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I just wanted to write in a thank-you note for “A Change of a Dress” (5/7), a feature that I greatly enjoyed. I would also like to applaud your maturely detailed and warm handling of so sensitive a subject, as opposed to the circus-spectacle approach typically employed by the media in general.

This “kink,” issue, phenomenon, whatever you wish to call it, is so beautifully real and is for many of us (myself included) a very deep and intimate expression from a part of ourselves we are forbidden to explore.

By virtue of gender, in my opinion, I think most men realize the kind of social retribution you can expect for sexually nonstereotypical behavior: indifference (in the luckiest of cases), ridicule, and scorn most commonly. However, further down the darker end of the spectrum, you might run into a couple of former high school chums of mine. Now grown men in their mid- to late 20s, they once made a weekly ritual of patrolling Hudson County Park in New Jersey at night for suspiciously deviant-looking suspects. Depending on the circumstances, they would either intimidate, harass, or physically assault these persons for sport. A range of public hostility as wide as this makes for a crushingly lonely existence as well as a fearful one for the “male” explorer of his own sexual bounds.

Control of territory that is as justifiably a person’s own to limit or expand upon as one’s own identity should not be a privilege exclusive to females.

As it stands, what might otherwise be for some a positive and fulfilling voyage to self-discovery is a solitary and painfully secret one. Thank you for alleviating some of that loneliness, even if only temporarily.

Gaithersburg, Md.