Five Questions With… Lacey Leigh

Lacey Leigh is the authr of Out & About: The Emancipatedlacey leigh Crossdresser as well as 7 Secrets of Successful Crossdressers. She moderates an online community, speaks publicly as a crossdresser, and helps a lot of CDs gain confidence as they take those first fledgeling steps out the (closet) door.
1. What do you think is the most important thing crossdressers need to know?
One of the major changes I have made is in my personal lexicon – my working vocabulary, as it were – is to eliminate the words that carry semantic undertones of judgement or personal imperative: should, must, ought, need, etc. We use them unconsciously, not realizing how such terms of absolutism color the message we’re trying to communicate.
People and friends, beginning with my wife, have reminded that while I have the zeal and passion of a recent convert to faith, there is also a frequent tendency to climb on the soapbox and get a little ‘preachy’. Mea culpa. I’m working on it. It’s especially difficult to keep the lid on it when sharing an attitude, a mindset that has provided such an empowering personal perspective – for me as well as everyone else who has tried it.
Terms that carry such cultural sovereignty are often reliable indicators of personal bias. Count the number of times people use similar words of subtle judgement, multiply by the frequency of the personal pronoun (I, me, my, etc.) and you’ll get a pretty good indicator of how deeply a person is into himself – and whether that person is operating with a closed or an open mind.
A favorite theme is “Why allow people to ‘should’ on you?”
Anyway, I would rephrase “need to know” with “might benefit from understanding.”
Back to your question…
You started with ‘the biggie’; a topic for which a glib reply can lead to greater confusion. To lend a perspective, it might benefit readers to jump over to one of the essays on my outreach website.
Clothing serves as a primary cultural communication. Absent that imperative, we might just as well wrap rags, moss, or bubble wrap around ourselves for protection and comfort. This point is essential in order to grasp a further understanding of crossdressing. We send myriad signals about ourselves through the medium of personal attire and decoration; our ethnicity, our religion, our social status, our allegiance, our mood, our gender, our fantasies, our ‘availability’, our mood – the list is infinite.
Crossdressing is communication.
Which leads to a plethora of additional questions. What, exactly, are we communicating? To whom are we sending the message (trick question)? Is it getting through or is it somehow garbled or confusing? Is the message content accurate at the source? Is the communication important in the first place?
Crossdressing is not about the clothing. Rather, the clothing is a conduit of expression – about our very essential, inner natures. Doesn’t it make sense to say positive, empowering things?
A famous Russian tennis player was once the butt of a locker room prank when his new ‘friends’ educated him with a few phrases in English to help him get by. When he thought he was asking, “Where is the men’s toilet” the words he’d been taught were more on the order of “I need to s**t, which way is the G**damn crapper?” As he became more fluent in English he didn’t appreciate the humor.
In the crossdressing ‘community’ there are many who start out the same way, attempting to communicate in a language they don’t really speak. Little wonder they don’t get much in the way of tolerance; they have made themselves (albeit unintentionally for the most part) intolerable, primarily from restating the messages they absorb from their less thoughtful sisters and from a sensational media that emphasizes the lowest common denominators.
It’s common sense that if we wish to earn respect, it’s a good idea to appear respectable. Our culture, while uncomfortable with nonstandard gender expression, is waaaaaaaaay more uneasy about things deemed overtly sexual. Thus, when crossdressers openly display as clueless Barbies, truckstop trannies, or BDSM submissives it’s understandable why the public at large react as they do. A natal female attired in the same manner would generate a similar reaction. Get a clue! As it harms no other, do as you will – behind bedroom doors, and keep them closed please.
At a recent Eureka En Femme Getaway it was an uphill battle with one middle-aged CD. When asked why she favored miniskirts and CFM strappy platform shoes she replied, “My legs are my best asset.” To which I replied, “Your legs are writing checks that your face and waistline can’t cash.” Her rejoinder was, “I don’t care – people will just have to deal with it.” Sure, a chip-on-my-shoulder attitude will win tolerance every time. Where is a good cluebat when you need one?
I finally got through to her by opening a side door; vanity. She was out on the street the next morning, blissfully displaying her butt cheeks to everyone in her aft quarter, when I walked up to her and in a conspiratorial whisper said, “One word – ‘cellulite’.” That afternoon, she was wearing trousers.
Just as with any language, there are blessings and curses; bold proclamations and subtle suggestions; the vulgar and the tasteful; the shout and the whisper; the symphony and the grunge. It’s helpful to keep in mind that we master a language through practice, total immersion, feedback, trial, and error. The kind of feedback we receive in an echo chamber (‘support’ groups, ‘trans friendly’ venues, and TG social circles) isn’t nearly as helpful as that which we gain by expressing among the culture at large.
Thus, my advocacy for open crossdressing.
Continue reading “Five Questions With… Lacey Leigh”

Ready for Prince Caspian

Just wanted my fellow Narnia junkies to know it really is safe to go see the new film version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. They didn’t ruin it, and in some cases were very faithful to details.
& I also wanted everyone to know that as usual the ballyhoo about the book/movie’s supposedly rampant Christianity is way overdone and much the effort of people who don’t have anything else intelligent to say about stories, or CS Lewis, or talking animals.
It’s not that it’s not there, it’s just the least of it. I’ve always found more Arthurian legend in Narnia than straight-up Christian allegory; advice about cleaning one’s sword and not locking oneself into wardrobes is far more useful, anyway.
Of course I’m particularly fond of stories where the youngest is the smartest.

National Coming Out Day

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, and I wanted to provide some resources for some of you who might have someone to come out to – a wife, girlfriend, parent, child, friend, or peer.

  • Here’s a short piece by Abigail Garner, the author of Families Like Mine.
  • Lambda’s tips for coming out are brief but helpful.
  • HRC has a special section of their Coming Out Project pages called Coming Out as Transgender.
  • The APA has a “Just the Facts” sheet that’s more geared toward the GL, but still has a lot of useful information on reparative therapy (for those of you who might come out to more Christian friends & family).
  • And there’s the transgender division of P-FLAG, T-NET, which has a bunch of useful information for the family of transpeople.

Good luck!

Five Questions With… Rosalyne Blumenstein

Rosalyne Blumenstein is the formerRosalyne Blumenstein directer of the Gender Identity Project at the GLBT Center in Manhattan, and is the author of Branded T.
1. You emphasize the non-inclusion of bisexual and transpeople in your book Branded T by writing it “GLbt.” Do you think this still holds true – are bisexuals and Ts still left out of the majority of “gay activism”?
I currently live in LA. In June they have their Pride Weekend. It is called Gay Pride, need I say more? …Well I will anyway.
I think we have gone backwards just like the larger system. I believe there to be a parallel process going on with the way in which government is running things and the way in which our social movements are following. Here’s the deal and my swing on it. (Not that I know anything… opinions are like assholes – everyone has one, well mostly everyone has one).
Again this is only my opinion.
I believe everyone should be able to live they way they want, experience some semblance of freedom, love, be loved, feel fulfilled, dream, and be on a journey. However, within the gay agenda it is all about mimicking a Christian heterosexist mentality. Mind you, take this apart there is nothing wrong with Christian…having a certain belief system and having faith which is grand and extremely helpful in life…
And as far as Heterosexuality is concerned, there is nothing wrong with someone who identifies as male loving someone who identifies as female. I for one would love to be in another relationship with a man. Right now I would love to be in a relationship with someone breathing let alone what damn gender they identify as.
But from my understanding of a sexual minority movement it‘s about many different kinds of loves, not just the sanctity of marriage. It’s about not buying into just the white picket fence and the 2.3 kids.
So the Gay Agenda has become about wanting the same things everybody else wants which is not a bad thing but is not the voice of the whole queer movement. In fact most voices that are silenced within the movement are those

  • that are either getting their ass kicked on the streets because they don’t blend
  • or those with little power within the political system
  • or those that care less about identity politics, they just want to be, live, have great sex, explore, be.

So the gay agenda doesn’t give voice to all concerned. Well maybe these groupings get some quality TV time during Pride since that is what media wants to show and that is what the larger gay movement does want to be viewed as. I think it is all about oppression and many times the oppressed (gay community) become the oppressors (the rest of us that don’t identify as gay).
So in answer to your question my dear I think B and T folk within the gay movement have the opportunity to participate within the movement but in the larger scheme of things and what is portrayed to the Universe is Gay= LGBT.
Continue reading “Five Questions With… Rosalyne Blumenstein”

Robert Hanley

One of my agent’s fellow hopefuls was entertainer Robert Hanley, who was there with his wife Corrine. We were waiting around at one point for Nancy to show, and we all started talking about our pitches, the responses we were getting, and about what kind of book we were pitching.
The only things I knew about Robert and his wife when I told them about My Husband Betty was that they were practicing Catholics and that Robert was an entertainer. (A little while later he told me he was originally from the Bronx). So I explained my next book a little cautiously, not knowing if they were judgemental Christians or not. But once what I was saying became clear to them, we had a great chat about homosexuality, acceptance, Catholicism – you name it. Robert said he’d pray for me – not because he’d cast me or Betty as sinners, though – but because he recognized the challenge to our marriage that transness was. Corrine even mentioned how she felt it must be an “at birth” condition, like homosexuality, because who would choose it?
One of the most wonderful things about being out is being surprised like this. That is, I end up talking to all kinds of people, not just people who I think might be cool with transness. And more often than not, I find people are more sympathetic than judgemental. And honestly, I think they can connect with me – even if they, like I, don’t innately understand transness, because anyone who is married, anyone who has been in love, understands that you do what you can to be with the person you love.
So thanks to Robert, and Corrine, and all the lovely people out there who instead of thinking I’m a sinner or insane, know instead that I’m a woman struggling to preserve and honor her marriage, and that trans-folks are, in the same vein, neither sinners nor crazy, but people struggling with something that the rest of the world can’t understand.
Here’s a little more about Robert Hanley, if you’re interested. If you’re like me, you’re going to see his picture and think “I’ve seen him somewhere” and then, as you read the article, you’ll realize you have: he’s been in movies and tv shows, and did stand-up comedy, too.
But you know, I really should know to trust Catholic former New Yorkers. I mean, if you can’t trust a mensch from the Bronx, who can you trust?