There has been more crap posted to the crossdressing newsgroups about how important passing is and how one needs to earn the right to wear a dress. All the promotion of this attitude does is keep people in the closet, longing to be able to be themselves.

In response to this, I posted the following to and

On Being Yourself

By: Donna Lynn Matthews, July 1999

There seems to be some confusion over the notion of being yourself. While I find the concept to be a simple one, there are those who seem only able to make deprecating comments regarding the subject. Given this sad state of affairs, let's try one more time to explain the relatively simple and basic concept.

Being yourself is accepting yourself for whoever and whatever you are and living in a life affirming manner. It is a recognition that all people are different and no one way to 'be' is any better than any other, regardless of what others may tell you.

The standards by which one person lives their life are not necessarily right for you, nor are your standards necessarily right for others. While there is nothing wrong with the adoption of another's values, it is of paramount importance that you yourself share those same values. It is near impossible be yourself while trying to live up to the standards of others.

Most (if not all) of us here have experienced the pain of living life not as ourselves, but as others want us to be. We recognize that we are not being true to ourselves but are in fact being just the opposite. We deny who we are all in the name of being what we are 'supposed' to be.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of people wanting to decree how we ought to live our lives. They always seem to know better than us, as if they have come by this 'knowledge' by some divine providence. The fact of the matter is that it is nothing more than their own personal opinion as to how things ought to be. That others might agree with them does not make their opinions any the more correct.

There has been put forth here the twisted notion that being yourself means not changing anything about yourself. This amounts to nothing more than a poor attempt to intimidate and discourage others from actually declaring their individuality and living life as opposed to waiting for the 'right time' or until they have 'earned' the right to be who they know they are.

Changing yourself might be the most life affirming thing you can do. Too many of us spend out lives longing to be able to look or act or dress a certain way. For the people here in particular, the desire to 'change' things about ourselves is very common. There is nothing wrong with doing any of the things we all discuss, so long as they are done because they are what you want to do and not because you have been told that you are not really 'serious' until you do.

Self styled moralists will oppose all of this with talk of established standards, societal norms and social convention, as if these things exist a priori. They will talk about what is 'acceptable' as if the standards of acceptability were somehow immutable. And when presented with examples of how 'standards' have changed in the past, they will undoubtedly counter with, "But we're not talking about the past, we're talking about now", as if society had suddenly achieved stasis.

What these moralists forget (or more likely ignore) is that all the so-called 'social standards' are the creation of people. Given that, they are by and large totally arbitrary. This here and now is but one of an infinite number of possibilities. The 'standards' of society can and do change and you can have no expectation that any of them will remain unchallenged and unchanged. Many 'standards' wind up changing as a direct result of people who are willing to go out there and be themselves. They challenge the 'standards' and by challenge them, they effect a change.

But you need not set out to change the world to be yourself. You need do only one thing to be yourself and that's to be honest with yourself.

Look at the standards by which you living and then look at yourself. Do those standards reflect who you really are? Do they strike a resonate chord within you? Don't be afraid to be honest with yourself. You are likely to find that there is a fair degree of discontinuity between the two. Once you have identified this discontinuity, it is simply a matter of doing what you need to reduce or eliminate the discontinuity.

Only you can know what will or will not help. Only you can know when you have reached a point where you are happy. All that others can offer you are opinion. Take them for nothing more than just that, opinions. Some will feel right, others won't. In the end, only you can know what's right for you.

Bottom line: Be yourself and be true to your heart.

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