Annie's Mailbox: Lost in Ottawa
Dear Annie: I'm a 24-year-old male who has been crossdressing since the age of 8. It started with collecting my own bras and panties, and now I have an entire wardrobe of women's clothing.
Because I currently live on my own, I change out of my male clothes into my female ones as soon as I come home from work. I've also had very serious thoughts and dreams about being a woman.
This is confusing to me, and I want to know whether there is someone I can talk to about these feelings. I'm way too scared to come out to family or friends because of what they would think. -- Lost in Ottawa
Dear Ottawa: Crossdressing is not as uncommon as you might think, and there are many reasons. Some people crossdress to disguise themselves, be more comfortable, act a part or because it is attractive to a partner (e.g., women who wear a man's dress shirt to bed). That type of crossdressing is fairly common and socially acceptable.
For others, there is a sexual component or a release of tension, along with a compulsion to wear clothing of the opposite gender. This type of crossdressing can be more difficult for family members or partners to accept. You can find support and information through The Society for the Second Self and the International Foundation for Gender Education.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "At a Loss for Words," the daughter who is constantly hurt by her mother's lack of involvement with her children.
She could work on changing her own behavior toward the situation. She has taught her mother how to treat her by always being loving and kind in spite of Mom's narcissistic attitude. Perhaps she should take a different approach and just invite Mom to her children's events with only brief notice and no expectation that Mom will show up. The more distance she puts between herself and her mother the more Mom will want to be involved, because she will wonder why things changed.
Also, perhaps she could put a positive spin on things by relishing the fact that her mother is not a busybody who is overly involved in her life. (This happens much more often than the reverse.) I bet as Mom ages, she will try harder and harder to get involved with her grandchildren's lives, but by that time, it will be too late. Sadly, it will take time for Mom to figure that out. When the board meetings and the fancy car appointments are over, Mom will be a bitter old woman. -- Better Approach
Dear Better: You could be right. Sometimes withholding one's attentions makes you more desirable, although it would take a major behavioral adjustment for the daughter to behave in an indifferent and uncaring way. But Mom may never quite care enough about missing out on one set of grandchildren. She has another set whom she favors, which is also part of the problem.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.