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Do You Want To Be A Woman?

The question we all wrestle with, no matter where we stand as we evolve through our lives.

By Amanda J.

After Mrs A had recovered from the initial shock of my 2013 confession, this was probably the first question that she asked me, along with enquiries as to whether I did it to attract men and whether I was a danger to our children.  Of course, I answered all three with an emphatic no and whilst my answers to the latter two were immediately accepted and the issues were never raised again, she was unconvinced by my answer to the first and, indeed, asked it on several subsequent occasions.  Each time, my answer was unchanged but, ironically, it was the consequence of that question that led to my downfall.

What did Mrs A really mean when she asked that question?  Well, I can’t be sure but what I think she meant at the time was whether I wanted to undergo GRS and permanently transition.  It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask because, as a heterosexual male, I would no more want to be married to a post-operative FTM transman as I would expect Mrs A to want to be married to a post-operative transwoman, particularly one who used to be her male husband.

But there’s inevitably going to be a nagging doubt.  After all, why would a seemingly normal, fifty something (at the time) husband & father of two recreationally dress in women’s clothing from time to time?  Well, if it’s not a precursor to transition, the obvious answer then becomes for sexual kicks.  I may have successfully convinced her that I was not out to attract other men but in her eyes that wouldn’t stop me from wanting to attract myself.  And let’s be brutally honest here, many of us are ‘blossoming’ at a time when our wives are trading skirts, heels and makeup for less alluring but more comfortable & practical alternatives and it’s quite possible that this particular issue is not lost on them.

In fact, as I pondered the mess I’d got myself into in the months & years after being on the receiving end of a ‘cease & desist’ ultimatum and doing what was supposed to be a full and final purge, I often thought that it would have been far easier if it was just a sexual kink.  Mrs A was well aware of the styles that I found attractive on women, styles that also featured in my stash of clothing, and an admission that that was the start & end of it would have added some weight to my emphatic no answers to the ‘woman’ questions and could also have enhanced our relationship in ways that are well outside the scope of discussion on this forum.

I could have lied of course and let’s face it, the life of a closeted CDer operating under the marital radar involves lots of evasion and half truths so I could probably have done it without too much pricking of my conscience.  But I would have quickly been ‘rumbled’ because, again without diving too deeply into the murky waters, it’s a lot harder for a guy to fake that sort of thing that it is for a woman to.  And having conceded that, we’re back to square one again.

So that then begs the question as to whether the ‘no’ answers I gave were truthful.  Superficially, they were – nearly 10 years on from the first time that question was answered, I still have all the body parts I was born with intact, I still live a male life and I still have no plans or desires to make any changes in that respect.  I also think I did answer the question that Mrs A actually asked and not a twisted version of it, the meaning distorted to fit my needs at the time.

The truth, of course, is that the question ‘do you want to be a woman?’ is multi layered, a bit like an onion.  And the reality is that Mrs A and I only really looked at the outer layer.  But when we peeled back the outer layer, the next layer down told a very different story.

Let’s look at the question first of all.  As I said above, I absolutely believe that what Mrs A meant by that question is did I want to irrevocably surgically & socially transition to female.  And I can assert that with near-100% because it would never have entered her head that there were any other ways of wanting to be a woman so she has no case to answer.

That then puts the spotlight back onto me.  Whilst I may not have wanted to go under the knife, I can remember telling Mrs A that I did want to go out while dressed.  Even then, I was starting to find ‘the closet’ restrictive and had a yearning to experience at least some facets of life from a feminine standpoint but did I link that desire to wanting to be a woman?

The answer is obviously no but is it a valid link to make?  Can we really assert that just because a CDer has a yearning to break free from the confines of the closet, they must answer the ‘woman’ question affirmatively?  In those days, whilst I had that yearning, it seemed like an impossible dream and the thought that I’d ever feel completely comfortable doing it was inconceivable.

But whilst I may have been naïve then, I now have an extensive ‘rap’ sheet which blows the premise of innocent until proven guilty out of the water.  I’ve posted photos online.  I’ve written over 30 CD/TG themed posts here.  I have a fully formed feminine persona recognised within the online community.  I’ve corresponded and compared notes with other like-minded CDers.  I’ve been out and about six times.  And so on.  That’s compelling evidence that the original no answer I gave may not, with the benefit of hindsight, have been entirely accurate particularly when it’s extrapolated forward to what I may want to do in the future as I continue to push the envelope.

And whilst I can truthfully declare that being a husband and father is far more important to me than any feminine desires that I may have, I inevitably allow myself to wonder how I’d live my life if things were different and I did not have those roles.  Would I want my feminine persona to play a bigger part in my life?  Yes with 100% certainty.  How far would that go?  Who knows?  Perhaps I allow myself to be open minded on that point because I know that it’s hypothetical but the mere fact that I have those thoughts points to a lot more going on here than I’ve been prepared to admit.

So how should I have answered that question?

As with most of my posts here, I had no idea how this one would pan out when I started writing it.  With just the title and memories from situations nearly a decade ago that didn’t end well, it was going to be anyone’s guess.  And it was made all the harder with the realisation that practically all answers to the question can be construed as correct – no, I don’t want surgery; yes, I would like to experience more life through a feminine lens; maybe, if things were different; probably not, but who knows how I’ll feel in a decade’s time?  And so on.

And with that in mind, it’s obvious that there’s no easy answer.  No right or wrong response.  The reality is that, at the time she asked that question, Mrs A wasn’t prepared to hear anything other than the answer I gave – an emphatic no.  Her relief every time I gave that answer was visible and if there was still any doubt, her assertion that she ‘didn’t want to be married to a woman’ after she encouraged me to dress in front of her (but quickly realised it was a bad idea as things obviously went far deeper then ‘just clothes’) and shortly before she gave me the cease and desist ultimatum was conclusive proof.  And that’s an important consideration; whilst it’s true for example that I’d like to experience more life en femme, I don’t want that nearly as much as my wife’s happiness and the preservation of our marriage.

As regular readers here will know, I was faced with having to confess for a second time in January and, in some respects, I was far more honest second time around.  I made no secret of the fact that this is something I’ve been battling with on a daily basis, the impact it’s had on me emotionally and, critically, I offered an explanation to support my declaration that it was obvious that it was not something I was able to conquer.  But that honesty didn’t stretch as far as confessing to the aforementioned ‘rap’ sheet and admitting that I have a far deeper emotional connection with the smiling woman in the yellow dress halfway down the contributors page here than meets the eye.

It would be easy to say that the only right answer is the honest one.  But, again, things are not that simple.  The no answer was what Mrs A not only wanted, but needed to hear.  The ‘no, yes, maybe, probably not’ monologue would have given her a far better insight but would that have been an insight she particularly wanted to hear and would the ‘no’ have been sufficient to reassure her given the remainder of the answer?  Of course, I want to tell the truth but, equally, I have to consider the consequences of that truth.  If Mrs A’s happiness and preservation of our marriage are top of my list of priorities and way above everything else, do I really want to give a hypothetical answer that would upset that particular applecart?  I don’t want to consign Mrs A to a life of waking up each morning and wondering whether today’s the day that I announce that I’m going to leave my male life behind.  I may be able to assert that that is not going to happen because I don’t want it to happen but would she believe it?  And the answer to that is almost certainly not given that it’s in reality just a rewording of the original question she asked.

Some may read this piece and declare that I’m not being true to myself or that I’m only denying the inevitable.  It wouldn’t be the first time!  But I would answer that I am absolutely being true to myself.  I’m the same person that I was when I was first answered the question a decade ago and because of the answer that I gave and thanks to Mrs A’s realisation that whilst she hated this side of me, it wasn’t going to go away and I could keep it well away from our marriage, I now have concessions that I could only dream about at that time.

And that brings us all the way back to where we started.  Perhaps one day in the future, circumstances will change and I’ll have a different view.  That’s all conjecture of course and, even at a conservative estimate, highly unlikely but if it was to happen and I was to push the envelope beyond what I currently view as a hard boundary, I would look back without a shred of regret.  Because like everything else in life, the answer I gave to that question – an emphatic ‘no’ – was the best compromise I could come up with at the time and everything that has happened since only serves to prove that I almost certainly made the right call.

Thank you all for your feedback yesterday. I am currently out on the road for forty days, last night in Little Rock put me in a haze…..oops, I am not an American Band. I am only out for two, will compile all of your wonderful feedback and begin round two of my questions with Maeve upon my return home.


20 Responses

  1. Such a difficult question to answer. Difficult because many of us may not possess the full and complete answer.

    Do you want to be a woman?, sounds like a simple question with one answer. Maybe for a few people, a simple “yes”, will fully express what they feel, want and need. But for myself the answer is complicated. Part of the answer remain a blank, despite decades of consideration and a good deal of counseling.

    1. Kim, very true and thanks for taking the time to share your views.

      As you suggest, it’s a question with many answers and to make matters even more complex a lot of those answers can be interpreted in different ways by different people. And, of course, we can give one answer when the evidence clearly suggests another answer would be far more appropriate. Perhaps in the end, the only honest answer that most of us can give is ‘yes’, qualified by an explanation of exactly what we mean but, of all the possibles, that’s undoubtedly the least palatable to those close to us.

  2. HI Amanda –
    This is is such a provocative question, with a different answer coming from each of us – if an answer is even possible. As for me, I try to find balance between the masculine and feminine sides – perhaps between fantasy and reality might be a better description. Although I do not wish to become a woman, I cannot and will not deny the exhilaration of taking on those qualities for a time and presenting them to the world in at least a superficial fashion. For some that desire is all encompassing and very much reality, yet here we all are. Could the answer be finding and achieving acceptance of one’s self – myself in this instance – on the “spectrum” I hear so much about? Could that be the balance point?
    A constant search perhaps, but one I welcome and one that has done me so much good. Thank you for bringing it to the fore.
    All the best,

    1. Kris, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      I’m glad that I’m not the only one who finds this a complex issue and I think it gets more complex as we understand more about this side of ourselves. I first became aware of both this side of myself and the whole idea of ‘sex changes’ in the mid 1970s. On the one hand, it seemed that this amazing operation that could literally turn a man into a woman, was the answer to all my dreams; on the other my male side was (and remains) strong enough to realise that that was not an appropriate way forward for me. Interestingly, it also acted as a sort of gatehouse to womanhood with the reorganisation of genitalia being a prerequisite.

      Now, nearly half a century later, there are many nuances to this whole issue, not least as one’s natal anatomy is now more or less irrelevant! I recently spent a whole day en femme and happily thought that I would have no problem doing it every day. That’s not to say that I feel an imperative to do it, which I definitely don’t, but just to acknowledge that my feminine side is strong enough for me to feel comfortable within it and want to project it. But how would others view it?

      In the end, I guess the difficulties stem from the fact that we live in a binary world. I can say that I’m happy being a guy but would also be happy to dress in feminine clothes on a daily basis. I’m comfortable with that in between sort of viewpoint but others need to make a call as to which of the two pigeon holes – one marked man, the other woman – they’re going to put me in and a guy who likes to wear girl clothes quickly becomes viewed as a girl in a guy’s body.

  3. Amanda,
    As you rightly comment it’s the eternal , perennial question . While it’s an obvious one the answer has to be far less obvious simply because we aren’t in a position to give a definitive one . To even get close a wife or partner has to come to terms with gender dysphoria which could suggest counselling to understand the reasons behind our needs . I do still believe our needs are driven by GD no matter how slight it might be , the basic fact is our body and mind aren’t in full alignment . This fact has to be understood to explain why a husband and father needs to appear female sometimes , the severity of GD creates the spectrum from an occasional dresser to the desparate urge of physically changing or removing any maleness . The one question I now ask is when taking those steps does it create the perfect woman you may crave to be , from meeting others i’m not convinced it does , there always remains a male core .

    If I now ask myself that question as I live fulltime , my answer would be I’m living my life as Teresa , 99% of the time means I’m being accepted as a woman . To further that reply I enjoy the life of a woman far more than I did as a man , I now feel complete despite not taking hormones or having surgery . The bottom line is you can only be what you want to be by interacting with others , hormones or surgery do not affect that situation .

    The problem with being Amanda is she isn’t free the express that need , until you do many of these questions remain hypothetical . Your wife is expecting answers you can’t truthfully give , the trap we can fall into is making promises we can’t keep usually out of appeasement . Being forced to lie can eventually destroy all that you hope you hold onto , we need to be totally honest with ourselves before we can hope to be open and honest with other people . There comes a day when that has to happen despite the consequences .

    I still have to deal with aspects of the possibility of harming my close family , my reply to that is my children are now adults so they are free to decide for themselves . I’ve spent time with both my son and daughter as I have with my granddaughter . At the moment they choose to “protect ” my grandsons but my question to that is , ” protecting from what ?” The point is many of the fears associated with our needs and appearance are false fears but I will add I meet them half way , I have to consider my appearance and keep it acceptable . I know I’ve pitched it right because my mother , daughter and others wouldn’t go on social outings if they felt uncomfortable .

    1. Teresa, there’s a philosophical question here and that’s whether gender dysphoria is a prerequisite for wanting to experience life from the opposite side of the road, so to speak. Perhaps it’s the result of feeling a desire to cross the divide – that feeling of deflation when we change back. I can never assert that my life would be better if I transitioned, either full time or part time but what I have determined is that the compromise that I currently have is pretty good. In any compromise, we can always find elements of each side of the compromise that we wish were more predominant but, by finding the sweet spot, we can have a good approximation of the best of both worlds.

      You’re right that many questions remain hypothetical but that, in a way, is the price of compromise. Crucially, though, the ‘sweet spot’ in the compromise is different for each of us and is very dependent on our circumstances. But what I would say is that Mrs A has compromised too and we’ve been able to meet in the middle. That’ll work for as long as Mrs A continues to work but both of our standpoints will need to be reassessed when she retires. Maybe the best I’ll be able to hope for is spending a night away from home every month or so; compared to the freedom I have now, that doesn’t sound very good but, conversely, perhaps it’ll open up avenues that aren’t available to me at the moment.

      In all honesty, the only thing I really fear in all of this is Mrs A asking how far I’d want to take things if she wasn’t around. I wouldn’t want to lie but the truth is that I don’t know but would want to test the water. At present, it’s a hypothetical question but answering it in that way would cause her significant upset which is something I vehemently wish to avoid.

      As I intimated in the post, all of this is an absolute minefield!

  4. Amanda,
    This is another of your very thought provoking posts. Thank you for asking the question.

    But human life has very few questions where the answer is a definite yes or no. Life is mainly grey, not black and white. To answer your question we first have to fully understand “why” we were born male or female. Well, only God knows the answer to that. We also need to know what the exact definition is of “male” and “female”. Well, over the millennia humans have created a meaning for those words, but the definitions are just made up. Your take on what a woman is will be slightly different than everyone else.

    “Have you stopped beating your wife?” This question cannot be answered yes or no. “Do you want to be a woman?” This question cannot be answered yes or know.

    We can try to explain why we need to present ourselves as female. But honestly, I don’t know why I need to, so how can I tell someone else.

    Plus, what does it mean “presenting as a woman”. During the past century society has dictated that women wear dresses, pretty tops, stockings, shoes with heels, long hair and makeup. Five hundred years ago that is how fashionable men would dress.

    I don’t believe there is an answer to your question. The best question to ask is: “Do you want to talk about your feelings?” And quickly followed up with the question “Do you love me?”

    Lots of love to everyone.


    1. Jocelyn, thank you as always for your support and friendship.

      So many unanswerable questions! Are we dealing with rejection of masculinity or attraction to femininity – the former implies dysphoria, the latter not necessarily? Do we just feel an inexplicable draw to the woman in the mirror similar to how we felt when we fell in love (with our respective wives, not each other before anyone gets the wrong idea!!)? You’re absolutely right, though – how can we explain to others what we don’t understand ourself?

      The ‘presenting as a woman’ question is an interesting one. Taking the polar opposite of your five hundred year ago example, how would it be if we lived in a society that decreed that men and women wore exactly the same clothes – a plain boiler suit for example – and had to have the same hairstyle, with cosmetics and jewellery being outlawed etc. and that was all we’d ever known? CDing as a concept would be impossible so would we feel discomfort or would the fact that, other than anatomical differences, there was no division between the sexes effectively mean that we would not have emotionally developed in the same way as we actually have?

      You’re probably right that there is no answer to the question, or at least a satisfactory answer other than ‘yes’ for those in that narrow band where the way forward is clear cut. And I love and wholeheartedly agree with your point about discussing feelings – it certainly helped me when I was forced to confess for a second time in January – but again the question as to how far we should actually go rears its head!

      I think I should hand the baton for this one over to you – I think ‘What is it about wanting to be a woman?’ would be a great addition to your series!

  5. Amanda,

    As always, I enjoy hearing from you. I have a different experience (and because of that, perspective) on your question. But, for the moment I would add an argument that anyone who wants to present completely as a woman for at least some time in public (even if minimal), wants at some level to be a woman at least a little bit, except for the determined performer who is doing it solely for the theatrical aspects. By saying that, I am not making the argument that everyone will progress inevitably to transition. I don’t believe that is true, since each of us have our own drives, motives and needs, and we each operate in our own distinct social setting. In any case, self-reflection and understanding, together with a good dose of self-forgiveness, is always in order as we ponder the question.

    By the way, for anyone who doesn’t know, I think of myself as a transgender woman now, even if my commitment to my wife doesn’t have me living fully in the way I identify. So, I not only want to be, I believe I am, a woman.


    1. Lisa, thanks for sharing your views and insight.

      As I was reading your comment, it struck me that the real question here is not ‘do you want to be a woman?’ but rather ‘do you need to be a woman?’. I can think of several things that I want, or would like to put it more politely, but I don’t actually need any of those things. In the same way, I would like to get dressed up in ‘Amanda’s’ finery and meet up with a GG for a girls’ evening out. But that’s not something I actually need and if the grim reaper comes knocking and it’s still something I haven’t done, I won’t feel that my life has been in any way deficient. Conversely, I know that I need to release the inner woman from time to time and become emotionally agitated if I can’t for any reason. I have to confess that, until I started writing this reply, I’d never thought about this side of me in those terms and yet, in a roundabout sort of way, it’s what I explained to Mrs A back in January. Of course, that’s very much an individual view and others will have a different perspective on what they need v what they want.

  6. Amanda,

    Last week I came up with an idea for my next Kandi’s Land article which will involve my thoughts on “am I a woman?” So I was excited to see your article today on a similar theme. A complex subject such as this is guaranteed to generate a wide variety of responses and it will be interesting to compare our two views on it. I enjoyed reading your observations, it’s obvious you have devoted a lot of time to thinking it through.

    I’m going to save my comments for my article but as to your question, “Do you want to be a woman?”, my answer is yes, to a point.


    1. Fiona, I’m looking forward to your next post already!

      I think I’ve said this before but, in the context of your thoughts on ‘am I a woman?’ it’s worth airing again. The big question in all of this is how do we know? Having been born with ‘XY’ stamped on every single cell in my body, I can never know whether the feelings I have are congruent with those of biological females. But to complicate matters further, I can also never know whether the feelings I have are congruent with other CDers or biological males in general. I can only speak with authority on what it’s like to be me.

      And that then takes us to the point I made in response to Jocelyn above. If all of the societal gender differences we take for granted were eradicated, would we still have the same feelings about our gender?

      You quite rightly observed that I have devoted a lot of time to thinking this through – overthinking would probably be closer to the mark if I’m honest. In the context of what I said above, I don’t really think that it matters whether I’m a woman or not. I can look in the mirror when I’m presenting in a certain way – in a way that society and my resultant conditioning determines is female – and like, or even emotionally identify with, what I see and, crucially, prefer that presentation to what my life has determined is my normal presentation. And as I suggested in the post, in a parallel universe where Mrs A wasn’t a feature, I’d be very open to pushing the envelope as far as appropriate.

      Does that mean that I’m already a woman, the door to womanhood is open to me or, because I retain a foot in the male camp by virtue of my biology, the door is locked shut?

      My fingers are crossed in the hope that your post will provide answers that my overthinking has so far woefully failed to do!

  7. Amanda,
    I recall the heated debates over ” needs and wants ” in another online forum , I wonder if the English language is over complicated sometimes .
    So if we ask ourselves the question , ” do I need to be a woman ?” Considered in those terms it could be reworded to ask the simple question , ” would we prefer to be masculine or feminine ?” Again it possibly comes back to considering our level of dysphoria , if we were freely given the choice what would our true answer be . As we commented much of this is hypothetical , the majority of us live in an inbetween state , we do what we are allowed to freely do without the intervention of hormones or surgery . Personally I’ve stopped feeling like a coward , like you I have hit a ” sweet spot ” , it has been so useful to meet trans people in reality , they all searched for their ” sweet spot ” and even full transition doesn’t always achieve it .

    You do raise a very interesting question about clothing , what if we did wear the same clothes ? Some parts of the World actually do , so it raises the question if there are trans people in those communites how do they express their inner needs ? I was given a roasting again on a forum over the comment , ” it’s not about the clothes !” but if we look at most parts of the World trans people and drag artists use clothes very effectively to tell a story , they use them to reveal something of their being , the only difference being it’s an act for some and the truth in others .

    It’s so easy to overthink the situation the problem being there are multiple answers , most of them no more than a choice of compromises . The bottom line is you cannot recall your words , both you and your wife have fears and misconceptions now , I admit I was naive enough to think LOVE would see us through anything but I guess it has to be accompanied by TRUST and HONESTY , once those corner stones have crumbled there is no way back .

  8. Amanda, when you are not dressed in your feminine clothes, but in your guy clothes, do you still think in your mind that you are Amanda? Sometimes that is a tell on how you feel about womanhood.

    Also, I know your situation with your wife is difficult, but I would be curious if you could have everything be perfect with your situation (wife on board with everything), what would that situation look like?

    For me, knowing that I was Christina in my mind when I was dressed in boy mode is what made me come to terms that I am likely Transgender. I was in denial from 13 to 47. Though, even though I am transgender, that does not mean one has to “transition.” Further, being Trans does not automatically mean “transition, hormones and surgeries.” I think this is something that is not as widely considered by people.

    One can be Trans and do absolutely nothing. Generally it is one’s “levels” of Gender Dysphoria that pushes one to take different levels of courses of action. I have some GD but not heavy levels.

    To combat the GD, I dress femininely at home and my wife is fine with that. She sees past the clothes and sees my inner personality. I also dress very respectfully and age appropriate for a 50 year old lady so that probably helps. In public I dress in my guy clothes (and underdress) so I can move within society. But I am still Christina in my mind. In the future, Christina might go out dressed in public, but I don’t know. It is still a journey right now.

    1. Christina, thank you for sharing your thoughts and what a good question!

      I could write a whole post trying to answer your question (and may do so – thanks for the inspiration) because it’s not a clear cut answer. Fundamentally, of course, ‘Amanda’ is just a name – one I chose myself rather than the one I’m more usually known by which was bestowed on me by my parents – and as, anatomically, my given name is a rather more appropriate fit than my chosen name, there’s an inherent disconnect there. But that’s not really what you were asking.

      I remember back in the 1970s when I first heard about what was then referred to as a sex change operation which turned men into women. At the time, the idea seemed almost magical particularly when I got to hear about such beauties as April Ashley & Caroline Cossey. As time went on, I came to realise that it wasn’t the beginning of the journey from male to female but something close to the endpoint but there still had to be a huge emotional change as part of that journey because of what seemed like an insurmountable gap between the sexes. Where I am now is that I realise that the gap is actually very small and, to all intents and purposes, I can traverse it whenever I want. I spent several hours today in my feminine garb and it felt like the most natural thing in the world – the novelty has gone but in its place has come the realisation that it just feels right. But after lunch, I decided to do some messy work involving wood filler so my feminine finery was removed and replaced with my normal scruffy guy clothes without any feeling of deflation or disappointment.

      In the end, I think it boils down to the fact that I no longer think in terms of ‘him’ or ‘her’, just ‘me’. I know that I can look acceptable as a female and I don’t mind the world viewing me as female if I’m out and about. I think about this side of myself a lot but in the context of a part of the whole me, not someone I become and not the totality of me. It’s a side of me that I’m increasingly feeling a desire to nurture but again as part of the whole, not to supplant the rest of me.

      As regards your second question, if Mrs A was totally on board, I don’t think much would change, at least at the moment. I think we’d talk more about it rather than it being a subject not to be discussed and I’d probably go out more than I do but I very much view my feminine world as discrete and distinct from my masculine world. Greater tolerance on her part wouldn’t change my fundamental desire to be a husband to her and father to our kids which I view as a role to be played as well as a status to be held. What I’ve always said, though, is in a parallel universe where Mrs A and the kids do not exist, I would not have any preconceived ideas about where this was going but would equally want to keep an open mind and not discount anything.

      The GD question is an interesting one for me because I’ve done a lot of soul searching and can’t really identify it in myself per se. Does absolutely loving my feminine side and feeling an increasing desire to project that in the world constitute dysphoria with my maleness? Because I now see the gap as so small and feel able to traverse it at will, any discomfort is short lived because I have an effective ‘cure’ for it. And yet, as I said above, there always comes a time when I put ‘her’ away and happily go back to being ‘him’ again. Or to put it another way, I’m just ‘me’ on a continuous basis.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences too. This is a fascinating subject to dive into and it’s always great to hear how others deal with it.

      1. “Does absolutely loving my feminine side and feeling an increasing desire to project that in the world constitute dysphoria with my maleness? ”

        Amanda, I would say yes, that is GD. You have a yearn for it, and need that yearn quenched. The “needling” inside you to feminized yourself is GD. Now, how “strong” that needling is, the intensity, can vary. Everyone treats their GD in different ways. Some transition. Some just wear articles of clothing at home. And everything in between.

        BTW, that “it just feels right” feeling? I have that too. In fact that feeling when I got it for the first time, that is when I stopped denying and came out to myself (just initially as a crossdresser before I learned more). I couldn’t avoid these feelings anymore. It is like wearing a left shoe on your right foot for your entire life, and then all of a sudden put a right shoe on your right foot. “It just feels right.” There are no other words. How can you reconcile to yourself when you are wearing a skirt and blouse that it “feels right” and does not feel like a “costume?” That’s when the soul searching began.

        1. Christina & Teresa – this is a response to both of you.

          I’m not so sure about the whole GD issue if I’m honest. In recent years, there’s been an increasing trend for serious mental health conditions such as OCD, autism, ADHD and now GD to be, for want of better words, watered down and appropriated by the wider population. GD in its purest form is a debilitating condition which I would imagine makes life hell for those who have to endure it. The case of Kirsty Cass is a good example and worth googling if you’re not acquainted with it but to cut a long story short, things got so bad for her that she tried to remove her male genitalia with a Stanley knife. Fortunately she survived and subsequently successfully transitioned.

          I can only speak for myself and would never seek to judge anyone else as this is a very complex issue. But taking the purer definition of GD – unease or dissatisfaction with one’s gender – I definitely do not experience any unease with being a guy. Dissatisfaction is perhaps more debatable but it hinges on whether we equate high levels of satisfaction with one’s female presentation with a corresponding dissatisfaction with one’s male side or whether we decouple the two and whilst I do feel a strong draw towards my feminine side on occasion, I don’t feel any imperative to lose my maleness.

          I think that many CDers like me lament the fact that they weren’t born female. Perhaps that is an indication of dissatisfaction but, again in my case, it’s certainly not a pathalogical dissatisfaction because my life has given me much to be thankful for. There’s also the risk that we view things through rose tinted spectacles – being born female has many downsides as well as upsides and those come as a preordained package, not a menu from which we can choose only the upsides (that’s the beauty and the preserve of being a CDer!)!

          For now, being male is a much better proposition than being female as far as I’m concerned and I’m thankful that I have the freedom to indulge both sides and, in particular, when I get that strange feeling, I can switch personas and love a side of me that was suppressed for so long. But whenever I do, I know when it’s time to switch back and can do so without any feeling of regret.

          1. I just wanted to impart with respect to GD, that it can express itself in a wide spectrum. Basically meaning it can be intense, or very minimal and everything in between. My guess is there are a lot of CDers out there with minimal GD and continue to dress to satisfy their needs which is great. And then there are those that have high levels of GD and their solution is to transition. At the end of the day, aside from labels and such, what is most important is just finding the best solution for how one feels. Enjoy life!

          2. Absolutely, Christina. It’s a fascinating subject when you’re immersed in it as we are and I think we’ve all come to realise how multidimensional it is. Some see the transformation as an artform and nothing more, for others it’s do or die; some CD because they don’t like what’s on this side of the fence, others because they like the look of what’s on the other side! For some it’s the endpoint and for others it’s the means to the end. And so on.

            I am grateful to you for sharing your viewpoint, not least because it made me think about my own, particularly as I was able to take advantage of an empty house today. As I looked in the mirror, it was hard not to have thoughts about what it all means and how I could live my life if that was the norm. And yet when it was time to change, there was no regret or sadness, just a focus on what needed to be done.

            Thank you for prompting such an interesting discussion.

  9. Amanda,
    Perhaps we should consider GD in different terms , I understand the use of the term in the past usually entailed unreversable actions . I feel it’s a seed sown in the womb that we live with for life , there should be no shame , guilt or denial of something we can’t change and not consider we have to be cured . It affects us at different levels , for some it’s 24/7 ( as in my case ) and others it surfaces weeks, months or even years apart . I’m not sure which is more difficult to live with , I know the gut feeling every single day which has finally ebbed away with going full time but it must be difficult for others not knowing when it will surface again .

    The closeness of genders is something transgender people possibly appreciate more . Living with that deep yearning to be female gradually diminishes as we cross the line more and more until the line is so blurred we eventually just become US , in my case Teresa and yours Amanda . They might just be names but they actually align us with the outside world , they make us real , they give us an identity as most of my documents now do .

    As far as dirtier jobs are concerned I eventually came to the decision to buy female work clothes and do whatever as Teresa . I must look quite a sight at times , I built my patio , I restructured my bathroom and in fact most of my home , I even did all the decorating and repair work in a rental property I own . I popped an old wig on , still did makeup , bought some sloppy Tshirts from a charity shop , despite that I was still treated as female . It is quite amusing when taking rubbish to the recycle centre , the guys basically see blond hair and boobs so they often empty my car without me lifting a finger !

    It is possible to be there for the family , I still do DIY work for my daughter and my son still knows where to come when he needs to borrow tools . Despite my appearance now if we have given them all we can as a father and parent they will still respect you . As adults they realise transgender issues , we must respect them for that understanding but I still feel we must be consistent , I admit my wife still refuses to accept me , that is why we chose to divorce .

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