This is the second part of an interview I did with Brian who is a cross-dresser and uses Alyssa as his femme name. Brian is happily married with two young children. He and his wife, Tami, are raising their children to have an open mind toward the LGBT communities, as they have discussions with their children about these groups.
Brian/Alyssa and Tami are the new face for the cross-dressing community, which is part of the transgender community and originally defined an umbrella term for a number of gender identifying groups, but the word is quickly being used for the transsexuals, so it is becoming confusing for those not involved with these groups.
Here is the final segment of the interview I had with Brian/Alyssa:
How has your cross-dressing impacted your marriage? What are the rewards and challenges?
With the discussion we had prior to marriage and the full disclosure, I avoided having cross-dressing being a huge impact on my marriage, which was a major part of my plan when I told her. I think the horror stories I have heard or read about being discovered as a cross-dresser after being married gave me the idea that I did not want to be part of that statistic of another marriage dissolved by cross-dressing.
The rewards have been great. With her knowing, I can talk about it openly and leave my female clothes out or in the closet, without having to hide it. My wife’s wardrobe has increased substantially as she can fit in most of my dresses and tops and most of all, she gives me the understanding on how difficult it can be dressing as a woman, such as deciding what to wear, make-up, hair, etc. I think my biggest challenge is closet space. Alyssa’s wardrobe is about 3 times the size of my male wardrobe considering I only dress as Alyssa 2-3 times a week.
For my wife, I think the challenge for her is the future/unknown. It sometimes bothers her not knowing how far I will go. I get a lot of questions from people about being Alyssa full-time. I enjoy being a guy and a girl. Can I change my mind? Of course, that’s why it’s a challenge (and possible fear) for her.
Are you at peace with your cross-dressing?
I think I am, at least for now. That question I get or the thought ends up in my mind every once and awhile about being Alyssa full time. It does weigh on me a little bit, but who knows what the future may hold for me. For the time being, I’m happy where I am at.
If you could cross-dress full time and be accepted, would you?
If I can be Alyssa tomorrow and be instantly accepted by everyone I run into with no hesitation on who I am, then yes I think I would.
You speak at the university about being a cross-dresser, what do you tell your students and what has been their response?
I typically give a brief background on how I started dressing and where it led me to this day. Most of the panels I speak at the colleges and universities leave it up to the students to ask questions on subjects they want to hear. It can be general questions about shoe size or clothing to more intimate questions, such as sexual encounters and surgeries that may be involved in becoming a woman. We as a panel are open to all sorts of questions which I know many students want to hear answers that the media or text books DON’T cover.
What is your stance on the transgender and cross-dressing community using the woman’s bathroom?
I am a huge advocate of teaching other transgender girls to use the bathroom of the gender you present. If you are dressed as a woman, then use the women’s bathroom. Many people who are against transgender women using the bathroom tend to make a deal about transgender girls being perverts and peering into other people stalls. We just want to go to the bathroom without being harassed, just like all the other women.
You think we are safe to dress the way we are and use the men’s bathroom? What do you think? A male dressed as a female going to the women’s bathroom minding her own business doing her business seems to be a better option than a male dressed as a female going into the men’s bathroom and possibly getting assaulted? Which do you think would be the wiser choice for girls in my community? Things have changed a lot now that OSHA has come out with guidelines on this. I think it will make companies feel more comfortable dealing the question of how to handle the growing transgender populations and bathroom access.
What is your hope for the cross-dressing community in terms of coming out and being accepted by society?
My hope is that people are able to accept cross-dressers, like other people in the transgender community. We are people, too, and most with normal lives. I think I explained it simply when I told my mother. She is very “old-school”, traditional Asian woman that has never been exposed to the LGBT community, except some gay men at work, with whom she is fine around. I know she probably wouldn’t understand, as she instantly thought I was gay. Well considering I’m married to a woman, I guess that was not the case on why I dress as a woman.
Even though she doesn’t fully understand or might not want to even understand, it wasn’t something I was going to sit and make her understand, so I asked her to just love me for who I am. I’m still her son. I have the same memories, I treat her the same way, I love her just the same and I’m basically the same person, but just look different on the outside. I think she got that and that was five years ago and she accepts it in this context. She really hasn’t sat down to ask questions about it, but I feel this is something that will take a few years at her pace to want to understand.
This is how we need to come out to society. When I think with how fast the Transgender movement is going in society, I sometimes feel we are shoving it out in front of people too fast for them to have a chance to understand and “love” us for who we are. If everyone takes it slow and takes the time to understand, the “love” for one another will eventually come on its own.
Thanks, Brian/Alyssa for your contribution, to not only this interview, but to the cross-dressing movement, at large. I agree with Brian/Alyssa on the transgender movement needing to slow down in the media and let people get to know these communities as people, not a caricature or celebrity or a reality star defining who they are. In the end, they are us, attempting to navigate through our lives.
Thanks for reading this article, I may sometimes be looked at as an outsider by my cis-gender friends, but I remain committed to helping our society in understanding and allowing these communities to just live their lives as they were meant to be. I am up for the challenge.