CROSS DRESSING: MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

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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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CROSS DRESSING: 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.

CROSS DRESSING MYTHS, FALLACIES 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 people.  Examples: “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.

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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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CROSS DRESSING 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”.

 

CROSS DRESSING 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.

REMINDER: If you have a comment  on any post please be sure to submit via juliegaum@msn.com and indicate a post number in order to avoid spams.

CROSS DRESSING MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

Blog Post # 57

Let’s hear from you!

Before proceeding it has come to this writer’s attention that since introducing this series of blogs we have received over 7000 spams! I think you will have to agree that attempting to filter all these in order to be able to respond to those readers looking for information and/or answers is a daunting task — certainly wasted time for a sincere letter writer. So, starting now please ignore the box “Leave a Reply” and, when you have a question or merely want to add your observations write to : juliegaum@msn.com and begin your letter with Blog Post No XX  — specifically to the post number whose contents you wish to address. I should be able to reply within 48 hours. Exploring the many and varied opinions, theories and hypotheses on this subject is what we are about.

Although we had planned to devote this post to briefly cover an important part of our community without getting lost in a complicated dissertation embracing all the disciplines of medicine, psychiatry, physiology and the rest — we first need to identify that particular layer of the spectrum — or at least offer our best efforts. For a long time now this writer has been firmly entrenched  with the 85, 15 and 5 percents (Hetero, bi and gay) generally considered the “best guess estimates”. Since there never has been a census taken of the gender inclinations of all the males in the U. S. and the few taken elsewhere are dubious at best due to the small samplings taken — I’m beginning to doubt the validity of these numbers. Even if this writer were able to poll one million adult males the results would be questionable! Why? It seems that an unknown but large number, at any one time, are in stages of confusion. Not sure whether they are only fantasizing or are actually in reality inclined and desire to be bi or gay. The knee-jerk reaction is, normally, being secretive. Initially this same group are in denial to themselves so hiding their uncertainties would be expected. The insight of these last comments were provided by a husband, father and a bi-CD since age 14 — I think Rog helped explain our dilemma.

Tri-Ess, a nationally recognized group, has been the forefront representative  of heterosexual CDs for decades. Without taking a poll I dare to say that the numerous CD conventions, meets, and cruises held each year from coast to coast and overseas universally enforce very strict rules — from extreme fashion to proper manners, from display of overt to covert sex will not be tolerated. Even attempts to sell sex toys are a no-no. Keep in mind that a good number of wives and girlfriends who attend these affairs make great chaperons as well. I would have to believe that some bi-CDs go to these events but would have to refer the reader back to the last paragraph to explain why we don’t know in what numbers they might be represented among the guests.

Now let’s look at what else is going on that might provide a better idea of the orientation mix. We  know that pornography is not “open” accessibility-wise but as a multi-billion dollar industry is easily available on the Internet, theatres, in the video section of adult stores and elsewhere. Perhaps not a parallel comparison to houses of prostitution but males, and some females, looking for one night stands are able to find their interests satisfied — generally without offering cash — but instead needing to join an on-line or on-phone club with dues of $25  and up. Certainly these participants are as active sexually as any other  “normal” 18 to 55 year-old.The question then is how many are there and how big a percent of the overall CD community do they represent? Backup a moment: While most may be looking for a fast fix there are many who do want to get to know, and like, to find commonality other than sex as a common denominator before going further. The concern for STD and AIDS also slows down the eager ones. The impression an outsider garners from such sites might be that there seems to be a multitude of members; however, in order to get their money’s worth from the monthly fee along with the pull of libido would indicate that they visit these sites more frequently than those at hetero sites. A very few gays might visit these sites because they are curious or do have an attraction for “a male in a dress”; however the majority are cross dressers in various stages of exploration. We have discussed that many CDs fantasize that if they expect to feel like a “complete” woman they must have a male partner, if only briefly,, but chicken out when their hetero side resists. As a matter of fact I dare say that most hetero CDs find themselves sexually aroused, to some degree, by those lucky dressers who by youth and genetics are able to present as very lovely females. Perhaps it’s autogynephilia in that we wish those  beautiful CDs were  really how we would like to look and make love to or that they would solely test our resistance not to bed.

There are those influenced by childhood experiences, through either mother or sister, that  encouraged feelings instilled before birth. By puberty they were already bi-sexual and cross-dressing expressed what they soon found to be their true identities — identities not readily acceptable in the outside world. Then there are the curious and the experimenters who 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.

The next post 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.131940 Continue reading

CROSS DRESSING MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

Post No. 56

So far we have covered many of the variations found in the heterosexual portion of the spectrum — and we will continue to add to that section of the rainbow as long as that amazing mind of ours seeks to blend, to meld from that variation of color that we might be in to an adjoining one — think 100% fetishist becoming only, say, 20% while other interests, such as fashion, takes over as the primary motivator. Among cross dressers approximately, 15%  is made up of perhaps 10% bisexual and 5 percent homosexual. Delving deeper we find that, even though the numbers are considerably smaller, there are at least as many variations in this group as there are in the larger hetero community.

I asked myself, “How come? Why would someone attracted partially or solely to the same sex wish to dress as a member of the opposite one? One of the great Myths is repeated time and time again when a wife, SO or family member catches you en femme —- first words out of their mouths are, “Are You Gay”. So now lets look at that, probably, 15% that really are either Bi or gay.154600

In an attempt to be orderly we’ll use part of Dr, Harry Benjamin’s Sexual Orientation Scale as the outline. Normally, in my opinion, though his work offers a valuable guide I get a feeling that he must have studied lab rats in formulating conclusions without ever having personally met a human CD.

Starting at one end or, as Benjamin indicates: “Kinsey Scale 6, and often quoted by a media looking for headlines, are those “born a girl in a boy’s body”.  As mentioned before the lucky ones are financially assisted by supportive parents to transition at an early age but that, sadly, isn’t the norm. With probably antagonistic parents, unsympathetic family and church and peers that consider you a freak of some kind — naturally the reaction is to hide, hide your confusion, your shame, your desire to be with the girls, to dress like them, act like them and BE one of them. Not your fault, it was the hand you were dealt at birth. — immaterial whether due to chromosomes, .hormones, genetics or whatever. Sometimes bi-sexual but usually homosexual in interest. Before that urgent conversion operation can be financially attained they seek for partial relief estrogen medication, psychological guidance or psychotherapy for symptomatic relief only. While pre-op they may live, work and dress as a woman.  This scale 6 group in actuality are only to be considered as cross dressers for the short term, that is until surgical transition takes place for thereafter they are to be considered as women and not CDs. Unfortunately for reasons of family, work or other circumstances some will never be able to undergo surgical transition though they have undertaken hormone and other regimens. So, though disputed by some, this small group might be considered cross dressers even though they are mentally and mostly physically the woman they portray.  We know that CDing is a minor motivator for them and the seriousness of their plight should not be easily dismissed for unless they are able to physically transition suicide or self-mutilation are on the table.

Going down that Kinsey Scale as described by Dr. Benjamin the next groups (4 and 5) find CDing provides joy to their feminine side. Conversion surgery is not a must for these groups and  estrogen medication often becomes their main option.. There are some in this group who have to settle for hormone therapy usually for the reasons of health issues or lack of finances. A snapshot would show a person who rejects psychotherapy and psychological guidance, and may have lived and worked as a woman. A few have been married by using fantasies in intercourse — fantasies of being female and having relations with a male. Noted a total psycho-sexual inversion —- intense  gender discomfort. Many in this group do finally have surgery; however it becomes more complicated in that group 4:occupants usually have dual personalities, waver towards transition, require assist from hormones and bi-sexuality —  passive homosexuality — is common among them. Further, at this level surgery is quite frequently rejected because of supportive loved ones, work-place conditions or even religious beliefs .Nevertheless , scale levels 4 to 6 personalities usually believe, with varying intensity, that they are indeed living in the wrong body.

As a result of these findings the wording on my book cover, as well as specific writings within its covers have been modified to welcome the homosexuals residing within our CD community. — now that I better understand why a gay person might also be a CD.

The scales 1 through 3 include the majority heterosexual CDs. Who and what they are definitely differs, in my opinion from Dr. Benjamin’s . Not my intention to declare war on the Benjamin precepts as our purpose was to provide a clue as to why some non-hetero cross dressers are what they are — CDs!

However, though not the subject of this particular post , I will briefly describe the first three Benjamin scales for the curious:     In scale one are the newbees, those in the discovery phase at age 4 or 40, and that trigger flips on through contact with a mother’s or sister’s clothing. Gender feelings are masculine and they get the occasional kick out of dressing. Then the next two scales pretty much follow what we have previously covered —- the fetish phase (That may never leave, for some.); Purging and relapse; underdressing  and the “occasional” becomes more frequent; a female name assigned by spouse, GF or themselves (Actually healthy in a marriage as it is easier for a partner who has just discovered this CD thing to compartmentalize their hubby’s inclinations.) and a supportive family to that person in the household who will continue to be the bread-winner and father to his children though he just might be wearing a dress at home and on vacation. The preponderance of cross dressers are in these first three scales and they are heterosexuals.

Before closing Post #56 I would not want the Bi-sexuals among us to feel that we deliberately skimmed over your situation in scales 4 through 6. Though Benjamin and others believe that “BI” is merely “passive homosexuality” and others with that inclination use other labels like “gender-fluid” and similar as it makes them feel more comfortable — more study is required before we can definitively understand at what point does one assume that label. Time and time again we read of the supposed hetero CD fantasizing of making love to another male even if  it is another CD (Still has a penis.) who sexually arouses them — they believe, understandably, that it will make them the complete woman. A hetero may fantasize but will never act on it so at what point did one become bi? Logically the answer should be that you were born that way. Would like to get to the crux of this contentious subject.

 

 

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CROSS DRESSING MYTHS, FALLACIES AND MOST THERAPISTS WITHOUT A CLUE

Post. No. 55

Our last post presented a fresh approach to the intriguing question,  Why do only some respond to the triggers encountered and those few become cross dressers? The developer of that hypotheses, WPDP,  now adds further comments for your perusal. Note: the author, Julie, eliminated extraneous material for the sake of brevity..

“The majority of cross-dressers have their first memories of cross-dressing while they are in their early childhood. This would correspond with the period of synaptic pruning during our early learning processes. The brain would be associating cross-dressing with contact with a female, however it would NOT be sexual. At this juncture you lack the hormones to make cross-dressing a sexual experience. However you still crave contact with a female, and that contact is your mother. My mother always wanted a daughter so when my sister was born, she was pampered — the center of my mother’s attention. My mother tells me that she had to carry a baby in each arm as I insisted on her attention. When I was 3-yrs old I developed a type of play. I called it “mommy” but all I was doing was raiding mom’s closet. Playing with my mom’s clothes made me feel special. It was not sexual, but it was a sensory experience (No, my mother did not approve of my behavior.).

Synesthesia  does not mean random neural connections. The process of neural pruning removes nonsense connections and the learning process reinforces other connections. So, in your very early childhood you may have made associations between women’s clothing and the contact with a woman, and that may have been the only thing you needed.

I believe my theory is a radical paradigm shift on how cross-dressing is addressed in the scientific community. It means that we are not experiencing imaginary sensations. It means we are not victims of a sort of mental distress. And, this theory should be empirically verifiable. The role of psychology would be focused on helping us cope with our sensory experience in a society that does not have the same sensory experience.”

121935Many will relate to the above while others may say, “Yes, but my feelings go beyond merely the wearing of clothes — how does one explain my desire to emulate, to look like or, with some, to be a woman?

Turning to the February 2014 issue of the National Geographic that reveals, yet again but to a much greater extent, the brain’s immense storehouse of some 100,000 miles of fibers called white matter – enough to circle the Earth four times, of nerves by the billions forming grid-like structures into circuitry beyond our comprehension and we realize that we must leave some answers to the neurotechnologists to connect the dots for us — some day.