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I have cut & pasted the following passage from a website entitled YBATV?

This passage has a lot of information that I can relate to. A link to the web site is at the bottom of the page.

 

Causes Of Crossdressing

This page is about trying to understand what drives a man to want to look and feel like a woman. I have no idea why I am a transvestite and I'm sure there are thousands of other transvestites who ponder this question and perhaps just as many wives, girlfriends, parents, children and friends. You are all welcome to join me on my quest for understanding. There seem to be very few scientists who find transvestitism interesting enough to study. If you are one of the few, then please feel free to contribute your views, your hypotheses and your findings.


From my own introspections, transvestitism is essentially sexual in nature. The wearing of women's clothing by men is about sexuality.

At first, when I did it, the degree of arousal was so great it was impossible to analyse it and understand where it came from. Now, I habitually cross-dress and have done for years and I can take a more dispassionate look at how I feel.

It is a complex feeling. The ingredients are:

a feeling of relief - as if I had been tense or anxious and now I could relax - this could just be the feeling an addict gets when she finally gets her hit
a sense of naturalness - as if being cross-dressed was my proper state
a feeling of being attractive - this is perhaps the strongest feeling of them all - it begs the question; "attractive to whom?" as, like most transvestites, I am strongly heterosexual
a feeling of sensuality - this is very closely tied to feeling attractive but it is enhanced by feeling satin or lace or other flimsy and sensuous fabrics against my skin
sexual arousal by the sight of my own body - my stockinged legs, a skirt pulled taught across my thighs, my painted finger-nails - all cues that would arouse me if I saw them on a woman.
Unlike many transvestites, I don't feel like a woman when I'm cross-dressed nor do I want to take on a female identity. My suspicion is that there is a continuum of "affliction" across the whole spectrum from "normality" through many degrees of transvestitism through to full-blown transsexualism. Like many complex human traits, I suspect that this too would be normally distributed so that the great majority of transvestites are more or less the same in how they feel and that extremely mild transvestitism or extremely strong transvestitism (transsexuality) are relatively rare. My guess would be that most transvestites you see on the Web are a standard deviation or more above the mean while I am maybe a standard deviation below it.

Let's focus on this feeling of attractiveness, since I think it may be the key to understanding transvestitism. As I said, when I cross-dress I feel attractive. Let's just look at that feeling.

It is not an objectively-based feeling. I know that, compared to real women that I find attractive, I do not look anywhere near as attractive as I feel. Yet there is a warm and happy feeling of looking good and being beautiful, indeed, of being immensely desirable. Yet I do not at all enjoy the idea that a man would find me attractive, nor do I believe that any woman would like the look of me in drag! So what is going on?

The situation of feeling attractive without actually being attractive reminds me of something else. I have lived with and among feminist women for almost 30 years now and it I have often noticed that, for some of them, their feminist views do not prevent them from dressing as attractively or sexily as any other woman. They will wear short, tight skirts and high heels, push-up bras and low-cut tops while at the same time complaining that similarly-clad women in advertisements or entertainments are only there to titillate men. When I have pointed out the apparent inconsistency, I invariably get an answer to the effect of "I don't dress to please men. I dress to please myself." I have heard this from so many sources that I am inclined to believe it is true.

If so, we have the two separate cases of women dressing for their own pleasure and me - a transvestite - doing the same. Both feeling attractive and happy with their dressing up and both sincerely denying that they are trying to titillate anybody! Can we reconcile the apparent inconsistency and can the two cases be seen as part of the same phenomenon? I believe so but in order to do so, I will need to take us on a detour through the evolution of animal behaviour.

I believe that human nature - like all animal natures - has been fashioned by evolution. Mostly what evolution has fashioned in us is a set of drives and a set of emotional responses to stimuli that will, under natural circumstances, tend to keep us alive, cause us to mate and help us keep our children alive until they are able to survive on their own.

The way these drives work on us is not always appreciated by people. Take hunger as an example. We feel hunger because if we don't eat we will die. Evolution has furnished us with a powerful urge to eat so that we will keep eating and thus survive. However - and this is an extremely important point for my argument - we do not eat in order to survive, we eat to satisfy our hunger - surviving because we eat is a side-effect. Sex is just the same. In order for the species to survive we must have babies. In order to have babies, we must have sex. So evolution solves the problem of our survival by giving us a powerful drive to do sex. Again, please note, we do not do sex so that the species will survive, we do sex because we want to do the act itself. Having babies and the survival of the species are side-effects.

The sensation of being driven by an innate urge is actually different in each case. The urge to eat or to defecate is accompanied by physical sensations of mounting discomfort. The urge to mate is felt as a yearning. Other urges manifest themselves as anxiety, fear, love and so on. Some appear simple and straightforward. Others are complex and deeply mysterious. Some are precisely focused on particular objects. Others are diffuse, generalised or vague.

If we look at how men are attracted to women we see that the stimulus is primarily visual. The very fact that most men find pictures of women sexually arousing attests to this. Although there is little sexual dimorphism in the human species, there is enough clearly to distinguish women from men when they are both naked. However, for a very long time, in many places, men and women have not been naked - they have worn clothes. Since clothing tends to hide sexual characteristics, it seems reasonable that human societies would adopt clothing conventions which themselves will show sexual dimorphism. That is, there will, in any society, be one way of dressing for men and another for women. It doesn't matter what conventions a particular society chooses. It is only important that the sexes can be distinguished visually.

To see why this should be important, consider a world in which men and women, when clothed, could not be easily distinguished. Each sex would waste half of its potential courtship advances and would need to reject a similar proportion simply on the grounds that the subject or object of the advance was of the wrong gender. Evolutionarily speaking, this would be an incredibly inefficient system.

It is reasonable to assume that evolution has built safeguards into our behaviours to prevent us from wasting time in pursuing same-sex 'mates'. Largely, this seems to be managed by a sexual indifference to same-sex people. However, we might also expect to feel negatively about inappropriate 'mates' who fool us into approaching them. Indeed, the common reaction to people who do or because of their appearance could attract us inappropriately, is one of anger and revulsion.

Thus, a man dressed as a woman is something for which most people would feel an inate dislike which is born of an evolutionary mechanism to avoid wasted sexual approaches.

So why do men dress as women?

Let's go back to this feeling of attractiveness. I suggest that there is, in normal women, an urge to look attractive which they satisfy by adorning their bodies in culturally appropriate ways. A side-effect of this behaviour is that they receive more sexual advances from males. However, the urge and its satisfaction are all that the woman is aware of as 'motivation' for the behaviour. Thus women really can dress up purely for their own benefit and, at the same time, on an abstract, evolutionary view of cause and effect, be doing it to attract men.

To explain transvestitism, we need now invoke only one simple mechanism whereby the female urge to look attractive is erroneously expressed by a male. No other aspect of the transvestite's behaviour need be affected since it seems that this urge to present sexually as a female is not related to sexual preference or any other trait. It need not even be caused by defective genes or some kind of fault of inheritance. It may be that all males inherit the necessary genes but that some environmental influence causes their inappropriate expression. Indeed there is some suggestive evidence that the hormonal environment in the womb at a critical period may be such a cause.

If this were so, why do so many transvestites find it sexually arousing to cross dress? I think that, here, we don't have to be particularly ingenious about finding an explanation. I believe that the answer lies in one or, more likely, all of the following phenomena:

Women's clothing becomes associated with sex. Items like bras and panties, even for normal men, become fetish objects by a simple process of association with the arousal they feel when they see or feel them on desirable women. Actually wearing such inherently arousing garments under the influence of a drive to feel physically attractive leads to inevitable arousal.
For men, sexual arousal by visual cues is easy. This is even more easy when the mood is sexually oriented or the man has been primed in some way to be sexually aroused. Thus the sight of a stockinged foot in a high-heeled shoe, or of a satin dress pulled taught across a soft belly, even though these things on your own body, still evoke the usual arousal response.
Physical intimacy and touch also lead to sexual arousal. One's own body is about as physically intimate as it is possible to be. In the already sexually charged atmosphere of a cross-dressing session, the touch of sensual fabrics against your body, the feel of the smooth lines and surfaces, the swell of a hip or buttock as your hand caresses it are all deliciously sexy.
Some transvestites talk about a kind of sympathetic magic as part of the auto-erotic experience of cross-dressing. Cross-dressing, they argue, involves turning themselves into the object of their desire, thus gaining mastery of it. It is certainly true that, when cross-dressed, it is something like having an eager and willing woman to touch and admire, who will pose for you and who will let you watch her, touch her and fondle her as much as you like. However, I think that to say this is a reason why men cross-dress is to confuse cause and effect. In fact, I suspect that this whole sexual side of transvestitism is merely a pleasant side-effect.

The picture I paint of the causes of transvestitism shows the transvestite as a man afflicted with a genetic abnormality. It is by no means a positive lifestyle choice. The transvestite is driven by urges he cannot control and doesn't want, to behave in ways which normal people will naturally find abhorrent. The transvestite is the victim of an affliction that sets him apart from his fellow men and from women.


Coping With Crossdressing

Most transvestites hide their need to cross-dress. They keep it secret from their parents, siblings, friends, workmates, neighbours, even their wives. It isn't hard to pretend to be normal because, in every other way, the transvestite is normal. But it is hard to suppress the urge to dress up. So the majority of transvestites yield to the urge then live in fear of being discovered. They also live with the constant pain of hiding their true nature from the people they love.

Some transvestites 'come out' to their wives, if to nobody else. TV discussion groups are full of the angst they feel about this. Many transvestites are divorced because of their confession. Others live with women who cannot understand but will tolerate their husband's strange behaviour - women who then also bear the burden of hiding the weirdness of their home lives from their own friends and family.

I do not believe that transvestitism is something which can easily be 'integrated' into a man's personality. From what I have said about my beliefs about the origins of transvestitism, it should be no surprise that I see it as an alien growth on the male psyche, not a natural part of being human that most men somehow repress. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that the attempt to integrate transvestitism into one's self-image can seriously distort the transvestite's view of himself and the world. The view that transvestitism is merely an expression of an innate 'feminine side' to our nature is not helpful in explaining why it happens, who is affected and why transvestitism is experienced just the way it is. Men trying to cope with transvestitism often appear to have quite fragmented images of themselves and of their gender and, sometimes, serious confusion about their sexual orientation - all of which is quite understandable if we think of transvestitism as an abnormal and disfiguring growth on the side of an otherwise normal psyche.

The conclusion I have come to is that there is no way of 'dealing' with transvestitism and there is certainly no 'cure'. All that sufferers can hope for is to be able to cope with it. That is, we need to find ways of managing transvestitism so that it does not damage or impoverish our lives too much, so that we protect our loved ones from the harm it can do to them, and so that we can still enjoy and benefit from the positive aspects of this most peculiar affliction.

The first step to coping with transvestitism is to understand what it is. I have a 'working hypothesis' that satisfies me for the moment but I have no doubt that there will be many others who strongly disagree. It is also worth remembering that I wouldn't need this website if I was 100% confident that I really understand what transvestitism is all about. So remember that everything I say here about coping is predicated on my current, imperfect understanding and take it with a pinch of salt.

First of all, we each have to decide who is going to know about our transvestitism. In a perfect world, we'd all just come out and and everyone would accept us. But the world isn't like that. If I am right about the causes of transvestitism, then normal people are programmed to dislike transvestites as much as we are programmed to be transvestites. Even if I'm wrong, there is no denying a strong negative sentiment in people in general towards cross-dressing males. There is also a lot of confusion about the relationship between cross-dressing and homosexuality. There is a general distrust of, fear of and hostility towards any kind of sexual 'perversion' and, to top it all, a common aversion to anyone who is in any way different. This isn't to say that every transvestite who comes out is shunned or vilified by his friends and neighbours. I don't want to exaggerate this. But the mere fact of being different in this way means that, if you reveal it, it will alter your relationships with the people around you - almost certainly adversely - and it will begin to define you socially.

Personally, I refuse to be defined by a minor aberration in my sexual make-up. My transvestitism is a secret therefore except from my wife. I have revealed it to my wife because:

I was confident that she loved me enough to tolerate the fact for my sake.
I knew I could count on her to keep my secret.
It would have been intolerable to have had such a big secret between us.
I selfishly hoped she would allow me to cross-dress at home.
The down-side of telling my wife has been:

She too now has the burden of this secret - with none of the benefits.
While she tolerates my cross-dressing, she cannot understand it and this has caused a little distance between us.
Generally, my coping strategy for transvestitism has been to reveal it on a 'need to know' basis. I don't have children who live with me but, if I did, I would almost certainly not tell them. I don't believe that children should be made to cope with their parents' problems unless it becomes unpreventable. I can see no way that it would benefit a child to know its father cross-dressed and many ways in which the knowledge could hurt it.

The question of who should be in on the secret is also a matter of how strong the urge to cross-dress is felt by each individual. Some transvestites are satisfied to cross-dress only rarely. Some, although the need is greater, can go for years without giving in to it if circumstances require them to.

For some transvestites, the Web, email, chat rooms, support groups and outings to transvestite clubs and bars allow them to talk about their issues to like-minded and understanding people, or just to be themselves in the company of people who do not condemn them. Part of this need to socialise is the perfectly normal desire by transvestites to find a society in which they do not feel like outsiders and freaks. My own view is that, by my own definition, I am a freak but I am quite unusual in not caring much about it . It is hard to get reliable statistics on how common transvestitism is so I don't know just how freakish to feel but my impression is that it is a lot more common than most people believe. What is more, it is a normal and natural phenomenon, something which probably arises out of the natural variability of the human developmental process. While being a transvestite has its difficulties and drawbacks, it is probably only as rare as being extremely tall or short and is probably easier to live with.

Accepting this view is important in finding an appropriate way to cope with transvestitism. Self-delusion is not coping and will most likely lead to undesirable consequences. For example, if I believed that transvestitism was caused by men getting in touch with their 'feminine side', I might wrongly conclude that any man could be educated into appreciating cross-dressing. This could lead me to evangelise the practice to my friends and family. It might also lead me to adopt misguided child-rearing practices.

As well as guiding one’s dealings with the rest of the world, one’s model of the causes of transvestitism help one to find an appropriate model of one's own Self. Here, my beliefs about why I am a transvestite mean that:

I don't try to convince myself that I am a male and a female person in one body. Disintegrating one’s personality like that cannot be healthy.
I can accept that I am a whole and complete male with all the usual masculine traits and desires - but with an unusual oddity in one small area of my character.
My desire to look and act feminine is bounded. That is, although the urge is strong in me, knowing its relationship to the rest of my life helps me control it when I need to.
I don't worry about my sexual orientation.
I don't worry about making myself look exactly like a woman, perfecting 'the illusion', or 'passing' for a woman. This urge is best satisfied if I don't use externally-set, objective criteria of feminine appearance. I can feel better about myself if I don't judge myself that way. After all, I don't need to compete for a male like a woman does - I just need to make myself happy.
I can understand my wife's inability to understand me - not just sympathise but really understand it. Apart from the kind of abstract, evolutionary explanations I gave in my essay on causes, there really is no explanation for this kind of innate drive that would satisfy anyone. Such things are like emotional atoms from which our personalities are built — there is no looking inside them.
I can understand it that my wife finds me physically unattractive when I'm cross-dressed. After all, if our roles were reversed and she was trying to look like a man (with a false beard, her breasts strapped down flat and a fake penis in her jockey shorts) I'm pretty sure I wouldn't find it a turn-on!
All of these things make being a transvestite more bearable. Yet there is always the loneliness that keeping such a secret brings, always the bitter sense of the injustice of being the one in a thousand who is afflicted, always the struggle to maintain one's self-esteem in the face of what is, for me at least, a hopeless and pathetic need to be pretty and sexy. All the understanding in the world won't make these feelings go away.

For some transvestites, I see a bold attempt to make a virtue out of a necessity. These men flaunt their cross-dressing, they affirm the positive and glamorous aspects of being 'transgendered' and they re-organise their lives and relationships so that cross-dressing can become a primary focus for enjoyment and social interaction. I have no data on how this works out for them. I find it hard to believe that this represents a long-term coping strategy and I suspect they may be more unhappy afterwards than when they started. Nevertheless, I salute their courage and I envy them their freedom to act out their desires - however briefly. Some of these people also attempt to politicise transvestitism, trying to help transvestites to be able to live and work openly while cross-dressed. They seek a reduction or elimination of the social stigma attached to cross-dressing and they seek appropriate medical and legal treatment for transvestites. Again, this is a brave and laudable thing to do and I wish them every success. I suspect that such people will not like my ideas and I look forward to hearing their persuasive arguments for other points of view.


Man or Woman

Something I've often pondered is the possibility of cross-dressing yet still retaining one's masculine character. This isn't as strange as it may sound. Many of the often-cited incidences of cross-dressing in 'primitive' societies do not involve a complete change in presented gender. Closer to home, we have proponents like Izzy Izzard who says; "There is no such thing as men's clothes or women's clothes, just clothes." While I disagree with him, his postion suggests the possibility of retaining one's masculinity even when cross-dressed.

For example, why should cross-dressing imply "full drag"? Personally, I am often quite happy to slip into a pair of lacey panties, a skirt and T-shirt when I get home from work. No bra, no wig, no makeup, no shaving. I love the clothes, I feel great and it's a relaxed, comfortable style that suits me and the situation. What's more, I don't act in a feminine way. I'm just me with different clothes on.

If it is possible to enjoy transvestitism in this way, I ask myself why a transvestite needs to shave his body - or even his face - why the walk, the mannerisms and the voice of a woman should be imitated. Indeed, why we should try for 'the illusion' at all. Maybe there is a way to be more who we really are while at the same time feeling pretty and attractive?

The power of this notion is that it could allow men to dress up in the same way that women do without needing to feel that they are female in any way. The transvestite could move out of the closet and onto the street and all men could participate in what would be merely a new fashion and lifestyle choice. The danger of this approach is that it misses the point and that transvestites actually want to look or even feel female instead of just looking attractive in a feminine way. The 'new fashion' would then merely be a front for an underlying behaviour disorder.

Introspection is hard. Not only is it difficult to probe to the heart of one's own feelings, it is also difficult to determine the truth or falsity of one's own beliefs about oneself, and it is hard too to be completely honest with oneself about what one finds. I have looked into my own feelings about why I cross-dress and I find that, as much as I wish it were otherwise, when I'm dressed I really would like my body to appear female as well as my clothing. The idea, therefore, that men could cross-dress in some superficial way is probably flawed. As I say in my essay on causes, transvestitism is about presenting the appearance of a woman. If this is true, nothing less than looking female will truly satisfy the transvestite. If there was a style of dress that was similar to female dress but was culturally acknowledged to be male all the same, my guess is that it would not be enough.

What does it feel like to be a woman? This is a question that should be of profound importance to the TV community, although I have never seen it discussed in any depth. It may seem self-evident that, as a man, I simply cannot know what a woman feels. It may even be true that, as an individual, I can never truly know what any other individual feels. Yet it is commonplace to hear TVs talking about their 'female persona', their 'feminine side', or the woman 'inside them'. I don't want to deny that all these men feel something but how do they know it is anything like what a woman would feel? How do we even know that women feel differently to men?

What is going on here?

I think that a significant part of the pleasure of cross-dressing for me is that, in some strange way, it frees me to experience myself in a different way. I can be more sensual, more auto-erotic and I can feel things that I don't usually feel: like feeling feminine. The more I cross-dress, the more this experience of myself spills over into my 'drab' times but it is still strongly associated with the dressing. Is this experience anything like what a woman feels about herself? Is this even the same experience that other transvestites feel when they cross-dress?

In the end, I believe we can never know the answer. However, I believe that this feeling of femininity or of being a woman is very real and that it even has a certain validity. While a transvestite man can never really know what it feels like to be a woman, I believe there are some aspects of the experience of femininity that we can share. In particular, it is a sensation of being physically attractive as a woman that transvestites crave and seek, through cross-dressing, to achieve. It is the feeling of presenting to ourselves and the world as an attractive female that we call femininity and I want to argue that this limited way of experiencing the female condition is at the heart of what it is to be a transvestite and is also the source of much of the confusion about gender identity that afflicts us. To get to this conclusion, I’m afraid I will have to go all around the houses. However, if you’ll bear with me, I hope to bring you back here with some understanding of how I reached it.

If transvestites feel the same way that women feel, we would expect the way they describe their feelings to be similar. There are so many dimensions to this that it is hard to know where to start.

One of the most common self-reports from transvestites is that they feel so "feminine" when dressed. Do women report the same thing? I think they do - not so often perhaps and only when they are really dressed up in something special - but I have heard it often enough to believe it. So what do women mean by it and do transvestites mean the same thing?

Feeling "feminine" is not like feeling sexy, or handsome, or 'cool', or any of the other things a man normally feels when he dresses up in his own clothes. Probably the nearest feeling a man could have that is still more-or-less gender-appropriate would be to feel 'elegant' but this is still a long way from feminine.

Feeling feminine is a heady blend of feeling pretty, desirable, submissive, delicate, touchable. It is about seeing one's self as something that could be desired and cherished for its very vulnerability. About relishing and emphasising one's own attractiveness and desirability. It is also very much about having the physical attributes and appearance of a woman.

How do I know? Well, of course, I don't. I only know how I feel when I'm feeling feminine and that the way I describe it seems to coincide with how some women describe it.

Another very common self-report by transvestites is that they feel so much more "natural" when dressed. In reading such reports one can almost feel the sense of relief, the draining away of a pent-up tension as the female persona supplants the male. So we need to ask ourselves whether real women also feel 'natural' when dressed in gender-appropriate ways.

I think the answer to this is not very clear. Although there are clearly many women who are comfortable in feminine clothes, I have often heard women state that they feel more comfortable and more relaxed in traditionally masculine clothing. Some have also told me they feel very uncomfortable, exposed and even unpleasantly vulnerable in particularly 'dressy' outfits of the kind I would die for.

The situation is complicated. Personally, I regard the feeling of 'naturalness' that comes with cross-dressing as, at least partly, a feeling of relief and relaxation such as any addict feels when their craving is at last satisfied. The rest of the feeling is the reduction in the constant tension we experience between our true physical appearance and the appearance our instincts tell us we should have and which we can approximate when dressed.

If transvestites feel the same way that women feel, we would expect behaviours that reflect their inner states to be the same as those of women who feel the same way. There is, for example, lots of evidence in the psychological literature that women and men really do feel things differently. An example I saw recently was the finding that men cry less than women, that men cry for different reasons than women (more often crying with happiness than with sadness for instance) and that women have more reasons to stop crying than men (for example, through being comforted). Of course, such differences might be learnt rather than innate but that doesn't matter. The point is that, truly to feel like a woman, the transvestite would need to experience this different pattern of emotions. The fact is that we don’t.

I believe we cannot fully share the feeling of being a woman, not only because of the distinct differences in brain chemistry, hormonal make-up and physiology that nature handed us but also because of the very different lives that males and females experience. None of these things can be undone by dressing up and walking differently.

If you have read my earlier pieces, you will know that I believe that being a transvestite is fundamentally irrational - that is, there is no 'meaning' behind the desire, as the desire itself springs from basic brain structures. In some of us, the instinct to present ourselves as women has been inappropriately activated (or not suppressed). It is an instinct that causes women to like to feel ‘attractive’. The side-effect of which is that they attract mates. In men, it gives us an uncomfortable dissonance with our true appearance and drives us to correct it by cross-dressing. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that it can frequently drive away mates! I believe the main reason transvestitism feels so inexplicable to us and remains so inexplicable to science, is precisely its instinctive basis. (I was very taken with a quote, attributed to Mark Twain, that goes "I know why I like breasts but I don’t know why I like them so much." Some things are just wired into the brain to help us pick the right kind of mate so we reproduce effectively!)

I believe we have many drives or urges that are part of the physiology of our brains. They make us social animals, they make us eat, they lead to sex and reproduction. Yet we experience these instinctive drives. They are not entirely subconscious. We feel hunger, we feel sexual arousal, we feel loneliness. Some of these feelings are integral to our gender identities as men or women. The drive that makes me competitive with other men, the urges that make me ogle women who pass in the street, the instincts that drive me to copulate, are all part of my identity as a man. To present to the world as an attractive female is, likewise, part of a woman’s gender identity.

As transvestites, when we feel our inappropriate urge to present ourselves as an attractive female, we probably experience it in exactly the same way that women do—as something we—and they—would call femininity, or being attractive, or feeling like a woman. The fact that is only part of the full experience of being female escapes most of us and leads to confusions such as feeling that we are women "inside" while at the same time having primarily heterosexual desires. Yet, our presented sexual self is such a big part of a human being’s identity, it is quite understandable how the confusion arises. Couple such a dysphoric instinct with below-average masculine drives in other areas (half the world is below average by definition!) and it is easy to see how many man would feel they were meant to have been women really and that their masculinity is some kind of horrible mistake.

So I have come back to the conclusion, at last. It is the actual sensation of presenting to ourselves and the world as an attractive female that we call femininity and this limited way of experiencing the female condition is both at the heart of what it is to be a transvestite and also is the source of much of our confusion about gender identity.



 


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