Monday, 30 January 2012

Privacy and employment.

Before I started this blog I had to think how it might effect my online appearance since this is completely public, names me, is linked (really rather tenuously to be fair) to my professional blog, and is often shared on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously I decided that it was still worth setting up otherwise you wouldn't be reading this right now!

The main issue is how it reflects on you; ok I'm unlikely to upset or anger anyone I count as a friend, but that isn't where the worry lies. What really worries me are the people who don't know me at all, and more importantly people who might want to hire me. Crossdressers and Transgendered people get a bad press, and have a certain reputation which is, on the whole, undeserved; but that's another topic entirely. 

The idea that someone cold judge me by a single tag and not by what I do or say upsets me; I understand that prejudice, both active and passive, exists and effects how people respond to you, and to be honest, I'm guilty of it myself, there are certain parts of society I can't stand, anyone who has spend much time with me in a busy street will probably know what I mean. When you chose to be open about anything that differs  from the consensus defined norm you have expect it to effect how people interact with you, even if it's at a micro level. It's up to you to deal with it and do what you can to combat the negative elements.
In the past few years the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and Google has created a sense of communal, all inclusive friendship and equality; it's why your boss might ask to be friends with you on Facebook and why you might feel bad ignoring them. On the whole this is probably a good thing. It's better to want to be friends with everyone you meet than to be insular. If nothing else social networking websites are great for keeping in touch with people and sharing things that up until 5-10 years ago you would have had no idea about. 

However, the truth of the matter is that your life is more public now that it has ever been and this trend is set to continue. To boot, the ability to restrict access by group hasn't been fully realised yet, Google+ is a decent attempt but it lacks the popularity that Facebook and Twitter have attained.

This leads me to a quandary, posting something online is akin to making it accessible to anyone regardless of privacy settings because of the transitive nature of social networking infomation, especially recently. Facebook sharing and re-tweeting have become more and more pervasive and intrusive in spreading information. When this is an interesting news article, a cat youtube clip or what songs you played on spotify it's benign, but if you are trying to keep something about yourself offline (or entirely hidden) one accidental   slip or mistake can come back at you very quickly. 

For example; When I set up my Facebook, Twitter and professional blog I had to decide how I was going to present myself. If I had chosen to keep my crossdressing offline to protect my future appearance I would have required been completely private about that part of my life, I would be scared someone would take a photo, upload it and tag me, or post to my wall remarking about it. So the only acceptable response would have been to put everything back in the box and more or less hide it again. For all I know my coming out as a crossdresser could have thrown Izzy off, made her question our relationship and pulled up apart. Being open about it allowed her to fully think things through, and accept it before entering the relationship. Also being scared of her response could have made me question the relationship myself..
People do not like being lied to. They do not like having information withheld from them, even when it has nothing to do with them; It's just our inquisitive nature. So when something of this ilk is revealed people can have a strong negative response. This is the other reason I decided to be open about my crossdressing. If I had decided to hide it, found employment, made some friends and then had an incident as described in the paragraph above occur it would have damaged working relationships and caused drama. 

Being open about these things, making no secret of it, and being aware of the issues it might cause seems to be the best way of operating. It's not something I'm going to put on my cv, or bring up in an interview, but if the information is available in a non hidden way it should alleviate potential issues. Theoretically the odd potential employer may find it distasteful, it might even tip the scale in deciding not to interview me, but these cases should be few and far between. Realistically the world is going to have to come up with an adult way to handle this kind of info dump, so things should get better.

Lastly, obviously I know this blog isn't going to change how the world see's crossdressers and transgendered people. As I said near the start, there is certain reputation attached to these groups and they are very heavily stereotyped, it's up to the people who suffer because of that to speak up and do what they can change perceptions. It's not going to happen overnight, and it's not going to happen because of me, but if I can better inform the people who know me, or might want to hire me then I'm going to.
A small note for any possible future employers; If you have found this blog, please let me know. I'm not going to claim discrimination if you chose not to hire me, or try to slander your company. I am just interested to see if googling someone has become a mainstay of hiring process and if so, how easy you found this blog. Also if you don't mind telling me what you thought, it would be appreciated. Again I am just trying to gather data and see what really happens.

Also I'm not going to randomly turn up to work in a dress. It's one of those incorrect stereotypes that worries me, just because I sometimes wear a dress doesn't mean I'm going to all the time. Some crossdressers may want to and it's up to the company to discuss that with the employee at hand. If I ever felt like I wanted to start coming to work as a woman it would only be following a full and frank discussion with the company, if they had a serious issue with it I would accept that and get over it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A bit about me.


In this post I want to give the blog a bit more context, in relation to myself. So I've decided to give a brief history of me, and my crossdressing; I'm going to skip a few bits and it may be in the wrong order but I'll do my best!

I don't have a single memory of wanting to crossdress; however I do remember from a young age (primary school, so 7/8 I think) wanting to try on a female friends clothes and shoes. At the time I didn't really think about it, or understand what it meant but I did have a fear that people would find out. I have no idea what I thought would happen or why it was important to hide it, but I thought it was.
As I got older I started to think about things a bit more, it wasn't until I was 13/14 that I understood, and to some level accepted that I must be a crossdresser, and it wasn't 'normal' so I kept it hidden. I felt unable to talk to the female friend who's clothes I had tried on in the past and I was really quite confused by all this ... at this point it's worth mentioning that I have an older sister, who I know follows this blog; as does her other half so this might end up being a little embarrassing, but there we go. 

I was stuck with no one I felt I could talk to about it. I still had this dread fear of anyone finding out but the desire to crossdress was very hard to ignore; eventually I gave in and, when alone in the house, tried on some of my sisters clothes. In hindsight it's something I'm really not proud of; not only was it a massive intrusion of her privacy but it's really rather rude and a little creepy. But ... it helped me realise that crossdressing did make me happy, and that I did want it to be part of my life. I borrowed her clothes a few times, I even took some of the first photos of myself dressed up. However the more I did it the worse I felt about hijacking her clothes, so I tried my best not to do it anymore.
Around this time the school had a charity event where people got sponsorship for undertaking a particular activity or similar, I managed to convince someone to dare me to come into school in drag, I managed to get a fair bit of  sponsorship for this and my old friend from primary school lent me some clothes and did my hair. This was the first time I crossdressed in public. Everything went well and I enjoyed the experience. I did get a few odd looks but overall the day was awesome. 

It was at the end of GCSE that I decided to tell my parents. I remember arriving to an empty home, writing a note and leaving it downstairs for my mother to find, then I hid in my room and waited for my world to end. I don't even remember what I wrote in the note but I know I was completely terrified, however I couldn't keep going with them not knowing. Suffice to say my parents didn't kick me out of the house ... but we never really talked about it. 

In 6th form I managed to open up to some people both in person and online; this made me more comfortable with things and I realised that I could tell some people and not have some terrible 'thing' happen. I also started playing in a Live Action Roleplay (or LARP) game run by a local university society; being around open minded students really bolstered my conference, eventually I managed to play a female character! A rather silly fairy character with a tiny skirt and corset, ok so maybe it wasn't the most inspirational character and It might have been a terrible hyper stereotyped girly girl fairy but it was extremely liberating and I loved playing it! 

When it came to leave 6th form and head to university me and my parents had an argument, basically I wanted to go to the end of year ball in a dress, my parents did not think it was a good idea at all. They won. I bought a suit and swallowed by pride, in the end I didn't go because I was ill. However the day before the ball there was a fancy dress day, and dammit I was going as a girl! Now, I'd managed to buy a few things of my own by this point, this including a really nice black corset, some fake breasts and an amazing pair of thigh high stiletto boots! I went out, dressed up and had an amazing time as a sexy kitty. Yeah I got looks, yeah people probably thought things about me but I had a wonderful time!

Then I went to university, from day one I was open about who I was and what I did, everything went rather well. I fell into a good group of people who all seemed to accept my crossdressing, I joined a few societies and on several occasions went out to social events dressed up and, in general had a great time, I even went to my departments Christmas ball as a woman two years running; and I even met an rather special lady! But as the years passed work encroached on my free time and I stopped going to these societies, lost the opportunities to dress up and I started to lose the sense of freedom coming to uni had given me.

One event in particular had a drastic effect on my outlook on crossdressing in public. A particular individual joined the main society I dressed up in, he was also a crossdresser ... but also a drug taking asshole who craved attention and generally pissed me off. He crossed a line when one night out he implied that Izzy, (we were together at the time) was only with me because of my crossdressing and that he had turned up she would leave me for him as he was more attractive and more interesting than me. I told him where to stick it and (I think) scared him a bit ... but doing so I stepped out of my female self and into my male one, for the rest of the evening I felt very very uncomfortable. It didn't help that he tried to cause a fuss when we left by getting some guys together and making out that he was going to attack me, feeling so uncomfortable I was very aware of my inability to defend myself when dressed up. If in the right might I could have done so, but at the time I was not. I was with a lot of good friends that made sure nothing happened but it was a scary situation to be in. Since then I have dressed up and gone out in public a few times but I have never regained the feeling I had before and as time goes by I find it slipping further away.

On the flip side, I met Izzy. An amazing and wonderful woman who I love deeply. She has always been supportive of everything I chose to do, including the crossdressing, and in May 2011 we got married! It was a truly awesome day and I wouldn't change anything.

... but, I always wanted to get married in a wedding dress. It was a dream of mine from very early on. I had even spent years thinking over what kind of dress, designing it in great detail and more or less fulfilling the  bride/dress stereotype. But I wore a suit, for my father. He told me that if I wore a dress he would not be there; there was only one choice I could make given the options. We did talk about it and he did have his reasons (which I'm not going to go into.) and they did have substance. The idea of changing for the evening was broched, I even had a dress made (by Izzy's mother, who also made Izzy's dress!) but it never saw the light of day, mostly because I never found the right moment to slip away. 

It's something that I do regret, but there wasn't any drama and everyone enjoyed themselves. As I said I wouldn't change anything. 

The last time I wore a dress was in August on holiday, the last time I wore a dress in public was the end of May, and I've been diving into a deeper and deeper depression since before then, at the moment I feel the desire to dress up but something is stopping me and all it does is make me feel crap. That is why I'm writing this blog. 

And with that I'm going to sign off this massive self service festival, I hope I've not bored anyone too much.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

About this blog.

Hello! Welcome to Box of wings.

My name is Chris, I'm 24 and I live in the UK with my amazing wife Isobel (Izzy for short). I have a love for games, gaming and design. I have a degree in Architecture however I’m unemployed right now; I am however trying to get a job in the game industry doing environmental art, level and game design. If you want to see my work then please visit my other blog, ironfairy.blogspot.com!

So what is this blog about?
Something I didn’t say in the above paragraph is that I am a crossdresser, which in itself throws up all sorts of different views and feelings in people.  This blog is all about my thoughts and feelings regarding gender and sexuality in both a personal and general way.



Why are you writing this?
This might seem like an odd question to answer so early on, but I think it’s very important to make clear. The main reason I’m writing this blog is because I’m depressed, and a major source of that depression is my crossdressing. I hope by writing this stuff down in a structured format it will help me bring things together and try to be happier with who I am, and work out what part my crossdressing plays in my life.  Rather self serving I know.

Why post it to a blog?
I want to try to answer some of the questions people have asked me over the years, hopefully giving a better answer than I gave at the time; this includes saying that I’m ok, or not bad, or that nothing is wrong when it clearly is; which is a terrible habit.

I do want to stress; I really don’t want to offend anyone, I understand that some may find this blog distasteful or offensive. If so I am sorry, it was never my intent to offend anyone. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me (my e-mail can be found under ‘View my complete profile’) I would much rather have a proper conversation about the issue than just ignore people that don’t agree with me.

Also, if this helps anyone out there then all the better!

Illustrations
As a designer and an artist I love drawing and sketching, so to liven this blog up from a bunch of flat text I’ll be illustrating it as I go. It also has nothing to do with the fact that I have a new Wacom graphics tablet! To do this I have two characters which roughly equate to my male self, and my female self. Why my female self has wings is another story but there you go. Sometimes there will be one of them, sometimes both. But they are both me!
What this blog is not about.
This blog is not about me posting picture of myself in any sort of compromising position or situation; or wearing anything that anyone might suggest. I may from time to time post an image of myself but I’m going to try not to as this isn’t the ‘look at Chris in a dress’ show. Similarly it is not a porn blog.

This is also not a feminism blog, I may talk about some of the topics that touch on feminism, and I may even discuss it directly but at the end of the day I’m not willing to dive into the quagmire that is feminism ALONG with gender and sexuality, however I will have to. I’m not trying to pull the genders apart, or push them together it’s just that some topics needs a bit of preamble. I hope that it doesn’t put people off!



Well that’s all I can think of to write as an introduction. I am going to try and post an update every week but we shall see! I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I do :)



A small note about spelling, punctuation and grammar: I am really rather dyslexic. I know in this day and age it isn’t as much of an excuse as it might have been before but still, spell checkers can’t pick up on every mistake especially if I end up using entirely the wrong word somewhere but spell it perfectly fine. If you notice any obvious, glaring mistakes please let me know and I will rectify them ASAP.