Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Kids say the funniest things!

I love working with children. Their thirst for knowledge knows no bounds. They question everything. Why is the sky blue? Where does the water from the tub go? What are clouds made of? I always endeavour to answer questions a honestly as possible. A few weeks ago I was asked "What happens when you die?" These sorts of questions I will defer to the parents as my ideas on such matters may differ from theirs and I wouldn't want to step on any toes.

Recently whilst working I dropped a mug of tea. My trousers got wet so whilst the children were playing I took them off and hung them on the radiator to dry. I was wearing boxer shorts so I figured if the children saw me it wouldn't be as much of an issue as they looked just like shorts. The older child came into the kitchen. She looked at me for a moment considering what I was wearing. She didn't ask me why I wasn't wearing my trousers like I imagined she might. Instead she asked "Why are you wearing pants like daddy's, are you a boy?" I was somewhat amused by her question and endeavoured to give her an honest answer. Given that she is three years old, this question is a genuine curiosity as oppose to being a hate filled accusation that one might expect. 

For as long as I can remember I have been more comfortable in jeans. I have never been a girly girl. Dresses make me feel incredibly awkward for the most part. Most of the jeans I own are, in fact, men's jeans. I also have more men's t shirts than women's and I own an array of men's underwear. 

I told my charge that sometimes I felt more comfortable in "daddy pants" but I am, indeed, a girl. She didn't question me any further however her line of enquiry lead me to my own thinking about my dress sense. 

I have always been more comfortable in men's clothing. I don't really "do" sexy well and women's clothes often cling in all the wrong places for my liking. As a female, I have a very ample chest. There is no disguising that fact. Sometimes I will wear a low cut top to show off some cleavage. Other times, tops that I buy simply don't keep my cleavage in check! As far as my personality is concerned, I'm definitely "one of the lads". I like beer, football, cars, ogling hot women... (Not that this is all men think about mind you!). I've never been one for wearing makeup. I didn't like barbie dolls as a youngster and I would have sooner sit and read Goosebumps than some girly magazine. I guess it's rather safe to say I consider myself to be more masculine than feminine. 

I started thinking more and more about this and it raised an interesting question; am I a cross dresser?  Having since conducted a little research, I have come to the conclusion that yes, I may well actually be a cross dresser or even, if you will, a transvestite. Cross dressing is defined thusly;

To dress in clothing that is usually worn by the opposite sex.

A transvestite is defined as such;

A person, especially a male, who assumes the dress and manner usually associated with the opposite sex.

This bothers me somewhat. I am uncertain as to why this dictionary definition singles out males.

For all intents and purposes, these definitions make me a "cross dresser". I was unfazed by this discovery. As I have previously written, I don't define my sexuality in any sort of "conventional" manner. I am attracted to people, plain and simple. When it comes to clothing, I wear what I feel comfortable in. This attitude has caused me no end of problems growing up. I was more than happy wearing second hand clothing or "unbranded" clothing and often wore my brother's cast offs. It has never mattered to me what the label says on my clothing. When I wear something I ask myself "Do I like it? Do I feel comfortable? Do I look good?" If I answer yes to those three questions then I'm happy. Unfortunately for me, children can be incredibly cruel! However, this part of my life is being reserved for another blog. 

Cross dressing has been around since time immemorial. In Greek and Norse mythology there are examples of cross dressing. Historical figures have been known to cross dress to some extent for various reasons. Cross dressing can be found throughout the history of folklore, literature, theatre and music. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Women would pose as men in order to undertake a male oriented job. Joan of Arc wore male clothing. Some say this formed part of the reason she was burned at the stake. Others cite that she wore men's clothes in order to protect herself from the sexual advances of guards.  Bonnie Prince Charlie dressed as a maid servant to escape the Battle of Culloden.  William Shakespeare was very well known for using cross dressing for female characters who would wear men's clothing to carry out actions difficult for women. Twelfth Night features a lot of cross dressing. The main female protagonist disguises herself as a man and thus becomes embroiled in a love triangle. There are many movies that look at cross dressing including those featuring Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel.   

The term transvestism was coined back in the 1910s. The etymology of the word is from Latin trans-, "across, over" and vestitus, "dressed".  When German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld originally coined the term, he used it to describe a person who habitually and voluntarily wore clothes of the opposite sex. These people included both males and females with heterosexual, homosexual bisexual and asexual orientations. To "transvest" means to wear clothing of the opposite gender. (There will shortly be a blog dissecting the differences between sex and gender). 

It is important to note that transvestism must not be confused with transgender or transsexual which defines an individual who lives as the gender opposite to the one they were born as. It should also not be confused with the term drag queen/king which refers to an individual who dresses as the opposite sex for performance purposes.

Whilst conducting my research, I came across an interesting piece about the history of transgenderism in the US.

Unfortunately, through the bastardisation of language, the term "transvestite" has since become a derogatory term and some would argue it is outdated despite it's literal translation. 

Despite the wealth of information available on the subject of cross dressing, most of what I have found refers to men dressing as women. Some of the articles I have read over refer to sexual gratification gleaned from cross dressing but this is not finite. Personally, I don't get any specific sexual gratification from wearing men's clothing. Mostly it's down to comfort. However, sometimes it might feel a little "naughty" if I'm wearing a guy's underwear. Especially if he's wearing mine too.

To me, being an apparent cross dresser is a moot point. Am I really a cross dresser? I guess in the very literal sense, yes I am. I predominantly wear and feel more comfortable in men's clothing. Would I call myself a cross dresser or transvestite? No. Not because I feel any shame about the manner in which I dress nor do I feel shame at the possibility of being associated with "those kinds" of people (please note I use that term incredibly facetiously!). I simply wouldn't refer to myself as a cross dresser because it doesn't matter at all to me. I wear what is comfortable to me. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of times I've actually been called a "Tranny". This typically makes me laugh because I know plenty of transvestites, transsexuals and transgendered people and for the most part they are stunningly attractive. 

Sex and sexuality fascinates me. As a youngster, I had very limited information supplied to me about sex. What I knew I learned from school. Everything else I know has come from my own curiosities and self discovery and I think it would be safe to say that in this respect (as well as many others) I am incredibly open minded. This whole subject ties in nicely with my recent interest in mental health and sexuality. I have limited knowledge about transvestism in particular and little to no interest in defining myself as such for the satisfaction of others. If you have anything to add here or a personal experience you would like to share, please do let me know via email or Facebook 

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