My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser, by Helen Boyd. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003.
by Samantha P.
Where was this book when I really needed it, those many years ago? Without a doubt, this is the best book I have read on the subject of the relationship between the transgendered man and his wife or partner. Written by the wife of a crossdresser, it is an eye-opener to say the least. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what my wife of forty-five years is going through with respect to my crossdressing and my transgender nature. After all, we have known each other for almost half a century! Helen Boyd really “tells it like it is,” and it was an education for me!
With a Preface, an Introduction and eight chapters, Helen opens the male-to-female crossdresser’s eyes to the realities facing his partner, whether married or not. Throughout she quotes from, and makes reference to, many of the crossdressers and the partners she interviewed in her research for the book.
Chapter One, entitled “Crossdressed Lives”, delineates the who’s of crossdressing and why the book was written. Here you will find a relatively detailed description of the life of the crossdresser from his teens though to his late fifties. Also in this chapter Helen attempts to identify and define the myriad of classifications one might encounter in researching the transgender world.
In Chapter Two, the author explains who they are, why they do it, and why they can’t stop.
Chapters Three and Four detail the experiences of partners of crossdressers; who they are, why they stay, how they deal with it, and how they make things work out for the couple.
Chapter Five details the fears expressed by almost every partner of a crossdresser, from “is he gay” to “does he want to change sex?” Entitled “Slippery Slope!” this section will surely give the crossdresser and his partner pause for second thought.
Chapters Six and Seven deal with the sexual aspects of crossdressed lives. The various aspects of sex which cross all lives, trangender or not, are dealt with in a matter-of-fact way guaranteed not to upset the most delicate reader.
Chapter Eight, “Gendered Politics,” starts off, “If one more crossdresser complains to me about how unfair it is that crossdressers can’t wear what they want and tells me I don’t understand because I can wear whatever I want, my head might explode. First off, women can’t wear what they want. If a woman dresses too provocatively she’s assumed to be a whore; if she’s not sexy or feminine enough she’s a man hating lesbian.” Powerful words in a powerful chapter; one which the crossdresser needs to read carefully and thoroughly.
Of all the books I have read on the subject of crossdressing, this one sits so far above the rest that it has become the one book I now recommend to all couples dealing with crossdressed lives. Not only will it be of great help to the partner who is confronted with crossdressing, it also serves as a wake up call for the crossdresser himself. I simply cannot find the words to give this book the praise it deserve.
Thank you, Helen Boyd!