Helen Boyd

Author of 'My Husband Betty' book

In 2004 I read a review of a book By Helen Boyd called ‘My Husband Betty’ I subsequently met Helen and Betty in Atlanta Georgia. Her book is an outstandingly frank and researched book that I consider to be the best most honest piece of writing from a female partner to a tranny I have ever read. Furthermore being a generation (or two) younger than me I can tell you that these two people are a truly contemporary and representative of a fresh wave of thinking. Helen runs a web site for female partners to share their thoughts and here I am thrilled to have a contribution from her that could well be the ninth chapter of her eight chapter book.


Helen Boyd writes:

When my husband Betty first told me he liked to cross-dress, he told me a long distracting story about one Halloween where he’d gone as Marie Antoinette and his girlfriend at the time had gone as Louis XVI. He was quite surprised that I didn’t run in horror; in fact, I was amused, titillated, and sure he was a fun date for Halloween.

Eventually he had to get it through my thick head that his desire to cross-dress wasn’t restricted to Halloween – that he’d like go out cross-dressed. I didn’t see any problem there, either: we live in New York City, home of Wigstock, Charles Busch, and the most fabulous drag queens in the world! There were fetish clubs, drag clubs, kink clubs, cabaret clubs, female impersonators… I mean, this is not only the city that doesn’t sleep, but the city that couldn’t give a damn. Don’t steal anyone’s cab and they don’t care how you’re dressed.

For a long time, we went out to club nights promoted by Chi Chi Valenti and her partner Daddy, and we found a place where a het woman and her cross-dressed boyfriend fit right in. We didn’t need "support groups" because we had no problems with his cross-dressing. I wasn’t shocked, or morally appalled, and really didn’t have to get used to anything. I’d had friends who’d done drag, and it didn’t take a lot for me to be okay with it sexually, either: when you put a pair of panties on your boyfriend and he responds with both gratitude and lust… well let’s just say I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. From where I was standing, it just seemed like I’d found a perfect way to decide when we had sex!

Then one day I went shopping for a pair of summer sandals. I am not a shoe shopping type; in fact, I’m not a shopping type. I buy a pair of summer sandals, and I wear them until they’re worn, and then I buy a new pair and do it all over again. Ditto with my clothes, coats, bags, and makeup. So for me, this was entirely a utility trip: my job was to go in, get the sandals I needed, not pay too much, and leave in as short a time as possible. And I did.

When we left, shoe box in tow, Betty was awfully quiet. Downcast. I asked what was wrong, and for the first time, I understood that his cross-dressing was not the subversive, kinky fun I’d thought it was. It was about something else, something deeper, something difficult. We walked for a long time that night, with him explaining how deeply jealous he was that I could walk into a shoe store and buy a pair of pretty slides as if it was no big deal. He longed, he said, for the ability to walk in and buy pretty shoes and know that he belonged in that store the way I had.

Again I explained that we lived in New York City (Betty had only moved to NYC a few months before we met) and that he could, if he wanted, go in and buy a pair of pretty shoes. The store I’d gone to was on the corner of Broadway and 8the Street – famous for shoes and clubs and the locus of downtown culture. Right down the block was the famous store Patricia Field – which carried pumps up to size 12. I told him he had to stop being shy, to understand that no one cared (especially those making the sale), and go get himself whatever shoes he wanted.

Sometimes I’m a little too helpful, a little too pat. He finally got me to stop being so helpful and explained that he wanted to buy those shoes as a girl. And finally there was something in his voice, something uncertain and full of fear. We talked more; we walked more. That night, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, getting to see the beauty of downtown Manhattan reflected in the East River, the squat buildings of Brooklyn beckoning us on.

And that night, I found out my husband’s desire to wear women’s clothes was about his desire to be a woman, not just look like one.

That’s not the kind of revelation you deal with right away. He had said it out loud, and I’d heard it, and then we were both happy enough to pretend nothing had happened. We were, after all, still planning our wedding!

So we let it go, and we kept going out with Betty en femme, and as long as we didn’t talk about it, it was okay. I started doing more research – research that would lead, eventually, to me writing My Husband Betty – in order to find out what I could do, and whether we were doomed.

In a sense, I’m still doing that research. Betty has not transitioned. She doesn’t take hormones, and she doesn’t cross-live, either. She struggles.

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My Husband Betty Book
By Helen Boyd

Available from WayOut Publishing £ 14.50 inc UK p&p

Shortly after Helen met the man who was to be her husband he told her that he cross-dressed. "It has been a struggle to come to an accommodation with this side of his nature".
The book begins as a journey of self-discovery. Helen explores with clarity and modernity, mixing academic rigor with intimate detail. Through Helen we meet other trannies and their partners, transsexuals, drag queens, fetishests.
Helen pulls no punches in discussing everything including the much avoided sexual practises of these people. She concludes .. "My husband is beautiful as a man or a woman, but unbelievably beautiful when he's something in between." And goes on to say that other minorities like black, gay, women, struggle for civil rights and the next group to join that struggle is the transgendered. VERY highly recommended.