The other day I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Aside from a scene where Valentine Michael Smith, the man from Mars, is dressed as a nurse to effect his escape from the hospital, there is no relevance to crossdressing. It is simply put, an amazing work of science fiction by one of the most prolific science fiction writers of all time. I recall reading it at the ripe old age of fourteen and wondering at both the scope of what Heinlein wrote, but also the depth. Let us also face facts; there is some naughty bits to that story. Orgies and free love? What teen wouldn’t want to read about that?! But generally, it is far less science fiction than most of his works, and leans a little more toward the philosophical angle. There is the rub. The philosophical angle.
In all my years of crossdressing, and the comparatively relative short time I’ve been online and exposed to others like myself, the philosophical angle has always been shied away from. I suppose that is due in part for fear the conversation will degenerate into a bunch of religion and dogma waving, raised voices or type fonts, and somebody getting a “Ban Hammer.” (If you are too young to recall actual internet chat rooms, you MAY be too young for this blog.) But when I speak of philosophy, I’m not referencing religion, or dogma, faith in a higher or lower power. I simply refer to the how, why, and what coupled with the psychological perspective, but used to explain the whole person. Or maybe all people, depending on how deep your particular philosophical stance delves.
In Stranger, the main character Valentine Michael Smith learns of religion and given his knowledge of Martian philosophy and life, his naiveté, and his drive to understand everything, he intermingles it with his understanding of fictional cults he is exposed to on earth. This results in him creating “the Church of All Worlds.” I suppose the parallel I’m drawing here is a very loose one. I am hardly a student of philosophy. I have a hard enough time with faith and religion, but yes I consider myself a person of faith.
I suppose I was musing in quite a silly fashion, all to myself, with an intellectual exercise of sorts; what if there was a Church of all Genders. Again, not so much a church of faith or religion, but one of philosophy, shared experience and trials we all share. The root basis would stem from some of the very things I’ve discussed here on my blog; being authentic and true to yourself, truthfulness in dealing with those in your life, living a life as a crossdresser of merit or note, which would prevent others from casting you or other crossdressers in a negative light and also; taking into consideration our spouses wants and needs, and finding balance amongst all aspects of our life and family.
Like I said, it’s sort of a very loose parallel. But I was pondering how crossdressers could be a protected class. Transsexuals are a protected class, and given enough time, the rest of the Transgender spectrum may follow suit. But in the meantime, we are still persecuted and oppressed. The shortest route around this problem; make it fall under a “religious belief.” Yeah, it’s a tenuous connection at best. I also never billed it as my best idea ever. But if Scientology can get away with it…
But the overall idea struck a chord with me, and I kept bouncing it around in my head. I know it’s silly; it is a damn near pointless musing, but it was a fun sort of mental exercise. Getting crossdressers to do anything as a group in public is difficult enough, I know, I have tried. When I started THE Sorority: Savannah, I had a really good initial response, but that slowly waned when they started to realize, “Wait, I’ve got to meet other CDs in public, while dressed femme?!?” or “You mean I have to do something?” Suddenly, activity levels fell through the floor. Maybe it simply wasn’t the right time in Savannah for such a progressive idea. Or there are too many CDs around here who are into the seedier side of crossdressing and fetish. I’d rather go with the first answer, as the second is simply too distressing a thought. SIGH!
But with responses like that, I’m not exactly inclined to suggest anything that involves activity on the parts of others. So it just ended up being a little one person intellectual exercise. But at the same time, it gave me reason to sit here and analyze the deeper questions about being a crossdresser or Transgender. Maybe that simple musing will someday become a greater philosophical writing by me; more than likely it will be by somebody more versed in philosophical ramblings than I. But we truly learn something when we stop looking at something for face value, and start asking the deeper more meaningful questions. As we can see from my Sorority experience, a great many of us simply look at the superficial aspect of being a crossdresser, we do not commit to a greater level than we have to. But I ask; what if we did commit to a greater level. Not necessarily dressing full time, but looking at the overall bigger picture? What if we stopped treating it like a hobby, and treated it like a passion? Perhaps we wouldn’t just be discussing Transsexual rights, and there would be enough movement to say there were two movements, a Transgender AND Crossdressing Rights movements. Maybe we wouldn’t need to ride the coattails of the Gay/Transsexual rights movements, and we’d have the political power to move mountains. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to hide in the shadows, being a dirty little secret. Not that I think we are, but we certainly have to act like it sometimes, and sometimes, we simply act that way on our own, for the fact we do questionable things, we think merely as individuals, we do not seek to help out the greater good of all Transgender or Crossdressers.
United we could very well move mountains, other movements before us have proven that. But by our very nature, we tend to remain in the shadows, afraid we will be “clocked” or found out by loved ones. It is difficult to be part of a social movement when you are worried your supervisor/ family member/neighbor/ best friend might see you in a political rally while dressed as a woman. So I do understand the fear. But sometimes support isn’t about standing in the street and waving a sign. Sometimes it can be as simple as supporting others within the community who do, or helping new sisters learn the ropes so they do not make the same mistakes we made coming up. Sometimes it is as simple as subscribing to a Magazine like Frock or Transliving, to show them support and keep them alive so we do not loose valuable community resources.
Another parallel from Stranger, was a very simple quote, which stemmed from Valentine Michael Smith’s misinterpretation of something Jubal said to him early in the book. Mike as he was called; began to use the phrase, “Thou art God.” It eventually became the mantra of his church, which wasn’t really a church, but a Martian language and philosophical school…and den of orgies. But I digress. It was his translation of the word “grok,” which literally means “to drink” and figuratively means “to comprehend”, “to love”, and “to be one with”. I’m not saying we should all pretend we are one mysterious deity with individual representations. I’m simply using that as an alliteration that we should all see, think, feel and do as though we were one with everyone else. That still doesn’t sound quite right. I’m suggesting that if we tended to consider ourselves part of something bigger than ourselves, we would behave as though we were part of something bigger. Every once in a while, you might find a sense of community online, but the individuals there till act and think from a perspective of solitude and self-protection. Simply encourage other sisters to be part of something bigger, to belong, to push boundaries, even if it is simply their own. Embrace change, shrug at fear, demand and fight for better. Things will never change, and they certainly never get better, if everyone sits there expecting somebody else to do it. I know it’s not a popular concept sometimes, but a little social responsibility can go a long way.
Ever & Always,