My favorite uncle was a cross-dressing bisexual. I didn’t learn this until my mom and I went to clean out his apartment after he died. He had a closet full of men’s clothes and a closet full of women’s clothes. His roommate told us about some of this part of his life, which my uncle had previously kept hidden from us. It made me sad that he’d felt he had to hide it, since he was also an alcoholic, and I’m sure that hiding was a factor.

I certainly had no judgement around it, even though I was living a very conventional life at that time. What was lovely was that my mom also had no judgement. We loved him; he wasn’t hurting anybody, it appealed to him in some way and even if that didn’t completely make sense to us, that wasn’t actually relevant if it worked for him.

At his wake we got to meet some of his friends, some of whom were transgender, some who were gay but also cross-dressers, some who were straight but were trusted allies. He had mostly dated men in his after college years, but had also lived with a woman for 10 years in middle age, and then started dating men again. At the time of his death, he had just started dating a woman.

I don’t know why we can’t just let people be people. Well, that’s not true, I do know — the dominance hierarchy that we’ve all be raised in belies that, but still………

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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