[*sound of loud rumble of thunder and spooky music*]
Salutations, ghosts and goblins! Before you directed your eyes to this paragraph, you probably took a gander at that old photo of yours truly at the top of this page. Yeah, that was me a few years back looking all so sultry in a sexy witch outfit and leather boots.
The timing of both donning that costume back then and writing this post now are intentional: Yes, today is, and the date of that photo was, Halloween. And since it’s Halloween, you’re probably thinking this post will be all about the joys of dressing up en femme on Halloween, right?
Well… [*sound of record scratching on phonograph*] not really.
Halloween has always been, and perhaps always will be, an occasion when you can dress up and display to the world a personality you normally wouldn’t appear as. Many of my crossdressing sisters (and, yes, brothers too) will use this day as the perfect excuse to bring their hidden side out of the proverbial closet.
More likely than not, Halloween will be a time when some fine young gentleman will don a wig and a dress, slap on some heels and makeup, and carouse around town in a female appearance. And depending on the effort they put into their outfit and comportment, the resulting display will have various success. Just read them for a few seconds and you can tell whether they dressed up en femme to make a good impression on passersby, or just threw on something for their own giggles and jollys.
The thought of that “I’m just dressing up for Halloween” thing brings me to this quote I just happened to come across the other day during an online search:
“Putting on a dress and a wig doesn’t make you a transgender woman.”
Unfortunately, the link that had that quote was broken, meaning I can’t confirm the context the speaker was intending with those words. I do know, however, that those words came from a trans woman. And I know that said woman started out life assigned with a male identity, but would over time begin to don women’s clothing and makeup; take on an online feminine identity; and eventually realizing that said feminine identity was the one she was born to be, birth certificate be dammed.
Despite not knowing the context of her line, I could imagine how that could be interpreted as being directed to some guy only dressing up as a woman for some Halloween party. “Hey, dude!” he’ll probably tell his friends in a bit of intoxication and self-sarcasam, “I look all girly.” But as soon as his party ends and he’s safely home, he’ll shed that dress and wig and head back to the everyday life of a cis-gender male. And during that brief time he wore a dress and a wig for the sake of doing so, there’s a good chance that he won’t have the chance to feel empathy toward someone who has struggled with gender identity and has yearned for acceptance while transitioning.
But then… that guy just wearing a wig and dress on Halloween could be someone like me. As I noted above, Halloween is the perfect time for a crossdresser to dress up, leave the closet, and have a good time. And it doesn’t always have to be at a party. I mean, they could use the day to dress up for the camera instead of some partygoer. I say this because a fellow WordPress peep whose blog I love to follow posted photos of her wearing a vinyl dress and butterfly wings. Yes, she posted them for Halloween. And, yes, she’s a male-to-female crossdresser just as I am. And, yes, even though she may not live full-time as a woman (and neither do I), she does consider herself part of the broad trans community.
But even though she’s a part of our transgender community, she doesn’t live full-time as a woman. But does that make her any less of a transgender woman? I don’t think so at all, and I think a big part of that, in addition to her looking stunning, is the fact that she’s a big champion of our community. She has used her blog to share stories about her everyday life, her photos, and tidbits in support of fellow crossdressers, other trans people, and our allies. She has great comportment through her positive actions, and that’s something that’s beneficial for our community at a time when we desperately need any positive imagery.
So, back to that quote I came across: “Putting on a dress and a wig doesn’t make you a transgender woman.” The person who said that has a valid point: Don’t just put that dress and wig on tonight. If you’re gonna look the part, try to play the part. And, no, I don’t mean put on a falsetto voice. Be friendly to others. Have a positive demeanor. Take a compliment. Give a compliment, too, especially to some other guy who may also be wearing a dress and wig.
And don’t just compliment that guy in that dress and wig, empathize with them… for perhaps deep down inside they are trying to figure out what it is that makes them a transgender woman.