I got an email from a mother today who just found out her child crossdresses. She was worried and confused so she went online to seek help. She came across my post and sent an email off to me. All she did was thank me for helping her understand a few things and that there was nothing to be afraid of. It’s amazing how words can change things.
This reminded me of another facet of this topic, which is the reaction that this issue causes to family and friends. As I’ve stated in previous posts, what’s known about crossdressing in our society mostly exists in depictions presented on television and film. Usually the images that conjure up in a persons mind is some ugly, harry man in a dress or a drag queen. This happens because most crossdressers take great pains to hide this part of their life from most people.
This stays hidden because of various fears and hesitations. The most common amongst these fears are mistreatment and alienation from society or personal relationships. Unlike Drag Queens, crossdressers for the vast majority are heterosexual men who simply want to dress like women. There are no exact similarities from crossdresser to crossdresser, so the nature of why we dress the way we do differs in each case.
As it stands, society doesn’t understand crossdressers as a majority or believes it to be a mental defect. I don’t believe crossdressing is a defect. It’s a form of self expression. Further more, I consider it to be one of the ways our culture is evolving. If you think about it, gender roles over the last few decades have made a dramatic shift. The atomic family is almost a distant memory. It is not uncommon today for a woman to have a job, wear pants, raise a child independently and a variety of other things that once were socially unacceptable for a woman to do or be.
In this same way, men are changing. Not all men, but a group of us are desiring to break away from what has long been held as the standard of which men live their lives. As women went through and continue to go through a revolution of liberation that enabled them to take control of their identities and destinies, men are beginning to follow suit. It’s not often thought that men have anything we need to be liberated from, but that assumption would be wrong. As much as the expectation at one time was for women to perform a certain role, it has always been the responsibility of a man to perform a certain role as well.
None of us chose which gender we would be or any other of our genetic traits. At the same time, none of us decided which way we would be raised. We’re simply raised the best way our parents see fit, which usually is the way they were raised or a variation of it. I believe as children we adapt to our environment or we’re persecuted if we reject what is considered to be normal. Many times, the easier choice is to hide those differences, rather than embrace them.
If you want to see where the crossdressing/trans/pan community is going, then just look back at the struggles and breakthroughs of the gay and lesbian community. There was a time where people were largely unaware of the homosexual community. Over time though, more and more people started coming out. Society perceived this to be an infection, but what was really happening is the gay/lesbian community were tired of hiding who they really were. We’re all aware of the battles that have been fought about this shift in our society, because they still rage on today. At one time a majority of people had a problem with a person being homosexual, but now those numbers continue to dwindle as support is rising.
More and more crossdressers are beginning to make decisions to come out. Two years ago, I decided myself to start coming out as a crossdresser. I’m not ashamed of it and it’s the way I am. I didn’t make a choice to be this way or have these feelings, but I have chosen to embrace them. I’m also emotionally mature enough to not seek approval from people for the way I am. The only approval I need is from myself. I’m not alone in this and many more are coming out each day.
So if you’re a family member or friend of someone who crossdresses, all I can ask is that you be supportive to them. If you’re fear is they are going to be hurt in some way, then let me assure you that they will absolutely get hurt at some point. It’s important to know that. Not everything is going to be sunshine and roses. There are cruel people out there who will go out of their way to hurt us. Most of the time that’s with words, but other times that might be physically. It is these exact reasons why they need you’re support. Whether or not you support them, they will still be who they are and the risks will still be out there. It’s when a person doesn’t have the support of their family and friends when these hazards become more likely to happen to them.
Here is what you must consider: Is your love and concern for them conditional based off who they are or what they do? It would be one thing if their actions were causing harm to others, but this is not one of these situations. The best thing you can provide is wisdom and an open mind. In the end, your relationship could be stronger and healthier. What you’ll do for them is to help bring guidance and acceptance. These things are invaluable for keeping them safe and making them strong.
To wrap this up, being a crossdresser isn’t a bad thing. Granted, it can be surprising to find out this news about someone, because we’re not really used to it. Beyond that, it’s nothing to worry about. Also, we’re more caring, more supportive, more compassionate, less judgmental and demeaning of others. From where I stand, I think the world could use a whole lot more of these qualities.