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  • So You Like to Crossdress: Navigating Desires for Crossdressing

    In this blog we will explore the desire for crossdressing. This topic, which is not talked about nearly enough, is so important because many individuals are still in the closet about their desires to cross-dress.

    People often assume that crossdressing is a thing for individuals who identify with a gender that’s different than what they were assigned at birth, i.e. transgender individuals. However, a) as you will read below, being transgender and crossdressing are entirely different matters; i.e. a transgender individual does not cross-dress, but rather, dresses in accordance with the gender of their identity, and b), desires for crossdressing can indeed very much be a thing for cisgender folks; i.e. folks who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

    The Facts About Desires for Crossdressing

    Truth is that from an evolutionary perspective, matters such as separate dress codes for women and men, what color clothing men and women can/can’t wear, and the many one-brush-fits-all roles society assigns to people are not a matter of nature. Rather, it’s more a matter of nurture; that is, we are taught these roles and rules, we were not born with them. For example:

    • A baby girl is not born with an intuitive sense that dresses look better on her and/or are more appropriate for her than a suit and tie. A baby boy is not born with an intuitive sense that he shall not paint his nails, wear a dress, etc.
    • A boy is not born with knowledge that pink is an inappropriate color on him
    • A baby girl is not born with knowledge that certain jobs are more appropriate for women than for men, or vise versa
    • We all know there are differences between men and women. However, those differences are vastly smaller than what we’ve been taught. Truth is, it comes down to reproductive system and genitalia. The issue itself really is that simple, though evidently there are more nuances reg. differences in anatomy and physiology; that is, how the female and male sex differ. Nonetheless, as it relates to gender expression, the difference need not be as significant as society makes it out to be

    Social Rules

    Societies like to make the complex simple. That is, some people who are in positions of power like to insist on taking grey ideas and situations and making them into matters of black or white. In this way, people and situations can be more easily predicted, and the ‘normal’ order can continue.

    Except we know that isn’t realistic. We all know that humans are very complex creatures and that life isn’t black or white. While others may like to put us in a box to make things easier for themselves, some of us simply don’t fit into the mold.

    We here at Empower Counselling Services Winnipeg have had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few crossdressers over the years. They have come to us with feelings of confusion and guilt over their desire to wear the “wrong” clothes, the clothes that only the opposite gender is “supposed” to wear. Though they tried on their own to handle these desires and even conquer them, the majority felt powerless to stop.

    However, before we discuss “addressing” your crossdressing desires, we need to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

    Crossdressing vs. Being Transgender

    Transgender refers to a person who identifies with a gender that doesn’t match their anatomical sex at birth. While a person may have been born a female with a female anatomy and female chromosomes, that person might identify as he/him/his in their daily life and may even choose to have gender-corrective surgery at some point.

    People who cross-dress have a gender identity consistent with their sex and/or consistent with the gender they were assigned at birth. For example, a man may identify as a male but may also take pleasure in cross-dressing in women’s clothing. He may be bisexual, gay, or straight, but since he identifies as cisgender, dressing in clothing that is stereotypically associated with the opposite sex means he’s considered to be cross-dressing.

    In fact, you’d probably be surprised by how common and truly normal that situation is. He does not wish to be female, but he has a strong desire to explore his own femininity and feel beautiful.

    Are Crossdressing Desires Really Something You Need to “Deal” With?

    That’s not an easy question to answer, as everyone’s situation is different. What’s really important is to feel good about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. If you have feelings of shame or guilt, it’s important to talk to someone about those.

    You may feel perfectly happy with yourself, but your partner may not like the fact that you cross-dress. What do you do in that situation? Leave the relationship, or stop a behavior that makes you happy and is harmless to others?

    The best advice we give our clients is to take some time to figure out what crossdressing means to you. What value does it bring to your life? How does it affect your relationships? Does it negatively or positively impact the connection you have with others?

    Though society would like to put you into a box, you are a unique individual and your journey in life is yours alone. Only you can decide if crossdressing is right for you.

    If you’d like to discuss your crossdressing desires, please get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to discuss how we may be able to help.

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