The Secret Shopper delves into bigger issues than we’d bargained for.
I can’t describe my reflex reaction to the shop owners starring in tonight’s episode of Mary Portas, Secret Shopper more succinctly than Mr. Hutchings did in this tweet.
Comically oddball-ish characters, my first thought was that Graham, the quiet half of the husband and wife team, definitely tries on the dresses at the end of the working day.
And then… Graham openly, sweetly discloses ON TV that, yes! He is in fact is a transvestite. Oh no. Have I just made fun of someone for cross-dressing? I think so. But I didn’t mean it. Really, I side with Grayson Perry and reserve a particular kind of respect for cross-dressers’ and the two fingers they stick up to sexism.
Even Mary Portas, who seems to never have taken an uncool step in her life, worried she might have put her foot in it after calling half of the shop stock transvestite worthy. She didn’t mean it in a good way either, but I’d bet that she has nothing against Graham’s transvestite alter-ego.
The reality is, we still don’t know where to stand with transvestites. While most people are at least trying to get to grips with different trans identities, the slightly dodgy meaning of the word transvestite still exists.
So, even if we don’t mind if straight men like to dress in women’s clothes as much as the next person, we still use the word transvestite so mean something negative. I don’t think that this double-meaning can be doing transvestites any favours, so much that last year I made the short doc above to see what three very different cross-dressing men had to say.