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Thread: Personal LGBT Exposure - Positive or Negative?

  1. #1
    Member CharlotteCD's Avatar
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    Personal LGBT Exposure - Positive or Negative?

    I was discussing with my counsellor earlier about how i've had zero LGBT exposure in my life beyond that of books and forums like this one.

    She suggested perhaps I should make more of an effort, and maybe it'll be positive for me.

    I countered that if I spend more time with the LGBT community, it'll legitimise my feelings and act as an echo chamber, therefore making me resent my Wife more for her stance of not wanting me to dress, and being uncomfortable with my transgender feelings.

    I wondered what others think, and I ask that here because I think that the MTF Crossdressing section will potentially have a different set of responses to the trans section.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Laura912's Avatar
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    No organization will legitimize your feelings. Only you can do that.

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    happy to be her Sarah Charles's Avatar
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    I grew up in a time that stigmatized all aspects of the LGBTQIA+ community and experience, so it did the same to me. There was only one echo chamber available and it was filled with lies and misinformation.

    When I had a chance to expand my world to include more points of view, it didn't de-legitimize anything as much as it created real life and accurate sources of comparison to what I'd lived through for years. There were sources like this forum and others that continue to be valuable, while others were dismissed as biased or provocative or were driven by an agenda that didn't match ours. We were able to pick and choose what worked for us. Finding real humans to engage in conversation was mind and spirit opening. My wife and I remained married and we were able to establish realistic expectations and boundaries that modified and included needs both of us had. That was much better than using the misconceptions that had been the foundation of our worlds prior to that opening up.
    Sarah
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    Gold Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
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    Charlotte,

    I'm taken back to the first time I attended a support group meeting. I knew no-one so entering the room of people, all like me, dressed enfemme was daunting. A quick intro to the person in charge and then it was pick somewhere to sit. Made my choice, asked if they minded me joining their table, pulled up a chair and five minutes later I found myself in a conversation like being there was the most normal thing in the world.

    It's at that point you realise that what joins us all is that we're people.

    So I would say yes, find a way to get to know the community better. Be aware that just because you've hopefully moved forward it doesn't mean your SO has. Your SO's opinion is one that you've got to come to terms with and for it to change requires discussion and explanation on your part. Knowing that what you do isn't wrong and that you're part of a community of ordinary people who just behave in a particular way is an anchor point, a bench mark that allows you to judge yourself against real world events and not hearsay or bigoted opinion.
    Who dares wears Get in, get out without being noticed

  5. #5
    Senior Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    At company dinners I'd sit at the LGBTQ table. We were all different, so we were all the same! We had normal conversations.

    Marion

  6. #6
    Silver Member Sometimes Steffi's Avatar
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    The first time out with another CD/TG, I met a girl from here at a local restaurant. I had to surmount some logistical challenges so my wife wouldn't find out, but it was really outstanding. We met at a local LGBT for lunch, and we could talk openly without worrying about what the people at neighboring tables could hear.

    We had similar CD back stories. It was like talking to someone here, except she was read and we were both dressed and in public.

    Well, she introduced me to two friends and they introduced me to two friends, and soon I was hanging with a dozen girls like me. The convinced me to go to the Keystone Conference and there I met 100 girls.
    Hi, I'm Steffi and I'm a crossdresser... And I accept and celebrate both sides of me. Or, maybe I'm gender fluid.

    Gender fluid (adj.) - Describes a person whose gender identity is not fixed. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel [more] like one gender some days, and [more like] another gender other days.

    Ref: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/LGBT-Glossary_March2016.pdf

  7. #7
    Little Mrs. Snarky! Nadine Spirit's Avatar
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    The first time I met anyone in real life it was a woman from these boards. We went out for lunch and then a bit of shopping. It was very uneventful, but fun. Did it cause any acceleration of my transition? Um, no.

    Do you know what did finally allow me to accept that I am transgender? Despite many people's opinions, health professionals overwhelmingly support transition, or at least some sort of acceptance of one's gender variance.

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    Here is my experience. You will find exceptance and understanding. You will likely find others who have experienced where you are or hope to some day be where you are or a combination of both. I can't speculate in how it will effect your relationship with your wife. Nor can I speculate what feelings you will have. For me I realized I am truly not that odd there are so many out there I'm some similar situation. It did some what affirm my feelings. But I pretty much already knew what I had to do. And yes I lost a relationship over it. She wasn't ok with me being a full time girl or the stress not was causing me. And I couldn't handle the stress either. No hard feelings either way we just went different directions.

  9. #9
    Silver Member Rogina B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura912 View Post
    No organization will legitimize your feelings. Only you can do that.
    I agree ! We row our own boats in this short life.
    It SURE is my hair ! I have the receipt and the box it came in !

  10. #10
    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    I disagree! It was girls from here that first got me out. Since then, I've met 100's of T's of all ilks. I can honestly say they r by and large very interesting, caring, and accepting people. They r even supportive of my masking!

    In fact, my social life as Sherry is far more active and exciting than my old fogy life as Robert with his boring friends!

    Get out there and meet some dressers. You'll find u have more in common with them than differences!
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  11. #11
    Aspiring Member TheHiddenMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlotteCD View Post
    I countered that if I spend more time with the LGBT community, it'll legitimise my feelings and act as an echo chamber, therefore making me resent my Wife more for her stance of not wanting me to dress, and being uncomfortable with my transgender feelings.
    Yes, I have met those who have transitioned and those in the process of transitioning. I find their stories interesting and I have a lot of empathy for those who for long times in their lives suffered from gender dysphagia. Therefore, yes I agree with your counselor.

    I certainly disagree with your position. You want tolerance from your wife, but you are intolerant of her feelings towards your dressing. For reasons none of us understand, we have issues related to gender. Your wife, for her reasons, isn't accepting. It's not her fault for being non-accepting, it's the way she is, much like you wish to dress because that's the way you are.

    Meeting others on the trans spectrum may make you more tolerant of others, which might mean you are more accepting of your wife.

  12. #12
    Platinum Member Karren Hutton's Avatar
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    I have had enough exposure locally to know that it wasn't a negative in my life. Really didn't help me understand or accept that I am. Kind of already did that way before I went out and met other crossdressers. Didn't make me resent my wife's negative feeling any more than I already did, and I already understood why she felt that way and do not blame anyone but myself. Love coming here and chatting about crossdressing.... it has been a better outlet than talking to girls locally or even support groups. Apparently, the only support I really need is a good bra! (and a girdle) lol
    Femmimic (noun) - One who copies or closely imitates females of the species, especially in speech, expression, gesture and attire:

  13. #13
    Silver Member darla_g's Avatar
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    my wife's family had members that were both transgender (transitioned back & forth) and Gay. Now my kids have friends that are LBGT as well. Its all good, we all are accepting. In the case of one of my kids friends they can't even tell their parents about their relationship so we are like surrogate parents. But what they really need is just people who will treat them normal. I just find this abundance of anti-trans laws and disparaging other LBGT folks just means that these people need something in their life to hate. They can blame their own shortcomings on someone else.

  14. #14
    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    I have always found the LGBTQ+ community generally friendly and welcoming. Your experience may vary depending on where you’re from, and people are people everywhere and there are good and bad in every community. Fear of a bad experience is no reason to stop you from at least trying. If you do t like it, then don’t do it anymore.
    Your expectation compared to your efforts will make a big difference in your experience as well. For example if you go out to a club or bar dressed and expect everyone to gush over you and go out of their way to welcome you while you sit in a corner, you’ll probably be disappointed. Go to the same and make an effort to talk to people and be social, and you’ll probably have a good experience.

  15. #15
    Member XemmaX's Avatar
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    It didn't legitimize my feelings about myself, that had to come from me. What it did give me was a bubble where i could dress and present how I pleased and to not be judged which helped me gain some confidence . I think that's an important step. Lgbtq+ world actually is not an echo chamber too and that's a good thing. Go check it out and be open to peole as much as possible. Have fun too also important!

  16. #16
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    Charlotte,
    This is a tough question and faces you with the dilemma , are you going to be truthful to yourself or your wife ? At the moment it's proving difficult to do either .

    Personally I've found it wonderful to be in a position to be free to contact the LGBTQ community , our social group was asked to attend the Pride week at Boston ( UK) college to try and help students problems with gender and sexual issues .

    On another occasion our group was asked to talk about our gender experiences in relation to the help obtained within the NHS . It was the first time I'd ever stood up and spoken to a large group of people especially dressed as Teresa .

    At some point you need to get your wife's opinion on the LGBTQ communtity and the Pride movement , try and set aside your personal needs until you know what her true thoughts are . Before approaching your own needs you really need to know what they are so you can be truthful and honest with her , remember once you've gone down this road there is no going back . I took my chance and learned the hard truth on this point , that is when you need to start to believe in yourself and show you have the strngth to do so .

    Also the other point to consider is even if you offer full support it doesn't mean you are gay , if I'm assuming that is your wife's problem again that is for you to sort with your wife .
    Last edited by Teresa; 04-28-2021 at 05:17 AM.

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    Aspiring Member SaraLin's Avatar
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    I've had several lesbian friends over the years. We got along fine. Who we were interested in romantically wasn't an issue.

    I've know a few Gay men, but found it harder to relate to them. We just didn't seem to have much of any interests in common.

    I've gone to CD groups, but couldn't find my "fit" there.
    There were obvious MIAD's who made no effort to look or act feminine, and I'm wondering "OMG it that what I look like?"
    And then there were a couple folks there who it was hard to imagine could ever be male. I was SO-O-O envious of them and felt like even more of an ugly duckling.
    Now, I need to say that I was always welcomed there, and the difficulties were all my own.

    When I was going to therapy, I met a fully-committed pre-op TS lady. She was very nice, and if I'd met her outside the office I'd never have known she'd ever been male.

    BUT - of all my encounters, none of them really did much to change how I felt about myself. They only served to show me glimpses of a world that I might want to become a part of.
    I think that the biggest thing I've learned from my LGBT exposures is that there's nothing special about them. For the most part they're just people, trying to find their way in this life - like the rest of us.

  18. #18
    Member CharlotteCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa View Post
    At some point you need to get your wife's opinion on the LGBTQ communtity and the Pride movement , try and set aside your personal needs until you know what her true thoughts are . Before approaching your own needs you really need to know what they are so you can be truthful and honest with her , remember once you've gone down this road there is no going back.
    I think it's a case of "Not in my back yard" for her. She has gay friends from school days who she's made effort to keep in touch with even though they've moved thousands of miles away and she only gets to see them once a year at most. She's at an LGBT friendly business and for a period of time used the rainbow lanyard for her staff pass that was given out as part of pride many years ago. She's never given even the slightest suggestion of having an issue with LGBT people. I don't think she has a major issue with my feelings that ranks at divorce levels of upset, but it's more a current bubbling under the surface of calm waters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa View Post
    Also the other point to consider is even if you offer full support it doesn't mean you are gay , if I'm assuming that is your wife's problem again that is for you to sort with your wife .
    I've tried to explain to her that I am not gay, and I am not bisexual - I explained to her that i've obviously questioned those feelings before in my life as part of discovering who I am and it's just not me. I'm not in denial, it's just not my thing - I don't find the male body attractive in any way - particularly my own!

    I've said that there's no danger of me going off with another man, or a transwoman or any of those things. My wife is beautiful and exactly the type of woman that I like.



    For me, a resolution to this would be:

    - Be allowed to wear reasonable gender neutral clothing around the house, like jeggings, leggings, tshirts and jumpers.
    - Be allowed to keep all of my clothes in my wardrobe.
    - Be allowed to have time to myself where she lets me know when she'll be home

    I consider this to be a respectful resolution, given that my wife:

    - Doesn't want to see me dressed as a full female, so no makeup or wigs.
    - Doesn't want it flaunted in her face, so a wardrobe keeps it hidden from her.


    Back to the topic however, if I spend a lot of time with LGBT people who are on the more militant campaigning for equality side, I fear that i'll be indoctrinated in a way, and they'll only encourage my belief that my resolution is the only way forward.

    End of the day, marriage is a partnership, and I respect and love my wife too much to upset her by pushing anything on her.

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    Charlotte,
    I make it clear I will not support the LGBTQ community if it becomes too militant , OK some authorities may over react and the obvious reaction is fighting back . I consider I have right to live as I chose but in a free country others of the right to raise objections , I would guess most people have a phobia or fear over something .

    Your resolution list is fine and I agree a marriage is a partnership but it must be considered an equal partnership not a one-sided one . In my marraige I was the one making all the compromises to retain that partnership until one day I realised my life was being totally controlled , I had no free money , most of my activities even away from dressing were hidden or tolerated . Now I have my home , furnished in my way and I am free to have friends I chose and more importantly I'm now free to be Teresa . My wife hasn't changed one bit she didn't need to because we had always lived it on her terms .

    I'm not suggesting everyone should seek separation but please consider while marriage should be an equal partnership if consists of two individuals who have their own needs , those needs should be respected by the other . To be TRANS is not a crime and it never goes away , I've found it can be normally accepted if you're allowed to be the true person , I know I'm a far better person for accpepting it and others are realising that point .

    We must also take care about GAY comments , thankfully it's no longer a crime but an accepted way of life for some people .
    Last edited by Teresa; 04-28-2021 at 06:43 AM.

  20. #20
    Aspiring Member Sandi Beech's Avatar
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    Charlotte

    I had never set foot into any LGBT bar or club until 2017. Now I have been to over 20 around the country, I did not know what I was missing. As others accepted me, I became much more comfortable with myself. My only change is a boost in confidence. I think Micki is correct about this. If you go sit in a corner by yourself, you could be disappointed. Fortunately I learned not to do that and it made all the difference. People enjoy talking to you if you have a positive attitude, and it is a great release to meet people who view us as completely normal.

    Sandi

  21. #21
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    Fascinating thread. Glad you started it, Charlotte. Clearly this subject gets to the heart of being different in a world where most are more similar to each other - we are in a minority and that is always tough.

    My main experiences were at a support group. Helen's description was an accurate description of my own experience. I quickly fell in love with being in such a group, but the first time was pretty stressful. I found out that, yes, we are just people and behavior and interaction patterns closely followed what you find in any group setting - diverse but friendly. I fully agree with your counselor - just be careful of the Covid issues. You may have trouble finding an active group right now.

    Personally, I think you are creating mental scenarios between you and your wife that may or may not happen. And then basing your conclusions on presumed outcomes. It may be very bumpy at first as it was for me and my wife 9 years ago. She now allows some things such as more unisex women's clothes such as T-shirts in all their wonderful colors and even wearing flats around the house. It is not much, but the point is we reached an acceptable compromise that slowly continues to widen its range of acceptability - baby steps. Her attitude is a bit like your wife - sort of a, "I really wish you weren't that way" but my wife now recognize it is important. In short establishing boundaries is the way to peaceful coexistence - the only remaining question is whether the boundaries are sufficient to meet the needs of BOTH PEOPLE in a way that is workable. As Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors."

    I also wonder if perhaps you are placing a bit too much weight on the expression of the identity rather than the identity itself. Different people are, well, different people. But for me the Gretchen identity does not need the clothes even though they add a great deal to it. The identity establishes behavior patterns that express the personality, the way you think about others and how you treat them. Key traits in the stereotypical and traditional feminine are compassion, sympathy, empathy, a strong desire to help, to exhibit nurturing perspectives. Personally I don't believe in feminine or masculine - to me it is female-like and male-like. And the combination of the two forms the personality, along with all kinds of traits and characteristics that both males and females exhibit all the time. It is not an either/or proposition. In fact, what I see in people is a blend of all three types of characteristics in a menagerie of combinations that are always changing. For me, it is the changing and adaptation to circumstances that is the nature of identity and its expression. Sometimes I just have to be a girl in identity and other times a boy, but most of the time I am significantly both in unlimited combinations. Your mileage may vary, because it is supposed to vary.

    All that said, going to a group or meeting with others can help you immensely to sort out where you stand, at present, with regard to those aspect of identity expression which covers a lot of country well beyond the confines of clothes. Your identity is the person you are no matter what the expression.

  22. #22
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    Until I joined a support group some years ago all my dressing was limited to my house. No one but my wife had any inkling that this is who I am.
    Once I enjoyed the comradery of the group it didn't push me in any direction, it helped me find my own. There was no acceleration of my journey only understanding of who I am and the choices that exist. What direction I took was my decision.
    Wear what makes you feel Confident !

  23. #23
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    "My wife is beautiful and exactly the type of woman that I like."
    "End of the day, marriage is a partnership, and I respect and love my wife too much to upset her by pushing anything on her."

    Apparently your wife is not the type of woman that you like by virtue of the fact she does not want to cave into being molded into the woman you expect. Decades ago my wife and I had "The Talk." It was still in my period of self loathing. I was pushing for her approval. If she accepted me, then I must be alright. My self worth was contingent upon her acceptance? It took a while for me to realize what I was doing was no more than spousal mental abuse. I was not being respectful of my wife's point of view. When we were married she was presented a "set of goods." "Here I am!" "This is me!" There was no bargaining. Of course, there is always the unknown. Things change. People change. Life is fluid. However, sometimes there are core values that will not change. To me, all the expectations you are proposing reflect somewhat of an "in your face attitude." You're proposing to throw out to her every day a constant reminder in the hopes she will cave in. I'm sure she is thinking, "If I relent, what's next?"

    I decided pushing my cross dressing needs or desires or whatever was ticking with in me was not contingent upon my wife acceptance. When I finally came to terms with myself, I realized I did not need any validation from her or anyone else. I was and am left with the problem of dealing with other people. Foremost, that is my wife. I have chosen to not violate her core values. As she said, "If I wanted to be married to a woman, then I would have married a woman!" I found it rather simple.

    Where you and I "fall of the spectrum" may be different. I know where my wife "falls of the spectrum." She told me, if I wanted to join a support group that was alright with her. I looked. None were to be found in the early 1980's. My wife has chosen to live in very very tight DADT marriage where there is absolutely no discussion. She and I have gay/lesbian friends and acquaintances. She has a transman second cousin who just had a baby. She is supportive of the LGBTQ community. She just wants the man she married. It is rather simple. If I want to express myself, then I need to take it outside the house.

    I did not marry a "Stepford" wife.

  24. #24
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    I don't go out looking for people whose sexual orientation is different from mine (or the same as mine, for that matter). Nor do I go out looking for people of a different race or religion.

    We can never hope to get along with each other if we keep pointing out our differences.
    Krisi

  25. #25
    Member CharlotteCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie47 View Post
    "My wife is beautiful and exactly the type of woman that I like."
    "End of the day, marriage is a partnership, and I respect and love my wife too much to upset her by pushing anything on her."

    Apparently your wife is not the type of woman that you like by virtue of the fact she does not want to cave into being molded into the woman you expect. Decades ago my wife and I had "The Talk." It was still in my period of self loathing. I was pushing for her approval. If she accepted me, then I must be alright. My self worth was contingent upon her acceptance? It took a while for me to realize what I was doing was no more than spousal mental abuse. I was not being respectful of my wife's point of view. When we were married she was presented a "set of goods." "Here I am!" "This is me!" There was no bargaining. Of course, there is always the unknown. Things change. People change. Life is fluid. However, sometimes there are core values that will not change. To me, all the expectations you are proposing reflect somewhat of an "in your face attitude." You're proposing to throw out to her every day a constant reminder in the hopes she will cave in. I'm sure she is thinking, "If I relent, what's next?"

    I decided pushing my cross dressing needs or desires or whatever was ticking with in me was not contingent upon my wife acceptance. When I finally came to terms with myself, I realized I did not need any validation from her or anyone else. I was and am left with the problem of dealing with other people. Foremost, that is my wife. I have chosen to not violate her core values. As she said, "If I wanted to be married to a woman, then I would have married a woman!" I found it rather simple.

    Where you and I "fall of the spectrum" may be different. I know where my wife "falls of the spectrum." She told me, if I wanted to join a support group that was alright with her. I looked. None were to be found in the early 1980's. My wife has chosen to live in very very tight DADT marriage where there is absolutely no discussion. She and I have gay/lesbian friends and acquaintances. She has a transman second cousin who just had a baby. She is supportive of the LGBTQ community. She just wants the man she married. It is rather simple. If I want to express myself, then I need to take it outside the house.

    I did not marry a "Stepford" wife.
    I don't know where you get the impression that I'm forcing anything on her, or trying to change her. I'd love her to change, but as every post on here will tell you, I respect her boundaries and understand that they are unlikely to change.

    The strangest thing about your post is that you have posted your situation, and it's exactly the same as mine - my wife has also chosen to live in DADT and there is no discussion. She just wants the man she married.

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