New York Times Celebrates Scary 'Self Images of a Cross-Dresser'

The “Thursday Styles” section of The New York Times promoted a new book called “The Book of Dolores,” where novelist William T. Vollmann chronicles his cross-dressing in photographs as “a female alter ego named Dolores, whom he refers to in the third person.”

“Dolores is a relatively young woman trapped in this fat, aging male body,” Mr. Vollmann told Stephen Heyman of the Times. “I’ve bought her a bunch of clothes, but she’s not grateful. She would like to get rid of me if she could.” We're told gender is fluid, as every liberal-media outlet must promote:

“I had always imagined femininity as what you’re born with, what’s between your legs,” Vollmann said. “And then I realized: no, it’s a performance. It’s about how you move, all the things you do to get ready.”

In the book, Vollmann elaborates: “I have never believed myself to be a female born into the wrong body. I am a heterosexual male with a hypertrophy of the empathetic organs.” In other words, a natural subject of cultural wonder for The New York Times.

The paper may expect “transphobia” pushback from the LGBT Left over calling this an “outre experiment”:

He said his wife, who is an oncologist, is not thrilled with his outré experiments and keeps her distance. “Probably when the book comes out, it’ll be the first she’s heard of it,” he said. “I always try to keep my wife and child out of what I do. I don’t want to cause them any embarrassment.” He asked that his wife not be interviewed for this article.

When you want to spare your wife and daughter any embarrassment, maybe you don’t put out a book of yourself in women’s clothing and makeup that lands you in The New York Times?

Vollmann is aware “Dolores” is a frightening image:


By then, more than a decade had passed since the first time he dressed in drag. “I had aged,” he said. “ I looked like this horrible Elizabethan courtier.”

Indeed, many of the images in “The Book of Dolores” have a garish sideshow quality: Dolores with whip and dog collar; Dolores with a noose around her neck; Dolores as a deranged clown. Some of the photographs were printed with an arcane 19th-century method called gum bichromate, which takes him 28 days to produce a single print. The results are shocking — a sense of shock that Mr. Vollmann cultivates. Sometimes he even scares himself.

Sometimes, when he sees himself in the dark, “I get close enough to see this very, very weird frightening woman in a wig looking at me. It’s titillating and very eerie.”

Vollman professes that the cross-dressing “gave me a chance to sort of love and take care of myself,” but:

But his hobby has cost him friends, and he said he has “a certain amount of fear and dread” about the book’s publication. “A lot of friends who could always handle the prostitutes and the drugs felt that I had somehow degraded myself,” he said. “The idea of stepping down from the dominant male class really disgusts a lot of people, including women.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis