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The issue of security came up recently in a letter to one of my sisters. Security must be of overriding concern for many transvestites, and many of us would be in a poor position if they were found out. To me it seems that the security issue can be broken into two parts, public and personal.

I have never given too much thought to public security. I simply could not pass in public, so being read and ultimately embarrassed has never been a concern. Since I am in a rural area I am unable to join one of the many groups around the country so there is one more aspect of security that can be checked off. No, if my public security were to be breached it would be through the mail. When I first started out to contact my sisters, I used my own name in correspondence. Ricky is a childhood nickname and I now get a secret charge when an old friend or relative calls me Ricky. I would do it differently now, but the die is cast and cannot be recast. I simply have to trust my sisters to be discrete, and unless one of the employees of the Post Office is out of line there is no problem. At least there has been none for the past five years.

While I would be unhappy to be exposed, it would not be the end of the world. My ability to earn a living would not be affected greatly, I am in electronics, and there are more oddballs per capita among us techs than any other occupation I know. Granted the jokes and ribaldry would be difficult at first, but it couldn't go on forever.

My wife and children are in the know. Should I be exposed I think they would have it worse than I would. Being teenagers they are both greatly concerned with public appearance. I already have a reputation as an eccentric, but this is a different order of eccentricity.

My greatest regret would be that I would no longer be able to continue in Scouting, but even that is drawing to a close. There are other things I wish to do with my life, and I have moved on to other things to a great extent. But knowing that I could never return to a movement that has brought me great rewards would be a lasting sorrow.

As for friends and family, I am an eccentric sort of fellow, and so are the bulk of our friends. Neither my wife or I have ever been into the status or appearance trip, and as I write this sentence the hippie phrasing seems to define much of our lives. While a few eyebrows would be raised, I think that my status as the Bearded Lady would not lose us many friends.

So all in all, being publicly exposed would be difficult, but not a complete disaster. I strongly suspect that I would become one of those sisters that would take the chance in appearing publicly to educate the uneducated. But I have no driving need to go public, believe me.

There is another aspect of security that needs to be dealt with, and that is internal. We all have a need to be secure within ourselves, and the guilt that this lack of security can cause is well known. This internal security must also consider the woman who has graciously chosen to share my life. I have been most fortunate to have a wife whose love is unconditional. There are many areas of our lives where there are profound gaps between us, but we have found ways to bridge or walk around those gaps.

My wife is a born again Christian and I am agnostic. I am completely unable to find the faith that she says sustains her and the inability to share this faith has been one of those gaps. However my philosophy of life is virtually the same as those of the Christian faith except for the belief in God and Jesus, and I am active in her church in those ways that do not conflict with my personal philosophy. I even got dressed as the apostle Andrew each year and take part in the annual Easter play, and in doing so I hope I am able to enhance a faith I cannot share in the audience. I am not sure if it is a quote or if these are my words, but "We may disagree about the destination, but we are walking on the same road." This is an accurate description of the situation.

I think my wife approaches my transvestism in much the same way. In this case marriage is the road we are traveling, and we are traveling until death parts us at that unknown destination. I cannot share my joy in wearing women's clothing with her, but she accept and helps in what ways she can. She will never understand my compulsion any more than I will understand her faith in God, and the inability to share will always be a space between us. What has to be said is that it need not divide us or drive us apart. The love we share can bridge that and many other gaps that occur between us if we both work at it. And that, my sisters, is the security that counts.

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