I’m a child counsellor and I’m working with a 15 year boy who is a ‘cross dresser’. He is desperate to find support, or support groups but when he goes online he ends up down rabbit holes and can often feel persecuted. I’ve tried to research this for him but end up on transgender pages. He says quite clearly he is a straight man who likes to dress as a woman when he can. He does not identify as transgender.
My question is, where can we find support that just focuses on the cross dressing element of him, without presuming there is a desire to transform any further than that?
Hope you can help guide us.
I hope I can help, too!
Before I dive into your question, I want to share my own personal thoughts and perspective on how I define “crossdressing” and “transgender“.
This is a HUGE oversimplification and I absolutely acknowledge that not everyone will relate or agree with me.
When I am in male mode and I am wearing panties, a nightgown, leggings, femme jeans, etc. then I am crossdressing (because I am masculine presenting and using male pronouns while wearing clothes that society tends to view as “for women”).
When I am in full makeup, a dress, my wig, wearing breast forms… then I am no longer crossdressing. I am presenting as feminine. I am a transgender girl. A gender that is not the same gender that most of the world sees me as (since I present as male to most of the people in my life). I am presenting as one of my gender identities.
My OPINION is that your client is transgender IF they are, in your words, dressing as a woman… as opposed to JUST wearing femme clothes. I think once we include a wig or using femme pronouns we have stepped over the boundary of “crossdressing”. Again, this is my OPINION.
BUT transgender does NOT mean they ARE, or WILL, or WANT to transition. I am 1000000% transgender but I have ZERO plans or desire to take hormones or legally change my gender.
I had a very hard time making the transition (no pun intended) from only identifying as a crossdresser to identifying as trans. What held me back from this was thinking that transgender ALWAYS meant, and HAD to mean transitioning. It doesn’t. It might for some, but it doesn’t for everyone.
It’s my opinion that if your client is wearing a wig, makeup, and wanting to present feminine than it MIGHT be more than crossdressing. If their interest was ONLY about the clothes as opposed to wanting to present as a girl, then it MIGHT be JUST crossdressing.
Does that make sense?
Over ten years ago I started a website where I wrote about my experiences and my perspective on my gender identity. I wanted to make it clear that who I am had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to transition. I wanted to see if there were others like me… people who loved femme clothes, people who loved makeup and had a femme name (even just on occasion) BUT didn’t feel that transitioning was the right decision for them.
Turns out there are a LOT of others like me.
When I meet others like myself, either in real life or online I sometimes need to clarify that YES, I am indeed trans but no, I’ve no plans or desire to be full time or transition. It might get a little repetitive but it goes with the territory. And YES there are people who don’t think that I am transgender because I am not, will not, and have not transitioned but I ignore them. What do I care what they think of me? They don’t make the rules about who is and who is not trans.
You can absolutely be trans but not make any physical or legal changes.
Resources and support SPECIFICALLY for crossdressers MIGHT be a challenge. Googling ‘crossdressers’ will likely return a lot of sexually explicit material which is both not helpful and not appropriate for a minor.
Could I suggest your client start their own website? There are quite a few options out there (such as WordPress, the site I use) that offer free blogging sites. This might be worth considering if they feel alone.
I mean, it’s what I did. It took a while to gain followers and to be noticed but by consistently writing and posting it eventually happened.
By writing about my own experiences and perspectives I am able to connect with countless others like me. I think your client will likely find that there are many others like themself. I mean, I relate to your client. I present en femme AND I have no desire to transition.
And gender identity has nothing to do with sexual identity. What we wear has nothing to do with who we are attracted to. Your client being straight doesn’t necessarily mean they are not transgender, does that make sense? I mean, I am married to a cis woman, I have no experience or desire to be physical with a man AND I have more panties than a typical Victoria’s Secret. My sexual identity has nothing to do with what clothes are in my closet.
I really hope this helps. I am not recommending THIS website or THAT website, but rather I want to offer a perspective that maybe your client can relate to.
Have a question for me? Oh yes you do. Ask me here!
3 thoughts on “Ask Hannah!”
Great and thorough response to the counselor’s question. I can imagine having to face this situation as a teenager and being very concerned about not being defined as transgender (back in my day the word to avoid was transvestite), because like every teen ever, I didn’t want to be defined as one of “them”, even though I was intensely attracted to what “they” were doing…wearing women’s clothing.
I think if I was working with this young person I would stress that he isn’t defined by his clothing. For him (at least now) he should try to think of cross dressing as a fun activity that he enjoys doing and without labeling himself.
As for support groups, maybe there is a youth trans group that he could communicate with, perhaps simply to learn that there are so many different variations under the broad umbrella. Perhaps by learning to accept that variation in others he might become a bit more accepting of himself.
This is why we love you, Hannah. Your answer is excellent. Sue x
There are a lot of sites that have different things related to cross dressing – fiction and non-fiction stories, people talking about this, etc. It sounds like he is mixed up about his cross dressing and maybe wants to learn more about it? I am fascinated, even adore and respect those who transition – it takes a lot of guts to do this and so many look so feminine after they are “complete.” But this doesn’t meant that I, as a cross dresser, wants to change myself like that. I will admit that it would be cool to use a magic wand and change myself for a few days, just to see what it would be like, but nothing permanent. Does this make me transgender? Good question…