Levy was married to a cross dresser for 20 years, a secret she hid from everyone in her life. Instead, she eventually tried seeking help online, which for her proved to be an exercise in frustration. “I found thousands of sites on cross dressers, although some wouldn’t allow me to post as the wife of a lingerie-wearing cross dresser. Other religious sites would refer you to their clergy, who would refer you to an immediate annulment. Many sites were critical of ‘unaccepting’
Originally, the book was meant to be an article about Levy’s own experience. However, while she was writing it, some of the women on the website’s Forum posted suggestions that they write a book of their collected stories, and Levy agreed. Naturally, to protect personal identities, all names, dates, and identifying details in the book have been altered. (All women on the website’s Forum post anonymously and utilize pseudonyms.)
Levy and Hunt invited the women on the Forum to tell their stories as they wished; once the stories were submitted, Hunt communicated with the writers to flesh out the details. Then, from the www.crossdresserswives.com Forum, they selected posts to sprinkle in between the stories. “The posts pages are meant to illustrate the powerful ‘emotional speakeasy’ sense of camaraderie, caring, and support that is evident on the Forum on a daily basis, each enhancing the themes of the five stories.”
Hunt describes the stories:
1. The Queen of Denial examines denial, a self-defense mechanism utilized by many cross dressers’ wives;
2. The Golden Nugget explores the significance of desire in helping a relationship remain intact;
3. Gaslighting exposes the lengths one cross dresser will go to cover up his secret;
4. His Favorite Woman asks if cross dressing hints that he really wants to be a woman, or is merely a doorway to other sexualities?
5. Mr. Wonderful – Levy’s own story – ponders the ramifications of a woman’s choice to stay in the marriage.
“Multiple thorny issues can surround cross dressing. Often, it involves some sense of romantic betrayal at its deepest, messiest level. These relationships are operatic in scale and shake these women to their core,” Hunt contends. “Why else would a sound woman consider leaving the love of her life and disrupt her family if this issue was merely about ‘scraps of clothing'?”
The book’s prospective audience, Hunt believes, includes “cross dressers; cross dressers’ wives; gender counselors; therapists; anyone in a relationship where someone is harboring a shame-based secret; or the avid reader / armchair psychologist eager for a penetrating peek into the human psyche.”
The authors hope that readers will gain a deeper understanding of the issue, and that the book will help bust the myths and eradicate the need for such secrecy. “In the little we do see about this issue on TV and entertainment, the women accept it,” Levy points out. “But what about the ones who don’t? These women are marginalized, minimized, and are a subculture that no one knows about. I want people to start thinking – and start thinking twice!”
“A much needed book, a window into a secret world few know about. A book of courage, wisdom and truth, whose voices will inspire many women to tell their stories and reclaim their lives! Brava!” Veronica De Laurentiis, bestselling author (in Italy) of Rivoglio La Mia Vita (Claiming My Life).
About authors Dee A. Levy and B. Sheffield Hunt:
Dee A. Levy is the founder of the nonprofit organization Cross Dressers Wives, whose mission is to provide a safe environment for cross dressers' wives everywhere. Since 2006, the website www.crossdresserswives.com has emerged as one of the top support sites designed to address the needs of all women who are (or were) involved in an intimate relationship with a cross dresser. The Forum encourages cross dressers' wives from across the globe to reach out and anonymously share their experiences in an effort to learn from each other without fear of being judged or humiliated. Levy holds degrees in women’s studies and education.
B. Sheffield Hunt is a writer, producer, and artist living in Hollywood, California, who holds a degree in fine art and is also the cover illustrator of "The Cross Dresser's Wife * Our Secret Lives."
The Cross Dresser's Wife * Our Secret Lives
166 page paperback, $16.99; ISBN: 9781456478513
Published by CreateSpace (September 21, 2011)
Available at Amazon.com and www.crossdresserswives.com