MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

This picture is a perfect example of autogynephilia for after all who else would want a 90 year old author?
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Post No. 66 is the second half of the preceding post, number 65. We continue with samplings illustrating the wide diversity in feelings, behavior and the raison d’etre voiced by CDs for being what they are — each with their own opinion.

“I dress because I like the comfort, the fashion, the styles and the feel but I have no desire to be a woman.”
Noted that an equal number prefer the restrictive feel of corset, bra or pencil skirt rather than the comfort.
“I do not feel complete without firm support and figure sculpturing. I love the feel of thi-hi hosiery anchored by six stocking snaps.”
“I want to be dressed as a woman, hopefully mistaken for one but I do not want to remain one. I really do not know about my feminine side and really do not care”.
“I dress to let the feminine side run rampant through my closet. While doing so I like beautiful clothes.”
“I want to give full expression to both my masculine and feminine attributes; to soften the harsher aspects of my masculine side; to be all I can be.”
“I’m never the woman I can be without foundation, powder, concealer, rouge, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, eye-shadow and brow powder. I always feel and look years younger and really fell naked without my makeup. And finally, a good perfume brings out my femininity. Of course, my toe and fingernail color must match my lipstick. Then I’m ready to pass. Must be careful to wear subdued makeup during the day, when shopping or I won’t blend in. Only then am I me”
“Every three weeks I have a manicure and pedi. My gal is sure to try new colors on my toes. It’s the highlight of the week.”
“I sometimes shop drab but usually en femme in stores that know me and, though all chains are happy to take my money, certain stores are friendlier. It took years to summon the courage to ask to use the lady’s fitting room and even longer to have the ultimate high — to be fitted with the proper size bra or girdle. Now, I understand, most of the major chains provide courses to their sales people on the proper approach and, “for God’s sake, don’t be rude!” The highlight of a shopping spree is when a GG asks me what color nail polish I’m wearing or where did I get those earrings.”
“I’ve learned early on that if I present myself with self-confidence, poise, a smile and a half-way female-pitched voice — I can go and do anything a proper GG can.”
One CD likes to vacation on the Jersey shore while en femme. His day starts with a five mile jog before going to the beach in a bathing suit to acquire a tan. His one complaint is often repeated by others shopping at Malls: “I pass to everyone except teen-age girls. Somehow they invariably start giggling. How they are able to “read” me I’ve no idea.”
“The sound of my heels on concrete and pulling on sheer hosiery over newly shaved legs are my turn ons.”
“CDing gives me considerable satisfaction of that side of me that brings on sweetness, delicacy, feminine behavior, love of colors and fashion trends. Takes me into a lovelier world.”
“When I see a beautiful woman wearing a lovely dress I’m envious of her outfit first — I want to be able to wear it. My attraction to have her in bed is a distant second.”
“I started between 5 and 6 so it wasn’t sexual. Became a sexual turn-on in my teens but not so much since then. Never thought of being with a man because I like everything about a woman too much.”
While the following excerpts from e-mails offer additional motivations, the “Why” for a single conclusive, definitive explanation will remain elusive forever – this writer’s considered opinion.
“Long story short! I decided I’m not hurting anyone so why not make myself happy?”
“I’m not sure I’ll ever know OR if it even matters.”
“My wife said that she finds my taste in music harder to understand than my want/need to wear women’s clothes. So I finally got over the ‘why’ and think of it like everything else.”
“The only answer I can come up with is: I’m just being the true me! If you can’t be true to yourself then who can you be true to?”
Your best course of action is to embrace who you are and celebrate that to the greatest extent possible in your situation.”
“I’ve kept a comfortable income flow my whole life, put a kid through college, crushed anxiety and depression, overcame stuttering and, believe it or not, enjoyed a lot of cross dressing. That’s all there is to it.
“You might as well try to figure out why you like the color red. Just accept yourself and enjoy.”
And lastly passages from the nom de plume “Lorileah” (from crossdressers.com) on this subject:
“There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why…I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Robert F. Kennedy
“Is there something there that is pathological? No. Is there something there that will make you a worse person? No. Is there something there that will lead to ruin? Yes if you fret and worry it will consume you.” Reference: More often read this observation of pending disaster among those in transition rather than those in CDing.
They are just clothes. They don’t have magic power. You don’t step into oblivion by donning a dress. You like it; it harms no one, just do it. When the end is near you can be happy or you can be sad because you decided to follow the crowd and not your heart.”
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Note: As briefly mentioned previously there is a new breed called “Metro-men”. They often wear clear polish on well-trimmed nails, skin moisturizer with skin-tone foundation, lip gloss, well dressed and no paunch. The difference, basically, is that they do not wear clothes that a CD might; other than bikini or nylon shorts or thongs often made for men, but you must have a slim figure to handle it. Metro-men may also get permanent waves to keep their hair in the style desired. From a sex or gender stand point there is not enough research to label them as other than well groomed men.
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Readers may well wonder at what point does a man who has achieved the goal of usually passing (to his own mirror or to others) ever crosses over into the bi-sexual arena or, possibly, he was actually gay but not aware of his orientation until turned on by cross dressing. No, doesn’t work that way. Because one has achieved a high level of proficiency in their presentation doesn’t automatically change one’s gender – you have to have been born that way.
Some CDs mention that when deep in the Pink Fog they may have fantasies of being held in the arms of a strong male. After all, the purpose of dressings, for most, is the desire to appear or feel as female as possible. So naturally when one is accepted or passes in public by GGs and men, the next progression would be to be hit on and then date a male. Nevertheless, when reality sets in we know that 80 to 90% find that acting on that fantasy is repugnant or revolting to the point of mental anguish (Never doubting their born identity).
When one reads comments such as: “Have dated men as a girl for years and love it.” OR
“I want to be loved, feel loved by a man.” — We have entered into that, roughly, 10% of cross dressers who are not heterosexual. They fall into one of the categories discussed earlier in this chapter. In fact they very likely had an unbalance, such as in chromosomes, since pre-birth but were not aware of it until cross dressing brought submerged emotions to the surface. .
Have we discovered a single genetic, hormonal, chromosome, or environmental influence that is responsible for “straight” CDs? The answer is no we haven’t. But what we have found is that there are a number of answers that are equally correct. Excuse the comparison but to make the analogy a statistical one – after huge expenditures in money and talent we now know that there are many cures to cancer just as there are many types of cancer. So we also know that there are many variations in cross dressing and at least as many correct causations.
Environmentally we should include among the possible correct answers a dominant mother who becomes the role model to the baby boy, but since such influences have caused many other dysfunctional outcomes we can only list it as just one more out of dozens of possible causes.
We know there is no “cure” waiting for a gay person (Verified by the AMA.) despite those quacks, and governors,who insist there is. A gay individual may be aware of his orientation early in life or not until having fathered five children; while a CD’s “trigger may happen while a child but the propensity to be a CD may remain suppressed for years until they eventually surface. Meanwhile a spouse or GF, relatives and friends must put up with an irritable, grouchy and often insensitive individual without a clue what is really troubling him.
To once more stress our present insignificance along mankind’s time span — in the context of our dressing habits — we can draw upon Africa, the birthplace of civilization. There remain tribes where only the male members celebrate peace or conflict by wearing the body, face and headdress decorations once ritualized by their ancestors a thousand years ago. Likely they were imitating nature where the male bird flaunts gorgeous colors while the female is drab; or perhaps the male lion with the great mane and the female with no distinguishing markings. No, Mother Nature has always been far ahead of we CDers.                                                                                                          In prior millenniums the reigning pharaohs of Egypt wore eyeliner and makeup. Flash forward to European and Oriental noblemen and higher hierarchy in our history wearing the finest of garments and in some countries wigs as well. It was, obviously, a mark of their social standings. Now suddenly, in the present miniscule period along civilization’s time span, clothing takes on an onerous specious connotation not previously associated with its wearing — a sexual stamp condemning a segment of our population. What judge set these artificial standards?

Obviously our present society has become disoriented. Let’s not perpetuate this artifice!
Evaluate our fellow humans based on their good works and not superficialities. Just my humble opinion.

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MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

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131940Blog No. 65

 

This section is a compendium of comments and stories from heterosexual, bi and gay cross dressers that will, I hope, convey to the reader how very diverse are the reasons and feelings that transported them into a compulsion that has no single answer or explanation but many paths — all valid for particular individuals — none right or wrong. Though the feelings may be strong and compelling, the “Why” remains elusive. Comments on the “Why?” are mostly found in these next two blogs.

But first let’s look at the two most diverse factors of all — how many hours a month are they able to enjoy their penchants and how extensive are their wardrobes?

For years I had a misconception that now, through the shining light of facts has brought home to me the huge variation in diversity, the multiplicity disclosed within the cross dressing community to the point where many don’t want to be identified as CDs — I’m referring to the actual time in any given month spent dressed completely with accessories or only underdressed, wearing just one feminine article (or several). Regardless of the degree that one dresses — one is still a CD — not bad or good. In 2014 this writer was corresponding with, based on her picture and comments, a bright, attractive, well dressed and nicely made-up young CD. Months later I came to find out that in an average month she spends no more than five hours indulging. The only details I cared to garner was that his wife was permanently restricted to bed and the government was paying him to be her aide. Have no idea how she was able to produce such a nice transformation with what appears to be so little practice. Further investigation revealed that many CDs whom I had “assumed” from their extensive and knowledgeable writings to be very close to full time actually spent less than twenty hours a month in cross dressing. Other variations further illustrate the disparity in my previous conceptions: The “compromise or boundaries set by one wife allows for no more than one night a month  while another couple go golfing at resorts and take cruises as two sisters might do.  We have discussed such paucity of permitted  boundaries before in such marriages — in that  when the compromise is really a surrender — too strict — the marriage will most likely fail in the long run. Some other obvious reasons for such limited time en femme includes living at home with objecting parents; presently serving in military, lives in a hostile country and similar circumstances.

For “middle” experiences it is not that unusual for a CD to be a traveling technician or salesman working for the manufacturer or distributor of a unique product. He may need to visit customers all over the US or the world whom he has never met before. With such freedom he usually travels en femme. With airport security normally trained to fully accept such travelers this writer finds it another experience to add to one’s bucket list. The customary action is to revert to drab, if at all, only during the time spent with the client. Frequently we also find in this group those who are able to spend half or more time en femme to be retired with supportive spouses or to be widowers.

At the far end are usually those who have, or are transitioning by hormones, sexual adjustment surgery, augmentation surgery or simply a mental attitude shift suffices. Indeed they no longer consider themselves as CDs but rather as members of the opposite gender. So for the sake of the subject being considered, the majority of those living 24/7 are no longer considered as CDs. If I were to graph hours spent per CD in the femme world I would venture more of a straight downward line starting with the least frequent practitioners being the majority and concluding by those mixing mascara with the transitioners.

Now let’s muddy the waters a bit: There are millions of males who have worn panties and thongs for most of their adult lives. Prompted by curiosity most never have the trigger pulled on their psyche, never become CDs but find these garments both comfortable and attractive to their mates. We also know that most CDs start their journey visiting their mother’s or sister’s hose or panties. Nevertheless underdressing starts at this point and may never progress beyond limited indulgence – garment underdressing thereby skewing the statistics to make it appear that most CDs are partially en femme all day, every day — up to the reader to accept either definition.

Closely correlated is the depth of owned wardrobe ranging from one pair of panties hidden in a shoe box to packed walk-in closets, from no shoes at all to hundreds – enough to make Mrs. Marcos or a fetish collector blush. Stands to reason that frequent time en femme increases the desire to wear and display a greater number of fashion presentations. So frequency of time spent en femme and the extent of wardrobe accumulated far outweigh the number of variations in behavior patterns. What do we mean by “behavior patterns”? As described more fully elsewhere in our blogs one fellow likes to present wearing a full beard while another gets a professional wax every three weeks – examples of two behavior patterns.

As promised we will now offer a small sampling of this diverse community found under the umbrella of cross dressing. Many of the quotes came from one of the best web sites (“Crossdressing.com) reflecting the thoughts of this community. That site is not confined only to the hetero majority; however it does strictly regulate/censors a forum that includes all sexual orientations eventhough I have selected comments by mostly heterosexual CDs as that group is the focus of this chapter. Rather than providing their entire texts I will encapsulate for easier reading:

Featured in the third group above is a father in his 50s who works as a technician that requires him to travel by plane almost every week to various cities in the Midwest. He travels en femme. The boarding inspectors, check his male IDs, know him as a frequent flyer and pass him with a nod and smile — no problem. After checking in to his motel he may eat, take in a movie or shop. In the morning he has transformed to drab, makes his business visits and, upon finishing his work, reverts back to en femme. From time to time he has taken his wife and two teenage girls with him. This routine has been happily carried out for years without incident. There are more frequent flyer CDs out there than one might imagine.

Single male trained to become a cosmetician while en femme along with 35 other girls (GGs) in the class. Today she makes good money with no intention to transition or desire to date men.

Another frequently goes out en femme and only associates with women. Has had sex with a few and considers himself as a lesbian (Feels like a woman and enjoys only women sexually.). Still trying to figure this one out.

Youngest of seven siblings — rest girls. Rather poor family so all clothing was eventually handed down for him to wear. In his teenage years he played varsity football and was popular with the school girls. At age twenty-two while holding down a job and living alone the Pink Fog hit. Never looked back he has been a CD ever since.

“Strange world where we want to be girls, or some reasonable facsimile, but we don’t want men in that equation.” — quote from one but not the usual view point.

Some boys and young men grow up, as does the rest of the population, short, thin or skinny. Those that become CDs find this as a physical advantage in the desire to “pass” either in the closet or out in public view. Most of these CDs won’t develop soft breast tissue until later years when their pecs turn from muscle to flab. In the meantime bras need be filled out by inserts or other recently introduced methods to create cleavage and boobs. Often CDs will purchase sizes B and C cup inserts in order to make their clothes fit better. Certainly it is easier to pass en femme when breasts are apparent to the passer-by. Though the reasoning seems clear to the CD community there are those who are still confused. Their comments are usually: “If the reasons are to be comfortable and enjoy the feel of feminine fabric then why do you need bra inserts?” Simply: most CDs want to appear as women to complete their persona just as makeup helps create the allusion. For this reason a 40-D cup is appropriate for a heavy-set tall CD but inappropriate for a thin man to wear. Most are still hetero men — nothing has changed.

Handsome man was told by wife that he could be a beautiful woman. With her support and his willingness they are happily married and best of girlfriends. Not known whether this particular couple have children.

Truck driver drives regularly cross country en femme until reaching truck-stops where he reverts to underdressing.

By age 5 a future CD started playing “dress up” and “house” with older sister. By puberty he was trying on mother’s lingerie, especially open-bottom corsets of yesteryear, hosiery and shoes. Have read dozens with this or similar scenario’s..

Mother wanted a daughter. As a result baby was brought up as a girl. One would think that he would eventually wish to transition but he became a heterosexual CD instead. Proving, perhaps, that external influence can “trigger” but not necessarily into a transsexual without other factors, previously discussed, being present.

“For a long time I lacked self-esteem and doubted my worth — totally negative feelings. I was depressed. I had to escape. Now I feel so much better about myself and so much more comfortable being whom I am. In addition, as I grow older when dressed I look 10 years younger than I am.”

“Lost job, family and then my desire to fully transition while still in pre-op stage. Needless waste of all the good things I had in my life. If I had only known sooner that I did, from time to time, enjoy being a man tinkering with my car, watching car racing and such. Still, I love fashion as well as being feminine. Why can’t I enjoy both worlds?”

From a GG: “My spouse is so much more attentive, compassionate and tender. He gets pleasure dressing and our love-life is even better. It’s a win-win deal.”

Was a slender boy — the smallest in his class. Picked on by the bigger boys; had to constantly bear taunting and bullying. His self-esteem remained low until he became old enough to buy his own clothes. He found tranquility and peace dressed as a woman. Though his wife and children in later years were his treasure, as a closet CD he was able to take refuge from the stress of everyday living.

“Being treated as a lady meant I passed’; being dined and going to a movie were great, but that’s as far as I would ever go.” My bi-contributor insists that these protestors are really gays in denial. Probably true most of the time

“I liked the attention of being picked up as a lady but no further.” Comment on last quote maybe applies here too.

The theme of Blog 65 continues in blog number 66.

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MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

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What can I say to explain that my next blog, Number 65, is not ready?

Perhaps to say that both my Winzip and Adobe software – all paid for – went down at same time over the last weekend of the month? Well that’s not a satisfactory excuse for me or my readers. More to the point I have been in in and out of the VA ER these past few weeks with spine maladies that originally started in a WWII bomber crash in England but only recently began to cause spasm problems whenever seated (Like in front of a PC).

I will “Overcome” as the good Dr. King may have said so please bear with me – excuses were never in my lexicon. Good Lord willing Blog 65 will be out before the Holidays. Which does give me a great opportunity to wish everyone  a healthy New Year – whenever that happens to arrive for you – as one’s health is our most prized possession, believe it!

Julie and Julian

 

MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

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MY OWN HAIR STYLED FOR FIRST TIME!

MY OWN HAIR STYLED FOR FIRST TIME!

Blog N0 64
Blog number 57 included the following; so to avoid confusion and to make it easier for the reader to pick up the subject of Blog 64 we have copied over the first paragraphs (See below).
“There are those influenced by childhood experiences, through either mother or sister, that encouraged feelings already instilled before birth. “Instilled” in this context refers to influences created by chromosome imbalance, genetics, Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome, the body’s chemistry, wired by imprinting or by one of the other theories and hypotheses that might apply. By puberty they were already bi-sexual/gay and cross-dressing expressed what they soon found to be their true identities — identities not readily acceptable in the outside world. Some among this segment consider themselves as curious and experimenters. They feel more comfortable labeling themselves as gender-curious, gender-fluid, bi-curious or similar appellations. They may be far more attracted to the female body for their entire lives but still enjoy the occasional male with male experience. Some number may gradually find that their interest for a female has waned or never was strong — they, of course, are no longer considered “bi”. The majority of BIs are somewhere in the middle attraction-to-female wise. Further comment in order: A recent post discussed the CDs who vehemently denied being homosexual until the urge to try, one time to be that total woman at least once — and similar reasons. ReineD, our in-house GG, points out that these folks were always gay admitted or not. As a result, as acknowledged by this writer, the percentage now to be covered, albeit briefly, is in reality closer to 20% of the CD population.
A tip of the hat to the many who find that quoting percentages, labeling and generally putting our broad community into specific boxes is upsetting, unnecessary, unwarranted and not very scientific. Is it necessary? No more so than is the study of archeology and demographics valuable in enabling us to better understand our world today. Unearthing our family roots has taken on revived popularity in mid-2014, Why? I dare say that it’s probably human nature to know how one fits into the grand scheme of the billions of creatures whirling around this globe. With that intent in mind those who wish to be left alone to live life in the manner they chose with whatever happiness encountered should not be hindered or burdened in that pursuit by our feeble attempt to sort out our odd actions..

This post, (Blog No.64,) will briefly present, with some overlap, the theories, hypothesis and professional opinions of those who venture to explain the “whys” of our behavior, albeit varied.
In addition to those described above there are: cross dressers who live and work 24/7 as women — the majority of “straight” CDs, not happy with being lumped together with this life-style, prefer to assign the Latin word “transvestite” to this group; bi-sexual — those who have little or no compunction to having sex with either gender, though many in that group don’t consider themselves as homosexual for they are equally or more attracted to women; transgendered, or gender dysphoria — are unhappy with the gender identity given them at birth but live inside society’s patterns but as the other gender. This group and part of the group called “transsexual” might be born with chromosome imbalance. Chromosomes are groups of genes composed of DNA and proteins that are located within the nucleus of our cells. One such pair determines sex. The male sperm cell contains an X, Y or both. Fertilizing the female egg the result might be XX, or female and XY as male.
However a whole host of internal body or external factors sometimes cause mutations. For example, a XXYY in males would cause some or all of these characteristics: small testicles, enlarged breasts or high pitched voices. Imagine the havoc in that youngster’s psyche as he grows up.
Perhaps 1 to 2% of births present a dilemma to both the parents and attending physician — born with the female’s internal sexual and reproductive parts but with male external genitals. Those present at such a birth don’t have the ability to determine whether the baby’s mind is inclined towards male or female. The decision by the doctor may easily cause a male to later wish to revert to the female role and change the genitals to the labia, clitoris, vulva and vagina of the female. In 2010 an extreme example made the news with the father, over several years, giving Caesarean birth to three babies with his female organs and then turning the babies over to his wife to nurse (Yes, he still had his male parts.).

What is Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome? It is a congenital intersex condition that develops before birth (1 in 500) involving the differentiation between male and female. A girl with this Syndrome would have a female’s brain sex but her genitals would appear male — reverse with males. Fortunately, countries like the Netherlands have been able to recognize and start corrective treatment before puberty. It is a physiological condition and not psychiatric; it is not “transsexual” but a brain relationship with gender that, to this day, confuses the medical community when they don’t have quality diagnosis. Thus it is not a mental disorder but the result of a fetal abnormality impossible to identify before birth. Before leaving Dr. Benjamin — should mention his controversial scale dealing with the entire spectrum. He also tries to merge the Kinsey scale into this work. According to Benjamin the least intense level are those who “Get occasional kick out of dressing — in masturbation fantasies mainly.” This writer gets thrown by his indicating that the individual may be hetero or gay. At the other end of this scale – labeled Kinsey 6 – “dressing gives insufficient relief as does psychotherapy, conversion operation necessary as self-mutilation or suicide are the only alternatives”.
In a recent blog we offered a promising explanation to the question what causes a small segment of the male population to react to the trigger theory. Though still a hypothesis in summary it goes like this:
This biological model says that cross-dressers have their brain hard-wired to interpret cross-dressing as actual contact with a female. When they feminize themselves their brain goes into action and releases a host of neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, etc. which produce the sensations of well-being, comfort, pleasure, sexual gratification and bonding. It affects the reward centers of the brain, instant gratification, and thus it mimics the addiction response. It cannot be “cured” because you cannot stop your brain from releasing neurotransmitters.
So exactly how does this small percentage of the male population get their brains wired this way??? The answer goes back to synaptogenesis and neural pruning. There are certain critical periods in brain development when your brain creates a myriad of neural connections. In fact, you have the most synaptic connections when you are 12 months old. Then through the learning process, these connections are either reinforced or pruned.
So too the terms: “Androgyny” and “Hermaphrodite” are physiological or behavioral ambigenders that pertain to this chapter on cross dressing only slightly as those males afflicted are but a small segment of the community and are not considered cross dressers. Nevertheless, we have come to learn that the now old cliché, “a female trapped in a man’s body” in so many cases can be a reality. So the transsexual group may or may not be created solely by physical miscues at birth. In fact, as previously discussed, one may consider themselves as being a TS without having any physical abnormalities.
Only 1 to 2% of all the groups mentioned earlier ever elect reconstructive surgery. Add perhaps another 1% who would like to but can’t afford it. The percentage remains small for another reason: responsible doctors doing reassignment surgery require would-be transitioners to live 24/7 as a female for a full year to make certain of their determination to transition. Hormone regimen usually is started at this time to build up estrogen levels. Some decide during this period to keep their genitals because being male has its advantages or that becoming a female requires too much daily bothersome upkeep (makeup, clothing and household chores among other time-consuming chores) along with physical concerns that are not encountered by males.
That small percent in the transgender and transsexual groups who wish to keep their genatilia sometimes opt for breast augmentatation as a mental and physical compromise. The public audience at an “All Men Girlie Show” night club may see a few in this group who have turned to movies and night clubs to earn a living — and generally this audience comes away with the impression: “Freaks” or “She-males”, without an inkling of the tortuous trail bringing them to public display. A chapter has already been presented concerning female impersonators in the entertainment industry — no relationship.
We have covered the non-heterosexual segment of our community with a broad brush for good reason — we aren’t qualified to delve further into complicated medical dissertations nor would it further our objective to bring to you all available information pertaining to the world of cross dressing as it is brought to our attention.

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Hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy sending them to you. As soon as my memoir went to press it became quickly apparent that the chapter, MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE, would be deluged with revisions, corrections and new information on this complex subject — thus a series of ongoing blogs were born! Now it is my hope, once this project is mostly completed, to bind these blogs into a single new book!

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MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

161335
Walks the Walk – Post No. 63
Some of the readers have asked whether the author not only talks the talk but also walks the walk? I assume they mean going out and about rather than only in “closet” or underdressing. I certainly don’t want to denigrate either as I spent close to eighty years in a rather stealthy manner doing both before jumping in with both feet within these past few months in 2014. Thought I would devote this post to first summarizing the events chronicled in my memoir in far greater detail and then fast forward to this most exciting but not previously recorded period. I believe that at the end of this post the reader can easily see why I was able to make this passage seem so easy — simple, no one left to displease.
I’m a believer in the trigger theory (described elsewhere in these posts) in that a small percentage of the population respond in such a manner from a certain stimulus causing the onset of our dressing inclinationa It was the Marcy Hotel on Mirror Lake in the Adirondacks — A five-year-old, I was alone in my mother’s room. A curious brat I found and tried on her brassiere — nothing more. How on earth can I remember that incident eighty-four years ago? Seven years later after taking part in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta at school I decided to keep the long black stockings provided for my role as it felt so good. Then the very familiar route that most CDs have traveled – frequent visits to mother’s, or it could be a sister’s, dresser drawers while they were elsewhere. During this teenage period only once did I venture outside the confines of our home while dressed – with a 16-year-old’s driver’s permit, the family car and a dark night in the country. That would have to suffice for seventy-three years! My memoir recounts the expensive pink fog reaction upon renting my first very own apartment as a Frosh at the University of Pennsylvania and a similar buying spree when first occupying a Montreal small apartment. For many the CD experience takes a multitude of turns during this period in their lives in an effort towards attaining a level of transformation sufficient to embolden a trip beyond that menacing front door.
Well, why did I and a host of others delay or never did “test the waters”? There are many valid answers. I left home – first in the military – in the 1940s and married in 1957. So what? Consider, and my story is not unique, that I was alone in the universe, some sort of pervert. Not until the 1970s with the advent of the Internet did I find out that there were millions like me out there  (Already covered). To leave home en femme during that period was flaunting death. Next: A few months after marriage I revealed. That was the last spousal discussion in 52 years! Call it a form of DADT – don’t ask don’t tell. Never dressed at home but did underdress partially for work and with bra when on very frequent business trips. Went to great lengths too. Examples: While living in New Jersey before heading for the Newark Airport – took tunnel to 42nd Street Bus Terminal, and retrieved my stash from a locker. On other occasions rented a motel room for an hour in order to underdress before making my flight.
Call it compromise, boundaries or a frank talk between loving partners but the ingredients are key to decision making: family, friends, church and employer as to whether the CD will be seen in public or not. For these reasons or circumstances it is determined whether an individual is able to leave that confining closet early on or never. Please don’t mix in decision making with the needs of those that must take the transition road whether the whole nine yards is required or hormones and electrolysis will suffice.
Rightly or wrongly – only time will tell as it was during the housing disaster — divorced my wife after 52 years! Joined my widowed favorite cousin in 2009 in order to write my Second Edition. Told her everything before moving East. She was fine with it at home as long as I agreed not to go out dressed.  Then a heartbreaker: within three years dementia took her away from her sons and I was recognized no longer.
So now in my 89th year of life with spine and neck — initially damaged in a World War II bomber crash — now deteriorated to constant spasms and restricted locomotion, I am hardly the candidate for Miss America. Oh yes, ties to family and friends totally decimated through the grim reaper and that strange malady that causes annual Christmas cards to just wilt away.
All the above explains why the author waited until age 89 to open that door —- circumstances sisters, circumstances.

With that said, it still took the intervention of another to push me out. A sister CD happens to transform fishing vessels from smaller to larger ones. His rather technical work requires to be based some four hours up the Florida coast from where I live, while his/her family live several hours south of me. As a result we had met several times on his way south. She knew that my circumstances (that word again) had changed in that my cousin was now in a northern home for Alzheimer’s, my only brother had recently passed, my management consulting business, what’s left of it, can now be handled through electronic means, and long term friends had either died or that annual Christmas card just stopped coming. That left my (too many) V.A. docs and nurses with an intimate knowledge of the internal workings of a disabled WWII veteran — my remaining anchor to reality. I had no further excuse not to promise that the time was now — get out that door! And that is how I reached this place  in this post.
Now I had a good reason for stalling as after all a lady can’t be seen in public without a nice watch, a matching handbag, a few rings and suitable jewelry — well, you get the idea. My own hair, thanks to genes from my mom, was beautifully (As told by many.) curly, long and silver; so off to the nearest salon. I knew that this was going to take all my courage so a rainy day should help. For my first outing I wore lady-cut jeans and a tank top. Had read that the more flesh shown the more feminine an older woman looks. Being a rainy day I wore a rain coat that covered my upper body — gave me more confidence. Operator prepared me for a shampoo — now what to do? Due to my injury I can’t bend my neck back far enough to keep the water from running down my back. I told her but she instructed me again to “lean back more”. I had the words half out of my mouth: : “My neck is busted from a bomber crash in England so that’s the best I can do”; but then I caught myself. What would she think of that creature in the chair? So I sat there while she cheerily poured water down my back. After done washing I moved to another chair with one stupid little towel — bra and tank top thoroughly soaked. And what was she doing? Moping the puddle below where I was seated — not a glance my way!. After blowing and styling my hair the tab was $50 plus the $10 tip that should have been one buck if I had wanted to make a scene. Had she made me? Probably. Once past that hurdle with a buoyed confidence, shopping at supermarket and drugstores were easier. Was regularly referred to as Ma’am. Actually, older women and older men begin to blend in appearance as the hormones equalize. With exceptions, being bent over in posture and using a cane is common for both. And so are the jowls and facial hair. Even the voice begins to sound alike. Have to learn to walk better though. Normally I still use too much make-up but confidence should help reduce that.

One other incident too funny to pass: Went shopping for costume jewelry at Macy’s. With my historically bad gut I had to go — second floor up escalator no less. Restroom was packed; usually use the family room or the handicap stall but no such luck. Wearing a skirt, and carrying a bundle as well, found one stall available and five occupied. As the Brits are wont to say “Will have a go at it”. so I pulled down my panties, rolled down my panty-hose, folded my girdle in half and began the squatting motion — seeking the seat. No seat, so further down I went until my legs gave way and seat met cheeks. Startled, I gave out with a loud and deep “huff” heard clearly throughout the bathroom! Couldn’t stop now so did what nature demanded and pushed my way in most dainty fashion to the nearest mirror. Then my compact fell on the inlaid stone floor. Yep, I now walk the walk – believe me.

Must mention the hair in the picture – felt a fleeting femininity with my own hair and new style.

REMINDER: Comments? Questions? Contact my alter ego, Julie Gaum,  at juliegaum@msn.com

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MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

Aside

Post # 60                                             Before leaving the previous twin subjects of Internet CD clubs and the eventual awakening of probably another 4 to 5% of the CD community who, up to now, continued to vehemently proclaim
their
identities as
being
heterosexual
(see Post 59) I131940
would
like to
introduce
the reader to a
gal for which I have considerable respect. A GG (Genetic Girl) who fell in love with a CD with more than the usual issues — she managed to overcome all obstacles sufficiently to have a fruitful relationship. Not satisfied with merely accepting her own experiences as gospel she researched the field and made it a point to meet and learn from every layer of the transsexual segment. Wanting to remain nameless, here is her very objective take on the so-called late awakening Bi and gay CDs:
“I agree that transsexuality is a state of mind although it is difficult to estimate the percentage that are male- attracted transsexuals or crossdressers. I dare say that quite a large number say they are attracted and fantasize about encounters only to be turned off by the very real experience of being two male-bodied individuals having sex together. If this is what one defines loosely as being “bi curious” (hetero with homosexual fantasies), then I’d say there is a large percentage of our membership (CD) who fit this mold, whether they consider themselves to be transsexual, transgender, crossdresser, or any other label.
I would tend to agree with your guesstimate (Post #59) … if we are to pick a number, the 20% male-attraction within the trans population seems reasonable based on the number of threads and response we’ve had on this topic, compared to the 5% of the normal population who are homosexual or bi.
Are many members misleading their wives if they tell them they are hetero without divulging their homosexual fantasies? I think so. But I do not consider an attraction as a CD (or TG, TS, etc) to a male in fantasy as homosexuality or bi-ness. I rather think it is autogynephelia. The attraction is more to the idea of the self as a sexually enticing woman, and what better foil to use for this fantasy than a male. This is why so many of our members prefer to keep it as a fantasy and they do not actually go out to pursue the actual experience.
Last, you mention latent homosexuality. I don’t know that it is possible to be turned off by men throughout adolescence and a large part of adulthood, and then discover an attraction. I rather think the attraction was always there but never acted upon.”
Note that this last sentence is probably colored by her own experience as having been born female; nevertheless the observation is valid for many more CDs than would like to admit to it.
A calming word to the spouse or GF who is already on edge after the great “Reveal”, on purpose or accidentally. The possibility that your BF is actually Bi or Gay has been offered objectively and realistically as being a few percentage points higher than previously estimated but your chances for a great relationship still far outweigh, percentage-wise, the downside.

MYTHS, FALACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

 

Family Pictures

Family Pictures

 

 

Blog No. 62

This blog is the continuation of memories  that overflowed from Blog No, 61:

I think there are many common traits of transgendered peopl e.I grew up very shy and introverted. Did not date until college. Did not experience an orgasm til my second year of college. Lost my virginity at 23 with my present wife. Since I wasn’t actively dressing, that didn’t directly affect any of this. In biology it is very hard to change just one thing. I think whatever ultimately causes our brains to be trans also affects many of our personality traits.

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Through no fault of my own, I was sexually precocious. By the time I was 13 I’d done lots of sexual stuff but not penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex. The first time for me was when I was 13. The girl was 16. We were both patients in a mental hospital on an experimental co-ed unit. We snuck into a empty room and somehow accomplished the deed despite the fear of getting caught. It was awful. PIV sex has always been my least favorite kind. I seem to lack the instinct for it. To top it off, she felt so guilty she confessed the whole thing to the staff. Because I was the male, it was deemed to be all my fault!!!! I was exiled back to the boys only unit. The staff was angry at me for ruining their little co-ed experiment. What did they think was going to happen?

After I got out of there, I had lots of sex but never when I was not “under the influence.” I needed drugs and alcohol to be around people especially girls and I had quite a different personality when I was using. By my late teens my addiction problems progressed so that I couldn’t function any more. So I remained involuntarily celibate until I sobered up when I was 24. The first time I had sex after sobriety was the second time I ever had sex sober. Despite all this, I’ve always had somewhat low libido at least compared to the women I’ve been with. A lot of that has to do with the kind of sex I was getting. I didn’t really like the male role and fantasized about being the female. I don’t really blame anybody.

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I never had a real sexual encounter until I was married at age 25. My approach to girls and dating was rather haphazard. I think that my desire to crossdress crippled any relationship

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Well I’m in my mid 30’s and still a virgin. I have not really been noticed much, I am shy and introverted to the point that I have never gone on a date or even asked a girl out. I think my crossdressing plays a small part in that I am always hiding a large part of me and that I think there is no women that would love all of me. It may happen one day, but it won’t happen if I don’t get out there. So in the end my shyness and being introverted is the largest cause.

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I was physically a late bloomer, and really naive about sex.  Looking back, I see that there were times in high school and college when I could have lost my virginity, but for whatever reason it didn’t happen — either the girl wasn’t right, or whatever. It wasn’t until grad school that it happened, and then a couple of times with the first girl I got serious about.  It wasn’t until I met my life-mate and soul-mate there that it became right — and good, and stayed that way.

I have no idea if my CD’ing or TG was involved. I don’t know about others of you, but I had guys hit on me in both high school and college (my CD was totally in the closet) and if I was naive about sex with girls, I had no idea what gay sex was about — at least until my best friend once asked me to “do him”.  I didn’t (and still am totally heterosexual).  I am convinced that I was born TG, and maybe folks picked on up that — even if I had no idea about transgender at the time (but I knew I loved to get into my mother’s things).
I’d like to think that sex for me just had to be with the right person.

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I was painfully shy and picked on frequently in high school, and college was a religious time for me so I remained celibate until I got married. We were both virgins and woefully inexperienced and the honeymoon was disastrous from a sexual point of view. I don’t think we ever made much progress forward in the 19 years we were together. Once every two months was a real accomplishment. When I met my girlfriend (present, live-in girlfriend) we both realized we had something special: an openness and frankness that neither of us had ever had before. I think the this-is-sex-and-this-is-how-we-do-it nature of my marriage precluded experimentation and exploration, to the detriment of that marriage. Thus, with my current girlfriend it was only natural I was able to let LeeAnne come out from under wraps, given the accepting and accommodating nature of our relationship. As I have said to my gf many times, “where were you 30 years ago?”  :)

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My SO told me that he was hugely shy with girls all through high school. He felt all tongue-tied around them. He also was intellectually endowed (a math and physics nerd and I say this in the nicest way), and it took longer for his social skills to develop. He told me that he never thought a girl would be interested in him, to the point where this caused him a great deal of stress his Freshman year of college. He didn’t start dating until several years into college. I don’t know if CDing was a factor. (Submitted by a GG)

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Until I first experienced sex (I was 18, my interest in CDing had barely started) I never had much interest in it. I didn’t even really understand… self-pleasuring, shall we say, until my late teens. I think I always had quite a childish view of dating and sex up until then, I wanted a girlfriend but more for the company and comfort of it all. I don’t really know why I was this way, maybe I just matured a bit slow.

~“~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 60, and still a virgin. My older sister, is 65, and a virgin. I had a few chances to go all the way , but stopped short, because of morals, fear of getting someone pregnant, and guilt. I did not date until 27, and sadly, she died of drugs. Certainly have had great frustration, anger, and feeling cursed at times, but did date quite a bit in my 30’s, but no sex , and just handshakes, hugs, and a few pecks on the face. I have had a number of older men friends, who also are virgins , and old now. There are more than most think. I know a lot of GG’s don’t need a man anymore, are sick of male attention constantly aimed at them. A lot of men are frustrated, because they are rejected so much. It is awful, that a few get violent toward women, though. No excuse for that. Some men snap. I know that one reason I dress in women’s clothes, is too feel like there is a lady on me, next to me, and I can be a lady for a few hours at a time. Being on disability, low income, I have almost quit hoping for a SO or wife.

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I never had the opportunity to crossdress and always wonder why I didn’t have the desire to chase girls but to be honest neither guys were interesting to me. Till the time I was on my late 30’s and put on some women clothes that I had found and discovered the key to my sexuality….I love masculine guys.

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My TGism had nothing to do with it. It was my upbringing…and the fact the girls wouldn’t date me

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I don’t think I would blame anything in particular. Mom was and is certainly strong willed. I would have to say that I was a fairly typical teen. Chased girls as long as I can remember, caught a few. Lost “it” at 15 with a 17 yr old. I was basically unsupervised by a parent for most of my teenage years, mom worked and dad was not in the picture. I continued to crossdress as a teen, even when in relationships. Borrowed a few items from girlfriends over the years (purged those items ages ago). I Married in my early 20’s, and I have been happy in my Marriage. I am certain that therapist could make a killing off of my issues looking for a reason why I enjoy crossdressing, but I am content to accept it.

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Was kind of vindicated to see one category with a 50% edge over the others. And that was the group who related of their shyness and being introverted. They agreed that their social skills developed later (late bloomers) but only a few ventured to explain it. Several voiced the common answer often noted that they had low self-esteem, believed that they were the only CD in the world (Before the Internet), or thought, sometimes in truth, that they were physically, personality-wise or mentally unappealing to GGs of their age group. Thus, if one disliked themselves why on earth would a GG be attracted?

A sub-group of the above tied in second place, but in all honesty their CD journeys had totally different beginnings for, whether they were aware early on or later, they were dealt a different hand through genetic or hormone unbalance or by the H. Benjamin syndrome. For some physically they may have discovered that their statue was smaller or that their male attributes were not what might be called the norm. Gravitating to the female world in play and garb most did eventually marry, though generally of short duration. A few in this group found that they were gay or Bi early on or they were young men before they could accept their orientation. This entire group must be excluded from the basic purpose of this thread simply because their dilemma was pre-ordained so should not be considered to provide reasons for their social experiences as teenagers or young adults that were shy or laid back in nature or had already accepted who they really were.
The last group to tie for second were those who reported that they were not apparently hindered by cross dressing inclinations, may not have even known that these tendencies existed until later in life and were sexually and socially very active teenagers.
Finally, to reply to several questions: Referring back to the majority group above and going back to the 1940s, CDs were indeed alone. As frequently noted we were alone in the universe and thought ourselves as some sort of perverts. You can, I’m sure, see why we had such a poor opinion of our own worth. An example: I had a crush on a blond Swedish gal in school. For every Christmas I would leave a nice gift for her on the doorstep of her parent’s home without even a card identifying the sender. She was on a pedestal for years to come. That may appear to be at odds with those gals I did date but avoided anything beyond a peck on their cheeks. To sum up, I believe there is a common denominator for most — we were very confused and usually unable to articulate our feelings.

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Finally, for these last two blogs the author wishes to single out the largest website of its kind, www,crossdressers.com/forum to thank. The assembling of crucial information is greatly expedited because of their resources.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

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MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

121935Post. No. 59
Our exploration into CD Internet dating clubs has revealed the need to expand our estimate of the CD bi and gay segment to an additional 3 to 5%.The following post will attempt to clarify the composition of dating club members. Early on it’s fair to say that most CDs are as ignorant to their complete persona as are the GG partners to new boyfriends or spouses that only now reveal their transvestite desires. We know that the universal first reaction is “Are you gay?” and the reply is “Of course not”. Well, in most cases that is the correct answer but, though the answer was honest, they really don’t know at the time. Not only will some become transsexual but a larger number are in reality bi and gay. We will explain that and how it relates to Internet dating.
The subject today is the Internet dating clubs created by CDs to service almost every area of our country. Exploration of this subject takes us down unexpected roads. Since the author’s experience in this complex area is limited I have asked Rogina from one of the Trans forums to provide knowledge and insight personally gained as a professional sex worker. Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a recruiting message from a local CD group offering special rates (No idea how money is spent.) — average monthly dues around $30 — last message received today: “The days are long and the singles are hot.” As that’s typical I don’t believe there is any argument as to the prime purpose of their existence. Not knocking them as they provide an important service.
Very active and visible there must be at least 500 members in Florida alone. Extrapolating nationwide to 25,000 plus the majority that haven’t left their homes as yet and there is at least 100,000 kindred spirits in the U.S.
Assuming there is a modicum of companionship and emotional relationships among members the focus has to be sex. Yes, some genetic females join up too — many do it out of curiosity and others are exploring their own sexuality the same as the males. These GGs are the exception as most hetero females are likely to shun them as they may not be deemed worthy by their peers if they are seen to have a relationship with TSs.
Therefore it appears evident that these club members are most likely to be transsexual, bi-sexual or gay. Not that simple so let’s first cover the smaller numbers comprising of transsexuals.
The WPATH’s glossary for version 7 defines it as: “Adjective to describe individuals who seek to change their primary and/or secondary sex characteristics through feminizing or masculinizing medical intervention (Hormones and/or surgery), Note –  typically accompanied by a permanent change in gender role.”
My note that even this definition indicates stages. The process called “transition” permits someone to be called a TS and yet they may have not even started the road of transition, may never start or finish with surgery or have any intention to do so. May be a professional definition but certainly leaves itself wide open for interpretation. Rogina sums up the TS term as “A state of mind.” — and probably right. As our subject is the dating game — only for that reason we will put those TSs that haven’t started transition for whatever reason into the bi and gay groups for their sexual abilities haven’t been , normally, diminished. Those starting or in transition are usually taking hormones which, for most, make them incapable of an erection or for some an ejaculation. So what are they to do? Turning to other TSs they find a similar problem: TSs are only capable of being bottoms once the hormone therapy kicks in. Sexually two “bottoms” don’t work out well so the dating clubs become the search engine (Rogina’s words.) designed to help a T bottom find a top.This is extremely difficult to find under normal circumstances as men are wont to find women “with something extra” in fear of peer pressure. Gays too usually avoid TSs at any stage as they are expected to be wired towards the masculine forms as the attraction. Once active in these dating clubs the Ts are likely to have a hard time keeping or blossoming a relationship — “the sexuality when twisted with gender issues can really break off a good relationship.”As a result the more experienced learn to value a good relationship with accepting partners.
Now let’s turn to the larger number of club participants — the BIs, otherwise known as bicurious, pan or polysexuals. Before joining these clubs there are many (Before you scream, yes many others are not interested in this path and are happy with their beard, some feminine clothes or whatever..) who do become curious because as CDs they believe, true at least in their own eyes, that they have fulfilled all the other exterior requirements — looking, talking and moving to a greater or lesser degree as a woman should. What’s left to attain nirvana? Being in the arms of a man and performing the sex act. For most, but not all, this is a fantasy that may occur while alone or even in bed with their SO. It remains a fantasy and the CD remains hetero unless they begin to pursue this dream by acting. Rogina and others in this field believe that more CDs are in denial – to themselves and partners – than we would expect   In effect, there are more latent homosexuals – yep, back to Freud’s premise – (includes bisexuals) that never will know whom they really are.

The curious who have been fantasying attaining the ultimate goal may go to a therapist or sex worker for answers or pursue it by trying to get picked up in a straight bar or by a CD dating web site. Most of these CDs will, nevertheless, enter the sex worker’s domain still loudly voicing their .most sincere belief — “I’m straight.”. They have no actual conception of the physical realities that they will face. According to the sex worker pulling up the so-called “curtain”: the progression is encountering another person’s penis first dry and then with ejaculation and lastly, penetration by anal sex..Witnessed by therapists those curious now usually voice the opinion that what they did or were about to do was something that will “label them for life” — they walk out believing (not always true) that they have their answer As described by therapists: “It’s like pulling a switch for many after it’s over — first denial and then shame and self-loathing. Satisfied that they now know who they are — self-analysis is often wrong however — they will go home, possibly to a SO, to share the news. Others, former bicurious, will now know that they have arrived at a place long suspected and the stress is lifted. Meanwhile, the now satisfied  former bicurious will look towards finding either top or bottom partners.Enter the dating clubs!

To sum up, who are the members of these dating clubs? Now we know that they include CDs at a stage where they are looking to validate their desirability; CDs who already know they are bi and just discovered that the dating market is really doubled from what they knew previously and TSs in every stage of actual and pseudo transition. Add to that stew hetero males and females visiting either out of curiosity or have already found out that those people interested in cross dressing also tend to be better human beings in every way — and better partners to the accepting. And that there is no mistake: they have entered a world of heartache, of sexual and emotional rejection and also that of discovery and the lifting of self-doubt and of denial.

Further for those happy to learn that they really are bi or gay, and have no misgiving that their quest for fulfillment was worth it, the wreckage of marriages, families and careers are testimonies that there is a price to pay — CD dating clubs represent the good and bad aspects of this “hobby”.

 

MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

213916 (125x94)
Post No. 58
Call this post “The Theater and the CD – An Enigma”
The public celebration of a private club’s 125th year of entertaining college students along with a nation-wide audience prompted mental gears to spin: Is there any connection at all between acting, singing, dancing — stage craft in general — and the cross dressing community? Is there a cause and effect? An action and reaction? We know from unearthed cave drawings that some form of dancing has been in existence since the dawn of civilization, but, fortunately for this particular post, clothes was not an issue back then; so,for the purposes of practicality we will confine this post to, say, these past 900 years.
About this private club:
Back in the 1880s private universities, even in the U.S., were limited to young gentlemen from wealthy families. Perhaps that is the reason that Clayton Fotterall McMichael decided that my alma, the University of Pennsylvania, needed a theatrical troupe that would “get up in frocks and spoof everyone and everything naturally”. And that they did — traveling in their own railroad car, annually presenting top notch musicals and high caliber tunes picked up over the years by Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald among other notables, competing with Broadway shows for decades. The Mask and Wig Club was featured on the Ed Sullivan show no less than four times and played such prestigious venues as the Metropolitan Opera House and Lincoln Center. In 1894 the high society mothers of Philadelphia chipped in to buy their sons a clubhouse now of historical importance. This, the oldest all-male collegiate musical troupe in the U.S. was later followed by Princeton’s Triangle Club, Harvard’s Hasty Pudding and others. Their theatrical professionalism is maintained to this day.
And yet, when looking at their first cast photo from 1889 I see some forty males dressed in various costumes befitting that play, and another thirty wearing medium to long length gowns, white or dark hose, low heels of the day, wigs and a few ladies’ hats. No makeup is evident — that would appear in later years. Nor is there mention in the historic write-ups of members cross dressing before joining or after leaving school, of being considered strange, weird or anything but “the funniest students on campus”. One was quoted as saying, “So happy to get back in drag” but that’s the only mention I could find to the attraction of the costumes worn on stage! Was it possible that they were ALL entertainers as, certainly, many had the talent as the media would attest. In the 18th and 19th centuries we read of professional female impersonators who made a living entertaining on the show circuit — a far different group than the comedians on TV who found that impersonations never failed to draw a laugh. The former certainly were talented song and dance performers as well. Is there some analogy between them and the talent displayed by these all-male clubs? And where did the early-on desire to wear female clothes mesh, if it did, with the desire to perform on stage? I think one cross dresser was on the mark from his own experience when he commented after reading of the enigma between CDs and performing on the stage: “I find mixing boy/girl elements a lot easier than going all out {Out in public.} en femme. To build up confidence and overcome nervousness, performing arts are a really good practice stage (literally ^^)! If only my theater teacher had known why I was always so eager to grab female roles.” Similar feelings expressed on the Internet are not uncommon.
In the late 1500s Shakespeare had no choice for the magistrates of that era required him to produce all-male plays. Surely, when writing his plays that would live on through the ages he knew very well that the female roles would have to be played by younger males but, obviously, it never hindered his creativity. But one has to wonder — did Shakespeare scour London looking for CDs with acting ability?
One member of the crossdreser.com forum has another slant by offering the premise that during the middle ages there was another motivation to stage plays — to provide entertainment during sea voyages. She writes: “Sailors in the British navy were about as far from wealthy {Alluding to the fact that Royalty, landed gentry and the wealthy were not punished if they happened to be inclined to crossdressing during these centuries.} as you can get, and boredom on long sailing voyages was a very real and very dangerous problem, so every ship had a chest of costumes, props, and plays, yes, with appropriate female costumes, and sailors would put on plays for their own entertainment, for the Captain and officers entertainment, and quite probably as a bit of inter-ship rivalry when in port.” And she offers another example: In 1914-1917 Ernest Shackleton commanded an Antarctic exploration ship, the Endurance, which became trapped over the winter in the Antarctic ice. The ship was eventually crushed and Shackleton and the men made temporary camps on the ice. To keep the men from going crazy in these, some of the most brutal conditions imaginable, one of the things they did was to use the contents of a similar chest to perform plays! After months and months and an 800-mile trip across open Antarctic water in an open boat, Shackleton was able to rescue all of the men with no loss of life!” In a funny but true vein a few CDs, picking up on a sentence above, remarked “To keep the men from madness by women’s clothes is, in part, my reason for dressing too.”
Accepting the historical fact that chests of stage costumes were carried on many of the sailing vessels from probably the 15th to the 19th century I would like to further fill in on the not too distant past in the field of entertainment and the relationship of the pragmatic need to fill a female stage role with a male actor-performer in contrast to those cross dressers in these centuries who found a needed outlet for their inclinations through the theater. In regard to entertaining the sailors: Granted that it’s very likely that putting on plays passed the time and diverted one’s fear of impending doom. Though if you have ever been at Mystic Seaport or elsewhere where one can board an old sailing vessel and explore the very close quarters, and also considering that rum was provided as a daily ration, one has to question whether show-time is all the entertainment that the crew had in mind — or the officers for that matter?
Several hundred years after the first Noh play in Japan it was women who performed the first male and female parts of the Kabuki. These plays ran all day long providing the actresses with the opportunity to earn money “on the side”. They were called “prostitute singers” by the displeased shoguns. The shoguns then replaced them with young men with the similar results — and so all-male plays (by older men) and musicals became the norm in Japan by the early 1700s. On the other side of the world the Italians looked to Greek plays for the birth of the opera. Young men were recruited and trained before their voices changed — countertenors or tenor altinos (falsetto) filled the bill. The beautiful voices of a boys’ choir eventually divided into castrato (yep) and houte-contre so opera began sans femme. I digress.
No need to remind the present CD community that from the 13th Century to present gays and transvestites were lumped together with all the other “crazies” — be they drunk, had dementia or any other obvious mental malady. Dickens pertinently described the horror endured within the walls of their confinement. Treatment was non-existent other than some having part of their brains cut out. By the way, if one neglected to pay their debts exceeding the equivalent of fifty dollars you were also thrown into the pit. And yes, the Royalty of Europe and England along with their relatives and wealthy friends were left alone regardless of any sexual or gender proclivities they might display. Interestingly, actors, writers, poets and the like were also excused from close scrutiny. Is not CDing also role playing in a fashion? Would not CDs have a greater attraction to the theater than the “average”. If true, then would it not also apply down through the ages? Perhaps there is a stronger connection between many of those who chose the theater as their avocation and those with cross dressing proclivities than we care to admit.

I wish that this post could be more definitive to the degree that cross dressers have been related, involved, with the theater. A CD suggests that the difficulty lies in the same reticence that we still find: “You wonder whether some of these people would have left memoirs that revealed their passion for ‘drag’ or more – but again, perhaps an indication of the extent of shame or taboo has meant that men of standing would never be prepared to admit as such.” I wonder too.

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