Saturday, November 08, 2008

Is Cross-dressing Healthy For Kids?

This is the story of a cook we had until a year ago and his three daughters. Tapan, the cook was a very hardworking man who cooked at homes fixing lunches and dinners, organizing parties, gardening in multiple homes through the day. His day began early and never ended before 11:00 p.m. Our advice for him to take it slow for it will eventually affect his health fell on deaf ears. He was all too keen on working in too many places eventually picking up fights where he worked so as to lose the job in a few months because of his temper and ego. Often, I reasoned with him why not work at a fewer places and he had seen the benefits working whole heartedly at limited houses than not doing a good job at many. Anyways, he was a unhappy man because he had three daughters. He yearned for son but had daughters the second and third time around. To be happy and to come to terms with what he had, he and his wife decided to upbring the last daughter as they would have reared a boy. One of the first things, they did was to always dress the kid in the clothes of a boy. She was never allowed to wear dresses, sandals, or even hair bands. Her hair was always cut short in the style of a boy. The kid who is about seven years old goes to school in shorts and shirts while the other girls in her class in pinafores. He confided once that he has been cross-dressing the kid ever since she was born. I told him in the long run this might adversely affect the way she thinks of her sexuality which may not be healthy. Logic never works with Tapan, so I left it at that. What bothered him was the fact that she was more girlish in her manners, the way she talked and behaved while the second daughter was more outgoing, aggressive and fearless - the traits he wanted to see in his last daughter. Not that the traits displayed by the second one are anything to do only with boys - can't boys be shy and's just what he perceived. Anyways, to this day the kid dresses in boy's clothing.

Once I moved to Bangalore, I came across another kid who demands to be dressed like a girl. This boy, all of years, hates wearing shorts and shirts demanding to don only dresses everyday. His parents oblige, and the boy is not Scottish :). I know he is too young, all of 3 years, to understand sexuality and the difference between male and female gender. Daughters wanting to wear jeans wouldn't get parents as worried as sons wanting to wear dresses. It is more acceptable to see daughters dressed only in jeans but not the other way round for obvious reasons. In the case of Tapan, I found it odd because he was forcing his daughter to wear only boys clothing laying foundation at an age where she was beginning to understand the difference between the genders. For fun, a cross-dressing day can be great. We've all done it as kids. But for a prolonged time? I don't know. How do you deal with kids who demand to be cross-dressed all the time?