Crossdressing and C.H.I.C.
Copyright 1990 by CHIC All rights reserved.
First Printing—April 1977
Updated and revised—May 1990
Elaina Benson & Linda McKim
Revised April 2003
Crossdressers Heterosexual Intersocial Club
Even in these socially enlightened days, the subject of men masquerading as women tends to evoke a great deal of interest from the general populace. The usual reactions range from mild curiosity, to fascination, horror, or even disgust. One fact prevails though: the lack of knowledge is virtually universal. The purpose of this publication is to present a brief explanation of the crossdressing phenomenon. In it we hope to differentiate between the types of crossdresser and to broaden your knowledge of the subject. Additionally, we wish to acquaint you with C.H.I.C. (pronounced sheek), an organization dedicated to furthering public knowledge and acceptance of the heterosexual crossdresser.This publication in no way attempts to encourage or advocate crossdressing. Our sole interest is to further your knowledge and understanding of the subject. For any further Information on crossdressing, C.H.I.C., or any other subjects covered in this publication, please direct your inquiries to:
Part One Crossdressing
You pass a woman strolling down a boulevard or shopping mall. Something about her attracts your attention. Perhaps you take notice of her primarily because of her size, or an unusual walk or other mannerisms. As you look again you note a hint of beard shadow, large hands, or some other inconsistency. In a flash the realization strikes you that the “woman” is indeed a man in woman’s clothing. Think back now, what was your Initial reaction? Were you horrified, amused, angered, interested? Did you wish to turn away in disgust, strike out in anger, or simply laugh? Whatever your reaction, most likely you were also mystified and perhaps spent several days afterward wondering… .Why? WHY DO MEN DRESS IN WOMEN’S CLOTHES? Men who dress in women’s clothing (in this pamphlet we’ll primarily concern ourselves with the male crossdresser) can generally be classed into three categories: (1) homosexual “Drag Queens, (2) transsexuals, and (3) transvestites or, if you prefer, crossdressers. Homosexual drag queens most generally adopt the dress and mannerisms of the female to attract attention. Their dress and mannerisms are generally greatly exaggerated and they really don’t want to be taken for anything other than men in women’s clothing. C.H.I.C. is oriented toward heterosexual crossdressers and to lending support to their wives and significant others. The frequency of dressing depends entirely upon the individual. Some dress daily; others several times monthly; still others only once or twice a year. Often, during times of forced abstention (such as a hitch in the military) it is possible to put the drive aside temporarily and replace it with another outlet. For a male, the need to dress manifests itself as a gradual building of a desire to dress in feminine clothes. The crossdresser starts to imagine the feel of the gentle fabrics. The tactile sensations produced by nylon, silk, satin, and other soft fabrics can be exciting to him. His wife, girlfriend, secretary or any woman on the street is a constant reminder of the pleasures waiting in his closet. His drive continues to build, and unless released, may manifest itself in nervousness, irritability, and short temper. Some report that if they can’t dress occasionally they start to develop headaches or other neurological ailments.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DRESSING?
During the early stages, many crossdressers conclude their dressing with a sexual release. However, as the individual matures and his habits develop, the purely sexual aspect diminishes. After a period of dressing, a deep guilt and shame may prevail. Because such activities are socially condemned, he is often burdened with an overwhelming sense of guilt. To have such desires is viewed as “unnatural,” not masculine, and not to be willingly shared with or admitted to a loved one. As he develops in his acceptance of himself, these feelings diminish, and the post-dressing period is generally a time for reduction of anxiety. This condition may remain for some time, until the desire to dress again begins to build.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL CROSSDRESSER.
It is virtually impossible to describe a “typical” crossdresser. Studies (166 Men in Dresses, C.V. Prince, Ph. D., Sexology Magazine, March 1962) Indicate that seventy-two percent are married men, over two thirds of them having children. A higher than average number have attended college (38%) and graduate school (20%). Their vocations and interests are wide-ranging and diverse. A large number are employed in “masculine” fields such as engineering, science and technology. Hobbies include a large number of private pilots, surfers, sporting enthusiasts and model train fans. Generally, unless he is dressed, he is indistinguishable from any other man. Rarely is he effeminate when not dressed. Remember, the crossdresser effects only a temporary change of his role; he still spends a majority of his time as a man majority of his time as a man. He is the “typical” husband, son, father, or next- door neighbor.
WHAT ARE SOME PROBLEMS THAT CROSSDRESSERS FACE?
Since their activities are largely socially condemned, most crossdresser’s live in fear that they’re going to be “discovered.” In many cases, such discovery may result in loss of employment, rejection by friends and loved ones, and loss of reputation in the community.To avoid being caught at his dressing, many crossdressers manufacture complex webs of secrecy. Their distaste with deceiving their friends and loved ones, added to their negative feelings at the very act of dressing, may result in emotional or other problems.Also, because of the secrecy and lack of knowledge on the subject, it is difficult for an individual to obtain knowledge on the subject. Often then, crossdressers (most often youths) feel that they are the only ones in the world that dress. Such loneliness only adds to the self—doubt and guilt. Thus, the hydra-headed monster of secrecy, guilt, self-doubt, shame, and fear compound the crossdresser’s dilemma. Often physical and/or emotional problems develop, and in a few extreme instances, self-mutilation or suicide may result.
WHAT ARE FAMILY REACTIONS?
Again, there is little uniformity among crossdressers and their families’ reactions to their dressing. Responses range from virtually total acceptance and cooperation to antagonistic rejection. In many cases, parents, spouses, and/or offspring don’t know at all, and the crossdresser must carry out his activities while away from home or in secret while he is alone. Many wives, once they allow themselves to accept their husband’s dressing, are rewarded with a stronger and far happier marriage. The crossdressing husband often is gentler and more responsive to his wife’s interests, needs, and problems. He is a much better partner and many crossdressers are blessed with perfectly normal, happy marriages.But, unfortunately, there are also wives who cannot accept their husbands’ crossdressing. They find it contrary to their preconceptions of how a “man” should behave. They may be threatened by the strong femininity expressed during the periods of dressing, sensing “another woman” in their home. Also, they may doubt themselves, thinking that they must have some sexual or gender problems of their own if they accept this behavior in their husband. In these cases, it is very helpful to have open, honest discussions between the partners. Often, there is the fear that transvestism may involve a progressive aspect; that is, if one indulges in one fantasy, then something increasingly worse will follow. Or, that if a wife or parent allows or condones dressing, then the husband or son will someday want gender reassignment surgery or that he is latently homosexual. None of these scenarios are preordained. It stands to reason that if issues can be raised calmly and are heard with concern by each partner, then resolutions, compromises and agreements might be reached calmly. It is possible for a wife to not want to participate or be present when the husband needs to “dress,” but still be understanding of the need and help to arrange unencumbered time in their schedules to allow the husband the opportunity to express this side of himself.
OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE CROSSDRESSER’S DESIRE TO DRESS.
As explained above, there is no scientific evidence pointing to any specific causative factor for crossdressing. The wide variety of background, family structure, and ages preclude drawing anything more than sweeping generalities. In the majority of cases, for example, the urge to dress first becomes apparent at about five to fourteen years of age. However, many crossdressers report they were not dressing until their thirties or even sixties or seventies. Further information indicates that dressing and sexual arousal are commonplace during youth as the crossdresser gets older though, that doesn’t necessarily hold true. Many crossdressers (who still dress well into their “Golden Years”) report that the sexual arousal gives way to a sensual awareness and a kind of calm that accompanies the times when they are dressed. One conclusion that can be gathered from the phenomenon is it is incurable. To quote Drs. Bowman and Engle (American Journal of Psychology, p133, 581, 1957), “It is generally agreed that all types of psychotherapy are a failure [as a “cure” for crossdressing]. So far there are no reported successfully treated cases.” Drawing from that statement and our own experience it seems that the best therapy is to hasten the day when the crossdresser accepts himself and his crossdressing. Organizations such as C.H.I.C. exist for that purpose and are available for the counseling of loved ones, dispersal of information, and furtherance of public knowledge and awareness. However, the greatest service any crossdressing organization can provide is a social structure geared to getting the crossdressers, along with their partners, together with others so they may freely talk about their experiences, problems and challenges. Such “therapy” seems to be a very successful answer.
Part Two About C.H.I.C
WHAT IS C.H.I.C.?
C.H.I.C., or the Crossdressers Heterosexual Intersocial Club, is a social organization for crossdressers. Formed in Southern California in early 1976 by a group of concerned crossdressers, its purposes are:
To help the crossdresser and his family cope with his problem.
To provide a source of public information and knowledge on the crossdressing phenomenon.
To seek public acceptance and tolerance of the phenomenon.
C.H.I.C. is a social organization and, as such, offers the crossdresser an opportunity to meet with and relate to other individuals sharing his Interests and needs. One of the most tragic aspects of crossdressing is the loneliness felt by the individual. Because of its isolated nature, as well as the secrecy attributed to its practice, the crossdresser finds it extremely difficult to express his needs and feelings with others. By bringing crossdressers together in an Informal social setting, C.H.I.C. helps the individual accept his crossdressing, thereby taking a large step toward positively altering his own self-image. Additionally, it gives him an opportunity to practice his crossdressing in a “safe” environment, free from the possible problems of appearing alone in public. One other important advantage is that the newer members are able to learn from the more experienced such techniques as makeup, grooming, clothing styles and general comportment.
Meetings are held monthly, often in public restaurants and occasionally in members’ homes. All members are urged to attend and feminine dress is desirable. While business matters are discussed, the focus on the fun aspect of dressing and a party atmosphere generally prevails.
WHAT ABOUT THE CROSSDRESSER’S WIFE?
This, again, is one of the areas of prime concern to the crossdresser. C.H.I.C. has proven time and time again that the wife’s understanding and acceptance of the problem has been increased measurably by meeting other wives and sharing problems and concerns. C.H.I.C. makes it a policy to encourage wives to attend all meetings. All members’ wives are automatically members of C.H.I.C. Often, the wives and other family members will get together and talk informally about the crossdressing phenomenon. By bringing the subject into the open, they are able to better cope with it individually. Understanding wives are always available to new members and their spouses to help them cope with their fears and anxieties.
C.H.I.C. is committed to assisting the community understand the subject of crossdressing. Through our speaker’s bureau, interested and interesting members are available without cost to address professional and academic forums. The response to such appearances has been overwhelming. Additionally, through special arrangements, informal panel discussions can be arranged. Here, with individual interaction, our members are able to dispel many misunderstandings about crossdressing and the crossdresser. By meeting a number of crossdressers, the public realizes that there is no true stereotypical crossdresser, and that under our feminine finery we’re just like the guy next door or at the next desk. Lastly, through publications such as this, we seek to provide the individual with a way to better understand the phenomenon. It is hoped that eventually this booklet will reach the individual it was primarily designed for, and who needs it the most, that is, the crossdresser who has not yet had the opportunity to cope with his own crossdressing.
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF C.H.I.C.?
The membership of C.H.I.C. is quite diverse and defies any general classification. We range in age from our early 20’s to over 70. We come from all walks of life and from every socioeconomic level. Among us are college graduates with advanced degrees as well as some who did not complete high school. The common denominator is our crossdressing, and with that we are a most compatible group. Our desire is to help one another, to help C.H.I.C. fulfill its goals, and most importantly, to help that woman still locked inside her own private closet of fear and ignorance.
WHAT ARE THE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS OF C.H.I.C.?
The only membership requirements of C.H.I.C. are that the applicant be a heterosexual crossdresser and that he be willing to adhere to C.H.I.C.’s security guidelines. One of the most important factors of C.H.I.C.’s success is the compatibility of its members, so it is imperative that any prospective members be able to relate to our club’s purposes and to its members. Because crossdressing is still regarded as largely unacceptable behavior by segments of the community, our members must use extreme caution to avoid an unplanned disclosure of their crossdressing behaviors. Such disclosure could cause social embarrassment, possible vocational problems, or even loss of employment. To help protect our members from such an eventuality, C.H.I.C. has formed a strict set of security guidelines to which all members must adhere.
Our members use their feminine first names only.
No one asks for another’s true name, address, or place of employment; such information is exchanged a voluntary basis.
Members’ names and addresses are the sole responsibility of our Secretary/treasurer, and may not be divulged to anyone under any circumstances.
Members are forbidden from speaking of a third member’s name, address, or occupation.
There are other rules that concern the structure and operation of the organization, but these major items are emphasized here to provide a sense of our overall focus of the organization. In practice, our members are quite open with one another; the level of trust is quite high. In many instances, members meet socially outside of C.H.I.C. activities. Their freedom to relate to one another makes them much more at ease than being with other friends who aren’t aware of their crossdressing.
HOW DOES ONE JOIN C.H.I.C.?
Any interested person may apply to join C.H.I.C. simply by requesting an application from the club. After completing and returning the application, the applicant will be contacted for a personal interview by a member of the membership committee. The personal interview is designed solely to determine the individual’s suitability to become a C.H.I.C. member. There is no intention of making the applicant feel ill-at-ease. The goal is to see if he is the type of person who will fit in with C.H.I.C. and its members. Also, at the time of the interview, C.H.I.C. is explained to the applicant in detail. Upon the membership committee’s decision, he is either granted or denied membership. In any event, upon the completion of the membership screening process, the application is returned to him for disposal as he wishes.
WHERE MAY I OBTAIN FURTHER INFORMATION?
Additional information about C.H.I.C., crossdressing, availability of speakers, or any other subjects may be obtained from:C.H.I.C. 8502 E. Chapman Ave. #425 Orange, CA. 92869 Information line 1-(714)-812-3236 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope that by reading this publication, you’ve come to better understand the crossdresser, his needs, and his drives. If we have added to your knowledge and understanding of this phenomenon, then we have succeeded in reaching our goal. Please share this booklet with your friends and acquaintances. Only through broader understanding can the crossdresser ever hope to gain acceptance for, and of, himself. Thank you for your understanding.
THE MEMBERS OF C.H.I.C