The Click

Hi!

I need your help!

I get a lot of emails from girls like me, from people like you, from crossdressers AND from partners, spouses, and significant others about relationships with a non-cis gender person.

Most of these emails are about two people trying to understand or trying to explain this side of us to their partner.

It’s not uncommon to hear about how someone came out to their partner. I don’t know if there’s a right way to come out to someone (besides being gentle and honest) but goodness I’ve heard of a lot of wrong ways to reveal this side of ourselves. Well, maybe not WRONG but it certainly didn’t go as well as intended despite someone’s best and most sincere efforts.

Helping someone understand this side of us is very very very difficult. It’s complex and simple and abstract all at the same time. I mean, I am at peace with who I am, I know who I am, I know what I want out of life. I also know who I am not and what isn’t right for myself. But could I succinctly and clearly relay this to someone else? No. I mean, I think it would take someone a long time of reading every meandering post on this site to “get” me. Not to say I am a baffling mystery but we are all very nuanced and every transperson is different from another transperson.

Someone was explaining lightyears to me the other day and how light travels and how super powerful telescopes display images of things that happened a zillion years ago and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. It seemed to contradict every law of reality, like looking into something that happened in the past. He did a very good job patiently explaining it but I just couldn’t process it.

Gender identity is probably similar. How does one explain the physics of interstellar light in a couple of sentences? How does one explain why someone with a penis wants to wear a dress?

On a side note, the last thing I expected to write about this morning was comparing crossdressing to lightyears but here we are.

I have come out to three romantic partners in my life. One didn’t understand and avoided discussing it, another was accepting, and then there’s my amazing wife. Each time I came out there was also the need to explain who I wasn’t and what this didn’t mean.

No, I am not gay. No, I am not doing drag. No, this isn’t a sex thing. No, I am not in denial. No, I don’t feel I was born in the wrong body. No, I am not going to transition.

Each of those sentences was their own conversation, often over the course of several weeks. An exhausting conversation for both of us. These conversations rarely led to them being resolved. Resolution would come in time. What I mean is that no matter how many times I told my wife I didn’t want to transition, she wasn’t convinced or at least was very skeptical. It took years until she was at peace and had moved on from that fear.

The first thing that needs to happen when it comes to our partners understanding this side of us is them going in the right direction.

What I mean is them learning what this side of us IS, and them moving away from what this side of us ISN’T.

Our partners first have to come to terms with who are are NOT before learning who are really are, what we really want.

To put it a different way (and bear with me, I am not a mechanic), if you are fixing a car that is making a weird noise, you probably start with what is the most likely reason the car is making that noise. If that is indeed the reason, then you know how to approach it. If it’s not the reason, you go to the second likely reason and so on.

This side of us isn’t that different.

And here we are comparing crossdressing to auto maintenance. I mean, we already compared crossdressing to interstellar travel so we may as well roll it with.

The moment we realize that we want to wear panties or makeup or look feminine we likely immediately wonder WHY we want this. We probably ask ourselves the same questions. Am I gay? Is this a fetish? Am I repressing something I am feeling? Was I born with the wrong genitalia? Is transitioning right for me?

Thus begins a lifetime of introspection and overthinking.

When we come out to our partners, they process who we are in a very similar manner. Is their husband gay? Is their husband wanting to do drag? Is this a fetish? Is he in denial? Does he feel he was born in the wrong body? Does he want to transition?

I mean, to be fair, these are very common reasons why someone like us are who we are. Of course, there are just as many of us where these reasons are nothing to do with who we are. Myself included.

Our partners will likely need to come to peace with each of these questions (and this usually takes a loooong time) before they can start to see for themselves who we really are and what this is all about.

Going back to the car analogy, a mechanic will look at every likely reason an automobile is making a weird noise. If the noise isn’t caused by the most likely reasons they start to look at the situation with fresh eyes and realize it’s a different scenario, one they hadn’t considered. A new thing to understand.

Once my wife came to terms with who I wasn’t, it was only them she could begin the bewildering journey of learning exactly who her husband was.

Like lightspeed, she had to understand who I am in a context that she could relate to, that she could understand.

Something had to click.

And one night, it did.

This click was like a light switch. All of a sudden she could view something with new eyes, in a new perspective. To belabor the metaphor, she was no longer in the dark. She could start to see.

Of course, not everything was easy after this. It was like seeing a very messy basement that needed to be organized. You can finally see what something is and the real work is about to begin.

This click was realizing something about myself that she could relate to.

“You just want to feel beautiful.”

She nailed it. I did want this. I will always want this.

This is an universal desire. I think we all want to feel attractive…. or handsome or beautiful.

Everyone can relate to wanting to feel attractive.. and we all have different perspectives on what this means to someone. For some, it’s a floor-length ballgown. Others feel their best in yoga pants and flipflops. For some a three piece suit is what it takes.

I think her realizing that beauty doesn’t have gender norms and we are all wired in certain ways stripped the essence of who I am down to my core. She had to ignore every societal expectations and traditions when it comes to clothes and feelings and emotions. Black and white became gray, blue and pink become purple.

It was only then she could look at who I was in an objective way. She eliminated common reasons why someone with a penis wants to wear lingerie and could see things differently and she could see me for who I was.

In a new light.

Of course, not everything was sunshine and butterflies from there. We still had difficult conversations, she still had fears, complex feelings, and doubts. Much of this was two steps forward, one step back.

My point is that it took years for she and I to be more or less on the same page with all of this. It took years of going in the right direction, if you will, in any journey that was made, whether it was mine or hers. But it took that aforementioned click for her to see the first step in the direction that took her, that took us, to arrive where we are today.

So, what was your click?

What did you say, what did your partner say that helped to put this in a new light?

I would love to hear your comments.

Love, Hannah

5 thoughts on “The Click

  1. Hello Hanna, what beautiful words, real woman do not understand the cross-dressing world we live in. cross dressing has been around for many years but never came out till know. real woman cross dress all the time and get away with it. so, what is the big deal with men wearing a dress and make up. the clothing feels so much more comfortable to wear and putting on make-up makes us look pretty, once we start to dress up, we must me wearing panties, bra boob inserts, nylons, dress or skirt and blouse, cover up and foundation, earrings, necklace heels and perfume, we do not want to look like a man in a dress, we must present our self’s as females. when i have the chance to dress up, i get all i want to wear for the 4 hours in home and look pretty and somewhat passable. but for you look absolutely stunning. i have my own female stuff so i don’t have to wear my wife’s dresses even Tho she doesn’t wear them i took over most of her dresses for she doesn’t fit into to them no more. i even under dress at times and feel pretty and then i can go out shopping or see someone. wish some day real woman will open up to our cross dressing and just let us be, including society needs to open up and leave us alone. keep up the good work

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  2. Hello Hanna,

    While I am not sure the right way to frame my thoughts I will start by saying that I began to read your blog years ago when I identified as a cross-dresser. It did not take long for me to see I was on the right path, but I am MtF or a trans woman. My previous relationship did not survive this for complex reasons, but when I could describe to myself in an elegant way, this similar wording worked with others close to me. I was out of balance and spent my life attempting to get my mind and spirit / soul to get in check or behave. What I needed was to bring my body to where my mind, spirit and soul already were. To get to a place of balance is how I see what I needed. And yes, I need to feel opportunity to be beautiful, but I need even more to be seen, treated and acknowledged among other aspects.

    I am where I am to obtain balance and after all I have been through, I now just click, completely in my own life, in every way.

    This is a fantastic observation and question. I look forward to what you write next.

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  3. Hannah — Have enjoyed your blog for years!

    Your description rings true for me. As the circle of those who know Rochelle expanded through my family, our daughter took it in stride and surprisingly quickly. My wife overheard our daughter talking to another family member who was processing the news. She simply said “Dad wants to feel pretty sometimes.” Nailed it! Wow, such insight to what can be an emotionally fraught and confusing revelation. I agree that by starting out by identifying all the things it isn’t, may be the best way to go about it. People can understand us better and perhaps sooner by removing the things we aren’t (in my case, not a drag queen, not transitioning, don’t reject my guy side). Maybe the sculpture metaphor works here — remove the stone that isn’t the sculpture to reveal the true us inside. The upcoming generation’s understanding and increasing acceptance of gender fluidity surely helps, too.

    Thanks again for your devotion to the CD/TG community!

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  4. I told my wife shortly before we got engaged. We had just had sex, and I told her there was something I needed to tell her. I said “I have a large collection of women’s clothes and sometimes I like wearing them. I find it relaxing.” My heart raced and I nearly hyperventilated. She asked if had any plans to transition to female. I said no. She said “ well then it’s ok.”
    The next month, we went to two Halloween parties with me in a velvet and satin cocktail dress and heels. She let me wear her mother’s pearls and she did my makeup for me. It was a dream come true for me. I didn’t want the night to end!
    A year later we were married and we became parents a year after that. That’s when she said she didn’t want to see me dressed up anymore.
    I’m glad I told her when I did. But I wished she could have more respect for how important this is as a self expression for me.

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  5. I compare this to what it would be like if my wife told me she liked to dress up in men’s clothing and I was not a cross dresser. You see where I am going with this – so this is why it is best NOT to tell your wife if you can avoid it!

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