I had an unusual situation this time home recently with put many things into perspective for me – It’s a long rambling post so grab a cuppa !
We have lived in our home by the seaside in the South West of the UK for the last 25 yrs and have had the same family next to us all that time.
Mother and Father who have 3 boys, who are all part of a very pleasant, tight knit family.
The youngest lad (22) has some mental health issues and is unable to work, has mood swings and is very solitary at times, which are compounded with him and the whole family finding it very hard to cope during the covid lock down situation.… so that’s the back story and setting the scene.
We have never had to discuss my dressing with my neighbours. I tend to be discreet when in my home location as it’s not something that I tend to share with everyone, but I don’t hide it away. I go out often and leave dressed from home, but just pick my time and don’t dawdle.
While I was away at work, the youngest lad has popped round to see my partner a few times for advice on minor injuries (my partner has first aid skills) and my partner realised that he really just wanted to chat to someone about something that was worrying him – however my partner is not comfortable in supporting mental health issues as this is outside their skill and comfort zone so deferred him to his mental health team.
Later that day his mother came round and asked to chat as the lad had confided in her that he likes to crossdress and wanted some advice about how to go about it, as he was looking to buy expensive clothes, shoes, a breast plate etc., with money he doesn’t have, and the family can’t afford …
Apparently, the next door family have known that I dress for many years and have often seen me go in and out but just accepted it as part of life!
Needless to say, when I got home from work a few days later, I was able to have an open and frank chat with him on his thoughts and reasons for dressing, his expectations and dressing history. He confessed to self-harming and dark thoughts, with worry about not being accepted or ridiculed.
This was followed by a long chat with his mother.
One of their main concern was how would the father take it.
I advised them to keep things realistic and not to rush into things and not to spend a fortune on ‘inappropriate’ clothes from specialist shops. I recommended that he and his mother visit charity shops for practical cheap clothes that fitted him and shoes rather than online glamor shops. I also offered to introduce him to a local TG group that I have been associated with for many years after the lockdown restrictions are over. To finish up I strongly advised him to speak to his mental health team about his moods and dark thoughts.
A couple of days later I had a sit-down talk with the father, (who I discovered has also had also known all about my dressing for several years) and explained the situation about the youngest wanting to dress. The father was totally relaxed about the whole thing and took the ‘my child no matter what’attitude which was very humbling. I was never part of a supportive family, so this was a wonderful thing to see.
Since then, the young lad has had a vast improvement in his mental health and has stopped self-harming, he has been attentive to his mother and his new baby and helping more at home. He has bought a couple of dresses with his mother and a wig, and we are going to have another chat when I am next at home. It's very early days yet but hopeful this may help in many areas.
For me, it’s been an amazing situation in that my neighbours had known that I dress and have seen me going out numerous times and have not batted an eyelid, but had enough sense to ask for help in supporting their son who was in a bad place in a situation that they had no experience in.
We are all role models for the people we meet as you never know who may have similar interests, or who are going through some inner turmoil about their gender identity.
I go out and about dressed often and meet many people from hotels, restaurants and shops, to giving lectures and advising about TG in the workplace; but everyone I meet could be someone in this situation, who needs some help and guidance.
So being proud, polite and professional helps put the TG community in a positive light to members of the general population.
Sorry that this has been a rambling post – it’s just something that I feel should be shared at this time when the whole world is having mental health issues compounded by Covid 19 and many are unable to express their feminine side as often as they would like.