As we close the chapter on one year many of us will reflect on what has been and what is to come. Often, as a result of reviewing where we are on our life path and where we wish to be, we set new goals for the year ahead, sometimes in the form of a resolution. For some crossdressers, this may include the big step of coming out to friends and/or partner/family as a crossdresser or gender-fluid individual.
The need to tell others about our other ‘secret-self’ is often driven by the guilt of leading this double-life and the ‘deception’ we exercise in hiding it from those nearest and dearest to us. It can be a very heavy burden to bear. Whilst many crossdressers find it almost impossible to explain why they like to dress in pretty ladies clothes, surely we are in an age of enlightenment where we shouldn’t need to. There is no shame in dressing or presenting as a female – different clothes, same person. However, mainstream society for the most part seems to treat crossdressing as the ‘last taboo’ which can be scary when we think of the repercussions of telling friends, family or even just our partner.
In our Glamour Boutique store we have met many clients who over the years have shared their stories of coming out to significant others and friends. We have experienced people’s journey first-hand and what we can tell you is no one journey is the same. Above all else what we do know is you should not rush such a ‘confession’. A new year resolution may be your ideal for pushing ahead and gaining acceptance from those close to you but think of the other parties involved and make sure you are prepared.
Tips for telling your loved one you dress
For many girls we meet, the ultimate happiness is having a partner to share their fem-life with. What can be better than going shopping for new girl-clothes or for a manicure with your wife or girlfriend? But this requires sharing the most intimate side of yourself. In our experience, the sooner you tell a partner in your relationship the better the chances of navigating a life journey together where your girl-side is at the least accommodated.
Given that the average age of our store clients is early to mid-50’s, we meet many crossdressers that have never divulged their little secret and have been married 20+ years. Many manage to quell the ‘habit’ for years at a time as relationships, careers and families are taking center stage, thinking it will simply go away. It rarely does! We see a pattern especially in mid to late 50’s where life-changes like retirement and becoming an empty-nester seem to provide the impetus for telling a partner.
What we have learned over the years:
- Don’t tell if you don’t want to. Each person and circumstance is different. If you don’t want to come out then don’t – that does not make you any less of a crossdresser or a person. If you think you do want to come out then think about issues of safety, support and timing.
- Don’t Rush. Whilst the guilt you are carrying is a heavy burden don’t be rushed into a decision just because it’s a new year or because another crossdresser tells you it’s right. It is entirely your own decision.
- Once it’s out it’s out. You can’t go back and undo this truth once it’s out in the open so try to think what will happen if it goes well and what may happen if it goes badly with another person? Think of the options/outcomes so you are prepared.
- Develop a support network, no matter how small. If you know other crossdressers then talk to them about their experience and use them as support. They understand the journey you are on, so will be the right kind of support you need. If you don’t know any crossdressers or gender fluid individuals you can confide in, think of a friend or relative who you think will be most understanding. Such persons will be your allies in the weeks ahead and will hopefully give you the confidence and support you need. There are also online forums and support groups that are just a ‘google’ away.
- Test your potential allies. If you are going to tell a partner, friend or other family member first and are unsure of their reaction, test the waters. Have conversations with them about gender issues, crossdressing and even use examples in the media like Caitlyn Jenner to gauge where they stand.
- Be positive. Whenever you tell a family member or friend they will be concerned if you are concerned. Try to be clear on where you stand with regards to your gender identity. Are you a heterosexual crossdresser or are you transgender or gender-fluid? If you know then being positive and confident will help the other person. If you still don’t know and it troubles you we would recommend seeking out a professional who can help you.
- Write it out in a letter. Before telling family and or friends, write it out. This will not only help clarify your thoughts but will be a great prompt when the time comes and nerves get the better of you.
- Be understanding of others you tell. We can’t tell you how telling family and/or friends will go but we do know that some will be accepting and even celebrate your announcement. Some will take more time and you must be patient with them and not push. Try to imagine how the other person may react given your relationship. For example, if you have been married over 20 years and have children and you are telling your wife for the first time, this will naturally be a shock for most individuals. They may well think ‘What else has he been hiding from me?’ or ‘Is he attracted to men now instead of me?’ and even ‘Does that mean he wants to transition?’ Be patient with them and if they don’t understand at first and have many questions you find it difficult to answer then have ready links to resources online that can help them. Include support groups that you can both join online or in person. Help to educate them.
Glamour Boutique will support you
Over the years we have had phone calls from wives, girlfriends and couples seeking advice. We also have couples visiting our store looking for more understanding. Whilst we are not professionals we gladly refer folk to support groups and even therapists who specialize in issues such as gender identity and marriage/relationships.
Take a look in our Crossdresser blog, particularly the ‘Eye Candy’ features that have a Q and A with persons about their relationship status and how it works. Such reading will help you and possibly your partner define what changes you want to make in the year(s) ahead.
If you are in the tristate then book to come see us and pop in to our store for a chat with like-minded people in a safe, non-judgemental environment. If you are at the beginning of your journey we will point you in the right direction of great support groups and social events for both crossdressers and their partners.
To read about other crossdressers and their relationships go to the Crossdressing Stories section of the blog and read some of the ‘Eye Candy’ interviews. To visit our store and find information on support or social groups in the tri-state then call to make an appointment on 1-973 226 5588. For details on support groups and services in other parts of the country email [email protected] and we will do our best to help you.