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crossdressing is a verb

I know that some of you refer to yourselves as crossdressers and the intent of this post is not to denigrate that description.

The act of cross dressing seems to be a primordial need in many of us from a very tender age. We remember going into our mother's closet and trying on her shoes and clothing all the while never understanding why. It was simply our normal.

Anne Vitale, who has treated over 500 transsexuals, has stated on her site that in virtually every case there was some period during which the individual crossdressed. This could be weeks, months or years. Here the act of crossdressing becomes a way of connecting to the expression of femininity and a female essence that resides within.

Some of these people may have identified as crossdressers at one stage and progressed while others clearly understood their transsexuality but could not wait any longer to express their inherent female nature.

Crossdressing is a tool to mitigate and control gender dysphoria as well as for some to preview life before transition. In other words, it is an activity and not a descriptor for a person.

Over the last 30 years I have read a great many websites chronicling the lives of transgender people and very few I can recall beginning to experiment with cross gender expression in their adult years. This was something which seemed hard wired and an essential need. It therefore manifested itself very early on in adolescence.

Gender dysphoria seems to clearly be a graded spectrum and hence variable in intensity. Those who can soothe it through cross gender expression often feel comfortable adopting the moniker of crossdresser. For some the descriptor will last a lifetime while for others (think Virginia Prince as an example) it serves as a transient state until another plateau is reached. I have addressed how dysphoria varies with age in a previous post.

I no longer describe myself as a crossdresser although as recently as 5 years ago I did. This is not because I intend to move things along but more because I felt it did not adequately describe me as an individual. Also because the term for many outside our community seemed to suggest a hobbyst who simply donned women's clothes for amusement.

Ultimately you know best what applies to you. How you go about explaining to another human being who knows nothing of this why this makes up part of your essence is often hard to pin down in words.

Speaking strictly for myself, the term crossdresser entirely misses the mark.


  1. Joanna,
    I too stopped using the term crossdresser several years ago. I may crossdress but I consider myself to be bi-gender as this describes who I am.

  2. I've got to believe that virtually all trans folks, MtF or FtM, started out at an early age by crossdressing.

    Featured this post on T-Central.

  3. thanks for the feeback Calie and for the feature on T-central!


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