easily explained knows right deep down, in the oldest most instinctive, primitive, reflexive precincts of our brains that big, big questions are being posed: Why do I feel this way? Am I male? Have I been wrong all along? Where does this end?

And this we all have in common. Whether our explorations of self and of gender come from feelings of incongruence deep within, or from curiosity about things worn without, these questions we all asked of ourselves.

And so, to my well feathered sisters of the Cross Dressing variety, I tender encouragement here today. Encouragement to join me in forsaking use of this common prefix, “just”, when thinking of yourselves. If had kept these doors of exploration closed, well, you would be “just”. Just another guy. But in opening the doors, you made yourself bigger, better and more whole. Brave you. I hope that happiness is your dividend.

And finally to my brave friends, the reborn, the Transitioned, the Transitioning and especially those of you who at last measure will not, who cannot, and will yet find a way to live with your inheritances, I say thank you. You really inspire.

We, all of us, have an opportunity to make life beautiful. None of us, in this regard are “just” anything.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crossdressing Thoughts & Reflections

This coming week, we will begin our series of guest posts on the topic of crossdressing.  As with our similar Transition series, a few months ago, these are all very well written posts and well worth reading.

Stay tuned!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alex's Transphobic Hate Crime Video

My close and dear on-line friend, Alexandra Young left me this email:

I wonder if you could place a link onto T-Central to the Hate Crime video by Central Regional Police in Scotland featuring my interview? I think there is a lot for others regardless of gender on there worth hearing. I will place it on my blog as well.

The video is about 15 minutes long and well worth watching. 

Alex's experience brings to mind two very similar and unfortunate incidents that affected me.  One resulted in a broken bone that still affects me, physically, today and one in genital molestation.  Both happened while at school.  

I encourage our readers to share similar experiences or to just comment on Alex's video.

You can read Alex's Transition Thoughts and Reflections post here.

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