When did Bobbie start wearing dresses?
I didn’t realize until December of 2013 when I tracked my mother down and went to see her in Calgary that I had slipped into my friend’s dresses once or twice on CFB Shearwater.
My father wasn’t around, so he never found out. Which was probably a very good thing.
The next time I wore dresses was actually on Canadian Forces Base Griesbach. I had a female friend. Her parents were very traditional in the sense that girls had to wear dresses. So she and I would slip off base, swap clothes, and hang around for a while. This of course was during the time I was in the care of military social worker Captain Terry Totzke for my “homosexuality”. So this would have been in the period of 1981 to 1983. Again, I don’t think my father ever knew.
There was an incident on CFB Griesbach that caused me a lot of conflict though. I knew it would have been after I was placed into the Westfield program by Alberta Social Services. Sue, my stepmother, was going to take my younger brother to Dairy Queen for ice cream. I asked Sue if I could come. Sue, who was only about 12 years older than me, looked at me and said “Retards don’t get ice cream”. She was obviously referring to my involvement with Westfield and the problems that my untreated depression, anxiety, and other issues were causing for my father and her. Anyways I started crying. She came over and grabbed me and looked me straight in the face and said that if I didn’t stop crying like a little girl that she was going to take me to Sears and buy me a dress and that I could cry like a little girl all I wanted too.
This caused me great conflict for three reasons. 1) I hated being called a retard. I was getting teased and taunted enough on base having to take the short yellow bus to school, but now my own stepmother was calling me a retard. 2) I despised [brother] for how he could cause all sorts of shit in the house but it was always my fault for not looking after him. 3) I really wanted a dress. I was kinda hooked on Alice’s dress from Alice in Wonderland.
As things had become way out of control at home with Richard and Sue and as Richard was blaming me for “fucking with his military career” and dishing out the physical abuse to go along with that, my desires for dresses took a back seat.
The only type of glimmer that I had in my teenage years of the fascination I had with dresses as a kid was when I went to see Ridley Scott’s Legend in the theatres. I wanted Lilli’s “Black Evil Dress”.
It wouldn’t be until I had my first apartment in New Westminster around 1995 that I started to buy dresses on the sly and wear them in my apartment.
Because of my time with Captain Totzke and my father’s attitude I knew that this was probably due to my “homosexual perversion”.
It wouldn’t be until I got my union job at St. Paul’s in 2005 that I really got into dresses. First it was skirts. Skirts that could conceivably pass as “kilts”.
But by 2008 I was mainly wearing dresses.
My wardrobe at this point is mainly dresses and skirts. I do own a couple “utilikilts” and one pair of jeans.
Why do I wear dresses?
I think that on CFB Shearwater it was just childhood curiosity. When you’re under 5 I don’t think that you have a clear understanding of societal gender roles. Don’t forget, it was very common up until the early 1900s for boys under the age of 7 or 8 to wear dresses. When a boy turned 7 or 8 they were “breeched” and given their first pair of trousers / pants as well as their first haircut. Toilet training and the lack of mass produced clothing would account for this.
This is Franklin Delano Roosevelt wearing a dress.
Historians have had to go back and reevaluate paintings from the Medieval and Early Modern Eras as a lot of the paintings depicting girls in dresses may have actually been both boys and girls in dresses. To tell the two apart boys tended to wear plain dresses while girl’s dresses tended to have small amounts of finery attached to the dress.
But I think that from CFB Griesbach and onwards my desire for wearing dresses had more to do with my gender identity having been destroyed by my sexual abuse on CFB Namao along with the “conversion therapy” that I was receiving from Captain Terry Totzke on CFB Griesbach.
At the time my IQ was evaluated using a professional psychiatric test. I was evaluated to have an IQ of 136 +/- 6.
Maybe this figured into my desire to wear dresses. Dresses don’t have genders. They’re clothing.
As Richard would often say, maybe I was too fucking smart for my own fucking good.
You don’t become a woman by wearing a dress anymore than a woman becomes a man by wearing pants.
Don’t forget, but society heavily frowned upon women wearing pants right up until WWII when women were then required to work on the assembly lines to build weapons and aircraft.
Dresses are comfortable and easy to wear.
And the less things I have touching my body, the happier I am.
I think the destruction of my gender identity also figures into my desire to wear dresses.
I don’t identify as male or female.
I have no desire to be a woman.
But I also don’t fit into society’s definition of a man.
Therefore I’ve never felt locked into society’s demands that I wear specific clothing.
I have no attraction to women, but I also have no attraction to men.
I have had sex with both earlier on in my life.
During the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s I was mainly with men, but it always felt mechanical.
But don’t let this sound like I was involved with 1,000s or partners.
Maybe about 10 guys total.
Maybe about 2 or 3 women.
And I haven’t been with anyone since the early 2000’s
My attraction to men is stymied by the fact that I’ve lived all my life with the knowledge that homosexuality is a mental illness and that it is inherently evil. Having sex with men always brings back memories of my father, of Terry, and of [baby sitter / accomplice]. This cannot be escaped.
My attraction to women is stymied by the fact that I’m not really attracted to women.
What am I?
I identify as “queer”. Not gay. Not bi. Not straight. Not trans.
Maybe I am gay, but unfortunately that was taken away from me back in ’78 through ’83.
When I legally changed my name in 2008 I chose Bobbie specifically because this is the unisex spelling of this name.
Bobby = male
Bobbi = female
Bobbie = unisex.
I hated the name Robert as this is a boy’s / man’s name.
The fact is I wear dresses ‘cause I like dresses and I don’t identify with either gender.