Embracing Pretty I am, not
no guy at all Everyone

Embracing Pretty

I drove to Boston with my sister and her friend. We got to talking about odd habits we had as kids, and I mentioned that my sister would order strawberry milkshakes and then dip her french fries in them.

"I didn't really like the flavor," she explained, "but I thought they were pretty. And coating my french fries with them let me see how pretty the shake was. I could enjoy it more."

Her friend chimed in "Oh yes! Pink milkshakes are so pretty. I want to have one now!"

This conversation stunned me. I couldn't imagine that I, as a child, would allow myself to enjoy something just because it was pretty. Prettiness was something to avoid, not to indulge.

I realized that challenge still confronts me. I don't feel able to indulge that little girl inside me who just wants to dress up in pretty things and enjoy them. That's the choice of a girl and not for me, because no matter how much I want to just be pretty, I see that goal as frivolous, exuberant, silly. It's just not right.

Pretty clothes are so frivolous
Don't you love being frivolous?
Just too indulgent
To indulge a sense of style
You should be serious & resist
 Give in to fashion
Don't be silly
Show how pretty you are
After all they are just clothes
  A statement of your beauty
People will judge you badly
 A lady is well turned out
You can swallow the urge
You can show your grace & charm
Clothes are not important
Clothes make the woman
People can see you without rags.
Well dressed is well seen
What matters is in your heart.
 First impressions are lasting
The clothes are not important
 Let's go shopping!
The adornments are just sham
What a great pin
All illusion & deceit
 Your makeup is fabulous!
Only on the surface
Where did you get those shoes?
You can live without it.
You look so pretty
Because you are real
Clothes say so much
It's not on the exterior
Doesn't she look great?
But in your heart
I love this dress.
Where you really are
That dress is so you.
Not in some bit of fabric
I've had this dress for years
Shallow and surface
  I feel great in it.
You are above that
I remember what I wore
Tough and strong
 soft and inviting
Independant and rugged
 connecting with laughter
In your own skin
   in a beautiful dress
Beyond frivolity
Being pretty

I remember when I called a friend, a tg shaman, and told them I had pulled all the pins and brooches I had out of the drawer and pinned them up where I could see how pretty they are. He laughed and said "Just like you -- you need to get out of the drawer and be pretty too."

Never having been anyone's pretty little girl, I'm unsure how to do this, because somehow I believe prettiness is beyond me. I can look good or nice, but pretty? Somehow, I believe that it will always elude me.



I am, not

Callan Williams, 1998

I am a crossdresser
        because I wear clothes culturally not attributed to my sex
I am a
        because I change the apparent sex of my body
I am a
drag queen
        because I perform a role with drama
I am a
        because I am a male who thinks like I woman
I am a
        because I risk taboos for my own ecstasy
I am a
        because I believe in the power of laughter
I am a
        because I have the heart of a woman in the body of a man

I am not a crossdresser
        because the clothes I wear are mine, my choices as a woman
I am not a
        because I don't believe anyone can change sex
I am not a
drag queen
        because it's my life, not just to entertain an audience
I am not a
        because I have never lived as a gay man or had gay sex
I am not a
        because I don't harm others
I am not a
        because I am dead serious about my life
I am not a
        because I am not a character in a porn film

I am a man
        because I was trained as one based on my genitals
I am a
        because I have learned to make the choices of a woman
I am not a
        because I never was able to be manly
I am not a
        because I was born male

I am a human
        because I was by the creator of us all
I am never not
        because I was made by the creator of us all.


no guy at all

no guy at all
"heh heh"
He says, snorting
"that's a guy!"
so pleased with himself
at discovering an oddity
a freakshow
a clown.

"Born Male is the term,"
I reply,
watching his eyes cloud

with brilliance
having read me out
with superiority
not being a freak like me

with glee
having revealed a secret
with separation
an observer of the world

with fear
as I begin to speak

with bafflement
as I correct his "truth"

with simplicity
while his unexamined life
erases any doubt that he is correct

Who is this male
dressed in black tights and makeup
a slab of beef
pretty and solid?

Do they have
balls of steel
being able to walk about in a dress


no balls at all
surrending cockiness for truth?

For what sort of a guy
would surrender his penis?

the answer is simple
no guy at all.

1/30/94 2:30 PM

Two eyes, two legs, two nipples, one heart
just another human living on the earth.

Blood, saliva, urine, tears
just another human living on the earth.

Need food, need sleep, need warmth, need love
just another human living on the earth.

Black, white, yellow, red
just another human living on the earth.

Korean, Somali, English, Inca
just another human living on the earth.

Catholic, Islamic, Hindu, Ogalala
just another human living on the earth.

Breeder, homo, polygamist, celibate
just another human living on the earth.

Man, woman, girl, boy
just another human living on the earth.

The same, but somehow different
all just humans living on the earth.

Lives shaped by the forces of society
all just humans living on the earth.

A range of humanity, a range of choices
open to humans living on the earth.

I make my choices, I define myself
just another human living on the earth.

Written for sharing at A Full Circle of Women, February 4-6 1994