Upon receiving the message from my mother that little boys do not wear dresses my activity went underground. I would role play in my room or wait till no one was home to raid my mother’s closet. It was fun and it was my little secret.
As I got older and puberty hit I started realizing that this part of me was going to potentially be in conflict with my normal sexuality and my burgeoning interest in girls. I had begun getting inadvertent and unwelcome erections and orgasms which immediately prompted a promise to never go back to raid the wardrobe closet. I began to learn to suppress in earnest.
In my world, Roman Catholics did not ever masturbate or have premarital sex so imagine how I saw myself.
What didn’t help was that all of the information available to me about the subject was negative. "Transvestite" was a dirty word and it was associated with perversion. Entries in encyclopaedias were short and misleading and I had never heard of Harry Benjamin or of his book. Therefore my feelings about what used to be natural began to grow progressively more negative. I began to see my activity as a compulsion instead of something that was helping me bridge a gender gap in my brain. What followed for many years was behaviour patterned after short binges of indulgence followed by long periods of suppression.
No wonder I saw myself as a compulsive person. I was mirroring the behaviour of a dieter who denied himself and then reached for the cookie jar when he could no longer contain himself. This actually magnified my view of this desire as a perverse abnormality.
Once this was engrained in my psyche it took many years to undo the harm.
Now I know better and so does the clinical world which now deals with what we appropriately term gender dysphoria.