Tranny

One late night, or rather early morning, Paul and I stopped at Grubstake to get a snack on our way home from drinks with friends. As usual, I was starving. So only after I had ordered my much-anticipated fries, did I started paying attention to the people around me – other couples covering a gamut of ages, bunches of university students, and a couple of trannies.

I’ve always admired the sheer audacity of transvestites. Their boldness impresses me. I can easily don pants, avoid makeup, and even cut my hair without anyone batting an eye. I can vacillate between the lines of femininity and what’s considered more masculine, easily, without detection. They can’t, yet choose to do it regardless. Granted, there’s often a fetish attached to their attire.

The tranny at the bar struck me as a haphazard one or more, for lack of better words, low-quality. (S)he had made little effort, yet still had chosen a few key embellishments. A pageboy wig sat rather askew above a face with outlined eyes and stained lips, as well as spreading five-o’clock shadow. His t-shirt was tight-fitting and therefore accentuated his maleness. Below, (s)he had on a mini skirt and heels. (S)he was all brown, black, and gray. Simple, but kind of sloppy.

On the other side of the room was a precise drag queen in full regalia. (S)he wasn’t perceptible at first, given his attention to detail. I only knew when one of my glances took in an Adam’s apple. In contrast to the one at the bar, this one was powdered, manicured, and his rather bulky frame was carefully swathed in a garish, yet impeccable polyester dress, even if it was one which a suburban grandma may have chosen from Kmart.

I realized that in my head I was referring to them by different terms because of their contrast. To me, the sloppier one was a tranny but the large, preened one was a drag queen. I became interested in the language. I started thinking of other related terms: cross-dresser, trans-sexual, etc. I realized I really didn’t know when I should use which term.

Well, now I do. Kind of. And here’s my attempt to sum it up.

Transvestism is from Latin trans-, “across, over” and vestitus, “dressed”. Technically, the two I saw were both transvestites. Since the 1960’s, it seems that transvestism in the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi and Transgender) community is known as drag – when clothing and make-up are worn for performing, entertaining, or on a special occasion. In that regard, the two at the diner both were also in drag.

Outside of that community, transvestism is associated with fetish behaviour and is a hetrosexual, usually always male, who cross-dresses. However, there are apparently some straight males who just like to wear women’s clothing once in a while and claim no fetish. They prefer the term cross-dresser over transvestite to separate themselves from the fetish.

People who live cross-gender live always or mostly as the gender other than the one they were born with. They may cross-dress.

And obviously many terms may apply to one person. Interesting, and rather confusing.

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About gwenamon

bookworm, confidante, creative director, cyclist, global wanderer, music lover, shutterbug, shoe shopper, snowboarder, writer, yoga geek. i'm also a very proud mama of a lil mister named james.
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5 Responses to Tranny

  1. whenhopeislostnothingremains says:

    I guess the drag queens and the fetishists are just more in plain view…
    The ones that don’t exaggerate try to stay inconspicuous.

    The problem is that society thus does not see them (or at least much less).
    We can only hope that sometime in the future, society won’t regards us as freaks anymore ;-)

    • gwenamon says:

      hi whenhopeislost…. i went to your blog and liked reading your description of cross-dressing. for what it’s worth, i’m not judgmental about it.

  2. james says:

    looks like 2009 will be yet another good year reading wendy’s blog.

    good post! lol

  3. gwenamon says:

    and glad you’re still reading, james! :)

  4. whenhopeislostnothingremains says:

    Thanks Gwen…

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