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... :)
City and State [censored]
Age 18 Occupation College Student
Relationship Status (Single, Married, Living Together, Long-Term Partner, not living together, etc.)
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 mens wardrobe and a womens. I dress in mens clothes most of the time, but wear feminine clothes when I feel like it. I generally dont wear womens clothes to classes, because I feel like theyd 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 dont do breastforms and make-up because Im not as into impersonating women as much as I am just wearing any kind of clothes I want. And Im also awful at putting on make-up. :)
Im also into ambiguous clothing, such as overalls, shortalls, having long hair, wearing jewelry Stuff thats 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. Its filled with journal entries, editorials, stories, and support for other crossdressers like myself. Though its anonymous, I have shown it to people whom Ive come out to. I also have started the "crossdressing revolution," http://members.bianca.com/shacklet/juliateencd/cdrevolution.html , in hopes that some day well all be able to wear whatever we want.
Q: What percentage of your daily life do you dress as you wish?
A: Id 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 Ive started wearing feminine things more often. For instance, I recently bought a womens 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 Im 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 Im happy. I think of clothing as a form of self expression, and I wear womens clothes when Im happiest. During exams last semester I was very stressed, and didnt dress for several weeks because I was too busy and didnt 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 Ive been for dressing. Of course it wasnt my main factor for deciding to come here, but I cant deny that the thought didnt cross my mind when I read about Oberlins 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 Im worried about what Im wearing, she says, "come on, this is Oberlin." I cant say that Im never self-conscious here, but its definitely the most accepting place Ive been to yet.
Probably the least accepting place Ive been in is when Im in a city. I mean yes, its 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 Im out to most of them, and dont dress near home because Im afraid Id run into someone I know whom I havent 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, Id 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 cant deny that thats not there anymore, but now I dress more because I believe its 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 Im feeling confident and serious, or my blue silk dress when Im feeling cheerful. Or, I might not. It all depends on how Im 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. Mens clothes dont cut it for me. I try to buy clothes that might make me feel elegant and sexy. Also, womens clothes often just feel so much better than mens clothes. Ive vowed never to wear a suit or tux again, because theyre 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. Ive 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 thats why a lot of feminists are angry at crossdressers Because theyre saying, "I believe that being a woman is about being submissive and flaky." A lot of crossdressers call themselves feminists because they envy the womans body and womens 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 youre "acting feminine" when youre crossdressing youre just reinforcing stereotypes. When I crossdress I try to break stereotypes Ill do things I wouldnt necessarily associate with being feminine, like skateboarding, watching football, playing video games, etc., and when Im in mens clothes, Ill continue to do things Ive been called "fruity" for doing Singing in choirs, dancing at parties, etc.
Q: How would you describe your sexual preference?
A: Right now, heterosexual. Id like to think of myself as open minded, so Im not totally sure, but as for right now Im only attracted to women.
Q: Is there a relationship between your sexual preference and your dressing? If so, please describe.
A: I dont 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 Id currently pursue, and so as a man Im 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, Ill do both masculine and feminine things to try and break stereotypes, but Im 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 Englands military secrets, he finds out that the spy is really a man. Hes devastated, and the spy taunts him, saying, (and Im 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 dont know if this qualifies as male liberation, but Ive found that crossdressing has been a healthy step in my own self expression Often Ill be like, "if I dont care what people think of me wearing a dress, why should I care what they think if I sing in the shower?" And Ill 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 its 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 its worth all of the trouble and awkward looks my whole life, but Im pretty confident with who I am right now. Im 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 womens clothes under my mens clothes before I ever crossdressed in public, and I wore skirts for a long time before I ever wore a dress. Im not really sure how often Id like to dress, but I think a little more than I do now. Part of it is that its so hard to start a new wardrobe! You have to start all the way from scratch Its 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, Im 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 dont believe that what Im doing is wrong. I dont think that she does either.
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 Im 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 its comfortable, which is somewhat true. If I have more time, Ill 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 theyre a friend Ill tell them that Im a crossdresser. Ive 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: Shes awesome about it. Im very lucky. When I first told her, she didnt act disgusted or worried or anything She just didnt 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?
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 didnt understand, and wished Id 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 didnt act shocked, and she just asked lots of questions, and was like, "well, Im glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me." One of the best reactions Ive 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 doesnt 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 wouldnt do it dressed, which is totally acceptable. I dont dress much at work though I only really told her because I was out on campus and didnt want her hearing things about me before she heard it from myself. Again, my teachers dont 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 dont dress at work just because Im 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 isnt something I associate with work. Im not the best student, and I were to get low grades and told my mom I crossdressed in class, I think shed 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 womens clothing section. Now though Ill be more obvious; Ill hold up things against me to see if theyd fit, and if they ask me if its a gift, Ill say "no." (Why bother wrapping it for myself? :) ) I havent really tried anything on in stores yet though, Ive gotten pretty good at just eyeing things. Hopefully soon Ill have enough courage to try things on I hear that if you call first people are usually pretty nice about it. And no, Ive only been helped by female salespeople, so I havent 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 havent had any strong negative reactions. Sometimes I can work my confidence up to being proud of what Im wearing, where Ill even look for confrontations just so I can be like, "what are YOU lookin at?" but usually people are pretty non-confrontational, so Ive 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 Im risking it but luckily its 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, thats not true, I know a couple "butch" F to M crossdressers. But we dont really hang out. I do wish I knew some fellow male crossdressers, but at least Im lucky enough to have a supportive girlfriend and supportive friends.
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, Im 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 didnt do it for another year or so. I used to hate who I was. Id do it because it turned me on, and then feel miserable for doing it. Ive 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 didnt 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)?
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)
OK to use
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.
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.)
Would you be willing to contribute pictures of yourself to appear in the book? (I will be contacting you within a couple of months)
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.
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,
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