Welcome to the night and weekend where trans is IN, trans-eve, or Halloween,the time when gender bending doesn’t get you beaten up but picked up or winning awards. It is the night for feminine loving men to go Rococo!
Trans, the T in LGBTQI, is short for transgender and covers an umbrella from the effeminate and feminine male, and Drag Queens, like the ones who rioted at Stonewall, getting gay, lesbians, bisexual AND T rights out in the open. But also includes the largest group which are heterosexual males who like to cross dress, as well as variance in gender roles, gender play, gender identity and gender perception preference. Presentation, or gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, which is often misunderstood, as many famous female early cross dressers were as heterosexual as the majority of men (most married), like Dr. Mary Edward’s Walker (who won the Congressional Medal of Honor as a Doctor in the Civil War, 1868) to Katherine Helpburn (the heartthrob of so many baby-dykes)and now, the Butch Clothing Company has launched this year, selling to women who want to wear men’s clothes. Gender presentation, or even identity has nothing to do with orientation (gender is how you see or want others to see you: male, female, or a mix, while orientation is who you are attracted to sexually).
Transgender acts as an umbrella term for those whose gender identity or gender presentation for periods of time or completely do not mesh with the assigned birth gender. It has later evolved to include those who do not conform to gender norms. The term was created by Charles Prince who created Tri-ess, a group for cross-dressers as different than the medical term ‘transsexual’ (those whose assigned birth gender or body does not match their gender identity and take steps so that the two match, which can include medical such as hormone treatment). Charles Prince created the term because cross dressers and drag queens were being mistaken for (medical term) transsexuals and said, I “know the difference between sex and gender and have simply elected to change the latter and not the former” (changing the gender not the sex – it is if you ask a Drag Queen backstage if they are male or female, they will say male, even if they spend 75% of their time dressed and perceived as female). The umbrella though includes those who identify as trans, which ranges from cross dressers, genderqueer, Drag queen and kings, boi’s, transvestites, those who live cross gender and androgynous (and, of course, transsexuals, and those whose gender identity is not aligned to their birth assigned gender)
For Halloween, this is in North America, almost a ‘free zone’ for gender variation expression and behavior, particularly cross play and genderplay, where through clothing, appearance and/or behavior you are not your identified (for example, your birth) gender. For example, when we went to Japan we went to a ‘Butler Café’ where the Butlers were actually women doing gender play. But as two lesbians, we saw ‘Butch’ and so didn’t understand how in a society where even the food is gender designated (dark chocolate pocky is ‘mens’ while sweet and strawberry is ‘female’ – men drink: coffee, while women drink: milk tea), that this was a living stage of gender play. So the goth lolita’s, ultra femme, come into this café (which is female patrons only), where they are greeted, fawned over and have some male patronizing over what they have bought or are wearing, and how pretty they are by the gender playing Butlers. The Bulters, though biologically female, when on the job and website are socially male, and talk as men (while for us, we were thinking, ‘Butch women’ and missed the fun entirely). Thus the café is all hands covering the mouth and shy flirtation to the favorite Butler who develops a flirtatious fantasy gender play with a frequent patron.
Halloween offers a lot of fun opportunities this time and type of play, as regular restrictions don’t apply, and if all the girls want to wear those white wedding dresses, then a few of the boys might want to be ‘brides’ for a night as well. Of course, if you are going to pick up your girlfriend and plan on doing some gender play, and maybe later some gender play roleplay it is best to let her know BEFORE you show up in the tuxedo.
There is also, ironic gender play, where one dresses very BADLY as a sailor scout for example. However, I can say that since you have the chance of fantasy and gender play, might as well go for ‘HOT!’ and girls in traditional male uniforms tend to be pretty hot. A warning: if you are just trying this out first time you can pick the wrong outfit BIG TIME, this is what females learn between 13 and 15, that though you LOVE as an outfit and it looks amazing: it might not look amazing on YOU. This is why you have those pictures of you in outfits that just aren’t your body shape. Avoid that and take a friend who has some fashion sense and say, "No, it's great, but it's not YOU"!
The other advantage of Halloween is that it is accepting, and femme boys can be femmes, and butch women can be gender boi’s. Linda is what we call a ‘lapsed femme’ in that she isn’t exactly ‘butch’ but rather just a REALLY lazy femme who gave up on jewelry (“too much hassle”), never learned make-up (“Why do I always have to wait while you put that…..STUFF on?”), and ends up buying what is comfortable even if it is in the men’s section (hint: if in a discount shoe store, your size is out and you rush to the men’s shoes to see how they look, you might be heading into ‘lapsed femme territory). Ironically she went as a ‘Butch’ one year and was told she was unconvincing, while as a ‘lapsed femme’ she is often assumed to be Butch. But as Linda would say, “So…it’s comfortable.” (yeah, and some of us are more comfortable femme, as I often have ‘I will dress, wear earrings and blow dry my hair into a style even if I don’t go out’ one of the standards of self will and self pride within a chronic illness). I'm not sure 'lapsed femme' counts as transgender, but it sure is easy to make a costume: Linda, "I'll wear this guy's sweatshirt and my dockers"
Me: "What is your costume exactly?"
For those who want to give cross dressing, gender bending or genderplay a try this year, usually it is males wanting to dress as females so beyond the ‘shave, shave, shave – like legs! PLEASE!’, I recommend using this Kay Cosmetics guide to going from a 2 day beard to a stunning beauty: highly recommended as the directions are accompanied by 12 pictures showing the exact change from Rob to Allison. Or if you want to try female impersonation/drag, use some of ehow’s tips. Or you will end up with this kind of difference (cute guy makes cute girl in gown with bunny ears while school girl is out of proportion, no wig, no make up, and well, skary).We have all seen scary cross dressing on Halloween, and why? Because guys don’t want to admit a little gender play can be fun? Newsbreak: the secret is out, okay? 20-30% of men acknowledge they cross dressing regularly for pleasure (singer G-Dragon announced he does – read the comments, which are very interesting), and only 45% have said they have never done it (women 20% for pleasure or other reasons, but then, as pointed out, gender bending for women is a lot more blurry). So put the embarrassment on hold for a night and if you are going out girl, go for it!
I mean, sometimes it is all about the attitude. Like her, it is sort of obvious about the woman but wow, got the male body set, use of space and sexy man vibe going on. But for those who want a bit more clothes on, ehow has a basic guide for gals who want to be guys for the night (think boxers, pressed breasts). And sometimes it is about the body and gait. How you walk tells the world your gender (men tend to take up more room and don’t move aside while women take up less room and move aside for males). In walking your hips, biology (the ‘package’) and social influences mix, so if you are cross dressing as female and guys are bumping into you, it means they ‘read’ you as female – same with how far the arms are from the body. For a fun minute or two, click here at the Biomotion lab, where you can see the difference clearly in how the two genders walk and also how weight and size change your gait (it has arms, hips, knees feet and head – really fun to move the slider and see the changes we recognize on the street). Click on ‘lines’ if you want to see as a stick figure. For women, the arms don’t go full extension, and for guys they do, the same with smiles (smaller for female, full on for guys). This is why a girl who loves horror films, team sports, belches and can keep up at a ‘chug a lug’ beer contest is known as both ‘dream girl’ and ‘one of the guys.’ But then, you can always go as a GOTH girl, which lets you love horror films, sports, plus you get to carry a plushie as well as things like knives or small chainsaws (a Hello Kitty or Emily the Strange Chainsaw is best)
However it goes, have a great Trans-eve, Halloween and maybe, if you want, you can send me pictures (I wanna see!). Be creative, because even if you always wanted to win a beauty pageant (though you are a guy, and this is your night to be Miss Billings, Montana). But your fashion friend says fru-fru dresses and speeches about wanting world peace aren’t for you, despair not, I bet you could still be a Zombie Beauty Queen!
Have Fun, as this short video (2.5 minutes), The Sweetest Thing, to celebrate love, life and being who you are is about. Takumi, the younger brother of Mai (the heroine of Mai Hime anime) has a bad heart and needs a risky operation but isn’t interested in burdening his sister. He’s a feminine guy who likes his pink apron and cooking dinners, cakes and packing cute lunches. Akira is his roommate and has a few secrets, the first is that he is a Ninja (one who saves Takumi, and Takumi is gushing about this ‘cool ninja’ to his roommate). The other secret Akira has is that he is a transmale which has caused him to hope for love but not expect it. When his secret is found out, he flips, and realizes that all this time, getting to know Takumi (who makes him cute lunches) he has fallen in love. In Japan, the ending of the name (-chan for females and –kun for boys) lets you know how individuals are seen by each other. For Takumi, it is always Akira-kun (boy), for whom he decides to go ahead with the surgery, ‘because you gave me a reason to live’. These are teens having stutters, the anxiety, and the excitement of just being around each other of a first relationship.
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