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About benverona

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    Gender issues, gender politics, music, photography, life, green politics, psychology, walking, cycling
  1. When I wrote and posted "My journey into gender fluidity (part 2) I expected to be posting Part 3 fairly soon. As it is, I'm finding it quite hard to write. As I've said, these days I'm quite happy and content in my gender fluid identity but my journey here was difficult at times. I want and need to write about that journey but doing so, especially when writing about my early flirtations with "feeling like a girl", evokes memories of the transgressiveness, guilt and shame that I felt at the time. This was partly because I knew instinctively that what I was doing would be disapproved of deeply by my parents and the outside world in general. It was also because I didn't really understand what I was doing. I knew I didn't want to actually be a girl but the need to physically "become" a girl for an hour or two was quite compulsive. It felt like it was a need that was hard to control. I didn't want to stop doing it but I also felt that it would be hard to do so even if I did. I'm wondering if other young people experiencing gender ambivalence also felt this compulsiveness to explore the "other side". Well, part 3 is nearly complete after many rewrites. I hope to be posting it soon. Meanwhile, I've just posted another message on the "Why Do I cross dress?" thread on the MtoF cross dressers board. It's delving a bit deeper into how cross dressing functions for me as a biologically male but gender fluid person.
  2. Thanks for your reply, Bonnie. I like your development of the point that "the clothes are dependant on who is wearing them, mentally speaking". My everyday male self dresses to be physically anonymous. Although I am able, in most situations, to be quite "present" and assertive mentally, I do not feel, and have never felt, very "male" or "masculine". I am small (5'6") and very slightly built, for a man. I also have a genetic condition which is mildly and progressively disfiguring. I would not feel authentic dressing in a male/masculine assertive manner. In fact, in many ways, my everyday male self would prefer to be bodily invisible! My female self is quite different. She is multi facetted and dresses according to which aspect is upfront. However, she is still stuck with the same actual rather scrawny male body so she doesn't go out in public. She couldn't "pass" in public but she doesn't want to go public as a cross dressed man. (I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with being a cross dressed man). So she dresses as herself in private and the act of dressing is both a consequence of herself "coming out to play" but it also plays a part in making the transformation real. One facet is dominant, assertive both mentally and physically and likes to dress to express that inner self. I like to wear black, occasionally offset by a single flash of colour. It has to be jet black, what I call "bright black". Not a washed out tired black. It's black tights and boots (occasionally fishnet tights) with either a tight fitting top and pvc/leather skirt or a figure hugging dress. Another facet enjoys very loose swirly thin cotton dresses that caress my body as I move. They are very sensuous. and are predominently white or pale coloured. In both aspects I am dressing mainly for the feel but also to be "seen" (in my mind) by women not men. That, of course, begs the question of my sexual orientation. As a man I am wholly heterosexual. As a woman I am still attracted to women and want to be attractive to women. What does that make my orientation as a woman? Instinctively I feel "lesbian" but I imagine that some biologically female women might find that identity hard to accept. As I've said before, cross dressing as a gender fluid person is a complex set of constantly changing identities. BenV
  3. Hi It's taken me a while to get round to writing this description of my earliest experiment in cross dressing. In retrospect, I now see it as the earliest indication of my gender fluid identity but at the time I saw and understood myself as a boy. It started as a boy's curiosity about girls but it became a boy wondering what it felt like to be a girl. At that age, though, and for many years afterwards, I had no real concept of the true nature of what I was feeling and doing. I've checked this out the moderators who tell me that it is ok to write about it and even suggested that it might ring some bells with other TG/CD people. It's also been suggested that I start a thread in one of the forums. Maybe I will. However - an alert. There are references to anatomical and other exploration here and in the posts that follow so, if you have a problem with that, maybe jump off the train here. I'm trying to remember just how old I was when this began. I was born in 1949 and it certainly started well before the "sexual revolution" that began in Britain around 1963. Before that time, many children were profoundly ignorant about the "opposite sex" (I'm using the terminology of the day). Some children made discoveries through play ('playing doctor" etc) but I was not one of them. I knew that girls and boys were anatomically different. I knew that girls did not have a penis and that was why they had to sit down to pee but I had only a very hazy idea of what they had instead and I was curious to know. I was aware that boys' and girls' underwear had different names and, because of this difference, were made differently. Boys wore "pants" girls wore "knickers". (For those of you in the USA - in this country "pants" never meant "trousers", it was only used to refer to male underwear). In those days, boys pants (and men's?) had a peculiarity that has disappeared in male underwear these days. They had an opening slit at the front for use when you went for a pee. I knew that girls' knickers did not have this opening. I would look at them in shops and try to imagine what it might be that they covered. I think I was about 11 years old (well before I experienced any "attraction" to girls) when, somewhat guiltily, the idea came into my head that maybe wearing a pair of knickers might give me a clue to this mysterious difference. The problem was, I had no access to a pair of knickers that would fit. My mother had an underwear drawer full of them but they were far too large and looked quite different. So, one afternoon when I was alone in the house (you could be in those days), in the privacy of my bedroom, I set about secretly making myself a pair. I cut up some old pieces of worn out cotton sheet that my mum had put aside for rags and, using my mum's sewing kit, fashioned them into a pair of something that resembled knickers. It sounds quite mad but when I had finished them I was quite proud of my efforts. I sat looking at them for a few minutes, working up the courage to put them on. I knew that I was being "naughty". I suspected that, if discovered, I would be in trouble. Eventually though, knowing that I was entering forbidden territory, I pulled them on. When I did, something quite unexpected happened. Up to that moment I was just a boy being curious about girls but in wearing them my knickers both looked and felt different. What flashed through my mind was "so this is what it feels like to be a girl". It was quite momentary and I pushed it away almost before I knew I had felt it. I felt guilty for even imagining it. I took the knickers off and hid them away under the mattress of my bed fearful of what would happen if my mum should discover them. I even wondered whether I should tear them up. I didn't, though, because part of me knew that, in spite of feeling guilty, I wanted to put them back on and experience again "what it feels like to be a girl". So that was my first foray into cross dressing and into a glimpse of girl identity. I want to say more about how it progressed but it took longer to describe than I expected so I think I'll leave it there for now.
  4. benverona

    Welcome to my life

    Hi Amy What a great way to open your first blog post! It's good to hear from someone not so far away down the M5. Maybe I'll try a scream on your behalf! So sad to hear that the vet practice couldn't cope with a transitioning employee. I hope that Toni%Guy willbe more supportive. Are you going there as openly transitioning? Also good to hear that half your family are supportive and, again, sad to hear that two of them can't cope with it. I guess from what you say that you're still living with your parents. Finding a place of your own in the current economic climate is not easy but it sounds as though doing so will give you the freedom to fly. I don't know about keeping your arms inside the vehicle. Maybe you need to stretch them out and make them into wings! I'm raising a glass to your flight BenV
  5. My Journey into Gender Fluidity I'm trying to trace my journey into what is now my gender fluid identity. I'm thinking that maybe writing a blog and asking for responses might illuminate both my own and other people's journeys into questioning our assumed gender. I'm going to start by posting an altered version of my New Member intro - just to set the scene of where I find myself at my current age of sixty four years. As I said there, I don't feel "old" and yet I am also quite comfortable with my age. I'm far more at one with myself now than I was when I was thirty. I think I have a far greater understanding of myself and my gender identity now than I did even when I was fifty. That's not to say that there aren't still some puzzles to be solved and I'm hoping that writing a history of my gender ambivalence might move me a little towards greater clarity. I want to say clearly that my gender identity causes me no distress. I'm biologically male and, on the whole I'm relatively comfortable with my male body. However, I have an identification with both genders and also with something (I'm unclear just what it is!) that is outside the gender binary. For many years I have identified more with my feminine psychological aspects than with my masculine ones. Ever since I was a young adult I have preferred the social company of women over that of men. However, over the last ten years I have become increasingly conscious that I also have a female (as opposed to feminine) aspect that has lain dormant for most of my life and who increasingly demands recognition. As a teenager and as a young man, while heterosexual in my own attractions, I always found it difficult to believe that women would find me sexually attractive. I always found it difficult to enact the male behaviours that many straight women (apparently) do find attractive. I suspect now that I had some gender ambivalence from quite an early age, though I did not see it that way at the time. These days, my gender identification is very fluid - it can move from male to female and back and rest anywhere along the connecting line and can do so in a matter of days, hours or even minutes. I regard myself as lucky to have an ambivalent gender identity and I celebrate it. If I had been biologically female then my life would have been different but, that said, I do not wish to transition. I have total support and great respect for those who do transition but that is not my pathway. I very much prefer to use the acronymn "LGBTIQ" rather than "LGBT" as I feel that neither "trans" nor "trans*" describe my identity. "Androgyne"has some resonance for me but "gender fluid" comes nearer than any other identification I have yet come across. My main outward expression of my female persona is to cross dress in private. So I am a "cross dresser" in some respect but then, once I put on "female" clothes I have entered my female identity so it could be said that I am no longer "cross dressed". I talked about this in my post in the "Why do I cross dress?" thread in the MtF Cross Dressers' Discusion Forum. This is part of what I wish to explore in this blog and, since my earliest memories of gender ambivalence involved cross dressing of sorts, that is where I'll start my exploration. Till next post.......
  6. benverona

    Can I PM a Moderator?

    Is it possible to message a moderator to ask a private question?
  7. Why do I cross dress? Now there's a question. I'm always a bit wary of "why?" as a question because it can be made to imply that something needs an explanation and,of course, cross dressing does NOT need an explanation. No more than left handedness does. I don't think that is what is meant here, though. I take it to mean "what is going on for you when you cross dress?" What is going on for me is that it feels good and it feels right. I suspect that what I'm about to say is different from many cross dressers but I'm only saying how it is for me. I mean no criticism of how it is for anybody else. There is no objective "should" about cross dressing. Each one of follows our own way. I am biologically male with a male identity in which I live most of my life. This male identity is not conventionally masculine but it is definitely male. Over the years I have come to acknowledge that I also have a female identity and I now see myself as gender fluid, androgyne or bi-gender. I also have a sense of being outside binary gender as well. In gender politics wording you could say that my biological sex is definitely male, my gender identity is gender fluid and my gender performance is usually male but sometimes female. This is where the difference between gender identity and gender performance is crucial. My identity holds both male and female simultaneously. My performance, though, is either male (most of the time) or female (some of the time) and the female performance brings about a transformation in how I feel both in body and mind. For me, cross dressing is not so much about how it looks (from the outside looking in) but about how it feels (from the inside looking out). Dressing in women's clothes brings out the woman in me. Or should I say that the woman in me sometimes demands to be dressed "as a woman" (whatever that means!). When I cross dress it does not feel like the man putting on women's clothes. Rather, it is the woman asserting herself. That begs the question - is she actually "cross dressing?" (As an aside - occasionally I cross dress as a man. I am a man dressed in women's clothes and this is then sexually arousing to me as a man. That is very much the minority occasion). The "asserting herself" is important. My female identity is assertive and dresses to express that. Usually in black with an edge of dominance - black tights and/or boots, black leather/pvc skirt, short hair. Sometimes a tight figure hugging dress. I make no attempt to "pass". Maybe this is why I only cross dress in private. I could never be mistaken for being biologically female but that isn't the point. Dressing this way (and giving myself "breasts") alters the way I perceive myself. It alters how I feel about my body. It alters how I move.It gives the woman a physical reality, from the inside looking out. That, for me, is the point.