Like many of you, I have been posting pictures (and lately videos) on the Internet for quite a long time. As the times change and the Internet evolves, I’ve mostly stuck to Flickr, Ringo, YouTube, and now Multiply. But I keep links on other places as well — like Yahoo, Microsoft, and who else remembers all those fancy sites that allow you to place a profile picture and add some words to it 🙂
In general, my experience has been rather good. According to some statistics, 0.5% of all genetic males in the western world exhibit crossdressing trends. With such a huge population of crossdressers (even if most of them would never publicly admit it!), and the Internet being what it is — a great medium to get in touch with similarly-aligned people — it’s not very surprising that most comments I get on all those sites are usually encouraging, sometimes charming or even flattering, but most often simply “interesting”. When you know you’re not alone, you feel a strange sense of security. After all, if one in two hundred guys think like you do, there is plenty of them around — it makes no sense not to reach out for them and exchange some ideas, tips, or just chat around a common theme that fascinates you.
After several years getting used to the idea that I was “surrounded by friends” with similar interests, it seemed rather “safe” to continue to write about myself and publish more pictures. But on hi5, I finally hit the barrier of discrimination.
I’ve been on hi5 for quite a long time, almost since the very beginning. Being just “one among many others”, I hardly got any comments there. One day, hi5 decided to launch video support, like most of those popular sites are allowing. Since I had a few videos on YouTube, I decided to upload them.
I should have waited. This was a “novelty” for the hi5 users, and since there weren’t many videos around, the very few users who eagerly searched for them, hit mine very quickly. And, unlike the tolerant, international, mature and adult audience I was used to, I got hit instead by confused teenagers of my own country (where “crossdressing”, as a word, is not even recognised). Teenagers are still exploring their sexuality (I remember I was scared when I was 15 of being labeled as ‘homosexual’ because I loved women’s clothing, although I only dreamed about it) and the notion that not everything is “black and white” in sexual and gender issues confuses them utterly. Not surprisingly, they started hitting my videos with the rudest and nastiest comments possible. While they might admire public personalities like Filipa Gonçalves, a popular transexual model in my country, most of the teenagers might have no clue as to what sex she was born with — all they see is a gorgeous woman, and would probably dismiss the stories about her life as being just “media hype” — they still cannot accept that people can exhibit a different gender than the sex they were born with.
At the end of the day, I was insulted and publicly humiliated, and closed down my hi5 account. The stress was too much to bear. I’m comfortable with being mostly ingnored, but I’m no masochist — I have no patience and no time to be publicly humiliated. And, as you might imagine, placing some links to information on crossdressing did not help much, of course. Hormone-jumpy teenagers cannot deal with those ideas, specially when you’re inside a group that forces you to a specific behaviour — “mob rule”, or, better, leading by (a bad) example: if someone insults an “outsider”, all the group does the same.
Naturally, after cancelling my account at hi5, this led to some thoughts. In past years, I have been probably a bit careless about my crossdressing. Besides my significant other, who not only knows everything but helps me out sometimes, and finds my crossdressing “amusing” (with a slight pang of jealousy when I happen to look better than her 😉 ), a few people already know about my hidden secret — not many, just a handful. But it’s quite a difference from just a few years back, when absolutely nobody knew that.
But the simple truth is, that unlike some top transexual models soaked in hormones and the product of surgery, I haven’t a good enough figure to “pass”, and for everybody around me, except perhaps for my fellow crossdressers, I will never look “good enough” to, say, cross the street and drink a cup of coffee. I’ll be always flagged as a queer guy of some sort in this taboo-infested country, where there is just one (known) bar where crossdressers are “accepted”, in the middle of the LGBT and BDSM communities. The rest, well, is simply not tolerant enough to take any crossdressers.
Obviously, ten years ago, this was something I never worried about — it was supposed to be asecret, not something I was keen to reveal, and I wasn’t very keen in “going out” anyway (I just got out once, and it was a catastrophe, I even broke one heel while falling down a stairway, had to get back to change shoes, and then resumed my “going out” by just driving around a bit, the heart beating furiously all the time. That was ten years ago and I never repeated the experience!). But today, I read all those fantastic testimonies of how great it is to go out fully dressed. Will that be ever possible for me, except perhaps during the night, with low lighting overall, and few chances of getting recognised? After all, the old rule for crossdressers still apply: “You can fool most of the people some of the time, or some of the people all the time, but never all the people all the time.”
I would like to go out again. Still, what seemed to be a thrill a decade ago, now looks much more bleaker. I’m not so fit as I was a decade ago, so that means extra cinching (and my waist cincher is showing its age!). But all the imperfections show up as you grow older, wiser, more critical, and desire a much better image of yourself. My nose looks like a potato. I have double chins. My upper arms are too fat (I’m not muscular). I’d like a rounder bottom, and my “hip and rear padding” doesn’t fit me any more. I threw away one corset (that was a huge mistake!), and the one that remains in the closet is not big enough to give me the hourglass shape I desire. So, well, I’m over-critical. It’s even the slight details that nag at me. Sure, I can do a full body depilation, but only during the winter (people would really, really find it strange otherwise). But what to do about my eyebrows? They’re not insanely bushy — my significant other has even bushier ones — but they’re not nice, either. My old tricks in the past simply don’t give good enough results, and I feel that the eyebrows will always flag me as a genetic male. And there are more such details, of course, some of which aren’t really easy to change, most are “minor”, other would require extensive surgery, and that’s obviously out of the question.
I know perfectly well that most people’s bodies are not perfect — male or female! — and obviously we make do with what we have, and use cosmetics to disguise what we don’t like. That’s how it works. However, it seems to me that there are “points of no return”. If I wish to walk around completely depilated, and change my eyebrows, that’s something I cannot do, unless I go full-time on my crossdressing, which is something I can dream about, but will never be true. But if one takes that bold step — full-time crossdressing — surely one won’t stop there? The first thing I’d do is some corrective surgery on my nose, the more proeminent feature in my face, and if I’d do that, I’d definitely chose a feminine shape. And, while at that, do some softening on the facial bone structure and get rid of the double chin. After that, I would look “strange” and “effeminate” in male clothes, and obviously would never be able to face friends and family again — so it’s a huge step. An insanely huge step for someone who crossdresses only once in a while!
But I understand the appeal and the urges. If you go on full-time crossdressing, well, once that decision is made, what stops someone to add further and further “enhancements” to one’s body, through surgery or hormones? How would it feel to touch your silicone breasts having theminternally and not externally? It’s just a wondeful dream, but I realise that thinking — dreaming! — that way is to travel a very dangerous path. Fortunately for me — and unlike what happens to many transgendered people — almost all my income comes from remotely working from home, so I wouldn’t be without a job, or forced into prostitution like many (specially in poorer countries with even more taboos than mine). But forfeiting friends, family, and colleagues (even if I see them seldom at the office) is really, really too much to ask for.
It will remain a dream. I usually think that there are priorities in my life, and right now, enjoying a common life with my significant other takes precedence. There is no possible change; and life as a casual crossdresser means to accept my limitations, and understand that many others are far worse off than I am.