Crossdressing Myth #8: Crossdressing is a Choice

crossdressing myths

Plenty of (non-crossdressing) people seem to believe that crossdressing is nothing more than a personal choice. They think that for whatever reason, some guys just decide to go against the grain of society and wear women’s clothing and makeup. Maybe they also believe that we enjoy the ridicule and rejection we often face as a result of our “choice”.

Myth: A crossdresser chooses to dress in women’s clothes, doesn’t need to, and can also choose to stop. Fact: Crossdressing is a very necessary outlet for feminine self-expression in some men. It is no more a choice than choosing to be left-handed or right-handed.

It’s difficult to find a good analogy that will properly illustrate the inaccuracy of this crossdressing myth. There are many comparisons that can be made, but few carry enough weight to suitably convey the reality. Because most (non-crossdressing) people are accepted in society as they are, it is nearly impossible to explain the fundamental need for self-expression and the devastating negative emotional and psychological consequences one can suffer when deprived of their ability to do so.

There is some truth to this myth, though only in the unintended literal translation. For most people, clothing, style and outward appearance involves a lot of personal choice. In that respect, what people wear is by their own choice. It is, with few exceptions, true across the board, regardless of gender or gender identity. I’m addressing the myth of crossdressing (as in any crossdressing, ever), being a personal choice and not the fact that most do not crossdress 24/7.

Society and self-expression
Everyone has a basic need for self-expression. How a person chooses to present themselves to the world often plays an important role. Some go to great lengths to make themselves appear and feel more attractive, whereas others simply aim to be comfortable rather than do anything extra for appearance sake. Whether dressing to impress or just for comfort, the freedom to do so as one desires is very important, and usually taken for granted. What would happen if that freedom was somehow diminished or taken away all together? I’ll explore that to some extent later in this article.

Legally, we’re free to dress as we choose. Socially, there can be a heavy price to pay for going against widely accepted forms of self-presentation. The social consequences of crossdressing vary heavily from one place to the next. In some places, people actually recognize the fact that we’re fellow human beings, we’re shown respect and even welcomed. In most places, we’re seen as deviant freaks – sub-human creatures not worthy of respect or even the “right” to be out in public.

Taboo personal traits
Generally speaking, crossdressing men have a strong feminine side. Much like artists have a need to express their creativity through art, crossdressers have the need to express their feminine side through crossdressing. Not many people have a problem with artists expressing their creativity in their artwork. Of course, it’s a very different story when a man expresses his feminine side in the form of crossdressing.

Does an artist choose to be creative and create art? Yes, and no. There is often a choice made in when to create art, but with few exceptions, most artists simply need to explore their creative ideas by creating art (in whatever form). A very talented friend of mine has little control over his need to explore artistic ideas. He’ll literally sketch drawings on pretty much anything: school papers, notepads, book covers, napkins, walls, tables, his hand, etc. No one ever questions his need to create art or thinks of him poorly for doing so. He’s gotten in trouble for drawing on papers in school and at work, but that’s an entirely different matter of misplaced attention and has nothing to do with the activity of creating art itself.

Does a left-handed person choose to write with his/her left hand? Again, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. A left-handed person is born that way, as is an artistic type, and transgender. They can choose (or be forced) not to use or write with their left-hand, but it is unnatural to write with their other. Writing skills suffer when not allowed to write with the hand that was genetically encoded as the favored/predominant one. The point is that their true potential will never be reached if not allowed to develop as nature intended. As ridiculous as it may sound, there was once a social stigma to being left-handed, and it still exists in some places. Do a little research for yourself. There has been plenty written on this subject. Although conceptually similar, the consequences for not allowing a crossdresser to express his feminine side are a significantly more profound than a lefty being forced to be a righty.

By choice or by necessity
In most cases, crossdressers can and do stop crossdressing for short durations in time. Perhaps this is where some people mistake crossdressing as a personal choice, because it is usually not exercised all of the time. For many, the need to be crossdressed and explore feminine self-expression is effectively satisfied in the occasional indulgence, be it every few days, weekly, monthly, etc. Most crossdressers live and carry out their day-to-day lives as men, looking like men. Because of the social stigma and related complications, the opportunity to crossdress isn’t always available, so more often than not, breaks from it become necessary. It’s part of the price we (crossdressers) pay for living in a society that is so very strict in its “all masculine, all the time” imposition upon men.

Social peer pressure
Crossdressing is no more a choice than being left or right-handed. A lefty can be taught to write with his/her right hand, but there’s nothing natural about it and there are consequences. Crossdressers can also be “taught”, or more accurately put, shamed, conditioned, and even brainwashed into not crossdressing. If you’re surrounded by people who repeatedly tell you that you’re an “ass”, you will start to believe it yourself.

Consequences of choice
What exactly are the consequences of choosing not to crossdress? What could possibly go wrong if someone were to simply stop? As stated, crossdressing is the main outlet for feminine self-expression in men that have a strong feminine side. Also as stated, everyone has a very real need to express themselves – including personal traits that are (senselessly) frowned upon by society. Self-expression is not always tied to one’s personal appearance or attire, but take away the ability for someone to exercise the form of self-expression that is most meaningful to them and rest assured, there will be negative consequences as a result. A diminished sense of happiness and not feeling like oneself is just the beginning. Throw in time and prolonged restriction from self-expression, and it will come out in a variety of negative ways, including but not limited, to anger management difficulties, confusion, discontentment, frustration, changes in appetite/weight, and depression.

Caving under pressure
Most crossdressers at some time or another do try to stop crossdressing. The perceived need to stop is caused by the overwhelming reinforcement by society that crossdressing is wrong, immoral, sick, silly and a number of other negative (and incorrect) assessments. Out of frustration and usually a sense of feeling “crazy” a crossdresser may discard or purge all of their feminine clothes, makeup, and accessories. For a time, there may be some satisfaction felt in purging – a false sense of resolve in conforming to “normality”. After a while, sometimes almost immediately following a purge, many crossdressing men feel a great sense of loss. In online transgender communities, many crossdressers have expressed feeling “naked” and not like themselves after purging.

Consequences of my own choices
I spent most of my life trying to rid myself of the demon I considered crossdressing to be. My mother caught me crossdressing in my youth. I was scolded, taught it was “wrong”, and began to truly hate myself because it wasn’t only something I felt the need to do, but also something I really enjoyed. Convinced I was crazy and worthless, I suffered from low self-esteem, constant guilt, debilitating depression and wanted to die. I attempted suicide a number of times, and subsequently ended up in a psychiatric hospital after literally having my life saved in the emergency room. It took many years for me to really figure out what this “crazy” crossdressing thing was all about. I realized that the demon within me was really just a misunderstood blessing; a gift if you will. Rather than hating myself for being this way, I decided to embrace this aspect of my life and found a great sense of happiness and relief in doing so. In allowing myself to truly be myself, I finally achieved a sense of peace and calmness where there was once only confusion, self-loathing, and pain. The personal price I paid for trying to conform to society’s “gender rules” is substantial. Years of my life were needlessly wasted in confusion and depression – time I can never have back. I can’t help but wonder how many other crossdressers and transgender people are still running from their phantom demon – in other words, running from themselves.

Opinion and belief vs. reality
In reality, there is nothing wrong with a man’s need for feminine self-expression and therefore nothing wrong with crossdressing. Popular social opinion greatly differs, but it does not change the reality anymore than believing the world is flat can actually cause it to be true. Centuries ago, to suggest the world was not flat was considered blasphemous. Popular opinion can influence how people think and feel about realities, but it does not change reality itself.

The herd mentality that crossdressing is wrong or abnormal is absolutely ridiculous… yet sadly widely accepted by cattle… or rather by people. When people choose to exhibit lack of intelligence consistent with that of a herd of cattle, then the comparison works, does it not?

‘Choosing’ to be naive
Crossdressers and transgender people in general take a lot of heat from society for being ourselves. People often don’t understand us, having been misinformed or perhaps not informed at all. Many people do not want to understand us – they grew up “learning” that we’re just a bunch of “deviant freaks” and sleep better at night clinging to and believing the same garbage they’ve been fed all their lives.

This form of being naive is a choice. Maybe not at first, but when one chooses to remain comfortably in the dark about certain realities in life, even after being presented with the truth, their intelligence level is consistent with that of the bovine meat I consume for dinner.

Needs and choices
Crossdressing is not a choice, but instead a simple need – one that society has chosen to make a big deal about. Everyone has needs in their life. Most needs fall within socially accepted “norms” and therefore do not end up under the magnifying glass of social scrutiny. When needs conflict with social taboos, people come up with all kinds of ways of demonizing them. Trying to belittle crossdressing as a simple “choice” is but one of many naive ways people try to shame us out of being who we are.

In my life, it’s not about crossdressing being a choice, it’s about choosing to be who I am. I like who I am. There’s nothing wrong with me, nor any crossdresser/transgender for that matter – at least not because of this aspect.

When it comes to choices, choosing to be oneself is the most intelligent and rewarding. Choosing to renounce oneself and live a lie simply to conform to social standards and pressures only leads to unhappiness and discontentment. As for me, I choose to be myself. There’s your “choice” explained.

Related content: Crossdressing Myths


51 thoughts on “Crossdressing Myth #8: Crossdressing is a Choice”

  1. Querida y Linda Gabrielle,

    Once again Madam Ambassador a fine post. I think you nailed a complex issue nicely. I hope you have as many non-crossdressing readers as cross dressers visiting your site. That would really help break a lot of the ice around all of us.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Thank you, Petra! :) I do not know that I have yet earned the title “Madam Ambassador”, but love the sound of it! :) Earn it I will though, one myth-busting at a time, and in public speaking that I’m working toward.

      I have very few non-crossdressing visitors and they (sadly) do not browse much when landing here (usually via Google searches for non-cd/tg content). It is my hope and desire to get through to non-transgendered people. Although much of the content (especially the crossdressing myths) will be meaningful and helpful to some of our cd-sisters, it is generally written to make sense to and intended to be found by non-crossdressers. I hope to burst the bubbles of all the haters, and educate about the realities for those who seek to learn what it’s all about. Helping tg life make a little more sense to our confused sisters is always high on my list as well.

      May your weekend be a beautiful one, Petra, filled with sheer joy. :)

      1. My mother divorced my father when I was just a boy 3 years of age. Not long afterward, merely a month later she remarried & now there is a stepfather in the picture. It began when I was 9- (back in the 1970s) the sodomy, sexual abuse & molestation committed by my alcoholic stepfather. The horrific whispers of “Do you like it?” echoing in my ears & mind. At this young an age, I didn’t know what to do. I knew it wasn’t right yet I was certainly afraid to tell or do anything about it. The abuse would continue into my mid-teens. Towards the end of the abuse I self-mutilated one day while home alone & grabbed a kitchen knife, cutting my penis. Nobody knew. Mom knew about the abuse yet turned a blind eye to all of it. For years she would dress me up as a girl on Halloween as a child.

        Fast forward a bit to my 20s. I tried living a normal life as best I could. At 21 I became a police officer & in 1995 got married as well. Although it’s not in the front of my mind daily, it’ll always be in the back of my mind & will always be with me. I was hoping to make a career out of being a police officer, but by the end of my ninth year I had a nervous breakdown & attempted suicide via Russian roulette while drunk. At this point I was in a mental institution for treatment. The psychiatrists explained that I was traumatized & suffered from major depression, generalized anxiety & social anxiety. I closed out my police career after ten years. I really didn’t want to continue any longer. (Later in 2009 I attempted suicide a second time.)

        I began not liking the reflection I saw in the mirror. I saw myself as damaged & ugly. I hated myself & I would become a closeted cross-dresser. There was no fetish behind it & nothing sexual about it. It made me happy & feel better about myself. And I don’t mean just throwing a wig on & applying lipstick. I mean ooh la la from head to toe. Makeup, clothes, breast forms, shaved legs, high heels- the works. The wife didn’t know what to make of it. She knew about my past & tried being supportive in the beginning, yet we eventually were divorced. We never had children. I would remarry & my wife was supportive & understanding. And  she knows about my past. She’d even go with me when I’d dress up & go to the mall, etc. I’m 49 now & still cross-dress. (Although not as frequently) I have been on anti-depressants & mood stabilizers for years, but hope to be rid of them someday, although it’s dark in here & in the past I have thought- “I welcome death.” I’m all out of tears & doing the best that I can. 

        1. Thank you for sharing some of your personal experiences and struggles, Syrena. Sometimes when I feel it will never get any better, I try to remind myself that tomorrow is another day that may bring with it new opportunities. I hope you can find your way from “I welcome death”, to “I welcome life.” <3

  2. A top post indeed. On the subject of creativity, I once asked a writer (at a book reading) what he’d do if he didn’t get published. He said he’d still write, it was something he just did; he couldn’t imagine life not doing that. Rang a few bells that did :)

    I think a person make a choice to act a certain way, but I don’t they person can deny who they are. An act? It’s just pretense isn’t it. :)

    Given the depth you’ve given this subject, have you considered sending these myth busting articles in to a magazine or non-TG website?

    1. Thanks, Lynn. :) Just like my friend needs to constantly be drawing something, I can totally see how a natural born writer will always write, regardless of being published. As with our feminine outer appearance and self-expression through makeup, pretty clothes, and high heels, a writer’s main outlet for self-expression is that of written word. It is not something that can just be turned off like a light switch. A writer needs to write. A sketch-artist needs to draw. A man with a strong feminine side needs to crossdress. I can’t wait for the day when mainstream society understands it… I’ll probably be too old to don any of my favorite miniskirts, but I believe I’ll live long enough to see that day. God bless the next generation of t-girls (or maybe the gen after that), for they will walk among the rest of society out in the open, looking beautifully feminine, and no one will look down upon them for all people will see is other people.

      In terms of the crossdressing myths, I often have to chop out much (sometimes most) of what I write on each topic just to make it a somewhat reasonable length for this medium. I plan to go back and complete each myth in time, returning the removed text, expanding upon rushed ideas, and elaborating on various aspects that are only implied in their current form. The expanded crossdressing myths will not be published on the internet but rather a different medium. What you see here is but a sampling to wet the appetite… and hopefully enough to get through to those who seek the truth about it all. :)

  3. Gaby, I still love this site and visit it quite often.I loved your myth buster on choice. It has always been my choice to express myself in a femme manner for I am more comfy as a female than a man. I have never purged for this is one area of my life that I am not willing to part with. My family has been supportive of me and they view it as a need for my mental health.

    You know I have other issues for you highlighted my issues under dear Gaby. I did start HRT 3 days ago and it will be a slow process for my age supposedly plays a major factor, but I am on my way to be WHO I AM!

    My choice to once be cd has now deminished…I am transgendered and have been transexual all my life, and after visiting my therapist on Thursday agrees. She gave me a couple of test to take and I am more femme than masculine, yet I have a masc. body in which I am hoping to change through the use of estrogen and blockers. This is my CHOICE. It is not something I will not ever deny myself of, or my inner being. I am more than a human being…I am a HUMAN BECOMING.

    1. Debbie, I am so happy to hear you’ve intelligently worked out what path you need to take in order to find peace and happiness in your life. :) Based on your comment, I’m not sure you ever truly were a cd, but rather a transsexual that never had the opportunity to (physically) exist in the way you’ve always felt inside.

      With a supportive family behind you and a better understanding of yourself, I believe you’re “choice” to finally be yourself, your true self, is a very smart one.

      I’m glad you enjoy this site and hope you’ll continue to visit. Don’t let the name of the website fool you though – this is not just about “my cd life”, as in only mine, and only crossdressing, but more importantly about realities in life itself and exploring the human condition… or as I put it (for now), “exploring the social taboo of being oneself”. It is my hope that soon society will stop looking at people like us, whatever end of the transgender spectrum we occupy, as deviants and freaks, and understand that we are in fact human. It should never be a social taboo to simply exist as oneself. There is no humanity in that.

  4. These are incredibly helpful and insightful points that we can use to combat the stigma out there. We live in a closed system where the rules are set and not easily changed, and for most, finding refuge elsewhere (cheaply) isn’t possible. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Thanks, X-Out, and you’re welcome. :) Rules are not easily changed, the system is often stacked against us, and we’ve got a long way to go, but we will get there (as a society). It is important to set the record straight and present the facts. Not everyone will choose to pay mind to the truth, but at least it’s here, available, and not easily argued against.

  5. Hello, I am a woman who dearly loves a young man who confided in me that he is a crossdresser. I never really knew much about the subject before and found this site in a desire to better understand my lover. He is not comfortable with this aspect of himself and is trying to suppress it and he is in such turmoil it pains me greatly to see. I love him and think he is incredibly sexy as a man and as a woman. We have been dating for a year and in hindsight I realize that some of the very things I love the most are his “feminine” traits.(which incidentally I see as caring human traits) I am happy to accept him in whatever outer appearance he chooses to display because he is the same wonderful person inside as always. However, he is less accepting and occasionally dresses, then hates himself, purges, then swears he will never do it again. I am still learning and I think he is too really but I will be there for him through his journey. I want to thank you and let you know that you have helped educate at least one person. :)

    1. Thanks for sharing, loverofcrossdresser. :) I’m happy to hear my writing has been helpful to you… and very sorry to hear that your lover is struggling with this aspect of his life. I know exactly how that feels and it isn’t easy to overcome. I DID overcome those terrible feelings, though, and your lover can, too. :)

      I really liked how you pointed out that the “feminine” traits you love about your significant other are, more importantly (and accurately) simply human traits. It’s amazing how many people don’t get that… and completely insane that so many men try so hard to suppress those (positive) traits JUST because others may see them as “feminine”.

      The main problem your lover has – that which makes him uneasy and hate himself, is deeply rooted in the conflict between who he is as a person, and who he believes (and very incorrectly so) that he has to be or should be based on society’s “mutually agreed upon” rules of how male humans shall exist. If the social taboo and stigma were removed from the equation, it is unlikely there would be any personal conflict within him or any other transgender person.

      You found your way to this site – why not direct your significant other this way, too? I hated myself for most of my life because there was no one there to explain the REALITIES to me. My head was filled with all the idiotic lies that society filled it with and I was left to work this out on my own (and to some extent, chose to work through it on my own). It doesn’t need to be that way for your lover. There is nothing wrong with who he is. The problem lies within society’s relative unwillingness to accept differences in people. Please – direct him this way and maybe sit with him while going through things.

      You have my admiration and respect for being so open-minded and accepting of your lover as he is, and supportive to him. :) The world needs more people like you.

  6. Gabrielle,

    Thank you for posting this, it means a lot to me. I never knew what was ‘wrong’ with me, but now I do…NOTHING!!

    Sure I knew I was an outsider, looking in and wondering why I was ‘out there’. But as I journeyed onward, I discovered the most important thing… I was not alone!

    Your writing is amazingly insightful and your thoughts are clear and make a whole lot of sense. Thank you you for voicing yourself and saying what really needs to be said… we are people too!


    1. Thanks for chiming in, Samantha. I appreciate the kind words, and you’re very welcome! :) No – there’s nothing wrong with you and you’re definitely not alone. That whole “conformity” thing imposed on us really does a number on how we feel about ourselves. I’m happy to hear you’ve grown beyond the black and white options of conformity and are continuing to “journey onward”. I hope your journey is filled with much love, beauty, happiness, and fulfillment. If ever you experience bumps or weak moments, just remember – you’re NOT alone… not by a long shot!

  7. Hi Gabi,

    This article definitely hits on a lot of points that I feel all tgirls, myself included, as well as the society we live in need to be aware of. Even having accepted myself for who I am I never get tired of reading uplifting pieces like this because I feel that the process of self assurance/approval is an ongoing process. Whether someone has been crossdressing for a short while or for several years, I would dare to say the speed bumps can always come back for any number of reasons. Even things unrelated to cross dressing have led me to question the things I do including my love of getting end femme. Every article I’ve read on this site has given me a lot of strength and I can’t thank you enough!

    As far as dealing with the choice matter, I think puberty serves a big part in how we begin to define ourselves and the world around us. Most of us discovered our tgirl self before puberty and it was innocent then as it is now. However when we grow older, we learn to exercise our ability to choose. A normal teenager learns to think they can control and choose everything. The idea of a love of crossdressing that is not a choice but rather a part of who you are is scary. It seems only natural to think that we can control it or choose not to do it as easily as we can change the tv channel, and the realization that this is not the fact is scary as hell for a teen. Especially so when society has deemed it as an undesirable act that is frowned upon. It is only when one accepts themself and how they can use choice to make their life better that they can move on a path of self fulfillment. This is the path I’m taking and hope to never stray from! Hope I got that out as coherently as possible, just don’t wanna jump to assumptions or misrepresent my point. Being in my early 20s I must admit this all still seems very new to me.

    Thank you always!

    ~Kirsten :)

    1. Hi Kirsten. You’re very welcome. :) I’m so happy to hear that my writing has been uplifting and meaningful to you. In your early 20’s, you are already light years ahead of where I was at that age.

      You’re right – you will experience bumps along the way. That is true for everyone in life, though, not just trans folk. Being trans and going against the “socially accepted norm of today” does complicate things more, but I think it is important for everyone to realize and understand that EVERYONE experiences bumps in life. What is important is to understand that’s universal and NOT to blame those bumps on being trans. It may be some time before mainstream society really begins to understand trans folk and be more accepting. If it helps in the meantime, just know and understand that doctors and psychiatric professionals do **not** regard being transgender as a disorder or mental illness. Never let popular *opinion* of people who don’t understand get under your skin. You’re not the one with the problem – THEY are. Just because there may be more of them than you, does not change the reality that there is *nothing* wrong with who you are.

      You’re on the right path Kirsten. I certainly hope you’ll continue down it and never look back to the days of confusion and guilt. Never forget the realities. If/when life gets to be a bit much, then try to take things in stride and know that those hard times are always temporary. We all have choices in life. Choose to be yourself, always, and live life to the fullest, as the beautiful person you are! :)

  8. Very well done! I’m approaching 70 and have only recently received my wife’s(of 46 yrs)ok to dress at home in her presence. I have gone thru years of mental hell and purgings and at last some breathing room to be Wendae.

    1. Hi Wendae. Thanks for sharing, and I’m happy to hear that your wife has shown more support in recent times. I understand the “mental hell” thing all too well. Been there, done that. It’s a damn shame so many of us waste so many years trying to conform to social expectations and figure out what’s wrong with us, when there was really nothing wrong in the first place. It’s all just a matter of social “norms”, lack of knowledge (and lack of availability of knowledge), and the confusion that results when social “norms” conflict with very normal, albeit often unpopular, realities of being trans.

      Enjoy your “breathing room” and live a little easier and happier now, Wendae. Better late than never, right? :)

  9. Gabrielle it’s a nice article that only partly meshes with my personal experience.

    I started crossdressing when I was 8, like so many others. I’d agree that the desire to crossdress is not a choice, even if what I decide to wear on any given day is a choice. The desire comes and goes seemingly independently of anything else except stress, which reduces the desire. Mostly I only have the desire to crossdress when I am feeling good about life in general.

    It’s the part about it expressing a feminine side that doesn’t ring true FOR ME. I’m really just talking about myself here, although I’d be surprised if I’m unique.

    All those “feminine” traits such as empathy, nurturing, expressiveness and so on are just a part of the male me. I’ve found ways to express them that mesh perfectly with being a guy. Crossdressing for me feels like something else. In many ways it feels like a very male thing. It is something I like to do because in some way it is what I am not. For me it feels exactly like playing dress up.

    As I said I started this as a young boy. When I told my wife about this many years ago, her reaction was not the usual “are you gay, do you want to be a woman, or gee that sounds kinky” It was that it seemed childish.

    I’ll admit to that. For me it is childish in that it is playful. As opposed to say, hitting a ball with a stick (which I also like to do) or watching other men hit, throw, or kick balls around a grassy field. This is more like participating in the theater of my own mind.

    There is often a sexual component to my choice of clothing, even if my femme clothing usually consists of a casual skirt and womans tee shirt. Great femme clothes for yard work, which is one of the things I like to do. Is planting a garden feminine or masculine? How about mowing the lawn? But that’s okay, sex is in someways just another form of play.

    Anyway it was a nice article and my comments are merely to describe myself. Anyone else, take what you like and leave the rest.


    1. Hi Zari.  Thanks for chiming in and sharing. :)  I’ve said this many times, crossdressers/trans folk are as varied and different as non-trans folk.  The fact that how the “dressing” aspect (or motivation for) differs for you than it does for me or others is right on par with the very *normal* state of each and every one of us being completely individual and unique in our own way.

      Are all straight people attracted to the same kind of love interest?  How about all gay people?  Do all non-trans folk have the same sense of clothing style?  Do all sports fans like golf?  Are all artists **music composers**?  Do all left-handed people feel compelled to seek out thrills in the form of BASE jumping or skydiving?  I kind of beat that example to death, but they’re all valid points and good examples of how people who have a single personal trait in common (or even a few) can differ significantly in every other way.

      Much of the problems is the social taboo element and stigma associated with crossdressing.  Since most (non-trans) folk know little to nothing about how it works, there is often an assumption that all people who fall into this group have the same underlying motivation.  Whether they believe it is a sickness, sexual preference, mental illness, or the result of weird genetic experiments performed by aliens – people often clump this all together as being the same general thing.  It’s sad, but I think it’s slowly changing as society slowly becomes more aware of things as information becomes more readily available and easily accessible.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my article, even if it didn’t apply so much to how things work for you.  I’m also very glad you took the time to share a little about yourself and how things work with you.  It is unlikely that any visitors will take issue with what you’ve shared (at least not other trans folk).  I think most already understand and respect that we’re all different.

  10. I LOVE your articles! I have been crossdressing for 30 years now,(I am 38) and just recently stepped out of my closet to my wife of 21 years. I messed up and exposed too much at once as she is kind of “wierded out” right now. I was sexually molested by my brother as a child and carried on this tradition with him into my 20’s. I finally told him we need to stop, or I would have serious doubts on relationships of my own in the future. I AM HETEROSEXUAL! I do not participate in GAY activity. I do enjoy the pleasure of womens clothing. I love wearing my silky panties to work and out in public under my “man” clothes. I love having very intimate relations with my wife. I just don’t want the stigma of “being gay” hung around my neck because of my love for panties and pantyhose. I do think though that cross dressing IS my choice and it was MY choice to inform my wife of my second love. I just hope I didn’t damage her too much by exposing so much at once. Thank you for the help.

    1. Hi John.  Thanks for commenting and sharing a little about yourself. :)  I’m sorry to hear that your brother repeatedly molested you over the years.  At least you broke free of that, though.

      It’s the right thing to do – coming out to you wife, and I’m glad you had the courage to do so.  If your wife is a bit overwhelmed by it all right now, then perhaps give her some time to take it all in and digest it for a while before broaching the subject with her again.  Try to wait until she brings it up on her own, and then take things at a pace she’s comfortable with.  If she changes the subject, let it be and give her the time she needs to sort it out.  Perhaps sit down with her and review an article or two on my site – something that you particularly identify with and feel might help her better make sense of things, but don’t push it – make the suggestion, then let her decide, or just let it go for a while if she shows signs of needing more time, space, etc.

      About crossdressing being a choice – the whole “choice” thing is often debated among trans folk and non-trans folk in a variety of ways, from semantics to what constitutes a genuine necessity and everything inbetween.  I tried to explain the “choice” and “not a choice” points in a sensible way.  It doesn’t matter how it is explained though, there will always be someone who disagrees for whatever reason (and I’ve read more reasons than I can recall in online trangender discussion forums).

      Maybe I should have just said EVERYTHING is a choice.  It is a choice to get out of bed in the morning (at least for those who are physically capable of doing so).  It is a choice to get a job and work for a living.  It is a choice to pay the bills.  It is a choice to eat.  It is a choice to stop the car at a red traffic light.  There area a zillion “choices” we make every day, and none of them have to do with crossdressing, and none of them absolutely HAVE to be done.  Pretty much everything is a *choice*, specifically the examples I just mentioned.  No one HAS to eat – we all CHOOSE to eat.  Just as with any “choice”, there are consequences.  We all know the consequences for choosing not to eat.  That choice can only be made so long before the inevitable consequence of malnutrition leading to poor health, and eventually death.  Maybe abstaining from crossdressing doesn’t lead to as immediate and deadly outcome as abstaining from eating does, but the consequences are very real, and can lead to very serious emotional emotional troubles, diminished quality of life, unhappiness, misery, depression, and a variety of very undesirable and serious troubles.  The consequences vary from one person to the next.  As I always say – crossdressers are as varied and different as non-crossdressers. The act of crossdressing can mean very different things to different people.  Exactly to what extent “choosing” anything results in, will be different, depending on the person.

  11. Ms. Gabrielle,

    You are right about the “choice” subject. I was stating my feelings about my decision of crossdressing. I agree with you 100% about giving my wife space and work on this at her pace. I have been doing that much at least. By the way, You are the first public person I have spoke to about my crossdressing besides my wife. I thank you so much for all your articles and support and I will be chatting here more.


    1. You’re welcome, John. :)

      Just to be clear on the “choice” portion of my previous comment, that wasn’t really directed toward you so much as simply fresh on my mind because of your comment.  I was basically just adding thoughts to what I had already written in the article.  I should probably do an addendum to the original article, clarifying the heavily debated issue of what “choice” is and means.  Some crossdressers (not you) get caught up in dissecting what “choice” really means rather than dealing with the real issue of what being trans is or what crossdressing means in regard to one’s being.

  12. Ms, Gabrielle,

    I am still kind of unsure of how MY small town in Michigan is going to receive me when I do come out to them. I am well known in all the communities, (not famous) but have LOTS of friends all of whom like me a lot. They are of course used to seeing me in my man clothes and I know since there are NO support groups here for me, I may have to rely on my gay friends for help. I know this is my choice to be a cd. I know I am more subdued when I am wearing my femme clothes. I know I love my wife dearly and let her know that every minute of the day. (by the way, our intimate life has gotten very much better since my coming out to her) I also still get aroused at the sight and sometimes just the mere mention of a beautiful woman..

    Given that this is my choice in life, how does one go about bringing more awareness to the different levels of our chosen paths? Within the last couple of years, our small (minded) community here has just started to “allow” lesbian and gay couples to co-exist with the “straight” community.

    We have no support groups. We have no real place to meet beside someones house and with our family lives happening at the same time, it makes for a real difficult event…

    Besides your advice here, (which has been a Godsend) are there any more advocates out there that a small community could talk with to help with our plight?

    1. Hi John.  I’m happy to hear your marriage is doing well (which I’m hoping goes beyond just intimate moments) since coming out to your wife. :)  It’s not easy, but being completely honest and open with one’s wife is so important.

      Your desire to raise awareness about crossdressing, or as you put it, “chosen paths”, is admirable. :)  How to go about doing so in your community is something you’ll need to do your homework on.  Every community, town, and local culture differs.  Some things are pretty much a constant in raising positive awareness though, such as if/when you venture out in public en femme, be sure to leave a good impression with people.  Walk with confidence, try not to get upset if people stare or laugh, and do your best to win over those you interact with.  More often than not, you can put people at ease quickly by engaging in a thoughtful, pleasant conversation and not doing anything obvious to draw attention to any “differences” that may exist.

      You might be able to find some kind of local support group or something within reasonable driving distance if you continue investigating.  At the very least, there are some online communities that might be helpful on many levels, even if in-person meeting isn’t an option.

      Before venturing out into public, just make sure you’re ready.  It’s normal to be nervous – especially that first time, but I’m talking more about your emotional state and self-confidence.  Once you go out and people who know in your male form see you en femme, there is no taking it back.  Prepare yourself for the possibility of encountering an acquaintance, friend, etc., and think about how you will handle yourself in the moment.  How will you respond to questions?  How will you respond to a potential rude comment?  Just things to think about.  Additionally, there is safety in numbers, so if your wife is comfortable with it (and don’t push her if she is not), consider going out together.  Besides, time spent out with a friend / loved one is always more enjoyable.

      I hope this helps a little.  Again, you might want to seek out the advice of others in an online community – find out what specifically has worked well for others.  Pretty much everyone has an interesting story to tell and good advice for having learned while out en femme. A few of my own personal failures and triumphs are highlighted in some of my public crossdressing posts.

  13. Ms. Gabrielle,

    As feared, the support groups in our little area only serve purpose as a “hook-up” meeting place. I will not be going there as I am NOT into THAT kind of activity! They may think CDs do that kind of stuff, but not this one! I am finding a lot of support online with the fabulous blogs available, and also had an insightful conversation with my brother. He suggested (unfortunately) that I do stay indoors and work on being me with my lovely bride. To stray from the safety would only invite certain death for both citizenship and career. I will bide my time in confidence…..

    1. Sorry to hear the “support” groups turned out to be more like a dating service, John.  You’re not the first person to complain of that kind of thing.  Don’t give up.  Maybe there is something else going on within a reasonable driving distance.  Whether or not you choose to keep this indoors in your own home, or venture out in public is up to you.  Yes, it’s always safer in the privacy of one’s home, but that goes for everything.  Once you step out that for, for *any* reason, there is a chance of danger.  As with anything – there’s smart ways of going out, and not smart ways.  The trick is to be *smart* about it. :) Give it some time.

  14. It is we that must teach other people:) i changed so many people’s misguided iews about crossdressing, we have to not stay on our ass and wait for the miracle to happen. You do it one day at a time, a couple of people at a time.

    1. Excellent, Cedric! :) You get it. When you share what you know in love, you create positive change and help push forward a collective momentum. Share your gift and the truth is the key to unlock the doors; open hearts and minds. As the seeds grow, the garden blossoms and *everyone* wins.

  15. Hi Gaby
    My name is Bertie,I’m actually a female but I like to be called by my male name of Albert or Bertie. My partner is a beautiful transvestite called Rosie. I have known since the beginning that he was and I have to say it didn’t seem weird or strange to me at all. I love him/her to bits whether or not he cross dresses and if we look through history, boys wore dresses anyway till they were about seven years old. Its not crossdressers who are strange, its what we term normality that is strange, putting people in boxes, restricting them from sexual freedom and making out there’s something wrong when they do what comes naturally. I tell you I love my beautiful boyfriend (girlfriend) with all my heart and that includes his desire to wear my clothes and underwear, it is very intimate and beautiful.

    1. Thank you for chiming in, Bertie! You pretty much nailed it with “putting people in boxes”. Remove the word “sexual” and expand on the thought, “…restricting them from freedom…”. There are many, many ways in which people attempt to restrict, control and enslave each other. “Social norms” and the belief that there is such a thing as “normal”, defining what “normal” means, and then vilifying that which falls outside “normal”, is a very effective means of tricking people out of their own *natural* state of freedom.

      It sounds like you and Rosie have broken free of the lies and chosen to live life true to yourselves. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be if more people chose to do the same?

      My love, respect and admiration to you both! :)

  16. Hi Gabi,

    Just an update to my earlier post. Since coming out to my wife, and since posting here, I have been working the “baby steps” and gradually increasing the amount of en-femme in front of her. She notices what I’m wearing, but doesn’t say anything….so so far so good..
    I also have found a couple of friends (female) to help with the make-up and also just to talk… seems too good to be true, but I just feel so ALIVE!!!!

  17. Sorry about the interruption to the earlier post…

    With what I posted previously, I know there may be trouble brewing for me. I still have yet to have that long talk with her. I do ask her if there are any concerns with us and she says no, but I can feel something isn’t quite right.
    I have spent a lot of time re-reading your articles. They are almost like Bible verses to me now, lol. I have to admit that I am the calm one in the family, more so when dressed en femme under my “man” clothes. (still havent told the kids…not sure if I will) I think this upseets her more, because I can be the voice of reason between us. I almost feel though,that my admission to her has almost caused a “role” reversal with us. She no longer dresses in skirts and blouses and has almost taken on a “Hillary Clinton”ish wardrobe. We both work outside the home, each on opposite shifts unfortunately.. I know that plays a role in this also…. but it also seems as if my decision to come out has kind of put a damper on her femeninnniinnnnininnity…(can’t spell today..) I would be so hurt if that happened, because she is such a sensual woman. i admire her beauty, I encourage her strength, but most of all, I edify her in the highest regard possible.

    I know we are going to have to have that talk, and when we do, I will inform you how it went. Cross your fingers for us. Thanks for letting me gush.

    1. Hi John. Thanks for the update. It sounds like things are going relatively well since coming out to your wife, and I’m happy to hear that. Your helpful female friends no doubt make a world of difference in your feminine self-expression and exploration. What a beautiful development in your life! :)

      I understand your concerns regarding your wife and “baby steps” are usually a smart way to proceed. I’ve heard similar accounts about a wife expressing less femininity after her husband has come out as a crossdresser and started to show more femininity himself. It’s hard to say whether or not your feminine display has anything to do with her “Clinton-ish” wardrobe changes – it could be coincidental, and it could also be very much related. It is something you’ll need to bring up and discuss with her when the time is right. Be sure to express how much you really appreciate her own femininity and more feminine attire and allow her to explain why she’s changed. You want to make sure she is not feeling threatened by your femininity, or feeling like “there can only be one feminine person in a marriage” or anything like that. Sometimes people hold strange beliefs that are rooted in the absurdity (insanity) of what they perceive to be “social norms” and that can have all kinds of negative affects. It’s important to respect how people choose to express themselves, but if there seems to be something *off* or unhealthy about it (as in incorrect thinking, misunderstanding, etc.), then it may be a good idea to bring this to the surface and explore. If there is something going on in her (that seems in need of emotional healing), it goes without saying to be sure and be patient, supportive, loving, caring, understanding, and attentive to her needs.

      Wishing you and yours all the best, John. Hang in there and be patient! :)

  18. Where does a strong feminine side come from? I posted some links to the Fashion Freestyler blog (“I’m not Gay dude”) which might be educational.

    1. I know the question was rhetorical, but the short answer is: it’s a mix of what exists within, what society considers “feminine”, and the level to which one identifies with “being feminine” vs. society’s “gender rules” (or social programming). The long answer could easily fill a book… or more accurately, a library of books. It’s a multi-dimensional question with an equally multi-dimensional array of answers that branch out in an infinite number of directions, depending.

      In the end, people simply seek out to be who they truly are – their true self. When their “true self” does not conflict with “social norms”, there is nothing to notice as “different”, question or write about. When there is conflict between who someone is or feels they are and what society “allows”, then it becomes a big mystery… at least to anyone who actually *believes* their own social programming, which I once did, too.

  19. I am a life long mature crossdresser, out to my wife and often in public. I have been actively involved in national organizations and have read rather extensively on the issue of GID. I have even attended a WPATH meeting. So I can fully understand and appreciate most of the postings.

    I do agree that GID (including crossdressing) is not a choice. We all know it is an engrained obsession.

    Here is where I differ from the mainstream. In my opinion, there is a deeper aspect typically present than merely wanting to present in a feminine role — I view that desired as a manifestation of a deeper and more serious characteristic; namely, the need to be different combined with the need to be a center of attraction. This is an egocentric and narsistic element that I find consistently in the transgender folk I know and read about.

    Read the book “Conundrum” by Jan Morris- oh how brilliant I am, how strong I am to resist society where most others have failed. Read most any transgender autobiography, the common thread is focus on self and how strong and brave one is. Benjamin Franklin did not need to so focus in his famous work. Engage others in conversation if you can – so often they are so focused on self little else emerges. How do we dress – a few do try to meld in, but for most they would shop at the mall in mini skirts and four inch heels if they could. ( Me included).

    My point is that there seems to me to be an underlying issue that the community does not regularly address. Is it possible that our urge to not conform in gender presentation is merely a manifestation of a greater urge to not conform, and more seriously, to not conform to attract attention to ourselves.

    Now this may not be all that bad or unusual. And exploring and developing this possibility will not likely lead to the “cure” most Christian churches want to impose on us. But it “might” lead to a better understanding of what drives us, many of us, to suicidal thoughts.

    I do not believe these thoughts are solely drive by the influence of society. I am of the belief they are, to a meaningful extent, an element of self hatred for who we are, given our current understanding of who we are – a girl trapped in a man’s body. I do not believe that is who we are. We may be folk with a more common issue that manifests itself in an uncommon way. If true, and if we chage our mindset as to who we are, we may choose not to change our dressing, but we may change how we deeply feel about it and thereby reduce the internal hatred and related suicidal tendencies.

    Not a sumomon, just a though for others to chew on.

    Peace and love for all,


  20. I guess I started to crossdress quite late. I moved in with my girl friend in my 20’s and friday/saturday were going out nights and after I realised that watching her get ready wasnt so much about being turned on as I really wanted to try the pretty underware and the makeup , I was working shifts at this time so I would be home when she wasnt and of course one day I gave it a try and bang that was it it just felt so good so right and I carried on when ever I could , that being said I didnt tell her because a)she wouldnt have liked it and b)although it made me feel good I still thought it was wrong and I was weird ,we then split up and for a period I was able to indulge myself and I did but then I met someone else and I thought this is wrong so I did the purge thing , during the 3/4 years the realationship lasted I didnt crossdress at all but I did feel something was missing.
    When this relationship ended I started dressing again but after six months I purged and for a couple of months I was really unhappy and I really missed being feminine so I thought who am I harming by dressing? no one , who am I harming by not dressing? me , so I started again and its now been 4/5 years and I have accepted that I like being female and I couldnt not feel this way

  21. I agree Emma. I also dress, (though still quite hetero) daily! I cannot wear boxers anymore, and wear panties all the time. I have a few select friends at work with whom I shared my secret and who have welcomed me with open arms. I do dress in public on occasion, but do so gingerly, as my small community isn’t ready for “us”. What I have found though, is that self confidence is the whole to this part of us. Another friend of mine told me, you can be you, but when confronted, be the real you and don’t be a “dick” , because that is what will help the community accept us as real people. Do what you do with pride and confidence. Show them you are just as caring as them and they will understand.

  22. I recently discovered that I like wearing a skirt. I’m not into CD per se, just enjoy the the lightness and freedom from pants. I don’t disguise myself as a woman with makeup and TG feelings. She recently complained to me and asked why I do this. I’ve tried explaining that it’s a comfort thing and it’s not associated with anything to do with how I feel about her. She’s still the love of my life and I care deeply for her. I’d like to continue exploring women’s skirts, but I fear this will drive a wedge between us. How can I tell her it isn’t about our relationship, but just a desire to explore and have some personal fun?

    1. Thanks for sharing, Shadowplt. :) In regard to explaining to your significant other your desire to wear skirts and explore, I think you did a pretty good job in your comment. Short, sweet and to the point. This isn’t about her, but rather about you. She may not understand “what this all means”, which might be the underlying difficulty she is grappling with. If that is the case, then you have to let her know that this doesn’t “mean” anything, but rather it is just something that feels natural and right to you, and that you’d like to explore it further.

      If her resistance is based more on a personal dislike of any femininity in her man, then that’s going to be a tricky one. You have your right to explore your personal interests, and she has the right to reject you for it. Everyone is allowed to that which makes them happy in life. Sometimes what makes one happy, makes the other uneasy and/or unhappy and the relationship cannot continue with *both* parties being happy (at least not together, anyway).

      Good luck. :)

  23. Regarding Shadowpits comments-the same topic has come up in kilt forums. In fact, comfort has been stated as a reason to switch over to skirt like garments. However, other than kilts (itself a small market) there are very few options.

  24. This article wasn’t written well. I really came here for a better understanding of cross dressing, b/c my neighbor does it. And it seems you (author) are just over-emotional and you still need a lot of self-assurance to feel good about yourself. You try to blame the way people treat you on other people without objectively criticizing your own self. Of course you will be ridiculed for doing something out of the, “social norm,” do you expect different? If I loved my sheep, and I mean LOVED it, I could have sex with it legally in many states of the U.S. But does that mean people are going to accept me for the animal lover that I am, no. Same situation. People view bestiality, as well with cross dressing, as a deviancy because it has been so for ages. Change is inevitable, but you can’t force someone to accept things so outside of their normal routines. And the way this article was written, it seems as though you have the opinion as, ” Accept this or your opinions are wrong.” and, of course, this approach will never work.

  25. We all have our tendencies. There are norms and quick reactions to what is out of norm. I’ve just recently been discussing gay choices with others who I believe to be heterosexually and found some answers from your site. Even so, it also raised many questions. Most I’m sure are prejudicial, so I like to wait before asking those questions. The last individually may also be wanting to express his confusion and unfamiliarity with the emotions of his neighbor and this site. I do find the dialogue sensitive in nature, which is always good for a public forum. Especially one trying to help others. Excellent approach and well done. In my own way of trying to understand I know that I like to wear t-shirts and jeans and not dress up. I would have been happy never to dress up. Some like to always wear black or leather or chains. My husband prefers that I dress up and more feminine in nature. I try to be flexible and do so more often, but like CD could not imagine giving up wearing a T-shirt. We are all just different and given the support of openness, patience, kindness and intent to understand we can all find our place.
    Michelle brings up the point of others types of behavior that are outside the norm. So to better understand the acceptance of all forms of gender identity & dress or anything we are when we are born or mature to be, where is the line drawn? When is our behavior something we should control? How do we define CD as not harmful, but other behavior not. [harming animals], [harming women], [harming children] nature (even if they don’t act on it). I don’t know if I’m using the correct terminology, or if you want to post this, but in true respect am searching for the golden rule here, to understand CD and human nature in general. If we can help define when our human nature IS wrong, we can also help define CD as right.

    1. Hi Ricia. Thank you for chiming in. I took the liberty to edit a few terms you used in your comment into a more generic form within [brackets].

      In regard to what *you* wear and why, if you alter your personal appearance and/or wear specific clothes/styles to please others, and are happy in doing so, then it sounds like you’re doing just fine in that department. If however, you dress to please others (husband, or whoever) and do so with a hint of resentment or other negative feelings attached, I would suggest you reevaluate whether or not it’s worth it to you to sacrifice your personal happiness, comfort, or state of being to please another.

      In regard to “where do you draw the line”, I would question why does there *need* to be a “line”? Why should one’s state of being be scrutinized by others who differ in opinions, feelings, etc.? So long as people seek to control and limit the self-expression of others, when that self-expression is not harmful, there will continue to be unnecessary drama, friction, conflict, inequalities and disparities. “Drawing a line” generally leads to various forms of separatism. On the whole, instigating separatism is not heathy within a society for the reasons just mentioned.

      In regard to comparing one’s **benign** state of being to acts of harm to animals, people and children, I would suggest that is manipulative attempt to associate the idea of harmful acts toward others with the idea of one’s personal state of being. It’s one of many underhanded ways people attempt to demonize others for being different – by comparing **benign** differences, such as one’s state of being, to things that are widely understood to be harmful, such as things done to others, outside the self. Whoever planted this idea in your head was either mislead themselves, or intentionally trying to manipulate your feelings toward others by comparing harmless states of being to harmful acts toward others.

  26. I definitely agree, how can one compare completely different violation of completely different social norms, by comparing the preference for clothes of opposite sex with having sex with sheep? Animals can’t consent and are completely different species, also.
    It suggests that the only parameter is a perceived weirdness without reflecting with the source of this sense of weirdness.
    It’s like when I see homosexuality likened to [harmful acts toward children], as subtly suggesting it’s the same line and it’s where tolerance toward these so called pervertion eventually leads, and that deep down shaming and ridiculing is a form of prevention from going too far out.
    it’s simply absurd.
    Michel also suggests that people have to comply and not challenge social norms, and if they do expect being ridiculed. She doesn’t say it’s right but she thinks she’s just stating how things are, but she’s not neutral as she seems.
    She criticizes you for “complaing” for such reaction. But we are right to denounce such reaction, because we find stupid the presence of such strict social norms, when they do no harm to any people or things. For men in such forms and for women in other more subtle (but not always) forms.
    Are we supposed to just suck up, according to such comments, or we are just forcing things, apparently. Anti-racist activist, were also forcing things? well some things need to be challenged and “forced” somehow.

  27. The comfort of skirts has been discussed in other forums. A key point is that with a skirt there is no wedge of cloth in your crotch. Rubbing against male genitalia. Though apparently some women don’t get this, because theirs’ is inside. Actually, in terms of anatomy, trousers are better suited to female anatomy than male anatomy.

    The real point is to get everybody to conform to narrow, rigid conventions. If you don’t conform, you make others uncomfortable. Which is the real point.

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