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What Is Crossdressing, Really?

Guest Leigh T

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On 10/2/2009 at 3:04 PM, Guest Leigh T said:

Wow! After reading these responses, I now have the feeling that transsexualism is more cut-and-dry than transvesticism. For me, I had always struggled with how I felt inside as compared to everyone else's expectations of my presentation. There was absolutely no way I could possibly confess my inner belief to anyone in my family, especially to my father, when I was growing up. With that in mind, I had the belief that both men and women, those who were fortunate enough not to have to struggle with the inner gender conflict, were happy with themselves (read happy being male or female) and wanting to tap into that other gender/sex was never a decision beyond the normal curiosity. Something akin to casually watching a movie like 'Switch' just to watch the humor of a fish-out-of-water situation.

If I understand the gleaned explanation, even heterosexual males and females may have a desire to tap into a cross gender self that they may feel is floating within their consciousness? Am I understanding this correctly? Or could crossdressing be like a low-grade condition on the transsexual scale? Those of us who actually seek and obtain SRS being on the high-grade level? This train of thought is not taking into consideration those who crossdress for erotic reasons, which itself seems self-explanatory. I'm referring to those people who find comfort, wholeness, etc. is crossdressing.

I must admit that I grew up with the understanding that men and women without gender issues never felt the desire to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. Women have clothing lines that venture into the male style but rarely is the inverse true. In fact, I can't remember one. Also, it is hard to 'label' a female as a crossdresser since it is far more prevalent and acceptable for them to wear mens style or even mens clothing.

I think CDs (for lack of better identification) are more complex than transsexuals based on the various origins. There are several to many reasons someone would want to crossdress but basically one for those who want to be female or male. If the scientific community weren't so parochial in their choice of research areas, this would be a fascinating and worthwhile topic to explore. I'll also be honest to say that if there was a true cure for transsexualism (and not that !@#$%&^ Christian route that doesn't work at all), I would have taken it.

Well said

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On 10/2/2009 at 4:25 PM, Guest Danielle2 said:

Wow, Chloe! You nailed it! This is the first time I've actually heard it expressed like this and I can totally relate! I think this may have helped me just as much, if not more, than it helped Leigh! Thanks, girlfriend!


Well said


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  • 1 year later...

I would like to comment on this subject. I think for me it’s more how I feel. I own both female and make clothes. I use to have mini skirts and dresses but I had to sell them because money got tight. I had a wig but I got rid of it because it was to hot on my head and made me itch plus it wasn’t convincing me I was a woman. I sold my dresses to. I’m down to panties and nightgowns now. I can choose my undergarment on how I feel that day. My men’s clothes are unisex so it doesn’t matter. I’ve bought men’s bright clothes to bring out my feminine side. I can also choose how I want to present inner self. Sometimes I will shave my legs and other times I won’t. My personality though is more of a woman’s. I’m a writer, journal, soft spoken, very emotional, love romance, and love to dress cute regardless of its men’s or women’s I am always put together. I thought I was a trans man but I’ve begun to see in my journey that I just have female traits. So am I a cross dresser? I will never label myself because labels mean you belong to a group. I am me and if I am truly free that means I can be a woman or man. When someone or myself needs a little love that is when Tessa comes out and when I need to think logical about something I use my woman’s intuition. If I need to be strong and brave my manly side comes out that is not to say woman aren’t strong and brave but in my case that’s when my male side shows up. I do think I primarily live in my woman brain though. If this has made sense to you or helped you in anyway please comment. 

love to all 


Tessa ?‍?


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Sadie

This is a complex subject. I am many things, an introvert, a bit geeky, a wannabe musician, can write passably when the mood strikes, a mechanic at times, a wood worker, a cook. The list could go on. . I tend to be soft spoken unless you get on my bad side or my mood is bad which happens too often. I'm also moody and have a dark side where I reside in often. I've enjoyed dressing in women's clothes occasionally since I was 15. Always in private. Currently there is a younger woman dictating my cross dressing. I wear dark knee length dresses with a petticoat, a long wig and heels 6" tall. This is my attire when I'm home. I"ve considered becoming transgender. Fear of loss of income means I have to wait until I have a debt free home. So, am I a cross dresser, I would say yes. Am I transgender, again probably yes. However handles don't adequately describe any of us. But it does give us a beginning point to begin visualizing a person if we keep in mind these handles are vague and an over simplification of who a person is.

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17 hours ago, Sadie said:

I"ve considered becoming transgenderFear of loss of income means I have to wait until I have a debt free home. So, am I a cross dresser, I would say yes

Hi Sadie, Welcome to our home away from home. It’s nice to have you here with us.  Thank you for sharing.  I have one question however.  Did you mean ‘transitioning’ in the above quote? In many circles, you probably already qualify as transgender and are somewhere on the trans spectrum if you are crossdressing.  There may be some that believe crossdressing alone does not fall under the transgender umbrella term and that’s fine. If you have a moment though maybe you might clarify what you mean to help others understand what you believe or meant.


Thank you for adding to the conversation tonight. If you have time and feel comfortable, why not share a little of your journey in the Introductions sub-forum and tell us how you got to where you are today.  I’m sure there are many of us here including myself that would enjoy hearing more about you.


Warmest Regards,

Susan R?

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Guest Sadie

Yes I do mean transitioning. I've considered both HRT and surgery as possible options. I know HRT comes first, then surgery. And that it's far more complex than that simple explanation.


I will probably post in the Introductions forum soon.

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  • 2 years later...
On 4/10/2020 at 4:42 PM, Guest Sadie said:

Yes I do mean transitioning. I've considered both HRT and surgery as possible options. I know HRT comes first, then surgery. And that it's far more complex than that simple explanation.


I will probably post in the Introductions forum soon.


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Hi, I've just joined the forum. And I appear to be 3 years late to the party!


But as we're all different, let me give you my perspective. This is something I've never communicated to anyone in my life, so it's lovely to interact with like-minded people, and share some of my personal insights. I suspect it'll all come pouring out now ...


I'm 64 years old (you may have recently seen me post elsewhere). I consider myself a crossdresser. I had a quite normal childhood. I was never the six year old who wanted to wear his sister's clothes. Throughout my teenage years I was quite the normal boy. Plenty of girlfriends etc. No thought whatsoever of any gender issues.


Then in my early twenties the sudden urge came over me to put on some lipstick. No idea where that came from. Maybe something I saw on TV (perhaps an appropriate acronym!). Anyway I went straight down to the chemist and bought some. Things soon mushroomed from there, and I acquired more make up, then started buying female attire. More of a challenge in those days with no online shopping. Those trips to the high street could be super scary! I didn't have much. A skirt, couple of bras (stuffed with screwed up socks!), a blouse and cardy. I had a rather severe white girdle from M and S with suspenders (which I loved), so some stockings to go with that. A pair of classic court shoes with stiletto heels. And finally, after saving up for ages, a lovely wig. Of course I'm sure my clothes choices were appalling, and my make up skills even worse!


I was living on my own in those days, but dressed only say once a week or so. And for me the whole experience was simply erotic. I'm old school - men are men and women are women - so I didn't (don't?) feel as if I was connecting with my feminine side. The whole thing just turned me on big time. I'm strictly heterosexual with not a thought of transitioning. Completely happy in my birth-assigned sex. Reading some of the previous posts perhaps that eroticism defines me more as TV than CD.


Anyway, life moves on, I got married, kids etc., and dumped all my gear as I couldn't risk my wife discovering it. Never considered coming out to her.


35 years later, and whilst I would say the lack of crossdressing hasn't blighted my life, there's not a week where I haven't dreamt of the chance to revisit those old feelings. And in the last couple of weeks for some reason those desires have come flooding back. I'm retired and financially comfortable, and have recently spent every night researching crossdressing services in my locality. Never knew such a thing existed but I am so excited thinking about visiting someone could dress me, make me up and make me feel like a girly. I think I've found the one that appeals. Just need to find an opportunity that's not going to look suspicious to the family. I'm also not completely closed to the idea of coming out to the missus. It would be heaven if I could dress comfortably at home, maybe even go on shopping trips together. She might love giving me fashion advice. But I doubt it.


Anyway, I said it would all come pouring out. Well done you if you read to the end! Just lovely to get it all off my (voluptuous) chest for the first time in my life.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Personally I crossdress to express my feminine half. 

I definitely have two personas, one male and one female.

There are times and periods where one persona is more dominant over the other and I notice it affecting my moods, feelings and even decisions I make!

I will say though, I am happy in both personas and never feel in conflict.

The majority of my life is spent as my male persona. He is the worker, the family man, the face the outside world sees 100% of the time.


But I have Raven, my feminine persona. I try and let her out as often as I can as she can get a little cranky if neglected.  The process of preparing my body, the make up, choosing the clothing...it's all part of the experience, and helps me bond with her.


I dress, I chat with friends over the internet, I take pictures (lots of pictures)...she flirts, she bitches, she laughs and she cares.


When the time comes for me to be that public male again, she is sad but she knows she will always be an important part of my life..and one I never want to leave behind.


Dressing for me has never been primarily sexual, or for a thrill...I do get sexy when dressed but it's not necessary.

I'd much rather have a friend round for tea and a chat than play in the bedroom.


I have just always felt comfortable and happy as Raven. I've not needed anything more..just that time spent with her, enjoying being as womanly as I can...



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  Based on a #1 song from my youth ("I think I love you" by the Partridge Family) I was at least 7 years old when I had an interest in women's clothes. I have played with women's clothes when my mom was at work (age 9 or 10 to 12 or so) when I could, and have been on and off all my life with dressing. I stopped for various reasons over the years but I could never stay away.  


I am really comfortable as a women, and if the world were a easier place, I would wear women's clothes all the time. It has always been a part inside me. I may never live full time as a woman. As much as I would like to, I know there are advantages (especially at 60) to be out as a man also. I will continue to enjoy my feminine side as much as I possibly can for as long as I can.

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  • 3 months later...

I wanted to be a girl my whole life, since the sixties.  So I guess I was a closet crossdresser most of my life until 4 years ago I finally retired and had the chance to transition and felt safe since they removed gender dysphoria from the list of mental disorders, the DSM-5.  But since then I think my dysphoria has gotten worse.  I found out that I can live as female 24/7 days a week, but if I cannot afford hair removal, facial, top and bottom surgery, will not pass as a female and will be in danger out in the real world,  which gets more dangerous with each new red state law.  Then I found that transvestic disorder is still in the DSM-5. So as I live as a full time crossdresser, I have a bullseye on my back every day when I go out the door.  Which helps explain the way I have been treated like a freak by Medical personnel and most everyone else.    But, I am so happy living the way I feel, it makes it all worth it, and I wouldn't be happy any other way : )

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just discovering this thread. It's amazing it's been around since like 2009!! I have been wrestling with CD stuff since I was a kid (heard that story before?) but it has really come out into the open over the past 12-14 months. I've gone kind of wild!!


I finally came out to my wife about all this a few weeks before Easter and it has been HELL ever since. She thinks I am in deep sin, wonders why I won't just give all this deviant stuff up for her, is trying to turn our kids (18 and 14 yo daughters) against me, etc. Right now, my 18 yo isn't even talking to me, feeling like I have betrayed the whole family. My goodness. I am just trying to be me and be honest about it...


In some ways I don't consider myself a "full" crossdresser. I have limits to what I wear (no wigs, makeup, etc) but my wardrobe has ballooned incredibly over the past year so who knows where this is headed. I wish I could fully describe why this is such a big deal to me but I turn into a grizzly bear when feeling like this part of me is threatened. 


I don't repudiate being male but there are aspects of masculinity that I detest - the violence, quest for domination, disrespect for life/women/beauty, rudeness, arrogance, disregard for hygiene. I have been shaving my legs (most of my body hair actually) for years because I just feel like an animal with all that hair (I have waaayy to much).


There is something about putting on feminine clothing that helps me move away from all of the toxic aspects of being male. Wearing women's clothes just makes me happy. I feel like a better person. It's an outward reflection of the kind of man I want to be: softer -- not weaker -- but softer, less harsh, more colorful - a splash of joy, light, peace, color and brightness in a very sterile, dark world. 


Since I have come out into the open, I feel a weight lifted. My thought life feels much healthier (aside from the angst and anger I have felt toward my wife/family for rejecting me). Ironically, while being accused of severe sexual immorality, my thought life on this whole subject has been MUCH healthier. My respect for women much higher.


So why can't I just buy colorful, pastel clothes in the men's section of a store? That's my wife's driving question to me. My only answer, which she says "befuddles her", is that I just don't want to. I want my clothes to come from the women's side of the aisle and that's that. Weird, I know...


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For me its about finally dressing the way I've always wanted to. I've wanted this all of my life. It just feels right to me.

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  • 8 months later...

Hi Leigh,

I can only give you my personal reasons for why I cross dress that may not or do not apply to others anywhere at all. 


First, I was raised by a father that was a German immigrant to the United States in 1957 when he was 20 years old. So, his early years in Germany were filled with Hitler Youth training and bloody beatings by his father. Then he was abandoned with his two-year younger brother as the Russian Army invaded his hometown in East Germany and they had to find shelter under dead German soldiers in a fox hole until the fighting was over. When they came out the Russians beat them and threw them into and orphanage where they were beaten more. When World War Two was well over they found their father my grandfather in West German and turned my father and his brother over to my grandfather at the East/West German border. My Grandfather beat them daily until they found their mother through the help of a US soldier and ran away to her at ages 16 and 14. After trade school and learning to read and write English and procuring a US job mt father was accepted to immigrate to the United States. 


So, my father brought all the ethnic hatred with him as well as bloody beatings as discipline for the children to the US with him. He met and married my mother here in the US, but she was raised in the 1940's through the 1950's Era of "Let him beat you and get it over with mindset" and never interviewed except one time on a Christmas Eve party where his younger brother my uncle cheered him on in beating me in a drunken rage. When mom stopped the beating, I was bleeding out of both ears, both nostrils, and the whites of my eyes were blood red. So, we grew up with hatred and bloody beatings and living in the inner city from the time I was born until 1974 when my parents moved to a rural country town (A life changer for us all) we had street gang fist fights with anyone not of our ethnic origin. Once out in the country I got into American football and wrestling becoming state high school wrestling champion. At age 16 I was strong enough, mean enough, and trained enough to stop the beatings of myself by my father, but the verbal abuse never ceased. 


So that being shared when I started to notice girls at age 11, I also noticed the pretty and luxurious things they wore to capture our eyes. I craved to wear those items as much as I did to date and kiss the girls and that is when I started cross dressing myself to capture the essence and feeling of feminine wears and I loved it. So, from age 11 to 19 I cross-dressed until I graduated high school and entered the US Army as a career in 1984. Back then if you were caught cross dressing or any part of being Gay or Bi the US Army could charge you with a federal crime and place you in jail and once your five-year sentence was up you would be   dishonorably discharged.  Even though I remained 100% heterosexual my entire life I had to hide my crossdressing desires. Married and divorced and raised my kids myself post-divorce until they left my home. My wife was a cheater and extremely mentally and verbally abusive towards me when married and post marriage because our son and daughter chose to live with me over her nutty self. 


Sincerely and honestly written,



Through my career I saw death and warfare and dismemberment and dealing it towards the enemy on all scales. I have seen and partaken in the horrors of man. I know the scent and taste of human blood misted into the air over other animals. What it is to perform CPR on an adult male to an 18-month-old and to have it die in my hands. The sensation of taking a human life by my own hands only in combat to stabbing and weapon usage. 


So, post childhood through my marriage and a 27 career in the Army horrors I have PTSD. Once divorced and the kids raised and out of my home while seriously PTSD counseling, I found myself starting to cross dress again in my life with a love and fervor beyond compare. And I came to realize that my Cross dressing once the transition was completed from myself William into Willa was 100% complete then I could relax and see beauty where once stood William the blood-stained warrior. I came to find beauty in my heart and mind while remaining 100% heterosexual and it became my greatest PTSD coping skill. 


This is my reason for cross dressing stemming from the subliminally circumstances in life to a conscience desire ad love of the enter transformation process of myself each time I cross dress. Like I said from the start my reasons are probably 100% different than any other's here. But I love it and it allows me to cope with the world.


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