“I’m a what?”
I remember the first time I heard the word ‘crossdresser’. I was in grade school, probably 6th grade, when a friend mentioned an episode of a talk show that featured men who liked to wear girl clothes.
I was stunned. At times I felt like I was the only boy in the world who longed to wear beautiful dresses, but to learn that there were so many of us that there was a word for someone like me was astonishing.
In a lot of ways, this was reassuring. This was comforting. It was a relief to know that there were others like me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, but knowing that there were others who wore what I wore and that maybe, just maybe it was more normal than I had ever dared to dream.
Of course I am a crossdresser. But I am a crossdresser by my definition of it. A few years ago I started to identify as transgender. But finally I feel that identifying as bi-gender is the most accurate.
There may be too much emphasis on labels and indeed it can be overwhelming and confusing to have so many options, especially to others. Some wives can live with their husbands wearing panties, but are terrified at the idea that their spouse may be transgender. To many, being transgender might mean hormones, surgery, and transitioning.
Of course, being trans does not necessarily mean that these step will be taken. The t-word covers a lot of territory, if you will.
I do think that having different ways to identify can be helpful. For a boy who wants to wear a dress and look pretty they may feel that identifying as trans and transitioning is the only option. It’s not. If you want to be a girl, you can be a girl, but you don’t have to always be a girl.
And this is exactly why I am bi-gender. Sometimes I want to b a girl, sometimes I don’t. I don’t want to live as one gender for the rest of my life. I don’t want to pick just one. I like being both of the genders I identify as.
As I grew up and started to realize that this side of me is never going away (not that I wanted it to), my wish, my curiosity, my need to be beautiful, to wear panties or mascara or a skirt grew. And it grew stronger. The more I denied doing these things, whether it was me holding myself back or because I lived at home and I simply couldn’t wear a dress whenever I wanted, the stronger these feelings became.
Once I moved out and started doing small things, like wearing a nightgown to bed, underdressing, or relaxing in my apartment in a dress, I realized that those feelings subsided a bit. I was content. I was happy. What I was doing was enough.
Over time I started makeup, eventually a wig, and one day I became who I am today. I realized that as much as I loved this side of me, I didn’t want to live full-time as Hannah. I like both of my genders. Being a girl from time to time is enough for me.
Over my life I had tipped my toe into this beautiful world. And I did it in small steps. I wore panties, loved them, and then a bra. Then stockings. More lingerie. Heels. Soon real clothes. Then makeup, a wig, and then stepping out of the house.
Each step, each new piece of a wardrobe, each new level (if you will) was another step into a new gender for me.
By allowing myself to wear what I wanted, to do what felt right, gave me the perspective that transitioning wasn’t for me. I love being a girl, I love being a boy, I love wearing “girl clothes” in boy mode. I love who I am. I love being in-between. I love all of it.
We need to find out who we are in baby steps. When we deny this side of us, we may make the wrong decisions about who we are and what we want. My desire to be a girl was so strong throughout my life (or at least look like a girl) that had I not made these tiny steps it’s possible that I would have felt that transitioning was the only and best option for me.
But it’s not. You don’t have to choose. You might love to wear lingerie but you do you don’t have to transition to do that. If you want to wear a cute pink bra and matching thong, you don’t have to transition. Wanting to wear lingerie (or a skirt or lipstick) doesn’t mean anything beyond wanting to wear lingerie (or a skirt or lipstick).
It’s in this sense that labels (if you will) are comforting. Wanting to wear stilettos doesn’t mean that you are a girl. Perhaps you are a crossdresser, perhaps you are bi-gender. It’s possible that your journey (ugh) may end at living full-time or transitioning, but perhaps not.
We tend to overthink and over-analyze who we are and what this means and why we are who we are. It’s normal to do so. But thinking about who we are only gets one so far. We need to explore this side of us. Buy those heels, try on that corset, get a wig fitting. Discover yourself.
Who are you?