The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 30 Jun 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Breaking cover

This is probably going to cost me followers, but this blog was set up so that I could be as honest as I possibly can while preserving my anonymity. This anonymity has previously existed because I have depression and I don’t want corporate clients getting frightened and either not contacting me or breaking off existing commissions. Now, I’m glad of it for reasons that are going to become fairly obvious over the next few paragraphs.

Like Grayson Perry, I like wearing what are conventionally seen as being women’s clothes. I don’t care for makeup, although I’ve tried it, and I don’t feel a pressing need to pretend I have breasts or wear, heaven forbid, a bra. This doesn’t make me trans, because I like having a penis and like various aspects of being a man, albeit not a hugely butch one. Appearances can be deceptive and, while I might look like a large and menacing six footer, in Blackadder’s words, ‘from the rough end of the trench,’ I’m rather caring and have never punched anyone else in my life.

My transvestism is partly sexual. I get an epic erotic charge from putting on a girdle and a pair of stockings like you wouldn’t believe. It’s as though the confines of my maleness have suddenly been magnificently exceeded and I’m at liberty to be who I want to be. The person who wears jeans or scruffy trousers from day to day is doing what he needs to do to avoid censure and to avoid making others in some way complicit in what is for me a deeply sexual act. The only person I want seeing me in what I’ll tentatively call my ‘female’ state are people I’m intimate with. Nobody else has a role. And, just in case you think I’m gay, I’m not. I’m tediously and utterly straight.

What is starting to bother me, however, is the times when I’m wearing female clothing and not aroused. If this was an exclusively sexual quirk, that’d be one thing. I could live with that, as I’ve lived with thinking that I’m a disgusting deviant since I was a teenager and the urge to dress differently became almost insurmountable. But, to my utter and existential horror, I now find that there are times when I dress in female clothes and don’t feel the urge to be sexual, but just more comfortable and happier. I do the stuff I normally do, only in partly female clothes. That, in its limited way, seems like enough.

I’m not suggesting that I will ever, and I repeat, ever, do this in public. While it still feels like a partly sexual act, I have zero desire, as I said, to make anyone else complicit in it. Were times to change radically and for it to be acceptable for men to dress wholly how they wanted, then I may want to do that, but everything would need to change in society and everything would need to change between my ears first. Until that happens, men wear what society tells us to and for all that seems monstrously unfair, such is life.

For now, I have to content myself with cheering people on from a distance. I’ve already mentioned Grayson Perry, a man who I think is as spectacular and magisterial a genius as these islands have ever produced. A copy of his partial autobiography is unread on my shelves, unread precisely for the reason that I’m afraid of it. Will I find support for the strange thoughts that go around in my head, or will I find censure? When I went to the recent commemoration of the homophobic shootings in London, on Old Compton Street, I saw a man dressed in female clothes. After the two seconds of initial shock has subsided, I wanted to hug him. Clearly, I did’t. It would look patronising and seem ridiculous and a rebuff would have killed me.

The people brave enough to take convention, laugh at it and wear what they want have earned my undying respect. They are magnificent. And they are magnificent because they don’t care about the gender binary. They borrow from both and don’t care who wants to censure them, because as soon as you stop caring, it’s liberating. Short of someone you beating you into the gutter, arguably because he wants to have sex with you and hates himself, there’s nothing that censure can do. When they walk past someone who is stony faced, that stony faced person could well be me, adopting the face he feels he needs to wear, but inwardly cheering them on.

I’ve heard enough patronising bullcrap spouted about crossdressing in Christian circles to sick up my own pelvis. People think it’s ‘sad’ or that it’s a personal failing. One of the people that I used to Street Pastor with said that a man wearing female clothes had sought protection from bullies, and that wasn’t it regrettable he needed to do that. I should have said that I thought that was bollocks and that that all the opprobrium rested with the bullies. I didn’t. To the irritatingly pious woman from Holy Trinity Brompton who talked with simpering sadness about a man she knew who wore women’s clothes, I nodded. I should have thrown back my head and vomited over her and her tasteful outfit.

Blogs don’t resolve anything. They simply pull out a conflict that was in the blogger’s mind and show it to you. And this is the conflict in mine. The sexual, transgressive charge is undoubted, the comfort comes as a growing realisation. Neither, perhaps, will ever be fully reconciled. But to those brave and precious few, Grayson Perry and all the others doomed to fight in obscurity, may you know nothing but happiness and acceptance.

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