Crossdressing Myth #6: It’s a Purely Selfish Act

crossdressing myths

This myth is fairly common among (unaccepting) loved ones of crossdressers and subsequently many crossdressers themselves. In online transgendered communities, countless times crossdressers have expressed guilt about being themselves sighting this exact myth as the source of their guilty feelings.

Myth: Crossdressing is a purely selfish act and the time spent crossdressing could be better spent doing more productive things. Fact: Crossdressig is no more selfish than time spent reading a good book, watching TV/movies, exploring a personal hobby, or any other activity of personal interest.

We’ll start out by examining the meaning of the word “selfish” and then get into why there is little merit to this myth.

Marriam-Webster definition:
Selfish (adjective):
(1) concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
(2) arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others: a selfish act definition:
Selfish (adjective):
(1) devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
(2) characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

As these definitions indicate, being selfish involves a certain level of disregard for the welfare of others. How exactly does crossdressing interfere with or show disregard for the welfare of others? The short answer is: it does not.

Crossdressing requires an investment of time and money. It varies from one person to the next depending on personal style, depth, and duration of time spent crossdressed. Some crossdressers do so openly in the company of their spouses and/or families, and sometimes out in public. Some choose to only crossdress in private.

Now I’m going to repeat the same general paragraph, substituting crossdressing for a model train enthusiast. The point I’m making should become clear.

Building a model train set requires an investment of time and money. It varies from one person to the next depending on personal interest, depth, and duration of time spent with the model train set. Some model train enthusiasts do so openly in the company of their spouses and/or families, and sometimes at public at shows/events. Some choose to only indulge in private.

The father of one of my childhood friends was a very serious model train enthusiast. He had quite an elaborate set up in his basement, complete with a miniature town, buildings that had working lights, moving railway road-block arms, detailed geography, grass and trees, and the train even blew smoke out of its stack. The model trains themselves were rather impressive chugging by with their intricate wheel mechanisms, functional train-whistle, and passenger cars that also had working lights. The whole set up was enormous and filled up about a third of the entire basement (in a closed off room). This was 30 years ago, mind you. Some pretty serious electronic technology of the time was being utilized. I can only imagine how many hours were spent assembling everything and time necessary to maintain the the small, intricate moving parts, let alone the cost of it all. It must have been very expensive because he protected the set up with a vengeance. We weren’t allowed near it without him in the room… and he reminded us of that every time we went in the basement to play Atari (old school gaming, for you younger folks).

I was just a kid at the time, but I think it’s safe to say that no one questioned this man’s love and enthusiasm for his amazing model train set and collection. The time devoted to his hobby was probably not considered a “selfish act” by his family or friends. I wonder if his wife ever had a problem with the amount of money spent on it.

The rules are very different for crossdressers though. The time spent crossdressing is often considered a “selfish act”. Why is that? Money spent on acquiring female clothing, makeup, and accessories is often seen as part of the selfish act because it might have been “spent more wisely on other things”. Does this same logic apply to the purchase of expensive model train components?

The general reason one is considered “a selfish act”, and the other not, is because many people are uncomfortable with the idea of a man crossdressing in female clothing. People are taught to be uncomfortable about this from a young age because it does not conform to currently acceptable social norms. It’s a bit like sex – most parents are embarrassed to discuss the subject of sex with their young children. Kids are taught not to ask about or even mention it, often in a punishing tone. This embarrassment was taught to them by their own parents (and other grownups) when they were kids, because their parents were embarrassed by the subject as well. It works much the same with crossdressing – the discomfort and detest is taught and passed down from generation to generation. Unlike the subject of sex, with crossdressing there is often no “acceptable age” at which time it becomes ok to discuss or acknowledge as a normal human trait. Instead, it remains a problem with many people. The reason has a lot to do with the lack of knowledge about and social stigma attached to crossdressing. It’s a lot easier to perpetuate the negative stigma than it is to acknowledge the truth and reality.

Truth be told, some crossdressers are in fact selfish – at least in some aspects of their lives. It has little to do with their crossdressing however, but rather the kind of person the are. The same can be said about many non-crossdressers as well. The world is full of people who do selfish things. Some happen to be crossdressers. Some happen to be model train enthusiasts.

If you think it’s ridiculous to compare crossdressing with being a model train enthusiast (in this context), please enlighten me as to why by leaving a comment below. I think it is ridiculous how society treats and vilifies such harmless and perfectly normal activities as crossdressing.

I know, most people do not consider crossdressing “normal”. There was also a time when most people did not consider being left-handed “normal”, or blacks drinking out of the same drinking fountain as whites “normal”. Luckily, most people have realized how idiotic those notions are. Society has, in many ways, become more enlightened and grown up. There is a long way yet to go, however. How much more growing up do you need to do?

I’ve often thought about the unaccepting families and loved one’s of crossdressers as being selfish when they ask their loved ones to stop crossdressing. It is selfish to ask someone to change who they are for you own personal benefit – in this case to ease your discomfort and/or embarrassment about their crossdressing. It displays disregard for the welfare of the crossdresser’s personal happiness. We are all entitled to the pursuit of happiness in life. There’s nothing selfish about that.

Related content: Crossdressing Myths


11 thoughts on “Crossdressing Myth #6: It’s a Purely Selfish Act”

  1. Hi,

    Selfish? There’s a loaded word if ever there was one. I remember reading a magazine article about parenting and – for new parents especially – there’s this notion that they must be selfless to be a proper parent. Stay with me, this is relevant :)

    I think for some of us – trannys that is – there’s a part of us that says: “if I don’t dress up or talk about it, everything will be okay. It makes me feel bad that I can’t respect my partners feelings.”

    The thing is, it’s rarely that black and white. While you can consider it to be selfish behaviour, if you don’t look after your own needs, no-one else is going to. I’m not saying you should ignore the needs of your partner, but there are times when you have to come first. Hopefully, it can be a give & take relationship! :)

    1. That’s an excellent point you bring up, Lynn – mainly looking after your own needs. The relevant word being “need”. Everyone has needs. Crossdressers/transgendered people have very real needs just like anyone else. Some may not understand our needs, and that is fine so long as they still respect them. It is when people choose not to respect the needs of others that I have a big problem with (and that works both ways, btw). In any healthy relationship there is compromise, or “give and take” as you put it. Remove the compromise, and the health of the relationship will suffer. It makes no difference if it involves transgendered people or not.

      Truth be told, most people are selfish at times, including myself. It’s normal. It’s human. There’s not much wrong with that unless the selfishness is taken too far. Where’s the line drawn? That is situation dependent and usually open for debate.

      Interesting set up with the parenting “selfless” bit. I’d love to do some in-depth analysis on that some time… but it would be a bit off topic for this site. Then again, that’s never stopped me before. lol I do find various “protocols” in life very interesting and enjoy exploring the social reasons behind them.

  2. Ok, excuse my thoughts here if they appear to be rather off the cuff and non sequitur. I’m posting my response as I read it so I can address all my points as they come to me.

    First off, I’ll state that I’m in complete agreement here Gabrielle, CD’ing and TG expression is not selfish when done in the same moderation as any hobby or “personal indulgence.”

    For example, monetarily it’s no worse than purchasing unnecessary shoes and outfits that may not see the light of day more than twice. Further, considering that many CD’ers get their outfits from female friends or from second hand stores, it’s even less of a valid statement in this regard.

    I think there’s a (*SOMEWHAT*) valid point in certain circumstances where some aspects of CD’ing could be viewed as being selfish, however. For one, there’s the risk to some people, especially when they’re the sole or primary bread winner in the household that if they are ever exposed, it could potentially ruin their careers, and by direct relationship, the family. Common sense will typically prevent this from ever being an issue, though, so it’s frequently a non-issue that some blow out of proportion.

    Societally, we are far from “perfectly normal.” This is one of those points where I think we need to be careful about how we present our case, Gabrielle. I think people need to be allowed to come to their own definitions of normal, since, really, don’t we all already? I’ll just say that what we need to do, and what we really do already anyway, is just try to take the stigma off it. The rest is up to the individual. But the more people feel alone in their principles, the more they are likely (if they are logical) to come to the conclusion that their beliefs may be incorrect.

    As to the acceptance of families, well, though I find that the people who so often preach the same thing, I just retort with a simple “Love is, by definition, unconditional.” Really, to my mind, if someone can’t accept you for who you are (so long as your aspects are largely positive), they likely aren’t worth losing sleep over either.

    Again, my apologies for my disjointed thoughts. It was a long enough day today.

  3. One could write a thousand books on the subject of acceptance for crossdressers but lets stick to your point. I like the way you link selfishness with CDing/hobbies.

    In a way from a selfishness point of view you are 100% correct. You could say that All hobbies or things one does alone are selfish. Some people who smoke are very selfish, they may deprive their families of much needed cash and pollute their environment the same applies to drinkers and I’m not just talking alcoholics here. Are they normal? Are they selfish? I reckon they’re about as normal and selfish as anyone else and would also say that they’re accepted to the same degree as anyone else.

    So why are they accepted and we CDers not? Well maybe we just think we’re not but then again people in general don’t know what we do or why we do it. “I’m afraid of whats under my bed! so whats under there to be afraid of? I dont know I’m afraid to look!!

    1. I agree, Samantha, at least a thousand books on the subject! In that respect, there is (unfortunately) no shortage of crossdressing myths to bust.

      I really liked your last paragraph – the analogy of being afraid of the unknown “under the bed”. What a bullseye statement. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force. Sadly, it is that unknown element that I think contributes to people vilifying crossdressers as terrible things rather that learning the truth. People come to all kinds of appalling conclusions to explain things they don’t understand and would like to go away.

  4. So is being an alcoholic ok too? What about smoking pot? Doing drugs? It doesn’t hurt anyone, right? Tell that to wives who have lost their husbands because they became transsexuals. Or to children who lost their Dad because of it.

    It is a selfish act, but not for the reasons you are referring to.

    Wearing women’s clothing in-itself is not a selfish act.

    The problem is, crossdressing becomes way more than just wearing women’s clothing. If done consistently, it eventually creates a feminine identity that gets in the way of your real self.

    It’s selfish because of the affect it has on people around you. If you are married or have a girlfriend, you are completely disregarding what is best for your relationship; and it sure isn’t crossdressing.

    How would you like it if your wife/girlfriend began acting masculine? Would you be accepting of that?

    What’s best is that you be the person God made you to be; which is a man. Because you are disregarding that in order to indulge in crossdressing, crossdressing is selfish.

    The world will benefit by you fulfilling your potential as a man. This can’t happen if you crossdress. Because you are robbing the world of your best, you are being selfish.

    And yes, I used to crossdress, but I don’t anymore. And I can tell you the difference it has made in my life. I am more giving and generous now than I ever even thought of being as a crossdresser.

    My life is 100 times better because I have stopped, and I only wished that all crossdressers could experience what I have personally.

    1. I’m happy to hear that you’ve found your way to a happier place in your life, Jared.  I think it’s absolutely absurd to imply that what’s good for you is good for everyone, though, or in a broader sense, the whole “one size fits all” life methodology.

      The fact that you would even imply that my writing suggests, in any way, shape or form, that alcoholism is “ok” is very telling of your true feelings toward people like me (or perhaps just to the “act” that you disagree with).

      You have made some of the same poor arguments/comparisons that most haters tend to make – irrational comparisons to drugs and alcoholism, broken marriages, and scarred children.  And each of those arguments, in the context you’ve used them, are total and absolute garbage.  Even worse, I think you know that.  They’re powerful, though very deceptive, tools of influence used to persuade others over to misguided and self-serving ways of life.  Self-serving in the sense of trying to make others more like yourself and/or conform to a way of life that *you* are more comfortable with.  It is absolutely “selfish” motivation behind your statements, regardless of the misrepresentations employed to influence others to a way of life that you find more desirable.

      Do you REALLY want me to be the person God made me to be?  I only WISH that was your true sentiment.  I’m being EXACTLY the person God made me to be, at least in this aspect of my life.  God made me as I am, and for many years, I turned my back on the gift He wove into the fabric of my very being.  I pretended to be someone and something I am not, and did so fairly convincingly.  I pretended to be that which I thought I was supposed to be – just another one of the “guys”.  It was nice to fit in, to some extent, but it never felt natural or normal or like “me”.  It never made me feel good about myself, but rather very miserable.  I hated the fakery I had to rely on just to make others accept me and I hated myself for being “different” because of all the lies people filled my head with about “trans” being a bad, sinful, crazy, etc. thing.  It almost destroyed me.

      When I finally realized that I was not, in fact, being the person God wanted me to be, but rather running away from who He did make me; who I was by design, femininity and all, that life started to make a little more sense and the darkness began to life.  Fact is, God has nothing to do with the popular, though very misguided notion that crossdressing or being trans is a bad thing.  That method of thinking is a product of society; human created, not by God.  People often like to back up their way of life by throwing the fear of “God” (note the quotes) into others for not conforming to it.  Whether it be crashing airplanes into buildings or just comparing crossdressing to alcoholism, there is often some message of how [whatever undesirable/unpopular trait] is wrong in “God’s” eyes.  I can think of no greater disservice to God’s Word than to misrepresent, misinterpret, and just plain fabricate lies for the selfish purpose of influencing conformity of one’s way of life onto others.  And my apologies for getting a bit side-tracked on that one bit.  It sickens me, though.  It truly sickens me.  And I get it – I probably “sicken” you and people like you, too.  I’ve gotten plenty of email from people telling me to “burn in hell” and call me disparaging names, etc.  I’m no stranger to how so many people think poorly of me for being the person I am.

      “If you are married or have a girlfriend, you are completely disregarding what is best for your relationship; and it sure isn’t crossdressing.”

      Would it surprise you to learn that it was my wife, who just after a few weeks of dating, asked me to wear one of her skirts for her?  It’s true.  The story is in the link in the right-side column (How I Came Out to My Wife) if you’d like to open your mind to the fact that people like what they like, and it isn’t always what *you* would have them like.

      “How would you like it if your wife/girlfriend began acting masculine? Would you be accepting of that?”

      Nope, wouldn’t like it one bit, and I make no apologies for how I feel about it.  Again, people like what they like, and I do not personally find that compatible with my romantic interests.  Even so, it is not my choice how my wife or girlfriend chooses to be.  It is only my choice whether or not to be involved in a romantic relationship with such a person, and I would choose not to be.  I am very supportive of women who feel more masculine and choose to express themselves in that way, I just am not *romantically* interested in those qualities, personally.  It is generally unwise to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is not compatible (at least to a degree).  That statement has nothing to do with being trans, by the way, most marriages fall apart when the couple discovers just how incompatible they truly are or have become over time, regardless of what incompatibilities cause the friction.  I know, this is were people who strongly disagree with crossdressing pose the idiotic and very black and white argument: “So then is it ok to go and just get divorced and let your children suffer as a result?”. Throw that argument at ANY OTHER reason for divorce, and there is your answer… or answers (plural).  As with anything, there are way too may complex variables to even engage in such a simple discussion, which is why it’s a very poor argument to make in the first place (at least in this context).

      “The world will benefit by you fulfilling your potential as a man. This can’t happen if you crossdress. Because you are robbing the world of your best, you are being selfish.”

      I was robbing the world of “my best” when I was pretending to be something I’m not, as in a non-trans “man”.  If anything, I’m only robbing the grim reaper now, by sharing my thoughts, opinions and knowledge with the world.  Just as I once tried to take my own life because I was confused and hated myself (because I didn’t understand myself), I now receive messages of thank you from others who have also crawled their way out of the dark place they were once stuck in prior to finally realizing that crossdressing/being trans is not wrong, but rather just UNPOPULAR and misunderstood by most.  Some people choose to look for the reality of the situation and grow beyond the archaic lies and misconceptions.  The world ain’t flat.  It’s perfectly fine and normal for women to be allowed an education and right to vote, etc.  Black people are not inferior to any other race because of their skin color.  Being born with male genitalia does not, by default, mean that one must also exhibit and live life to “masculine” standards.  Perhaps that last point I make isn’t quite past the threshold of mainstream acceptance on the timeline yet, but it will come soon.  People can use misleading forms of influence to slow down the understanding of reality and the truth, but they cannot stop it.  Professing that the “world is flat” never actually influenced *reality*, it only influenced the minds of others who did not know better.

      “My life is 100 times better because I have stopped, and I only wished that all crossdressers could experience what I have personally.”

      Again, I am genuinely happy for you in that you have found your way to a life that is “100 times better”.  We’re all trying to do that, aren’t we?  It’s just not a one-size-fits-all solution that will lead us there.  I only wish that all non-crossdressers or “reformed” crossdressers could experience what *I* have, personally.

  5. Hi, Gabrielle! I’m really enjoying your web-site here. More power to you! I especially enjoyed your last post on this thread.

    If I could just echo a couple of things you said in your reply to Jared: God didn’t make me a man. He made me TG. For a long time I tried to deny that fact. I’m happier now that I’ve stopped denying it. If you don’t like Transgenderism, Jared, then perhaps you could ask God why he makes some of us this way.

    And Jared, you say you’re 100 times happier now that you given up CDing. You don’t sound very happy in your post. But I’ll take your word for it–you’re happier. But just because you’re happier doesn’t mean everyone else will become happier by giving it up. People are different. Not everyone is like you, and there’s no reason we should try to be. We become happier by being ourselves. No one person can know how everyone else can be happier, and they don’t have the right to try and dictate terms to us, either. I look for my own path in life, and you don’t have the right to tell me what it should be.

    Best wishes, Annabelle

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Annabelle. :) You’re absolutely right – God made you TG, and personally, I’m very grateful I was made TG, too!!

      I doubt your message will ever be read by Jared, but I’m glad you took the time to share. I really am happy for former crossdressers who truly are happier in their lives for *not* crossdressing. I’m happy for people simply finding that which makes their lives feel whole, meaningful, complete, and of course – HAPPY. So long as it doesn’t involve causing harm to others. It’s always questionable in my book, when anyone professes to be happier for having given up crossdressing, though. I think it may very well be genuinely true in some cases. For many who *claim* to be happier for having given it up, I truly believe it is more the result of the whole “if you can’t be ’em, join ’em” mentality. In renouncing crossdressing as some “terrible affliction” one has “overcome”, it opens up the door for them being once again accepted by mainstream society, friends, family, etc. The feeling of “belonging” and being socially accepted is a lot easier to digest than the feeling of being seen as some kind of deviant freak, or whatever negative terms are often used. It’s not uncommon for people to literally convince themselves of whatever fallacy they need to “believe” so that they might sleep better at night and live guilt-free, stress-free, etc. There are a lot of psychology-oriented books that explain how this phenomenon works in varying capacities. Fact is we all convince ourselves of things that are not true from time to time – mostly in fairly insignificant ways. Perhaps the boss pitched an idea that was less than agreeable with your particular take on things, but everyone else in the meeting seemed to be very enthusiastic about it. After having witnessed everyone else’s apparent endorsement of said undesirable idea, your mind slowly begins to shuffle things around so that it sits better with you (assuming there is little to nothing you can do to change it). In time, this not so great idea may even roll off your lips with high praise in conversation with others, and not in an intentionally deceitful way. It’s just one of many ways people learn to lie to themselves, and even *believe* the lies on a conscious level.

  6. I wish I could ask him some questions:
    Jarad do you mean gave up as in gave up smoking? Or gave up because you found it no longer was a compulsion you needed to satisfy?
    Do you still want to?
    What happened to make you do so?

    Equating CDing to alcoholism is crazy man.

    Ive thought some things in some way similar though, to my shame. “Maybe crossdressing is an addiction I need to quit?”
    Im personally so glad to find Gaby as an example of a role model, someone brave enough to do this thing right. Realising its not an addiction, its something I did as a kid that made me feel happy, and if I want to do it now I can, and if I dont thats fine too. Freedom!!

  7. Hi again, still reading.

    I just thought id throw this out there. for the last 4 years since i bought my truck i have obessivly maintained it to the point that some have called it selfish but did not give it a secend thought when i dropped $120 on a new intake system for the little 4 cyl.

    -however if they found out i dropped $50 on a pair of 5 inch heels (Currently Wearing) they would call me selfish and insane, i honestly dont see a diffrence other than socity accepts the male as a “gear head” but not as a cross dresser. both my truck and my Cross dressing make me feel good and dont hurt anyone.

    On another note my mother is an alcholic and has been for the last 18 years that i know of, i find this very selfish and self destructive sense it took food off the table when my sisters and i were little.

    hopefully this reinforces to some extent that if misunderstood or taken to extremes any thing can be considered “Selfish” the defining line is this question “Do my actions hurt anyone?” as far as im concerned if the answear is no then its not a selfish act.

    -PS Currently “En Femme” thinking of myself as “Allie” and feeling great after two beers

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