Thursday, February 14, 2008

just don't call me late for a shoe sale

There was a discussion on a message board about what people preferred to be called: crossdresser, transvestite, transgendered, etc.

Back in the early 1960s, when I realized that I was not your typical all-American boy, there was very little information available to the average Joe or Jo-Ann about my version of human being. I found dribs and drabs in various encyclopedia and they only referred to "transvestites" and "transsexuals," nothing else. I did not believe I was transsexual and the very idea of being surgically modified scared the bejeebers out of me, so I identified as a transvestite.

That was my story and I stuck with it for a long time.

As information became more accessible (via the Internet, magazines, support groups, etc.) I became familiar with other terms of endearment used to describe my people. I still knew that I was not a transsexual and I was confused about the definition of "transgendered," so my choices boiled down to "transvestite" and "crossdresser."

From time-to-time, I shifted between identifying as a transvestite and identifying as a crossdresser. My shifts were related to what I had most recently read or what I had most recently heard, i.e., reading or hearing somebody's theory on why you should identify as one and not as the other.

After all these years, I believe that there is no significant difference between a transvestite or a crossdresser. I will answer to either name.

I will also answer to transgendered, which I believe applies to transvestites/crossdressers and transsexuals alike.

A dear friend of mine who is studying the transgendered on a graduate level calls me a "late-life transsexual." I think that means that I am a transsexual, but that I did not recognize that fact until later in life. Maybe.

I will admit that if I had to do it over again, I might live full-time or near full-time as a woman, but the only body modification I would undergo is epilation of my face and body. No surgery for me!

Does that make me a transsexual? Perhaps, but since I am not sure, I won't apply that term to me.

Instead, I prefer the term "transwoman." It has a nice ring to it and applies to transvestites/crossdressers and transsexuals alike. I think it fits me nicely.

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