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by Abigail Van Buren

Cross Dresser's Revelation Causes His Friends to Flee

DEAR ABBY: About a month ago, I was shocked out of my shoes. My longtime friend, "Orville," told me he had bought $280 worth of women's clothes. He went on to describe how "great" it feels to wear them. He says he has been a cross-dresser since boyhood when he started wearing his sister's clothes. When she found out, she continued dressing him up and he loved it.

Orville says he's a woman trapped in a man's body -- something about brain lobes. I saw it once in the newspaper, but didn't read it because I wasn't interested.

Orville has told a lot of his friends and now he is isolated. I don't go over there either, because I don't want to hear it. (He even said I should try it.) We are in our 60s, and I think Orville is headed for trouble. I just can't believe he is gay. I am heterosexual (when I get the chance). Does he need a shrink? Please advise. -- SHOCKED IN OKEECHOBEE, FLA.

DEAR SHOCKED: Feeling that one is trapped in the body of someone of the opposite sex does not make the person "gay." It means he or she is a transsexual. Your friend needs understanding, not isolation.

By all means he should see a psychiatrist -- one who specializes in gender disorders. He should have counseling if he wants to take this where it is heading, and also to cope with the loss of his friends. It would be a kindness to tell him that.