Crossdressing Myth #3: Crossdressers are Perverts

crossdressing myths

Although not the number 1 cliché, this idiotic myth is probably the most damaging to crossdressers than any of the other myths combined. This one alone plays a significant role in society’s general unacceptance of us. Myth: crossdressers are perverts. Fact: Most crossdressers are certainly NOT perverts, but rather regular guys who have a strong feminine side. Only a small percentage of crossdressers are perverts. It is probably proportionate to the number of non-crossdressers who are perverts.

I’m not exactly sure how this myth originated in terms of what line of thinking was involved. It is probably due to many factors, from general misunderstandings blown out of proportion to things that are completely just made up. I’d like to explore a few possibilities that may have lead to this terrible assessment of crossdressers.

Most crossdressers experience a period of time in their life in which crossdressing often leads to sexual arousal and masturbation. In most cases, the arousal phase is temporary. It starts around puberty and fades away over a period of time. I think there may be some general knowledge of this among non-crossdressers. Did this arousal-while-dressed phase contribute to the notion that crossdressers are perverts? To take this in a slightly different direction, wouldn’t anyone who ever sat in front of their computer masturbating to porn also be considered a pervert? Porn is arousing to most, is it not? I won’t even get into the various types of porn people get off to. Is everyone who masturbates considered a pervert? May as well rename planet Earth to Planet Pervert if that is the case. You can nix crossdressers from the pervert list since the arousal phase is usually only temporary. After that phase has passed, it would effectively mean that crossdressers are the exact opposite of pervert… if “pervert” is coming from the idea of arousal and masturbation.

The media
There has been bad publicity of crossdressers on TV. An episode of the show “Cops” comes to mind, in which a crossdressing trucker is ripped off by a prostitute and gets tackled while being chased by the police after an altercation. Perhaps scenes like this embed in people’s minds that crossdressers are perverts. What about non-crossdressers who pick up prostitutes and may or may not end up on TV shows like Cops? Aren’t they then perverts as well? Wouldn’t anyone who ever picked up a prostitute be considered a pervert, period? I’d say we’ve got a hell of a lot of perverts in (political) office right now if that’s the case. Why would this perversion be limited to a crossdresser if it seems more based on being caught with a prostitute? Does one’s attire while being with a prostitute create the divide between pervert and non-pervert?

Some crossdressers have been known to be prostitutes. Does that make ALL crossdressers everywhere prostitutes? Maybe we should explore this twisted logic in a different light: Some women have been known to be prostitutes. Does that make ALL women everywhere prostitutes? Maybe only crossdressing prostitutes are perverts but the female prostitutes are not? Care to explain this logic in a way that doesn’t sound stupid? Good luck.

Every once in a while one might spot a very outgoing, not-quite-right-in-the-head “freak” while out and about… one that also happens to be a crossdresser. Maybe this strange person makes strange comments and looks at people in a strange way while hopped up on some strange substances. Call them a freak or weird-o or whatever. Might this have people thinking that crossdressers are perverts – because of a freakish crossdresser found here or there? I suppose that only crossdressers are freaks and non-crossdressers are not? I’m not sure about you, but I’ve met PLENTY of non-crossdressing freaks – people who have truly freaked me out and just started talking to me out of the blue in a very not so ordinary way. They’ve always been just plain men or women, not crossdressers. While at a party once (in guy-mode), a drunk man kept touching my hair while talking to me. Repeatedly he touched my hair while complimenting me on it and would not leave me alone that night. It was very difficult to get rid of this guy without creating a scene (which I was trying to avoid doing). He had a mustache and dark hair. Oddly, I did not come to the conclusion that all men with dark hair and a mustache were freaks or pervs. Should I have?

The shame factor
I think some people throw the word “pervert” out there to shame a crossdressers into not being a crossdresser anymore. This selfish tactic may be used when a wife finds out about her husband being a crossdresser, or when a crossdresser comes out to friends or family. Calling a crossdresser a “pervert” in order to shame them into being “normal” is like calling a police officer a “pig” in order to shame them into not giving you a ticket. It will only cause more problems, if anything. Though some crossdressers will feel a sense of shame when a loved one calls them a pervert, it will not change who they are. It only serves to make the crossdresser feel bad about themselves simply for being different, and often leads to deep emotional difficulties in their lives.

There are at least a dozen more theories I can explore on this, from TV clips of rather outrageous drag queens at Mardi Gras to homophobic attitudes that crossdressers are trying to fool straight men into liking them (which is another myth all together). Who started the myth that crossdressers are perverts and why? I believe the why is out of a lack of knowledge combined with pure hatred. In terms of who, unfortunately most people who are naive to the realities of crossdressing will believe whatever negative garbage they’re fed by people even more naive than they are. The baseless lies are passed down from generation to generation: from parents to their kids, from hate-filled religious “leaders” to their congregations, and person to person in general conversation.

While it is true that some crossdressers are perverts, it is also true that MOST crossdressers are very good people: loving fathers, husbands, brothers, community leaders, doctors, teachers, etc. who are not perverts at all.

I’ve met a lot of people in my time and many have called me friend. In the last decade, there have been several people who have looked up to me as a mentor and someone they trust. I’ve listened to their problems, offered them advice, helped them when they’re down on their luck, etc. I wonder – if I told all of these people who’s lives I’ve made a positive difference in, that I’m a crossdresser… would they immediately throw out all the good they’ve come to know in me and deem me a pervert? Perhaps I should test that some day and find out.

If you happen to be a non-crossdresser who once believe that we’re a bunch of perverts, I hope you understand a little better now. If you still believe we are a bunch of perverts, then why? We just want to be accepted in society and live our lives without being labeled as such terrible people. If you think we’re perverts simply because we’re different, then I’d say YOU’VE got the problem, not us.

Related content: Crossdressing Myths


13 thoughts on “Crossdressing Myth #3: Crossdressers are Perverts”

  1. Gabrielle, spectacular post.

    I find that non-crossdressing men can be extremely perverted in the way they ogle a woman or talk about women in general. As a crossdresser, I have the utmost respect for the ladies and have an excellent relationship with my mom and sister.

    Perhaps those who would call us perverts do so because it is they who are the perverts and cannot bring themselves to admit it.

    1. I have great respect for women as well, Jessica. I often can’t help but look at and admire them when they pass, but there is no disrespect and I certainly do not make cat calls or rude comments about their appearance or what I’d like to do with them, etc.

      Maybe those who call us perverts are in fact perverts themselves. I wonder if they feel that it’s ok for them to be a pervert, and simply have a problem with us because of how we express our feminine side and they simply do not like that. Sadly, I think it is women who call us perverts the most. All we can do is show them that we are not in how we live our lives and being the good people (however misunderstood) that we are.

  2. Ola Gabrielle, and thanks for the wonderful post.

    I think that popular associations between cross dressing and perversion have less to do with the cross dressing parts than with how people react to things and situations that they do not understand well. Its a pretty common reaction, and just a part of the human condition that we are all prone to.

    When we see something that is not easily categorized it can trouble the mind. People will react to the “different” thing (for example a crossdresser) in one of two ways.

    They will either be curious or they will be fearful. Its all about how we react to new things and situations. Cross dressers are, I believe, naturally curious people. You really have to want to now how a bra feels when fastened or how to walk in heels to get where we are, ne c’est pas? Yes, curious we are.

    So we really should not be surprised when some (or many) people give voice to their fears and confusion by demonizing us. And even more so if they are fighting off fears of latent curiosity.

    Time changes many things, and time is working hard against many of the negative stereotypes held by people my age. I have a lot of hope for younger people. They are exposed to much more positive imagery of gender fluidity and curiosity than prior generations. Fewer emerging adults will have big hang ups about where to fit the cross dresser into their thinking. I believe this is a change that is greatly supported by the sort of terrific writing seen here on your wonderful blog.

    As for the rest of us, we do have a role to play. We can help things along by making a real effort to look and behave honestly, responsibly and positively when dressed, privately with partners, or publicly en femme. A little modesty in our dressing habits, being more careful to adopt age and setting appropriate appearances when we surface the beautiful woman within would go a great, long way too.

    Thanks for helping Muchacha. It means so much to me, to many of our sisters, and to others in our lives.

    Happy dressing and happy everything else – Petra

  3. There times, man mode like you like to say, I must look totally lewd. I love femininity in all of it’s forms. So on occasion I have looked too much at well put together (yes and attractive) women, in the terms of just being a man. However I find myself looking more at appreciating women’s clothes. In I think the way that other women check out what other women wear. How do you look and appreciate clothing without looking lewd and perverted? I think my way doesn’t work. Of course this is just a round about connection to looking perverted and being a crossdresser.

    1. Erin P. Wrote:
      “How do you look and appreciate clothing without looking lewd and perverted?”

      That’s easy – do so in an open-minded society that is not damning of men who have and express their feminine side. :) What’s not so easy is finding that society… we kind of have to make that society exist.

      The only way to stop being looked at like perverts is to show people that we are most certainly NOT perverts. Of course, the real perverts don’t make that easy – the internet (among other places) is full of poor examples of transgendered folks. They’re often the easiest to find, and yet they are NOT the most abundant in numbers. I equate that to sex. Sex sites and internet porn are in great abundance. We stumble across them all the time – searching for things completely NOT related to porn. A simple search for images of “angels” for a Christmas themed image returned several porn sites in the search (this was a few years ago, but it still exists today). The point I’m making is just because porn is abundantly easy to find, it does not mean that most people are pornographers or even fans of porn.

      The cards are stacked against us, but for every mind we educate about the reality of who we are – as in NOT perverts, the potential for that mind to open others is also present. It is important to show people who we are. The human race is full of perverts. Sure, some of them are crossdressers, but MOST of them are not.

  4. I sense , this article is an attempt to soothe.

    As a Long time Transvestite, I certainly don’t see myself as a Pervert.

    But then, there are many Mental Folks, that can’t see their own failings.

    If we are so against the term Pervert, perhaps, we should at least allow the Term “Weird”.

    Weird for not even admitting you are a Transvestite….but rather , soothe it over with that modern term Crossdresser.

    As though, a word, will change the Leopards Spots to a Tigers Stripes.

    We are a fringe community. Friendless, apart from other fringes groups that will tolerate us.

    In the Absence of True acceptance, there is generally no Financial base, No emotional support.

    We do become hardened Outcasts.

    Perverts and Criminals, as we mature, from the Beautiful femminine creatures we so imagined ourselves as being.

    1. Brenda, this article was not an “attempt to soothe”, it was intended to educate.

      I can certainly understand that some trans folk are not comfortable with who they are, and/or have a strong sense of guilt tied to their feelings about this aspect of their life. I was once riddled with guilt and self-hatred myself. It’s hard not to think of oneself as something awful when surrounded by people who constantly reinforce the idea that being trans (or any other type of non-mainstream being) is an awful thing.

      I’m sorry that you feel like an “outcast”. I do not, personally. I often feel like a black sheep, but that honestly has little to do with my being trans and a lot more to do with the fact that I’m just not into what most people are into (in terms of casual interests).

      When it comes to words, even if the core meaning of a word remains constant, the word itself often shifts and changes over time in the way it is utilized by society. The word “gay” was once widely acknowledged as nothing more than an expression of “bright and pleasant; promoting a feeling of cheer”. Today the term “gay” is generally used to describe same-sex romantic interest. Although technically, crossdressers are transvestites, the term transvestite (today) is usually used to represent “transvestic fetishism”. Some crossdressers are in it for sexual gratification (hence the transvestic fetishism), which is fine, but most that I have interacted with are not driven by sexual fetish, but rather their desire to be feminine (or what is feminine to them), period. In a nutshell, it is the negative association of “transvestite” with “transvestic fetishism” that has most transgender folk referring to themselves as crossdressers. A good example is how the word “negro” is technically accurate to describe a dark-skinned person of African descent, and yet today it is generally regarded as an offensive term. Accurate or not, I’ve never met a black person who referred to themselves as being “negro”.

      A “fringe community”, “friendless”? The lack of an all-encompassing formal trans community is, to a high degree, caused by the negative social stigma, and by the fact that transgender people are as varied and different as people who happen to be left-handed. There are indeed trans communities in which people celebrate their similarities and enjoy the company of good-natured, like-minded people. There are also trans communities in which people tend to endlessly debate what it means to be trans and whether or not it is “right”.

      If I read correctly, you implied that “we” end up becoming “perverts and criminals”. I just don’t see it that way at all and I question why you do. Perhaps you have a low self-image or suffer from depression, but to suggest that “we’re” all this way is ridiculous. Seriously – do you see yourself “maturing” into a “criminal”? If so, is it honestly directly related to your being trans? Sure, some criminals and perverts happen to be trans, but did they end up that way BECAUSE they’re trans? Do non-trans folk who are perverts and criminals end up that way for NOT being trans? Is it the “outcast” factor, perhaps? Do all “outcasts” end up as criminal perverts, or even a large number of them? I don’t know the numbers, but I do know there is no shortage of (non-trans) criminals and perverts who are anything BUT outcasts – people with jobs, families, active in their communities… AND also happen to be criminals and/or perverts.

      I’m sorry you have such a gloomy outlook on (what I read between the lines to be) your own life. I once did, too. I certainly hope that you will also choose break free of such a depressing existence, if that is indeed how you feel about yourself. If you’re in need of “emotion support”, have you ever considered seeing a counselor or therapist? Have you ever sought out a trans-related support group? You don’t NEED to feel down about this aspect of your life. Instead of “maturing” into a “criminal”, why not truly mature (evolve) into a well-balanced person. Sure, it’s a lot easier to get down on yourself about things – been there, done that myself, too. Life is a whole lot more enjoyable once you break free of all that unnecessary baggage society does so well at loading you (and all of us) up with. :)

  5. Gabrielle you touch on something I find myself thinking very often.

    I have seen the pictures of the serial killers, or pedophiles or just major criminals and there is something that rings in my head when I see them.

    There are things missing.

    What are those things? Well I will take my own self as an example.

    These people lack dark makeup, long black hair (okay, wig, lol), cross earnings, elegant and flowing or tight and sleek clothing.

    In other words these criminals LOOK COMPLETELY NORMAL!!!.

    The people that ram rodded our country into this wonderful economic environment spend most of their lives in three piece suits costing more than I earned in one year turning wrenches.

    I’ll bet in their music selection has not one song from Japan, or from Ozzy Osbourne.

    Aside from Manson, and Rimeriez (Richar aka night stalker) these scum of the Earth LOOK COMPLETELY NORMAL.

    On another tangent (I am good at such). Goths got blamed for Columbine only to be exonerated, 10 years later by the Media and police forces that said those two losers were Goths, when they IN FACT were neo Nazi crazies, with NAZI markings all over the furniture of their homes.

    The Goth community has not recovered due to the stigma of that event….Yet people can walk around looking like a pimp (one of the lowest forms of life in my book) or a Gang Banger (a group POSITIVELY identified and connected to many many murders and crime)

    I never cease to be annoyed by how people strive to maintain the status quo, and strike down that which is unusual with derogatory terms like pervert, weirdo, nut case, fetishist, (some would use the term freak, but being goth, that is a term of pride. LOL) and not surprisingly these terms are applied almost exclusively to MEN.

    I do wish I knew what to do. I myself am in a very precarious position due to my career path. I really cannot rock the boat so to say. But there are many in our community that can indeed get out and about and be known, and PROVE we are not dangers to children, or perverts or other negative things.

    1. Pythos, perhaps the best thing we can do is SHOW society that we are certainly NOT perverts, predators, wack-jobs, mental cases, criminally insane, or any other negative stereo-type that is unfairly applied. There are bad examples out there, and they are the ones that unfortunately get all the attention. The best thing we can do is to live our lives as POSITIVE examples of who we are. We look how we want to look because this is us, NOT because we’re trying to get a rise out of people or freak people out or derive some kind of sexual gratification from being seen this way. Put forth a positive example and let people get to know us for who we are. Allow them to ask questions and learn about us. Once people begin so see that we’re anything BUT all that negative garbage that the masses make us out to be, THEN we might start to gain more acceptance and respect. Every mind that we can open is another potential person who might just share what they have learned with others. This is the slow and long-term approach, but it is also a powerful way to spread the truth and put to rest all the negative crap that is representative of only a small chunk of “different” people. Some people are just plain bad, period. It has nothing to do with gender expression and everything to do with who the person is and how they choose to treat others.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If we ALL did just a little to put forth a positive image of who we are as individuals, the chances for creating real change (a positive shift in how mainstream society views us) within our lifetimes would increase dramatically. In reality, it’s not quite as easy as that, but one should always look for opportunity to do something positive. It sounds like you did just that not too long ago in a group environment. I bet you made a positive impact on at least a few people because of that evening. :)

  6. First off men are using this bull sh*t cross dressing merely to cheat lie and betray a woman. The sad sob stories are just that, they break every rule in a relationship and think because they slipping a dress and climb into some heels they can be as perverted and sick as they can. I have been to the CD websites and every perverted ass that claims he has to dress up us [perform self-gratification] porn exposing themselves and are all wearing wedding bands. Come on stupid women stop supporting these bi-sexual perverts that have to get there thrill on! Gross and thank god for intelligent Women like me that are still out here , rules if relationships apply to the gay perverts too, don’t let them fool you dummies.

    1. Whorufoolin, who are YOU foolin’? Your whole comment was a great, big generalization about all crossdressers, everywhere, as if all are exactly the same. There is not a group or segment of the population that can be summed up as “all the same”. That’s how bs like racism and many other prejudices are formed – when you take an opinion of one or a few and apply it to *all*. That kind of thinking is the opposite of “intelligence”.

      The fact that you left your comment on *this* particular website is a clear indication that you have either failed to read anything, or very little of the content here. You’ll get no argument from me about all the sexually-charged sites out there. There is no shortage of porn on the internet, regardless of what form it is presented. There is ZERO porn on this site, the site you chose to comment on.

      I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt before. We’ve all been lied to and hurt by someone we love at some point in life. I’ve had women cheat on me in the past, just as my wife has had men cheat on her in the past, too. Neither one of us projected that betrayal onto each other, just because we’ve had our run-ins with jerks. That’s exactly what you’re doing, btw – projecting your own dislike of the few crossdressing sites you’ve encountered on to ALL trans folk, everywhere. Why not try making friends instead of proactively trying to create new enemies by spewing out misplaced, narrow-minded judgement in an attempt to elevate yourself by putting others down – others that you know NOTHING about.

      “Seen one, you’ve seen them all” does NOT apply to crossdressers or trans folk, in general. Sure – there are perverted crossdressers out there. I’d say the percentage is similar to the number of perverted NON-crossdressers. Perhaps it is better said that there are perverted people out there, period. Liars, cheaters, etc., cannot be tied to any one group or segment of the population, other than that which is referred to as “liars”, “cheaters”, and “perverts”.

      I’ll end with this quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It’s the truth:

      “When you judge another, you do not define them – you define yourself.”

  7. Gabi,

    I wish society didn’t have such a negative view on crossdressing.I wish I didn’t have fear of buying cosmetics,women’s underwear,or accessories at Wal-mart or anywhere without people giving me strange looks.Women can go to the Men’s department and browse for a shirt for their husband or boyfriend,but a guy in the Women’s department gets looked at funny if there for more than 5 minutes.I don’t see department changing their sign from Ladieswear to Ladies/Crossdresserwear anytime soon

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