Cross dressing is not like a common cold which has a beginning and an end, and only lasts a short time. Cross dressing is much more permanent than that because the need to cross dress is deeply rooted in the individual’s own identity.
One is not told by anyone that he or she is a transvestite – more likely the individual found out for himself that he had a desire for cross dressing, and through his own efforts found out that this was called transvestism. Having found out that one is a TV there follows a long period of self-discovery.
It is my opinion that transvestism is not a static situation but something that develops and matures along with the individual. The following is a record of how I discovered cross dressing and how I have learned to accept it as part of me.
At the age of fourteen I was in love with a pretty girl who lived a few houses down the road. It was the usual experience of a young adolescent male discovering the delights of the female sex. We kissed and cuddled whenever we could.
Such was my infatuation that I soon began to have fantasies about wearing her dresses. Soon I was imagining that she forced me to wear them and, to cap it all, I started to imagine what it was like to be her as a girl.
Looking back this may seem incredibly confusing, but at fourteen there is a lot less self-analysis, and rather more doing and experimenting. Adult standards are not so deeply entrenched at this stage. It seems that I had at least discovered the idea of cross dressing and that the next step was clearly to try it out.
Periodically I started to wear knickers and tights under my jeans. Eventually I was able to borrow a bra and obtain a skirt from a jumble collection. However, the opportunity to cross dress was very limited in our small house, especially as I had four brothers from whom to keep my secret. At about this time it was necessary to reconsider what I was doing. I lived in a small village in rural Norfolk where I suspect no one had experienced of transvestism or even knew what the word meant. I had discovered cross dressing before I knew what it was called.
The next step was to find out if cross dressing was harmful, was there a cure, were there other people like me, and if so how did they cope? The sources of information at hand were limited and I was certainly not going to ask the doctor or my parents. It was already clear to me that society did not approve of this behaviour. No, I would have to find out by myself, but where could I get the information I needed?
The newspapers, especially the trashy Sunday ones, often carried stories of men being caught wearing women’s clothes. These articles were reported in the most sensational and scandalous way possible. There were also a few reports of men having operations to become women.
I soon made a collection of these reports and from them discovered the word ‘transvestite’. The handy home dicitonaries I had did not even mention the word (nor cross dressing) so I went to a local library and consulted an encyclopedia, but even this was limited to a definition.
While I was at University I had my own room where I was able to indulge in cross dressing and even make-up. It was also at this time that I was able to find out more about transvestism from the college library. Most of the books on this subject were medical books, were clinically descriptive, and treated transvestism as a disease.
Several authors suggested causes but none seemed particularly convincing. None dealt with the problem of how to cope with being a transvestite. All was not lost, however, when I discovered a copy of the biography of the Chevalier d’Eon de Beaumont in the history section. This at least set out how he had lived his life as a transvestite.
At this time I bought a copy of ‘Sexual Anomalies and Perversions’ by Magnus Hirschfield from a small bookshop. Despite its title, the approach of this book was sympathetic and it told me that cross dressing was not that uncommon. Nonetheless, it was good to find a book that did not make ‘good’ or ‘bad’ value judgements; quite surprising for a book written in the 1920s.
My own coming to terms with cross dressing was not easy. I had discarded my female clothes and make-up several times. Unfortunately, the desire to cross dress was not so easily removed. So, rather than persist in this cycle of dressing and not dressing, I decided to keep my female clothes and accept that I had a need to cross dress that must be satisfied. I no longer have a mental conflict. I am who I am and would not give up cross dressing for anything.
Indeed, the process of self-discovery continues. My wife and I have what we call ‘nights in’ when I totally cross dress. When making love still cross dressed, I even assume the traditional female position.
I have not, as yet, ventured out while dressed as a female; not because I fear detection as I am very convincing as a woman, but because I think that the smart lady in a black dress, court shoes and medium length wavy hair might attract the attention of a man. And then, readers what would I do if he chatted me up? Is there more to discover?
For those who discover transvestism today there are many more sources of information (not least this website!). Even the press is changing. The ‘agony aunts’ are generally sympathetic, despite the fact that the same papers still carry the same old scandal stories. Things to seem to improving faster and faster though, and cross dressing is positively ‘trendy’ in certain sections of youth culture.
Perhaps future generations of men will grow up with the knowledge that cross dressing is neither strange nor uncommon?