I’ve been around the block a time or two and I’ve listened to so many heartbreaking stories from crossdressers, transgendered individuals, and their families. An early refrain that I heard time and time again – not only from families but occassionally from crossdressers and the transgendered themselves – was simply this:
Why can’t there be a cure for these desires?
Ouch. Just… ouch.
Hearing this breaks my heart. Every time. Without fail. The thing is, feeling the need to ask this sort of question means that you view the act of crossdressing, the act of putting on clothing that makes the crossdresser feel attractive, as a negative thing. It isn’t. I promise you, it really isn’t.
Clothing is like money, folks. In and of itself, money is not evil. It can be used for unpleasant purposes, yes, but it can also be used for pure good as well. The act of purchasing food to give to the hungry (donating cans during the holiday season, for example) is one such expression of using money for a good purpose. Money is a tool and its only value is the value that we as a society give it. We exchange hours of our lives in trade for money, which we then trade to other people for services or goods. It is – so far as living goes – a relatively good way to exact value for time spent. It is a tool. We could be using rocks or flowers or beads or bones just as interchangeably and the only difference here is the value we as a society attribute to it. And just as no two people in the world can agree what is precisely “a buttload” of money, no two people can grant the same value to personal self-worth.
Clothing is also a tool. It’s value is the self-worth that we derive from it. Now, for the purpose of this discussion, I am going to subtract the monetary value from the clothing in question. This shall give the clothing itself center stage, where it needs to be.
What is clothing? It is fabric cut into a pattern held together with thread and fastened with some sort of fastening device such as buttons, zippers or string. This, at its bare minimum, is what defines clothing. So, if all clothing is this in essence, then why is some clothing worth more of our time and energy in trade than other clothing? In some part this is due to how the clothing feels in our hands, its textile shape, or quality of construction. In others it is due to its purported scarcity. But ultimately it doesn’t matter if you’re holding the only pair of titanium-silk pants in existence… if you can’t put them on or if you do and they don’t make you feel good about yourself, what was the point in purchasing them?
There is none.
Clothing is one means of expression, one way of saying to the world, “Hey! This is how I feel about myself!” This is so true we even have trite sayings to underline this fact such as “the clothes make the man” or “people will judge you based on how you look”. Amy Winehouse looks like a train wreck and people perceive her as such. Brad Pitt is debonair and attractive and people describe him as sexy and engaging. Do you see? Clothing is all about perception when it comes to self worth.
Crossdressers want one thing in this world – to be perceived as pretty. They want people to look at them and see a delicate flower, someone to be protected and cherished and fawned over a little. They want to be flirted with, they want to be admired. You may not say so out loud but I bet you want the very same thing, don’t you? Of course you do, it’s in our nature, programmed by social conditioning since practically before birth that to be attractive means you will be liked and be successful. That you will be accepted. Whether or not these assumptions are in fact truth is beside the point.
The point is that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be pretty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted and loved. There is nothing wrong with the urge to be found desirable.
The disconnect here comes not from that urge but rather from a society that, until recently, had decided that “snips and snails and puppy dog tails” make up the makeup of a man while “sugar and spice and all that’s nice” decides the nature of a woman. I don’t know about you, but I’ve encountered plenty of rip-roaring bitches in my time and I don’t think a one of them even had a second thought about being deemed “nice” in their life! (Unless, that is, to spit upon the fools who get in their way.) Yet these women aren’t considered any less feminine or womanly for all their aggressive tendencies. They might come off as a touch masculine, but often I’ve found these ladies pair their raging bitchitude right along with skimpy skirts, low-cut shirts, and obscenely tall clacky heels. It’s considered sexy.
So bear with me. If a woman is allowed to be a raging bitch – not at all nice or kind or sweet as per the prerequisites for socital norms – why is a man who decides to don the opposing persona so villified? A man who wants to be considered sweet and attractive and domestic is demon spawn and woman who rages around in skin-tight pleather is still a lady?
Before you wonder if there’s a cure, take these questions into consideration. I have more to say on the matter, but I’ve got some “ladylike” cooking to do.
In the meantime, let me answe the question first posed.
Is there a cure?
Hell no! And be glad of it. I’d rather have a demure, kind, crossdressing man at my dinnertable than a raging bitch in shortpants anyday.
My two cents.