Confessions from a Cross-Dresser Convention


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for unique people and experiences. Add to that, I’m somewhat outgoing, uninhibited, and I love to learn why people do the things they do—all traits I’m thankful were bestowed upon me from birth. They make for many exciting opportunities and life experiences.

Enter Cincinnati, Ohio, 1996. I was staying in a Holiday Inn on the east side of town, enroute to another Ohio destination, when I happened upon a perfect opportunity—an annual cross-dresser convention was taking place at our hotel! After getting the kids into bed (5 and 2 at the time), my ex-husband, supportive of my inquisitive streak, pushed me out the door and told me to carpe diem (seize the day)!

Living my whole life only in Wyoming and southwest Florida (home of the conservative senior citizens), I had very little cross-dresser experience to go on. Admittedly, I carried assumptions (judgments) about them, and I hoped to find out if any were true. For starters, I thought cross-dressers were committed to the lifestyle 24/7, that they wanted to be women, that they may in fact be homosexuals, and that they were probably doing it, in part, for attention or the novelty of it.

My first impression when I walked into the lounge area where many were socializing for the evening was, “I have never seen an uglier bunch of women in my life!” It’s not that the men themselves were unattractive, but they sure could have used some hair, wardrobe, and makeup tips! These were far from professionals, I could tell that right away. Most of them were decked out in gaudy jewelry, flashy, flamboyant colors and tacky clothing combinations, and horrendous makeup application. I saw everything from black net stockings and BIG HAIR blond wigs, to high heels and neon red lipstick (actually, they all had on high heels and were far from graceful or at home in them).

The “gals” seemed readily willing to accept a stranger in their midst, so I sat down at the bar and began conversing. I asked questions and listened late into the night. Larry-Kimberly, a plumber, was a happily married man with two kids who hid his once a week cross-dresser habit from his family. I asked him where he kept his weekend paraphernalia and he told me he kept it hidden in trash sacks in the back of a closet.

Thirty something Todd-Joyce, a police officer, told me he used to be a pole vaulter on his college track team, and he still had the physique—barely concealed under his frills—to prove it. He too was married and had no intention of expressing his feminine side more than once a week.

Of all the “gals” I visited with that evening, not one of them was a homosexual (not that it would have mattered), but were all married men sworn to secrecy. When I asked what they told their families as to where they went on the weekends, it was usually “golfing” or “to a sporting event” (you wives should think about that).

Not one wanted to be a woman but merely did the cross-dresser thing as outlet for their mischievous, risk-seeking, adventurous natures, without doing anything particularly damaging to themselves or their families. I’m not suggesting that their lying to their wives was the right thing to do, but I’m just saying that they could have been out doing a lot worse things. And though it was a long time ago, and I’m probably missing many fantastic, juicy details, each one had an engaging, multi-dimensional story to tell of their life as a regular Joe.

Hanging out with cross-dressers gave me yet another opportunity in life to learn about people, and how I have misjudged them or misunderstood them. I still think I was right that many of them did it for the novelty and perhaps the attention, but I found out that my previous judgments were mostly wrong.

I also found out that, at the core, they are not much different than me. After all, they weren’t the only ones sitting in a hotel at a cross-dresser convention.

"Gloria" the fantastic babysitter (see comments)

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  • cafewitteveen

    Notwithstanding the idea that some of the thrill might be the secret, It's a shame that any person should have to keep anything a secret regarding their sexuality or their expression of it.

    As a former Christian, I have told people that they and/or their loved ones were going to hell for homosexual behavior — or what I perceived as homosexual behavior. This news wasn't based on facts. It was based on small-minded Christian teachings.

    My small mind was blown when I started meeting professionals who were inconsequently gay.

    My photography mentor is an awesome woman who happens to be gay. Her partner and she were forced to keep their relationship a secret for many years, because some groups of believers are too focused on conservative thought.

    I had a good basis for why folks marry from my parents. However, my mentor helped teach me the value of a loving, monogamous relationship. I learned from a homosexual the value in growing old with the person whom you love.

    As you pointed out above (in a round about way) great learning experiences and life lessons can come from the very people you were taught to think were inferior.

    • jferwerd

      Hahaha…you took the bait. I actually waffled about mentioning that detail, but I thought, "no, Jeremy will start the conversation on that," so I put it in.

      Yeah, I'm reading a fantastic book right now, "The Jesus Secret," addressing even more layers of the deception-stupor I've been crammed into all my life. It's a book dealing with several different Greek mistranslations in our modern New Testaments, as proven by the prolific Koine papyri found at the turn of the century.

      One of the words the author goes into a great deal, "dikaios," I had already uncovered myself about a month ago. It is the word translated somewhat consistently throughout the NT as "righteous" or "righteousness," intended to convey moral uprightness. When in fact, this word is clearly proven in the papyri to convey JUSTICE and equity, not morality. Bible scholars have known of this error for many years but stubbornly refuse to change it for nothing more than maintaining traditions of men (and perhaps fear of diminishing the superior piety of the masses).

      This really gets my dander up because there are so many times in the NT that the word "righteousness" basically conveys a completely different message than what the early writers said or intended. For instance, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom." Well, WHO could surpass the obvious moral righteousness of the pharisees? They perfectly followed the letter of the law. However, this is not what Jesus said, and if you read the whole passage in context, you clearly see what Jesus was talking about. "Unless your justice (or equitable treatment of others) surpasses that of the pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom." Now THAT makes sense. The pharisees notoriously robbed people of equitable treatment. When you make the corrections, you find that the Kingdom is about bringing true justice to earth, not being super spiritual and pious. But therein, translators would have had a problem because if you preach the message of the false gospel, even God is not fair or equitable in His treatment of others, so how could His people be?

      On topic at hand, another word the author points out as being a total mistranslation is the word "homosexual." He demonstrates how the word (arsenokoitai) from the early cultures (provably) means those who force young boys to have anal sex, or who force women into prostitution. Quite a different feel than "homosexuals." The author goes on to demonstrate, very convincingly, that it is genuine, selfless love of your fellow man (yes, including cross dressers and homosexuals) that qualifies you for the Kingdom of God. All of the writers of the NT make this the basis for relationship with God, yet this message is either not recognized or ignored.

      Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; FOR HE WHO LOVES HIS NEIGHBOR HAS FULFILLED THE LAW. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW. Rom. 13:8-10

      So tell me Jeremy, are you a closet cross-dresser or do you do it publicly? :D

  • jferwerd

    Your grandparents do sound amazing. And I too know of homosexuals who demonstrate the extreme committed love to each other that you are saying–in sickness and health.

    Now that I understand it, I often think of Jesus' words to the pharisees–the morally upright people who didn't get love. "Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom before you."

    You know, I should post the picture of my husband when he cross dressed once. He showed up at the door when we were dating one morning as "Gloria," a nice grandmotherly type. I had asked him to babysit my girls while I worked that day, and I have to say, Gloria was a BIG hit!

  • jferwerd

    Hahaha…check out Gloria above in my post. Isn't she lovely?

    • That's a hideous makeup job!!!

    • cafewitteveen

      Consider yourself a lucky woman. :)

      • jferwerd

        Steve, I think that compliment was intended for you. ;)