With over 50 Crossdressing Tips for Beginners in the Sister House Library and another 20 videos on relationship issues faced by crossdressers in All About Crossdressing, also in the Library, Vera Wylde is indeed an icon in the crossdressing community. So her first book, Skirting Gender: Life and Lessons of a Crossdresser, on Amazon, was indeed a welcome addition to my personal library and should be to yours too.
This is not just the typical crossdresser autobiograpghy, but an insight into the real world of crossdressers, the lives we live, the challenges we face and with some real answers on where we fit into the greater transgender spectrum.
The book is in three parts. The first section covers her personal experiences from growing up to her ventures into the world of drag and eventually as a performer in Burlesque (which is not the same a drag). Vera tends towards the fetishistic, with her reference to Jessica Rabbit as weaponized sensuality, which perhaps influenced her future choices. But Vera has been able to balance her needs to look pretty with her overall life and achieve that essential balance between the two.
The second section is the how to’s of our world, most of which you can see through the links above. Her views are ever practical whether talking about makeup, comportment, voice, cleavage, accessorizing or shopping.
However the real strength of this book is in the third section on Philosopical Aspects. She begins by talking about the stereotypes of crossdressers and the many labels used to categorize ourselves. But the essence of this section is in the Pop Cultural Traps and for the first time we realize that what we are missing in our identification needs is the lack of a popular culture touchstone. We struggle in gaining acceptance from the general public as well as the entire LGBTQ+ community as we do not wish to transition yet still have this great need to appear feminine. But as Vera says, there are no pop culture points of reference that we can point to and say, “There, I’m basically like that.”
We don’t have a Laverne Cox, a Janet Mock or a Caitlyn Jenner to point to so perhaps Vera can fill that role for us. The non-fetish, non-transitioning heterosexual crossdresser is like the over 50s invisible woman, we don’t exist in other peoples world.
And her section on STRIVING TO BE PASSABLE is priceless. The simple fact is that without the assistance of cosmetic surgery, hormone replacement therapy, or other physical interventions most of us will never be 100% passable as women (and, if we’re being completely honest, even some people who undergo all those things still aren’t).
Your best defense against not being 100% passable is acting as though you are, and I completely agree and practice the principle. I prefer to focus on whether or not I look good. I would say being passable isn’t any measure of cross dressing success.
Then there’s THE BATHROOM DILEMMA (read more here) and the problem of Being Straight in a LGBTQ+ world. One would assume that we’re part of the grand LGBTQ+ rainbow, and I suppose that we are, but our placement there can be… contentious. There are some within this same community who have a very strong distaste for crossdressers and how we live. To be blunt about it, the most hostile people I’ve ever had to deal with have been transwomen.
Finally, Vera deals with the issues of “coming out”, the “crossdressing parent”, and issues we face “ön the job”. She admits that she is still evolving but aren’t all of us.
The book will give you much to think about. But beyond that, Vera helps us to find our place in a confused world where like in politics, there are too many opinions and not enough consensus. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars. Here’s your link to Amazon.