Devamitra, Upasaka. “Confessions of a Transvestite Buddhist: A Quest for Manhood”, Achilles Publishing, 2014.
Cross-dressing and Buddhism
Have you ever wondered what drives a man to dress like a woman or about what kind of a guy is a cross dresser? Is the man who chooses to do this even a man at all? Do we even have a definition of what is a man? Upsaka Devamitra has heard all of the explanations and theories but they did not ring true to him especially when he tested them against his own experiences. He was unable to find answers to other issues that bothered him as well. He certainly never found the answer to his most important question— “did transvestism fit with his aspirations as a Buddhist?” For ten years he cross-dressed habitually, and for a long time secretively and not just out of a drive to do so, but in an attempt to cut beneath the surface to try to understand its deeper significance. He wrote this book as an examination of those deeper currents in transvestism and manhood and also as an exploration of the mind of the cross dresser. It is not always clear what it means to be one gender or the other and he brings up the idea that one way for a man to find out the meaning of being a man is to dress as a woman. This book is what he found out and it is a very candid exploration of his own journey into cross dressing and even beyond. It a beautifully written look into his own mind and what he suspects is in the minds of others.
Underlying everything that Devamitra does is his deep commitment to Buddhism and this is founded on the Buddha’s unique insight into the nature of all and any identity. Devamitra’s work transcends its own particularity. He strikes striking at truths that are shared by all human beings, whether they are ‘straight’ or otherwise, male or female, Buddhist or not. “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”.