As part of our Sister/Cis-ter crossdressing conversations—in an effort to better understand the male-to-female crossdressers’ mind and purpose—Savannah Hauk, author of the “Living with Crossdressing” book series will enjoy ongoing discussions with Julie Rubenstein, a certified image consultant and co-owner of Fox and Hanger. We will delve into our personal battles and experiences, all with an eye to enlighten and entertain our beloved crossdressers and our supportive allies.
The people who are most attractive to me are those who feel most comfortable in their skin – there’s a sense of self-acceptance.Toni Collette
I hear you have a lot of thoughts about the importance of being authentic in your life. I totally agree. It IS very important to be authentic with who you are, despite some of the obstacles.
It is SO important and takes working on yourself in order to pierce through the layers of projections, trauma, and fear and get to the heart (source/spirit) of who we are as individuals.
To honor your authentic self means living your life as YOU verse someone else’s version of who they think you should be.
In order to achieve this goal, one must transition from external judgement to self-acceptance.
It seems so easy, doesn’t it? So easy to just accept who we are no matter what people may think.
If only someone like me a group in a society where being a male cross-dresser indoor gender was just a normal way of life. To find self-acceptance when it is shameful and dangerous to be oneself in a society that does not treat you as normal or equal is a steep road to travel, indeed. It has taken me years to get Savannah to a point of self-acceptance rivaling what my male self has enjoyed all along.
There are many developmental models that put self-realization, -actualization, and -acceptance at a point difficult to achieve. Shelter, security, relationships, and external validations of success and achievement typically come before someone taps into a self-assessment. While some may know and strive for the authentic self all their lives, some of us who have lived through decades believing we were the only ones afflicted with the condition of a different idea of gender identity and presentation.
As an Ally, I know what a steep road this is. The right to simply exist. To strive to normalize for the sake of safety and acceptance. My heart aches for a different reality.
We will get there. In our case, we need to be self-assured and give ourselves validation—be public and proud—in order to create that reality.
Would you agree as male crossdresser that a large part of it is feeling confident with your female presentation?
Ooh… A very good question! For many, the worry of passability in public is a huge barrier and detriment to male CD’s going out. Much of the worry stems from the fear that being unable to “blend in” will lead to stares, angry and judgmental words, or, at worst, physical attack. I was definitely one who, at one time, lacked enough confidence to be seen before nightfall. The cover of darkness allows me to believe that I would be more passable, more forgettable, safer. In my mind, I will never be as passable as those crossdressing men who have slight and thin frames, or the perfect high cheekbones and natural hair. I will always have broad shoulders, weigh more than 130 lbs., and speak in my normal male voice (by choice). What I have learned over the years is that learning the art of makeup, the redefinition of body shape with foundation garments and padding, and sensible fashion style is elevated to a public persona and presentation art form by the confidence, grace, civility, kindness and personality you embody and radiant out to others around you.
So much of the work I do focuses on male to female presentation. I become “Den Mother’s to many of the people I work with, getting to know them on a personal level and helping them with everything from finding the right clothes, teaching them about the importance of shape wear and giving them step-by-step style advice. I notice that this support is needed because not everyone has people in their live who will show them what clothing cuts look best on them, how to apply makeup, and help them find their authentic style as it reflects the woman that lives inside.
My experience as a wardrobe stylist has taught me that dressing for your body and finding your authentic style is something that most people need help with. But for the male crossdressers and transgender woman I have worked with, this help is more than just a need, it is an answered prayer that will help create your experience as a woman.
Helping a male-to-female crossdresser find their style, their fashion… their voice and authenticity… is so critical. Having a support system–whether you as a consultant and service, a supportive partner, or a meetup group of like-minded individuals–helps many crossdressers to overcome their own fears, doubts, and shame to pave a pathway to greater self-acceptance and authenticity.
Many crossdressers, unfortunately, are still mired in those aforementioned negative emotions, believing they are alone and the only ones “afflicted” with this curse of needing to dress in feminine attire. It is only Western culture and current American society creating a stigma around males who dress more effeminately or with a fully feminine presentation and part-time gender identity.
Once, with deep self-reflection or with outside validation for our supporters and allies, the quest for the crossdresser to find and release our feminine spirits will become easier… and offer a sense of peace, calm and understanding of self. What the hesitate crossdressing male needs to realize is, whether they dress as a sexual enhancement at home, covertly under their male clothes at work, or out in public as their feminine personas once a week, therein lies an authenticity in accepting, embracing and celebrating that side of ourselves as something amazing.
We are all unique individuals, but many of us share in the idea of gender duality. While we all have our specific lives to live and unique personal experiences, just remember that many of us have experienced similar things, felt the same emotions, and have felt that we were the only crossdresser in the world.