In the 14 years that my wife and I have been jointly dealing with the issues of cross-dressing and discrimination, we have been guided by two principles: 1) Take lots of small steps, and 2) Reach agreement prior to taking any step. As I look back I am amazed at how far we have come by taking so many of those small, mutually agreeable steps. Recently; however, I have become dissatisfied with my lack of progress. In retrospect I realize that I have been on a plateau for an extended period of time. While others have lauded my courage, I have, with the exception of a handful of annual speaking engagements, operated primarily from the safety and anonymity of my computer keyboard. Several times in the past I have reached a point where the small step principle was inadequate to move ahead. That’s where I find myself now. Here’s what I know:
- Cross-dressers continue to be wrongly discriminated against by church and society.
- The true issue is about discrimination towards any person or group of persons
- Unless many people speak up and take action nothing will change.
- I have adopted a primarily thinking rather than action-oriented posture.
- Most of my efforts have focused on defending our position.
- Written articles have great power to influence people’s thinking and actions.
- Appearing as a man in a dress accentuates the point of discrimination.
- I have a special calling in this area and want to use my situation to help others.
- And, underlying it all, I really do enjoy cross-dressing.
To meet the challenge, I will broaden my messages to include any form of discrimination. I will continue to approach the issue as a cross-dresser since that is how I have experienced the effects of discrimination. I will emphasize the issue from the perspective of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community but will clearly oppose discrimination in whatever forms it manifests itself. I will be publicly active by seeking more and varied platforms for speaking engagements. I have conducted sessions at gender events, universities and churches and intend to seek more frequent opportunities there as well as expanding into other types of venues. (Let me know if you have a venue at which you’d like me to speak.) I will write more articles and will also write more pointed articles that press others to defend their positions thus exposing the wrong thinking inherent in their approaches. I have done sufficient research to know that the discriminatory postures adopted by religious and societal leaders are not logically supportable so I no longer feel the need to continue to try to justify equal treatment. We deserve it! Period! I also will seek a broader audience through more mainstream publications. (Do you have any contacts?) I intend to utilize the power of a man-in-a-dress in a wide variety of public venues, including with family and friends, to prod people to confront their prejudices. It was eye opening to observe the reaction of members of my church when they actually encountered me dressed as Rachel. Visually confronting a cross-dresser forces a person to convert an intellectual concept into a real life situation. It becomes a true litmus test of the depth of our prejudices. To make all of those changes requires a giant step, actually several giant steps, not just another series of small steps. While I have recognized that situation for some time now, it has not been easy for me to commit to making the jump because of the magnitude of the change. There certainly will be great rewards for myself and others but there will equally certainly be great difficulties. This step requires significantly more courage than my previous steps. Still, it is clear to me that it is the right next step for me to take. Just as importantly, my wife Marsha agrees. This year we moved into a new house with an extensive and beautifully landscaped yard. The house-yard combination has been all consuming but the work level is beginning to taper off. By the end of the year, we should have the situation under control. Then I can devote greater attention to these issues. Meanwhile, I will use the intervening time planning and preparing for the jump to the next level in January. That’s what I intend to do to reduce discrimination. The most important question is “What do you intend to do to reduce discrimination because, to make changes, many people must speak out and take action.”
Richard Molling is a married heterosexual cross-dresser who began seeking community at age 40 under the name Rachel Miller, which is the pen name he used to publish The Bliss of Becoming One! Integrating ‘Feminine’ Feelings into the Male Psyche Mainstreaming the Gender Community in 1996. An accomplished speaker, Molling has worked for four decades to increase understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.