This month, the drama “Butterfly” will air in the United Kingdom on ITV, about a boy deciding that he needs to live as a girl. Interviewed for YOU Magazine about her role in the show, actress Anna Friel said, “Imagine how confusing it must be to get to the age of four and realise you’re a boy but you like girls’ dresses; being told that you’re not to do this or that, but you have this desperate need. And imagine how many people must have gone through that before transgender was something we talked about openly.”
As if being a girl is liking dresses. Girls don’t always like dresses, and some of us strongly dislike them. If liking dresses is enough to make a boy “really” a girl, is disliking them enough to make a girl “really” a boy? At what age should such an interest be counted as life-determining? . . .
Yet why is it considered a particularly miserable life for a boy to like dresses? Why is this treated as such a bizarre interest for a boy to have?
Is it the attraction to the sorts of finer textiles that have appealed to many of the wealthiest people of both sexes throughout history? Was it an unheard gender identity message that caused Joseph-Marie Jacquard to be so fascinated with producing elaborately patterned fabrics that he invented what later came to be hailed as a critical computer history milestone, the Jacquard loom?
Is it the interest in wearing a garment that’s shaped like a single tube below the waist, instead of a separate tube for each leg, connected at the hip? Consider this painting of Henry VIII, and think about why we shouldn’t describe him as a trans-feminine person in a fetching, gray silk minidress ensemble with leggings. It makes exactly as much sense as thinking that a little boy who likes trying on dresses at home probably needs chemical castration, using drugs prescribed to convicted sex offenders to manage their urges. (Read more from “If Liking Dresses Makes a Boy Transgender, Half the Men in History Were Trans” HERE)