We know that “society” will never “accept” us.
We can’t wait for “them” to let us know that crossdressing or wanting to wear a dress or lipstick or whatever we have tucked away in our dresser drawers or hidden in our closets is okay.
Acceptance of who we are comes from ourselves. Some of us accept who we are with giddy excitement. They embrace this side of themselves. They have denied this side of themselves for too long until finally, finally they accept that they are who they are, that they love to wear lingerie or nail polish or the countless, wonderful things that they have dreamed of wearing. For others, this acceptance comes with resigned reluctance. They have fought this side of themselves for their entire lifetimes, thinking, hoping, and perhaps praying it would go away. But it didn’t, and it won’t. Some of us just stop fighting ourselves, they stop denying that this is a phase and this is who they are.
We want this acceptance of ourselves. Conflict, tension, denial can be very exhausting. Thinking that there is something wrong with us is very depressing but this is who we are. This is how we are wired, this is how we were born. I cannot change my gender identity no more than I can change my age.
We know that accepting this side of us is essential for survival. Denying any part of ourselves can wear on us, it exhausts us, it consumes us. Acceptance of oneself usually feels *AMAZING*. A weight has been lifted, the missing piece of our identity falls into place, and a serene peace envelops us. Hopefully we are happier. I think most of us are.
Of course, not everyone wants to accept this side of themselves. They are terrified that this is who they are, that this is not a phase. The fear is that if they accept that there is something to their gender identity other than BEING A MAN, it may mean other things. Does it mean we were born in the wrong body? Does it mean you are gay? Does it mean we are going to transition? Well, maybe, but not necessarily. It’s normal to jump to the conclusion that because there is a side of you that is typically seen as feminine that perhaps you do not fit the societal view of heterosexuality. But really…? Wanting to wear a nightgown does not mean that you are unknowingly attracted to men.
I do understand the need, the hope that society accepts us. For many of us, there was a stigma with being anything that wasn’t masculine. It’s quite silly. There was a boy in my first grade who was really good at jumping rope. It didn’t take long for some boys to decide that jumping rope was for girls and he was mocked all throughout grade school for being a sissy, for being a girl. This, of course, is silly and harmful, the kid was just really good at jumping. As I watched that kid get tormented for years, I learned that this side of me needs to stay a secret. I never thought there was something wrong with me, but my life was hard enough as it was and I didn’t need to be ostracized because of what I wanted to wear. It would be nice to live in a world where a boy could jump rope or wear nail polish without getting beat up.
At some point we understand that society doesn’t, and never will accept us. Sure, they many tolerate or even love drag queens or take sensitivity training at work about gender identity, but for those of us who simply like to wear lingerie that level of acceptance is never coming. And it doesn’t need to. What I wear to bed and under my clothes is no one’s business. No one needs to know what kind of underwear I am wearing, whether it is boxers or panties. Spoiler alert: it’s panties.
But our partners need to know. Our partners need to know who we are. All of who we are. But this is not about that. I have written a lot of the importance of being honest with our significant others in the past, but this is about why we crave that acceptance.
We want someone other than ourselves to tell us that it’s okay. Even after we accept this side of us we will still go back and forth about it. We may go from loving this side of us to wishing it would go away. We have accepted this is who we are, but some of us may still wish that this side of us would vanish. Spoiler alert: it won’t.
Our partners accepting this side of us… and liking this side of us are two different things. Like us, our partners may come to the point where they have accepted that this is who we are. “My husband likes to wear panties and he’s not going to change” is not an easy thing for our wives to say. We want our partners to like this side of because most of us like who we are. We know it’s a lot to ask, we know it’s a lot to take in. We know that their man wearing panties (or whatever) is a big change. We know how hard it is to be who we are, to accept who we are, and we must remember our partners are going to go through that agony, that confusion as well. Putting someone we love through the same thing we put ourselves through is going to cause a lot of guilt. It’s a lot to ask. Even now I want to constantly tell my wife thank you for all she puts up with.
We can accept ourselves, but liking, embracing this side of ourselves are not the same thing. The same goes with our partners. We want our partners to LIKE this side of us because it makes it easier. We feel less guilt when we wear a nightie because our wives like it when we do. Does my wife like this side of me? She has long accepted that this is who I am. It doesn’t phase her the way it did when I came out to her before we got married. I think she is used to it which is not the same as resigning herself to it. I think she likes we talk about makeup or styles or cute clothes. I think she likes that I can give my thoughts on an outfit she’s wearing and knowing my perspective and opinion is coming from somewhere a little different because of my gender identity.
But does she ever think “oh boy, I’m so glad my husband crossdresses and wears panties!” No, I don’t think so. I think she likes that this side of me makes me happy, and really, that’s enough. It’s not much different than a wife being happy that her husband likes to play video games, watch football or something. I don’t think there’s a lot of wives who are thrilled because their husband likes to fish. They may be happy that their spouse has something, and does something, that makes them happy, though.
Some of us have partners that will dress to the nines with them and hit the town. Some of us have partners who see our femme selves as their BFFs and go shopping with. But for most of us, our partners accepting this side of us is the most we can ask for, and the most we can hope for. I understand we want our partners to like this side of us, to be happy with this side of us. I understand, believe me. Accepting their partners as we are is not easy, and even if they do, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be difficult sometimes.