As I was saying to Sylvester just the other day, to have another language is to possess another soul. The reason I say this is quite simple. For those of us older than millennials, we are in the process of learning a new language.
No longer can we talk about chairmen, manning the ship, or even manhandling the sails. Today we have chairpersons, we staff the ship and we manage the sails. The way we speak has rightly come to a point that change is not merely become a desirable goal; failure to change identifies us as dinosaurs. As uncomfortable as that sentence makes me, I realise it is true.
The term ‘OK, boomer’ comes to mind. It encapsulates tolerance of a dinosaur that grazes idly in the village, but that everyone realises is going to die out sooner or later, leaving the world a better place for their eventual departure. So society changes.
At the time of writing we are in the midst of a Corona Virus
lockdown. We’re 8 weeks into it, here in
Vancouver, and most of us have not seen many people throughout this period. For some it’s been a period of reflection,
and a chance to rethink many of the things we have formerly taken for granted.
Many of us have struggled with the idea of how we identify
with genders. This is nothing new and is a confusing and troubling subject that
is often hard to discuss. I’ve said many times that we shouldn’t concern ourselves
with gender labels, or for that matter sexuality labels. My experience is that
they’re confusing, mean different things to different people, and really don’t
serve us well. They may serve those who wish to judge us, or shove us into a pigeon
hole – a prospect that doesn’t seem either appealing or comfortable – but exactly
how does that serve us?
Yet there is always that question, “what am I?” Am I ‘trans’, or ‘gender fluid’ or some other
label that helps me understand myself. What are the boundaries here and where
do I fit?
My constant mantra here is not to judge others, nor allow
their judgement to hurt you. Placing a label is doubtless a form of judgement. While
dropping judgement is a lofty goal it’s a very solid one to have in mind. I try
to practice it, but I could probably try a little harder at times. When someone
cuts me off as I cycle to the store, I may pass judgement and express it with
my middle finger, and I am the first to acknowledge this doesn’t really further
Does the family know? Do you share it? There’s a lot of questions about crossdressing, and gender fluid life that are likely to emerge. How does one handle that? Enjoy this discussion with Jules and Lenni, as they explore the subject.
I am often asked by my members how they can hope to find a
woman who will dress them. Many times, I tell them, they’ve probably already
done so. They just don’t really know how
to identify them, or how to talk to them.
There’s not much doubt that the idea of having breasts is
hugely appealing to any crossdresser. The question of whether or not we want
them 24/7 is something very different. However, there are doubtless moments
where a great rack would be very appealing.
So what really is the benefit? It’s tempting to think it is purely aesthetic. Well, it’s not. As I sat in The Junction in Vancouver recently with some friends, 36 D’s pointing proudly at Jake behind the bar, I couldn’t help noticing that a large part of why I was enjoying myself so much that night was to do with not how I looked, but how I felt. The presence of a full chest, even below an Aran sweater, felt absolutely correct.
I enjoy sailing. More than that, I love sailing. Sometimes I will take Sebastian out and we’ll race 16 footers at a local club, and we do pretty well. Other times I just want to mess about on the water, just being me. And that means probably dressing in something mildly effeminate which, when viewed from a distance, you’d never know what gender I might be.
There’s something fundamentally genuine about the elemental
connection with wind and water, and this strangely indeterminate person between
the two. Regardless of gender, how one acts with sail and rudder will result in
something beautiful. The wind has no gender bias. The wider world, however is
not so generously democratic.
I have noticed from many of my members that there are definitely days in which they are more inclined to be feminine than masculine. For many, it’s not even a question of ‘days’. It’s a matter of situations.
So many of my members have spent years suppressing their
desire to dress, and only once it is indulged do they find a sense of
joyfulness. Sometimes this is accompanied by feelings of shame and guilt, and
it all seems very confusing.
Suppressing these feeling can result in feelings of frustration and depression. Often members report that they never understood why they felt so lost, until they began to allow this side of themselves to emerge. Prior to embracing their gender fluidity they report feeling lost and fail to understand ‘why is this happening to me’?
For the vast majority of my members it’s about easing into a more comfortable place on the gender spectrum. For some it may be as simple as becoming just a little more androgynous in the way you dress and think. Others will of course find they do want to allow themselves to become far more feminine. I’ve certainly found that many people now go as far as using HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), either herbal or pharmaceutical, without any desire to go for full surgery.
In the end my Premium Program is created to help you find the appropriate place on the gender spectrum that will work for you and fits with your lifestyle. There’s an expression in the LGBTQ community, which originated in the gay and lesbian world, but is very applicable to those of us who consider ourselves to be gender fluid.
“We don’t raise our young. Instead they have to find us.”
Some of us take quite a while to find our tribe. This can take the form of people in your own community or even systems like my Elite Whatsapp Group – where many people find support and friendship. Hopefully we get there in the end. That’s when things start to make a little more sense.
I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, a skillet sizzling on the hob spilling delightful aromas out into the garden, when I heard the sound of Sylvester’s chopper drawing into my driveway. Sensing the presence of sausage he often unaccountably appears. Now, the same could be said of some of my gurlfriends, but that really is another story.
Arriving just as I was about to pour the coffee, Sylvester showed up with his niece, a glorious young creature of thirteen.
“Fiona, this is Anastasia,” he said as he entered. “She’s heard so much about you, she said she’d like to join
I see a lot of comments on forums and blogs about the idea
of labels. It seems to be a common pass time to try to decide if transgender
people are the same as transvestite people – and some terms are now archaic,
and others have slipped into alternative use. One way or another I find it a
complete mine field.
I am certainly not going to step into those debates. I do
understand that there are many different types of people who choose to wear
women’s clothes. Some are on their way to transition, others are choosing to
put something on as they really find a sexual high out of it. Others still
simply want to allow their femininity to blossom. Personally I am enjoying
navigating the middle ground between genders that allows me to enjoy something
of the best of all worlds. I think we cater to all of those possibilities here
I find the term ‘gender fluid’ fairly generic. The movement freely and easily between genders does describe what many of my members do, if not who they are. And there I think lies the safe ground. After all, do we really need these labels? Particularly here, if we really think of the phrase ‘Accept yourself as you are, create yourself as you desire’ you’ll see we are not really interested in what others think or how they choose to judge us.
I remember a hot morning in Johannesburg, at Jan Smut’s
Airport (now renamed to O. R. Tambo International Airport). A small group of reporters
and photographers were out on the apron, in front of one of the hangers.
The Highveldt air was still and heavy. Not a blade of the dry
grass stirred on that windless morning. The sky was so blue it would make you
almost sing just to look at it.
A new aircraft autopilot landing system was being
demonstrated by Airbus. This was a hands off landing system, and fully
automated the final approach prior to landing until it came to a halt on the
runway. It was a pretty advanced piece of technology for the time.
The press boys were all grumbling about the early hour and
sipping coffee. There was no smoking on the tarmac either. Some of the
engineers from Airbus were meeting with us to talk about their innovative system
and were chatting away in French in a small cluster a few yards off.
I was asked a curious question by a member this week. I’d
just got back from a dance class with Sylvester, my mechanic. Admittedly going to a dance class with
Sylvester is a little like taking a gorilla for tea with the Queen, but it is
nothing if not entertaining.
“If I am a crossdresser, does that mean I have to be
submissive?” wrote my member in an email.
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day. We were
discussing how hard it is to take those first few steps outside as a crossdresser.
The circumstances of these first few steps are always daunting. Regardless of whether these are taken in the confines of a drag club or stepping out into an unfamiliar environment they are likely to be a few steps that are never forgotten. But is there any way we can make it easier? And should we?