It is a popular misconception that because a man dresses like a woman, he wishes he was born as a woman or wants to have sex reassignment surgery (SRS). This is often the second question asked when crossdresser comes out to someone – just after being asked, “are you gay?” Myth: If a man dresses like a woman it is because he wishes he was one and plans to have SRS. Fact: Most crossdressers do not want to be a woman or have SRS, but rather crossdress in order to explore and express their feminine side.
As I’ve stated before, crossdressers are as diverse as non-crossdressers. There is no one good representation or model of a non-crossdresser that is representative of all non-crossdressers, just as there is no single crossdressing methodology that can represent all crossdressers in how they feel or think. I don’t have specific percentages to offer, but based on my frequent interactions in online crossdressing communities, most crossdressers do not wish they were a woman or have any intention of going though SRS.
There are those who feel that the sex they were born as (male) does not fit the person that they are inside (female). In other words, some men feel like they are a woman (in essence) trapped inside a man’s body. When these men dress like women, it is usually not just to express their feminine side, but rather to express that they are truly feminine, period. To me, this almost isn’t even in the same category as crossdressing, although technically it does fit in terms of a male (or one with male genitalia) dressing as a female (at least until SRS has taken place). This makes up a only small number when compared to crossdressers who do not want a sex change. Of course, after SRS has taken place, “crossdresser” would be an inaccurate description of their attire.
I have also found some instances of crossdressers who did not initially feel as if they were born into the wrong body, but later in life came to this conclusion and began the journey to SRS. There are personal discoveries that take place as one learns more about oneself throughout life. This is not unique to people in the transgender community. Many people of all walks will have personal discoveries in their lives that will dramatically change how they live it.
Most of the crossdressers in online communities that I frequent are very similar in one major respect: they are men who identify as being male, but also need to express their feminine side and do so through crossdressering. Most crossdressers seem to enjoy being able to live as a man and transform into the appearance of a woman when they want (the amount of desired man-time vs. woman-time varies depending on the crossdresser).
Believing that a man wants to become a woman just because he crossdresses is a very naïve way of thinking. It is like believing that motor cycle enthusiasts want to become Hell’s Angels just because they ride a motor cycle. Some of them will want, and choose to do just that. Most will not, nor is it ever a consideration for them. As for me… I wonder if the Hell’s Angels are accepting crossdressers these days. I bet I could pull of an awesome biker chick look. :)
Update: In regard to the biker/Hell’s Angels reference, I urge you to read Cathii’s comment below. Cathii is a transsexual and was kind enough to offer important corrections to points I made about transsexuals.
Seriously, it’s time to educate people about the realities of crossdressers and put to rest these senseless myths. This particular myth is not accurate of the majority of us and people are drawing conclusions based on a lack of knowledge about the subject. Why is there a lack of knowledge on this subject? Why is it such a taboo to teach in school or even bring up in conversion… and I don’t mean as a joke or something to poke fun at. Seriously – what’s the problem, folks? What am I missing?
Update: June 7, 2013
It’s important to separate fact from fiction, especially for topics that are so widely misunderstood about the human condition. I am reminded of the rush-job this particular article was – an unfortunate result of pushing myself to pump out multiple articles a week while spread too thin and lacking sufficient time to devote to this endeavor. My intent was good, and I still assert wholeheartedly that “crossdressing, in and of itself, does not constitute that one wishes to undergo SRS (have a sex change)”.
Aside from some poorly chosen arguments and hurried writing, the message remains true. I don’t have the numbers, but most (not all) male to female transgender people I communicate with have expressed that they do not wish to undergo SRS and are happy living on both sides of the nebulous “gender divide”.
At the time I wrote this, slightly over 4 years ago as of this update, I felt that I, too, was happy switching back and forth from man-form to female-form, etc. Or so it seemed on the surface. Even at that time, I clearly remember feeling that “Gabrielle” was far more me than my “man act” or male form.
As I continue to grow and evolve, the desire to live full time as Gabrielle has increased dramatically. There is no confusion or uncertainty on my part. I accept being a part-time tgirl, and that for now, there are many things in my life that I must attend to in my male form. My male form is not who I am, however. It’s the facade; the learned “man act”, carefully rehearsed and executed to provide the socially-expected “man presence” and camouflage my true being. This (self perceived) need to continue the manly charade is also wearing thin.
I do not currently have plans to undergo surgical alterations to my body or begin female hormone treatment. I don’t consider myself to be a pre-op transsexual. I also don’t consider that option in life closed. It is undecided.
If a future update to this article includes disclosure of my intent to transition (undergo the SRS process), it will be a reflection of my own life, and should not be indication of anything beyond that. My point is that if you are reading this article because you or someone you love is a crossdresser, do not take my personal choices in life to mean anything other than what they are (my own personal choices, period).
If you fear your husband or boyfriend may decide to undergo SRS because they are crossdressing, I suggest you stop worrying about hypothetical possibilities and focus on things as they are right now. Take it one day at a time and work through things with your romantic interest. No one ever knows what to expect in any relationship. Communication, respect, patience, honesty, love and understanding are all key to making it through things with the least amount of friction. Limiting someone’s options, manipulating, disparaging, lying, guilt trips, etc., are each avenues that will lead to pain, suffering and a failed relationship, regardless of having a transgender partner or not.
Peeling back the “onion layers” of self identity has revealed that I not only plan to complete SRS and several other reconstructive surgeries necessary to correct what the t-virus (testosterone) has done to deform my body, it’s something I’ve come to realize is necessary to survive.
My gender dysphoria seems to have an increasingly stronger adverse affect on my quality of life each day. It something that keeps me awake at night stressing about how to finance these necessary and insanely expensive procedures, none of which are covered by my medical insurance. There’s a lot more going on that can be covered in this simple blog post update.
Crossdressers tend to not want to make many, if any, permanent changes to their bodies. I became consciously aware in 2013 of something I always knew deep down. I’m not a crossdressing man. I’m a transgender woman and very much need to transition in full. More on that another time…
Related content: Crossdressing Myths