Hello class, my name is Ms. McKnight and I would like to welcome you to Crossdressing 101!
You are all looking so cute in your plaid schoolgirl skirts and white stockings! And your whole look is completed by shiny black patent Maryjanes. Absolutely adorable.
We are all here today to learn about crossdressing. What is crossdressing? Where does it mean to crossdress? I can't promise to provide you with all of the answers but I will do my best.
Crossdressing, in my opinion, is simply wearing...something, anything, that is typically associated with another gender. This is an overly simplified definition but it's a good place to start.
Yes, Jessica? You have your hand up? And cute pink nail polish, by the way.
Wonderful question. The word's origins are German and is a translation of the Latin word 'transvestit'. 'Trans' means 'across', such as a transatlantic flight or crossing the ocean. 'Vestire' means clothes, such as 'vestments'. Combine the two words and you have 'transvestite', or crossdress. Personally I think 'transvestite' is a little outdated and I wish the word would go away. No offense, Latin.
But yes, a boy wearing nail polish, a boy wearing panties, a dress, lingerie, eyeliner, that is all crossdressing. Unfortunately EVERYTHING is genderized, especially clothes. Colors, styles... everything is 'for boys' or 'for girls'. I hate it, but I also love it. I love wearing 'girl clothes'. Panties are sooo much for fun than boy underwear, femme jeans are more fun that boy jeans. Regardless, my point still stands, if you are wearing anything that is typically associated with something girls wear, then you are crossdressing.
The first time I heard the word 'crossdresser' was when I was around twelve years old. I can remember exactly who said this word to me, and where I was. I don't have the best memory in the word but this was one of the most significant moments of my life. I learned there was a word for people like myself. I was a crossdresser. I never thought I was the only boy who liked to wear panties and dresses, but I had never thought that there were so many of us that there was a word for boys like myself. It was, to be honest, completely reassuring. The idea that there was a word for me made me think that perhaps who I was wasn't so strange. I wasn't so alone. I was scared to death of being caught when I was younger (and being caught now) as I wasn't sure of how to explain why I wore what I wore or why the mannequins modeling beautiful lingerie at the department store made me jealous. I couldn't put who I was into words, but all of a sudden there was a label (if you will) that could hopefully explain who I was. I was a CROSSDRESSER. Why did I sneak into my sister's closet to try on dresses? Because I was a crossdresser. Why did I want to wear pink panties? Because I was a crossdresser.
This revelation cheered me for years. I didn't think of it like this at the time, but I was part of a community. There were others like me. I always felt a little... lonely I guess. I remember being very young and trying on my mom's heels. Wanting to wear lipstick. Wanting to wear cute undies. I was five when I wanted to wear the princess gown that the dress-up box had in my kindergarten class. But despite how strong these desires were, I knew I couldn't. I knew I shouldn't. When we are young we are taught that boys and girls do, like, and wear specific things. Some of it was ingrained in us by society or our parents, some of these gender norms were created by kids themselves. It was silly then and it's silly now but there was a wall in my first grade class that only girls were allowed to touch and another that was for boys. Isn't that silly? Isn't that stupid? But it's not much different than certain clothes, styles, and colors being for a specific gender. I didn't think what I was doing was 'wrong', but I knew it should be kept a secret. Being found out would have branded me as a sissy for life. I would forever be that boy that wore a dress when I was in grade school.
Although I knew I couldn't be the only boy in the world like me, I never thought I would ever know anyone else like myself. It's not like this topic would ever come up. Sure, people ask each other about their favorite bands or what kind of food they like, but could you imagine someone just saying "you know I REALLY love wearing lingerie, have you ever worn a bra? What style of panties do you prefer?" The opportunity to connect with others like myself happened on my first day in college. I sound soooooooooooo ancient when I say this, but the internet was a very new thing when I was a teenager. The school's library had a few computers connected to a dial-up modem (see? I am ancient.) and the very first thing I searched was the word 'crossdresser'. And it was at this moment my world changed again.
I didn't know what I expected to find with this search but I certainly wasn't expecting to find nothing but stories and pictures of men wearing panties and... well, pleasuring themselves, or being intimate with other men wearing lingerie. Scrolling through images and writings and personal ads gave me the impression that a crossdresser was, well, a crossdresser was a fetishist. I was stunned. And a little heartbroken. For years I identified in secret with a word that describes who I was, that explained who I was. But I was not this. There was nothing about lingerie that.. ah, aroused me. I had no desire to hook up with other men. Simply put, there was nothing sexual about my dressing. What dismayed me even further was reading articles that the search provided about crossdressers. Some were newspaper articles, some were tabloid stories, some were "in-depth looks at the world of crossdressing". Almost every single one portrayed crossdressers as fetishists, as perverts, as deviants. I was crushed. I was not these things. Wearing panties, lingerie, was a beautiful part of my life. It brought me peace and happiness. There was nothing "dirty" about who I was, or what I did or wore.
That day was as significant as the day I learned the word crossdresser but in a different way. When I was younger I learned of a word that I thought explained who I was, but on this day I thought that maybe this wasn't the word for who I was, or am. But if I wasn't a crossdresser, then what was I? Who am I? I began to see how people like myself were portrayed in movies and television shows. A boy wearing a dress was played for laughs, portrayed as perverts, and an easy joke. These portrayals not only reinforced the idea that a crossdresser was a pervert to me, but also to everyone else.
I think most of us have tried to stop doing what we do. I have purged so many times it's not even funny. It breaks my heart when I think of this sexy PVC gown that I threw away when I was younger. However as I grew older I knew I had no control over who I was. It wasn't a phase that I would outgrow, this was who I was, even if the word 'crossdresser' wasn't exactly the right fit. When I was in my twenties I was dating a girl that I thought I would end up being with for the rest of my life. But isn't that how all love is when we are that age? I had made the decision to tell her who I was, what I wore, and wanted to wear. I did this for two reasons. One reason was selfish. I had hoped that she would have been accepting and would be okay with me wearing panties. The other reason, and this was a lot less altruistic, was that I felt that she HAD to know. She needed to know who I was. It wasn't going away, I would do my best to NOT dress, but I would always want to.
Long story short, I told her, she put this revelation in the only frame of context she could courtesy of how someone like me was presented in the media, and said I was a crossdresser. The stigma lived on.
I mean, yes, I guess so.
But that word was limiting. It wasn't exactly who I was but it was the only word for someone like myself.
I think this word will be synonymous with sex and fetishes for a very long time. In our next lesson we will discuss the transgender community's relationship with those who identify as crossdressers. Your homework tonight is to pick out a new pair of panties and a nightgown to dream sweet dreams in.