It’s about more than sex.
That is an answer I’ve had to give people on more than one occasion. They ask about the “turn on” of being dressed en femme. They mention the sexual release of being able to dress as a woman. They mention just about everything that is not me. I am not a textbook, nor do I fall neatly into any one category.
Sure, when I started dressing I was in my pre-teens and it was a sort of awe-inspiring rush that went through my body. Sure, there were times when the sexual release was immense and, yes, it was directly tied to the act of dressing and presenting as a female. I was a crossdresser at that point, but I knew there was more to it.
The classification for a Crossdresser is someone who wears the clothing of the opposite sex. For a Transvestite, the act of dressing correlates with sexual arousal and becomes part of the classification of a fetish. A crossdresser can also jump this line (which goes to show how stupid and pointless labels are to begin with). Upon this realization I had moved from crossdresser to transvestite, which is where I stood for many years.
Through college I had a couple girl-friends that knew about my other side and were 100% on board with it. I also had a girlfriend who did not figure things out till the end of our relationship, but by that time I had grown weary of her ridiculous games and we were no more.
Moving on to marriage. Like so many transgendered people, I was in a bit of a denial about who I was, really. My fiance knew I had female clothing but I passed it off as something done for a laugh. To prove this, I purged (for the WAY too many-ith time) but not because of her wishing it, but rather I felt I needed to. I had fallen in love and thought there would be no room in the relationship for this other side of me. It wasn’t until after we were married that I finally came clean as to what I was all about. At least as much as I knew at the time.
She asked about whether or not it meant I was gay, or if I wanted to be a woman, but it was nothing judgemental. It was the act of learning more about what I did and what this other side of me meant. We bought books and would research anything at all we could find. To this point all I had been able to dig up was what the Encyclopedia Brittanica had given me (a paragraph in our outdated set at home) and what I could manage to secure through the campus library and watching talk shows, before the days of the horrid Springer shows. You know, he actually used to care about his guests, and they used to actually be real. So we studied up on things.
Still being in the category of transvestite, it made for good times in the bedroom. It was not only a “turn on” to be dressed, but to have someone in my life who was accepting and encouraging made it even better. As time has passed (we’ve been married for 20 years), the Jenn side of me began to grow and move to the forefront. At this point I graduated to Transgendered status. I wanted to be Jenn more and more. It was what felt right. It was what I knew, deep inside, I needed to be. Our conversations have moved from “do you think” to “when are you going to.” My wife’s attitude toward it has also changed. In the beginning she said she would stay with me no matter what. I think it was naivety in thinking the day would never come. As it goes now, she has told me that she will stay by my side through whatever I decided, but that she would no longer be married to me if I were to transition. We would be lifelong friends, but no longer married. Some other transgendered people I know want to attack and ask “what’s wrong with her that she can’t see you are the same person?” My reply is very similar to hers. She is not a lesbian and despite that I would still “be me”, I wouldn’t be. I cannot make her change any more than she can stop me from doing the same. It is a guilt ridden decision to be made. Knowing that deep down I really knew, I never should have fallen in love. However, that isn’t something you can really decide. It happens. It grows. It evolves. As do we.
I am now firmly planted under the umbrella of Transgendered. There is no “thrill” involved with dressing any longer. It is a part of me. It is natural. It is right. To quote a lyric from HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and the song WIG IN A BOX,
“I look back on where I’m from
look at the woman I’ve become
and the strangest things
seem suddenly routine…..”
These lines hold an amazing truth within their simple structure. This is exactly how it feels at this point in my life. I have changed, physically, mentally and emotionally, and this is without any hormones. I can only imagine how that will feel.
From my earliest memories I knew that what I felt inside did not match what I looked like. These aren’t memories from 7 or 8 years old, these are memories that go back to 4 or 5 and quite possibly 3. Yes, I do have distinct memories of the house I was brought into. I can remember the layout, things that happened there and standing at the front door looking at the neighborhood. We moved out of that house when I was 3. This was an internal drive.
The saddest part of this journey is that it has taken me this long to really realize and now encompasses more people than just myself. It makes the decision a more difficult one to make, but one that must be made none the less.