It's something that doesn't become obvious with just an occasion foray en femme. You miss it when you're looking around to see if other's are staring. It passes you by like a ghost of insights half-grasped when every feminine moment is an electrifying delight. As you soar on endorphins that ride the wings of your cross dressing fantasy it doesn't occur to you.
Being a woman is hard.
It's not just the hours spent trying to look perfect, knowing that men are gawking and women judging. Or creating an outfit that walks the delicate tightrope of fashion and comfort.
You're a second class citizen.
Judged for your looks, dismissed regardless of your intellect, and patronized by even the most well meaning. Sometimes it's obvious, like the times I've had to repeat myself over and over because I must be doing something wrong - without even a consideration they've determined it's my misunderstanding. Or the more subtle, where his tone takes on a quality of endearing discrimination - it says, "I know you don't understand, but I'm here - I'm a knowledgable man and I'll help you through this dear." It's not just everyday interactions.
You're typecast as decoration.
I wrote recently about the token women so common in movies and TV these days. They've removed the blatant helpless heroine, but left behind a veneer of feminine subservience that teaches our daughters their "place" in society. You're not just programmed from birth.
Walking down the street I can see men licking their lips like hyaenas' watching the just dead carcass of an unfortunate animal. In the bright of daylight it can be flattering, more likely creepy. In the shadows of dusk it becomes scary, and as dusk turns to night it can strike terror into your heart.
What does this have to do with cross dressers?
Since I've been living as a woman full time I've noticed the subtle and not so subtle ways in which it's harder to live as a woman in this world. And I know how difficult it is for cross dressers to appreciate. After your time en femme you get to return to the world as a straight privileged male. Someone who earns more, is taken seriously, isn't preyed upon and commands respect for no better reason than the configuration of your genitals.
But as a man you also have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of all the women you meet. Treat us with respect, let our voices be heard and consider our opinions. You are in a better position than 99% of all other men to appreciate the hardships that women face - you've been given the gift of such an insight.
I implore you - make the world a better place for women. Don't be afraid of being counted as a feminist. We're not the bra burning, man hating, angry, hairy women that the male dominated media has stereotyped us as. We're women trying to make the world a better place for other women.
And we welcome you, whether you're wearing a suit and tie in a position of power, or as our girlfriend wearing heels and hose. Join us, and let your gift of feminine understanding shine a light of hope for women everywhere!