Will You Try To Understand?

Don’t you just hate transvestites! They’re all a bunch of faggots, wearing skimpy, outrageous costumes and cruising the bars looking for sex all the time. Every one of them is a Godless abomination. They’re just plain evil. They’re not only low class but mentally ill as well. They don’t deserve any rights. They should all be locked up to protect society, especially our children, from this dangerous and depraved menace.

That is how many people see transvestites or cross-dressers. Such a stereotypical view is an oversimplified belief that assumes every member of a group conforms to an unvarying pattern and thereby lacks any individuality. Without any connection to such a group, it is easy to hate them all. As James Russell Lowell said, “Folks never understand the folks they hate.”

You may think that you don’t know anyone in the transgender community but you probably do. Unless you live alone in a cave, someone you know is likely to be a transvestite who is afraid to tell you for fear of rejection. Society says there is something wrong with us, so we hide the truth. You live right along side us and never know our secret. I hid so well that of the 60 people closest to me, including my wife, none of them had any idea that I was a cross-dresser. They were all very surprised when I told them.

I don’t fit very neatly into a box simply labeled, Cross-dresser! While cross-dressing is a part of me, it is only a part of who I am. I wrote this poem to explain that situation to my family and friends.

Do You Love Me?

You know me as a person who has strong spiritual beliefs,
Who loves his wife and is committed to his marriage,
Who values family and friends and
Who feels that being a grandfather is one of the greatest experiences of life.

You know me as a person who loves children and childlike things,
Who is sensitive, caring and compassionate,
Who believes in personal responsibility and
Who is committed to working hard and doing a good job.

You know me as a person who enjoys good food and fine wines
(Plus beer, pizza and ice cream),
Who brings humor to the workplace and elsewhere,
Who works at physical conditioning and enjoys roller-blading and
Who loves animals, especially cats.

You know me as a person who is discovering a love for theater and the arts,
Who is learning to express his enjoyment of decorating, colors, fabrics and textures,
Who wants to be accepted and loved just as he is,
So, do you love me?

What if society does not accept part of me but I do;
Will you still love me?

What if I need to expose the truth about me to be at peace inside;
Will you still love me?

What if I take a chance and become vulnerable by disclosing my story;
Will you still love me?

What if I told you that I like to shave my legs and wear a skirt;
Will you still love me?

Because we had strong relationships on different levels, everyone I told responded with support and acceptance. They all reaffirmed their love for me. They didn’t understand much about cross-dressing but they knew I didn’t fit the stereotypical mold so they were willing to learn. Late, some told me that they found themselves making friends with people who were different in other ways.

I know many cross-dressers and they are all unique individuals. They are good and bad, nice and not so nice, just like any other group of people. Because of the fear of losing everything they have become as good at hiding as I was. Your husband, brother, best friend or coworker could be a cross-dresser and you wouldn’t know. Would it be safe for them to tell you? Would you treat them as individuals or would you respond with the anger, fear and hatred described earlier? Will you try to understand?

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)