In Normal, a book written by Amy Bloom about transsexuals, crossdressers and the intersexed, an insightful comment about gender expression is given.
Not only is our society distressed by masculine women, feminine men, and the androgynous; even the big man who embroiders, or the wife and mother of three who has a black belt in tae kwon do, a buzz cut and no makeup in her gym bag, stirs a frisson of discomfort. Gender theorists love the gender nonconforming as examples of all sorts of things, fundamentalists fear and despise them, and whether they avoid our gaze or deliberately seek to disturb, they are the handy punch line for every fading sitcom.
I sometimes think that our culture is like the Church in the days of Galileo. We will not see, and we will silence and mock, even banish and punish, those who say that what is, is.
The insight isn’t that the transgendered struggle to be accepted by society needs to continue for a while. The insight is that the transgendered struggle is the struggle of all people who don’t fit into the classical model of gender. The transgendered are just those who happen to experience this “frisson of discomfort” most vividly.
I think this applies for crossdressers as well. The typical heterosexual part time crossdresser can go undetected and undiscovered by society. Her livelihood isn’t impacted by transitioning, her finances aren’t devastated by expensive surgeries (no girls, buy that expensive dress doesn’t count…) and her health isn’t jeopardized by a cocktail of hormones.
Largely, the impact of societies displeasure with gender non-conformance is limited to those few times the crossdresser ventures outdoors. She goes as undetected as the slightly feminine man, or slightly masculine woman. And she will benefit from the work of transsexuals and transgendered to bring acceptance to gender diversity.
My call to crossdressers action
If you’re a crossdresser, my call to action is to support the transgender community who is at the forefront of the struggle. Either through your time or financial support. A good organization to start with is the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Dear reader, please let me know if there are other organizations that are doing good work for the transgender community. I’d like to post a more complete list of transgender advocate organizations in the future.
P.S. Look fabulous while making a difference for the transgender community with great advice from the World’s Best Crossdresser Guide