My Interview
 

This is the interview I filled out for Kim, copyright Kim Krichbaum 2000, reprinted with permission. I censored some stuff out to make it more anonymous for this site...But if you buy the book once it comes out, you'll see what I actually wrote! Call it incentive... :)

PERSONAL INFO

Name [censored]

 

City and State [censored]

 

Age 18 Occupation College Student

 

Relationship Status (Single, Married, Living Together, Long-Term Partner, not living together, etc.)

Girlfriend

 

WHAT AND WHEN YOU DRESS

Q: In What ways do you break the traditional male dressing boundaries? Please describe the specific types of clothing, make-up, etc. that you wear.

A: I have both a men’s wardrobe and a women’s. I dress in men’s clothes most of the time, but wear feminine clothes when I feel like it. I generally don’t wear women’s clothes to classes, because I feel like they’d be a distraction to my classmates and professors, but I wear dresses to parties, on weekends, etc. I wear dresses, skirts, tank tops, feminine shirts, pants, jackets…mostly everything goes. I generally don’t do breastforms and make-up because I’m not as into impersonating women as much as I am just wearing any kind of clothes I want. And I’m also awful at putting on make-up. :)

I’m also into ambiguous clothing, such as overalls, shortalls, having long hair, wearing jewelry…Stuff that’s not blatantly feminine, but that not a lot of guys wear either.

 

Q: To what degree are you open, both verbally and by letting others see you, about your dressing? Specifically are you open with your partner, kids, parents, other family members, potential dates, close friends, and co-workers?

A: I am open to my mom, my sister, my girlfriend, my boss, my roommate, all my friends back at home, all my friends at camp, and to my friends and whomever else sees me here on campus. I have a content-based teen crossdressing website, http://members.bianca.com/shacklet/juliateencd/ which when printed out spans over 60 pages. It’s filled with journal entries, editorials, stories, and support for other crossdressers like myself. Though it’s anonymous, I have shown it to people whom I’ve come out to. I also have started the "crossdressing revolution," http://members.bianca.com/shacklet/juliateencd/cdrevolution.html , in hopes that some day we’ll all be able to wear whatever we want.

 

Q: What percentage of your daily life do you dress as you wish?

A: I’d say I dress maybe once or twice a week publicly, more privately.

 

Q: In what percentage do you cross the dressing boundary to some extent?

A: Lately I’ve started wearing feminine things more often. For instance, I recently bought a women’s jacket, which I wear all the time now. I also just bought a T-shirt maker and an iron to make T-shirts, so that when I’m not dressed, I can be wearing T-shirts with thought-provoking crossdressing slogans and advertisements for my website and the crossdressing revolution.

 

Q: Are there specific moods in which you are more or less likely to dress? Describe.

A: I dress most when I’m happy. I think of clothing as a form of self expression, and I wear women’s clothes when I’m happiest. During exams last semester I was very stressed, and didn’t dress for several weeks because I was too busy and didn’t feel like it. Also somehow being angry or sad ruins it for me.

 

Q: Are there specific places or activities where you are more comfortable, or it is more enjoyable to dress? Less enjoyable or comfortable? Describe please.

A: Oberlin is definitely one of the most comfortable places I’ve been for dressing. Of course it wasn’t my main factor for deciding to come here, but I can’t deny that the thought didn’t cross my mind when I read about Oberlin’s drag ball or heard that they have a large gay population. The atmosphere is very friendly here and very liberal. Whenever I tell my girlfriend that I’m worried about what I’m wearing, she says, "come on, this is Oberlin." I can’t say that I’m never self-conscious here, but it’s definitely the most accepting place I’ve been to yet.

Probably the least accepting place I’ve been in is when I’m in a city. I mean yes, it’s a city, so people do more outrageous things, but it also feels more physically dangerous being dressed. I also have never dressed in front of my family even though I’m out to most of them, and don’t dress near home because I’m afraid I’d run into someone I know whom I haven’t come out to.

 

Q: How would you dress if others were totally accepting of your dressing behavior? Please give details about types of clothes and during what areas of your life would you dress differently (work, school, out dancing, etc.)

A: Oh, I’d wear ridiculously fancy things…Things that are even inappropriate for women to wear out of context. Medieval dresses, wedding gowns, prom dresses, ballerina outfits, costumes, robes, clothes I made myself, anything I wanted. If it was totally acceptable to wear any of this anywhere, given any occasion, I would.

 

GENDER, DRESSING, AND MOTIVATION

Q: Why do you dress the way you do?

A: I started dressing because it gave me a sexual kick. I can’t deny that that’s not there anymore, but now I dress more because I believe it’s a form of self expression.

 

Q: Do certain types of clothing represent certain feelings and qualities to you?

A: Yes. Again, I think of clothing as self expression, so I might wear my long cashmere skirt and velvet tank top when I’m feeling confident and serious, or my blue silk dress when I’m feeling cheerful. Or, I might not. It all depends on how I’m feeling.

 

Q: What is your experience of physical sensation, comfort and sensuality, when wearing non-traditional clothes?

A: I long to be elegant and beautiful. Men’s clothes don’t cut it for me. I try to buy clothes that might make me feel elegant and sexy. Also, women’s clothes often just feel so much better than men’s clothes. I’ve vowed never to wear a suit or tux again, because they’re so constraining, and I often joke on my website to non-crossdressers that if they try on a comfortable, flowing skirt, they might never go back. :)

 

Q: Describe the relationship between your gender and your dressing. (I define gender as a set of roles and qualities which society describes as feminine or masculine. Gender is not necessarily the same as biological sex, and doesn't necessarily have a relationship to sexual preference.) Some example answers - "I'm all male, I just wear a skirt." "Gender? I'm all over the map, and that's how I dress." "I feel real femme, and that's how I dress." "I identify as male, but in both dress and behavior, I try to stretch what "male" means."

A: I agree with you. I think gender is a complicated thing. I’ve met a lot of crossdressers that pretend to be redefining gender by crossdressing, but then reinstate the stereotypes by acting "feminine…" By being submissive, flaky, etc. A lot of crossdressers fantasize about being a "sissy," but I hate that word. I think that’s why a lot of feminists are angry at crossdressers…Because they’re saying, "I believe that being a woman is about being submissive and flaky." A lot of crossdressers call themselves feminists because they envy the woman’s body and women’s clothing, when that has nothing to do with feminism. I do believe that gender is a set of roles and qualities which society describes as feminine or masculine, and that it, as well as what type of clothing is acceptable, needs to be redefined. But if you’re "acting feminine" when you’re crossdressing you’re just reinforcing stereotypes. When I crossdress I try to break stereotypes…I’ll do things I wouldn’t necessarily associate with being feminine, like skateboarding, watching football, playing video games, etc., and when I’m in men’s clothes, I’ll continue to do things I’ve been called "fruity" for doing…Singing in choirs, dancing at parties, etc.

 

Q: How would you describe your sexual preference?

A: Right now, heterosexual. I’d like to think of myself as open minded, so I’m not totally sure, but as for right now I’m only attracted to women.

 

Q: Is there a relationship between your sexual preference and your dressing? If so, please describe.

A: I don’t think so. I empathize with pre-op transsexuals who are gay because they identify as female, because I could imagine, like they do, being a woman and having sex with a man and really enjoying it. But right now being a woman is one of my many fantasies, not something I’d currently pursue, and so as a man I’m happy being heterosexual, and crossdressing to express my feminine side.

 

Q: Are there ways other than dressing and appearance in which you break male stereotypes? Behaviors, relationships, ways of expressing your feelings, job or activities?

A: Again, I’ll do both masculine and feminine things to try and break stereotypes, but I’m not going to break male stereotypes by dressing up like a woman and acting how I think "a woman should act." Have you ever seen M. Butterfly? The play, not the opera? The main character is a male Asian spy disguised as a woman, and has fooled a western diplomat into thinking that he (the spy) is a woman. After the diplomat, a male chauvinist, has fallen in love with the Asian spy, and tells him all of England’s military secrets, he finds out that the spy is really a man. He’s devastated, and the spy taunts him, saying, (and I’m paraphrasing,) "oh, come on, was it really so bad? I was the perfect woman…Humble, submissive…Because only a man would know how the perfect woman is supposed to act." :)

 

Q: Describe the relationship between your dressing and other types of male liberation in your life.

A: I don’t know if this qualifies as male liberation, but I’ve found that crossdressing has been a healthy step in my own self expression…Often I’ll be like, "if I don’t care what people think of me wearing a dress, why should I care what they think if I sing in the shower?" And I’ll sing in the shower, not caring what people think. Also, coming out to my girlfriend early in the relationship has had a profound impact on our relationship…We realized that it’s always good to be completely honest with each other, no mater WHAT.

 

Q: Have you had doubts and questions about your dressing behavior? If so please elaborate.

A: Of course I have my doubts sometimes, sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all of the trouble and awkward looks my whole life, but I’m pretty confident with who I am right now. I’m really happy. My web page has really helped…In providing support for other people like me, I was able to sort out my values and understand all of this better.

 

Q: If you do not dress exactly as you wish, what specific fears or concerns cause you to limit your dressing behavior?

A: I try and take things one step at a time. I wore women’s clothes under my men’s clothes before I ever crossdressed in public, and I wore skirts for a long time before I ever wore a dress. I’m not really sure how often I’d like to dress, but I think a little more than I do now. Part of it is that it’s so hard to start a new wardrobe! You have to start all the way from scratch…It’s going to be a long time before I have something different to wear every day of the week.

 

Q: Is there a relationship between your dressing and your spirituality? if so please describe.

A: This has never been a real struggle for me, like it has for a lot of crossdressers. Yes, I’m Lutheran, and the bible says that crossdressing is a sin, but it says a lot of other things are a sin too, like being gay. My pastor at the church I went to my whole life was gay, so I grew up in kind of a liberal religious environment. Whatever. I believe in God. I don’t believe that what I’m doing is wrong. I don’t think that she does either.

 

OTHERS' RESPONSES

Q: How do people generally react to your dressing? Please elaborate, stories of individual incidents are great.

A: At Oberlin, most of my responses are positive. Some people give me weird looks, others ask me why I’m wearing a skirt, but most of the time people are cool with it. I usually tell them (if they ask) that I do it because it’s comfortable, which is somewhat true. If I have more time, I’ll tell them I believe that clothing is a form of self expression and that I think that people should be able to wear whatever they want. And if they’re a friend I’ll tell them that I’m a crossdresser. I’ve never really had a bad experience at being received other than people giving me weird looks or being a little rude to me.

 

Q: How does your partner respond?

A: She’s awesome about it. I’m very lucky. When I first told her, she didn’t act disgusted or worried or anything…She just didn’t know much about it and we talked about it a lot. My only mistake was that I thought telling her "I am a crossdresser" would explain everything…I kept having to be like, "oh yeah, and I have a crossdressing website," and "oh yeah, and my alias is ‘julia.’" But now she understands it, and encourages me to dress and even lends me her clothes. And if you think this is cool, you should meet her… :)

 

Q: How do your kids react?

N/A

 

Q: How do your parents and other family members respond?

A: My mom was quite shocked. She found out because she found my crossdressing email account instead of me telling her. I think things might have gone more smoothly if I had told her. She cried, she didn’t understand, and wished I’d told her sooner…Still though, she assured me that she still loved me, and we talked and I was glad that she found out. When I told my sister, she didn’t act shocked, and she just asked lots of questions, and was like, "well, I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me." One of the best reactions I’ve ever gotten. I showed her my website, which she enjoyed.

 Q: If you "dress" at work or school, how do your supervisors or teachers respond? How do your co-workers or fellow students respond?

A: I told my boss via email, and she was fine with it. This is Oberlin, after all. :) She doesn’t mind if I dress at work, though she requested that if I were sent on duty to do consulting with other clients for the office that I wouldn’t do it dressed, which is totally acceptable. I don’t dress much at work though…I only really told her because I was out on campus and didn’t want her hearing things about me before she heard it from myself. Again, my teachers don’t usually see me, and my fellow students are fine with it.

 

Q: If you dress at work or have tried, or at least brought up the subject? What was the process by which the administration decided your dressing was acceptable or not?

A: I don’t dress at work just because I’m too lazy to come out to everyone that works there. If they see me on campus elsewhere dressed then they see me, but dressing just isn’t something I associate with work. I’m not the best student, and I were to get low grades and told my mom I crossdressed in class, I think she’d think it was because of the crossdressing.

 

Q: How do you generally buy or procure your items of non-traditional clothing? If you shop, what types of reactions have you gotten from salespeople? Have you noticed a difference between how males react to you and females react to you? If so, please describe.

A: I used to just pretend that I was buying it for my girlfriend. It was the only way I could work up the nerve to go into the women’s clothing section. Now though I’ll be more obvious; I’ll hold up things against me to see if they’d fit, and if they ask me if it’s a gift, I’ll say "no." (Why bother wrapping it for myself? :) ) I haven’t really tried anything on in stores yet though, I’ve gotten pretty good at just eyeing things. Hopefully soon I’ll have enough courage to try things on…I hear that if you call first people are usually pretty nice about it. And no, I’ve only been helped by female salespeople, so I haven’t noticed a difference.

 

Q: If you get a difficult or negative response from someone, how have you responded?

A: Some people give me weird looks, or might act a little rude to me, but I haven’t had any strong negative reactions. Sometimes I can work my confidence up to being proud of what I’m wearing, where I’ll even look for confrontations just so I can be like, "what are YOU lookin’ at?" but usually people are pretty non-confrontational, so I’ve never had to do that. :)

 

Q: Have you ever had a negative reaction to your dressing that scared or harmed you? Please describe. How did you handle it?

A: No. I know I’m risking it but luckily it’s never happened to me.

 

Q: Do you have individuals or groups that support you in breaking dressing boundaries, either other "dressers" or other supportive friends? What kind of support have you wanted? Did you get it?

A: On the web I know dozens of crossdressers. Unfortunately, in real life, I know none. Well, that’s not true, I know a couple "butch" F to M crossdressers. But we don’t really hang out. I do wish I knew some fellow male crossdressers, but at least I’m lucky enough to have a supportive girlfriend and supportive friends.

 

HISTORY

Q: When is the first time you can remember wanting to break dressing boundaries? When was the first time you actually DID? Tell us about this in as much detail as you are willing to share.

A: In eighth grade, I learned what a crossdresser was. I wanted to know if I was one, and realized there was no way of knowing unless I tried on a dress. I tried one on, in private, and looked at myself in the mirror, and thought, "this is sick. No, I’m not a crossdresser." But secretly in the back of my head I must have known that I was.

 

Q: How have your attitudes about your dressing, and how you actually dress, changed over time?

A: After my experience in eighth grade, I was convinced it was sick, and didn’t do it for another year or so. I used to hate who I was. I’d do it because it turned me on, and then feel miserable for doing it. I’ve also had the classic purges of my wardrobe, once in ninth grade and once in tenth. But thanks to the internet, I was able to see other crossdressers who had accepted themselves, and I learned a lot. Once I was able to accept them, I was able to accept myself. I also asked a gender psychologist online if my crossdressing urge would ever stop, and she said she didn’t think so, so I decided to just accept it instead of fighting it any longer.

 

Q: Did you ever identify your dressing or your gender differently (such as identifying as a transvestite)?

A: No.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

I realize that some of you will not be comfortable sharing your identity with the general public. I think that it makes the book more personal and powerful to give people some idea who we are. And I think there are some compromise positions which reveal enough about us to give our interview that personal touch, yet do not totally reveal us. Here I will give you a list, and again, I will totally respect your choice on how you wish to be referred to in the book. I'll also tell you that your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone unless you request that in the referral section to follow.

NAME DESIGNATION (check your preference)

No name designation –(can you use my alias? Julia Johnson)

 

GEOGRAPHICAL DESIGNATION

[censored]

 

AGE

OK to use

 

PROFESSION

OK to use

 

*(Note - I will not use all four of these in every description, just pick and choose as seems best to shed some light on your quotes)

Also, if I am going to use your entire interview, I will contact you for more biographical info, and ask if you wish to change you confidentiality choices.

REFERRALS

Would you you like to be networked with people in your geographic area? If so I will share you name and e-mail with others who wish to be networked in your area (and of course share theirs with you.)

No

 

Would you be willing to contribute pictures of yourself to appear in the book? (I will be contacting you within a couple of months)

Yes

 

Do you know anybody else whom I could interview for this book? Give them my e-mail address or give me info on how to contact them. Also if you know of any settings that might be worth exploring (such as a college campus or a club scene where quite a few males wear skirts) please let me know. I'd also love to get newspaper and magazine articles on men's dressing liberation, please e-mail me.

Please make sure and visit my website, http://members.bianca.com/shacklet/juliateencd/

 

Do you have a partner who would be willing to be interviewed for this book? I will be doing interviews with partners soon.

Yes

 

And thanks for your effort in completing this interview. I will let you know when we are coming out in print.

Your fellow dressing pioneer,

Kim

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