As my body turns 73 years old in October, I have been struggling this past year to keep up with the physical efforts of my dressing. Don’t get me wrong, I Love putting outfits together and going out with friends for shopping and dining. As I spend time in public, I’m meeting younger folks where in the past I might have been the only crossdresser in a crowd of gays and lesbians. I was going out with those in their mid 20’s and 30’s.

Having started dressing as a child, out in public since the 1960’s, I didn’t have any hesitation at being with others who seemed marginalized by society. Being a Government employed surgeon for most of my 50-year career, I faced a tremendous fear of losing my professional life if I happened to be depicted poorly in the press. It might have ended the financial stability for my family. Those in my family were depending on me as I worked in private practice and Government positions. Being outed would have been a life-changing situation.

As a young crossdresser, I was very careful in my outings; it was a strong urge to dress and go out. The 1960’s were not as LGBTQ + accepting as they are today. Venturing out was exciting but extremely risky. There were many thousands of others like me, who did what our generation could do to reasonably progress our cause. Now the burden of taking it forward is being passed on to the next generation of advocacy.

As I look in the rearview mirror, I maintain a sense of pride at the progress of perceptions that our efforts have produced. There’s so much more to do in many areas, more tolerance. Discrimination will always be lurking around every corner. For example, the recent intimidation projected into the Department of Defense policy upon LGBTQ service in the military services. As a retired Army Veteran (1971-1996,) I am disappointed by the lack of intelligence on guidance in this arena. It’s also infuriating to be thrown out with the bath water. We can only hope that these discriminatory policies will be overturned in the near future.

I remain proud of the freedoms I have been granted, the ability to be able to dress and go out and about with my friends and family whenever I wish, and not just in the dark of night. I’m proud of my service to fellow transgender Veterans in the VA hospitals around the country (1984- 2017.) Over the decades in civilian practice, military and VA practices, I had the opportunity to witness the progress in acceptance, care, and empathy for crossdressers and the LGBTQ community.

So after 60 years of crossdressing, it takes me much longer to get ready to go, and I have to be careful and watch how I step in my beautiful heels, but I will continue to look as good as can when I leave home. I want the next generation to follow their own path from the closet to the front door, and do it with pride and dedication in their need to dress as they venture out into the light.

Thank you to CDH for providing us a platform that allows us to express ourselves and connect to each other. As those of us in our 70’s are passing on the baton to the younger, more energetic group of crossdressers to continue taking us forward, know that my arm is graciously outstretched to you.

Dr. T.J.

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Retired surgeon, happily married to female 35 yrs. Crossdresser since my early years .looking for meeting place to interact with other Crossdressers, not for sexual reasons. Like to dress up and go out. 72 y.o.

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18 Comments
  1. Sandy Craig 2 months ago

    Nice article TJ. As we have met I truely know that your are an Ambassador for the trans people and have projected what others should know about or lifestyle choices. A positive influence and able to educate those you meet!

    I look forward to seeing you soon,
    Sandy

    • Author
      T.J. Byron 2 months ago

      Hey Sandy….
      I had not seen this article on which you commented, until today…stumbling upon it.
      Thanks for your kind words, always appreciated, as you know. Was happy with the way it worked out. Couldn’t have said much more, or in a different way.
      Hope you liked the Pokadots!
      I ‘ ll keep doing my thing!
      Hope to see you soon…Dr. T J.

  2. *skippy1965(Cynthia) 2 months ago

    Thank you TJ and the others who like you blazed a trail in a sometimes cold uncaring world to pave the way for future generations to be able to live as their authentic selves. May you have many MORE wonderful years!
    Cyn

  3. Suzanne 2 months ago

    YEah, totally understand what this entails…I’m now an Octogenarian, tho still in the closet. I do try to dress weekly, but its getting harder and harder to get dressed up (I’m deep into fetish dressing plus non-painful LOVEBONDAGE) and without a partner these days (have outlived two wives, only the second was tolerant and participated) while I still enjoy it, I do seek those folks near me who might be involved. EVERYONE is younger than me…sighs

  4. Michelle Wilson 2 months ago

    Great article T.J. By the way you look fabulous. Thanks for being a trail blazer, know it wasn’t easy but you persevered. I hope you continue your journey.

  5. Patricia Marie Allen 2 months ago

    Hi TJ,

    I turned 74 last March. I remember the sixties. I remember driving across town to quite upscale neighborhood so I could take a ten minute stroll just after sunset and feel the breeze on my bare calves – well, OK, nylon clad calves – and my dress flutter. Back then, I was convinced that my cross-dressing was just a hobby — something I could pick up and lay down at will and, if need be, I could do without it all together indefinitely.

    Like many of my sisters, I was sure that once I was married, it would simply go by the wayside. Silly girl. I should have known. It was the lure of my sisters closet with all those clothes that attracted me in 1954. Why would I think that my wife’s closet would be any less attractive in 1967?

    She caught me in 1970 fully dressed in her clothes. At least I was smart enough to know it was never going to go away so I didn’t promise to never do it again. I mean, the sure cure didn’t work. After much discussion she told me to do it if I must, but not to let her see me. Translation, go into the bedroom, shut the door, dress up however I wanted and stay in that room until I was dressed “properly.”

    Well, in baby steps, we progressed to where we are now. My male wardrobe consists of one pair of slacks, one dress shirt and one casual shirt. I can’t remember the last time I wore any of it. No shoe or underwear. My female wardrobe is more extensive than hers. My oldest daughter lives with us and is always picking up things at the thrift store she thinks my wife might like. More often than not it ends up in my closet because my wife doesn’t like the fit or the color. And when my wife goes through her things to weed out what she no longer wears, I get first pick before it goes back to the thrift store.

    I wear women’s clothes daily, sleep in nightgowns and go pretty much where ever I want dressed. Grocery shopping, clothes shopping to the doctor, out to lunch with friends or where ever. I live in a pretty liberal state and have yet to run into any overt discrimination.

    When I was working full time, my clothes for work were women’s, only so far butch that my coworkers could assume they were men’s clothes. Same goes for what I wear to church.

    I’ve grown my hair out to well past should length since 1992. I wear it in a high ponytail when I’m around people who really think I’m a typical male. The rest of the time I wear it pulled back at the sides and clipped at the crown with a single barrette.

    Yes indeed it’s a much better atmosphere today that when I first ventured out the door.

  6. Sidney Silver 3 weeks ago

    In comparison to your life experiences, I’m brand new to knowing this side of myself.
    To me, it’s been inescapable the debt I owe to all those dear souls who came before me. Putting in the time and energy, as well as a good bit of shoe leather. Carving out a space not only for themselves, but also for those thousands to come. I literally owe, in part, ladies like yourself for the kind, welcoming, and at times festive introduction I’ve experienced to this beautiful community and life. Due to such (hard won) acceptance, it made it very easy to trust, to lean in, and to be authentic.

    It’s a debt I doubt I’ll ever be able to repay fully. My intent now is to do and be the best I can. Raising awareness by being present, and visible, and hopefully being additive and appropriate to any situation. To present and represent with grace, and never behave in a dishonorable fashion. The light that shines on one, shines on all.

    Thank you dearly for sharing your experiences. An insightful inspiration!
    -Sid

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