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Monday, May 2, 2016

Am I Just A Cross-dresser?

 Rhonda the Cross-dresser - 1984

Something very personal today:  Early on, I went to great efforts to describe myself as “just a cross dresser”.  I have grown to dislike that narrative.  For me, it has the implication of playing dress up, turned lifestyle.  Using, the term cross-dresser is like telling people that I play dress up instead of playing golf.  I may be wrong but I also feel that many people associate the term “cross-dresser” with some sort of odd and compulsive hobbyist.  For one thing, I do not understand why anyone would deliberately choose a pastime of cross-gender expression simply for amusement or as a hobby.  I am sure that they exist but their motivation for doing so eludes me.  Also it is much too serious and complicated a matter to be trivialized.  

For me it was never just about dressing up as in cross-dressing.  Just as a uniform denotes the profession and can define; our personal appearance many times represents more.  Example, would a police officer demand the same respect without the uniform?  Would Betty Crocker be the same without the apron?  Could a politician pretend to be the average Joe, without a plaid shirt?  Just like the cowboy who wears his hat, jeans, and boots in the airport, he is saying to the world, "These clothes reflect who I am, a culture that I belong to, a philosophy that I adhere too, and a vocation that I perform."

Just as a tailored business suit with skirt, silk blouse and heels represents a serious professional businesswoman - I too am communicating a (my)  preference when I get dressed and go out in the world as a female, groomed to look/be feminine.  In the most general sense, I am saying that I want to be viewed as a female and to be accepted as one.  Not a caricature.  Messages that are more specific can be gotten from the particular outfit I choose, and the way I behave, etc.  See my post on "Real World Or Halloween"

I am not trying to fool anyone or surprise anyone and at my age, I go mostly unobserved – “invisible”.  My behavior is entirely in keeping with the image I project, and anyone acting based on what they see will encounter a response consistent with what they might expect.

However, why would I willingly give up male privilege? 
To give a whimsical answer, “it is fun!”.  However, we all know our motivations run deeper.  A person's gender is an incredibly large part of their identity and their lifestyle. So to forgo my genetic gender and feminize myself is definitely more than simple amusement or a hobby

I do honestly enjoy the primping, the makeup, the shoes, the dresses and the styles.  This is something that I have always been drawn to do.  If I choose not to be Rhonda, then I am denying myself something that fulfilled and makes me complete.  Sure, being a girl is super fun, and I will not apologize for it.  In fact, I embrace it, and while I am embracing my femininity, I do endeavor to be the best person I can be, male and/or female.

I guess being a man or a woman is different for everyone just as being transgender is different for each of us.  There is not a rule book past being honest with ourselves.  So to be honest with myself, I am becoming fundamentally a feminine person.  Just to be very clear - Feminine is becoming my default.  


Being Rhonda suits me emotionally, mentally, physically and my social circumstances permit it.  I enjoy the role of being a female/feminine.  From the first time I ever presented, as a female to the last and every time in between, I could not believe how natural I feel, being feminine.  It is like something I have always been. 

At this stage in my life I am not "just a cross dresser" and I am beginning to question my motives.  My question to you - Do you consider yourself to be "just a cross dresser"?   Ask yourself - "What if ______________?"  Fill in the blank.  Does the answer change? 
 Please comment. 

__________________

Personal Note: I want to thank all of you that read my blog.  This process has been incredibly empowering.  I have learned a lot about myself writing and giving myself permission to be open.  I share my business card at professional and social functions that list this blog.  I hope some will be curious enough  to look under the hood and see what powers the spirit.  Thus opening up the opportunity for meaningful discussions.  Maybe the first transgender person they have ever known or maybe an opportunity to right a wrong impression.  Either way, I endeavor to provide a positive image and intelligent enlightenment.   I very much enjoy being myself, and comfortable in spirit.

   

9 comments:

  1. I am not just a crossdresser either Rhonda. Life evolves and you change the labeling to suit where you are. Many of us see ourselves as crossdressers early on because we don't know enough about the subject and because we might be more comfortable saying we are ONLY just that. The truth is a little harder to come up with and often takes years of reflection.

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  2. Well Said Joanna - Thank you for the comment. I am hoping today's post makes us think.

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  3. Thanks for writing today's post. It comes at a time when I am doing some critical introspection about that very question. A time when I'm questioning myself and my own motives. And, I don't like myself for it.

    It is not as easy as the question implies. When I began, I believed it was simply cross-dressing and I immediately felt the guilt that my religious upbringing imposed. But, if it were nothing more than cross-dressing curiosity, that self-imposed pressure should have been enough for me to stop after my first few experiences had satisfied my curiosity.

    Instead, a door opened into a world where I was both terrified (religious guilt) and exhilarated. The terror fell away with experience. The exhilaration calmed down, but, has grown into a comfort that I never felt as a male. A pleasure at being the person I wanted to be. No longer having to exhibit the person I was expected to be and had tried [poorly] to imitate all my life.

    Now, with a few years of part time experience under my belt, I'm feeling a different guilt. A crisis of hesitation. A guilt borne of not having come out, yet, to those in my family/social circle. A self-imposed guilt (again!) that I haven't committed to a binary decision. "What's taking you so long? Are you going to transition or not? Make up your mind. Or, are you just pretending?" I applaud that you have been able to wrestle with these questions and come to a resolution for yourself. I wish that I could; I'm still wrestling and it feels like the fight will never end.

    Do we all go through this? Do other transgenders go immediately from one state to the other with no hesitation? Do we all ask ourselves, at some time in our journey, "Am I being true or not? Or, is it "just cross-dressing?"

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  4. Great comment Susan and good questions - I hope others comment. I guess it has taken me 35 yeas plus and still have few answers.

    Rhonda

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  5. Great post and you really do provide the opportunity for meaningful discussions.
    I tend to see myself as a cross dresser. I have been dressing in womans clothes, in whole or mostly in part, for decades yet I primarily see myself as a man, as a husband and father, as a breadwinner and as a buddy with my pals. That is not to deny the joy and pleasure I derive from dressing but I still primarily see myself as a man...just a man with a number of feminine qualities, characteristics and yens.
    The TG spectrum is very broad and I surmise that many of us have been at various divergent points on that spectrum
    Pat

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  6. Good observation on our spectrum. Have you ever played with the "What if question"? Plug in "won PowerBall" - Other than the private jet, what else would you change?

    I always appreciate your comments - Thanks Pat

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  7. I too am not "just a crossdresser" nor have I considered myself that for more than a few years. Ever since putting on my first dress at the early time of being 9 years old and then realizing what it was that was missing from my life I have endeavored to "travel pretty" through out life. Unfortunately society has kept me from being who I truly feel I am except on some rare occasions of true expression, be it all female or some combination of female/male. I often have played the "what if" and wondered would I have gone through the change when I was younger even though it would have cost me some friends and perhaps family. I like to think that I still would have accomplished much and been near where I am today, just with a skirt and heels on most of the time.

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  8. Lisa - Great comment - Thank you.

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  9. I am also not "just a cross dresser" and it's taken me decades to come understand that. I also don't care for the term. Like "transvestite" it implies that it's a choice or perhaps a fetish. Maybe it is for some. Although I have no present desire or plans to transition when I dress I simply feel comfortable, a congruence that I don't, in my day to day life, feel free to be. It's subtle though, I must say!

    Thank you for your post on this. I just found your blog and am enjoying it very much.

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