Thursday, August 2, 2012

Myra Breckinridge

Gore Vidal passed away this week.  He was a giant in the literary world and a fascinating man who knew a lot of fascinating people.  I don't read a lot of novels, but I did read Myra Breckinridge many years ago, and it spawned a family mystery that I have never solved.

Sometime back in the 1970s I was staying with relatives for the summer.  At the time I thought I was a young crossdresser (terms like "transgender" and "autogynephilia" hadn't been coined yet) and took every opportunity to dress in old clothes that I might find, read anything on the subject that might be in print (there was very little legit info in print back then), and hypnotically watch anything on television dealing with the subject (which was normally relegated to rare news stories about transexuals).  Yes, for the enlightenment of the younger ready, forty years ago mankind was basically an ignorant brute as evidenced by the polyster fashion of the day, but I digress....  I was staying with relatives for the summer and had the run of the house and the small town where we lived.

One afternoon I happened to go nosing through a closet full of old clothes and lots of "junk".  None of the clothes really caught my eye, but I found some old magazines and books that appeared interesting.  Once I had dug down into the middle of the stack, I discovered that sandwiched between reams of general family-targeted magazines were a couple of girlie magazines and a paperback copy of Myra Breckinridge.

I examined the girlie magazines first as I was most familiar with those.  They had the usual centerfolds and layouts of gorgeous nude women, but one item that both copies had in common was that they both had layouts of some hermaphrodites as well.  I was puzzled by this coincidence and mesmerized by these naked bodies that were both male and female.  I had never seen anything like that before.

Then I turned my attention to the book and began reading it.  To the best of my knowledge, I had never heard anything about this book or about the author, yet something drove me to read it.  The two magazines had been major important finds for me and a hunch told me this book was right up my alley as well.  Over the course of a week I sneaked reading chapters and stuck with the book to the very end (I didn't cheat and read the end first) where I was rewarded with the literary fulfillment of a major personal erotic fantasy -- Myra had been Myron, a male.  The thought of being able to overcome my problem of being male and becoming a beautiful woman like Myra (who would tell you herself that she was beautiful) made a huge impact on me.

Some time later, a question popped into my little brain.  Who was the owner of these books and magazines?  The owner was obviously a relative, yet they had been hidden away in a manner where only the owner would have access to them.  This owner might have been like me, wishing they had been born a woman.  Years later, I also realized that this person might have been a bit more lewd, being what is often termed a "tranny chaser".  Whatever the reason for this relative owning this material, I would have liked to have talked with them about it.  There are studies that suggest transgenderism is an inherited phenomenon.  Learning of this person's motives and passions would have been a treasure trove of info.

Unfortunately, this person was probably raised like I was to be ashamed and be silent of any deviation from the "norm".  If there is nothing wrong or sinful about the deviation, why be ashamed and silent?  I can fully understand why people might think my actions are odd (they are sometimes odd to me also), but odd does not equal wrong or sinful, and I've learned being ashamed and silent (for no good reason) not only hurts myself, but others who feel the same.