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sticks and stones...

For decades people who felt neither perfectly male nor female have lived the best way they knew how in societies that ran the gamut between openly hostile to wholly tolerant. This meant that some lived entirely in the closet while some were accepted as a third gender.

Our western society has moved along on the spectrum of acceptability. Since the days of the Phil Donahue show where perplexed audience members struggled to understand what heterosexual cross dressers were all about, we have moved forward in our understanding and tolerance of gender variance.

The new cross dresser of today has more latitude than ever but they don’t call themselves that. The under twenty five year olds see themselves as either androgynous, gender variant, non-binary or perhaps use no terms at all because they don’t need to. Their behaviour is increasingly being seen as part of a mosaic that stretches beyond what we used to think was acceptable.

That need for definition was more relevant when people were desperately afraid of what they were facing. They wanted to know if a person was a cross dresser or a transsexual when in truth sometimes neither term applied. What would they call Billy Tipton: a woman who lived full time as a man without surgical intervention?

In response, the term transgender has been adopted as a catch all term for the many variances we see out there in the world. In all of its wonderful messiness we see people living lives on their own terms and defying specific definition.

The terms transvestite and transsexual have been dropped from our lexicons as being anachronistic and insulting to the people they presumed to describe and I suspect the term cross dresser will come next; if for no other reason than it tries to define people who display a very wide range of behaviour and for whom the dressing is only part of the entire portrait.


Comments

  1. What a wonderful world that will be when all of the countries in the world accept a kaleidoscope of people for just being themselves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's hoping that day comes sooner rather than later!

      Mandy

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  2. I don't believe we are that far off from that ideal

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