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Click here to listenLast weekend I went to a theater festival in Rotterdam. The festival had a very original format: 61 actors performed on several locations inside buildings along a street in Rotterdam.
The audience was free to walk the street and ask the actors to do their monologue. So each time they did their act for a small audience of 1 to 6 people inside a room -- quite an intimite setting for a theater play.
I was there with Julia and two very close friends and we went from building to building. We saw about a dozen of acts in one afternoon.
Most of the monologues were about the misery in the lives of the charaters that were enacted. And that made some of the performances seem a little too similar.
But there were acts that were remarkable in one way or another. One act was particularly interesting to me because of the subject matter. It was played by a guy in the age of sixty and it started something like this:

Everybody is a story. Each one of you standing in front of me is a unique story.
I am a story to. A lot of stories, really.
But there is one story I would like to tell you.
That is a story of me -- in a dress!

He told us he had been involved in a radical gay movement at the end of the seventies. They called themselves the 'Rooie Flikkers' ('Red Faggots') and they often dressed up as women for fun, but also to make a political statement.
Instead of assimilating in the society like most homoseksuals tried to do in those days, they stressed the fact that they were different from, or even better than, heteroseksuals.
When Anita Bryant did her anti-gay campaign as a reaction to the human-rights ordinance that passed in Miami-Dade County in Florida, many people in the Netherlands were worried and a large Anti-Anita happening was organized in the Amsterdam Orchestra Building under the name 'Miami Nightmare'.
The 'Rooie Flikkers' took even more radical action. They appeared en masse at a streetcar stop in front of the building, all dressed in frocks and skirts. They managed to shock the audience that felt comfortable to demonstrate against Anita from a safe distance, but was not able to cope with sight of transvestism yet...

I liked his story, but I was very curious whether he would notice anything special about me. After all I used to look like a guy in a dress myself until recently and I am still getting used to being accepted as a woman wherever I go.
If he did notice, he hid it very professionally.
Our friends were also convinced that he never knew how closely his story was related to mine. And throughout the afternoon they noticed how well I was accepted everywhere I went. They had noticed only one guy who stared at me as if he had seen a ghost.
It looks like I am really beginning to blend in as a woman in society. That feels absolutely great, I hadn't thought it possible for a long time!


Breaking the Law 

Click here to listenIf you want to express your gender identity in the way you dress or if you crossdress for recreational purposes, you may run into problems with the police. In the past it was illegal almost worldwide for a man to go outside in female attire and these laws are changing only very slowly.
In the Netherlands crossdressing was already legalized in 1978, so I never got into problems with that. But recently I found out that it is still illegal in Belgium, only thirty miles from my home! My Belgian friends have told me that it is illegal, but it isn't prosecuted. I didn't know about that, so I have broken the Belgian laws many times without even knowing it.

In the USA I think it depends on where you go. It wouldn't surprise me at all if crossdressing is still illegal in some of the more conservative states, counties, perishes or cities.

So there you are, driving home from a private party in the safe seclusion of your own car, still in your nicest dress and with make-up on you face when suddenly you are stopped by the police. Of course there are many things you can and should do to avoid such an encounter: Don't drink and drive, don't ignore stop-signs and traffic lights, don't speed! Just behave like a lady.
But you can always be stopped for a routine check.

What should you do?? Don't panic! It doesn't even matter whether crossdressing is illegal or not. If you lose your nerve now, you can only make things worse! Do not give the policemen extra reason to get angry or nervous. For all they know, you could be an Al-Quaida terrorist hiding behind a clean shave and a blond wig. Keep your hands on the wheel, tell them your real name as it appears on your driver's license. Admit to them that you are crossdressing. And above all: Do not try to flee by driving away! Fleeing is the best way to get the story of your behavior on TV, on the front page of the local newspapers or, even worse, to get your name on the second page of the newspaper with a black line around it. You have probably seen these TV shows where a dozen of police cars are in pursuit of a fleeing vehicle. They are always assisted by a helicopter with a TV camera on board. And they always get the fugitive; dead or alive! In several cases I saw on TV it turned out that the driver of the vehicle fled because he was crossdressed and afraid to expose himself.

Worldwide on TV! Do you call that avoiding exposure?

© 1985-2005 E.G. Snel

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