Girl 102 - Getting more boys wearing dresses - that was the next stage.
Girl 101 - well that was where it started ..... and now the program was expanding so that more boys and girls could join in. And my life was getting complicated - and interesting - and frilly and generally rather different than i had ever expected. And most of the time, I liked it.
Things were getting complicated. That’s a silly way to remember what was happening to me and those around me.
We had begun the Girl 101 project with a slightly humorous attempt to look at the roles, attitudes, behaviours and presentation of the young human male and the young human female. Then the school had got involved – not much choice really – either for them or for us in the end.
Yeah, alright, my mum and my girlfriend and me had agreed that I could dress as a girl – and I had enjoyed it. Which is a bit odd – because I’m a boy.
But I was different – I loved dresses and skirts and especially underwear. I loved the feel of my bra as it held me tight and squeezed me tenderly. I had recently looked up slogans for bras and I had found ones like ‘as delicate as a caress’ ‘the bra for the way you are’ and others. I think my favourite was the one that was truest for me ‘I love my bra’.
But I was still doing my share of boy activities – even if I wore panties at the same time. The other guys had got used to me doing this. And two of the other guys had sometimes tried wearing panties – they told me so. Pete and Josh said they felt ‘kind of nice’ and that they were ‘sort of interested’ in trying some other stuff.
I smiled – I managed not to giggle which would have been too much un-boy – and said, “To get some idea of the difference, you’d be amazed at how nice it feels to have a lining on your trousers instead of bare denim. If you can find a pair, then, once you’ve tried it you can begin to understand why I feel girls are so lucky with the extra variety of materials they have for their clothes.”
“So what do you suggest.”
“As I said, if you can find them then lined trousers are pretty nice. But you can get a sort of equivalent feel by wearing tights under your trousers. They’re easy to buy and quite easy to put on. They do feel so so different. I like it.”
“Yeah, but you wear panties almost all the time. You’re getting a bit strange. But then now I’ve worn panties a few times already so I sort of understand the idea of going a step further. But, tights, I dunno. It might be worth a go,” said Josh. “You up for it, Pete?”
“I will if you will.”
“I promise you, it’ll be worth the effort. I love the feel of tights under my jeans. But if I tell you too much I might spoil your first trial.”
“And after the tights – what else would you suggest?”
“You need to look around at what girls wear – the materials and so on. Once you look hard, you’ll realize that so much of the cloth and the clothes are finer, thinner, softer than what we have. Jersey for example – we just get sweaters and so on – they get lovely thin blouses, dresses and all sorts – and in so many pretty colours too. And if you don’t want to try the tights, then an alternative is a camisole vest under your shirt. The material they use is so slick and sheer and smooth under your ordinary shirt – it’s lovely.”
“It’s funny, well not so funny really, but, you’re right, I have been looking at what the girls wear and, it’s true, there is so much more that they can wear. I know, from what I’ve heard Beth say that sometimes the choice is just ‘too much’ and it’s really difficult to get the right combination – but it might be fun to try. But that’s in the future. For now, we’ll check out your idea of tights. Got to go – I’m going shopping. Coming, Pete.”
I was fascinated at how the Girl-101 project was growing – almost without any deliberate effort. What would happen when we announced that there would be actual lessons – that would be interesting.
Gemma and I and mum too had been putting a lot of effort into suggestions for the lessons. We had agreed with the head that there would be a series of 10 lessons over the whole of a term – well, two half-terms if you want to use our school terminology.
We had a whole session on materials – and what different uses some of them were for – and what they felt like and so on. This was the session when we encouraged the boys to take a pair of panties for themselves to wear ‘soon’. All of them were new of course, but a few of the more attractive were labelled as ‘donated by Sandy, by Gabrielle’…., and so on. There was this not-so-subtle feeling that this would entice quite a lot of the boys into trying on panties. And it was obvious that the panties donated by the prettier girls were snapped up very quickly.
But would the taking be followed up by the wearing. Gabrielle stood up “Boys, you’ve chosen your panties. Well, quite a lot of you have. But it’s not about the selecting – it’s about the wearing. Why don’t you go off to the changing rooms round the corner and put them on. Then we can find out if they fit and so on.” And she put on a wicked grin .”Come on, Jeff, you’ve been wanting to get into Emily’s panties for a whole term now – here’s your chance.”
Jeff went scarlet but came back with a quick retort. “Well, yeah, but ….but Emily’s too tiny for me so I’ve got one of your pairs.”
Gaby giggled, “Naughty boy, are you suggesting that my bum is big.”
“No, not big …. just bigger than Emily ….. and, I’ll come back and tell you if these ones fit.” And Jeff sauntered out of the room with Gaby’s yellow and white panties dangling from his hand.
The repartee between the two of them broke the ice and made it much easier for all the boys to go and change. Several of the less willing boys then took the opportunity to join in. Gradually, Jeff and the others came back into the room with their own pants held up to confirm their new apparel was in place.
The next week, we made the same offer but with camisoles, t-shirts, blouses and tops of various sorts. This time there were as many as a dozen or fifteen more boys who joined the queue to collect some clothes. Gemma and a couple of the girls helped make sure that they were picking clothes in the right sizes. Gradually, the system developed that the boys would report for a Girl-101 session on Monday to update on the activities over the weekend, then on Tuesday and Thursday before an almost mandatory and slightly longer session on the Friday to prepare for the weekend.
The boys each had a notebook where they recorded the sizes of the clothes they could wear, the manufacturers and the descriptions. This was so that they could answer accurately when asked what they were wearing – it had been agreed that it wasn’t just the wearing that was essential to Girl-101 but the knowledge and the ability to discuss and share.
The girls who had agreed to take part in these mostly end-of-day sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for Boy101 had the same sort of issues to deal with – they had to learn about sports and sports personalities, they had to be willing, at the drop of the proverbial hat, to join in a kickabout or some other sport-oriented spontaneous event. And they had to cut down on the variety and colour of what they wore to what Bryony called ‘dull, drab and dead’.
But not every situation in what was beginning to be known in the school as BG-101 was designed to emphasise the BG differences. There was much more encouragement for each of the participants to actually think rather than just to get through each day.
The BG lead-team – Gemma, me , mum and often a couple of others from the group, most often Anita, Zena, Bill and William – did a lot of talking about what we were trying to teach in our 10 school-time sessions and what we would see as success and what we were looking for after the short-term as both medium-term and long-term benefits.
Mum had read about a group called the BigSisters which had some really interesting views about the relationship between the masculine and the feminine. Their main message was that the full complete person had elements of both the masculine and the feminine. But their method for encouraging the male to obtain this widening of their persona was to put them in dresses for a while. Their website was very emphatic that there should be no pressure, no coercion but there was an allowance for ‘encouragement’ which sounded deliberately vague.
As a group we too felt that coercion and ‘making the boys do things’ was not our intention – but we had to take note of the alleged success they had. That was to say, if any boy showed a desire or willingness to dress on a semi-permanent basis needed to be helped with their choice and their pathway. And if any boy opened up and showed a need to dress up then we would have to endorse their implicit investigation of a change of gender. But we felt that we were not about transgenderism. That was a task for experts.
So we were well aware that we were stretching the boundaries – but the head, Mr Meads, had said loudly and clearly that quality education had, as one of its purposes, the expansion of the horizons and the depth and the breadth and the scale and the aim of every student.
On a daily basis, all I knew was that I loved the flexibility I had been given to be as boyish or as girlish as I wanted.
Interestingly, mum had begun to switch the roles I was expected to follow – instead of wearing girl clothes for girl tasks, she was beginning to flip things so that she would say – “today you’re wearing boy and doing girl, and tomorrow you’ll be wearing girl and doing boy. After all, if you were my daughter then you’d have to be doing boy and girl jobs straight off.”
I didn’t necessarily like it, but her logic was pretty obvious. And I didn’t argue.
The BG-101 sessions were going well. The initial effort was in the middle school. The top two years were much too involved in exams and so on. But it was exciting that both younger and older kids took part voluntarily. The end-of-day lessons often overran into the homework and late-pickup period after the official end of the school day.
The most unusual fact was the gradual growth with the head’s official endorsement that uniform was less important provided that the black, white, dark blue and pale blue format was retained. This meant for example that the boys could wear pale blue cardigans or dark blue blouses if they wanted to. And by the end of the first half-term, some of them were doing so – especially me. Not too surprisingly, I was pushed to be the lead example for every new aspect of BG-101. That is to say, the G elements. Fortunately Gemma was not the lead for the B stuff. Ashley, who previously had been the centre-forward on the netball team, was the one for that.
Most of the teachers seemed to be remarkably willing to accept the increasing variety of school ‘uniform’ becoming increasingly non-uniform. But like all good things, no, that’s the wrong approach. Like all things that are a bit different, a bit unusual, a bit out-of-the-ordinary – there were people who didn’t like what was happening. Or to be more accurate, they didn’t like what they believed was happening.
We knew what we were doing in terms of facts and activities and real tasks. What we were not able to control was the emotional impact of what we were doing.
The first time we realized that there was a growing antagonism to what we were doing was when the local newspaper began a series of articles about ‘What’s happening to the boys and girls at our school’. And they weren’t favourable and they weren’t even polite.
There was a pretence at integrity, at pretending not to be displaying all the bigotry, nastiness, prejudice and intolerance that a local newspaper can generate against something it has taken against. Modern journalists know how to bend the story so that it breaks none of the laws but still panders to one side while scarifying the other.
And what we were doing – well, that was the target. Being the target wasn’t going to be nice. But we were so proud of what we were doing and the success we seemed to be building.
The first article set the scene. They used a folk-style attack “You country folks just won’t be believin’ what the new city-type arrivals in this town are makin’ happen to yore good kids.”
‘They’re tryin’ to teech yore boys to be girls and yore girls to be butch. Can you believe how this’ll screw up our local kids. It ain’t right and we call on all proper people to make this weird cult-style teaching to be stopped.’
Now, as professional newspapermen, we can’t use words that are racist, or sexist, or terrorist, or ageist or any of the intolerant words – but without any intent to cause distress to our readers, we must report that the alleged extra-curricular behaviour of some of the people, staff, pupils and parents, at our local school are, we can only call it ‘weird, strange, different, potentially morally suspect and perhaps improper – in our opinion’.
This language attracted the religious bigots, the sexual bigots, the gender bigots, the anti-anything-different bigots, the big bigots, the small-minded bigots and the total bigots. (I don’t think I missed anyone out.)
Suddenly, some of the kids were under real pressure by their parents to stop taking part in the project.
While mum, I and Gemma were making notes so we could bring this whole package of notes into the Girl-101 course, Kate and Louise found some other notes about ‘how to dress as a woman (if you’re a man)’. It was really exciting how many people were researching and thinking about the whole boy-girl experience.
…. ‘Many cross dressers are trans-gender, born of one gender but wishing to be identified with the other. These cross dressers might even be in the process of, or desiring to have, sexual reassignment surgery. For these people, their identity is what makes them cross dress, while for others it is a fetish. Still, for others, it is simply the desire to shake up social norms and for shock value.’
One of the local shops introduced us to the BigSisters group that they had worked with. The BigSisters leaflet said :-
.....‘We find that a significant amount of men, and boys too, have a feminine side that they want to express but do not dare to. We feel that the barriers between the two genders are really stupid – but also stupidly real. Our aim is to help the boys and men recognize that a touch of the feminine can break down the ugly aspects of macho and what can turn into male aggression and therefore make the person more whole. Our method is to introduce our girls to the pleasures of silk and satin while helping them realise that there was nothing wrong in wearing a wider variety of clothes and learning a bit more about the other side of the fence. It has been a lot of work and given us Big Sisters and our New-Girls an enormous amount of satisfaction.”
On another part of their site, we found their Nine Pieces of Advice for New-Girls :-
1 be happy and comfortable as a girl looking like other girls
2 build a body shape that looks reasonably girly (breast forms already ordered)
3 and a hairstyle that feminizes the face
4 wear clothes that are age-suitable and peer-conforming
5 use accessories, earrings and so on
6 do your makeup as minimal as possible but age-suitable
7 learn voice, walk, posture, movement, gesture, language – learn by watching
8 Smile more
9 Love the new you – because you’re special and lovely.
The project was growing and getting more people involved week by week. Sure, some of the kids found it too difficult or too confusing – but each drop-out was replaced by newcomers.
There was a group of us, sitting in the food precinct at the shopping centre. We saw a group of about 12 or 15 middle-aged people watching us – at least, that is what we thought they were doing. It seemed a bit strange. One of the people seemed to be the leader, tall, thin, small beard and dark eyes. He looked suddenly very determined as he saw us notice him.
Suddenly, we were being shouted at very loudly by a group of adults. They were saying things like ‘Heretics, Atheists, Devil-Worshippers, Blasphemers’ …. Any thesaurus will give you more variations. And their tone of voice, well tone of shout and shriek, was ugly.
The leader suddenly boomed, “Enough. You have shown your disapproval of this vile host of Jezebels and whores. How they flaunt their bodies. You have seen how they wear clothing that mocks the laws of God. But we cannot condemn them – their fault is to have become servants of Satan. But we can do what must be done and show this community what to do with Evil. We shall shun them – and our example will cause this pure community to throw them into the pits of hell.”
Ruby, Poppy, Georgia, Grace and Chloe were the nearest – and only two of them were girls. There was chaos.
They were shouting back at this ….., er, let’s say ‘horrid person’. “What are you talking about. There’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing. We are learning about the other 50% and it’s good. It’s really good”.
Mr Horrid was having none of this. His intended victims – talking back to him. Spurning his instructions. Arguing with his excellent self-importance and ultra-goodness.
His face went a nasty combination of white and scarlet. “How dare you argue with your God and your Bible. How dare you stand up and dismiss the laws of god and the sanctity of your god-created bodies. Your souls are in peril.” He went on and on.
Somehow, well stun me sideways at my brainpower, I got the feeling that this was an orchestrated and thoroughly arranged ‘event’. Mr Horrid was clearly the main man and it was he who had to be made to shut up and go away – if that was at all possible.
I stood up, (‘why me’ a little voice was whimpering). “Excuse me, sir” (always pretend to be polite) “Can you spare a moment to give me some advice?” (A request like this is meat and drink to a priest, pseudo-priest or crowd-manipulator). “I’d never thought what I was doing was wrong, can you give me some help to understand?”
“Are you one of these abominations – a boy wearing girls clothes?” he screeched at me.
“Don’t be silly, I’m wearing my normal clothes.” I slid around an actual answer to his question. “But I did ask for your advice.” I needed to get him away from this publicity opportunity that he had arranged.
He tried to keep the Ian Paisley-style ‘shoutathon’ going but faced with the almost impossible choice of having a conversation while ranting to his followers – he lost momentum. [Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland MP, pro-Protestant, anti-Catholic, loud]
“Why do you associate with these vile people who have been forcing their children, the boys and girls like you, to dress in completely inappropriate clothes, and materials like silks and satins belonging to the opposite gender. It is wrong. It is vile. It is decadent. It is un-biblical. I have read these things and I know them to be true. I have read all the arguments of the clever modernisers. I know what the fetishists and perverts say. I know there are homosexuals and lesbians and bisexuals. I do not care for some of what they say and some of what they ask for. They demand equality and have persuaded the lawyers to give them the form of it.”
“But, sir, I’m not asking about ‘them’ whoever ‘they’ are – but for me. Can you tell me what I or any of my friends is doing that is actually illegal. I hear your words and understand that you feel some of what my friends are doing is morally wrong, even inappropriate as regards current social codes and currently accepted practice. But I have to ask you – just looking around at the people in the shops and sitting here having a break – why are the women allowed to wear trousers, waistcoats, ties and rugby shirts – but somehow you say men are not allowed to do the equivalent, and wear lovely clothes of beautiful and delicate materials – like the Georgians used to wear.”
He roared, “I reject your manipulation. I reject what you say. I care only for the bible and what it says and what are the right ways to live and behave. I know that the bible has rules for every situation and I tell you (he was back to screaming again) I tell you that the bible forbids men to wear the clothes of women or for women to wear the clothes of men. And I tell you that the book of Leviticus, the holy words of God and Moses, promises death, obliteration, extinction and eternal damnation.”
Sara, who was the daughter of the local rabbi, interrupted “Excuse me, sir, but are you saying that you believe in and adopt the whole of the law of Moses and that you reject any change or alteration that modern society brings with it.”
“Because I was reading with my father last night and he suggested that there were verses in Leviticus 22 which were a bit out of order by any modern understanding. You do know what it says in verses 17 to 23?”
Shouty-Man hesitated once more – and Sara filled the gap. “It says in brief, something like - the following shall not be allowed to go to the synagogue or church to approach and offer the Bread of his God; the blind, lame, flat-nosed (I did wonder at that), broken-footed, broken-handed, crook-backed, dwarf, or those that have scurvy, scabbed, broken-stones or a blemish in his eye…. Does this sound reasonable to you? Do you make your flock obey these rules?”
Shouty,Man suddenly realised that we were more than ready for attack by religious weirdoes – even if he thought that WE were the weird ones. This was a response that he had not been ready for. By hindsight, a solid defence was the best form of attack – and he couldn’t cope.
Once more shouting, this time he said “I reject you and your manipulations and subtleties. Your behaviour and attitudes are vile and evil. I shall call on all right-thinking people to shun you in your public immorality.”
That sounded like it was going to be fun. Not.
As we often had meetings with the head, we didn’t need to arrange one. Fortunately, being kids with actual working knowledge of modern technology, we had two good videos of what Shouty-Man had been doing. We had already prepared an annotated version to go onto Youtube, Facebook, with Twitter comments and so on but Sara, in particular, wanted to run it past the head first.
Mr Anders was very grateful for being involved at an early stage. “I’m not going to come the adult who knows it all and tells the youthful teenagers how things should be done. What I can suggest will, like your Shouty-Man, be on the edge of libellous and so to speak cutting-edge as regards morals and propriety. Just because he started it, doesn’t mean you should come down to his level of intolerance and plain nastiness. But he has an agenda, a plan and an intent. You need to undermine his attempts to revile you – and you need to do it with style. Coming back at him with biblical quotes which show how actually selective he is being with his chosen verses is a brilliant start. You need to find out about him and then, - if I weren’t an adult in a position of authority over you and it would be very wrong of me to suggest such a thing - chew him up and spit out the pieces.
We all smiled at each other.
Eve said, “My mum will be very willing to join his group and dig for some details. She’s the vicar’s assistant and knows an awful lot about churchy things and about some of the semi-loonies that get attracted to particular culty-type views.”
“She does need to get us something quite quickly, if that’s possible.”
“Perhaps if she offered him the Church Hall as a place to have an open meeting?”
“That would probably work. Does anyone know how to get in touch with him?”
The always silent Ken spoke up, “I followed them as they left. They got into a bus hired from Western buses. I’ve got their number – and cousin Jeff works in the office. He’s not too keen on bullies.”
“Sounds good to me – at least we should get a name and address out of that. Well done, folks. And I want to see your videos one more time. I think, there’s a few bits of wording that could be sharper.”
Most of the group left. Sara and Jo stayed to discuss whatever minor edits would work better.
I was exhausted when I got home.
After a bubble bath, a tidy-up shave and getting dressed in my favourite undies and one of my girliest dresses, I felt much better. The lightweight summer dress had a fairly stiff crinoline petticoat making it stand out so that the hem floated in mid-air. It made me feel gorgeous.
A couple of my friends came round, Andrew and Malcolm, asking if I wanted to come and play cricket.
Not unreasonably, I said, “Hold on a sec, I’ll go and change.”
Malcolm smiled and said, “There’s new rules. If any of the new-girls or new-boys want to join in then it doesn’t matter what they wear.”
“Thanks for the info, but this dress just isn’t suitable for running around in. But, since you seem to be insisting, I’ll put on an ordinary dress. I’m not going to do the boy-wearing-makeup routine. It never feels right doing that. It’s as silly and unattractive and wrong-feeling as wearing a skirt with boy’s underwear or without being clean.”
“Doesn’t matter to us. You’re still Jack whether you’re in a dress or not. I mean in a dress or wearing trousers. Oh heck, ignore what I said – you’re still Jack and you’ll always be Jack. Okay,” he grinned.
I was back almost before he had finished talking. Even though girls CAN take hours to get dressed, an awful lot of that is finding the right clothes for the situation. Wearing the right clothes gives a great deal of confidence – get it wrong and it just ain’t right. (One of Eve’s mum’s favourite sayings).
In a few moments I was downstairs in a more sport-suitable but definitely decorative and femme pair of shorts. I didn’t see any need to change my t-shirt and trainers – but I had done that too.
I wasn’t a sporty kid, but an invitation to relax in the afternoon and early evening sunshine with a bunch of friends is never to be refused and I did know one end of a bat from t’other.
Slow and steady was my style. I didn’t have the strength to hit the ball hard but it was always hard to get me out. Any team with me in, tended to put me in about number 7 with the hope that the other batsmen would contribute the necessary runs. [Sorry if cricket isn’t your game but I could explain it in a few words badly or tell you scads of barely interesting facts.]
The notorious ‘Tea Towel’ explanation is as follows
Cricket: As explained to a foreigner...
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that has been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the eleven men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
But I was happy because I was in some of the time and actually not out at the end, and our team declared itself to have won. Shortly after, everyone set off to the ice-cream and burger bar for the evening’s unofficial socialising.
Tonight however, there was not as much socialising as possible as most of us were discussing Shouty-Man and what manoeuvres we could use to get him to go away.
Gradually we realised that other people thought we were doing something special. We didn’t think WE were special. We didn’t actually think what we were doing was special. We just thought, no we KNEW, that what we were doing was sensible.
If there was such a thing as equality – then everybody was equal. But it was just as true that individuals differed one from another. And the biggest most obvious differences between people were gender and skin-colour. We couldn’t do much about skin colour – but we could change the way we looked. Our simple effort to consider the differences between the genders was, for those of us who took part, interesting.
All sorts of research came up as we wandered around the web. We had to be pretty sensible as some of the stuff that came up when you typed in simple phrases with complex meanings such as ‘boys dressing up’ were crude, rude, lewd and horrid.
But there is some good stuff, as well as some that is clearly no more than the contributor’s own thoughts backed up by what he has been told or with a little general knowledge has determined by educated guesswork. Both these fall into the category I have recently seen described as ‘anecdata’. I love this word and so did the English teacher and several others.
“Oh yes, anecdotal stories with only verbal evidence used as actual data by those who can’t be bothered to do the research. I like it.”
For example, Flickr has a site labelled ‘When did you begin [your cross-dressing activities] ’ and it’s easy to see the variety of types of cross-dressers that life has created. A lot of people began with panties – often from the clothes hamper in the bathroom – and lots of them said the recent woman smell was very important; not quite as many began with shoes and heels; some discovered nighties and some were hooked by leotards. Not many were actually encouraged by their sisters, mothers or aunts; although a fair number were not actively discouraged!.
Age-wise, the majority talk about being ‘hooked’ before they were teenagers. Only a very few say they got interested after 20. Far too many say that they got ‘serious’ too late and regret not committing earlier in life.
And a remarkable number implied that they love cock-sucking, which seems strange compared to the general tone of other comments in related areas. More reasonably, only a very few reveal homosexual activity – and much of that seems to be teenage experiment.
There were very few that had given up dressing – but perhaps they would never come near a site about ‘when did you start’ if they had been permanently discouraged by their early experiences and the reactions of others.
But scattered around, like I said, there was lots of good advice. And we took some of it on board as part of our Girl-101 and Boy-101 courses.
Wandering around the net, mum had found some really useful comments. This was the one she first told me about. Over the next few evenings, we talked about each of them, went to the local shopping mall and had a coffee while we watched the girls performing their way while the boys did it oh-so-different. It was fascinating. Some of the time, we filmed with our little videocam – but we weren’t comfortable about doing that. I would only need one person to notice and complain.
This was one piece – and it got a lot of attention and criticism and eventually some amendment about how people behaved, how they were perceived and what one could learn by careful watching of behaviour and attitude.
A Guide to some Girl v Boy Differences
- Girls think specific case first, generalization second. Boys think generalization first.
- Girls speak with many, many more modifiers, such as very, little, many, and so.
- Girls nod to encourage more conversation. Boys nod to agree, but are more vigorous in
- Girls’ mouths mirror their emotions. Boys show little expression with their mouths when speaking, other than when they’re joking.
- Girls are more likely to listen to what an opponent says.
- Girls get closer during conversations. Boys interrupt more.
- Girls often speak more quietly and clearly; Boys can easily begin to be loud.
- Girls take smaller bites and use napkins.
- Girls talk about people, recent events, clothes, and activities. Boys talk about girls and upcoming plans.
- Girls can talk even about things that have recently been discussed; Boys deal with any necessary transfer of information then drift.
- Girls use a much wider range of (feminine) adjectives
- Girls use a much wider set of names for colours.
- Girls consider lack of eye contact from other girls to be a sign of deception or insecurity. Girls will let their eyes wander when listening but always make eye contact when talking.
- Girls are taught to sit upright knees together with their legs under them. Boys sprawl.
- When girls eat an informal meal they will sit sideways to a table, or even fold their arms on the table. When eating a formal meal they tend to sit upright and observe good table manners. Boys tend to eat informally at all times.
- Girls will touch their noses during a conversation to convey a meaning. A boy will touch his nose only if it itches.
- Girls tend to use their fingers more. Boys use broad gestures using their arms and hands.
- Girls frequently will touch their hair to smooth it. Boys scratch their heads.
- Girls clap with their fingers, boys with their palms.
- Girls look at their fingernails flat-handed away from them; boys curl their fingers
- Girls lift their foot behind their leg to see more easily. Boys bend.
- Girls carry their books in front of their chest;
- Girls take smaller steps. Even if the girl and boy are the same size, the girl’s steps will be smaller. Girls move their hips more and their arms less when walking. Girls will slow down their pace to be able to chat.
- Girls stand back from a curb while waiting; boys stand close, one foot ahead, ready to move.
- Girls solve problems by talking them through with friends. Boys go off on their own to think about their troubles.
- Girls seek to calm their emotions first, and then work on the problem. Men go right to the answer.
- Girls are likely to seek an answer that is acceptable to all parties. Boys will try to negotiate to their own advantage.
- Girls make peace. Boys make war.
- Girls are more likely to admit an error in judgment.
- Girls tend to create less conflict by using more moderate gestures. They tend to be less opinionated, more open to compromise.
- Girls tend to multi-task, doing something as they walk. No matter what their size, boys walk faster. Boys are in a hurry to get somewhere.
- Girls touch. Boys don’t or if they do they touch roughly and too harshly.
- Girls tease to flirt. Boys tease relentlessly.
- Girls tell situational jokes that laugh at human nature. Boys tell ethnic jokes, put-down jokes with much more unkindness.
- Girls seem to prefer magazines and short stories to books.
- Girls do have friends and groups but these friendships can be broken suddenly and almost cruelly as far as the outcast is made to feel.
- Girls are more likely to have a ‘best-friend-forever’ - sometimes these last a long time.
This is not an exclusive or complete list. Participants should note that use or non-use of one or several characteristics does not indicate and definitely does not determine a person’s femininity or masculinity.
Some of the group, most especially those who had detected a leaning towards actual transgenderism were much absorbed in the issues about ‘coming out’, ‘passing’ and the wider reaches of tolerance.
For them it all began with the reaction of parents, relatives, friends, associates and colleagues. Each stage of coming out, and for each person they could happen in a different order and with different combinations of reaction, each stage was fraught and potentially painful – or even dangerous and nasty.
But our experimenters and participants were doing what they were doing with school endorsement and as part of a structured sequence of investigations as to what was pleasing, comfortable, interesting and nice about the opposite gender’s attitudes, behaviours, clothes and opportunities; and what was not so good.
We built up a series of suggestions as to what to do if you enjoyed the experience and wanted to carry on at home. Eventually, this became what we called our Trans Advice Guide. And I can’t apologise enough that we’ve borrowed and copied and so on – and if we’d thought about it at the beginning we would have asked and acknoweledged every author and every website – but as a gropup-hug-thankyou-thing – tahnk you everyone. And if anyone is upset then – please – tell us and we’ll publicise your work and what we’ve borrowed.
Try to work out what your intentions are – do you feel as if you are a person in the wrong body OR do you ‘just’ love the feel of the clothes of the opposite sex OR are you uncertain but enjoy experimenting OR some combination of the above. If YOU don’t know where you are going then others won’t know either – and their guesses and advice may be good, bad, helpful or hurtful.
Truly believe that you are not alone. Others have felt like you and made changes like you want to do. You are not a sad freak or a vile pervert. You are a typical human learning to grow and develop in your own especial way.
Your parents and family and close friends as well as colleagues and acquaintances are really critical to how you succeed in opening your inside to the outer light. Some or all of them may be supportive, some may be hurtful and abusive, some may not understand.
Do NOT assume that everything will be wonderful; equally do not assume disaster and dreadfulness. But why not assume that some people will be surprisingly kind and some will be surprisingly awful. That’s life.
So – at home, are you too young to shop for yourself, is your room private, are your possessions and computer access and cupboards private. How much are [each of] your mother, father or sibling(s) likely to know about you and what you want or say you want.
How have [each of] your house-dwellers spoken about ‘people who are different’? and how will they react to you **now you have to make a calculated assessment of their reaction to you ‘being different’.
Do you dress in secret; have you ever been discovered; has your stuff moved unexpectedly; can you begin to raise the issue of “I like being different …. and this is how I want to do it ……. And I would like your support ….. or at least acceptance”. You MAY need to actually declare your intentions and say “I don’t understand why I need to do this, but I have been doing it in secret and it stresses me, I would like to do it sensibly and carefully and be a little happier, and I need your help and love. For example, I would like to wear dresses, skirts, panties and so on and I would like your support to buy and to wear these. For the moment, I can easily promise to wear these only at home.”
If you dress occasionally for ‘special events’ Halloween etc – are there conditions imposed which you could expand or amend to allow weekend dressing for example.
If you have been often and regularly asking to dress and behave as a girl since a very young age – have your parents accepted this as a fundamental part of your character or do they still treat it as ‘just a phase’. You have to identify for yourself whether your aim is ‘to be a girl’ or ‘to wear dresses’. Many people in this world see a difference between transgender and cross-dressing.
Explain why you want to dress like a girl. Tell one or both of your parents the reasons behind your desire to dress in girls’ clothing. Be specific about how dressing in this way does or would make you feel, how you benefit from it, or what occasion you want to wear this clothing for. If you don’t know why you want to do it, just explain that you feel the need to experiment right now. Let your parents know that clothing is an important way to express yourself and feel confident in your own body.
You may be able to say that dressing oppositely lets you feel more emotional, more willing to listen, more alive and able to relate to others better. Stress any benefits you have noticed that occur while dressed.
You should do what makes you comfortable and happy, but without running the risk of verbal, mental, or physical harm if possible.
If either of your parents shows a lot of anger and hostility, or strictly forbids you from buying girls’ clothes or living a certain lifestyle, and threatens serious consequences of verbal or physical abuse if you disobey them, do not go against them. You need to say quite firmly that you accept their demands but that your feelings are not going to go away that easily. Then seek help from a friend, teacher, or other adult right away. At some point, the parents may realize their choice is a happy child or an unhappy ex-child who has either left or died.
Emphasise that perceived gender and sexuality are NOT always linked; and, if it is true, that for you there is a huge separation between your choice of outward-gender and any sexual preference you may have. While ‘straight heterosexual’ is hugely the majority there is increasing acceptance that there are variations.
Discuss your identity. Talk with your parents about how you have noticed different sexualities and different genderness. Depending on the reaction, talk about yourself and how you feel uncertain about what gender you feel you identify with, as this may or may not be tied with your desire to dress in clothing associated with a different gender. Maybe you feel more like a girl sometimes, all the time, or you still feel like a boy but just enjoy the way that girls’ clothes look and feel. If you have suddenly been ‘caught’ then you need to find the opportunity to talk about what you were doing and why you needed to .
You may not identify as trans at all, and be perfectly happy with the body and traits of your life as a boy, but you just want to dress in girls’ clothing, and you believe that is an unusual but acceptable choice and worth discussing with your parents.
Maybe you feel you identify with being a boy at some times, and a girl at other times, or you don’t particularly feel like you fit into either gender! This is perfectly okay too, and you can discuss it with your parents in terms of “gender-queer” or “gender-neutral” if you wish.
Break down negative stereotypes. Be prepared to respond to any negative or untrue stereotypes surrounding boys and men dressing as girls or women. You can start by explaining that nothing negative or wrong has “made” you have this desire or identity, and that it is not just “a phase.” Even if it is something you don’t do forever, tell your parents to take you seriously.
Tell your parents that cross-dressing is more common and normal than they might believe. You can tell them that one conservative estimate says at least 2 to 5% of all adult males dress in female clothing. As an extraordinary if not appalling example, note that J Edgar Hoover, the first head of the FBI was a crossdresser.
Revealing information about your desires to dress as or identify with another gender can come as a shock, a surprise, or just something your parents wish you had told them sooner. You can explain that it’s not something you want to keep from them and that you just wanted to find the right way to bring it up and explain it.
Remind them that you are still you. Assure your parents, if they are having any doubts, that your desire to dress in different clothing doesn’t change who you are and all the other aspects of yourself that your parents know and are familiar with.
Your discussion about gender identity or cross-dressing doesn’t need to be a discussion about your sexual identity or preference for who you’re attracted to, and the two issues do not have anything to do with each other, despite many stereotypes. Calmly but firmly explain this difference to your parents.
Remind people about the unbalanced or unfair situation of girls and women being able to wear clothing that was once considered more traditionally masculine, like jeans, t-shirts, and blazers, and it is seen as normal. But when boys and men attempt to dress in more traditionally feminine clothing like dresses and skirts, it is viewed with much more negativity and seen as “weird” or “wrong.”
“Coming out” as trans doesn’t have to be a big deal, and you can do it in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Tell your parents, tell everybody, or tell just your closest friends for now and until you feel comfortable revealing it to more people. And Safe. Actually, the more openly and confidently you do it, the easier many people will deal with the change. And of course some will still react badly.
To help your parents deal with the newly revealed you, offer small steps. Find a compromise with your parents, like being able to wear girls’ clothes after school but not at school or church. Or decide on special occasions that you can wear female clothes for. Agree to wear girls’ clothes at certain times. If your parents are hesitant about how you want to dress and revealing it to other people, discuss and agree on certain places or occasions you can wear girls’ clothing.
Your parents may just need to get used to your new wardrobe in small amounts before they let you wear it all the time, so be patient and agree to let them set some limits at first.
Compromise on the type of clothes you can wear. Come to an agreement about the clothing your parents will feel comfortable with you wearing. Try more androgynous (gender-neutral) clothing or mixing boys’ and girls’ clothes together in the same outfit to ease them into the idea of dressing in more girls’ clothes.
You can say, “I really want your support on what I wear and how I feel about it. This is something that’s really important to me right now, and I want you to be involved. Will you help me buy the clothes I want to wear?”
Ask your parents for advice they might have for telling friends, teachers, or other important people in your life and how to get their support and acceptance, too.
It is likely that your parents control the money! So ask for their help and advice in choosing what to buy. This will most likely be your mother, so ask for her help in shopping, share with her what you would like to buy with a more feminine look, colour or style.
One job of parents is to guide their children – and not all parents are excellent at this task. If your parents do not instantly agree it does not mean they are wring. Ask for their reasons, say that you don’t understand. Keep calm and be as grown-up as you can about the situation and what may actually become a negotiation.
Not all their reasons will appear reasonable, there may be factual, logical, emotional or even religious reasons put forward – if you need time to think before replying then ask for a pause.
Your mother may be uncomfortable with the whole idea of this change, but you must live your life for you not for her. Persist in asking for her help with clothes, accessories, even makeup and hair. Try to be confident, offer compromise and small steps.
If you are uncertain, then say so and offer the change as possibly temporary and experimental. If you are certain and have long thought so, be true to yourself and present your choices as personal, reasonable, healthy, normal expressions of who you are and who you want to become.
Some ideas are expanded from advice on Wikihow and similar sites. Thank you.
All these notes are an accumulation of ideas and comments. They do not give you or anyone ‘THE way’ to talk or show your differentness. But if they help just one person make the transition more easily then they’ve done a good job.
But perhaps this story should be more about me and my friends. It’s very pleasing to look back and see how we built the course so that each 50% would learn some really valuable things about the other 50%.
As a side issue, we talked a lot about power, and the abuse of power. This meant that one of the lessons we tried to teach was ‘When a girl says ‘no’ she means ‘NO’. We had to find an important situation where the boys, new-boys, girls and new-girls would each get the message. It was so easy to read stories where the law had got involved in situations that should never have become so complicated if the two parties had retained any willingness to listen to the word ‘no’. But violence, even sexual violence and abuse, is not about the sex – it is about power and the willingness to misuse power.
It was while we were talking about this that someone made a comment about negatives and English being the only language he knew of that used the double-negative to mean sort-of yes. Charley butted in with, “yeah, we all know that if we’ve sat through Miss Evans on English literature. At least there isn’t any such thing as a double positive.”
I had one of my few flashes of inspiration, …. “Yeah, right.”
There was a pause then Charley applauded, “You cutesy chick, that’s really brilliant.” And he pointed out to the others that I had delivered exactly the double-positive that he said did not exist.
I thought about his description ‘cutesy chick’ and realized that I was actually spending at least 50% of my time in dresses and skirts. I decided to talk with Mum and Gemma about it, as to whether I should cut down a little and ‘be a boy’ a little more often.
When I did raise the subject, Mum said she was beginning to wonder at the amount of time I was in dresses. We both agreed that it was rather nice in the summer to have cool clothes – and perhaps I would alter how often I dressed and what I dressed in as the seasons rolled onwards. The idea of skirts in snowtime was quite awful. Eugh.
It was a week or so later that we heard about Mr Shouty for the last time. He had gone on the radio for a panel discussion. And he had completely lost it. Two of the other guests had seen our approach to his shouting and done the same thing. They questioned his biblical knowledge, his interpretation of key passages, how other scholars showed how wrong he was …….. BOOM.
In effect, he ran away. His flock deserted him for failing to provide ‘true’ leadership. His television sponsors wrote him off. He was a goner. But we knew there were others like him wanting to attack us and abuse us.
Mum found an article about Tolerance “Challenging What ‘They’ Accept”.
When women started wearing pants they were challenging convention. It wasn't then acceptable in good company. However when women wore "men's" clothes they did so without trying to become men. They were showing that they could challenge convention and retain their womanhood.
If a man wears a dress he will be challenging convention. He will not be accepted in good company. On this basis, there might be a future for male clothes made with feminine materials and colours and styles; but made to the masculine shape without pretend hips or pretend breasts. Such a project could provide a new format of masculine shape with wider variety of clothing, thus retaining manhood even while challenging convention.
It is considered healthy for boys to like to be boys and for girls to like to be girls. If a boy is to successfully challenge convention with girls clothes, then he would have to do so while maintaining his manhood.
We hadn’t actually considered that we were ‘challenging convention’. We knew we were stretching the boundaries but …… we were just having a bit of fun.
That’s how it started.
And next week, we’ll be meeting with the local group of BigSisters. I’m really excited about what I’ve been told about them – okay, it has mostly been what they have told me about themselves. But then, they’re excited about what we’ve been doing at the school and how our Girl101 ideas fit with what they do.
They actually told us about a school they are sort of linked to where a significant number of the pupils are swaps. There’s boys learning about their feminine side and girls doing the opposite. It’s run by a Mrs Perry and she’s going to be there next week. And she wants to meet our headmaster too. That might be an interesting meeting to attend as a fly on the wall.
To be fair – it’s all been a strange combination of both extra work and extra fun. Every single one of us can say that ‘we never expected the summer to be like this’. And equally every single one of us can (probably) say there’s been a benefit to it.
For me, I certainly feel like – no correction – I feel and as a boy I tried to avoid feeling and like too many of us I was quite successful. So I feel – and that’s got to be good – I feel that I’ve had some real benefits from the whole project.
And actually, as long as it’s my choice, I like the opportunity to dress up in pretty, soft clothes, to wear stockings and high heels. And because the clothes are designed to fit a female shape, then it’s sort of ‘it has to be so’ that I wear a bra. And I kind of like the shape that it gives me – and the change it makes to the bottom of my gaze. Those two curves – it’s just so ……. girly.
And I like being able to wear perfume, and to paint my fingernails, and to play games in a dress girlishly instead of in shorts or tracksuit boyishly. I am so so pleased that I now know so much more about myself and my future choices.
And I am proud that I have helped others find the same differences inside themselves. And if I find some resonance with what the \BigSisters say they do – then it makes it so much more likely that we will find ways to link together.
But I’m still saying to myself that I’m a boy. I’m a boy who wants to be with my girl. And it’s just a really great coincidence that we both love to dress up in frilly, frothy, slidy, satiny, silky clothes. And to both be the best girls we can be – on those occasions when I want to be a girl.
Now that I know I have a feminine side, I wouldn’t want to go back to being my old-style boy. If it’s in any way wrong to be different, well, I don’t understand the people who say such things. I’m different. And I’m proud of it. And I want to say thank you to my mum, and to Melissa and to all the others who have helped. Thanks, girls. And Thanks, to the boys too. And thanks to the boy-girls who have learnt with me and to the girl-boys who have had their own journey.
Now it’s a lovely day and I’m off to play cricket – and the fact that I’m wearing a dress makes it even nicer. I can see some of the others waiting for me – and there’s Charles, Sam and Jane for the ordinaries and Ben-Beth, Dave-Alice, Ed-Ellie and Jane-Jack for the swappers. And it’s just another typical day.
It’s been interesting – and it’s going to be interesting for a long time.
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