I was reminded of something I probably don’t say often enough recently, while chatting with one of my lovely members. Those of us who occupy the middle ground of the gender space, whether we consider ourselves trans, gender fluid or crossdressers, have to learn some unusual disciplines, and our ability to do so radically influences how well we will exist in society.
We are different. Some people get it, while others never will. This forces us to sometimes hide who we are, and it also results in strong feelings when we can speak our truth. However, our tool kit of disciplines can help us as we grapple with the challenges of life. Chief among these, in my experience is the ability to suspend our judgement of others, and equally to move past the judgement they put on us.
So many of my friends privately confide in me that they’ve always wanted to crossdress, but just never really knew where to start. It’s not the clothes that were the problem, it was how to think about gender.
I generally suggest they listen to this talk to help get their heads in the right place. After all, crossdressing is more about what’s between your ears than what’s between your legs.
When I started My Little Black Book four years ago I was surprised by how many of my members immediately joined the system. It’s a very simple method of connecting with other crossdressers and admirers, and to be honest it’s a pretty bare bones type of tool.
I help many people get in touch with their feminine side, and many of them want to reach out to others, both for support and friendship. I often hear that people struggle to connect with crossdressers, and that crossdressers struggle to meet admirers – both male and female. It seems to me this is a problem in search of a simple solution. So I built one.
I was a little concerned that the simplicity of the system would not appeal to people used to online dating apps that are pretty sophisticated. My intention was to keep costs minimal, but more importantly put the members in control. The idea was that people set up an email that they felt safely put all correspondence in one place, and then list themselves in My Little Black Book. Members could then use that email to reach out to others, and to have others connect with them.
Very soon it turned out that people loved the fact that it was so very simple, which has become the single most important part of the system. Now we have members from all over the world talking to each other, and enjoying correspondence from near and far. It’s proved a great success. People were even connecting and sharing group holidays.
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.
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 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?
Many of my crossdressing friends tell me that they feel confused and often afraid about continuing to crossdress within their marriage. In many cases they feel uncomfortable about where it may lead and guilty about these desires.
There’s a struggle that takes place trying to justify the idea of dressing, and the guilt of doing so and hiding the fact. On the one hand there’s a desire to be open and honest with a spouse, on the other the fear of misunderstanding, or even the thought that simply crossdressing may lead to infidelity. Well, before we go much further let’s dispel a few myths.
You might wonder what all this says about you when you are not dressed. The answer is simple – not much. The process of dressing, for many of us, is a release, much the same as doing anything where you can let go and relax. You let go of stress, or worry and of the things you’d like to escape for a little. Nothing more.
As you start talking more freely with your partner about the changed that you’re experiencing, there’s going to come a moment when you decide to move the conversation from talk to action. The best way to do this is to have a goal in mind that your partner is invested in.
When it comes to broaching the subject of how you are changing, the way we speak about our shifts is every bit as important as what we say. It’s important to address this calmly and in a well-chosen moment.