The Only “Normal” One

Striped Mini Dress, Boots and Black TopI met up with an old friend (in guy-mode) a couple of weeks ago. He was one of the small group of people I enjoyed the company of while en femme at my high school class reunion this past summer. Although I’ve known him for many years, he only learned of my feminine side at the class reunion, along with many of my former high school classmates.

The purpose of our meeting was to discuss some business venture ideas, but most of the time was spent chatting about personal interests. Being the first time we met up since I came out to him, there was a good deal of curiosity about this aspect of my life, which I was more than happy to discuss.

During our conversation, he made an interesting comment to me. He’s known a total of three crossdressers and pointed out, “…but you’re the only normal one.” He shared with me that the other crossdressers both exhibited negative, degrading feminine behavior in girl-mode – the kind of behavior that most women would (and trans folk should) find insulting. I certainly did.

The way he described their behavior was basically a poorly done, exaggerated impression of a woman acted out by someone who does not think very highly of the female gender. Imagine a silly, no-class comedic high-pitched female vocal impression repeatedly explaining how dumb she is because she’s just a dumb little girl and as such, not very bright. Imagine this kind of behavior playing out during a gathering – a constant display of exaggerated female behavior in the form of a dumb little girl. If I were to find myself in the company of such a person, I would probably share a few choice words with them and remove myself from their company.

Sometimes it’s very clear why often we get such a bad rap. Many people get the wrong impression of us on the whole because of contact with some very troubled people who also happen to be transgendered and/or hearing stories about such people from friends.

Every “group” has its bad examples. I’m all for people being themselves and living their life to the fullest in whatever makes them happy (barring that which is harmful to others). At the same time, I do not agree with such a poor display just because it comes from another crossdresser. If anything, I’m that much more insulted by it. An idiot is still an idiot regardless of gender expression.

I’m glad my friend finally got to meet a positive example of a crossdresser. Even more powerful is the fact that we’ve known each other for many years and he now associates my many positive attributes with my femme-side as well. Should the topic of crossdressing be brought up in future conversations between him and others, he will probably talk about the multi-talented, down to earth, “normal” one: me. I hope he remembers to bring up the fact that us “normal” ones are also plentiful, as I explained to him. Somehow the poor examples always seem to stand out more, but that is true in all facets of human nature and not limited to the transgender spectrum. Perhaps in time, more people will understand that.

As usual, I use the word “normal” with quotes around it because there really is no such thing as normal. There is only that which popular opinion perceives and acknowledges as common (and usually desirable) traits.

If you found yourself in the company of an idiot or jerk who also happened to be a crossdresser, what would you do? Would you put up with their poor behavior simply because they have but a single thing in common with you? Would you explain to them that perhaps they might benefit from behavior modifications?

Please take a moment to share your thoughts.

21 thoughts on “The Only “Normal” One”

  1. Dear Gabrielle …

    Terrific post and completely sympatico with my sentiments. The word “normal” is a tough one, and a virture I have never sought out in people, or find in abundnant qualities. I have no idea of what normal is for.

    But on a second read through this post I substituted the word “likeable” for “normal”. It reads quite well. Ultimately we enjoy the company of likeable people, and for most people, being likeable is an important thing.

    You said it nicely yourself … “An idiot is still an idiot regardless of gender expression.”


    Thanks for presenting so likeably.

    Best – Petra

    1. @ Petra – I like your substituting “normal” for “likable”. I really don’t like using the word “normal” (which is why I almost always put it in quotes), but it’s an easy way to convey certain thoughts. Even though no one really is normal, everyone kind of understands what is intended by its use. I wouldn’t know normal if it bit me in the ass – and that is true with or without the transgender aspect of my life. I kind of know what people want to see or expect, but in terms of being “normal”, I haven’t a chance (again, regardless of gender expression). I’m so happy you find me nor… er, likable. The feeling is mutual. :)

      @ Lynn – As uncomfortable as it probably was to address this issue in your group, I applaud you for having the courage to do what was necessary. If we (any of us) fail to do this, the problem will only spread as it sends out a clear signal to others that such public displays is acceptable.

      @ Nikki – It was wise of you to remove yourself from the situation before any fireworks flew. Right or wrong, it just isn’t worth the trouble (and especially danger) that comes with violence. I understand you completely on the “hurting the cause of acceptance” issue. That is a BIG beef I have with a growing number of trans folk. I’ll be heading over to your blog to read your account soon. I think we should all address the poor behavior of others and distance ourselves from them in a big way. When all other factors are removed, idiots and jerks are still idiots and jerks. Rumor has it that even non-trans folk can also be idiots. ;) Funny how people don’t immediately assume that all non-trans folk are jerks when they come across one or two bad ones. Too bad that is exactly how we are summed up more often than not (by non-trans folk who find one or two bad examples out there). Let’s end that perception. :)

      @ Erin P. – Yes, we are sadly underrepresented… and when “we” are represented, it is often a terrible portrayal of the very bad examples we wish to distance ourselves from.

      In terms of what is to be gained by confrontation, perhaps it is my own selfish desire to put an end to the poor behavior of those who give us all a bad name, so that I might one day enjoy being seen as a human being rather than a deviant or freak. I don’t think people see us as freaks or deviants because of our appearance or gender expression, but rather because that is all they have ever come to know about this topic. Remove the poor examples (meaning, correct and help them or get them the hell out of our way), and our road to acceptance will be that much smoother. There will always be haters, but the flat-out haters are generally in the minority (they can be loud and annoying, but they are few). The idea is to show (non-trans) people that WE don’t care for the trans-idiots/jerks either. They do NOT represent us on the whole, nor will we tolerate their behavior anymore than anyone else. A confrontation need not be aggressive, btw. I believe Lynn has the right idea in having a discrete discussion with them on the side. It is more than likely that some of these people simply need to have things brought to their attention, much in the same way that a child might – it’s more of a teaching/learning thing and not a “get a clue you damn fool”. The “get a clue” conversations should be reserved for those who pride themselves on poor behavior and lack the ability or desire to behave in a better light.

  2. Ooo, that’s a tough question. A friend and I had to face that issue head on. We had such a person visit our local group – he dressed* and behaved in a manner that was not acceptable. (* Ironic considering we’re trannys :) )

    We took him aside and explained that what he was doing (don’t worry – it wasn’t vile!) was not what the group was about and if he wanted to stay, he would have to abide by the same social conventions that the rest of us did.

    While I felt bad about this, it needed to be nipped in the bud.

  3. Lady Gabrielle,

    Hope you & the Mrs are well!

    I’ve just got to get in on this one! If you have a second, jump over to my blog and read the entire DRAG QUEENS FROM HELL STORY. My wife & I have had several experiences with people that I can only describe as cross dressers. They certainly did not seem to be true transgender women.

    I am a transgender woman and live as my true self everyday (good or bad). Luckily we own a couple of businesses and I have had the fortune to incorporate my life into my business as well (I’m unbelievably grateful for this). As you know all to well, dealing with any type of gender identity issue is still very difficult in our society.

    To put it mildly, these people who represent themselves as part of our community are not helping the cause in any way. Funny thing is that our experiences (mine & my wife’s) these individuals always flock to the true transgender women. Could this be to gain acceptance?

    In the case I post about on my site, we were forced to remove ourselves from the situation before it became violent. As a result of my background I have a tendency to be rather aggressive when pushed a little. There is also a larger liability and responsibility when you are a licensed firearms carrier. It’s always better to walk away if possible.

    Ironically, these people have their own organizations all over our country, a fact that was brought to my attention by the BRILLIANT Lady Erin P. They are huge in Seattle, and lots of posts on various sites associated with the community in our area have negative information regarding their behavior in public. No self respecting GG that I have ever met would make themselves up like this or act in these manners.


    As always my respect and affection,


  4. If we set aside the Trans Goddesses that mix freely in society (passes) and almost no one is the wiser, there is an extremely visible community of over the top Drag Queens and women haters. For the most part those that seek the negative attention (or fame) are the ones that tend to define us.

    It isn’t much different than say the Will & Grace caricature of the average gay man being mostly girlie and at least somewhat overly dramatic. Though the gay community is now being somewhat more accurately represented, we are not. Even though there are now trans friendly businesses and venues, the “normal” crossdressers are underrepresented by both to little exposure, and due to the fact most of us AREN’T trying to draw attention to ourselves.

    The other question would be, what is gained by the confrontation?

  5. Well there goes a definition in my head. Whenever I was asked about the difference between a crossdresser and a drag queen that’s maybe an example I would have used…

    I don’t know what other people ‘want’ to get out of it – but for me it’s a naturel state that doesn’t require anything forced. To be fair it’s also not a case of ‘wanting’ to get anything out of it either so maybe that’s why it’s not forced…

    @Lynn: Well done – I hate having to have negative words with anyone

    1. @ Stace – I like how you describe it as a “natural state”. Interestingly, many people think of us as anything but natural. In reality, there is nothing natural about forcing oneself to exist in a state that is not consistent with how they feel – in other words, conforming to socially accepted gender standards.

      @ Staci Lana – You’re welcome. I’d say the same to you. :) As I’ve said before though, remove the trans aspect of my life and I’m probably still not even close to “normal”. However if the sum of being intelligent, wise, creative, productive, smart, knowledgeable, level-headed, down to earth, etc., etc. equates to “normal”, then count me in. :)

  6. Hello sweetie,
    “Other crossdressers both exhibited negative, degrading feminine behavior in girl-mode – the kind of behavior that most women would (and trans folk should) find insulting. I certainly did” You male friend is right I see so many CD’s degrading woman and femininity all the time on the net and I hate that my self and the public see the same thing too but I also things getting better.
    This is just me but I feel that woman are superior to men in so many ways in life and that feminine is a better way of life. I wish we had Equality in Fashions around the world so the label crossdressing would no longer be used in the world today and that in time the hate would go too.
    Equality in Fashions

    1. @ Margueritte – From a young age, I’ve often felt that women are superior to men in many ways, too. I’ve always been more comfortable around women, and my best friends in life have always been females. I’m sure that is somehow tied into my own crossdressing and feminine gender expression.

      @ Erin P – It sounds to me that you’re spelling out the kind of personality type that is just plain annoying in any form of gender and/or gender expression. I’ve known plenty of genetic women who act exactly how you spelled out – right down to the hand motions, exaggerated neck and head movements, and show of absolute self-centered, flamboyant, in-your-face bitchiness. There are a couple of women like this on my wife’s side of the family. lol It’s sad, but it does make me laugh because they’re so ridiculous. I have yet to meet a drag queen that behaves like this, but I have no doubt they’re out there. I think we’ve all seen them on TV (the show COPS comes to mind).

      In terms of having issues to deal with, who doesn’t have some? Don’t beat yourself up over it. :) For what it’s worth, you didn’t come off as sounding like a witch at all, but rather someone who is quite annoyed (and rightfully so) with certain negative shows of idiotic and totally ridiculous behavior. I’d say that’s pretty “normal”… there’s that word again. :)

  7. Well you have greater faith in individuals like that than I do. I view it like having a reasonably intelligent conversation with anyone that consistently goes around professing that themselves a Diva (GG or Trans). In those type of people (I deal with them in PTA functions to much) there always seems to be a disconnect between them and reality.

    To many times I have witnessed the head wiggles, the hand stop signs, and the loud faux indignation that always seems to accompany whatever perceived “disrespect” (a word that is quickly catching ‘got’ as the most overly misused word in the English language). While cringing, I have watched Queens take offense and make a huge scene over the simplest and most reasonable request. Like “Can you please keep it down” or “Can you please watch your language”, and it always seems, that after a shouting match, it ends with “You just jealous because I look goooooood!” Usually broadcast by a beach ball in an ill fit sequin dress, whose wearing too much eyeshadow, with nasty troll feet pouring through low heel strappy dress sandals.

    Sorry to sound like a witch, but I moved to a trans neutral to even in places trans friendly area, in part with the idea of testing the water of coming out while there. I will grant you that was almost 20 years ago. I started wearing women’s clothes like shorts and very neutral gender women’s shirts, but abandon the idea because I didn’t want to be associated with that crowd.

    I guess I see the point to the degree that in real ways these people keep too many of us in the closet. I know they did for me. Well still do. I am only out to 3 people when I was ready to come out period, by say ’92.

    I don’t know. I don’t like pushing societal norms on anyone. At the same time I don’t want to be associated with the woman hating queens. Then when I do think about confronting these people I have flashes of the drama that will happen or worse that they will figure out that I have a transgendered soul and out me tying me inextricably to a segment of our community that I loath.

    Hee hee looks like I have some issues to deal with huh? Sorry to get so heavy here.

  8. Notmal. It is the normal for normals that are “not normal”. Usually I don’t indulge in 1337 speak or net speak… but it might work here =)

  9. I agree with Gabrielle’s post and the comments made so far. There is another group of trans people who do not mimic ridiculous female behavior but look and act like ‘men in drag’. To my mind these these also present a poor image of trans people.

    Hugs – Christina

  10. Interesting post Gabrielle.

    Ever since i was a child i never liked the word ‘Normal’.

    In every group there is a term for ‘Normal’. In a Geek group Normal would be knowing alot about computers, but if you had a ‘Normal’ person from the Football team come in? They would be considered a complete freak, and vice versa.

    I think being normal on the Whole, as a Human, is what people think is correct and right.

    However, if everyone was normal, we’d still sitting in a tide pool somewhere.

    Anyway, it’s great that your friend could see the positive side of CD’ing. Maybe he will encourage more people to show their Femme side.

    1. I don’t care much for the term “normal” either, Azated. As you stated, “normal” is different things to different people. There really is no universal “normal” in the grander scheme of things. That’s why I often wrap the word in quotes. Your assessment of it seems pretty accurate to me.

      Regardless of the infinite possible interpretations of “normal”, we can usally pick up its meaning in the context used and how well we know the person using it. In this case, I understood what my friend meant and was happy to be “normal” in his eyes. :)

  11. I’ve had a similar experience. Some close friends of mine have known several transsexuals, and in conversation one day, they told me “of all the transsexuals they’ve known, I’m by far the most well adjusted”.

    I think a lot of it has a lot to do with how well adjusted we are to begin with, and that includes the effort it takes to develop a reasonable degree of socialization in our chosen (and sometimes alternate) gender roles.

    I try my level best to “lead by example” – I am who and what I am, and I try to be a decent person to those around me.

    I don’t move in CD circles really – so my experiences are mostly with others who are working through their own transitions. As a result, I’m looking to form a friendship that is built around common interests – the shared experiences of severe GID is a jumping off point, but I focus on other longer term attributes that enable me to build a richer relationship with them.

    Usually I find that in such circumstances, people come along quite nicely … and the few who simply ‘don’t get it’ tend to fall away from my circle naturally.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. I think the universal relevant point that is that some people are “well adjusted”, period, regardless of their gender expression. People can behave well or poorly for a number of reasons. I don’t think there is any direct link between gender identity/expression and behaving in a way that will be perceived as “normal” or “not normal” by others in most cases.

  12. Sorry for coming to this party late, but I just had to let one of those people inside of me out for a few words regarding your normal discussion. The math geek inside of me says that normal is a continuous distribution spanning the entire breadth of the sample body. Although there is a defined center value and things are measured in terms of deviation from the center, calculus tells us that in such a continuous distribution, the amount of actual values that exactly equal the center value is exactly zero! So normal is a range. Normal is the color grey.

    Can anyone really tell you exactly what shade of grey is exactly grey?

    Did anyone ever see the wonderful movie called Angus? Angus was an overweight kid who was good at science and O.K. at football. He was in love with a girl who was the cheerleader who was dating the jock star QB who just happened to take joy in persecuting Angus because he was not normal. In the end of the movie, he is pushed down by the jock but gets back up and yells out, “I’m still here!” “I will always be here” I am happy to be a fat kid who is good at science and fair at football. it’s who I am. The jock says that is not normal. Angus replies, like you? He says Yes, like me. Angus says, “I have news for you, there are hundreds of kids here that are nothing like you, so what is normal really?” Earlier in the movie as Angus is interviewing for a science academy he finally comes to an understanding of his place in the universe as he defines his science theory that is supposed to impress the interviewer, that, “THERE IS NO NORMAL!” then he walks out. Rent it, but be prepared to cry during the final chess scene.

    1. Good point, Jenna. “Normal” is literally a nebulous, collective concept of “what things should be like”, that varies greatly from one group, region, country, culture, etc. to the next.

  13. What is “normal”? This may depend on the culture. Check out the Wikipedia article for Third Gender. Some societies have groupings that don’t fit into the rigid Gender Binary of Western Civilization.

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