Do You Know A Crossdresser?
In the movie Just Like a Woman you meet a crossdresser, a person who dresses in clothing normally reserved for the opposite sex. Crossdressers, however, are not people you see only at movies. There are perhaps several million in the United States, for it is estimated that they comprise 5% of the adult male population. Most of them are ordinary men who have discovered a feminine aspect to their personalities, and desire to transcend the narrow stereotypes mandated by conventional society. Happy in their masculinity, they have simply discovered a feminine gender "gift" and decided to explore it.
What Crossdressers Are Not
Not everyone who dons the clothing of the opposite sex is a crossdresser. Society tends to perpetuate stereotypes on the basis of visible behavior patterns. Drag queens are usually gay or bisexual males who don women's clothes either to mock femininity and society's
stereotypes of gays, or to find sex partners. Female impersonators dress to entertain. Transsexuals believe they are entrapped in the body of the opposite sex, and seek sexual reassignment surgery. Crossdressers do not aspire to any of these things, but are simply expressing the crossgendered side of their personalities.
Understanding the "Woman Within"
There is within each man a set of feminine potentials that are part of his birthright, but that society says he should suppress. Crossdressers have made contact with these feminine potentials, this "woman within," and found this contact fulfilling. Integrating these into their whole personalities, crossdressers are able to smooth off some of the macho rough edges incurred by their upbringing. The result is relaxation and mellowing of the whole person.
But Why Do They Crossdress?
Much speculation has centered on why some men crossdress. No one knows for sure. While some cite hormonal or genetic factors, others favor environmental factors. It appears, however, that for many the clothing serves as a "lens" to facilitate focusing upon and developing the feminine side of the personality.
Is Crossdressing a Sexual Phenomenon?
Human being are sexual creatures. Especially early on, many crossdressers find the activity sexually stimulating. As time goes on, however, the sexual factor appears to become less prominent. Crossdressing is more a matter of personality than sexuality. For many the need to crossdress becomes a part of the self, just as musicians need to play music, writers need to write, or ballplayers need to play ball. A life without crossgender expression is to some as tragic as the life of a musician forced to live without music. Like musical talent, crossgender expression can be a real gift.
What Types of People Crossdress?
Crossdressers come from all walks of life, races, creeds, and economic backgrounds. The phenomenon dates back many thousands of years. In some cultures, especially some Native American tribes, they were highly respected as shamans. Most crossdressers are well-educated and come from conventional family backgrounds. The vast majority are heterosexual and most are, or have been, married. Most are happy in their masculinity, and only a small percentage opt to live as women full time. A few women are crossdressers, but they are much less numerous than their male counterparts. Perhaps this is due to the relative latitude society grants to women in matters of dress and self-expression.