Occasionally guys will write me and ask if they should tell their wives about their crossdressing. I always wince when I get these emails – not that I should even be giving advice – see Dan Savage in an earlier post. ;-) But what always makes me hesitate is that it’s pretty obvious that the wife is going to be really pissed off and hurt when she finds out – and rightly so. Even if she takes the news fairly well, which is doubtful, she’s going to feel betrayed and lied to just because such a big secret was withheld in the first place. (That’s assuming, of course, that the crossdressing was going on before marriage, which is usually the case, and that it was consciously kept secret going in.)
So to give advice anyway: Tell her before you get married. It just makes things a lot easier. And to the above guy I would have to say that the right thing to do is probably to tell her and deal with the mess that’s bound to occur. Even if it leads to divorce that’s probably better than carrying around that fear and dread of having a Big Secret.
I remember fifteen years ago when I was in the closet and I met an older guy who was very much out of the closet about his lifestyle. People at work knew and even though he didn’t dress all the time he had long hair and earrings in both ears. And I remember being blown away by his boldness and thinking, “I could never do that!” So what happens in fifteen years? I have long hair and earrings in both ears and run a tranny bondage website. Life’s funny.
I know that when I started doing the website probably part of my unconscious reason for it was just to force myself to be more out of the closet about my life. If I were to get involved with a “real” woman, there’s no way I could keep my lifestyle a secret. Hell, she would probably know all about it before the first date anyway, since when meeting new people we always ask, “So what do you do?”
And since I have a strong desire not to keep secrets, running a website that has a little bit of visibility is a good way to avoid keeping them. I know when I was younger I used to believe that no “real” woman would ever want to be with me because I’m a transvestite. And then the years passed and life happened and it became pretty obvious that this just wasn’t true. I’ve made a mess of things with girlfriends in the past about other things, but I’ve learned too that there certainly are some women out there who don’t have too much of a problem being with a tranny, and a very small number out there who actually kind of dig it. Sure, the vast majority are gonna go running and screaming from the room but that’s perfectly okay. You only need that one yes that you really click with.
So in this long rambling post I guess I’m saying that it’s probably better to be out of the closet about being a crossdresser or TG than not. And I don’t want to sound like I’m somehow better than someone who’s not out, since it’s all a matter of personal choice and no one is right or wrong in the matter. And some might also object and say, but Sandra (or Robert, as the case may be), you don’t have a regular job and a boss who could fire you or a wife who could divorce your ass. Which is true, and yes, everyone has to take their comfort level and circumstances into consideration. But I also think it’s probably better to just get out there and deal with the ugly consequences. Why would I want to keep a job where I’m not okay as I am, or stay married to someone who finds my sexuality unacceptable? What a thoroughly depressing and unempowering situation. Being truthful can definitely make things a lot tougher, though usually that’s in the short term. Eventually things work out and something new comes from the initial mess. If that’s a divorce or losing a job or friends or family members being pissed off and not speaking to you, well, that’s the price to be oneself.
And speaking again of Dan Savage, he’s talked before of this situation where a gay person comes out and they have family members who are upset and they become estranged. But then over time the family member comes to terms with the news and they accept it and become close again. Sometimes it takes years, but usually things work out in some fashion. Definitely in my own case with my Dad, my being open about my lifestyle has brought us much closer together. And when I opened up to him I was going out on a limb. My gut instinct would have said, “Are you fucking crazy? He doesn’t need to know!” But it was worth it and took more of that weight off my shoulders.
And then there are also the inevitable political gains from being out of the closet. Just like with gays and lesbians, someday there’ll be so many crossdressers and TGs out and visible that the “normal” world won’t be able to hate us as easily. I can’t imagine that crossdressing will ever be free of controversy – how could it be and would we really want it to be? But it’s inevitable that with the passage of time there will be more and more people who are visible and it’ll make a difference in how we’re perceived. If you know someone personally who’s “different” it makes that difference much less frightening and mysterious. And a lot harder to hate.