If you have been around the internet long, I suppose I don’t have to tell you what People of Walmart is.
If you have spent any time perusing that infamous site, you are aware that an occasional photo turns up of a cross-dresser, or drag queen or, quite likely, an actual transitioning transsexual who simply didn’t pass well enough to fool the photographer. As is the custom of the site, of course, any photo which gets posted is the subject of mockery and ridicule both by the poster of the item and the commenters, as in the case of the page I linked above. Now, as much as I could get into some deep level of indignation about cross-dressers being held up for ridicule or, indeed, the whole concept of having a site which exists for the purpose of mocking people on their appearance as a general principle – that would be an exhausting and ultimately depressing discussion. Instead, I want to peruse another line of thought which occurs to me from having seen some of those photos of patrons who were, for whatever reason, cross dressed.
You can sub divide all the pics there featuring cross dressed individuals in several broad categories. One, of course, would be the female in male dress, which in the context of this kind of site wouldn’t even register as “cross dressing” so much as “butch lesbian” (at least as a stereotype). But laying that aside, there are (a) those in costume; (b) drag queens; (c) the non-passing transsexual (one assumes those who pass are for the most part not captured on film, or if they are it’s for some other reason) – for this group I would exercise judgment about whether or not the person is attempting to pass, or has some evident body modification (such as actual breasts) which is admittedly a bit of a fuzzy line between these and . . .(d) full presentation crossdresser, which I define as a person who may or may not be attempting to pass but who has a consistent female presentation in the photograph and this as opposed to (e) the mixed presentation.
And it’s that last group I bring up for the purpose of discussion. I myself present as female 24/7, and I make every effort to present a fully female presentation at all times. I have joked that if my house caught fire in the middle of the night one of my biggest worries would be that I’d be seen outside the house with a 15 hour beard. Most of the people I know who identify as CDs are very diligent about, when they have the opportunity to dress (and most especially if they intend to be out of the house) having a very consistent feminine presentation. Part of the magic of the experience is to completely subsume any masculine trait beneath the female facade.
I admit that I’m taken aback, then, when I see photos of men clearly wearing female attire who just as clearly are not even attempting to present themselves as females. In the photo linked above, both men are wearing prominent facial hair. That takes a special kind of boldness. To be clear, I’m not speaking of the one who dresses at home privately because of course many CD’s are forced by circumstances to not, for instance, employ the razor to remove body hair or whatever.
I’m not judging or condemning them, far be it for me to do so. But I do have a bit of trouble processing it. The thought occurs to me that they may be transsexual and simply unable to accomplish a full transition for whatever reason – but I can’t imagine such a person being content to go bearded (I would be horrified!) so that solution is unsatisfying to me. So I throw it out for you, the reader, to discuss: Is it more common than I realize that CD’s are happy to dress in some sort of feminine attire, in public, without any attempt at a fully female presentation?
photo credit: quinn.anya