Cover image for My husband Betty : love, sex, and life with a crossdresser
Title:
My husband Betty : love, sex, and life with a crossdresser
Author:
Boyd, Helen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xiv, 285 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781560255154
Format :
Book

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HQ77 .B63 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Author Helen Boyd is a happily married woman whose husband enjoys sharing her wardrobe - and she has written the first book on transgendered men to focus on their relationships. Traditionally known as cross-dressers, transvestites, or drag queens, men like Helen's husband are a diverse lot who don't always conform to stereotype. Helen addresses every imaginable question concerning the probable and improbable reasons for behavior that still baffle not only "mental health professionals" but the practitioners themselves; the taxonomy of the transgendered and the distinct but overlapping societies of each group; coming out; bisexuality, and homophobia.

The book features interviews with some very interesting people: a dominatrix and her crossdressing husband; a crossdressing Reiki master and his son; a woman who after dating one crossdresser wanted to date others and fell in love with a transsexual instead; and a woman whose husband promised her he was only a crossdresser who later realized that he was transsexual.

The stories and opinions chosen to represent the spectrum will surely titillate, shock, and disgust some readers; alternatively, Helen's narrative is a powerful lens with which to examine our own notions of gender and equality.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Boyd never expected to write about transvestites and their partners, yet here is her fascinating account of marriage to a cross-dresser, the intent of which is to reduce the tumult his cross-dressing causes in the couple's lives and to help more women deal better with having transgendered husbands. The originator of an online support group for such couples, Boyd supplements her own experiences with those of others to explore the diversity within a stereotyped group (the male-to-female transgendered) and answer questions concerning their behavior. Boyd was supportive from the onset of her knowledge of Betty, but even after two years' socializing within a supportive transgender community, the Boyds' first outing in the real world terrified her because of her own and society's expectations--and that was the first of a series of painful realizations. Boyd's skill as a writer enables readers to enter a relatively hidden existence easily, and perhaps even to appreciate its complexities. Her account, though initially disquieting to some, well may become a standard text in gender studies. --Whitney Scott Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A straight woman who has been married several years to a crossdressing man gives a thoughtful account of their relationship (as well as the relationships of other crossdressers she knows) in this forthright and revelatory book. "Instead of putting a 'pretty face' on crossdressing," Boyd writes, "I think this book paints a more realistic picture." Her interest is as much in the broader issues of love and acceptance, denial and repression, human nature and sexual identity as it is in the who, when, why and how of crossdressing. Boyd shares personal and often intensely private moments in order to illustrate her findings, describing her husband's ritual for getting dressed as a woman and candidly admitting that she once believed that she would never be able to accept his behavior. Particularly sharp is her chapter on gendered politics, which takes to task members of the crossdressing community who isolate themselves "from all the groups who could otherwise educate and liberate them: the feminist community, the gay and lesbian communities." Though such comments may be uncharacteristically harsh for a book that by and large supports crossdressers and their actions, Boyd's opinions lend her discussion a critical viewpoint and comprehensiveness that it might not have had otherwise. Boyd, who founded the online support group CDOD, helps out newbies to the topic by making distinctions among phrases like "transgendered" and "transvestite" that are sometimes unknowingly used interchangeably and by summarizing the history of and research into the behavior. Honest and well researched, this book is likely to become an indispensable guide for woman who are trying to forge stable, accepting relationships with crossdressing men. Given the topic and Boyd's approach, it is a shame that the author still felt the need to mask her true identity by using a nom de plume. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal Review

This may be the first work written by the wife of a heterosexual cross-dresser. Drawing on her five-year marriage to "Betty"-as well as reports from other couples from the cross-dressing and transgendered community-Boyd (a pseudonym) discusses with humor and candor ways to come to terms with cross-dressing, focusing on issues of identity, trust, and sexuality. Critically, yet with sympathy, she explores misconceptions about cross-dressing ("a cross between a wish and a compulsion") and describes communities and support groups. In the world of cross-dressing, she reveals that there is no "one size fits all": some men keep their behavior a secret, others act on the desire to "out" in public, and still others transition to being transgendered. Unlike many wives of cross-dressers, Boyd learned of Betty's behavior during their early weeks of dating; she now moderates an online support group for wives and partners of cross-dressers. Though primarily addressed to the wives and partners of cross-dressers (and cross-dressers themselves), this will undoubtedly have a wider appeal to those curious about this subculture. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.