The 21st Century CD

| Apr 28, 2008
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We live in a wild and weird time. Men are wearing dresses, guys (well FtMs) are getting pregnant and shaking up the Oprah audience, and Madonna is going to be 50 this year. That’ll stop ya in your tracks. It seems like just yesterday we were dancing to Material Girl, how could Maddy be “a woman of a certain age”? But, time marches on and the world changes.

Angela Gardner at her Laptop Lounge party.Looking back on my life (something we old broads tend to do a lot, right Maddy?) I can remember crossdressing thoughts at a very early age. When I was around 5 years old my mother caught me playing on my parent’s bed. I had been playing Cowboy and Saloon Girl. My wardrobe for the Saloon Girl part was a curtain hold back that I had removed from the bedroom curtains. It was slightly ruffled on one edge and when wrapped around the waist and held there from the back it made a lovely mini skirt/tutu.

The Cowboy was costumed in my brand new cowboy boots. It was actually the Cowboy and not the Saloon Girl that got me into the most trouble. My mother caught me as the Cowboy was requesting “…another shot of red eye” in his gravelly month-on-the-trail voice. When I say that the Cowboy’s costume was my new cowboy boots I mean that that’s all the Cowboy was wearing.

There I was when my mom came into the room, standing next to naked upon the bed with only the cowboy boots on my feet covering any part of my flesh. And of course I was holding the curtain hold back in my hand. Mom gave me a spanking (being mostly naked on the bed in cowboy boots was somehow a transgression in mom’s eyes) which I fortunately blocked from my memory long ago. I did remember how much fun it was to be the Saloon Girl though.

I felt it was best that mom did not notice the curtain hold back as an article of feminine attire. (That part of my crime was listed as destruction of property.) An inner voice told me that if mom were to learn of my feminine inclinations it would not be in my best interests. It would have been most painful. So, I kept my love of frilly things and girly stuff a deep dark secret. No one else in the world learned about my feelings till my late twenties and it wasn’t till my 30s and 40s that I had a chance to blossom into the accomplished crossdresser you know today. I don’t regret losing that time—okay, I regret it a little. Who wouldn’t? But, I used those closeted years to evolve to the point at which I could overcome my fear of being discovered and actually make myself get dressed up and go out the door.

What would my life have been like if that fear had never developed? I think I’d have been dressing up at a much younger age and I’d have had a completely different life.

I started thinking about those early years and asking the “what if” question because of a meeting I had a few days ago with a five year old crossdresser. His people called my people and we got together. Seriously, his therapist contacted me and set up a meeting with the five year old CD, his parents, the therapist, and me.

The kid was shy and most of the time he played with his Little Mermaid doll. I talked with his parents and told them about myself. I told them about the way I had developed that fear of being found out and I told them that I thought they were probably the greatest parents in the whole world for a child like theirs. They wanted to meet me, and have their son meet me, so that he would know that there were other biological males like him who wanted to be girls now and then. They were seeing the therapist to help their son deal with the rest of the world, not to make him stop crossdressing. They were concerned about his fast approaching enrollment in grade school. His painted fingernails and long hair, not to mention the Little Mermaid doll, were going to set him up for the wrong kind of attention from the other kids.

We talked about what he should do if he was picked on and they told me of their plans to meet with the principle and some of the teachers before the school year began. The therapist would be along to educate the school staff.

When I was five years old the whole thing was unthinkable. It was the mid 20th century. Madonna wasn’t even born. And back then men where men. Saloon girls poured out the shots of red eye and a curtain hold back was just a curtain hold back. For little kids like me there wasn’t anywhere or anyone to turn to. Maybe there was for some, but in general crossdressing couldn’t be mentioned let alone talked about and condoned by parents.

Here in the 21st century we are indeed making progress. How will the little five year old I met grow up? There’s no way to tell since he will have to face his bullies in school and as he gets older decide if he wants to stay gender fluid or settle down into one gender or the other. I think though that with parents who love him and support him by the time he is thirty he will be a fine example of the 21st century CD.

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Category: Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (4)

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  1. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    PS: Way to go, Angela! 🙂

  2. angela_g angela_g says:

    He was shy around me but he listened intently to everything I said. During the meeting I mentioned that the therapist had called me early in the morning to confirm the meeting time and place and that I had been asleep. She apologized and said she was sorry but she forgot I’m not a morning person. I heard from the kid’s mom that on their way home he said, “Me and Angela are alike.” When she asked how we were alike he said that we were both grumpy in the morning. So the whole time his parents and I talked he was listening and absorbing it all.

  3. says:

    I agree with Ronnie that the kid will have an easier time of it than most of us had. The fact that his parents are trying to understand is a huge difference. My parents would have locked me away for the fear of having a “different” kid than the norm. My earliest memory is about at age 7 or 8 and I just knew it was wrong, couldn’t talk with anyone about, and had to hide like so many others 50 years ago. It’s changing but painfully slow. One question: How did the kid react to you?

  4. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    Overall, I think this youngster will have an easier time of it. Oh, sure, there’s always going to be bullies and teasing, but they only prey on the weak. (There’s an article in the TWIT notes this week about that!) But I think as long as the kid is confident, (which will be helped by parental support), there will probably be few problems.

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