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Text Articles

STICKS AND STONES...

Faggot! Pervert! Sissy! These words are adjectives which are used not to describe a person, but to hurt them. It is almost impossible to separate an objective description of the words from their powerful emotional impact - which is why they are used as weapons to hurt and control others. It is possible for a gay individual to be content with his life- style, but to be angered by being called a faggot. People with sexual interests which encompass more than the heterosexual missionary position are not all in the closet, but they would be stung by being defined as perverts. Many males do enjoy and excel in activities traditionally reserved for females, however, I think very few would proudly describe themselves as sissies.

Now think about these words transvestite - transsexual - cross dresser. They carry a lot of negative feelings, even if you are willing to admit you fit into on of these categories. They are labels. To buy into a label means you must also buy into the negative feelings it might evoke. It takes a lot of intellectual and moral honesty to admit you desire to identify with the opposite sex, and no matter what others think, it is OK. This level of self actualization is rarely achieved in childhood, which by the wildest coincidence is the time we start our cross dressing. As children we were in no position to discourse on the pros and cons of different behaviors with authority figures. Our job was to learn the party line and not stand out - and we were very good at our job! Lessons learned are very hard to unlearn. Even if we did not know the meaning of the words, we learned that transvestites were perverts. We learned that transsexuals were sick. We learned that cross dressing is unnatural and should be punished.

We now know better, or do we? When you say you are a transvestite, does a little part of yourself still cringe? When someone asks if you are a transsexual, do you feel even the slightest bit of threat? Do you keep feeling the need to explain cross dressing as a medical necessity instead of as a right?

There is no law we have to accept a label that carries any negative connotation even if it does describe our objective situation. If you must label yourself, give yourself a label with a positive emotional component. Which sounds better? Transsexual or gender identity explorer. Transvestite or gender freedom fighter. Crossdresser or sexual egalitarian. Describe yourself positively and try to get others to accept your definition. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words break hearts. Choose your weapons carefully and avoid those with a double edge. - Sarah

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Revised: 11/07/10