Understanding, Part 7
So then, we have arrived at the end of this little extended journey. We come to the completion of the circle where we again return our primary – but not exclusive – focus to the life and experience of the crossdressing male.
I’ll repeat myself here on this one point – if you have come to this site seeking understanding about the gender non-conforming (apparent) male in your life, it will be well worth your time to read in order all the entries in the “Understanding” series. If you don’t find the information you seek, please feel free to ask questions in the comment section. Certainly it’s possible there’s some vital point or three I didn’t mention.
The effort thus far has been largely to clarify and refine the general understanding of the distinctions between the male-to-female transsexual and the male crossdresser. I note for the record here that there is some incidental overlap, as many transsexuals go through a stage of perceiving themselves as simply a crossdresser and eventually realize their situation goes deeper, but for the sake of this post I will set that aside and clarify that when I say “crossdresser” here I speak of the man who – whether he has sussed it out or not – is NOT a transseual and will never desire a physical transition. Perhaps I will inadvertently repeat a point or two here but I’m seeking to avoid that.
As I’ve explained, the former is dealing with as medical, physiological issue. The latter, however, is not. The former will derive not just pleasure, but peace of soul and well being and emotional balance from transition. The latter is engaged in what is, for all practical intents and purposes, a hobby (or possibly in some cases a profession e.g. drag queens). The word “fetish” may or may not be appropriate, and some consider it to have pejorative implications, but it is instructive to apply the term. Not every crossdresser receives sexual gratification from the activity, but there is no shame if one does. There is no more moral or ethical difference in getting stimulation from crossdressing than if one gains satisfaction from, for instance, a foot fetish or a bit of bondage. (I hope the use of those words do not upset the ad system again). But one ought not ASSUME that the hobby has a fetishistic aspect. There are other emotional responses which can be stimulated that are not overtly sexual in nature, and have really no more to do with sex than, say, playing golf.
The key to loving and accepting the crossdresser in your life is to free yourself from the assumptions of the cultural gender binary. To be clear, I’m NOT one of those who considers the binary a thing to be removed. I think it has value and embrace my role as a woman according to that cultural tradition. But at the same time let’s be clear – it is just that: a cultural tradition. Yes, there is a real difference in men and women and each gender/sex brings strengths and weaknesses to the human experience. However a large part of the customs associated with “acting like a man” and “acting like a woman” are no t based on those natural differences but upon the traditions of our culture. To wit, what natural reality dictates that only women should wear makeup to enhance beauty? There isn’t one. So it is with a great many of or traditions. Look around you at the utterly common practice of women who casually wear male clothes, without compromising their femaleness or those natural strengths attached to being a woman. Even so, it makes no logical sense that you should assume that the man in your life who enjoys, say, wearing pantyhose or a skirt, should be assumed to be less of a man in your eyes.
Yes, the ignorant will judge and you will have to have the strength of character to recognize that such people have no standing to have an opinion, the fortitude to recognize that neither you nor he owe them an accounting. But the reality is that these are true, and if you care about the man in your life who enjoys this activity, you should be no more willing to take issue with him over this then you would if his hobby were golfing or fishing. If it makes him less attractive to you, fair enough. Be kind and respectful as you make your feelings known. But please be wise enough to not be part of the ignorant masses who feel he’s obliged to ‘act like a man” just, ya know, because.
Image by: pamhule