More Stereotypes of Crossdressers

Apparently an old 2002 article on crossdressing has been rekindled in the Trannysphere, so I’ll go ahead and add my comments to the mix.  As usual, I’ve already made many of these observations on other blogs who got there before I did, so I’m plagiarizing myself; this is only an expanded version of those previous comments where I held back because I didn’t want to hijack another blogger’s page into a topic all about me.  Here at RiaD, it truly is all about me.

Before you read my response, if you have not read the original stop now and read the  Amy Bloom article here.

Now, Ms. Bloom makes a number of assertions that I must dispute.  I was going to say “a number of broad stereotypes”, but I use that joke nearly every time and even I am beginning to find it tiresome.

1) Crossdressing necessarily involves the difficult parts of female attire: Girdles, wigs, high heels, etc.
My response: I’ll concede that this may be true for most crossdressers, but there are plenty who have no need whatsoever to encumber ourselves in this way.

2) “Cross-dressing is an attempt to resolve an internal conflict, and it’s not about fabric. If we had clothing for men and women that was identical in every way except men wore shirts with four buttons and women had shirts with five, cross-dressers would want more than anything to have the shirt with five.”
My response: I have a real problem in political debates where the opponent claims to know what the other side is thinking. My liberal friends and my conservative friends all have an annoying tendency to assert some kind of clairvoyance: “So-and-so says one thing, but he or she really thinks/wants/fears this other thing…”.  No.  You do not have any special knowledge as to what someone else thinks.  If you want to point out inconsistencies between what the person says and what he or she actually does, I’m with you all the way.  But as soon as you claim to know what thoughts they have, you are just making stuff up.

Now having said that, I’ll also concede that I have seen some crossdressers openly state that they have a deep desire to wear the women-branded version of gender-neutral clothing (e.g., jeans or t-shirts) just for the internal thought that it was meant for a woman.  But from what I have seen, most crossdressers that I meet (online) are specifically attracted to clothing that is explicitly more feminine in its design.  But having said that, I also can’t claim to have surveyed most crossdressers; my experience is limited only to a few dozen with whom I have had conversations online.  So neither of us can speak to what all, or even most, crossdressers desire to wear.

I can tell you with absolute certainty it is not true for me, or for the crossdressers I most closely identify with.  Admittedly we are a minority, but there is a small faction who identify fully as male. We absolutely don’t deal with wigs or false breasts, many of us don’t shave, and most of us don’t care for makeup (for my own part, I don’t even like make up on genetic women).  We really are in it for the fabric.  We are men, inside and out, who like soft fabrics and prefer the gentle caress of skirts against our legs rather than the stiff confinement of trouser legs.

3) “[…] it begins in a man’s life as an erotic response and becomes an erotic fetish.”
My response: Again, you’re attempting to know the inner mind of someone else and you’re assuming that all crossdressers are driven by the same urges.  For some, it is indeed a sexual release, and I won’t argue that any external stimulation that you need to find sexual fulfillment can be characterized as a fetish.  For others, it’s a nonsexual validation of their perceived inner gender.  And again, for still others it’s neither sex-related or gender-related preference for clothes denied to men in current society.

Now having said that (why do I always feel the need for a disclaimer when I make sweeping generalizations?) I would be lying if I did not confess that there is more to it than “I’m a man who likes wearing dresses.”  While I do not have a sexual response to soft fabrics, there is certainly a sensual pleasure in the way a skirt of nylon or satin or velvet or rayon or whatever caresses my legs. The fact that I am drawn primarily to long-outdated clothing of exaggerated femininity, with floor-length skirts that impede walking and portray the wearer as a delicate flower, probably speaks volumes about my psychological background.  I could even carry that further and say that I am stimulated on an intellectual level by any portrayal of gender nonconformity: I am drawn (not, I stress, in a sexual way) both to bulky, hairy men in delicate dresses and pretty, feminine women in traditionally masculine attire like business suits and tuxedoes.  I deliberately married a woman who is assertive and self-confident, and I favor strong, independent (but feminine!) women in books and movies. I’m very curious how all that ties in with my crossdressing, but not enough to spend the time or money on a shrink to figure it all out. My point, such as it is, is that there are many complex layers to what drives a man’s urge to wear women’s clothing, and no one answer fits any two men, much less the whole lot of us en masse.

4) “The Fairfaxes believe that heterosexual cross-dressers are just normal folks, not at all like those gender outlaws— bearded men in dresses, “chicks with dicks~—whom Jane Ellen calls “gender mockers”
Here, sadly, I must agree… and this is my biggest gripe about the transwhatever community. As I have written before, the GLBT world likes pigeonholes. If you’re a man who loves men or a woman who loves women, great. If you’re a man who wants to become a woman, either permanently or part-time, we have a place for you. But if you’re a man who claims to be a man and likes being a man and expects to be treated as a man and acts like a man and oh by the way also wears nice dresses… you’re an abomination. You don’t fit into our neatly categorized world. You’re mocking genetic women, you’re mocking transwomen, you’re even mocking drag queens.

Well, there you have it.  I’d like to hear from my visitors on the subject. Do you think Amy Bloom has an accurate image of crossdressers, apart from the admittedly small minority of exceptions who identify fully as men?

Bottom line, I’d like this site to be one that welcomes all forms of crossdressing. Do you get a sexual thrill out of breaking the clothing rules?  Do you find it relaxing to become the woman you deep down feel you should be?  Are you a regular beer-swilling, crotch-scratching, NFL-watching guy who just happens to prefer wearing a skirt or dress?  Welcome to all of you!  And if you’re in that last category, I’m especially glad to meet a “brother” who refuses to fit any of the accepted categories.


Posted in crossdressing, psychology | 20 Comments

Parenting: You’re Doing it Wrong

I wrote this as a very long reply to a post on someone else’s blog, but it’s important enough that I wanted to give it some more prominence here where my faithful readers, all three of you, can see and comment on it.

I have several “recovering crossdresser” friends — see the links at the right — and we have had discussions about whether crossdressing in and of itself is harmful. I contend that the simple act of wearing clothes meant for someone of the opposite sex is not harmful in an way, but like any other hobby it can get out of hand when it interferes with your relationship with God, your relationship with your family, your job, your finances, etc.  Read on to see the hard lesson I had to learn about not letting the crossdressing take over my life.

Between having an understanding (if not overly enthusiastic) wife and an employer who lets me work from home, I get to stay dressed, albeit behind closed curtains indoors, just about 24×7.  I only throw on my “man clothes” when I have to go to church or the store in town.  Also, at my wife’s request, whenever the children are over visiting even though they know about my odd clothing choices.  And for my own safety, any time ANYONE else is over visiting.

So anyway, I relish spending every moment in my favorite dress or skirt.  But as I mentioned, my wife has always requested that I don’t dress in front of the children.  Since this is her one and only restriction, I have faithfully abided by that request for over 20 years.

When the children were small, they stayed in the house nearly all day every day with us — first because they were too young for school, and later because we decided to homeschool them.  They rarely ventured into our bedroom, though, where I had my office so I was still able to stay dressed most of the time while I worked.  I had a good feel for their habits, and took advantage of times I knew they were asleep or out playing to go out into the kitchen to get a meal, or watch TV, when I knew I had the house to myself.

What does this have to do with the topic I started at the beginning of this long story?  Two things, which 20 years later I still kick myself over:
1) A few times, my son surprised my by wandering out of his room when he was supposed to be sleeping or doing schoolwork.  In my embarrassment I blew up at him, screaming like he had just committed murder.  I literally weep when I replay those scenes in my mind.  
2) Although I did try to set aside time on the weekends to play with my children or watch them play in team sports, more often than not I found excuses not to… because doing so meant having to put on my jeans and t-shirt.  I was so caught up in the pleasure of wearing my favorite clothes that I let it take priority over time I should have spent with my children.

We will have an entire lifetime to dress as we please in privacy.  The time we have to share with our children before the leave home is extremely limited, and when it’s gone it will be gone forever.

My children, now in their 20s, have a fairly good relationship with me.  My son has gotten over the understandable hatred and resentment he felt in his teens and is now quite sociable and shares his life with me — you can bet I drop EVERYTHING whenever he wants to talk or come visit!  My daughter still lives in a shell, all too accurately imitating my hermit lifestyle.  I wish I could help her improve her social life, but that would fall under “do as I say, not as I do.”

Look upon my parenting failures with  horror and learn from my mistakes, ye men who still have children at home with you.

Posted in crossdressing | 3 Comments

The Hazards of Short Skirts

I added this entry two years ago, but somehow it got stuck in my “drafts” folder. Hopefully the link I reference is still available for your amusement and edification.

Illustrator Aimee Pong has this to say on the subject, and it’s a hazard for men, women, and anyone in between who prefers short skirts.

After looking at this illustration, I feel like my preference for long skirts (ankle or even floor length) is justified.  This isn’t a problem for me!

Posted in crossdressing, humor | Leave a comment

Breaking Clothing Barriers – or Reinforcing Them?

I was recently taken to task in an online forum when a crossdresser got upset with me for confessing that I wear dresses but still present as all male — bearded, aggressive, sloppy, and arrogant male.

Now, let me see if I understand this.  A man who has a beard and refers to himself with male name and pronouns but wears a dress is unacceptably weird, but a man who also wears dresses and adds to that makeup, nail polish, false breasts, a wig, and a feminine name is NOT weird?

Now either this other crossdresser believes that beards in and of themselves are ugly and nobody should wear them regardless of what kind of clothes they have on, or he/she believes that only people who appear to be female should be allowed to wear dresses.

Is it just me, or does it seem like that’s reinforcing outdated, rigid societal rules on what kind of clothes men and women can wear?  Isn’t that exactly what we crossdressers are trying to be free from?  Do we tell women they have to look more masculine if they want to be allowed to wear trousers?  If a biological woman has a muscular build, square jaw, short hair, maybe even an unfortunate problem with a little facial hair, should she be forbidden from wearing a dress?

If it’s OK for me to have a beard while I wear jeans and t-shirts, that level of acceptability should not change when I swap out the jeans and t-shirt for a satin blouse and long skirt.


Posted in crossdressing | 15 Comments

The Day When Crossdressing Goes Mainstream

Ah, Halloween… that time of year when crossdressers can do their thing in public because “ha ha, it’s just a joke for Halloween.”

Of course, we know better.  So… do you suppose Matt Lauer* only does this once a year on special occasions?

*I never heard of him before today, when news articles of his Pamela Anderson costume started popping up all over.

Posted in crossdressing | 3 Comments

A Little Housekeeping

I cleaned up the links to the right.  Several of the sites (both pro- and anti- crossdressing) are defunct and/or have gone in a different direction from the ones that matter to me.  I also added a link to Skirt Cafe.  It’s not a blog, but an old-school discussion forum for men who do not in any way consider themselves female but prefer wearing skirts rather than trousers.  Most of the discussions are specifically about skirts and kilts, but there’s one forum for those who take it a little farther and also wear dresses — the “Freestyle Fashions” forum.

If you know of any *active* sites that deal with crossdressing (for or against) separate from gender transition, let me know.  I lose interest — and remove the links — when they get into passing as a woman, meeting men, hormone therapy, etc.


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Bluestocking Blue

I’ve had Vivienne’s blog linked over on the right for some time now, but I want to call attention to an excellent discussion on some recent cases of crossdressing/transgender that have come up in the news lately.  Since Vivienne expressed herself so eloquently, it makes more sense to just direct your attention to her post rather than repeat it all in my own words here.


Posted in crossdressing | 2 Comments