Confessions of a Transvestite Buddhist: a quest for manhood
What drives a man to dress as a woman? What kind of man is a crossdresser? Is he even a man at all, or is he something else? What exactly is a man, anyway? None of the explanations offered by psychologists, sociologists and others satisfied Devamitra when he tested them against his own experience. And they certainly provided no answers to the questions that troubled him, including, crucially: did transvestism square with his aspirations as a Buddhist?
For ten years he cross-dressed habitually, and for a long time secretively — not just out of a drive to do so, but in an attempt to cut beneath the surface of this seeming enigma and understand its deeper significance. His book is not just an examination of those deeper currents in transvestism and manhood, but also an exploration of the mind.
“While it may be true that ‘It ain’t easy to be a woman’, it certainly isn’t always easy to be a man. Indeed, it is sometimes not at all clear what it means, especially in the modern era. Devamitra introduces us to the novel notion that dressing up as a woman may be a man’s way of finding out. This remarkable and original thesis is revealed through his very frank exploration of his own journey into cross-dressing and beyond, and it is done as part of a beautifully written and deeply insightful enquiry. Underlying his work is his deep Buddhist commitment, founded on the Buddha’s unique insight into the nature of all and any identity. I am sure that this book will be of great significance to all those who find themselves on similar journeys, whether in this terrain or those it neighbours. However, Devamitra’s work transcends its own particularity, striking at truths that are shared by all human beings, whether they are ‘straight’ or otherwise, male or female, Buddhist or not. I recommend it to all. It is, it must also be said, very moving and, at times, very funny.”
Subhuti, author of The Buddhist Vision and Mind in Harmony.
“Devamitra has written a courageous book which explores a very personal subject rarely aired in Buddhist discussion. We can all learn a lot from reading about this brave man’s journey and from examining our own responses.”
Geoff Walker, former Publishing Director, Penguin New Zealand.