A Cross-Dresser and His (Her?) Wife
layne (alter ego of Wayne): Last night I sat in a
car with two cross-dressers and held hands.
Although we talked only about petty things, we touched. I can express my inner self as Wayne, but when I’m being Elayne, a few more bricks disappear. When I looked into Diane’s eyes [another cross-dresser], she looked right back into mine, but earlier, when I talked to [her as] Ed, he couldn’t look at me. We spoke to the side of each other. But Diane and I didn’t speak to each other, we spoke within each other.
I knew there was something different about me from the time I was six years old and I put on my sister’s silk pajamas. They felt so good, but I was scolded and scoffed at. I grew up in a very conservative, redneck area of Iowa where "women were women and men were men." All through my childhood I wore black and white or muted plaid. When I was given crayons, I dared use only the black and white ones. I was so afraid of using color and being perceived as different.
I looked all over for information on cross-dressing. I finally found something in Ann Landers—she told a wife that it was okay for her husband to wear her clothes. When I read that, I knew that there were others like me. I still have that column—it has turned yellow!
When I am dressed as Elayne, my son Ryan and I sometimes go for a ride through the woods and farms on our bicycles, and I’m sure most of the people who see us assume I’m his mother. I’ve always dressed around the kids. When they get older, maybe they’ll tell their friends. I won’t hide my cross-dressing. I won’t flaunt it either.
I don’t feel particularly masculine. I tend to see men as hairy and fuzzy and bulky and aggressive. . . . Why should women have all the experiences in life? I fantasized about having a baby and being pregnant, especially when Kaye was. If it were possible, I’d like to have a child. I’d be first in line to be the prototype mother-father! I’d like to have breasts and have a baby suckle at my nipple. Kaye has beautiful, wonderful breasts. It’s fun for her to lie on her back on top of me, and I can put my arms around her and feel the fantasy. She becomes part of me.
Kaye (Elayne/Wayne’s wife): Sometimes I find Elayne too pretty and overpowering. Sometimes I feel I’m
Elayne and his/her daughter.
married to two people. I like them both. They have different auras. Elayne is a different kind of outgoing.
If I’m feeling good about myself, I find Elayne easier to take.
When I first heard about this cross-dressing, I thought it was no big deal. What’s so strange about that? I even assisted him in making a dress. At first I just thought he likes to wear women’s clothes because they’re prettier. Now I see it’s also because it enables him to get into a different space where he is more conscious of the feminine side of himself and can make it more accessible. I don’t think cross-dressers should be seen any differently from artists or people who set fads.
I think Wayne’s cross-dressing has been, for the most part, a good learning experience for the children. It could make them more accepting of other people. Ryan climbs trees, but he also works with needlepoint. Sometimes I wonder if there’ll be a backlash from the community if Elayne becomes more and more open. . . .
Wayne, not Elayne, is my bed partner most of the time. He is gentle, though Elayne is even gentler. We both like to play the passive role. He prefers when I initiate and when I’m on top. He’ll often wear a nightgown to bed. It’s no big deal. I like the feeling of pantyhose in bed. It doesn’t matter who wears them!
Source: From Transformations by Marriette Pathy Allen, 1989, Dutton Books.
Reprinted by permission of the Carol Mann Agency.
tites would stop at sex reassignment surgery because they enjoy heterosexual intercourse and being men.
Many theorists believe that transvestism evolves from an early childhood experience, such as a male masturbating with or in some item of female clothing (Stayton,
1996) . Some TVs report childhood experiences of being punished or humiliated by women and being forced to dress as a woman (Maxmen & Ward, 1995). This behavior soon develops into a sexual experience with the male getting physically aroused while holding, touching, or wearing the item of clothing.
Some transvestites then move beyond the sexual arousal and begin to feel less anxious and stressed when around the particular item of clothing (Stayton, 1996). Crossdressing may allow these men to relax, freed from the societal pressures of being male. Most transvestites began cross-dressing at a very young age and began masturbating while wearing women’s clothing during adolescence (Dzelme & Jones, 2001). Male transvestites display more pre-adult feminine behaviors, such as preferring the company of girls, being called a sissy, or having female hobbies than do a nontransvestite control group (Buhrich & McConaghy, 1985).
Many transvestites are very secretive about their habits, fearing that others will censure or ridicule them. Many have private collections of female clothes, and married transvestites may even hide their habit from their wives, although the majority do tell. This secrecy makes it difficult to determine how common transvestism actually is. Janus and Janus (1993) report that 6% of the men and 3% of the women in their survey reported some personal experience with cross-dressing.
It’s not uncommon for transvestites to marry and raise families, which can cause problems if their spouses do not know of their habit. The majority of partners of transvestites know about the cross-dressing behavior and are accepting of it (Reynolds & Caron, 2005). Most had learned of their partner’s habit early in the relationship and tolerated or even supported it to some degree, although some expressed resentment and fear of public exposure. However, the majority characterized their marriage as happy and described their husbands as loving and good fathers. Some women married to transvestites fully support their husband’s feminine identity, seeing “her” as a separate partner and friend from “him.” In some families, the male’s transvestism is completely open, and the children know about it and even help Daddy pick out clothes or do his nails (Allen, 1989).
Transvestism is usually harmless, and most transvestites are not anxious to seek out therapy to stop their behavior. Many times treatment is sought only when a TV’s partner is upset or the cross-dressing causes stress in the relationship (Dzelme & Jones, 2001). The majority of female partners of transvestites do not understand the male’s need to dress in women’s clothing (Dzelme & Jones, 2001), even though they are accepting of the behavior. In any case, transvestism is usually so firmly fixed in a man’s personality that eradication is neither possible nor desirable. The goal of therapy is to cope with the anxieties and guilt of the transvestite and the way he relates interpersonally and sexually with his partner and family (Peo, 1988). In the past few years, transvestite support groups have been organized in cities all over the country.
Question: Aren’t transvestites, deep down, really homosexual?
No. Some male homosexuals enjoy dressing as females, and some may derive a certain sexual satisfaction from it. Most heterosexual transvestites are not at all interested in sex with men. They seem all absorbed by women; they want to look, act, and behave like women and get a strong sexual attraction from women’s clothes. Some like it when men approach them when they are cross-dressed, but only because it affirms their abilities to pass as women.