What you fantasize about can unlock unanswered questions that taunt and tease you. Do you fantasize about living as a woman full time, or do you just like to dress up from time to time? Does dressing arouse you sexually, or just emotionally? Are you a woman born into a man’s body; a gay man dressing up to attract other men; a sissy, or something else?
The transgender spectrum is wide, and while classifications can be divisive, they can also serve as a lighthouse to guide girls of different groups into the safety of their own particular harbors.
In many instances, however, many of the transgirls don’t know which harbor they belong to, and they are certainly not all interchangeable. There are significant differences.
Could your fantasies help shed light on your deepest core motivations and identify what your self-identity is? Or are fantasies separate altogether?
I hadn’t any longer paid attention to my early fantasies once I came out and began to explore my own gender expression. Yet, when after years of living as a transgender woman I reverted back to explore my maleness. In the absence of my daily girl’s life, I found my fantasies reawakened within me.
Ironically I came out to fully explore what I considered to be a compulsive, unhealthy, and life-interfering obsessive behavior. The goal was to dig deep to understand its source from the core of me, and then cure myself.
What followed was unexpected: with each passing day I lived as a transgender woman full time, the more comfortable and settled into “me” I became. Things became clear and uncomplicated: I was, in fact, not a man with a compulsive obsession; I was a transgender woman. The compulsions were just those hidden parts of me that were yearning for experience.
But to find “me” I went through a maze of gender-variant groups. I lived among crossdressers for quite a while after first coming out in 2000. I didn’t reveal much to myself, except that I liked being out and felt comfortable with others whom I met along the way. Yet, slowly, as I spoke with, listened to, and interacted with them, I realized that while I was with them — and enjoyed those friendships — I wasn’t “of” them. My perspectives and motivations were vastly different from theirs, which prompted me to keep exploring.
Since that first coming out I’ve attended many seminars, conventions, parties, and events over the years, in the mainstream, gay and transgender communities alike. Nothing nor anywhere was off-limits. And I paid close attention to not only how I perceived other people — based on my varied gender expressions — but also how they perceived me. For example, I had a different relationship with girls depending on whether I was presenting male, gender-fluid, or female. And they in turn interact differently with me in each case as well.
I had for years (in the closet) thought of myself as a transvestite or drag queen, simply because I didn’t have the education to know any better. The Internet has now changed everything, which didn’t come about until I was late into my 30s. Still, though the Internet could tell me facts and figures, I learned more about myself and others from being out, though my perceptions of both shifted with each new revelation as I navigated through many different community groups.
Some would argue that we shouldn’t classify, that we should all just be referred to as transgender. I disagree, and never adhered to this notion. How could a transgender woman (or transsexual, as referred to years before) who has identified and felt like a girl from birth be categorized the same as a man who simply likes to play dress-up, sometimes? At the same time, nothing I’m discussing here is mutually inclusive or exclusive of one another.
Clearly, no one really knows the true nature of another, except the other person themselves. We could easily gaze upon a manly-looking crossdresser and assume they are part-time crossdressers. But what we don’t know, and will never know, is what dwells within them. They could very well be transsexuals trapped in their own bodies their whole lives like Caitlyn Jenner was. Who is to say? Because one trans girl is more feminine than another unto itself doesn’t speak to who they are.
When my friend Jamie was outed to her high-school buddies by her x-wife, she merely told them “I like to dress up and go out for the night. It’s what I like to do! So what?”
At a gender advocacy event, Robin and I were in discussions about exploration. She promptly told me that “I don’t consider myself a woman; I don’t want to be a woman! I like to dress up because it feels good, I don’t care why, and there is no other exploration needed.”
The more conversations I had, the more I realized that we weren’t all alike. Even the supposed bond of oppression that should have linked us, didn’t. Mostly because the crossdressers didn’t really care all that much about equal rights — because they didn’t live full time and therefore weren’t affected. They could dress up and go to a transgender party where they didn’t have to deal with any politics or mainstream backlash: many of them arrived as men, changed at the party, then changed back and left again as men — they were never outside in public as transgender women.
Gina Lance and I became fast friends in 2001 when I began writing the “A Bite of the Big Apple” column for her GIRL TALK magazine that she founded and ran until the winter of 2004. We got on well, laughed together a lot, by phone, and during my 2002 L.A. trip, yet I knew early on that we came from different places on the gender spectrum.
When we teamed in 2005 to create TGlife.com, we were often philosophically at odds on transgender topics of discussion: she was interested in dressing up and having fun and publishing content of the same. I too enjoyed going out and having fun and did so at the many events that I covered and introduced to many in the NYC metro area. However, I was also deeply interested in gender exploration, gender rights, and gender support.
To Gina, who has been a life-long crossdresser, she wasn’t interested in gender beyond a Friday or Saturday night out, or occasional publication event, while my mind was exploring gender and living transgender every day.
In an article, I had written some years ago entitled Myths and Misinformation, and Someone Else’s Story, a crossdresser shouldn’t jump on the transgender woman bandwagon simply because it is expedient or more socially accepted, just as a transgender woman shouldn’t discount a crossdresser as a man dressing up for a short gratification.
Live in your own skin, own who you are without lying and manipulating your own perspective, or that of others. Paraphrasing from Lao Tzu:
Live your life according to you, instead of trying to convert others or convince them whatever story you’re telling is right.