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My Husband Betty   book icon  
by Helen Boyd (2003)

read: 14 June 2004
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

The great thing about being a somewhat butch woman is that society doesn’t really give you a hard time. I can wear jeans, fix my car, lift heavy objects and swear in public and while it’s not always the most acceptable behavior, it generally won’t get me beat up. Crossdressers have a harder time of it. Not only do many people not even really understand what crossdressing is or what crossdressers do, but the community itself is fractured on many of these questions. This book is written by the wife of a crossdresser discussing not only the CD community, but also the community of partners of crossdressers.

Boyd [a pseudonym, maybe so she could go next to Jennfier Boylan on the shelves?] not trying to make friends here, she’s trying to tell it like it is. While she’s not hostile to her husband’s crossdressing, it’s also not the easiest thing in the world for her. She has interacted with other support groups for partners of straight crossdressers and has had difficulty finding simpatico with other CD’s wives. She discusses many of the problems couples can have when one of them is a crossdresser [odd sex lives, telling the family, deciding “who is the woman” in many situations] and maintains that there is no “normal” crossdressing scenario, that they are all different. One of the more interesting observations she has, about her husband and the CD community in general, is how she feels that crossdressers [similar to drag queens] often do not want to be women, they want to embody some sort of Platonic womanness they see in society. Instead of doing this --as the author wryly suggests -- by taking a pay cut and helping her clean the kitchen -- they prefer to act out stereotypical gender roles [hair, makeup, shoes, femininity] which can be aggravating to a real female who has to take the whole package and parcel every day.

Boyd clearly loves her husband and loves the CD community. Even so, many of her words have an edge to them. She has been frustrated trying to express her opinions that go against the normative CD ideals that are represented by national support groups like Tri-Ess who believe that all, or mostly all, crossdressers are straight. If this is true, counters Boyd, then what is with the prevalence of “forced feminization” porn among CDs, and why does my stright monogamous husband flirt with me? This book will ask as many questions as it answers, but it’s a rollicking good read and worthwhile for anyone even remotely interested in gender issues.

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