Monday, February 16, 2009

You were always on my mind

I was cruising some blood-red conservative blogs earlier today because I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the other side. As usual, I found we lefties have nothing to worry about.

For some reason, my surfing, reminded me of an article I wrote in August 2006 about the crossdressing community in Northeast Ohio. It is one of my most widely read and linked pieces. Although the transgender community is as diverse as its members, for the article I focused on heterosexual men who present as females with varying regularity.

There were plenty of young glam crossdressers and fetishists, but the ones that compelled me most were the middle-aged men who were quiet in their compulsion. During group picnics and get-togethers, I'd find myself talking to a regular joe, except he'd be in a polyester pant suit and espadrilles, clutching a straw purse. They always wore lipstick. As often as not, they were politically conservative and regular church goers. Some of the events were even held in church basements.

Some of the crossdressers were married, others divorced. All of them had stories about how friends and family eschewed them on account of their desire to wear feminine clothing, unless they were still in the closet. When I really garnered their trust, they would slip from their contrived female voice to their regular masculine voice.

"So now I don't see my grandchildren anymore," Geraldine would tell me in Jerry's deep voice as she worried the tendrils of an ill-fitting blond wig.

Anyhow, I thought you'd all like to know that my favorite conservatives are the ones in wrap-around dresses and size 13 slingbacks. I wonder how many of the blood-thirsty red bloggers and their followers have a secret. Although his is an entirely different issue, need I invoke the name of good Senator Craig?


There's plenty more to read in the article. And here is the associated blog post. That is all.


Zen Wizard said...

What's curious to me is that the broad category of transvesticism can be broken down into three categories:

1) Transvestites that are heterosexual,

2) Transvestites that are homosexual, and

3) transvestites that are on some level of a transgenderization.

If in fact it is a pathology (and a good rule of thumb, I think, is that a "pathology" is something that ends you up either fired, in court, or in the hospital--so I guess maybe this would qualify because you could get fired or end up in court if divorced), then the pathology would have the same result; not three subsets.

Another interesting facet is that for males sometimes dressing up in women's clothing is per se sexually stimulating and for females it is not.

For males, some of the elements of addiction would be present: i.e., anticipation, danger, fulfillment, euphoria.

The problem with the pathology theory is the number of times it is condoned in Western culture: e.g., at the time of Shakespeare, all the female parts were performed by boys.

Glass Houses said...

I was recently at a gathering of women at a tattoo parlor to celebrate women with ink. There was a person there whom, I think, was a genetic male presenting as a woman.

What was confusing is that the only thing that pointed me in that direction was the application of very red lipstick. Long hair on a male in this culture is not abnormal, nor is wearing earrings...and there were several men there to support the group.

This person was otherwise unpainted, wearing very standard jeans and a t-shirt, with a wallet tucked into the back pocket.

I had no idea what to say to her.

And I felt so terrible, because she was obviously very shy and there by herself.

In retrospect, I should have just extended a hand and asked her name.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

My heart really goes out to these people. My daughter works in a store that they frequent and she has compassion for the business man that comes in on his lunch hour just to try on goodies.

Anonymous said...

Transvestites are termites . . .

Erin O'Brien said...

I am very very close to deleting that ignorant comment.

Do me a favor gang and please don't play his game.

Kirk Jusko said...

I don't play games with angels. They harp too much.

Copper said...

I highly recommend "the essential Dykes to Watch Out For" by Alison Bechdel.

After reading it, I don't think I want to label anyone ever again. Too many characters to love. Too many truths revealed no matter what your flavor may be.

Dozens of the "traditional" female traits - from lace to high heels, wigs, makeup, and more were once of great interest to the fashionable male. I can't believe between the technology we have and the vast expanse of history behind us we condemn and impose our own narrow personal definitions of gender.

Erin O'Brien said...

That's a sure way to get to heaven, Kirk.

Thanks for dropping in, Copper, and for the recommendation as well. Your points about our conservative views on gender are also very well taken.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

For the record, I am a conservative.

I am, however, not a transvestite, a transgender, etc.

I do not dress in women's clothing, either publicly or in private.

I use my normal, male voice at all times.

I have no secrets that I know of.

I'm not a regular church goer (never have been, despite 8 years of Catholic grade school).

So I guess I'm not one of Erin's favorite conservatives because I don't wear "wrap-around dresses and size 13 slingbacks." Sorry to disappoint, but there you have it.


hoosierboy said...

slingbacks hurt my feet. I like soft slippers and an evening gown....It makes my tiara a little less ridiculous...but that is just me.

Erin O'Brien said...

I think you look pretty, HB.

Erin O'Brien said...

Oh, and Al does have secrets.

Anonymous said...

A subject I really haven't cared about, still don't. But I am upset that bath robes for women are so much better than the ones for men.

James Old Guy

Anonymous said...

I once met a post-op transgendered lady who had previously lived as a hetero male. Now she identified as lesbian but was sadly not accepted by a section of the lesbian community because of her previous status as a bloke. I'm not aware of her political orientation.

philbilly said...

dammit, O'brien, now I have the audio of Bela Lugosi chanting "powwl da string! powwl da string!" running through my head from Ed Wood's creepy psychtronic classic "Glen or Glenda?".

I swear, the stuff you come up with.

H-boy; "It makes my tiara a little less ridiculous...", man, that's funny.

A quibble @ Zen's comment "Another interesting facet is that for males sometimes dressing up in women's clothing is per se sexually stimulating and for females it is not."

I, and many others I'd warrant, have been blessed to experience a woman getting very turned on by the act of donning/ doffing lingerie. Me likey.

Erin O'Brien said...

James, if you want to borrow my bathrobe, just let me know.