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What is a transvestite?
A transvestite sometimes feels the need to dress and behave as a member of the opposite sex. Some women dress up as men, but overwhelming, transvestites are men who like to dress as women.
The vast majority of male transvestites like being men. They do not feel that they are women trapped in male bodies and they have no desire at all to ‘become female’ by taking hormones or having surgery to remove their male genitals.
Men who are uncomfortable about being male or who feel they are not male inside are said to have gender dysphoria. If their unhappiness and discomfort leads them to take steps to change gender they are then called transsexuals. Some women also have gender dysphoria and seek to change sex, but they are a tiny minority of transsexuals.
Why do men cross-dress?
No one really knows why some men have this desire. Most men who cross-dress describe it as an outlet for stress, and they tend to want to dress up more during times of tension at work or at home.
Some men get remarkable relief from tension simply by wearing women’s lingerie (usually silk) under their exterior male clothing. These guys often go no further than that with their cross-dressing. Most transvestites, however, want to appear as female as possible in their outer garments, and also want to wear make-up.
Men who cross-dress are not mentally ill. Indeed, psychologists in the USA have decided that cross-dressing comes within the normal range of male sexuality unless it becomes a compulsive obsession. Not every transvestite is a secret transvestite. The well-known medical journalist and writer Dr Vernon Coleman has often written about the enjoyment of wearing women’s underwear. Some individuals make their livings as transvestite artists (drag queens) on stage and in clubs. Other performers cross-dress because they seek to break down gender barriers, such as the famous stand-up comedy artist Eddie Izzard.
Are transvestites gay?
Well, Vernon Coleman and Eddie Izzard definitely aren’t. Interestingly, very many women lust passionately after Eddie when he is in full drag with nail varnish. Some transvestites are gay, of course. But the vast majority of transvestites claim to be entirely heterosexual. As far as anyone knows, the incidence of homosexuality among transvestites is no higher than in the rest of the population.
Telling other people
This has to be done very carefully.
Many transvestites feel frustrated that they have to keep this part of their personality a secret, and sometimes their frustration erupts and leads to very sudden and unwise confessions in the workplace. But the fact is that many colleagues are simply not ready to hear that Gerry becomes Geraldine at weekends. Telling your wife or partner is also difficult. Click here for more info!
Many men do tell their partners, and some of these partners enter into the spirit of the whole thing and actually help their men to dress as women. These guys are very lucky as their wives/partners frequently stop them from making horrendous style mistakes! Few women are entirely comfortable with their man’s transvestite behaviour.
A number of male transvestites want to go a bit further than simply dressing up and going out – they want to make love to women when they’re ‘acting female’. The majority of wives/partners of transvestites are definitely not happy with this scenario.
Some women do find that having sex with a man who is made-up and dressed as a woman can feel decadent and quite a turn on. But far more women find the whole idea quite alarming and off-putting, and no man should attempt to force his partner into sex if she falls into this category. This is something to take advice about from people who have experience in this matter.
Dealing with guilt
Transvestites can be very calm and happy about their cross-dressing, especially if they belong to a good support group, have some sort of social life as their female persona, and have friends or family who accept their need to cross-dress. I suspect that the vast majority of guys like this never even think about having therapy because they find their lives fine as they are.
However, men who do feel overloaded with guilt should always seek counseling. They will invariably feel much better for talking over the situation with someone who is non-judgmental.
How to cross dress
Many people cannot, or will not, try, to understand why a man should want to dress as a woman, so it’s important that men who do this make as good a job of it as possible. Unfortunately, many guys who cross dress fail to look convincing as a woman and people snigger when they see them or sometimes act in a very hostile way. Learning the art of dressing as a woman can make life much easier for a transvestite.
Support groups can provide advice on choosing the right clothes and make-up. But, as a general rule, start by keeping things simple. Avoid high heels, especially with sling-backs, until you have mastered walking in women’s footwear. And avoid glittery cocktail dresses until you have practised moving, standing and sitting as a woman.
Shops specialise in supplying women’s clothing and shoes in men’s sizes and in helping men to perfect their female look. As a rule, shop in a place that is liberal and accepting of different lifestyles. Clearly, if you live in a small town you will excite comment if you shop for yourself in the local women’s shoe or dress shop.
Cross-dressing is not an offence in the UK and most western countries and if a man encounters the police while dressed as a woman he is as entitled as any other law-abiding citizen to courtesy and consideration. Of course, the police will be forced to act if any manner is likely to cause or cause a breach of the peace. But those rules are the same for the rest of the population.
More on the law here…
Keywords: transgender FAQ, transvestite Explained, risks.