FAQ – Crossdressing and Crossdressers

Source: Tri-Ess

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 feminine personality.

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.

Female Impersonator

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 female impersonator.


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 lifelong.

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 them.

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 person.

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