The Nice ‘n’ Naughty blog has the great honour of having another post from Debbie; our guest blogger. Debbie will be giving us an insight into her life as a cross dresser in her special blog posts.
In her second post Debbie discusses language and what she feels is in a name.
Please read, enjoy and comment.
MY LIFE – Part 2
So, what’s in a name, and what does it mean anyway?
Transgendered, cross-dresser, transvestite (and the derivatives TV and trannie), trans-sexual, and many more are all used, let it be said, more-or-less without distinction by people, often outside of this very broad community, in an attempt to pigeon hole us into manageable concepts. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, and we all do it in various ways. But it leads to confusion, and a confusion not helped by the fact even within the community we are not certain about these terms ourselves. In what is already a grey gender area there are overlapping uncertainties of meaning. My own thoughts, based on personal sentiment and experience may, or may not, help the situation. First of all a clear distinction must be made between those of us who, by choice (if indeed that is always the case recognising that there can be powerful psychological imperatives) elect to live all or part of our lives as women, and those who find themselves physiologically between the sexes, sharing attributes of both. The latter form, in many respects, a different category on which I cannot make informed comment. Of the former groups there, as with all communities, a wide range of behaviours, thoughts and living styles. It is invidious to categorise, but such is the currency of the vocabulary that some attempt has to be made to define them. What follows are merely my own reflections, so feel free to challenge them as you will.
Transgendered can be taken to include those who are physiologically identified with both sexes in one form or another. Whether they choose to live as either, or indeed neither, is not simply a matter of ‘cross-dressing’ or anything of that nature. There are however those who, whilst exhibiting no physiological attributes of the other sex have a strong and genuine emotional prompting to assume that role and in doing so embark on a programme of gender re-assignment. This can be either by means of surgery or hormone treatment, often accompanied by counselling and advice. These are major changes in the way that life is conducted and those who embark upon in should be applauded for their courage and determination to set right what they see as a wrong.
So some extent the term trans-sexual invades this above territory but a clear distinction between the two cannot be made. To many the terms are synonymous, and it might best to keep them so.
This brings us to the term transvestite. Frankly I think it a ghastly term; it has a harshness of pronunciation that makes it sound cold and even hostile. In many ways in marked contrast to what it actually means to those who see themselves as such. It smacks also of the intolerance of earlier decades and is almost pejorative in its use. Its derivative, ‘trannie’, is an interesting term. Some do not like it to be used, regarding it as an insult. Some do not. I fall into the latter category. It has a ‘softness’ to its enunciation that overcomes the problem of ‘transvestite’, and if some see it as a term of abuse I suggest that, as the black community did with the ‘N’ word, we reclaim it for ourselves. But, given all that, what does it mean? It is one of the most widely-used terms to embrace the community but it differs from trans-sexual and transgendered in that is not necessarily accompanied by any attempt to change the physical character of the body in any permanent form. Surgery and hormone treatment do not, in this definitional sense, apply to this category. These are men and women who choose to dress either permanently or occasionally, in private or in public, in the clothes of the other sex. Cross-dressing is a very similar term, again barely distinguishable from it.
‘Drag’ is an altogether different matter. I suggest it has less to do with gender issues, in the sense I describe them above, than with theatre. There is of course nothing wrong with that but, and rather sadly, for many people outside of the community this is the idea they have of what we do. Nothing could be further from the truth! In many cases we seek not to display ourselves in such dramatic terms but to merge quietly into the general mass of the population, passing as members of the opposite sex. There are of course some cross-dressers, transvestites, call them what you will, who do seek to draw attention to themselves. So again the distinction is not altogether clear.
This is not the arena in which to discuss motivation: that goes far beyond my expertise, and I can only speculate on the basis of personal experience. Some of my thoughts have been related in the earlier contribution and what motivates me is the great sense of calm satisfaction in recognising who I truly am as Debs. I live the life of a woman and do so without reservation or regret and indeed with a degree of genuine pride in what I do. Assuredly I have not gone along the pathway of surgery or hormone treatment but that is partly an ‘age’ issue and if I were much younger (all this has come to me late in life) the options might be more appealing. I do not exhibit myself in a spectacular fashion, although I do like to be fashionable, and fall into that group who are for the most part happy to merge, unquestioned, into the population at large; content to shop, travel, lunch out etc. I am however not blind to the fact that upon closer inspection I am not, shall we say, all that I appear to be Happily this has never caused me any difficulties, indeed quite the opposite, and people have been politely curious about me, almost always courteous and sometimes pleasantly intrigued. For me it has been a very positive reaction and one that has given me some genuine hope in human nature, even the world of officialdom (passport and security control at airports, the police and NHS) have been heart-warmingly helpful and never obstructive,. I am however only too well aware that this is not everyone’s experience. I guess what I am trying to say here is that I have been very lucky indeed and, equally importantly, do not take my good fortune for granted.
Love Debs xxx