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Expression, dressing and gender

Updated on January 13, 2013

dressing and gender

Clothing, expression, understanding

For most of us dressing is just a typical part of our everyday life and we don't give it much thought. Surely some of us get very excited when it comes to buying clothes and finding the right outfit. I would say girls have the most fun with clothes because they have so many choices and colors to choose from. Girls and clothes were made for each other. For guys it is not that exciting because there are not as many choices and it's hard to get excited over slacks and shirts. It's just something to wear.

When I think back to my childhood I could see times when I was curious and questioned the types of clothes I liked. It is never easy to realize you may enjoy or feel comfortable in clothes that may not always be considered the most appropriate. I feel that society does not allow us to truly feel liberated and free with our choices. It seems we have to accept the mandates imposed in what we choose to wear. We don't really have a choice and I believe that is why there are many who live quiet lives and resort to secrecy not revealing all that they experience and feel in their personal lives.

I feel it is sad in a way that some people have to live with such a burden not always being true to themselves or to others. Life is supposed to be about living and enjoying and being the person we are both outside and most importantly inside. If we can't express our true selves then what is life really all about? Must people live their life out knowing that they are not complete and accepted for who they are?

I don't have any prejudgements of people. I accept them as they are and if they don't hurt anyone then they should be loved and accepted as they are. I have learned that no one is perfect and if they think they are then they are only fooling themselves. I do feel that we should be grateful every day and live each day to the fullest. I know that when the end is near and we look back on our lives we will want to feel like we did all we could and we lived up to all our responsibilities and commitments and did our very best. We lived our lives as we were supposed to and we were always true to who we are and we loved and accepted others as they are and respected each and everyone who came into our lives.

I believe that there are many people who suffer inside and they don't know how to help themselves. Sadly some have lived with heavy hearts and could not get past their feelings and lived feeling incomplete and with no one there for them. I believe that when someone feels different and unable to express it and they have no one to turn to they will eventually succumb to their depression and they will feel a sense of hopelessness. We can only pray for people who feel this way and if we find someone who struggles it is something we should take very seriously. Someone encountering such feelings is prone to consider suicide and they must be provided the necessary love and support to help them get through this and to come to accept themselves. Self acceptance is critical and this may very well save their life. Sadly some never get to this point and they became a statistic.

When we are children we learn early on that girls wear dresses and boys wear pants which is appropriate behavior. Girls can climb trees and play football. Boys who show interest in feminine things like playing with dolls are immediately discouraged and told to be more like a boy. It can be a double standard in that girls can wear dresses or jeans and can throw a football or take ballet. I think it's great for girls to breakout of the cute and feminine mode if they wish and be a tomboy. There seems to be something very wrong though if a boy expresses his softer or a more feminine side.

I don't know why boys are discouraged from crying and told early on they have to be more of a man and be very physical. It just seems that we are sending the wrong message when we define gender in "black and white" terms. It just seems very narrow minded and society is too hung up on this.

I say so what if a boy wants to wear a dress! I will applaud them for their courage and accept them as they are and would feel that they should do as they wish if they dress to reflect their personal needs, are under a doctor's care and conduct themselves in a mature and serious fashion. I don't know if the hatred and ignorance will go away and acceptance will result as there seems to be too much resistance and a complete lack of understanding for those who live with this internal conflict. I am not saying this in a bad way but I believe people have to realize that not everyone fits the same mold. They have to understand that there are so many who feel different and they should not be persecuted for it. The world would be a better place if there was more tolerance and understanding.

The term used for someone who dresses in the clothes traditionally worn by the opposite sex is cross-dressing. It really only applies to males who wear girl's clothes. Girl's are not considered cross-dressers because pretty much everything goes for them in the fashion world. I am not an expert on this subject but I feel that there are people who are affected and are not supported or not able to talk about it or get the help they need.

If I could help someone by bringing attention to this subject and providing them the support and insight they need then I would feel like I am doing something worthwhile. We all wish to provide inspiration and hope in the lives of others. I live to do this everyday with my son who is special needs and means everything to me. I may not have the answers but I know the importance of connecting with someone and making them feel accepted. My son has taught me so much as an autistic child and I have gained a great deal of insight and hopefully I will be there for him as he grows into adulthood.

With children who struggle with gender that is a whole other life situation that is very difficult to deal with and to understand and I truly feel for them. I can only imagine what it must be like for a boy who wants so much to wear a dress but can not. I can definitely see this as being a real human struggle and I believe more people should be understanding and accepting. We are all people and we should be tolerant and accepting no matter what. We are not perfect so we should never judge.

This writing is in tribute to a good friend we lost many years ago due to ignorance, hatred and misunderstanding.

We need to put an end to the hatred and bullying and become more tolerant and accepting. We all are here together and no one is better than anyone else. We are all equal in the eyes of God.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Emily Iannielli

Young child transgender


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