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Thread: Support and compassion?

  1. #1
    New Member Chiffon's Avatar
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    Support and compassion?

    I've noted that for a lot of us, dressing started fairly young, as it did for me. I'm curious if anyone along their journey had a kind aunt, cousin, sister or even a mother that knew (or figured out) what was going on and maybe helped or supported with some compassion?

    It didn't happen for me, and I guess for us older ones (60+) it was probably rare that a family member accepted it, let alone supported it. I do wonder how different things would be if I had encountered some female support and compassion in my CD journey along that angst-riddled and guilt-driven confusing road of adolescence and early adulthood. I was not able to get rid of the guilt and shame I had until well into my 40's.

  2. #2
    Member ColleenA's Avatar
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    Chiffon, I can relate.
    I'm the youngest sibling of four; I have two older sisters. When I was about 15, my mom came across my stash. We did not have a very long conversation. Although she did not express disapproval, she asked if I would like to have therapy. I said no, I did not feel a need for any. That was the end of it. The topic was never broached again. So, I received no support, but at least no condemnation either.
    Around age 30, I told "Terri," the sister I am closer to in age, about my crossdressing. We were having a conversation about issues we had in our teens. She and I never talked about it again. Again, no support nor any condemnation.

    In the past 18 months, I have begun going out as Colleen a few times per month. Like you, I am 60+, and I have finally developed a "so what?" attitude.
    Last year, my one brother died. At his memorial service, my sisters and I would all be together for the first time in about 20 years. Beforehand I talked to Terri and said that I wanted to tell my older sister, "Kara." This was the moment I had been dreading for 50 years. Kara was the one I most envied - very pretty (looks like Meredith Baxter) and very popular, and she was the one whose clothes I wore (and stole) the most. I always feared a blow-up despite all the time that had passed.

    Well, after they talked, Terri called to tell me that Kara already knew about my crossdressing. It turns out Mom had told her at some point, though I don't know when. For Kara, it at least had explained that all the funny moments she thought someone had been into her stuff could no longer be blamed on Terri.

    When I did see them, we did have some private time to talk about it. They asked questions, and I answered them. And now it will probably (once more) never be talked about again. So I never received any condemnation, but with various opportunities for even the tiniest bit of support to be given, I got nothing - sure, that fits for the '70s, but not so much for today, given my sisters' liberal attitudes. If none of them ever knew, that would be one thing. Instead, I basically feel abandoned.
    If only our families and friends could be as supportive as our bras!

  3. #3
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    I had no female siblings, so my earliest dabblings were in my mom's clothes. My mom discovered my nascent stash when I was 14. My mom absolutely read me the riot act. I had to listen to her for what seemed eternity as she Bible-thumped away at me. I never saw my little stash again. Rather than have the effect of getting me to stop crossdressing, my mom's tirade had the effect of teaching me to hide my next stash better. I don't blame my mom in any respect. She was a single mom, trying desperately hard to keep things going. A crossdressing son might have caused massive problems back in the day. In every other respect my mother was absolutely incredible. I have no complaints.

    We were not close with extended family, so I didn't meet any cousins. I had two aunts, but they passed away before I ever really had a chance to crossdress. I would have been mortified to bring it up to them. The only women in my life that have ever known about my crossdressing (aside from my mother) have been four girlfriends and my wife. My wife has been the most receptive of all of them, and has helped me quite a bit. Just yesterday she found and bought a number of tops for me to try. Outside of this group, she's my support network.

  4. #4
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    I started super young...probably four years old...pre school for sure. Mom knew but never said anything negative that I can recall....she probably asked me not to mess with her stuff,or maybe something like 'those are girls' clothes,' but not in a judgmental way at all

  5. #5
    Senior Member mbmeen12's Avatar
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    Neither, my mother found me going through her clothes burrows. It was at a younger age apx 5-6 years old. They sent me to counseling. Funny I didn't understand why or what drew me to do what I did. I guess it can be called support, not dress.
    Escapism isn't necessarily bad, but is definitely unhealthy in the long term. While helpful in the short term, things will degrade over time. At some point, the escapee will have to face the issue. Things simply blowing over isn't really going to happen in many situations.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    I have told this story before, here. About 15 years ago I was out to dinner with my mom and we are talking. At some point she asks, "do you still crossdress?" I replied, "Yes." She then moved on to he next subject. I didn't know, she knew, but obviously she did.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  7. #7
    Senior Member SaraLin's Avatar
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    I honestly don't know if I would have have found any support or compassion from my family as a kid. I was too deeply terrified of being found out and very careful not to get caught.

    Much later in life (mid 40's), I "came out" to my sister and mom.
    My mom's reaction was "Oh, I thought you were going to tell me you were gay" and that was all she ever said.
    My sister's reaction was "I always wanted to have a sister." In all the years since then, she's only mentioned it once.

    So MAYBE I could have found it back then, if my closet door hadn't been firmly nailed shut - from the inside.

  8. #8
    Member Lea's Avatar
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    My mother wanted a boy and a girl. I was supposed to be the girl.
    She dressed and treated me as a girl as much as she could until it was time for me to go to school. Then it ended. My father told me about this when he was dying.
    My mom and dad worked second shift and my older brother was gone a lot. I would put on my mom's clothing, and she had to know but would never say anything.
    It took me many decades to come to terms with my dressing. Pre internet days and no one I could talk to.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    My experience was similar to JulieC's description, although I was found out much earlier. Being read the riot act in 1953 was pretty severe and taught me to be secretive with the needs that kept popping up. Finding a supportive person in the early 1950's would have been close to miraculous. Still don't get much support but at least my wife understands it a bit better and tolerates it. The best support comes from others who are somewhat like me - they get it because they live it.

    Most people never experience what we experience and therefore don't and can't really understand it very well. Without understanding sympathy and compassion is difficult to engage in. Not their fault they don't understand it and not our fault we experience it. Communication about this is difficult with anyone who has not either experienced it or studied it at a professional level. Until the masses realize that not everybody is the same and diversity is not only normal but beneficial understanding resulting in acceptance will be hard to generate. Fortunately, the traditional and stereotypical perspective is slowly being replaced by more understanding that we are people too and not alien body snatchers like recent trends seem to be saying. Hang in there; it will change in time.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Christie ann's Avatar
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    My story is about the same but set in the 1960’s. Was told early on that those were girl clothes or toys or activities and not for boys. Later while about 10 ish, talked to my parents that I felt like I should be a girl, or something like that, and was told that men who want to be women have a sickness. That was when I decided I didn’t need to talk to anyone about any of this. My wife knows, but hates it, there are a few things that she puts up with but would rather me not. So, no support, no compassion there. I do have a couple of GG friends who have let me in their group and that is a life saver.

  11. #11
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    Unfortunately, I clearly remember crying one night as a little guy and saying to my mother that "You do not love me because I am not a girl!" I had retrieved a nylon nightgown of hers and wore it while I was crying. She cuddled me and expressed her love. After that, she never said I was suppose to be a girl. I guess her idea of the perfect family was husband, wife, older brother and younger sister. My older brother was born fourteen months before me. My dad's sperm faked her out!

    My brother was her favorite child. It showed in the discipline that she meted out to me. If a Child Protective Service had scene the red welts on the back of my legs I am sure I would have been put in forester care. Later, as a teenager I began raiding her lingerie draw. My parents did their best to catch me in the act, but never did. Came close, but the security chain on the apartment door saved my ass. I'm sure I would have been tossed from the apartment when I graduated high school...after a good whipping too!

  12. #12
    New Member Chiffon's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for sharing. So far no one has identified any family member being supportive or compassionate during those formative years. I think it was almost impossible for our parent's generation to tolerate anything beyond what they called normal. About the best you could get was a mother knowing and not saying a word, and that might have been the result of the strong patriarchal system in existence then. Not saying a patriarchal system does not exist today, but not as strong and there seems to be more acceptance in younger generations.

  13. #13
    Silver Member NancySue's Avatar
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    I?m with the started young, total secrecy team. I once put a run in one of my Mom?s stockings. I worried and fretted for days. Nothing ever said. I now think it was beyond their imagination. I vowed to try to never let it happen again. I told my fianc? before the aisle, expecting her to flee. She didn?t, she accepted me and 🙏 has been totally supportive. Now retired, I dress daily.

  14. #14
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    I grew up during the late 1950?s and 1960?s. The norm for my parents? generation was that anything outside a heterosexual existence was abnormal. Nevertheless, I am absolutely sure that both my mom and dad knew that I would wear my mother?s lingerie and sometimes her skirts when they were out working. During that period, it was not outside the norm to be attracted to women?s lingerie. What was unusual was for boys and men to wear female articles. They never said anything figuring I would mature out of it. Attraction and wearing panties, etc. still ongoing. Wife knows it and becoming moreacceting as time goes on.

  15. #15
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    I was so terrified of anybody finding out my secret the only way I was able to cross dress was by visiting ladies who specialised in fantasy?s, I hated this but I didn?t have any other option if I wanted the opportunity to dress, so I ended up burying it and fighting my feelings for a lot of years, fast forward to today, I?m married with adult children and grand kids, I finally screw up the courage to tell my wife who is the person I trust the most in the world and it didn?t go well, I?m at the stage now where I need some support and understanding, my wife doesn?t want to talk or know about it, I dress when she?s not home, but I?m not going to bury it again as it makes me feel complete, but I?m on my own again

  16. #16
    Aspiring Member Desiree2bababe's Avatar
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    While my mother did not support my transvestism, she certainly contributed to it with comments such as "You should have been a girl" and having me be her dress model for the dresses she sewed for my sisters and also forbidding sex with girls until marriage right at the age of puberty ( I literally thought well if I can't have sex with girls I might as well be a girl ) . She caught me at the age of 15 after I'd ventured out dressed and threatened to make me dress in front of the family if I ever did it again. Skip forward a few years and trouble with dressing and the law led to psychiatric sessions, which she did support as did my Dad. Finally, another incident that involved me being arrested while in drag forced Dad to almost kick me out of the house and literally gave me permission to have a sex change. I felt like such a disappointment. I often times wonder where I'd be if society had been advanced to the stage we are now, I would bet I would be an old woman now......Kind of glad it turned out the way it did although I wish my wife would participate with Desiree more.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DianeT's Avatar
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    In my opinion my mother supported me enough by not revealing what she found out to the rest of the family (well, I FIGURE she didn't). At least that was the kind of support that I needed (not hassling me).
    After the super late reveal 36 years into the relation my wife came out as compassionate and supporting, even if deeply troubled and puzzled by the thing.

  18. #18
    Member CDMargret's Avatar
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    As with many here I started young. Early grade school. Kindergarten teacher wore nylons and I was just taken by them. Mom's nylons, sisters ballet outfits. Grandma would give me a pair of her knee highs to wear. She was the best.

  19. #19
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    As far as I'm aware my mum never knew about me trying it out....or if she did she never let on. It was often said she had wanted a girl so who knows maybe she did know and just let me carry on trying it out in the hope I did go full time. My dad certainly didn't or I would have definitely found out. Roll on several years later I have my now wife....she knows all about my hobby and supports me 100% which is a truly great thing to have. I felt a bit nervous about coming out to her.....now I wonder why because she has been nothing but supportive. Buys me outfits,make-up etc and offers tips or advice on my female look/style.

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