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Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them
by Mariette Pathy Allen

1989, E. P. Dutton
160 pages (hard)

This is a pioneering book of photographs and interviews with crossdressers and their loved ones: wives, children, and other family members. The focus is on presenting crossdressers in daily life, in positive settings and relationships. The photographs sensitive, sometimes beautiful, and the text offers insight into the differences between sexual orientation and gender presentation. "Transformations" is suitable for schools and libraries.

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.
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.

Editorial Reviews

  • 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.
  • Barbara Millstein, Curator of Photography, The Brooklyn Museum of Art
    Mariette Pathy Allen's work combines pure photography (and) empathy for the subject matter...
  • A.D. Coleman, Columnist, The New York Observer
    (The book) raises provocative questions questions about the relationship between gender, culture, sexuality, gender preference, gender stereotypes, and clothing.
  • Robert Butler, American Journal of Psychiatry
    This book would enlarge the insights of psychiatrists into human sexuality.

About the Author

Mariette Pathy Allen is a photographer, writer, and speaker on gender topics. Her photographs have been exhibited widely in the USA and abroad. Her work is in the permanent collections of The New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Museum, The Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, and The Kinsey Institute, among others.

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