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Transformations:  Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them

Mariette Pathy Allen

1989, E. P. Dutton

160 Pages

From the Cover

Three to five percent of the adult male population of the United States feels the need, at least occasionally, to wear women's clothing.  From corporation presidents to workers, musicians, policemen, and bus drivers, these men represent the full range of American society.  They live in the fanciest suburbs and the toughest barrios:   they teach Sunday school, lead Boy Scout troops, and are members of the Kiwanis Club.  The majority of these men are heterosexual, a higher percentage than the national average, and are husbands, fathers, and grandfathers. 

Transformations is a book of photographs and interviews with these men who depend on feminine imagery to reach full personality expression.  The crossdresser often sees his femme creation as his better half - the kinder, more charming person who has greater access to feelings and a greater ability to enjoy life.  In the desire to find release from the straightjacket of a strictly defined masculine role, some may adopt an equally defined feminine stereotype.  Others may reach a synthesis of the two.   This is a radical subculture dressed in fifties apparel.

The book features both color and black-and-white photographs depicting these individuals and their relationships with family members and others of their community.   These images are as tender as they are powerful, and this provocative study reveals a fascinating subculture that challenges the concept of male identity.

Table of Contents

After a wonderful two-page introduction, and an eighteen-page photo essay showing the diversity of crossdressers, there are 32 personal profiles with both text and photos.

Gloria Steinem, author, feminist, and co-creator of Ms. magazine says "Anyone concerned with human wholeness as a goal and the sex role prisons that still fragment both women and men should be fascinated with Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them."

Readers' Comments


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Diane Sutton 

This is one of my favorite books, and probably the first book I bought when I was trying to understand my crossdressing. It looks like any other regular coffee table book in that it is oversized with a striking photo on the glossy cover. Inside, the photos are all engaging and many are haunting; the text conveys a diversity of individuals with a corresponding variety of stories. I have used this book effectively as part of my process in coming out to people near to me. At othertimes, I just thumb the pages again to see my sisters and appreciate Mariette's contribution to our community.