Cross-dressers are a private group of people. Mostly acted out on in the privacy of their own homes, it is difficult to know who is a cross-dresser and who is not. Most go by their femme name as to protect their identity from their spouse, employer, friends and children. It is a lonely experience for many who have lived with this secret in silence for many years.
Cross-dressers are born with this desire to dress and for many, it takes years for them to fully understand that their need to dress is beyond a fetish, but rather a part of who they are. Most cross-dressers are straight, married or divorced, with children. Many have not told their wife about their cross-dressing, while others have after many years of marriage, taking the chance their wife would not abandon them.
They are CEO’s, social workers, cement refinishers, sales people and everything in between. What they do for a living has nothing to do with their cross-dressing desire which appears to be something they are born with. Many of them spend most of their lives attempting to understand why, which there doesn’t seem to be a reason, except it is part of their chemistry.
Meet Tasi (femme name), a retired international executive, who is married to Janet and has grown children. Retired now in Mexico, Tasi is the founder of the popular website Sister House, a resource for cross-dressers and the transgender community.
Here is Part One of my interview with her:
When did you first become interested in cross-dressing?
I first started cross-dressing around the age of 10-12, mostly in my sister’s petticoats and slips and my mother’s girdles. Later, I bought my own items, mostly lingerie. I did not fully present as a woman (wig, makeup, clothes), until about age 60
As a coveted cross-dresser for many years, how did you deal with your secret for so long?
For most of that time, I thought it was a fetish as I cross-dressed infrequently, mostly in lingerie. It wasn’t until my 50's that I realized it was something more than just an occasional fling into the feminine. In retrospect, I’ve always been more interested in female relationships than male and admired the clothes that they wore, hence my interest in fashion.
How has cross-dressing defined your life?
When I turned 60, I decided that I needed to explore my urge to cross-dress more fully. When I went to a transformation shop and first saw myself fully dressed as a woman, it was like a switch was turned and I could never go back to less. From that point on, I explored many avenues including support groups, including my own (Ladies of the Blue Ridge in RoanokeVA – a Tri-Ess group) and then my own website Sister House and blog after retirement. Cross-dressing has given me a certain fulfillment that was missing in my life and a far better understanding of womanhood than most men have.
Before the Internet and support groups for cross-dresser, it must have been a lonely experience. How did you deal with this and did you feel you were a deviant?
I never felt I was a deviant as I have known far stranger people than me. I dressed infrequently during my growing and middle years. Earning a living and caring for my family were far more important to me. I’m not sure that would be true today if I’d recognized the importance of cross-dressing in my life then.
Did you see a therapist to "cure" your addiction to cross-dressing? Do you see cross-dressing as an addiction?
What’s to cure? Cross-dressing is not an addiction, but who we are. It has biological origins and I can no more not be a cross-dresser than a gay person is gay or a right-handed person is right-handed. I did see a therapist who only confirmed what I intuitively knew already. However, it did take a year of research before I came to accept myself fully and that understanding has grown as the years pass.
As an activist in the CD community what prompted you to start the international Sister House site? What have you learned about the CD community?
Well, it’s been a magical, mystical journey as a dear friend of mine is fond of saying. Sister House was started as a source of income in retirement and as a way to give back to the many friends that helped me along the way. We have yet to even cover the costs of the website, but have been very successful in the second objective. It grew from what was initially intended as a fashion blog to a full-fledged resource site for cross-dressers and the transgender community. I have absolutely been blessed with a growing circle of friends, first from my support group, then from my Yahoo group, the TG Woman, and then from my many subscribers and the ladies that I’ve met in helping to build the site. I am overwhelmed by the beautiful spirit women that I’ve met; both genetic women and cross-dressers. I find most women are open to cross-dressers who honestly display their femininity, with the only caveat being “not my husband."
My immediate circle of friends are intelligent, articulate, well-spoken and well-dressed women, but I’ve learned there is a much larger, highly diverse transgender community out there including fetish dressers, sissy girls and of course the full time ladies. They can all be amazing, although often different from me. I try to stress what we have in common rather than that which differentiates us.
When did you tell your wife about your cross-dressing? How did you tell her? What was her initial response? Why did you finally “come out?”
About 10 years ago. I told her in a letter because we often did that when we had something very serious to discuss and a letter format allowed me to gather my thoughts. She already knew I liked women’s clothing (there was a previous incident), yet she didn’t know how important it was to me. I was frankly terrified that she would reject me after 30+ years of marriage. But she is an intelligent woman and after doing her own research, came to accept that I could not change and our marriage was more important than this predilection of mine. I came out when she started to make remarks about my online activity.
Tasi is the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA. She’s a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Forum, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. She’s also the founder of the Yahoo group, TG Woman, and the author of the book, “Top Ten Fashion Mistakes by Crossdressers and How to Fix Them”, available on Amazon. Her website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman feature information in the areas of fashion, beauty, relationships, resources, and shopping with emphasis on fashion and style for the transgender woman. Tasi is married and now retired after a long international career in business. Tasi and her wife, Janet, reside in Mexico. Tasi’s other interests are cooking (Certificate in French Cooking) and sailing.