The Gender Basics Portal


The term "transgender" encompasses three very distinct groups of people:  Transsexuals, who are forced to live in the wrong gender because of their genital appearance; Crossdressers, who alternate between fully male and fully female genders; and Androgynous people, whose gender is a mix of both "female" and "male" personality traits.

The essential differences between the three groups are:

--  Transsexuals need to transition from the false gender expression they have been forced to adopt, to a gender expression that matches their inner soul.

--  Crossdressers have a constant need for a time and place when they can adopt the other gender expression.

--  Androgynous people need to discover a mixed gender expression that will match their unique combination of female and male gender traits. 

Advocating Ignorance 

During the 1970's & 1980's, Virginia Prince (1912 - 2009) started a large movement for crossdressers, complete with publications and national conventions.  Ms Prince wanted to get crossdressers out of the closet by giving them a place to go, and educating them about crossdressing.  No more guilt.  There were even support groups for spouses.

At the time, there was a widespread myth that crossdressing was merely a stepping stone toward transsexuality and eventual genital surgery.  Ms Prince's primary message was that the two conditions had nothing in common.  She worried that misinformation lured many crossdressers into the operating room, only to become dreaded regretters.

She declared war on the transsexuals, who weren't permitted to attend her support groups or conferences.

Gender Theory

Enter the "experts," riding the waves of feminism & gender inequality of the late 1990's.  The reality of separate categories of crossdressers and transsexuals was replaced with Social Construct mythology.  Everyone became "transgender" "non-conformers" in need of reformation.  The treatment goal shifted from fulfillment of an individual's basic inner needs, to curing mental disease while safeguarding against regretters.

The Cure

Fortunately, crossdressing can be cured without the interference of a psychiatrist.  The key is to realize that crossdressing has significance only because people give it significance.  When confronted with a crossdresser, the first step is to recognize that a crossdresser is Really a Man -- the same man you see every day.  He's not Really a Woman, he doesn't want to become a full-time woman, and all that transsexual stuff doesn't apply to him.  (He also doesn't have a mental illness, nor is he any kind of deviant.)  There's no reason for knowing the Secret should impact any existing relationships.

Crossdressing ceases to be a concern once the individual and his family have negotiated a way to accommodate his needs.  The following are the key issues that must be dealt with: 

(1)  How much and how often? 

Once a month for two days?  Every other week for one evening?  This is the crossdresser's call.  Only he knows what his needs are.

(2)  Spouse's involvement

This is the spouse's call.  Only she knows what her concerns are.  Some spouses don't want to have any part of the dressing sessions -- they don't want to see it or hear about it.  Other spouses want in on the fun.  And then there are others who might want to go to a yearly convention, but not be part of the month-to-month sessions.

Although they may seem embarrassing at first, crossdressing conventions can be a lot of fun for a spouse.  There are drag shows, karaoke and dancing.  ...Not to mention an interesting new locale to tour.  It's easy to be so caught up in the festive atmosphere that you soon realize that it's harmless fun.

It may also be comforting to find others who are going through the same adjustments.  Although some spouse's groups become gripe sessions that complain how unfair life is.

(3)  Local exposure

How bad is it for the neighbors to find out?   Do family members mind seeing dad in a dress?

If no one cares, then dressing sessions can take place anywhere, including inside the home.  (Even in the most accepting environment, there would never be a valid reason for dressing at school, at work, at church meetings, or at large family reunions.)

If the family doesn't want to be involved, they can arrange to be elsewhere on the appointed day.   ...Or dad can dress at a meeting of the local support group.

On the other hand, if dressing must be a carefully-guarded secret, then sessions should take place far away on monthly "business trips".

(4)  Advice
Especially in the beginning, often the best approach is to keep the crossdressing separate from home life.  It's far easier to keep relationships straight:       Let's see, is today a "he" or a "she" day?       Is it okay to ask Jane to fix a leaking toilet or to change a flat tire?  etc.

Even with the best of intentions, anyone can be confused by someone switching back and forth between two different people.

Crossdressing at home often becomes too comfortable.  Sometimes, family members come upon an unshaven dad watching TV football while wearing a slip & panties.

Every family has different circumstances & concerns.  ...So each family will come up with an answer that's right for THEM.

 © Cassandra Branch  MD (2015)

Help from the Health Professionals

The assault on crossdressers has been led by Organized Psychiatry.  Their Manual for Psychiatric Diagnosis (DSM 5) claims that crossdressers suffer from "transvestic fetishism", which is listed under sexual deviations & perversions ("Paraphilia") -- along with pedophilia and beastiality.  


One day, the sexologist Ray Blanchard was musing about why crossdressers would periodically go into hiding in order to wear a dress?  Why would they feel so guilty afterward?  The only reason he could think of was that crossdressers must find wearing a dress to be sexually aroused.  In other words, it must be a form of masturbation.  -- And that would definitely be abnormal, deviant and perverted.

His friend Michael Bailey (Northwestern University) decided to test Blanchard's theory at The Baton Show Lounge, a popular drag club in Chicago.  Some of Bailey's friends at the club were hired to perform sex acts for his university classes in sexology.  (The explicit displays ultimately led to censure by the University in 2011.)  In fact, half of his "study subjects" were professional sex workers.  When interviewed, the performers admitted that their shows almost always included seduction & sexual intercourse themes.

Not only that, Blanchard independently discovered that almost two-thirds of male test subjects became sexually aroused when they had electrodes attached to their genitals as they wore female undergarments.   

That was exactly the "proof" Dr Blanchard needed.  And it just happened that he was responsible for writing the sexuality part of the DSM.  "Transvestic Fetishism" was certain to be included.


Blanchard added that not all crossdressers were perverts.  Only if it affected their daily lives.  So a crossdresser would be "Normal" as longs as he could keep his secret.  But if he was "outed", he instantly developed "transvestic fetishism".  Beyond that, sexologists have  testified that if an individual had one paraphilia (like "transvestic fetishism"), they were more likely to have others (such as pedophilia and voyeurism).  

Guilty of an imaginary disease by an imaginary association.  Even so, people with paraphilias go to jail.


WPATH is a large group of "experts" dedicated to ridding the world of "gender non-conformity".  All "non-conformer" patients are thrown into a diagnostic mystery box.   When the psychiatrists are done with them, they've either been "cured" (ie, forced to conform), turned into people with a clothes fetish (their needs satisfied by wearing panties or nylon stockings under their clothes), or they undergone transitioning into the "other gender" (including hormones & surgery).

Note that wearing women's clothes for 1 day a month isn't one of the options.  In fact, the word "crossdresser" can't be found in the WPATH Standards of Care (2011).   For that matter, neither is the term "transvestic fetishism", although the panties option may apply to them. 


The experts at WPATH don't recognize the existence of crossdressers -- even though they're the second largest group in the mystery box

Their absence is a concern, because crossdressers can be easily mistaken for transsexuals.  After all, both groups sort of have two personae -- one male, the other female.  If a crossdresser goes a long time without other-gender expression, both groups can reach similar levels of distress, desperation and need. 

However, if a crossdresser is pushed into inappropriate genital surgery, it's a catastrophe -- It's known as "Regret".  Crossdressers don't benefit from hormones & surgery.   Because of WPATH's strange Diagnosis by Endurance process, post-op crossdressers may be the largest subgroup of Regretters.


So who is this pitiful soul who spends his life gripped in terror?   He's your father.  Or your brother.  Or your son.  He may be your banker, lawyer, priest or doctor; your grocer, butcher, car mechanic; and the fireman who risked his life to save yours two years ago.   Crossdressers  make up about 10% of the population.  One in ten.  There's one crossdresser seated on every pew in America.  There are three in every classroom.  Twenty US senators and forty-five US congressmen. 

Every one of them cringes whenever gender is mentioned.  They panic when legislators propose restroom restrictions -- but can't say anything lest they be discovered.  They laugh nervously when family members tell gender jokes or curse "transgenderism".  It's why they're irritable, impatient and distracted.  

The cumulative total of suffering caused by society's ignorance is astronomical.

The typical crossdresser is a man.  He has a male gender identity & gender (personality) to go with his all-male biology.  

He enjoys being a man.  He has male interests and friends, and  he probably has a wife and children.

He's the poster boy of "conforming" to his "assigned gender".  He's so good at it, his wife probably doesn't even suspect that he has a secret.

His secret is:  Every so often -- say, one or two days out of a month -- he adopts a fully female persona.  He looks female, he has a female name, and engages in typical female pursuits (sewing, shopping, etc).   ...For a few hours, or even as much as a couple of days.

Then he returns to being a husband to his wife, father to his family, a hard worker, a devout believer and a good friend.


Do they really exist?

 A Valid Need

Why would any Real Man want to be a woman for a few days?  A Real Man would die at the thought of touching a bra or panties!  So he must not be a Real Man.  He must be a "transphobic transsexual" or something far worse.

Crossdressing is part of an individual's innermost self.  It's an essential need, present at birth and persistent throughout life.  Someone is either a crossdresser, or they're not.  And crossdressers are completely different from transsexuals.  Crossdressers don't become transsexuals, and transsexuals don't become crossdressers.  (Although most "experts" can't tell the difference between the two.)

Crossdressers experience distress if they go a long time without expressing their alternate persona.  The longer the interval, the greater the distress.  If it goes too long, the need becomes all-consuming and overwhelming.  It can't be delayed a moment more.  Ignoring all risks, the person disappears into a secret closet.

After an hour or a day of dressing, all that distress has gone away.  

Only to return a month or two later.  (The duration of an episode and the interval between episodes vary from individual to individual.)

Crossdressing isn't a "choice" or a "chosen identity".  It's not a mental illness.  It's not gender confusion, gender questioning, queer or "gender fluidity". It can't be cured.  It's not a sexual perversion.  It's simply an irrevocable need:  It's dress or distress -- there are no alternatives.


          A crossdresser's survival depends on acceptance of these realities.


Although crossdressing may seem odd or suspicious to some, it's actually quite harmless.  What's wrong with allowing someone to have a day or two on his own?  The best approach is to accept the need and fit it into life's many pursuits.  It need not impact marriage, family, job or religion.

Unfortunately, today's society is obsessed with gender.  Any person who doesn't follow The Official Gender Rules must be "Abnormal" and an outcast.  So, a crossdresser may be "Normal" 29 days out of a month, but that one day is a killer -- it turns him into a monster, erasing reality (eg, being a devoted husband and a good father) with imaginary prophecies of doom (eg, maybe he's Really a Sexual Deviant).

Gender Hysteria has transformed a meaningless aspect of human diversity into a lifetime of peril, insecurity and vulnerability.  Every minute of every day could be a crossdresser's last.  Detection usually leads to divorce, loss of visitation rights, rejection by family, unemployment, and excommunication from church.

      --  You're not the Man I married!  You're not even a Real Man.  What am I, a lesbian?

      --  You're a sex pervert; a hazard to be around children.

      --  It's embarrassing just to be near you or to be associated with you!

      --  You give our company a bad name, even if you do it only on weekends!

      --  The Bible says you're an abomination!

The apocalypse can happen at any time, anywhere.  It may be the next knock on the door or the next phone call:  Hey Joe, did I see you last night at Denny's wearing a dress?!!!  (Ha! Ha!)

A crossdresser lives his life teetering on the brink of disaster, terrified of what might happen.  His best friend may be the one who destroys him.  No one can be trusted.  Every look in his direction; every smile is suspicious.   Crossdressing becomes the whole focus of his life:  Much of his energy is spent looking for a hidden place and planning his next episode -- while the rest of his energy is spent worrying about what might happen.

​​The Gender Graph

A Gender Graph is another way of visualizing the three transgender categories.  Someone with all male gender traits would appear on the far left of the graph.  Someone with all female traits would be on the far right.  People with various mixtures of gender traits -- mostly male, an even mix of male & female, mostly female, etc -- plot out between the two extremes.

Notice that "Androgynous People" describes the people in the middle of the graph -- the people with an even match of male & female gender (personality) traits.

Hold it!  Crossdressers aren't even on the map!    ...Well, actually they are:  They're in the big blue bump tagged "Classic Males".  (At least, they're in that bump MOST of the time.)

(For an in-depth discussion of the gender graph, go HERE.  It's also described in the book, The New Gender Paradigm.)

The New Gender Paradigm