Thursday, 22 August 2013

Seriously not helping

In this blog, as you know, I celebrate all sorts of human expression, particularly if it's to do with clothing or gender role. I am all for relaxation of societal attitudes and acceptance of men (in particular) who want to wear women's clothing in public. But a few items have lately caught my eye on the Internet, and reminded me that there are people out there who are seriously not helping.
Howard: seriously??

The first incident is this one. A grey-haired man wearing female heels, underwear, and basically nothing else, fronted up at an airport to board a plane for an internal flight across the US. Passengers complained about the man, but the airline (US Air) allowed him to board the aircraft because they "don't have a dress code policy".

The man, identified only as "Howard", says he is a business consultant, and "does it for fun". As can be seen here, he willingly poses for photos taken by other passengers. This incident is not isolated; it seems Howard, from Phoenix, likes to fly around the US wearing ridiculous female attire, and there are quite a few pictures and videos of him out there.

Howard asserts: "It has never been my intent to put people in a situation where they feel uncomfortable. I try to respect other people's opinions. As long as my dress is not indecent from a legal perspective, and so long as the airline does not object, I have the right to wear what I wear. And others have the right to wear what they want to wear. This is just something I do for fun. I don't mean any harm."

Seriously, though, what is he thinking? As a crossdresser myself, going out dressed in public is desirable and pleasurable. But only (and here is the important bit) if people behave decently. Howard may be having fun, and acting within the law or his rights-- perhaps only just-- but his behaviour is awful. This sort of thing is exactly why I don't want to be associated with crossdressing. He is setting out to deliberately provoke outrage, and by doing so, he is giving the rest of us a bad name. If I saw him dressed like that in an airport, I would protest, loudly.
Rob: seriously??

Okay, the next incident is a few years old now. Rob Moodie, a New Zealander, joins the police force as a young man, rises to the rank of inspector, retires, takes a law degree, and subsequently a PhD. He sounds like a man of irrepressible competence. Then he starts turning up to court wearing girly frocks, then officially changes his name to Miss Alice.

His motivation for this ridiculous behaviour was reported to be "a gender-bending protest against the male-dominated corruption of New Zealand's judicial system".

The NZ Police does mention him on its website, but is uncomfortably tight-lipped about his biography.

Even if New Zealand's judicial system is male dominated (aren't they all?) and even if he isn't the only lawyer in the world who likes to wear women's clothing, how could he possibly do anything other than undermine his own arguments, and attract scorn and contempt? I mean, would you take him seriously? Would you hire him to defend you against criminal charges, or to plead your case in the High Court? (Although just maybe, the judge would throw out the case on the grounds of insanity-- of the counsel, not the defendant!).

What Rob and Howard are doing is not harmless fun. It tarnishes the rest of us by reputation. Members of the public, looking at them, might conclude that all crossdressers are flagrant, disturbing and unrestrained. And I have to say, that would be a hard point to refute. Men like these may be few in number, but they have an influence out of proportion to their number, by their memorability and deliberate visibility.

Bradley: seriously??

The third incident is the most recent, and is very different in tone. Bradley Manning, the US Army soldier who leaked the largest cache of secret documents ever released to the public, to WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for his trouble.

I know next to nothing about Bradley Manning, although he has been at the centre of a very, very large media storm.

As a young military officer, he must have surely known that if he violated his duties of secrecy, he would be severely punished. Was he amoral, treacherous, and malicious? Was he acting defiantly, out of an unshakeable moral sense that what he was doing was right? Or was he a disturbed and volatile young man who should never have been allowed anywhere near national secrets? (And I bet there has been a lot of uncomfortable discussion behind tightly-closed doors: "Okay, whose idea was it to give Manning the passwords?")

I can't answer those questions. All I can say is that it was brought up in the trial, in his defence, that Manning is a young man of uncertain sexual orientation, who has deliberately dressed as a woman. In fact, a photo was shown in support of this point. It's not a very good photo, but it makes the point.

Whatever you may make of Bradley actions, or his punishment, the association between Manning's actions and his crossdressing carries extremely uncomfortable implications. For me at least, it seemed to be saying: of course this young man is unstable! He likes to dress as a woman! He must be crazy! Any man who dresses like that can't be OK.

From my perspective, it doesn't matter to me whether Manning is a transvestite or not (but see below!). What matters is the way this has been portrayed in the court, associating crossdressing with mental instability, moral weakness, and dangerous national disloyalty. In this case, it's not Manning himself who is not helping, but his defence. (Though I must admit I would clutch at any straws, even this one, if I thought it would keep me out of prison).

In any event, I suspect that Manning's next few years in prison at Fort Leavenworth will be uncomfortable. And I mean, seriously.

Addendum

Sometimes events can change pretty rapidly. In the last couple of days, Manning has released this statement:
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility).
Just a couple of comments spring to mind. The use of the phrase "I am Chelsea Manning", not "My name is Chelsea Manning" is a powerful statement of identity. The statement "I am female" is less clear-cut, partly because it's hard to argue that it's true. Finally, Manning's remark about "except in official mail" seems to be an overt recognition that she can insist who she is, all she likes, but the Army will not recognise that insistence.

The Army's statement is as follows:
All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science non-commissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement. The army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.
So that's that, then. Paris Lees, herself a transwoman who has spent time in prison, comments that Manning hid her gender-identity disorder because she feared she would be treated more harshly by the military justice system. I admit, I can see this angle (but why then bring it up at the trial?). On the other hand, I am somewhat more cynical. I can see that a young man, facing 35 years of military detention, might try to do anything-- anything-- which would mitigate the unpleasantness of that experience to some degree. To announce a desire to change sex, right now, would seem to be a desperate plea to be treated a little more gently, by what is clearly going to be a very harsh and punitive prison environment.

My concern is that this strategy backfires, and that Manning ends up being treated even more harshly. I don't blame Manning for what she is trying to do, but I believe that she is nowhere near in the right place to be taking decisions of this magnitude.

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Addendum 11th October 2013

For the detailed accounts and pictures of someone who regularly flies crossdressed, and does so responsibly and with circumspection, I suggest Kimberly Huddle's blog here.

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Addendum 18th July 2014

Tyler: seriously??
The BBC has just reported that Chelsea Manning is to be allowed some "gender treatment" while incarcerated.

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Addendum 9th May 2016

My thanks to Megan Martin for drawing my attention to the case of Tyler Grant, who identifies as genderqueer (and prefers gender-neutral pronouns), who was thrown out of their local fast food outlet in Texas by a police officer when they tried to get a burger wearing this leopardskin number, with stockings and heels. The whole thing was recorded on video, so we know it happened.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that it was transphobia driven,” Grant says. “I explained (to the manager) that… (my outfit) was no more revealing than yoga pants and a tank top.”

Grant's friend adds another layer: “Now I don’t know if there are dressing regulations at <burger outlet> or not, but the officer didn’t seem to intend on enforcing any (regulations) while under the assumption that Tyler was female. The fact that he suddenly had a problem with it after finding out that Tyler was a ‘dude’ is what I find to be discriminatory. It appeared that he was okay with a girl wearing such clothing, but for (Tyler) to wear such clothes was suddenly crossing the line.”

I have to say, Tyler looks a knockout in that outfit. I wish I looked half that good. But seriously, wearing that to go out for a burger? Megan points out that any woman might easily face difficulties going out in the evening wearing that outfit, and Grant's innocent denial seems hopelessly naïve at best. For this, Tyler Grant gets admitted to the Seriously Not Helping Hall of Fame. Ta-daaah!

Further applicants welcome!

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Addendum: 15th September 2017

Chelsea Manning since release
Chelsea Manning was released from prison back in May 2017. She has left the army. Before she was jailed, it seemed that the only picture anyone had seen was the fuzzy monochrome selfie in the car. It's definitely not the most flattering picture in the world.

However, since release, Manning has appeared on TV and given interviews to several media sources. She looks a lot better, and I thought, in the interests of fairness, that I should put up a more recent picture of her, to set the record straight.

I think that selfie will be associated with Manning for ever more, but it's only a matter of time before much more flattering pictures of her become the accepted norm.

24 comments:

  1. Interesting post but as a female who is also a ally of the GLBT community I think these guys express a side of themselves that might just seem unhealthy to some, but it's their right, right?

    What I'm saying is that I can wear jeans, slacks, pumps, flats without being thought of as a freako so why can't these guys? Let people express their sides so long as they do no harm. Just seen the news about Manning who says he does want a gender change. Maybe it makes the transgdenders try to be more female all the more, so not all things are bad.

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    1. Hi Amber. I disagree with you.

      People have the right to smoke tobacco if they choose. But I have the right to not be subject to second hand smoke. So if I am sitting beside someone who lights up, whose right takes precedence? In other words, just because someone has a right to do something, doesn't mean it's always ok to exercise that right.

      If you saw a woman in an airport wearing what Howard was wearing, would you think that was ok? What if she was in her sixties, as Howard seems to be? It might be technically legal, but I am sure you would agree it would be profoundly inappropriate.

      Vivienne.

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  2. If these men's motivation is to aid the cause of cross-dressers they do seem to be going about it wrong.

    They remind me of some early radical feminists who were quite man-hating. It may have made them feel powerful and like they were changing something, but they were only hurting the cause.

    Sometimes people need to make a distinction between what feels powerful and what is actually powerful.

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  3. Grok posting. Amber's comment does not apply to this "Howard" person-after all, how many women run around in public dressed only in underwear?

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    1. I'm not saying like I approve of Howard's dressing or kind of under-dressing, just sayin that one of my tg friends (who does pass pretty well as a woman) says there are many points on the trans spectrum. I agree that Howard should dress appropriately but it really is his call, then the security or whoever can take action if they need to. Yhyh it can upset the public but even some of the most passable trans women get sneered at sometimes. The world just needs to grow up, live and let live. If you aren't pointing a gun in my face, then you ain't no harm to me.

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  4. I am bothered that the article that you referenced about Howard used "Crossdresser" in the title and then used "Drag Queen" to refer to him throughout.

    I seriously doubt that the airline would have let Howard fly if he showed up to the airport in his male underwear. The airline seemed to object to the other fella who was showing his underwear and arrested him for not pulling up his pants.

    I'll bet Howard dresses like that so that he can breeze through security.


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  5. I am really of two minds here. On the one hand, I am aware that some societal standards are arbitrary and unfair, and I applaud those who have the courage to openly defy those standards in the hopes of changing it for the rest of us. Wouldn't I love to see the day (not flippin' likely) that as a bearded male I could go out in my favorite modest dress -- just the kind of thing a woman could wear without getting a second look.

    On the other hand, it's like I told my kids years ago: If you feel strongly enough about expressing yourself differently from the rest of the world, you have to be willing to face the consequences. Depending on how far you veer from current definitions of "normal" you might get away with being lovably eccentric, as I am (to those who don't know about the crossdressing, just my other less divergent quirks), or you could be beaten to a pulp and left for dead... or thrown in prison if your defiance crosses legal boundaries as well. So you have to ask yourself: Is the pleasure I derive from this behavior worth the risks involved? If the answer is yes, I'm behind you all the way. If the answer is no, there's no shame in choosing to conform at least along those lines.

    On still another hand, these examples are so over-the-top beyond social convention, I have trouble seeing them as free spirits who are boldly tearing away society's false expectations. I just see them as kooks... which is pretty extreme, coming from a guy in a floral sundress. It has nothing to do with gender expression: As others have noted, I wouldn't be attracted to a woman dressing like that either; I would consider her just as unbalanced as the man.

    Heck, I have even expressed interest (without the courage or financial means to follow through) in exploring "brolita" fashions, that is to say wildly inappropriate (for my age, never mind my gender) styles that border on fetish. But even in the most accepting world, if I felt comfortable with everyone *knowing* that's how I like to dress, I would still never mix my hobby with my professional life or with TSA whose motto is "we assume you are a terrorist unless you are able to convince us otherwise". There are places where it's safe and enjoyable to be off the rails, and places where you could lose your career or your freedom or your life doing so. As another example, suppose he were into BDSM, which is arguably much more mainstream than crossdressing, and he showed up at the airport wearing a latex catsuit, ball gag, and an arm binder. Who in their right mind would NOT consider him an unstable threat?

    Manning's case puzzles me. I just can't figure out his angle. Is he, as you suggest, just falling back on this by way of proving an insanity defense? Is it just a distraction tactic to call attention away from the charges against him? Is he trying to win sympathy by portraying himself as confused and discriminated against?

    And yeah, "he". Until you're living la vida femme 24/7, pal, you're still "he" to me... or at least any time you're presenting as male, faded old pictures notwithstanding.

    You touch on this, but I want to clarify: Most of the world does not distinguish between crossdressers (which I use here to mean men who intend to remain men, but either just wear the clothes while presenting as male, as I do, or just dabble at playing girl for temporary breaks from the world) and transsexuals. Heck, most of the world doesn't even differentiate between crossdressers, transsexuals, homosexuals, pedophiles, and goat lovers. To them, we're all one big happy perverted family, and cases like all three of these only serve to confirm their suspicions about us.

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  6. Thanks to all who have taken trouble to comment on this post.

    The irony has not escaped me that, if I were to turn up to board that aircraft, sensibly or modestly dressed as a woman, it might provoke discomfort (though I like to think, not as much), in my fellow passengers too.

    There are times and places where Howard's attire might be considered meritorious (Mardi-Gras, or an LGBT Pride event, for example). And there are, no doubt, people who would consider it unacceptable for a man to present as a woman in public, no matter how carefully done, or how circumspect the behaviour otherwise.

    I still disagree with you, Amber, that this is harmless provided no threat takes place. If this were only Howard's problem, that would be one thing, but Howard's behaviour is potentially causing trouble for all of us, by evoking feelings of outrage and disgust which will make it more difficult for the rest of us to fit in and gain acceptance.

    I guess the difference between me and Howard would be that I would very carefully attempt not to draw attention to myself, and not to arouse discomfort in other people (in the terminal building, I would tend to sit quietly in the corner, where I would be less likely to be read by strangers). Howard, on the other hand, is deliberately going out to get noticed. This strikes me as (at best) extremely selfish, and (at worse) deliberately antisocial. I tend to agree this is about something other than simple gender identity.

    I'm with Darien and Ralph on the terminology issue: the public just lumps us all together. I wouldn't call Howard (or Rob) a drag queen, but a transvestite would fit the bill.

    Vivienne.

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  7. "Kook" is probably the most benign term that would be used by the general public.

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  8. After reading in detail many more of the accounts about Howard, I have come to the conclusion that he is full of cr@p. The thought that he does this for fun while flying for business and allows photographs and yet thinks/hopes that this will not get back to his company is absurd. Especially considering that if he is flying on the companies dime, he is an acting representative of that company. I can't imagine what company would want such a representative. After all, these days, if you have one drunken photo of you from college posted on Facebook, you can't even get a job.

    Also equally absurd is his assertion that he is not looking to offend anyone, that he is more comfortable like this. I agree that stripping down to your underwear is comfortable, and I made a regular habit of it in my bachelor days. Nothing felt so good as to strip off the "working shackles" and toss them on the floor as a way of declaring your freedom from the oppression of work. This was my little ritual, a way of shaking off the day. But it was done behind the closed door of my apartment that I lived alone in. I would never have answered the door like this, let alone gone out in public.

    We all have freedom to dress however we want, and while some may disagree about what is appropriate, there are still minimum standards. And one of those standards happens to be that we do not go about in public in our underwear. And no matter how much some would want to challenge that standard in the name of social progress, I hope that they never succeed.

    We all have freedom to love however we want, and while some may disagree about what is appropriate, there are still minimum standards. And one of those standards happens to be that we do not express sexual affection toward children. And no matter how much some would want to challenge that standard in the name of social progress, I hope that they never succeed. (Prisons are full of such people.)

    Howard is an exhibitionist, plain and simple. If he was walking around the airport in his male underwear, he would be arrested for indecent exposure. Instead, since he chooses women's garments, he is able to get away with it. He is using LGBT-phobia-phobia to his advantage so that people will not challenge him, and thus, he gets to walk about in airports airing his bits out in front of everyone, including possibly children. If I saw him, I would definitely tell him to cover that $h17 up.

    And in case that you did not understand "LGBT-phobia-phobia", it was not a typo. It is the fear that you will be labeled as someone who is afraid of members of the LGBT, in other words fear of being labeled a bigot.

    Bradley on the other hand is just making it impossible for any crossdresser to ever hold a secret clearance. I guess that I can kiss my future at the NSA goodbye!

    Now Rob, I support his tactics in protesting the injustice of his clients, even though I agree that it does add to complications that crossdressers have to deal with. His methods are certainly calling attention to his cause. I do not at all get the impression from reading the stories that he is a crossdresser but that he is using this attire for publicity. And in contrast to Howard, I think Rob looks just darling in his Alice costume.

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  9. Heya Vivienne you are right on the money. It's a real shame that all trans people are "lumped" with transvestites - you all have different facets to your personality. Yes (sorry about the yhyh's, yo always use that) you all deserve better and Howard would, to use a friend's term 'let the side down'...I still think How should dress how he wants, but there's a time and place. I like it when u girls try and fit in, blend in, right? Keep doing it.

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  10. Hello Vivienne,
    Intresting article and serious food for thought,
    allow me to sleep on this tonight, and I will give you thought ful reply form a guy that isn't a crossdresser.

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  11. As promised, my more in depth response to this post.
    As somebody that doesn't cross-dress. I would have to agree with you that none of these there you mentioned have valid reason for their actions.

    First if we analyze Howard, then we can easily see that he is probably someone that has little or respect for women, he dress like complete slut, which is something you wouldn't see form any self respecting woman. You could also say that he paints other middle aged men in bad light. You could think that he is someone that beat up his wife on regular bases, verbally and physically. Any one that call Howard out for his action is right to do so, whether or not they are cross dressing men them-self, or not. Or women that cannot stand jerks. Despite all of what I have already said about him, I would have to say if he was my business partner I would end our business relationship immediately.

    As for Rob, there is nothing that can explain or justify his odd behavior, other than he strikes me as somebody that probably lost to many cases in court because he is a bad lawyer, So he has to use the logical fallay of red herring to draw attention to something else than his own failure, wouldn't want him as my lawyer if i ever need one. For sure.

    Now for Bradley Manning, now he is probably best know of these three you mentioned, given that he stole sensitive military and government information. Although some questions need to be asked who gave Manning enough access to steel these information, but its nothing new to "shoot the messager" so to speak. So Manning is treatmeant should have been a none surprise to anyone that, have studied social science and/or have some common sense. Now Manning is motivation for his actions, might as mentioned been done so in desperate attment to make quickly enough money to have his surgy and hormone treatment to be able to live out his fantasy as women. Was probably influenced and "abused" by the founder of wikileaks Julian Angasse. Probably found out about Manning is weakness i.e wanting to be woman and promised him lot of cash if he could obtain at all cost sensetive militeray info from US Army. Then Manning acted accordingly to get Wikileaks these info. US Army found out what Manning did and arrested him accordingly. Now Manning never mentioned during the trail it wasn't until after he was....

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  12. ...until after he was convited that he mentioned his "gender issues" and that is also for the first time we shaw that photo of him. with wig and make up on his head. But we don't see the rest of his body (so we don't know if his overall pakage make a convincing woman) and we don't have seen any other photos of him. let alone photos taken at different time. That particular photo of him could have been form an one time gig only, so what we know he might not even have been enjoying wearing that wig or make up. But if Manning feels he is truthly a women then good for him, but he might also very unstable man metnality wise and thus as previously mentioned easy target for Julian Assange. Thus have need a proper mental health care to ensure he avoids bad influence like Julian. Given the fact that some Drag/Crossdresser/transgenders are worried if he harms there cause when it comes to those that crossdress. Then best advince I could give as somebody looking in, just ignore him, just don't acknowledge him as one of yours, sounds insensitive right? sounds hypocritical right? But what else can you do if Manning is case can make serious damage to your cause? You don't want Manning to ruin your change of being acknowledge in society for "whom you are" because of his action and his words? But hopfully for you and all involved in the trans community that Manning as only ruined his changes at becoming woman rather than ruined for everyone else. Thus Manning is case might be the most harmful of those three you mentioned but it might also be the least. But I think it depends from what side you look at it.

    Examining those 3 individual cases will get us so fair when it comes to analze crossdressing/transgender issues. But it would be need to be looked at in broader sense. To be fully understood.

    Now it has been claimed that cross dressing cannot be understood, unless you cross dress yourself. But is that claim truth or isn't? Or is it possible to understand enough about cross dressing to not view individual that does any more differently than lets say someone that likes watching silent movies, collecting stamps, read novels, watch or play sport? As somebody that doesn't cross-dress I will have to say it does irk me a bit when cross-dressers claim that they can only be understood by other cross-dressers. Which is a logical fallacy of Self-refuting idea, which claim that the idea behind cross-dressing is always misunderstood.

    If cross-dressing is always misunderstood activity then its easy to se why cross-dresser have such bad time pinpointing exactly why they want or feel the "need" to cross-dress. Which probably not good for the mental health of those individuals that think along these line. Which is of course one of the reason why so many crossdresssers seems to have problem when the crossdress.

    One valid reason for cross-dressing I can see if you are an actor and you are taking part in stage play, or be part in a movie. You play your role no question asked, it don't bother you when you are not on stage or in front of the camera and no one that knows you. It easy to assume here that no actor crossdress at home, if he actually does it might be to get better into the character as preperation for the role, we have often read about actors going weird things to preparer for role but we don't condemn them for doing so, do we?

    Only problem I can possible see on stage acting or movie acting is when the actor is obviously a drag queen dress up in manner that he is a caricature of women, is ist as worse as those blackface gags that were frequent in the 30's? Probably less harmful given the fact that racism is probably more sensitive topic than cross-dressing. Even if its not right to mock women in the manner drag queens do.


















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  13. But what if your not actor? how can you valid your dressing probably by acknowledge for yourself that your dressing is sexual for you and your sexual fetish, but is that bad to have sexual fetish not at all. Speaking as someone that has has his own sexual fetish, unrelated to cross-dressing though, since it doesn't involve direct or indirect harm to others. But I will have to say its funny reading some cross-dressers argument for dressing how it goes to from something sexual to none sexual but end their argument that it does makes them feel sexy even if its not sexual which is obviously a contradiction to there argument a logical fallacy. But many say they start with pantyhose or panties and get sexual rush from wearing those items, and at some point that rush were off and thus they move into dresses, then make up, breast forms and wigs etc. to get the rush they felt when they originally tried on a par of pantyhose. Thus many continue to dress in a bid to feel that original rush even if they don't do so. Bit like smoker that continue to smoke even if original rush of the first smoke is long gone.

    (sorry I don't have time to continue my analyze could you wait with response until I feel I'm done with my posts?)

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    1. Sure Kristjan. Thanks for taking the time to post such detailed comments. I will wait until you are all finished before I reply.

      Vivienne.

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  14. Shall I continue darling?
    As I said if you have valid reason to cross dress, then of course you shouldn't take moral high-ground against women like some cross-dressers seems to do and argue that they make better women than real woman. I did like to know if they would be ready to take on pregnancy? I would bet that most of the most of them would run out screaming. Since they are not ready to take on maiden biological role that actually differ woman from a man.

    So knowing this, I could be upsetting you by saying, and I want apology before hand if I do, that the term term "male to female crossdressing" is a false analogy (fallacy), because since when does man become a women by putting on clothes that are designed (keyword) to fit women body, and putting bunch of chemicals on his face? But that doesn't make him a woman, like the term implies. So I think there is no wonder that many crossdresser start questioning there truth ID. As its once said repeat the lie long enough and people will eventually believe it. SO I'm not surprised some go down the path of transexual/transgenderism. When individual starts to consider HRT and SRS it is serious warning sine that something might be wrong with his way of thinking. Which might suggest serious mental health issues, unhealthy obsession? alternative personality disorder? The answer might be obvious but the person involved might be to sucked up in his fantasy to see it. In other words he has defently feed his fantasy after midnight. If you have seen the movie Gremlins (1984) you know what I mean. I have heard that many individuals with complete health chromosomes (out number those with actual intersexed conditions (abnormal chromosomes)) going through HRT and SRS which makes me actually questions the validity of these kind of operation on inviduals with healthy genitals and healthy chromosomes. As its obvious to me that you you don't solve mental health issues, with physical operation.

    Although I forgot that some say that they feel like girl despite being male, but that is an appeal to emotion which yet another logical fallacy. Why? Because if I clone someone that has gone through HRT and SRS the clone would be a male not female.

    Now back to more basic cross-dressing, Only valid reason (none-sexual) why I can see for cross-dressing someone that likes the feeling of the fabrics against his skin, and the chemical against his face.

    Now some could crossdress in order to rob bank, but that doesn't make cross-dressing automatically it was only abused to commit a crime. Its similar to killing someone by run over some while driving a car, if he gets in your way. But driving car is not wrong, it was just abused to commit a crime.

    Now i think I have run out of ideas why some might cross-dress, good valid reasons, bad reasons, invaild and or unclear reasons, but my analize is not done yet.

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  15. But how does this appear in public?
    Well you couldn't go to hospital and into maternity room and pick out those that will crossdress later in life and say they are born that way. Since dressing whether you dress as man or woman is a learned behavior. After all we all came naked into this world (i.e born without clothes) So its impossible for crossdresser to be born that way we . Other wise its a red herring fallacy.

    But now about showing emotions, some cross-dresser say they do cross-dress as allowance to show certain emotions, odd reasoning if you ask me. Since we are all human beings with full range of emotions, but human beings also like creating home made problems, I could name plenty form destroying part of orginal art, film etc, economcial problems and of course, deciding which emotion human being is allowed to show based on the sex between his/her legs. I think lots of social problems could cured if we got out away from that old idea.

    I think its fair to say, that social media is good way to connect with other pepole but how truthful are these post, we see on there? I don't know the answer, since its very easy to lie. There probably individuals that have joined a social network side and lied about there experince with certain things. There would have been easy for me to come on this blog for example and lie that i had been dressing on and off as woman. But that would have been dishonest. But there probably as many dishonest person online as are offline. Now if we consider site like Youtube were you can see tons of videos of individual going through the prossess of dressing up as women. But many of these videos/channels screems "I'm lonely guy and I need some serious attention" "I'm even willing to get bad attention than no attention", and matter of fact that many of those videos/channels on are rather uninspiring and plain boring. But of course to be fair there many other channels/videos unrelated to crossdressing that are pretty boring as well. There only handful of channels regarding cross-dressing on youtube that I would think that are worth keeping eye on. Vera Wylde and JessicaWho. The former give good advance on how to crossdress, and insigt into what it takes to do so, although I haven't followd up on any of those for obvious reason, and the later is good comedy channel.

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  16. Now, for other social media, some of the forums out there have the word "support group" in the tagline. Suggesting that there might be something actually wrong with you if you are memeber of this forum and will comfort you. I would think it would be better if you don't have the word in the tagline, as I feel that word will not fill an outsider like me with any confidence that forum is healthy. If someone wants to run public forum about crossdressing and feel there is nothing wrong with it actually then I think they would be better of without using the word "support group". Better would nothing or even fan forum. In some of these forum the issues are related to homosexuality and worries about how "How would the females in mylife react to me if I told them?". I'm not going to talk about the former, that is whole another can of worm. The later might actually highlight why cross-dressers are not getting more acceptance in society. Is it right to cherry pick those you tell and those you dont? depends on the situation, would this senario look right you tell your daughter, sister, mother girlfriend you crossdress, but you don't tell your dad, son, brother, friend? Yes? No? If the former, then you could be infore some hostile reaction when they find out, but every human being is different so everyone react differently, so impossible to predict, But if its no and you actually decide to tell them? but they of course could react hostile to what you tell them, but if its not to negative? would you have enough bravery to suggest that they try cross-dressing for them themselves? or you wouldn't? I think its clear that not all men will invent the wheel of crossdresing themselves. And of course, its impossible to know how many would take the suggestion openly and try out cross-dressing themselves if somebody suggested them to try it. But would it be wrong to suggest crossdresing to somebody else?

    And for the record I have never seen cross-dresser go public and encore men to start dressing as women. Not on TV, not Online, not in Papers.

    But of course at very minimum its best to tell everyone that need to know that a guy crossdress if he feel that he need to tell others he kow about it, but obviously he need to be ready to face the consequences of how other reacts. IF somebody goes out on street dressed as woman, and meets guy and intend to date, him its only fair that he tells the other guy that he is not a real women, so he cannot expect to face none consequences when the other guy finds out he isn't what he seemed to be. So if he gets seriously beaten up he shouldn't complain he was dishonest, and got what he deserved and worst of hall he is not helping the cross-dressing cause, he was dishonest. He is not helping the cause no more than the three guy you mentioned, Vivienne. They ware all dishonest, not helping anyone is cause. I think there is way to much dishonesty in the crossdressing community, many are dishonest to themself, and to others around them. I think crossdresser need to be more honest to themslelf and to others I think that is the only way crossdresser can gain more approval in society although human beings in general need to be more honest to each other. And we would all have better world to live if me manage to do so.

    Finally i´m done, unless I forgot something but I don't think so.

    Ps. If you are wondering I have studied sociology and humanites in collage, and I have taken anthropology course which mentioned gender issues. and I have actually found the topic interesting ever since.

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    1. Hi Kristjan. That's a lot of points to consider! I will respond fully when I get a little time. Meanwhile, thanks for your comments.

      Vivienne.

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  17. Hi Kristjan,

    Well, that's quite an essay you've posted here! Let me try to go through it if I can.

    First, Howard. One of the themes of this blog is that crossdressers don't want to be like women, they want to be like men think women are. From this perspective, it's clear that Howard, indeed, has little respect for women, and seems to consider them only the sexual playthings (or eye candy) of men. However, it's a very big jump from this view to say that he is an abuser of women.

    I agree with you that, if Rob were really interested in making a protest against the legal system, there are far better ways to do it than the way he seems to have chosen. So I can't help thinking he's using it as an excuse to wear a frock to work. Either way, you're right: it does nothing for his professional credibility, and I would immediately get a new lawyer if he turned up to represent me looking like that.

    Next, Manning. I am absolutely certain that the US is going to make an example of Manning: "this is what we do to people who are traitors: we lock them up in a very bad place for a very long time".

    On the other hand, I believe his recent gender about-face is a panicked gesture from someone who is facing up to tremendous unpleasantness. I do not think there is any evidence that he leaked those secrets in order to get money to pursue his transgenderism. I am sure that Wikileaks were very pleased to get a phonecall from him, but I don't think they approached him or groomed him to provide them with material. Of course, the truth of this whole case is deeply hidden under many layers of careful secrecy, so the wider world will almost certainly never know all the facts of it.

    Moving onto your next point, some people may hold the view that you can only understand crossdressing if you are yourself a crossdresser. But I don't hold this view, and I try to write on this blog in such a way that someone who isn't a crossdresser might be able to understand some of my motivations.

    I am sure that actors who crossdress for the screen don't have the same motivations as those of us who do it for pleasure. While some actors do portray a caricature of women, not all of them do. I tend to think that "drag queens" are an expected part of our culture: like pantomime dames, it is accepted that they are men dressed up, and therefore part of the performance is that their appearance is elaborate and overcooked. Some drag queens crossdress only as part of a performance, but I think that others do it because they enjoy it.

    I am not saying that it's bad to enjoy the sexual aspect of crossdressing. However, I think some people (including me) consider it shameful, and think that crossdressers will be more accepted in wider society if everyone pretends it isn't a sexual thing. I understand this perspective, and I share it to some extent. Much as I would like to pretend that crossdressing doesn't have a sexual frisson for me, that would be a lie. I don't emphasise it, but it's there.

    That's the first lot of your comments. Let's pause here and take the next lot in a minute.

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  18. Here goes for the next lot. Please don't call me darling.

    I think there may be some crossdressers who think they make "better" women than genetic women, but by this comment I believe that they mean: "I make a woman who better fits my idea of how women are than you do". In other words, comments like this are clearly nonsense.

    Pregnancy is a bit of a strange thing. When I was a student there was another student, a man, who was not a crossdresser or even gay, who seriously investigated the possibility of offering himself as an experimental subject for male pregnancy attempts. As far as I know, he never got anywhere!

    And there are quite a few crossdressers who have attempted to explore the idea of crossdressing as a pregnant woman. I personally find this a bit distasteful, but I can understand the motivations. The mother, like the bride, or the maid, or the tart, is a powerful archetype of femininity, to which some crossdressers aspire.

    I think that "crossdressing" is a good description of human behaviour. "Male to female" is only a further description. I don't think the term suggests anything other than "a man wearing women's clothing". As a description of what I do, it's just about perfect. I am not trying to tell the world I am a woman (though I guess some of us are trying that).

    Intersex isn't the same as transgender, because sex isn't the same as gender. Please see my post "The Story So Far" for more on this. Intersex people have little in common with transgender people except the same discomfort they arouse in the general public.

    You are right that we couldn't look at a group of babies and decide who is going to grow up gay or straight or satisfied or unhappy or law-abiding or criminal. On the other hand, there is good scientific evidence that some behaviour is innate, not learned. For example, it's possible to interfere with the hormonal environment of a fetal sheep in such a way that you end up with a sheep which appears like a normal female, but behaves like a male, including attempting to mount other females. If you can do this with sheep, it must be possible for it to happen with humans.

    Though overall I tend to agree with you that much of what is considered "male" and "female" including style of clothing, cosmetics, etc, is learned, and is conditioned by society.

    Support groups. Actually, crossdressing isn't always fun. The crossdressers we see, out in public, comfortable, looking gorgeous and passing, are the very small tip of a very large iceberg, of many more doing it at home, quietly, in secret, hiding it from their friends (as I do) and sometimes their wives. People in this situation experience great loneliness and shame (as I have). Finding a group of people who say "Hey, you're just like us. You're not a bad person, and the fact that you like to wear a frock isn't a bad thing. Let's talk more" is a very powerful thing, and "support" is a good description for what that provides.

    Sometimes the support is just friendship; sometimes it's tips on fashion or cosmetics.

    One day it may be considered acceptable for a man to wear a skirt and heels to work and nobody would mind, but not at the moment. It would be great for us all to come out, and if we did, I am sure we would be shown to be everywhere: the media, the jucidiary, the clergy, the medical profession, law enforcement, the accountancy profession, the military, you name it.

    But for the moment, it's best for most of us to keep our heads down.

    Thanks for posting.

    Vivienne.

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  19. Vivienne, at last someone who has articulated what I have wanted to say for quite a while.

    The more people like Howard and Rob get seen the more difficult things become for those of us that want to blend in and hide in plain sight. People don't remember the discreet cross-dresser / TV they remember the weirdo in the thong and lump us all together.

    I have long observed that many of the exhibitionist types that I see on the street in daytime and at some Transgender support groups may not actually be Trans of any shade, but the clothing and almost inevitable bad wig, make up and wildly age and situation inappropriate clothes is a manifestation of an underlying mental problem that if it had been dealt with in an appropriate manner would not have resulted in cross dressing.

    There are people on internet forums that are similarly easy to spot, they are normally the ones complaining that they get abuse on the street, but dress in a way that no woman would ever do (they also almost invariably have an unusual or made up sounding name as well). Their posts are often rambling and incoherent and you can't help thinking that there are deeper problems that need addressing.

    Here endeth my own rambling and incoherent post.

    Lisa

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for posting your comments.

      Vivienne.

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