FAQ – Crossdressing and Crossdressers
Source: Tri-Ess http://www.tri-ess.org/
The biggest question that most people have when it comes to crossdressing is
“WHY?”. It is hoped that the information provided here will help you to
understand the answer to that question along with many others.
What causes someone to be a crossdresser?
This is one of the most difficult questions that there is to answer, and for the answer
there are only theories. While some researchers believe that social environment may
be at cause, today most are looking to genetics (the structure and coding of genes).
“The girl within?”
Perhaps the most plausible reason for crossdressing lies in the theory of the girl
within. In it’s simplicity it says that every man has a feminine component to his
personality, and every woman has a masculine component to her personality. Our
total personality makeup is a combination of both masculine and feminine
characteristics. Crossdressing can be looked upon as a tool used by the girl within to
bring out and develop the feminine characteristics.
But why crossdressing?
If all men have this girl within them, then why don’t all men crossdress? While all
men do have a feminine side, only a small percentage, currently estimated to be
about one to three percent of the male population, express this side by crossdressing.
When crossdressers are asked why, most say that it relaxes them. Crossdressers
when dressed usually try to emanate the female as much as possible. They take on a
feminine name, they dress in total feminine garments, In essence they attempt to
become a totally different person, one who does not have the problems and worries
that their male counterpart has. It can be said that they attempt to develop a
But very few crossdressers live totally en femme, Most spend the majority of their
lives in their everyday masculine role. When the crossdresser returns to their
normal everyday masculine role, the feminine personality integrates along with their
masculine personality to help form a more complete person out of him, one who is
more caring and sensitive and considerate of others.
Do crossdressers wish to become women?
Unlike the transsexual the crossdresser does not detest his male body and does not
wish to have it surgically altered to that of the female. He is content with his
maleness and with his masculinity, but also recognizes he has a feminine component
to his life. While the crossdresser does not wish to become a woman, due to his high
admiration for the traits of the woman he does wish to become womanlike,
discovering and developing the most positive traits of the woman and integrating
them into his own life.
Are crossdressers gay?
This is the worst of all myths about crossdressers. Most crossdressers are in fact
heterosexual people. In all surveys it has been found that only about 5 percent of
them were gay. Most people believe that crossdressers are gay because the gay
crossdresser is generally more open than the heterosexual crossdresser. For most
people their first encounter with crossdressers will be the impersonator at a gay bar,
or the drag queen.
Are there different types of crossdressers?
While with the exception of the transsexual, all men who don feminine clothes can be
termed as crossdressers in the general sense, a number of other terms are used today
to more closely define crossdressers by their reason for crossdressing.
The female impersonator is a person who’s prime reason for crossdressing is
employment. They have perfected their crossdressing into a performing art. It is
interesting to note that the late James Cagney got his start in show business as a
The fetish is a person who is sexually aroused by the wearing of certain articles of
feminine clothing. Unlike the average crossdresser, the fetish will not dress
completely, and will only dress when they wish sexual arousal. In some cases the true
fetish may not even become aroused unless wearing the article of feminine clothes
that gives him pleasure.
This is the most common form of crossdresser. In it’s simplicity, the femmiphile is a
person who has a love for what our society considers to be feminine and a very
strong desire to associate themselves with the feminine. Femmiphiles have high
admiration for the female and wish to emulate them as much as possible.
Unlike the average crossdresser who will spend most of his time in the masculine
role, the transgenderist is a person who lives and works in the crossgendered role
full time. Unlike the transsexual, he is content with his male organs and does not
plan surgery to remove them.
While often confused with the crossdresser, transsexuals are NOT considered to be
crossdressers. Unlike crossdressers who recognize themselves as males with a
feminine part to them, the transsexual is a person who is psychologically a member
of one sex, and physiologically a member of the opposite sex. Unlike the
crossdresser, the transsexual cannot be content unless the physiological body is
surgically altered to be congruent with the psychological person who occupies that
body. While crossdressing for personality expression is far more common in
masculine to feminine form, transsexualism is about equally common in female to
male as it is in male to female.
Are there women crossdressers?
Yes, but due to the fact that the woman’s fashion world has adopted every article of
male clothing, their numbers are much smaller than the masculine to feminine
crossdresser. Most women who wish to express their masculine side may do so by
taking on a profession that is consider to be masculine such as a lumberjack or
attorney. For them, the easiest way to express their masculine side is through
strength or aggression.
Can crossdressing be cured?
While many years ago psychologist did attempt to cure crossdressers, today most
have recognized that crossdressing is lifelong and find that better results can be
obtained by teaching the crossdresser to accept their feminine side. While most
crossdressers can control their urge to crossdress, there is no cure. Crossdressing is
Are there dangers?
While crossdressing in itself is not harmful, there is a danger involved when a
crossdresser is unable to accept his feminine side. Because society does not socially
accept crossdressing in males, many crossdressers have difficulty in coming to terms
with their feminine side. This inability to accept themselves has caused many
crossdresser to turn to drugs or alcohol, to become violent, and even suicidal. They
attempt to shun their feminine side by trying to display manners that they feel are
considered by society to be macho and manly.
Is there any way of telling if someone is or will be a crossdresser?
In reality, no. Crossdressers come from every religious, social, and ethnic
background and work in almost every profession from doctors and lawyers, to truck
drivers and general laborers. Even when crossdressed it is not always easy to tell if a
person is a crossdresser as many have perfected their crossdressing to the point that
one cannot distinguish them from the genetic female.
What kind of people are crossdressers?
Crossdressers in their quest to gain the positive qualities of the female are generally
more caring and sensitive, are more feeling and have a desire and need to share
feelings. They participate in many community projects and are more open to the
needs of others.
Are most crossdressers married?
To this we can answer a resounding YES. In one survey of crossdressers it was
found that about seventy percent of them were in fact married, and about seventy
percent of those had children.
What about their wives?
Because crossdressing is socially unacceptable, many crossdressers do not tell their
wives about their crossdressing needs. This often results in marital disharmony.
Many crossdressers are afraid that the wife will not understand and will leave upon
finding out about her husbands feminine desires. Where the wife is aware of her
husbands feminine side and has decided to accept and even assist her crossdressing
husband in becoming more feminine the marriage has in fact been strengthened.
Wives have found their crossdressing husbands more willing to do household chores
and to be more loving, sympathetic, and compassionate.
What about children?
While it is very rare for the children of a crossdresser to themselves become
crossdressers, many wives who accept their husband crossdressing are fearful that
the children will become crossdressers and thus do not allow their husband to
crossdress in front of their children. Many crossdressers themselves feel that the
knowledge of their crossdressing to be far too much of a burden on the children and
simply do not let them know. Where the father has informed his children of his
crossdressing, it is generally found that when told during an early age, the children
benefit from a father who is more compassionate sympathetic, and involved with
What problems do crossdressers face?
Because crossdressing is still somewhat socially unacceptable, most crossdressers
experience extreme loneliness and depression. Crossdressing generally starts during
an early age, usually between 6 and 13. With no information on the subject the
young crossdresser often feels that he is the only person with the desire to
crossdress. This often causes much inner turmoil within the young crossdresser and
has often caused many to turn to suicide.
Many crossdressers first find out about others through magazines in adult
bookstores. Since most of the ads in these magazines are placed by people seeking
sex, some crossdressers have experimented with homosexuality in an attempt to meet
others like themselves. Crossdressers who have joined organizations like The
Society for the Second Self (Tri-Ess) find that there is no need for the false sexual
relation in order to meet others like themselves. Tri-Ess chapters are totally
non-sexual in nature. They are in fact social and support groups that attempt to
bring crossdressers together to meet, have fun, and talk about their crossdressing
needs and desires. Many wives can be found attending these groups also.
Other problems faced by the crossdresser stem from a society that is hostile and
prejudicial toward them. Due to the social prejudice of others, most crossdressers
find it necessary to keep their crossdressing desires a secret for fear of losing their
jobs, their apartments, their families, and social standings.
While there is an old saying “The other man’s grass is always greener,”
crossdressers have in fact found that the grass while perhaps a different shade of
green, is just as green on both sides of the fence. Rather than choose sides, the
crossdresser has found that he likes both shades of green equally. The crossdresser
has in fact grown beyond the point of being an ordinary male and has become a total