Aunty Ji
Love Matters India

I am a man who likes to dress up as a woman. Am I gay?

By Auntyji Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 10:40
Hi Auntyji, when I am alone, I like wearing women's clothes and makeup. Does this mean I am gay? Sameer, 21, Patna.

Auntyji says, ‘So beta Sameer; you enjoy a bit of shringaar. Very nice, your Auntyji likes it too! But does that mean you are gay, iss mudde par thodi roshni daalte hain.’

Is not equal to

So to begin with – no, this is not a final call on your sexual identity – yaani ki, no this is not a comment on your being or you becoming or turning gay.

Beta, being gay or lesbian (or homosexuality) is a matter of sexual orientation – that is who do you feel sexually or romantically attracted towards. A person is described as a homosexual (gay or lesbian) if they feel attracted to the person of the same sex. And only they themselves can decide on such feelings and associate their orientation to a particular sexuality. No one else can do it for them. Furthermore, how one dresses up has got nothing, whatsoever, to their sexual orientation.

Many men and women love to crossdress and it’s perfectly ok. Many people dress up in clothing, wear make up and change their ‘look’ for a gamut of reasons. But afsos, many myths surrounding transvestism (crossdressing) Sameer beta including the one that you have brought to us today.

Did you know that many heterosexual (straight) men dress up too and it’s not a precursor to ‘going gay'. At the same time, many gay men also dress up, wear makeup and that’s their expression of their identity and that’s fine too. The problem is that often the two (gender identity and sexual orientation) are confabulated – one is equal to the other and perhaps that’s why you are confused too. Don’t be.

Straight-jacketed and dress(ed) up

So detractors and people who think in the male-female binary (according to whom the only rishta possible is between men and women or that women can wear dresses) then often ask or demand – ‘well, agar gay nahin then why the lipstick, why the dress’?’ Arre! Yeh kya baat hui puttar.  

Many cross dressers are people who challenge the gender stereotype of women vs men’s clothes. They wear what they want to. Matlab, ki today Sameer wants to wear a dress or a lipstick, it can be a matter of feeling fashionable, feeling bold, feeling naughty and may be at times to feel sexy and excited. Does that mean all hell has to break loose? Bilkul nahi. At the same time, do all gay men want to dress 'feminine' and wear make up? Absolutely not. People dress up as per what they feel comfortable, happy or sexy in. It has got nothing to do with their sexual orientation. Similar myths also surround lesbian women, that they often dress 'masculine'.  Again all kahisuni puttarji.

No heroes for this cause

Ab aati hai baat hamari samaj ki. This is something you want to prep yourself for and ‘not ready yet’ can be the signboard – pretty much!  This is a tough one for anyone else to get their head around. Waise bhi, hardly anyone is seen doing it around us and if we do see some bold folks crossdressing they are also identifying themselves as gay. So the public gets confused and stereotypes get strengthened.  

Ek baat batao – I don’t see anyone getting hyper and all panicky about women wearing pants or boots. In fact, there is a whole fashion fiesta going on there. ‘Shirt dress’ is OK while a dress for a shirt is an aberration? Our raja maharajas were roaming about in so much jewellery. They even wore kajal and kohl and coloured their lips, wore long dresses, chudidaars – tab nahin koi bola ki Raja Trans Hai!

Get ready

You wear what you want to, be who you want to but be prepared to face the music as our society is not yet ready to welcome or accept transvestism or cross dressers without sticking labels on them. The issue may be hard to overcome. Or you can choose to keep it personal and enjoy it as a matter of solitary pleasure. It’s a matter of your choice and privacy – so dress as you like, but without labelling it to any sexual orientation, not for yourself, not for others.

Names changed.

Person in the picture is a model.

Do you think a person’s sexual orientation determine their dressing? Share your thoughts with Love Matters in the comment section of this page or on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please visit our discussion forum - Let’s Talk

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