What Is Truth?
Are you familiar with the parable of the six blind men who were set to describe a pachyderm standing in front of them? One described its rough and round legs as tree trunks. Another ran his hands along pointed ivory and thought it to be a spear. A third grabbed at a tail and considered it a rope. Yet another found the animal’s trunk and recoiled with the assertion that he had come across a snake.
Each knew the truth as they understood it, their experience shaping how they could describe and reference something new to them. The same could be said about the partners of crossdressers. Many understand crossdressing in a very vague sense, quickly formulating an opinion after being told about their partner’s proclivities. Their minds piece together what they know of gay men, celebrity cases of men transitioning into women and vice versa, and strange uncles who thought it would be a hoot to dress up in drag for Halloween.
A crossdressing partner’s understanding is shaped by their exposure (or lack there of) to the alternative gender community. So, of course, questions will be asked that may sound harsh to us crossdressers. Are you gay? Do you want to be a woman? We may instantly take offense at such questions. How could they dare ask such things? Please understand that these questions are not asked out of spite, but in a pursuit of knowledge about a part of your life that was sheltered from them.
Partners have a right to ask any question. And you, dear crossdresser, have a responsibility to tell them the truth to the fullest extent of your own understanding. At that moment in time, if you don’t know the answer, what do you do? Don’t circle C like was suggested for when you took a multiple-choice pop quiz. Tell your partner, “I don’t know”, or whatever the truth is. Then explore for the anwsers.
Those blind men were really silly, weren’t they? A snake and a tree trunk… what idiots, right? Nope! They qualified based on what they understood. It is our job, dear crossdressers, to help illuminate what it truly means to be who we are.
But I can’t explain who I am, Savannah! I don’t even understand why I do what I do.
Why not? You have been doing this crossdressing thing for either a little while or for a lifetime. Have you never reflected on the whys? Not the whys of the roots of attraction. That is a deeper question, like why does a gay man like men. There may be one answer or there may be a hundred answers… or there may be no answer to that question. But to analyze what we like about it, what comfort we find in it, and what pleasures we derive from it are all attainable answers if we decide to look for them. Living a life without understanding is a life without enlightenment.
Truth is also enlightenment and wisdom. The truth is only as true as our understanding. If asking the question, “Why do you go to church?” results in the answer, “Because my momma always took me…”, then are we being honest with the reasons why we hold our religion so tightly? Our perception of truth is only as good as what we can see and what we choose to see.
Those blind men, had they brought their collected wisdom together, could have discovered a new truth and posed the answer of an elephant to those who were asking them to decipher the animal before them. That is also true with the truth. We may understand our own crossdressing and our partners may have their own notions of enlightenment on the subject of transgenderism, but have we looked outside ourselves to learn more about the community at large? Have we as crossdressers done any reading? Have we gotten together to share our experiences with others like us? Have we taken in that information and reflected on how that knowledge fits into our own lives?
Pursuit Of Truth
Continuing to use those blind men as our example, I asked whether they would have realized that the animal before them was an elephant had they brought their collected wisdom together in collaboration. But if they did, would that be the truth? Is the elephant really an elephant?
Of course it is, Savannah? What else would it be?
Well, true, it’s an elephant because a bunch of zoologists way back in the day (Dane Cook says it was a Wednesday) decided that they knew best how to classify the animal. So that assumption takes us back to understanding how the world works through labels. We understand the world based on our knowledge and experience. Do we know all we need to know about men who crossdress? Have all of us crossdressing men willingly come forward to participate in an international census that would take all of our answers to their questions and crunched the numbers into a statistically significant and sound profile of who we are?
Of course that output would only be accurate if the right questions were asked to begin with. Can someone (or a group of someones) ask the right questions to a crossdresser if they themselves have never had the urge to crossdress?
So have the crossdressers compose the questions.
That wouldn’t work either, because most crossdressers only understand themselves (and even that understanding is not always complete).
So now what? I feel like we are going in circles.
We are going in circles, dear reader.
That is the point.
Are you confused?
Are you wondering where to go from here?
Learning begins with the act of asking questions. You have to be willing to truly hear the answers and process them into an understanding that is ever expanding. Answers should lead to more questions. There are no dead ends, only opportunities to fill in the gaps. We can’t deny information because it runs contrary to our current beliefs.
Keep an open mind.
Ask pressing questions to your partner and really listen to the answers given.
Hold your partner to nothing less than the truth.
Reflect on why you hold to your beliefs.
Is an elephant only a truth if it is comprised of a sum of its parts? Is the animal only truth because it is the most commonly held and accepted belief as to what it is? Or are we constantly discovering new things about life that change the way we see things?
In the 4th century BCE, the Greeks believed with certainty that Earth was the center of the known universe. In the 16th century, Copernicus theorized that the sun was the center of the universe and that the Earth orbited around it. In the last century, entirely new galaxies had been discovered, increasing our understanding of an expanding universe and our place within it.
The Earth is held up on the shell of a giant turtle.
The Earth is flat and sailing ships can fall off the edges into the abyss.
The moon is made of cheese.
A fairy tale.
Homosexuals are an evil abomination and need to be cured.
Crossdressers are all gay, dress as a fetish, and secretly want to be biological women.
Not all of us.