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how I hate the term "crossdressing"

I still see older transgender people and their spouses use the term “crossdressing” to describe what is essentially someone being themselves. No spouse should ever be lied to but then no one has the right to hold someone prisoner for something as utterly benign as dressing in the clothes normally associated with the opposite sex. No, its not like killing puppies.

Some women are disgusted by it and that is their right while others might be even amused by it; it runs the gamut it seems. But the double standard that says a woman can express herself with more latitude while a male is supposed to stay inside a limited track is disturbing to me and, should I ever enter any kind of relationship again, my identity will not be up for negotiation.

The truth is that we live in a world where we are supposed to be straight jacketed into submission and, whatever the cause of gender dysphoria, we should never allow someone else to call our right of self-expression a compulsion or a filthy habit simply because it breaks one of society's cardinal rules.

My militancy in this blog runs in two directions: I am against the transgender lobby that equates happiness and authenticity exclusively with a full transition but is also aimed at the people who understand nothing of dysphoria and think that gender expression outside accepted norms is rooted in perversion (an idea encouraged in large part through 20th century psychiatric quackery) or as passing fad and are outraged because it doesn’t fit society's idea of normalcy.

Well I have news for current or potential partners who are disturbed by gender behavior outside the norm: transgender people are indeed small in number but they have a right to exist and to find happiness where they can and if you don’t like it then find someone else in your life. If you have been told in advance then consider yourself fortunate for you have nothing to complain about.

While to transgender people I would say: be honest always and come out into the light because it is not shameful to be you and do not accept anything less than being loved exactly as you are; if for no other reason than you deserve it. If you don't find that love outside then console yourself with love from within and be happy in your own skin.


  1. Beautifully put Joanna. Our right to self-expression and self-acceptance stated perfectly.

  2. I agree with Rhonda, very well said Joanna! I'd like add something Brene Brown writes about shame: it thrives in the darkness and wilts in the sun. Expose it freely to others and watch it disappear!

  3. Agreed. I have a follower on my blog who's e-mailed me many times to describe his difficulties with his wife from his "crossdressing." (I also hate that word.) He feels ashamed of it because of her disapproval. I try to help but I'm not in their lives so my impact is limited to giving advice.

  4. Perhaps I am missing the obvious, but in my opinion the term "crossdressing" is a fairly benign word. Many individuals self-describe themselves using that term. It doesn't seem to have the same amount of connotative baggage as a term like "queer" has. Has it and can it be misused? Of course it can, but that is true of most words.

    1. Kati the term has acquired a meaning and language has power. In our culture that word mostly has a negative connotation.

      if some people want to self identify that way it is their prerogative..


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