Ah...Flickr has just told me that someone new is now 'following' me, meaning that she likes my photos and regularly looks at the shots I upload. She's welcome to look.
As always, I do check a new follower out, and the link reveals a personal Flickr Photostream devoid of any photographs. It's blank. So if she takes any photos at all, she isn't publishing them in this main 'showcase' area on Flickr. However, she does have a collection of 'Favourites', shots which may or may not be taken by her. I suspect (since they are of variable quality) that she has brought them together from lots of different sources. And they are all of T Girls. By the look of things, all of them cross-dressers. Perhaps my new follower on Flickr thinks that I'm a cross-dresser too!
I've met (and read the blogs of) some post-op trans women who look down on persons who are 'just cross-dressers'. I think this is unfair and elitist.
Unfair, because many people who do no more than cross-dress may be battling with internal pressures to go a lot further than simply wearing female attire when they get the opportunity - but they feel they can't, or mustn't, for family or career reasons. They would transform themselves if they could.
Elitist, because if a person has any urge to set aside their male persona for a while, and enjoy the relief of being feminine, it argues that they must have a gender issue, be it ever so mild. That places them on the same spectrum as people whose gender issue is so strong that full transition is the only answer: it's just a matter of degree. (Of course, I am giving you my own view on this, and I'm not seeking to convince anyone. You may think cross-dressers have nothing in common with full-blown transsexual people. That's fine: I won't challenge you)
In any event, the T Girls in my new Flickr follower's Favourites collection certainly have allure. Some of them have made themselves look seriously attractive. I think most of them would pass very well or perfectly on appearance alone.
Admittedly, nearly all are wearing the standard T Girl give-away - high heels - and most are that little bit too carefully-dressed for the day job, or the supermarket. But if you met them in town, in the evening, they'd pass unnoticed. On the whole they look like women, and even the most snooty and superior post-op would have no reason to feel embarrassed in their company. I'd say in fact that most of these cross-dressing ladies look a lot better than some post-op females I've met. Certainly better than me, anyway. (Grinds teeth in envy)
All right. Some of these girls are simply enjoying a fantasy experience. They put on the clothes, the shoes, the wig and the make-up, and this is sufficient to make them feel deliciously feminine. Maybe, in some cases, it's femininity according to some personal standard or dream - and not by reference to the actual life of any natal woman. But if the experience is the one desired, does this matter? I think it's all fair enough. A cross-dresser can do this and get a few therapeutic hours. It's (at the very least) an antidote to tension and inhibition - a Good Thing surely.
And for some other cross-dressers, this must be a way of imagining how it might be if they ever did embrace the female life lock, stock and barrel. It's not hard to see that some cross-dressers are closet transsexuals.
If so, they can move forward with a set of skills already learned and ready to use. Which again makes me a bit envious - I began my own transition without years of experience behind me. I didn't know how to apply make-up, nor how to walk gracefully in any sort of heel. And I haven't acquired these skills since. It doesn't matter now - that's one of the benefits of needing to look a convincing sixty-two. Most older women look like clowns in make-up and avoid wearing it. As for footwear, it's got to be comfort and go-anywhere practicality. That's fine by me.
You must have gathered by now that, pre-transition, I was never a cross-dresser. I never bought any experimental clothing. There was just no point: I had nowhere safe to keep it, no opportunity to wear it, and I would have been mortified if ever discovered trying to feminise myself in any way. My partners were not the sort to think it fun. They would have been horrified. They wanted The Man, and nothing but The Man. So did my parents.
I complied. Apart from wistful imaginings and some tentative, opportunistic dabbling in between relationships, I quelled all stray thinking in the direction of Things Female. Except for jewellery. I was able to experiment with jewellery, discreetly worn. And, yes, such things as rather girly glasses, fancy jumpers, and unisex haircuts. But that was all. It was enough for a long time. It had to be enough. And now I don't think any of it qualifies me to say, 'Oh yes, I was a cross-dresser all right'. I wasn't, and I can't pretend that I was. Putting this in another way, I would have no credibility if explaining myself in a group of ordinary cross-dressers. They'd be very unimpressed.
Ironically, I now have wardrobes full of women's clothing that I completely take for granted. I get no kick or turn-on wearing it. It just goes with the territory I now inhabit. Some of it is smart, some of it is casual, but all of it is just the normal day-to-day attire of a Sussex woman with an ordinary life to get on with.
Of course, I think carefully about what to wear every single day. But only in the same way that my female neighbours consider what to wear before they leave their front door. You know: where are they going, who are they meeting, how are they travelling, are they going anywhere mucky, and what's the weather like? What's clean and ironed and ready to put on now, quickly, without wasting time? Making a statement doesn't matter. Glamour is not in the picture. Excitement is not a consideration. It simply has to be comfortable and practical.