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compulsion

Rewind to about 1966.

Upon receiving the message from my mother that little boys do not wear dresses my activity went underground. I would role play in my room or wait till no one was home to raid my mother’s closet. It was fun and it was my little secret.

As I got older and puberty hit I started realizing that this part of me was going to potentially be in conflict with my normal sexuality and my burgeoning interest in girls. I had begun getting inadvertent and unwelcome erections and orgasms which immediately prompted a promise to never go back to raid the wardrobe closet. I began to learn to suppress in earnest.

In my world, Roman Catholics did not ever masturbate or have premarital sex so imagine how I saw myself.

What didn’t help was that all of the information available to me about the subject was negative. "Transvestite" was a dirty word and it was associated with perversion. Entries in encyclopaedias were short and misleading and I had never heard of Harry Benjamin or of his book. Therefore my feelings about what used to be natural began to grow progressively more negative. I began to see my activity as a compulsion instead of something that was helping me bridge a gender gap in my brain. What followed for many years was behaviour patterned after short binges of indulgence followed by long periods of suppression.

No wonder I saw myself as a compulsive person. I was mirroring the behaviour of a dieter who denied himself and then reached for the cookie jar when he could no longer contain himself. This actually magnified my view of this desire as a perverse abnormality.

Once this was engrained in my psyche it took many years to undo the harm.

Now I know better and so does the clinical world which now deals with what we appropriately term gender dysphoria.

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