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Crossing the Drag Meridian

by Gina Conners

I’m not much of a joiner, but I became a member of the Vanity Club in 2005. The VC is a sorority for transgendered women from all walks of life, every corner of the globe, every strata of society and of every gender permutation in the male-to-female trans community. A more impressive, nicer, more supportive and more fun group of very special women you will never meet anywhere, anytime.

Members act as a virtual and real world support system for each other. We also use the Club’s email network to swap photos, share experiences and launch discussions about subjects that relate to gender “complications.” The other day someone raised a variation of an old ethical dilemma as conversation bait: if it were possible to have our gender problems, our desire to crossdress, to change our bodies, etc., completely excised from our minds, would we? In other words, would we accept a “cure” for our gender issues if one existed? And, if so, how would our lives be different in the aftermath?

At first blush, the question seemed like a no-brainer. Answer – Hell no, and the horse the idea rode in on. All of us in the Tgirl community know - or remember – and love, that lightning bolt of excitement that comes when we cross what I call the "drag meridian." That's the point in the process of getting made up and styled and dressed when a woman first appears in the mirror, replacing the much less interesting male who was there when you started the makeover. Moreover, every dresser has experienced the welcome flash of hormonal heat that happens when you are out somewhere and you hear, "Miss," or "Ma'am," or even "Hey Baby," directed your way. And you can multiply that by a super tanker full of ego hugs when a cute guy hits on you (whether you happen to be gay, straight or bi, whether you’re on the dating market or not, whether the guy is actually cute or not – doesn’t matter. He magically becomes cute when he comes on to you. Moreover, it’s the man’s sterling judgment and potentially licentious thoughts about you that are the “atta boy!” for your transformation.) Plus, there are very few moments that will give you as much of a rush as glimpsing yourself in a store window, and seeing the woman who lives inside you walking and talking and interacting with the world.

A confession: many, if not most, of us who crossdress are fashion addicts; style thrill seekers chasing a high-heeled high. Crossdressing is our drug of choice. Also, there is no such thing as a casual crossdresser. It’s an urban myth, like Kim Kardashian’s Mensa membership, or alligators the size of Subarus lurking in the sewers. There may be men who crossdress on a casual basis, but when you scratch beneath our crunchy candy shell, you will see that very few subjects, including work, family or football, occupy as much of our thinking on the average day as do the various and sundry aspects of our avocation. When we aren't actually crossdressing, or shopping for clothes with which to crossdress, we're planning the next time we'll get to crossdress, remembering the last time we crossdressed, or just imagining what life would be like if we were able to do it 24/7.

Occasional pangs of conscience, New Year's resolutions or solemn promises to loved ones sometimes cause us to get rid of our finery for extended intervals. But nothing completely quiets “the call of the corset.” (So to speak.) Even in the midst of the most resolute of will power-powered purges, I would bet my organ donor card that not a single one of us would forget her dress size, her favorite shade of lipstick or how to use make up to fake cleavage. We know in our souls that, no matter what we tell anyone else, we are never done crossdressing. We will one day wind up right back at the mirror making sure our cheekbones are properly contoured, that the beard cover actually covers our beard, and that we look as passable as possible when we head out the door proclaiming, "damn the kitten heels, full speed ahead to the 'Ladies Drink Free' happy hour at TGI Fridays!"

But that isn't the whole picture. Crossdressing is what unadulterated pleasure, raw sensuality and added self-confidence taste like to us. It is the fertile loam from whence grows much of the happiness in our lives. Take it away and we might be able to make it from Monday to Monday, but it would be “the end of living and the beginning of survival,” for many of us. (Apologies to Chief Sealth of the Suquamish Indians who is said to have coined that phrase, albeit in a vastly different context),

And that prospective loss of joy in our lives adds vexation to the stew. I wager there isn’t one of us who hasn’t, in moments of frustration, wished we could painlessly trade passion for tranquility, gender duality for pronoun simplicity, and just lead lives that don’t involve our studying Vogue like a Super Bowl playbook. Certainly, our loved ones would appreciate a transgender-less life. No matter how accepting they may be, the world would be a lot less complicated for them if we weren’t embroiled in a passionate affair with the “other woman” in our bathroom mirror.

So, my answer to whether I’d like my gender identity issues fixed would be, “No thanks, I'm good.” Crossdressing is a consuming thing but, unlike other addictions, it’s not all-consuming and it isn’t, in and of itself, destructive. We are more than our wardrobes. Conversely, giving it up would take more than just the clothes out of our lives. It would remove unique experiences and irreplaceable avenues of expression that, for us, make life all the sweeter and far more fulfilling. So, yes, I say no to the cure. But it’s a reply freighted with both the exhilaration being transgendered gives me, and the complexity it has added to my life and the lives of those I care most about in the world.

My own response was much briefer: What would life be like? Boring. Few things are as emotionally uplifting and logistally convenient as crossdressing is for me. For me it is a way to celebrate feeling good and to turn to when feeling bad. Would life be simpler without it? Sure it would. But having that aspect removed from me would be like getting a lobotomy. The spark and spirit of life would be missing. So, no. I wouldn't want a "cure" either.

If there was a "cure"

would I want it to stop cross-dressing?

The following was written but Gina Conners. There was an online discussion among some of us about what life would be like without cross-dressing and if we could stop, would we. I loved her comments so much I asked her if she could write something for me to post on my blog. My own response is below hers but she said it best.

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