The public perception of the crossdresser male is often mistaken. Most of these perceptions are deeply rooted in the “norms” of a society which have evolved through generations of Judeo/Christian teaching, which have led to misunderstanding and outright bigotry. The fact is that crossdressers are one of the most maligned sections of society, with no fair basis in that bigotry, as we harm no-one.
By the same token, however, I fully appreciate how difficult it must be for the mainstream public to understand the needs – yes, they are needs – of people like myself. The intention of this post therefore is hopefully to clarify some of the misonceptions and give a little insight into the crossdresser lifestyle.
1: Crossdressers are Gay
Yes, some are. Most however, are not. Still a marvellous study of human sexual behaviour, the Kinsey Report (Male 1948, Female 1953) found that of male crossdressers studied, 68% were heterosexual and of these most were married men with families. Of the gay men I know, I could not say any one of them actually dresses or acts feminine. Come on folks, there is nothing remotely feminine about bulging biceps, a huge bristling moustache and tight leather trousers. Not that I can see anyway, and trust me, given the choice of me in a dress and a guy like that, my gay male friends would trample over me to get at such a hunk.
Consider further gay men are attracted to men, not women. I for instance am not in any way attracted to men. It’s not that I have any aversion to penises – it’s what they are attached to which I find repellent. I really don’t like men. I think the vast majority of them are brutal, rude, unthinking and uncaring. As to physical attraction, whilst I can indeed appreciate beauty in a man, I can think of nothing more of a turn-off than a masculine frame. I like women, I love their breasts, their womanly curves, their features, and I have a girlfriend whom I am in a very loving relationship with. The vast majority of my personal friends are also women.
As I have said, the vast majority of crossdressers are straight. Some however are gay, just as some are bisexual, some are pansexual/polysexual and some, believe it or not, are asexual – having no interest in sex. More of which later.
2: Crossdressers want a Sex Change
Nooooo, we don’t. See the point above about the vast majority of CDs being heterosexual males. The vast majority of CDs are not transgender. What does exist is the need to explore the feminine side within us, but most of us have absolutely no wish to undergo gender reassignment surgery. For what it is, I am quite happy with my, willy thank you very much.
Transgender people are actually one gender trapped inside the body of another. That has absolutely nothing to do with crossdressing. I happen to know some transgender people and they would scoff at any such suggestion.
I don’t know if this fully explains it, but I have found this extremely female part of me which I suppressed for long enough, and I want and need to explore and embrace that. Yet at the same time, I can be all man when I need to be. I suppose I am getting the best of both worlds really but I have absolutely no wish to turn into a woman. Please dears, it took me years to get rid of my man boobs, I have absolutely no wish to get a real pair.
Donning women’s clothes no more makes me or any other crossdresser transgender than jumping on a bike makes someone want to compete in the Tour de France. It really is that simple.
3: Crossdressers are all Perverts
This is perhaps the most damning accusation of crossdressers, the most hurtful, and the most mistaken.
Crossdressers are accused of being perverts because what we do is considered “not normal”. Right away I would question the accuser, define normal. Is there anyone out there does not have some sexual pecadillo which veers from the “accepted norm”? Any of you only have sex with the man on top and woman on bottom in the “missionary position”? Frankly I would not believe ANYONE saying that. But if they do exist, all I can say is what a boring bastard you must be.
Plus what you are doing is not normal, or natural for that matter. As we are simians (apes, dummy) the natural manner of copulation is either for the female to bend over and present, or to sit on the males lap, so that he can enter from behind (although Bobono chimpanzees do sometimes mate with the male on top – and have even been observed to “French” kiss in that postion). This allows deep penetration which is more pleasurable, mainly for the female. So if you are only having sex in the missionary position, stop that immediately, you filthy, disgusting, unnatural, abnormal perverts.
There is not a letter in the alphabet I could not attach a sexual preference to – fact. From Anulingus to Zoophilia they are all there, so I sincerely doubt there is one human being in any position to judge crossdressers, particularly as what we do does no harm to other human beings – or animals for that matter.
If anyone believes crossdressers are perverts, I challenge them to provide the links to stories of crossdressing paedophiles, zoophiles, or rapists. I reckon you’d be hard pushed to find even one.
The watchword here is that what is normal for some is completely abnormal for others. Whoever is reading this, there may be some sexual preference which you find highly arousing but which would leave myself and others quite cold.
And also, crossdressing isn’t even about sex most of the time. It is simply about being comfortable with who the person is. Certainly my need to crossdress does have a sexual side to it, but most of the time it is just about being feminine and dressing in what is comfortable to me. I am sure most women reading this will understand what I mean completely. We don’t dress for sex, we dress to be comfortable and to feel good about ourselves. Oh and guys, strangely enough, so do you in your male clothes.
This myth of course is one which has grown up from Judeo/Christian tradition which tells us that men should not wear women’s clothes;
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5, King James Version)
Okay, let’s just examine that. For a start trousers were first worn in ancient Greece – by both sexes. And there is evidence that women in harems in the middle east wore silk trousers going way back. In ancient Judea meanwhile, where these “rules” originated, what do you reckon the men were wearing? That’s right, robes. The same style of robes which were still in fashion when that guy Jesus came along. Remember him? He was the man who told us not to judge others. And you’ll notice he has always been depicted wearing robes.
Even when it comes to underwear, the “moralists” have got it all wrong and know nothing of history. The fact is female underwear is a relatively modern invention. It was originally only men who wore underpants but not through any boast of “wearing the pants” but simply because of another invention – armour. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Bloody shame they never found out who the father was. As men started wearing armour to go to war, they of course needed to protect their nether regions, and so underpants were born.
Whilst Marie Antionette and some court ladies of her time were known to wear undergarments, for most of human history women simply did not wear underwear. Think about it – we can trace corsets back to medieval times, but when have you ever seen a depiction of a pair of knickers from those days? Really, modern female underwear can be traced back mostly to one person – the American woman Amelia Jane Bloomer (1818-1848), who invented the long undergarments for wearing with shorter skirts. Only one problem for the moral majority – Amelia Jane was an early women’s rights activist who invented “bloomers” to allow women greater freedom of movement, including being able to do things like, gasp-shock-horror, ride a horse properly instead of side-saddle.
We see therefore that the Biblical interpretation of male and female attire is and always has been nonsense. Clothing has evolved down through time and it could be argued that going by the Bible most of us are crossdressers – because men wear trousers and women wear panties.
In the final instance I for one will not be dictated over or judged for what I wear by a man in a frock, who alleges to have never have had sex, and who is more than happy to protect other men in frocks who prey upon little boys.
4: Crossdressers are Mentally Ill
This one just makes me plain angry.
I would like anyone who claims that crossdressers are mentally ill to show me their credentials as a mental health professional. There is not one psychiatrist or psychoanalyst would ever equate crossdressing with mental illness.
Moreover, the claim that crossdressers are mentally ill is downright dangerous, because that suggests that crossdressing can actually be “cured”. Very dangerous indeed when in fact that there is nothing to cure.
There is a direct correlation here with the treatment of homosexual men to “cure” them. Such treatment was commonplace, even within my living memory, and could include electric shock therapy, aversion therapy and, bizarrely, chemical castration by injection of female hormones. One better known person to receive the latter treatment was the computer scientist Alan Turing. Never heard of him? Well you should have – you wouldn’t be on your modern computer nowadays if it had not been for Alan Turing’s work. And do you know what happened to Alan Turing? He committed suicide due to depression.
And this is the important point here. Anyone’s sexuality or gender identity is not only not a mental illness, but to suppress it can actually lead to clinical depression, which of course IS mental illness.
Before I embraced my feminine self I was prone to hangups about it and was often very depressed. Since accepting and embracing Xandra, I have never been happier. Even my girlfriend has seen a marked difference in my mood and demeanour. I am positively beaming now.
The notion that crossdressers are mentally ill seems to me to come from the same view that we are “not normal”, “sick”, “perverted”, etc, and so very much of that emnates from Judeo/Christian teaching. The moralists who follow these beliefs are often very conservative Christians (a concept I’ve never been able to get my mind around – given that Jesus was anything but conservative), and some of these people do offer “clinics” for “curing” gays – which in their ignorance they pigeonhole crossdressers, transgender/transsexual and others. These clinics have no basis in mental health, have an extremely poor track record and are dangerous in that they can lead to depression among their “patients”.
A word to the moral majority. You know nothing of mental health and until you do, you have no right to question the sexuality and/of gender identity of anyone else. What you do is downright dangerous and if I had the power I would close down your clinics – and your churches – the day before tomorrow. You are the menace to society, not crossdressers.
Oh, and should any Christians object to that, another word about Alan Turing, you are the one sitting in front of a device perfected by a gay atheist. Take that to the bank and cash it sweetie.
5. Crossdressing is a Destructive Addiction.
Well if it is dear, to use the words of Saint Amy Winehouse, I won’t go to rehab, no, no, no.
I had a sister once who was a chronic and violent alcoholic. She eventually drank herself to death, which was always going to happen. She did have a destructive addiction, one which tore the family apart, eventually took her life and devastated the lives of all of us who loved her. I would therefore suggest that I very well placed to speak of destructive addictions.
Okay, I will admit that the more I embrace my feminine side, the more I am throwing myself into it, the more I am dressing and acting as a woman. I would admit therefore that it is habit forming. Is it an addiction? No. Is it destructive? To whom exactly?
An addiction occurs when a lifestyle becomes a physical and/or mental need to a substance or behaviour. This can cover many things; drugs, alcohol, gambling, the internet, sex, work, food, power, online gaming, and many other things.
When someone is addicted to something, their body and/or mind not only wants it, it becomes a physical need. Where this becomes destructive is when it disturbs your own life and responsibilities and those of others around you.
Try this experiment. Think of your own life. Think of something within your lifestyle you truly love, that is one of the most important things which defines you as a person. Now ask yourself, does that thing mean so much to you that your body and mind crave it? Does it affect your everyday routine and the lives of those around you. If you can answer no to both questions, then you do not have a destructive addiction. If you answered yes to either or both questions, you’ve got problems honeychild.
By exactly the same token, you should now be able to see that similarly crossdressing fits neither criteria of either being destructive or an addiction.
As I write this I sitting in jeans and cotton shirt – and I need a shave. If my crossdressing were truly so compulsive as to be an addiction, I would be sitting here in women’s clothes, closely clean shaven and possibly with foundation make up on to cover my five o’clock shadow.
What I do harms no-one around me and it does not harm me either. I have always been a very careful individual, very aware of my responsibilities and I do not let anything get in the way of that.
Crossdressing is indeed a need for me, a truly physical and mental yearning which I must fulfill. We can see from the above however that is neither an addiction, nor is it in anyway dangerous or harmful. I do not believe I am in any way an exception to other crossdressers, many of whom are very thoughtful and responsible individuals.
Indeed, the way we choose what clothes and make-up to wear, how could we NOT be thoughtful? Any woman will tell you the realities of that, isn’t that right girls?
6: Crossdressing is a Selfish Act
Yes, it is.
But then, I am what I am – and what I am needs no excuses.
What is selfishness? Are there not many things each and every individual does which can be seen as selfish? Taking the last jaffa cake in the pack is selfish. Changing the TV when someone is watching something else is selfish. Having 11 items in your basket in the supermarket 10-items-or-less queue is selfish. Sitting for hours in front of the TV, with one hand down your pants, the other around a can of beer, farting and belching constantly and loudly is selfish.
Why are these things selfish? Because they do not take the wants, needs and/or feelings of others into consideration. Does crossdressing fit into this criteria? Not for one moment. No more so than masturbation is a selfish act – yet we all do it (yes you do – you can kid yourself all you like but you won’t kid me).
Consider this; if you like a certain garment (and I’m talking gender specific here) and decide to wear it, are you being selfish? Let us assume that your significant other, or someone else close to you hates the said garment, but you love it so much, you still wear it, are you then being selfish? I would suggest that on neither occasion are you, as the owner and wearer of that garment being selfish. Far from it, it is the person who dislikes it who is the one being selfish. They are attempting to live your life for you, to dress you as THEY would like you to dress.
Certainly, we do make allowances for loved ones. There are certain garments I wear which my girl loves to see me in, and I happy to wear them for her for that reason. And I know she does the same for me. By the same token however, there are some things she dislikes me in, yet I wear them nonetheless.
Then there is the lemon shirt I own – which it is my girl’s opinion should be burned in the centre of a stone circle at the stroke of midnight on a solstice when there is a full moon, in some ancient secret ceremony, where people dance naked counter-clockwise, before burying the ashes at the base of an ancient oak tree, whilst intoning an arcane curse upon them. Mind you, I tend to agree with her on that one. However, I dirgress…
The point being however that there are garments each and everyone of us love, which others dislike. They are like old friends to us and we wouldn’t part with them to please anyone. And neither should we. Such clothes are part of what defines us as who we are. It just so happens crossdressers have such garments, which just happen to be flowery, lacy, skimpy, frilly, girly and sexy.
Being Scottish, there is a particularly painfully sad true story I know of concerning gender identity and selfishness. It concerned a clan chieftain who fell in love with a woman. He was head over heels over her and when the moment was right, he asked her to marry him. It was only then that she told him that she had been born a man and undergone gender reassignment. The chieftain was devastated, not through any bigotry – he deeply loved her and had no qualms about her gender identity – but rather because of his circumstances. He broke off the relationship on the grounds that as chieftain he had to marry a woman who could provide him with an heir, preferably a male heir, to carry on his family line. He stated that was his duty to his family and clan. Who then was being selfish? The gender-reassigned woman, or the chieftain? I would suggest the latter, who threw away the woman he loved because of the archaic, meaningless and daft clan system, which in reality is nothing more than Europe’s last remaining vestige of feudalism.
If anyone is being selfish therefore, it is the complainant, who dislikes crossdressing, or any other thing which detracts from THEIR “norm”, because it does not fit in with THEIR lifestyle. Well, I’m not sorry dears, but I’m not about to change to please you or anyone else. As the song goes, who told you your allowed to rain on MY parade?
7. Crossdressing is just a Sexual Fetish
Oh it so very much is dears, believe me – and the sex is FANTASTIC!
That is part of it is or can be a sexual fetish. It is NOT however JUST a sexual fetish.
It seems we have come full circle and we are back to the point about crossdressing, sexuality and gender identity. Without a doubt many crossdressers, myself included, gain sexual satisfaction whilst crossdressed. It is not however a prerequisite for sex for myself nor for many other crossdressers. I can quite happily make love with my girl as the man she needs me to be, when she needs me to be so. Given that the vast majority of crossdressers are heterosexual men in loving relationships with women, I would venture they are exactly the same.
By the same token, I can quite happily go about my routine as a woman without sex ever crossing my mind, and again, from what I have researched, most crossdressers feel exactly the same way. Women will perhaps appreciate this more than men. Many women will dress to be provocative/alluring for their significant others when the mood is right for sex. Most of the time however, women dress in what is comfortable and what makes them feel good within themselves. Crossdressers are no different, because the need within us to crossdress effectively defines us as women.
If guys are having a problem grasping this, consider that when you go out on a date or on the pull, you don’t dress in your beloved scruffy old jeans and t-shirt, do you? You dress to impress and make yourself attractive to potential mates. Yet when you are at home relaxing, you wouldn’t think of dressing like that, would you? So it is the same with crossdressers. We aren’t dressing for sex, we are dressing because we like to feel comfortable in whom we are.
Like so many other things there is a spectrum to this. For some, crossdressing is always a purely sexual aspect, for some others, there is no sexual aspect whatsoever, with most being in the middle.
There are crossdressers who are much braver than I am, who do so as part of their everyday life. Again, this defines them as who they are as people. Some are gay, some are trans, some are polysexual, the vast majority are heterosexual.
And some believe it or not are asexual. They have absolutely no interest in sex whatsoever. This itself has historically been seen as a sexual “problem” and it is only more recently that it is becoming accepted that some people are just like that. They really are not interested in sex. Yet there does exist a small number of asexual crossdressers. For these people the need to identify with their feminine side is no different from those who are sexually active, which is to feel comfortable and fulfilled as the person they are. And there is not one human being on the face of the planet does not seek the same – to be comfortable as the person they are.
As we can see from the above, many of these myths and aspects cross over into one another, and all are saying the same thing; crossdressing is a need within the individual and it harms no-0ne, least of all the crossdresser, for whom fulfilling that need can only be beneficial to their mental health. If anyone feels threatened by it, then I would suggest that they are the ones with the problems. Indeed, I suspect it is more prevelant than many men would even care to admit to and in the case of some of the more ardent opponents, I suspect a case of “thou dost prostest too much”.
I am not for one moment pretending to have all the answers. Hell, I’m still trying to work this thing out myself. I do hope however that I have given many a better insight into the phenomenon, or at least given food for thought.
At the least, as ever, I hope to have entertained you darlings.
This is a great post. I found it when I was doing research for an article about cross-dressers in mythology. You clear up a lot of the common misconceptions. It always angers me that in films cross-dressers are often portrayed as serial killers and psychopaths. Well done!
Thank you Sally dear. Please feel free to quote any of the article that may be useful to you.
And when we are not being portrayed as serial killers and psychopaths, men crossdressing as women is used in cinema as comedy. Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire being two prime examples.
This pretty much sums it up in more than a netshell. It’s hard to believe just how prevalent some of these misconceptions are, even within the trans community (which is the most disturbing part, I think). I guess the best we can do is to educate and advocate in hopes of changing people’s minds and opening people’s hearts.
What a wonderfully well written piece at least we have moved on from electric shock therapy and chemical castration. Still a stigma exists,and completely polarizes opinion however through education and the tinternet, (thank you Mr Alan Turing for that) We will all happily be able to trott off to M&S buy what we like and wear it one day things will change.
Sigh. If only Louise. I suppose we’re just stuck with window shopping and ordering things through Amazon just now (which don’t always fit).
Thank you for your kind words. Glad you liked the piece.
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