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Publisher Description

A few years after World War II, a young white couple happily married, bought a house, and started a family in Madison, Wisconsin. With memories of economic depression and war, they wanted three things: to be happy, to he affluent, and to be secure. They viewed their home as a private sanctuary that would insulate them from destructive forces that raged from without. However, a danger was gathering from within their domestic fortress. The husband had a secret, one that would strain the bonds of the couple's marriage and threaten their aspirations for the good life. For as long as he could remember, this husband and father of two sons had secretly dressed in women's clothing. He had even created a feminine persona, which he named Betty Ann. In the postwar United States, the inexorable desire to crossdress that this Wisconsin husband possessed was a secret to be contained at all costs. The late 1960s, however, ushered in a sexualized society and a favorable context for the telling of his story. Using the name of his alter ego, Betty Ann sent a narrative about his life as a husband, father, and crossdresser to an underground magazine that had been publishing the life histories, letters, and photographs of its subscribers since 1960. The magazine, named Transvestia, catered to a national readership of around three hundred heterosexual transvestites--TVs, to use their lingo. To these readers, Betty Ann's story of transvestism and family life was all too familiar. To contemporary observers, it provides a context for making the familiar themes of postwar domesticity a little strange. (1)

March 22
Journal of Social History

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