When I sold my documentary, “I Married a Cross-dresser” in 2014 to SKY-TV in the UK as part of their Forbidden Love series, I was hopeful that society would be open to learning more about the transgender and cross-dresser communities. The show focused on four straight couples who were involved with a cross-dresser who were finally coming out to tell their story. My goal was to educate the public on who these people were and to attempt to quell the prejudice and get to know the people behind these labels.
I was hopeful that once the public saw that these were people, like you and I, who were living their lives as their authentic selves and were coming out to tell their story that they would be accepted for who they were and not ridiculed. Yet, five years later, I find that people in society are still confused and mostly unaccepting of the cross-dresser and transgender communities. And, what is most disconcerting is the very groups that they associate with, the gays and the lesbians, are as closed minded as the straight people.
It appears that gender identity, is for most people, a difficult issue to address as it reaches deeply into our religious and societal boundaries, making it a taboo topic that many would rather snicker at or ignore. Yet, there are so many worldwide that are somewhere on the Transgender spectrum. This is not a small group, just a silent one. Many remain in “hiding” rather than be criticized and ostracized. And, they are looked at as being broken in some way. Yet, most of them I know are successful people with full lives.
While out with four of my gay friends, we got talking about my radio podcast, Shades of Gender, supported by Qchella Media and streamed on KGAY106.5. These are close friends and yet, they were making fun of the trans community. And, they categorized the cross-dressers as straight drag queens! They didn’t have an interest in knowing more about the people behind these labels, even though they resided in the arguably most liberal part of the country, Palm Springs, CA!
What is a fact is we as a society need to be more open about those who have gender identity issues. What you don’t know is that someone close to you or in your neighborhood is currently struggling to come out and may have tried to commit suicide due the pain of not living as their authentic selves. I understand that we all have our own prejudices that are difficult to overcome. But, my hope is that you will take time to learn more about the spectrum of the Shades of Gender and what their journey has been to date.
Check out my podcast Shades of Gender for conversations with those dealing with gender identity and the allies that support them.