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“Crossdresser”, “Transvestite” or “Transgendered Person” are terms used to describe a person who regularly takes on the appearance of the opposite sex in order to satisfy a deep personal need.
In my experience with cross dressing males there is a longing for feminine feelings, fabrics and gestures that are often suppressed to conform to social, religious or familial expectations.
What causes a person born physically male to need to dress and behave as a female in order to have peace of mind?
Although it appears to be a genetic predisposition and a prenatal hormonal basis for a person’s gender identity – the mental perception an individual has about his or her gender – which, though subject to social influences, is independent of a person’s physical sexual identity.
The clients I have seen are on a continuum from one to ten.
1. Being a male who looks at females but is admiring of the clothing rather than the individual, chooses feminized fabrics or colours to enjoy whilst dressing as a male.
2. Sometimes fantasizes about wearing female articles of clothing, perhaps shopping for them without purchasing.
3. Secretly tries on females’ clothes belonging to a family member or partner. May experience mixed feelings, relief and pleasure followed by disgust, guilt, shame and fear of being caught.
4. Curiosity about others who share the predilection to dress, anxiety relieved by act of dressing and the desire to be seen publicly increases.
5. Strong desire to attend functions where dressing is accepted and a new peer group formed.
6. Some questioning of sexual preferences may occur and experimentation may take place.
7. A need to identify as female more often and to talk to others about the behaviour, disclosure which is based in approval seeking may occur.
8. Disinterest in heterosexual sexuality can occur .Fantasising about transitioning.
9. Hatred and loathing of male genatalia.
10. Transitioning to live as a female with or without reassignment surgery.
Crossdressing is simply the outward expression by such a person of this essential gender identity and Crossdressing is thus no less real or compelling for this person than the expression by the average male and female of their masculinity and femininity.A person’s sexual preference or sexuality is independent of their mental gender identity. Human sexual diversity exists amongst cross dressers in the same basic proportions as it does in the general community. In fact, as cossdressers are part of the general community, and statistically your “average” cross dresser is likely to be heterosexual, to have married and have children. In some-instances they may have experimented with other partners other than their primary relationship and it could be of either gender.
Most cross dressers discover their need to cross dress during childhood. They have no idea why they feel the way they do, yet quickly find that the expression of this part of their nature results in reprimand and alienation from parents, family and friends – the people they love and value the most. This can result in the development of unreasonable feelings of unhealthy personal shame. Often young boys are ridiculed for dressing up or wearing mums high heels.
Some of the men I have seen have been dressed by older siblings or by a mother who wanted a daughter.
So most CD’s become secretive about their cross dressing and, doing their best to deny and suppress this essential part of their being or fulfilling themselves as human being in all the other ways they can. But being a Crossdresser doesn’t “go away” any more than the essential self can ever go away. Sustained denial of the expression of this essential self can result in severe emotional disturbance and depression and in some instances anger management issues.
Shame, fear and loneliness find expression in thought with such questions as – “Would my best friends, workmates, family, father ⁄ mother, wife ⁄ partner and my children still want me and love me if they knew this part of me or would they reject me with scorn or fear?.”
Many Crossdressers ultimately find it impossible and intolerable to exist like this. They feel compelled to learn about themselves and to open up to themselves and to the significant others in their lives. Rejection may occur most often, CD’s are surprised that in some cases loved ones can accept this personality part.
Wives and partners
This can be a complex area full of land mines. Lies and deception seem to be the most common approach with high levels of anxiety about being detected. Clothes, wigs, cosmetics hidden in obscure places and fear of being caught out.
In my experience it is certainly a relationship crisis and one that not all relationships survive.
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