Yesterday was International Woman Day, and whilst I think it’s an admirable thing to celebrate, what with being a non-sexist person and dressing as a woman some of the time, it got me thinking about the way we, the inter-sexed if you like, operate as a community.
And I have to say it – I *love* the cross-dressing community. For some reason opening yourself up to your feminine side seems to, cough, make you a better man, or at least a better human being. Whether it’s down to the experience of dressing, the urge for something softer or just the chance to step out of the toxic grasp of testosterone for a little bit, it seems to make the people who do it, well, just nice.
Pictured – it’s hard not to be nice when you feel femm to be honest….
In all the time I’ve had an online presence I’ve never been harassed by someone in the community. I’ve never had a hateful message from a fellow cross-dresser. The cross-dressers I’ve met in the real world, both enfemme and not, have been nothing less than lovely people.
In this society as it currently is that’s bloody amazing. I work in a very phallocentric industry with some seriously sexist people – I have the unfortunate position of being a technical person surrounded by sales-people, and spending time with them is literally like jumping back thirty years. Everyone of them, bar the women of whom there are not that many, have taken on the mannerisms of the macho idiots from the 1970s – it’s all drink, cars and letching. It’s a toxic environment in which I swim and it is hard at times, especially, you know, with Sarah stomping her heels and getting annoyed behind my eyes.
Pictured – yeah, a bit naughty but I imagine Sarah has this face a lot of the time when talking to my sexist colleagues…
So what is it that makes the community we exist in such a warm place? Is it because we are half-way between the worlds, lucky enough to not have to compete in the sexist-driven way that women are effectively forced to, and not having to submit to the cultural and biological standards required for the alpha males? Or is it just because the makeup (cough) of our brains push us towards everything that makes a woman lovely while still retaining the viewpoint, unfortunately self-deludedly superior, of the masculine?
Either way it’s a nice place to be. And it sometimes makes me sad that I can’t embrace it more than I do. The nature of my complex situation is that even after four years of intensive experimentation and gorgeous dressing sessions I’m still in denial as to what I actually am. And that means I’m proverbially sat on the fence, dipping my stocking covered toe into the warm and deliciously friendly community when I want, but keeping one hob-nailed boot firmly set on the side of masculinity.
It’s why my mindset is still ‘well, I’m not really a crossdresser, am I?’, which, given the photographic evidence, is a pretty daft position to be in.
Pictured – not a crossdresser, apparently….
So what brought about this bitter-sweet urge to rave about the community? Well, it’s the day after the BNO night at Pink Punters and, yet again, I’ve chosen not to attend, even though it would have been perfect – Cindy was heading up from London, I had an open invitation to strut my stuff, chuck on a gorgeous 1940’s frock, let my hair down (which is an odd statement to say as drab me has long hair and the majority of wigs I use are shorter than my actual hair). Online friends, some of them very dear (again, the community is a lovely place) were attending. It would have been divine.
But I didn’t chose to attend. Basically because I’m still terrified of going out, even with the support of the community. So I came up with the usual excuses, some valid, some not. Then spent hours refreshing my Facebook page and Instagram account, seeing all the happy and beautiful faces in selfies taken in the Pink room, all the while beating myself up for not having the courage to be part of the community out in the real world itself.
Pictured – courage and terror in equal amounts. And a lovely floral 1940s frock, and a necklace bought by a dear friend….
But that’s the same for a large number of us, the silent (well, not so much in my case but you get the point) and shy people, the ones who have yet to step out of the cocoon and spread their butterfly wings. And that fear, at least in my case, leads to guilt, which leads to shame, which leads to depression etc etc.
Of course our generation has it easy, much easier than when this kind of compulsive behaviour was illegal. We have the safety net of the internet, as flawed as it can be, we have the support of a wonderful community that sometimes brings me close to tears with just how friendly and supportive it can be. But it’s still hard at times.
Yeah, it’s a quintessential first world problem. And it is bitter-sweet – I wouldn’t change a thing about my situation (well, maybe if I had a chance to re-roll my character I’d go for someone who was at least a foot shorter and had blonde hair rather than the dark brown I have, which makes my stubble particularly visible and means I have to duck under door frames when sporting a beehive), all of my quirks and fears are part of what makes Sarah such a wonderful experience, but without the community, and the chance to live vicariously through the courage of others, this would be a much darker world for me than it is.
Pictured – did someone mention Beehives?
And another lovely thing is the people on the internet and in the community have come to be real to me, to Sarah. The nature of the disconnection of the community means that you see the real person, not the socialised and culturally influenced shell people are forced to be. In other communities this focuses the hate and bigotry, but in the cross-dressing community it seems to bring out the best. These people I know are genuinely women in their online presence, and that’s a wonderfully sweet thing.
So stay beautiful, stay yourselves and don’t change, you wonderful people.
Pictured – the inside-Sarah who I’d love to be an outside Sarah, part of the community.