A couple of weeks ago when TrendCo came to see us, Steph asked me what do I get out of coming to the Chameleons and dressing as Lynn? That’s quite a question, and one I’m not sure I fully answered back then.
To Steph and Nicola, I said being in bloke mode most of the time was akin to being at work, and getting to be Lynn, or cross dress if you will, was like a holiday. It’s not that you don’t like work, but a holiday is more chance to switch off. I’m not 100% happy with that, so I guess here’s a chance to try again.
The easy part to answer is why come to Chameleons. At it’s most basic level, it’s a regular event where I get to dress. It is, however, more than that. It’s the other people who come along, and after a while, become friends. We chat on social media, the forum, and sometimes IRL (in real life). That to me is a supportive network of friends. I may be in ‘Richard’ appearance 99% of the time, but I’m always me. The trans stuff never really switches off. To that end, being able to talk with trans friends who get who I am, that’s priceless.
In the above, I’ve said ‘Richard mode’, which may be a funny phrase. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no Richard or Lynn, just me. They’re just names against how I present from time to time. What goes on in my head regardless of name or appearance doesn’t change. Okay, that’s not completely true: if I’m dressed, I don’t tend to worry about when the next time will be. 🙂 Instead, I just make the most of it.
As to the why do I dress…. That’s a big question, and I think the answer has changed over the years.
I guess the closest I can come to explaining it, is for you to imagine a favourite pass time. Maybe that’s listening to music, watching your favourite TV show, reading, a sport, crafting, etc; it doesn’t matter.
Now consider this: when you’re not on your own, or if you’re only with a select bunch of friends, you cannot talk about your pass time. If you did, people may judge you, your kids may get picked on, “there goes one of them”, etc.
But, and here’s the rub, 50% of the population can – and do – enjoy that activity and no one says a thing! In fact, it’s encouraged through behaviour, advertising, and other social factors for them to behave that way. When you walk down the street, surf the web, or switch on the TV, there goes that 50% just being themselves without – seemingly – a care in the world. Yeah, I’m not a woman and won’t ever be one, so apologies for the naive male view I’m putting forward.
So, you’re in a bit of a bind. Reveal all (so to speak) and live your life, or stay the *ahem* hobby cupboard and stay safe, but frustrated. Ah, therein lies the dilemma. 🙂
That is as close as I can get it. I’m “me” all of the time; it’s just that for a lot of the time, I get to dress (and pass) as a guy. Hello, white male privilege! 🙂 I’m listened to, I get better pay, I’m not at risk when on my own, I’m not sexually harassed, no-one calls me on what I wear, etc.
|Not every day, but
sometimes, and it’s all fine
But, I’m not really a bloke. Okay, physically I’m a man. Between my ears, in the sloppy grey matter that controls my body, and provides a place for what makes me, me; my brain tells a different story. It’s an odd mix of interests and behaviours that could both male and female.
Put simply, I can’t live as just Richard. I need to express myself by dressing as a woman, so what’s going on inside my head, matches what’s going on for my body. Or, if the visit to Boots’ make-up session was anything to go by, being treated or accepted as one works too. I never said any of this makes any sense. 🙂
For years I’d stand by the label transvestite, but in later years, trans seems to fit me more. Thing is, when I heard someone on TV talk about being bi-gendered, I muttered “yeah, right”, because sometimes, I’m a tw*t. 🙂 Said lady then said, “Some days I wake up and I don’t know which gender I want to be.“. Ah, that did strike a chord.
The clothes then, are the wrapping, to all of this, but it’s so much more than that. The wrapping just helps my brain adjust to how I’m feeling. Too long ‘en drab’ in Richard mode, and the proverbial weight on my back drives me down.
The way to free myself from that burden is acceptance: either through trans friends; openness with the Ever Lovely Mrs J; or even self-acceptance by making the outside match the inside. Take for example, a chat with the Ever Lovely Mrs J who asked me about a choice of a dress from an online store. The fact that I don’t have to hide who am I, means so much. It may seem like a little thing, or even trivial, but the option of being able to talk about anything is worth so much.
It’s as if the time spent in ‘Lynn’ mode turns back a counter. A counter that ticks away like the thermostat late at night. Slowly the temperature rises to ‘uncomfortable’ and something needs to be done about it.
Or, if I can’t get that, diversion in computer games, or reading. Hello, Escape Club 🙂
I should add that the above is my rambling, and close to how I feel these days. I’m not speaking for the rest of ‘trans-kind’, as everyone’s different.