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"Crossdresser" just doesn't cut it....

I don’t like the term crossdresser very much.

For me it has the connotation of choice and playing dress up as a lifestyle; much the way a drag queen chooses to be an entertainer and then removes the makeup after the show.

I don’t see my expressing Joanna as a choice but as a necessity and using the term crossdresser is like telling people that I dress in women’s clothing instead of playing golf. I may be wrong but I also feel that many people associate the word with some sort of odd and compulsive hobbyist.

For one thing, I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would deliberately choose a lifestyle of cross gender expression simply for amusement. I am sure that they exist but their motivation for doing so eludes me.

For her part, my partner N does not like that I use the term gender dysphoric either because it implies to her that I am unhappy being a male which is also not the case. Gender variant, which is the term that the gender therapist Helene Cote used to describe me, is a better fit so I stick with that as a self descriptor.

My litmus test is this: if these feelings have always been with you, you have tried everything at some point in your life to get rid of them and you use crossdressing as a method of alleviating your gender expression deprivation anxiety then, in my book, you are more than a plain vanilla crossdresser.

Perhaps I am being too harsh on the term but words have meaning and power and language can be important when explaining to people what you have been through in your life.

The term "Crossdresser" just doesn't cut it for me.


  1. I have reached the point where I do not take offense with words or terms. While we may be gender fluid I find that no single word covers all that we are. As such, rather than searching for a noun as a permanent label I am comfortable using a verb to cover an activity.

    I like to cross dress, hop in the car and go out for a drink. Does that make me a drinker and a crossdresser and a driver.

    We are all many different things and what we are referred to is often dictated by what we are doing at any given time. When you are in a store you are a shopper regardless of your attire.


  2. Pat my objection to the term for me is that it downplays what I am in the minds of others. When I first explained all this to a sister of mine she thought that I could just stop since this was an optional activity which it very much is not. But a word is a word I know....

  3. I actually have to agree with you. When I first came across transgendered literature on the Internet (that was around 1994 or 1995!!), crossdressing was mostly described as either a) a sexual fetish; b) a harmless hobby; c) a way to relieve stress.

    Well, in my case I certainly agreed with the stress-relieving part; and I suppose I didn't mind to consider it 'a hobby', although there are certainly much better ways to spend time & money (and I was very well aware of that). In a sense, as 'merely a hobby', it was a terribly compulsive-obsessive one, and, since I'm not compulsive-obsessive in anything, I thought that the description didn't fit me well.

    'Expressing the woman within' would be closer to what I felt, but, on the other hand, that was not really enough. Why would the desire to 'express the woman within' be so overwhelming? I mean, I might also wish to 'express the writer within' and blog; but that's never something 'compulsive', and 'not blogging' certainly doesn't create me any kind of anxiety.

    So, yes, there is much more to crossdressing than that, and saying 'I'm a crossdresser' is really not saying much about what someone feels inside. I guess that 'crossdressing' should be only used as a verb — meaning really just 'wearing the opposite gender's clothing' — without any other meaning. Then the reasons why we crossdress could be explained elsewhere.

    I actually like the word 'crossdreamer' to mean someone who gets aroused by their own self-image as the opposite gender, and, in this scenario, 'crossdressing' is just a (possible) physical manifestation of that — it's how someone expresses themselves as a crossdreamer. But of course other words are also possible.

  4. Thank you sandra for the feedback. Cross dreamer is however jack molay's alternate term for autogynephilia which is the idea of arousal at your own image as a woman which is again for me anothet subcomponent to gender dysphoria as a whole.

    There is more to this than sex and the feeling you get when you dress (that wonderful sense of peace) helps alleviate the dysphoria I feel.

    I have no objection to the word crossdreamer but want to use it in the broader sense to replace the term gender dysphoria.

  5. Woman within is also an image I like...

  6. Yes sandra crossdressing should be used as a verb!

  7. I consider myself bi-gender because that is what I feel. Crossdressing is what I do since I wear the clothing of both genders.

  8. I understand you very well Leann...


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