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.
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