“Within every man there is a woman; within every woman there is a man.” – Dr. Veronica Vera
As a newly “out” transgender man, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first began reading Dr. Vera’s (“Miss Vera”) book, Cross Gender Fun For All. With an image of individuals obviously in drag on the cover, I assumed it would contain a simple guide to cross-dressing. I was taught again not to judge a book by its cover. What I found was an in-depth, thought-provoking look at cross gender expression for people of all gender identities. From self-exploration and role-playing to full body transformation, Cross Gender Fun is a complete guide for someone questioning their own gender or anyone curious about gender roles and transgenderism.
Dr. Vera is the founder of Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls—the world’s first transgender academy. The book begins with her academic perspective on gender as a non-binary spectrum and how she came to begin the finishing school.
What I found the most powerful in Cross Gender Fun was Dr. Vera’s guidance to discovering and developing “You and Your Icon.” Dr. Vera explains that a cross gender identity does not need to be a complete transformation (as in transgender individuals); it can be an opportunity to express or develop a part of yourself:
“This iconic other will serve as your guardian angel, your personal champion, your inner slut - whatever you need to feel balance in your life … Sometimes a tiny change can make a gigantic difference: polish one finger or go for a complete mani-pedi. Change that pretty wallet to a dark leather billfold. Where we go from there depends on what you hope to accomplish.”
For me, I began my journey by developing my masculine icon—going from a purse to a white leather wallet, complete with a condom in the front flap (always be prepared).
The section on Husband/Wife Switching is a must-read for all couples. Dr. Vera gives the example of a couple that switched gender roles for a day under her tutelage: “This small act of role play brought up the two topics most affected by life in the gender binary – topics which you, whether single or partnered, must address to get the most benefit from your cross gender expression. These are sex and money.”
This book has invaluable information for everyone. If you’re questioning your own gender identity or gender roles, or are curious to know more about the gender spectrum, this book is for you. With advice on make up, wardrobe, body movement, voice, sexuality, and a list of resources on a variety of topics, Miss Vera’s Cross Gender Fun For All contains a complete guide to developing your cross gender identity internally, and the external expression of said identity.