Our Man in a Dress

| Feb 18, 2013

(Graham is from England were the word “trannie” is more lightly used. Those who are offended by that word should be advised that it is used in the following text.)

I’ve been thinking for some time about something I can contribute to the magazine, but to be honest, my life’s so mundane nowadays that there’s nothing really worth reporting.  Yes, that’s right — I’ve worn skirts, dresses, tights and high heels for 12 years, while looking and acting like a man … and life’s still mundane!

Graham in a LBD.

Graham in a LBD.

But I did do something unusual last autumn — I bought a load of new clothes, partly in the shape of two tunic-top dresses and three knitted smock dresses on-line from Tesco’s F&F and BHS; they range from very short to very short indeed, with three-quarter or full-length sleeves. Add to that my very short Long Tall Sally LBD that I’ve had for many years, and I own a collection of items which few woman in their mid-50s would dare to wear in public, even with the obligatory black opaque tights and pumps that are in vogue at the moment. Yet I’ve worn my dresses to places as diverse as dinner parties, theatre concerts, a dentist’s appointment, and Sainsbury’s: there have been no abusive comments that I’ve heard (though a number of people have taken photographs covertly which they thought I didn’t see), and the overwhelming majority of people don’t even give me a second glance.  In fact, I suspect most people are too busy to even notice — we all have our own lives to lead, and our own day-to-day issues to deal with and problems to solve.  So while I can say that I always go out dressed, I can’t honestly claim that I’m never “read”!

But that doesn’t matter — in my view, trannies place far too much emphasis on “passing.”  Oh sure, there’s a great buzz if you can pull it off — but if the success criterion for passing is based on whether you think anyone notices that you’re a man in women’s clothes, and if I can still get by when I make no attempt to pass at all, is your claim to being able to do so fooling anyone except yourself?

In my 17-year experience, trannies as a group would be far better off paying a little less attention to the line of the lipstick, and putting more work into their personal acceptance.  I’ve read many accounts of a novice tranny going shopping and apparently passing . . . until a well-aimed comment sends them into a blind panic. Then they find themselves stranded in the middle of a store, dressed as a woman, suddenly the centre of attention from people they may know, with their embryonic confidence heading at high speed for the nearest window.  They may not want to admit it, but their disguise was probably less effective than they thought . . .  the reason they appeared to be passing was because most regular people don’t care.

In fact, I’ve often said that tranny survival (in the most general sense) isn’t about passing, but about confidence and attitude: if you think, look, or act like a victim — as many novice trannies do — then you might be expected to be treated like one. Nevertheless, I confess that I rarely venture out amongst the unwashed masses in the centre of big towns nowadays. I went into Ipswich for a job interview last summer wearing a skirt suit, and in the 300 metres that I had to walk, three people shouted abuse, someone threw gravel at me, and a van driver mounted the pavement specifically to try to hit me. Now, while I didn’t think that I looked like a victim on this occasion, there are some places where anyone who’s simply different in any way seems to be fair game; central Ipswich is one of those places, and I believe it says more about the mentality of the people who frequent it than about me — otherwise, why do I have no such issues in Stowmarket, or in any of the nearby small villages?  Of course, I haven’t ruled out the possibility that I might have looked incongruous in what I was wearing not because it was a skirt suit, but because it was a business suit, and if you’re the sort of person who has nothing better to do than hang around the dingy run-down shit-hole that is 21st century Ipswich, then maybe you’re also a half-witted moron who thinks it’s funny to abuse people in the street.

And it’s not just trannies either. I know a musician who won’t walk from Ipswich’s main car park to The Wolsey Theatre wearing his dinner jacket and carrying his violin because of the abuse he suffers from the yobs, tarts, and assorted drunks who crawl out from the gutters when the sun goes down. Instead, he walks through the town dressed in jeans, a tee-shirt and a leather jacket, with his D-J and his violin in its case packed in a scruffy wooden box under his arm.

But I’ve digressed a little from my starting point.  I concluded a few years ago that part of the reason my life’s so mundane is that I’ve accepted what I am — at least in major part. During my wild tranny days as Sally The Tart, while I was behaving in an outrageous and rebellious manner and being loud and obnoxious, I was on a voyage of self-discovery — although I didn’t realise it.  To some extent, that voyage is still in progress — there are always new boundaries to push, new things to be experienced, new questions to philosophise over. Don’t get me wrong — I’m still outrageous, rebellious, loud, and obnoxious — but not just for the sake of it, and not indiscriminately. Some people I meet expect it, so I play along; others don’t, and I’m circumspect in their presence. Of course, everyone I meet knows what I am, and some of them know my history, but I don’t feel that I have to prove anything. Gaining their respect is more important, because I’ll probably wear short dresses and skirts until the day I’m buried, and showing that it isn’t just about shock value is a necessary part of my growth.  It’s also an effective way of putting across the message that trannies aren’t some sort of mentally unstable freaks, but are just regular people under an unconventional exterior — people deserving of the same rights and respect as everyone else.

This article appeared in the MENSA enfem newsletter in the U.K.

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Category: Body & Soul, Opinion

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Comments (22)

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  1. Graham says:

    Sorry Angela, but there’s no point in my trying to discuss modes of male crossdressing that don’t involve passing with someone who’s obviously incapable of grasping the basic concept. I wasted too much time pursuing such fruitless quests with members of a major UK support group back in 2000, and all I got out of it was numerous kicks in the balls and an expulsion order.

    I’ve met a few forward-thinking crossdressers over the years who are keen to embrace new ideas, even ones that challenge their own cherished beliefs. However, most are traditionalist female impersonators who regard any new philosophy as a threat to their cosy way of life, and who try to stifle individuality within the transcommunity as a matter of course. Fortunately, I see an increasing number of young out-and-proud genderqueer folk nowadays; I’m confident that the future will be bright in these guys’ hands … once The Old School has died out.

    You have my e-mail address if you want to contact me privately, but I need to move on to more profitable things now. I’ll probably delete my membership in a couple of days. I’m sorry it wasn’t to be …

  2. Tasi Zuriack says:

    Don’t think so, Angela. Not when Graham chooses to get ugly

  3. Hi Graham and Tasi, comments on posts close automatically after, I believe, 14 days. So if you want to carry on your spirited debate I suggest you start a Discussion topic on the Discussion Board. I can link the article to the topic on the Board and other folks can join in with their points of view.

  4. Graham says:

    Oh please. Don’t quote Wikipedia at me like I’m some kind of moron. You and I both know exactly what “voyeur” means in practice.

    As for my arguments being those of a “rigid religious persuasion”, just remind me which of us is relying on tradition to support their position? That’s right – you. In any case, my ideas aren’t mainstream enough yet to have been “proved (sic) false over and over”. I’d really like to hear your evidence in support of this statement, but I suspect it’ll contain more holes than a Swiss cheese.

    As for your assertion that “the public are gaining a better understanding of transgender”, I see little evidence of this except for the recent politicisation of transsexualism, which is a totally different topic altogether. You can quote a couple of statistically-insignificant cases to “prove” your point, but the transgender literature is stacked FULL of trans-hate crimes from all over the world, up to and including imprisonment, torture and murder. You really should try reading a bit more – it might give a broader perspective on things.

    So how do you think this “better understanding” of the humble crossdresser is going to come about, Tasi? Osmosis from another minority? A Damascine conversion by the public? The intervention of the Almighty? No – it’ll be through people like me living a life of transparency and honesty … NOT through people like you making patently false claims about what they are. For decades, you’ve lied to yourselves, you’ve lied to your loved ones, and you’ve lied to the outside world. You’re so used to lying that you can no longer recognise the truth. Honesty breeds honesty, and it’s about time that the crossdressing community got that through it’s collective skull, both in its public and personal life … then its members might start earning the respect and tolerance they claim they want.

    And on your comment that crossdressers aren’t voyeurs … didn’t I say “I’d agree with you that no serious crossdresser would admit to being a voyeur.”? If you want to engage in a meaningful discussion, then respond to what people write, not what you think they write.

    You know, I’m thinking that my membership of TGF was a waste of time. I was hoping there’d be some genderqueer folk here with whom I could discuss radical political ideas and exchange contemporary transgender theories … but it’s obviously just another private club for old men who like pretending to be old women.

    Well, good luck with winning the public over to your side by professing your womanhood. I await the progress reports with bated breath.

  5. Tasi Zuriack says:

    The arguments that you present are very much a kin to those of rigid religious persuasion and have been proved false over and over. In fact if you look at a definition of voyeurism in Wikipedia, it says this:

    The term comes from the French voyeur, “one who looks”. A male voyeur is commonly labeled “Peeping Tom”, a term which originates from the Lady Godiva legend. However, that term is usually applied to a male who observes somebody through their window, and not in a public place.

    Actually, I’m not a man in a dress unless I’m perceived that way. Many transgender people, even those that have transitioned and lets include butch lesbians here too, get challenged in bathrooms because someone doesn’t like their look.

    As people are gaining a better understanding of transgender people, their views are changing and legal protections are growing to enforce those protections.

    Let’s get serious here, Graham. You know quite well that crossdressers are not voyeurs. In fact the bathroom is a place to get in and out as quickly as possible without disturbing anyone. Granted some crossdressers don’t care what anyone thinks and dress provactively on purpose in public. Can’t do anything about them, but for those that dress like a lady, the problems are infrequent. I personally have never had a problem using a public woman’s room.

    I have a friend in rural east Texas (Bubbaville) that is full time and everyone knows she is a genetic man, but everyone treats her as a woman. She has a manly face and dresses mostly in jeans, but is fully accepted in the role she has now taken on. In fact her bubba friends go out of their way to defend her honor and one person was literally thrown out of a local bar for confronting her in a ugly way. So times are changing and it’s more often the troublemaker that ends up in the clink now

  6. Graham says:

    Well that’s exactly my point, Tasi. You can issue the challenge, certainly, and I’d agree with you that no serious crossdresser would admit to being a voyeur. But would a serious voyeur admit to being a voyeur either? Or would he find it more acceptable to wear a dress and call himself a crossdresser?

    However strongly crossdressers feel about what they are and what they do, they MUST start looking at things from the perspective of Average Joe. Most uninformed people don’t understand crossdressing, and regard the behaviour as odd and even perverted (despite the fact that, in this PC world, they’re not supposed to openly admit it), and the fine distinction between “genuine crossdressing” and voyeurism is going to be completely lost on them. I know where you’re coming from here, of course, but how would you prove to ME that you’re not a voyeur? So you have a good-quality wig, clothes that fit, you’ve taken care with your make-up, and so on. But I say again, prove to me DEFINITIVELY that you’re not a voyeur.

    More to the point, prove it to the guy who’s about to punch your lights out because he thinks you’ve been spying on his girl-friend in the toilets. The only outward difference between you and me is that you look like a woman and I don’t. You say I should use the gents (and I do), but the fact that you’re wearing a wig and false breasts doesn’t make a jot of difference. From the outside, we’re still men in the eyes of most people we meet. Whether or not I personally appreciate how others feel is irrelevant.

  7. Tasi Zuriack says:

    Graham, if you think your view on dressing is controversial, then the bathroom issue is doubly so. But thank you for the invite. I think I rather just comment on your thoughts. I have my own column here in TG Forum which I invite you to comment on as well. And my own website will shortly be going live. I need to write fresh content for Angela as well as myself.

    Besides we won’t agree on the bathroom issue. From a safety point of view, it is far more dangerous going into the men’s room presenting fully as a women then going to the ladies room. I don’t know the laws in the UK, but here in the US it is starting to change and many cities are starting to recognize the right of an individual to use the bathroom as they are presenting.

    In your case, Graham, you would probably need to use the men’s room as you are clearly a man, even if in a dress.

    I have to seriously challenge you Graham if you think this is voyeurism though, at least for the serious CD. I have too many friends that dress, and well, because they love the feel of being dealt with as a woman. I have one true story, too long to tell here, that largely disavows your point of view. Only thing that matters though is that it is your way. Just appreciate that I and many others feel differently.

  8. Graham says:

    Hi Tasi

    I think all I can say on the breasts issue is that “women are supposed to have them, men aren’t”. The choice of whether to get implants after surgery is a personal one for a woman, but so far cosmetic implants purely for show are concerned … frankly, I think they look absolutely ridiculous. No breast is meant to poke out at a right angle and just sit there – they should hang, under gravity. Otherwise why was it necessary to invent the brassiere???

    So I absolutely agree that “having breasts as a woman is an integral part of being a woman”, as you say. But “so why shouldn’t crossdressers do the same to give them the feeling of being a woman?” Umm, because they’re not women, so how do they know what it takes to feel like one? Dunno … just a thought. It may be of interest to you to know that I wore false breasts for a year-or-so as a tranny. But I went clubbing one night, and it was so damned hot that I decided to take them off … and I haven’t looked back. They were obviously never that important to me, and I think I wore them because it was “the done thing”, and because – believe it or not – there was a time when I wanted to “fit in”. Hah! Curiously, losing my falsies invoked more hostility from within the transcommunity then losing my female name or my wig. I never really understood why.

    Ah, the bathroom issue – or the “toilet issue”, as we say in the UK. Perhaps the worst piece of advice that crossdressing support groups ever issued was “you have the right to use the ladies toilet when dressed”. It’s probably true that a guy dressed as a woman is likely to be safer in the ladies than in the gents, but encouraging its members wholesale to enter into behaviour which will without doubt be viewed as voyeurism is highly irreponsible. I remember mentioning this in several articles at the time, and the response was invariably “but we’re ladies”. Hey GUYS – while YOU may regard yourself as ladies, you need to understand that most regular people don’t – to them, you’re just men in frocks, (hence my earlier comments about make-believe), and you therefore have no business entering a woman’s toilet. I mean, ANY guy can do it, crossdresser or not, purely for the sake of spying on women peeing! “But we’re crossdressers, not voyeurs”, etc.. “Yeah, if you say so.” Unfortunately, my point came home to roost when a well-known member of one of the major support groups was assaulted coming out of a ladies toilet in a shopping centre. I didn’t need to say “I told you so” …

    Hey listen, Tasi. Angela has invited me to start a forum on the general subject of dressing without passing. When I think of a catchy title that says what I want it to say, I’ll set it up. It would be nice to have you as a contributor. And as an important “passing” issue, bathrooms (toilets) is a good topic for discussion!

  9. Tasi Zuriack says:

    Well, I do admit that the phrase “to present my inner woman” is a bit hackneyed. My wife thinks it’s a desire to return to the protection of the womb and all that womenhood is. But of course we can’t defend it any more than than a belief in God, but it’s our feeling. If you haven’t experienced it, then little can be said to prove it.

    I simply don’t buy your argument on sex equality where breasts inserts are concerned. In fact genetic women are far more blatant in exposing their fake boobs than most crossdressers. And I hardly wear inserts because I want men to notice me (some do, of course), but because it completes the image and provides a sense of wholeness. You are using a broad brush in your statements, Graham. You call it make-believe but haven’t addressed the millions of make-believe women out there too. Or does the woman that has lost a breast to cancer and wears inserts called make-believe too or is it something else. More than one article argues to the point that having breasts as a woman is an integral part of being a woman. So why shouldn’t crossdressers do the same to give them the feeling of being a woman?

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this point, but I suspect you are a minority opinion eventhough some think you have a refreshing opinion. but then i disagree with a lot that the crossdressing community does, particularly when it comes to masquerading as women to attract men or the racy outfits worn in public. Do it at home and let your wife or better half enjoy it LoL.

    We agree on a lot of points about men’s fashion and I don’t think there is any denying that crossdressers are drawn to the silky, flowing fabrics that women wear.

    I hadn’t checked out the pictures you mentioned on the site, but agree with your position on it’s inappropiateness. There are other sites where you can masturbate in your panties and garter belt.

    And as to your last point, there’s a difference between presenting as a woman and claiming to be one. just please don’t get into the bathroom issue.

  10. Graham says:

    It’s not about my being able to handle opposing viewpoints, Tasi. I love a good debate as much as anyone else. But I can’t argue over something of which I have no experience, which demands no burden of proof from my opponent, and which requires me to simply accept unsupported statements without question. There are many such topics around nowadays – the existence of god and the devil, extraterrestrial intelligence and UFOs, and “I crossdress to present my inner woman”. I have my personal viewpoints on all of these issues, of course, and I try to argue from a scientific perspective wherever I can. But if my opponent refuses to budge without offering any evidence for their stance, it’s a stalemate. No-one wins, and the debate – such as it is – is over.

    What I get angry about is that, by default, all crossdressers should be – to use my previous terminology – “female masquerades”. As I mentioned earlier, it’s why I left (or was expelled from) a certain trans self-help group 10 years ago. It’s refreshing to see on this forum that there are a few people in support of alternative modes of presentation, but let’s stick to the facts as they can be ascertained. I can argue from a perspective of sex equality, and have done so successfully on many occasions, that I should be permitted to dress the way I do – can you? No, because there IS no sex equality perspective where fake breasts are concerned. If you want breasts, take hormones … otherwise it’s all make-believe. There’s also no evidence that men have “an inner woman” any more than women have “an inner man”. Some women are tomboys, and I don’t doubt for a moment that some men are tomgirls (for want of a better word). Tomboys are girls who dress and play like boys, so one might expect that tomgirls would be boys who dress and play like girls. Humans invented gender to define acceptable behaviours for each sex – but there’s nothing in The Rulebook Of Life which MANDATES those behaviours. But all this stuff about an “inner woman” … sorry, I can’t buy it. Crossdressers are NOT a special case. And fake breasts on a heterosexual man … remind me again why?

    You ask about the scruffy guy in an unkempt dress, a beard and poor grooming. Good question … and I’d have to admit that I have my doubts about the type of message they’re portraying. But let me ask you why there are so few scruffy women with poor grooming? The quick answer is that if boys and men had as much guidance on presentation throughout their lives as girls and women, they’d know almost instinctively how to dress and groom themselves properly. That applies regardless of whether the clothes they choose to wear are traditionally men’s, women’s, or a mixture. But men don’t get any guidance to speak of – you’ve only got to browse the limited space devoted to menswear in the average clothing store to determine that men’s clothes are merely functional … indeed, “male fashion” is an oxymoron. The solution to this century-old problem is to bring all aspects of male presentation out into the daylight, and fill the men’s rails with interesting and innovative colours, materials and styles that men will want to wear with confidence. I’m talking about men being proud to be men, and wearing the clothes they like … not about pretending to be women in order to justify wearing a dress, or heels, or nail polish. It would be, in effect, an acceptance of male femininity … even of crossdressing itself. But of course, this isn’t going to happen without a complete overturning of the male-dominated edifice which we refer to as human civilisation. As things stand at the moment, if you were born with a penis, you’re automatically top-dog – why do you need to worry about grooming? The fact that crossdressers reject this notion, and want to “step down the ladder” to the status of women is the dominant reason for their persecution in a modern secular society … i.e. one where god isn’t automatically invoked as a weapon of subjugation and discrimination. For all our wonderful technology, we’re all still slaves to our evolutionary biology.

    I’ve digressed slightly into the fascinating area of sexual politics (amongst others), but understanding how the transcommunity should move forward requires that we understand why we’re in the situation we’re currently in. Crossdressing should be about enjoying the moment, certainly, but we need to be aware of how our actions – or lack of actions – affect the staus quo. If you need to understand the importance of context, you couldn’t do better than consider the struggle for black rights since the days of the slave trade.

    Incidentally, there are also several photographs on this site of men in lingerie and cheap wigs masturbating. Sorry, but that’s pornography in my view – I believe it does the transcommunity a lot of damage by reinforcing the “pervert” stereotype, and I don’t believe it has any place on a site such as this. Fortunately, I don’t believe that anyone can reach this material without an account … but I guess that’s one for the editor to ponder.

    As for your last paragraph – you’ve simply proved how powerful a symbol the female breast is, as much to women as to men. Are you REALLY sure it’s a good idea for crossdressers to go around claiming to be women, and flashing fake breasts at every man who looks in their direction? It’s a dangerous game, which frankly does little to endear us to either sex in the long run.

  11. Tasi Zuriack says:

    Graham – TGF is a forum for discussion with many differing viewpoints but they are just that, viewpoints. Don’t offer a viewpoint if you csn’t handle opposing viewpoints. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy discussing trans philosophies too. It’s important to put these differing viewpoints out for discussion so don’t run off on us. I get the sense from you that “presenting as the inner woman” is somehow wrong and that the only way to improve the image of cross dressers is to stand for the right to dress as we wish or in your case, a mixed presentation. Not a problem.

    But that opens a can of worms too. You appear as a nicely dressed man in a dress. What about the scruffy guy in an unkempt dress, a beard and poor grooming. Will you support him too knowing that his dress will do nothing but give the critics ammunition both within and without the trans community

    Now lets address breasts as female masquerade. Really! Over 350,000 women every year get breast implants in the U.S. There were over 15 million plastic surgery procedures performed worldwide in 2011 with breast procedures being the 2nd most popular. I guess there are a lot of women masquerading as women too. After all, they should be happy with their flat chests.

    Hugs…..Tasi

  12. Graham says:

    Thanks for your comments, Tasi. I will just pick up one one point, which is your paragraph questionning my use of the term “female masquerade”. This isn’t my phrase, though I forget where I first heard it. Please note that I use the term “masquerade” in the sense of a “masquerade ball” rather than in the sense of “charade”, and as such
    I regard it as an accurate description.

    Here’s how it works. If I describe myself as a “crossdresser”, it invariably conjures up the image of a guy trying to pass himself off as a woman, and using make-up, a wig, false breasts, and so on, in order to do so. That’s not what I am. So in a couple of words that are sufficiently short and succinct enough to get my message across … what am I?

    In fact, I’m a crossdresser in the proper definition of the term – I dress across gender boundaries. I look like a man, I identify as a man, but I wear women’s clothes … period. However, what we traditionally refer to as “crossdressing” or “transvstism” is more than this. You could convince me that make-up should be included as part of my technical definition of crossdressing, and you might manage to get me to accept that a wig should also be allowed: men can after all, grow their hair into a feminine style. But false breasts? No. False breasts cross the line into … well, into what? I’m sorry if you object to the term, but it’s female masquerade – you’re doing your damnedest to pass yourself off as a woman by employing the one feature which you know that men will judge you by – the size of your breasts. I make the same judgement on any body-shaping aids including hip-padding, buttock-padding, and “tucking” or tying one’s penis in order to hide it.

    On your associated point, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be able to dress as you please, and I’m certainly not advocating that any of us should suffer abuse for it … either from inside the transcommunity or from outside it. As for my expectations of support … did I ever say that was what I was seeking? I joined TGF on the suggestion of a friend who thought that I might enjoy discussing trans-philosophy with other people; I certainly DIDN’T join it for support – I get all the support, and friendship, I need from my regular everyday friends in the Real World. Let me be honest, Tasi: I’m an advocate and a campaigner, and my most ardent critics have always been from within the transcommunity itself. If the traditionalist wig-wearers in TGF turn out to be more interested in “presenting the inner woman” than on doing whatever they can to improve the image of the transcommunity and standing up for the human rights that its members deserve, then I’ll be gone from here so fast that you won’t me for dust.

    G

  13. Tasi Zuriack says:

    I do want to address one other comment, Graham, that of small-minded managers. I’ve been a hiring manager for both large and small companies. In today’s economic climate with virtually 100s of applicants for a single job, prospective employees get rejected for far less that their presentation. Unless you are applying to a company with an accepting culture or you know the boss personally, your chances are diminished unless you fit their image of a perfect employee in all respects. It’s just the way it is. Try finding a new job when you are over 40. You have skills that the 20 something doesn’t have. Makes no difference. You cost more. Life is a bitch sometimes.

  14. Tasi Zuriack says:

    Well, I had a issue with the site and logged out and back in again and lost the first part of my post. I read your paper and some of the references. Most interesting. I see why you upset the establishment. I know little of the Beaumont Society, but it’s much like Tri-Ess in the U.S. – unwilling to change with the times. I think you need to also consider the viewpoint of natal women – most of whom are supportive as long as it’s not their husband. Admittedly, my particular interest is fashion, so I’m somewhat attuned to presentation. It’s not the attempt to present, but rather the attempt to not present with outrageous outfits and poor grooming that bothers me. Better to not wear a wig then one that should see the trash bin, Your style is not mine, but if you look well meaning groomed, then perhaps progress will be made. certainly support groups need to broaden their vision a bit but most that I know of are accepting of many visions of gender presentation.

    Feeling happy and confident in yourself is important and broad shoulders and adams apples can be disguised, if that’s your desire

  15. Tasi Zuriack says:

    here in the U.S in Tri-Ess today. I do hope you understand that the English society is more accepting of crossdressers than what we see here in the U.S. although that has changed much in the last decade. Not all crossdressers are closeted. Admittedly most are, I have personally taught at universities and it’s enlightening to see young minds change. No, I’m not homosexual, but a father, a grandfather, a businessman, a Vietnam vet and much more. All of a sudden you become normal

    I’ve never suffered abuse and in some instances have been accepted for what I am. I do take exception to your remarks about crossdressers masquerading as women. It’s a weak defense of your own position which I have come to support. We should be able to dress as we please and not suffer abuse. You know, some of us enjoy presenting as the woman we feel is inside of us, to include the makeup, wigs, dress, boobs, and heels, so don’t be derisive if you expect support from the community.

    I have some new found friends that, in New England of all places, that are pressing for an enlightened public view of crossdessing and transvestism. Of course she looks marvelous as a Cd female but we are starting to see the kind of activism that is necessary to change socirty viewpoints in future generations. i will follow your writings with interest.

  16. Graham says:

    Hey, thanks everyone. It’s really good to see people coming out in support of male freedom of dress. It hasn’t always been that way. I remember writing a critical article in 2003 for the magazine of a leading UK support (or “self-help”) group; the venomous feedback was astounding, even though it was clear that none of the commenters had bothered to read the article properly. I ended up suing a wig-wearer when he attempted to publish a libellous personal attack masquerading as a considered response to my text. Interestingly, he was a high-profile member of several of the major UK trans groups at the time. I was prohibited from naming him by a court order … which was a pity, as I thought the support-group members should know the sort of thugs who were running the show, and the intimidatory tactics they employed. If anyone supported my position at the time, they clearly weren’t prepared to stand up and be counted.

    Oh – the title of the article? “Is That a Blank Sheet of Paper, or a List of Crossdressers’ Achievements?” Provocative certainly, but well-researched and factually correct at the time. Google the title (with quotes) and you should be able to find it.

    But things have moved on somewhat in the past decade … at least for transsexuals – the humble crossdresser is unfortunately still mainly to be found cowering in his closet. It’s a shame, because until more of us are out there challenging the damaging rumours that surround our lifestyle, nothing will change … and yet it’s that self-same poor public image which is responsible for the fear that prevents more of us from being active. But I feel that things are getting better, even for crossdressers – there’s lots of discussion fora about male freedom of dress without the automatic requirement for female masquerade. So maybe the electronic networking explosion has opened the closet door slightly, and let some fresh air into the paranoid reaches of the insular support groups of last century? Good thing too.

  17. melissak says:

    Yes. You practice the self acceptance you preach!

    I am at the threshold of coming out into a gender land life of some sort. To pass or not to pass; were I a rose woukd I smell any sweeter if it was called by another name? Such wonderfully existential questions face us TG/TSs.

    More words from you would be welcome!

  18. Gina-Vizavi says:

    Thank-you for Your courage, You are an inspiration!

  19. fiona41076 says:

    Hey Graham, I love your point of view, as it’s my point of view too! I love going out in a dress, but honestly not once since I started in earnest back in ’98 have I been under the illusion that I looked like anything other than a tall skinny dude in a frock. Certainly I like to go for as polished a look as I can put together, top to bottom, but I still have an adam’s apple and big shoulders, yes?

    At first, I lacked confidence, but got by on the electric buzz of being in public, and the buzz of too much beer. I’d sort of sweep my hair into my face to avoid being recognized.

    With time, I gained confidence and concluded that if I felt great about myself, that was all that I needed. The drinks now stop at one or two, and I go where I please when feeling happy and strong.

    Rock on!
    Fiona

  20. scalesman says:

    Graham
    A very nice article. It is a refreshing variation to hear from someone who simply notes that he is a man in a dress. THe ‘T’ universe is large and covers a wide and diverse group of folks.
    Perhaps you or I will pass but if we make that the yardstick we will find ourselves chained to our own expectations. My feeling is that I have fun with my dressing just like I have fun doing other things that I do. As such I need to ‘just do it’.
    Keep writing. You have a nice style.
    Pat

  21. Graham says:

    Thanks Linda!

    No, I didn’t get the job. TBH, I wasn’t expecting to; it was a web development role, and being self-taught – even with experience and recommendations – I can’t compete with computer science graduates piling out of colleges and universities with official qualifications. My skill – and my degree and my 40-yr expertise – is in electronics, but there are very few of these jobs around where I live, so I’m doing consultancy until something shows up.

    Naturally, my private clients don’t give a shit what I wear so long as I can do the job … in comparison, I get the feeling that some company interviewers are a bit wary about the effect my presence will have on their workforce. My experience suggests that after the first few double-takes, there IS no effect, but I guess that small-minded managers would rather lose a dedicated and hard-working potential employee than take the risk. Hey, I know my skills … it’s their loss!

  22. Linda Jensen says:

    A great article.
    Nice dress.
    Pretty shoes.
    Did you get the job in Ipswich?

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