Although the term is probably outdated, when I first heard the word ‘crossdresser’ I immediately associated myself with it. By definition, I was indeed a boy who liked to wear women’s clothes. I was around twelve years old when I started to secretly identify as a crossdresser and although later in life I learned how sexually charged and fetishy the majority of the world thought of the term, I was still a crossdresser with a few caveats. By and large it felt that the world viewed crossdressing as a kink. For me, crossdresser didn’t FEEL like a kink. Yes, I was a crossdresser but it wasn’t really a sexual thing. I didn’t want to dress up in lingerie and have sex, I wanted to dress up in lingerie and read a book.
As time passed the word still had it’s complicated meaning (at least to most people) but I started to feel that although I was a boy that liked to wear women’s clothes, it didn’t seem to fit. I started to de-genderize a lot of things such as clothes and even myself. A dress wasn’t a piece of cloth (or leather!) that a girl wore, it was a piece of cloth that anyone could wear. Yes I had “boy parts” and traditionally boy features, but really, did we have to label people as men OR women? Why not both? Why not neither? What difference did it really make? My journey (ugh) took me from panties to skirts to makeup to wigs to finally a femme name. The word ‘crossdresser’ simply didn’t feel right anymore. It didn’t feel… big enough, if you know what I mean. I was more than a boy that liked to wear women’s clothes. I was a different person, or at least a different aspect of myself when I was en femme.
I’ve identified as transgender (using my own personal meaning of the word) for a while now. If I want to get more specific I identify as bi-gender. I am happy and content in both of my gender presentations. I don’t feel conflicted about my identity regardless of the pronouns I am using or the shoes I am wearing. But if we take the words ‘transgender’, ‘non-binary’, and ‘bi-gender’ off the table, and we look at EVERYTHING, whether it is a person or a piece of clothing through a binary lens, then yes, I am a boy who likes to wear women’s clothes.
So! Let’s talk about that. I think many of you who are reading my website (based on the comments and emails I get) are like me. We love panties and lipstick and pretty clothes but part, or even most of our lives, have a stiletto in the boy world. I know that’s how my life is. Being bi-gender means I have more than one gender identity and wardrobe. Having an identity, gender or otherwise, means that identity may come with obligations and responsibilities as well as friends and relationships. Hannah has friends that my male self does not. If Hannah’s “job” can be considered blogging and working for En Femme, then her career is different from the career I have in my male identity.
My point is that both of my lives are very different from each other, as I imagine both of your lives are as well (if identifying as bi-gender is appropriate for you). BUT! even in my boy life I am always connected to my femme side. I am connected to Hannah’s world through clothes, whether I am awake and wearing leggings or sleeping in a nightie. When I am in boy mode (either because that’s the gender I choose to present as for the day or because I have to attend to obligations that my male life has) I am, by definition, crossdressing.
Of course, what one DOES leads to who one IS. I believe in nuances and since I separate my life and gender identity (and closet) into two halves, If you wanted to get into the weeks and get specific, I suppose the male me is a crossdresser whereas Hannah is transgender. Together “we” are bi-gender. Does that make sense? It does to me and I think many of you reading this understands and likely can relate. I do think that I personally put too much time and energy into terms and it’s rather unnecessary but there you have it.
Even when I am presenting as male, I am never 100% “boy”. Even now I am wearing a femme cardigan, panties, and leggings. I am also wearing a boy t-shirt and two days worth of facial stubble. I am a boy wearing women’s clothes (if we insist on genderizing clothes). As soon as I finish this cup of coffee I am off to the gym where I will wear a pair of black leggings that look like boy workout pants but I know the truth. Afterwards I will put on boy clothes (and panties, of course) for a doctor appointment. When the day is over, I will pick out a nightie and go to bed. And tomorrow the in-betweening begins all over again. Since so much of my life and day are punctuated by clothes, and since Hannah is always thinking about what outfit to wear on her next adventure, it’s easy to think that *this* is all about clothes and wearing what I want as opposed to gender identity. But I know it’s not. It’s more than that. When I am en femme I am in a different mindset and a part of me emerges that, although is there in male mode, it is more easily revealed.
I write about my life and my day from a transgender perspective, but since I believe in nuances, I don’t think I write about being a crossdresser (if we are splitting hairs) very often. When I am en femme part of my mind is in survival mode. This manifests in a few ways. Is there anyone I know in this store? Is anyone following me in this mall? Is the sidewalk too icy for these heels? In male mode I am far less paranoid but still aware. When I choose my panties for the day I need to make sure I am careful if I need to kneel down to tie my shoe if the panties have a high, pink, lacy waist band. If I am wearing a bra I am very cautious whether or not the strap or band is visible. I am very aware of who may be around if I am in the lingerie department of a store.
Aaaaand that’s really about it. But it’s enough. Yes, Hannah is looking out for a million little things when she is out, but she is not protecting or trying to hide that she is transgender. I am read very easily and I am fine with that. I have no problem with people knowing Hannah is transgender. I know she is transgender. I am not trying to blend in. Although there’s no standard as to what a cis women looks like, between my square jaw, height, boy voice, broad shoulders, it’s not surprising that people think that I was identified as male when I was born. But in male mode, I am fiercely protective of the fact that I am a crossdresser. No matter which pronoun I am using at any given moment, I am on guard (is it any wonder I have anxiety, lol). It’s just a different kind of paranoia but I do believe paranoia protects us, even if it drives us crazy.
Being a crossdresser isn’t easy. It’s exhausting hiding this side of us. I think on some level it’s harder to explain why a man likes to wear lingerie than it is to explain why someone’s gender identity is different than the one they were assigned to at birth. But as hard as it can be, it IS wonderful. I love having my femme life, AND I am also really happy crossdressing. I love wearing panties every day, I love wearing a nightgown every night. Clothes make me so happy. And yes, I know that this is shallow and superficial but I wouldn’t change a thing about me.