At first glance it may seem odd tthat organizations formed to serve the gay communities generally do not take kindly to CD groups for their interests lie far apart — the object of their affection is not the same. Most male homosexuals are attracted to males while most cross dressers (Those that are heterosexual.) remain attracted only to females — the opposite sex.That said, it’s not all black and white. There are pre-op CDs, roughly ten percent that are bi-sexual or fully gay but have no desire to transition to totally female. Some will even have breast augmentaion or facial surgery but still wish to live in both worlds. Then there are those CDs who have begun the transition process to become physically female or have completed the process and are now female in name and live as females. This latter small group are no longer considered cross dressers for obvious reasons. To add to one’s confusion it is common for CDs in a small town who desire to emerge from the “closet” but have tribulations meeting the local citizens in a neigborhood bar or restaurant. Generally there are gay bars and other gathering places available that usually make them sufficiently welcome in that CDs are comfortable visiting such establishments. However, in larger cities crossdressing individuals do find meeting places of persons with similar inclinations without having to mingle with those of a different persuasion. At Mardi Gras or annual gay parades in many cities spectators do see Drag Queens (discussed elsewhere) and Kings (females cross dressed) walking or on floats as well as gay men and gay couples in those parades .Often heterosexual or “straight” cross dressers will join such celebrations in order to make personal statements that they are striving for attention to their existence and, like the gays, also wish for society’s acceptance.So for the onlookers at these parades — they may very well be confused as to who is straight and who is not.
During 2010 I was watching a major TV xstation when the male and female commentators mentioned a newspaper ad by a karate studio claiming that “If your little boy likes to wear lipstick and his mother’s shoes he should be enrolled in our karate class. We will makea man out of him.” My blood boiled when the two young “informational disseminators” declared that there is “nothing wrong with being gay”. Who determined that such children are actually gay or, if correct, can be cured by “manly’ pursuits? Perhaps they were merely curious as children wont to be, or perhaps they might eventually become straight straight cross dressers or the variations of that group as discussed in the following pages —- variations that might not be heterosexual. The above incident illustrates the pathetic lack of knowledge out there.
In fact, the reasons for being a CD are so varied that up to now a single label or cause does not suffice although various professional “experts” are wrestling with a number of adjectives. The homosexual portion of cross dressing (about 15%) already have their identity established by the American Medical Association as as a distinct genetic group and not a malady or curable. The problem, if there is one, would be that cross dressing has not been studied by the medical community to the same extent due to its diversity. .As a result very few therapists have the knowledge to counsel a young CD properly and must rely on their limited experience — if any. Consequently the patient and their family are often directed into unsustainable actions that brings with it children ostracized by parents or even suicide. The fact is that cross dressing is not curable! It might be sublimated for a period of time but not reversible.
But sadly, there is no national or international support organizations representing those in the group of 80 to 90% straight CDs while they are still in thei formative years — a time when the most support is needed. While homosexuals are well represented in those younger years by major associations of parents and families such as PFLAF and COLAGE, they have only Tri-Ess International. The purpose of that group is “to encourage open dialogue to guide our sisters and their loved ones towards a better understanding of the phenomenon of adult — over 18 — cross dressing and how it relates to their individual lives and relationships. ” Unfortunately they do not have the resources , as yet, to reach out to the parents of teenagers or younger.
The myth or confusion most prevalent is that cross dressing is a definite indication that the person encountered must be homosexual. Easy to understand for most of us in our school years had met effeminate or “sissy” kids that we called “fagots” and worse and equated with homosexuality (Those children’s problems we will soon cover). The reasoning follows that those children must also have the inclination for female clothes when growing up. In fact most of those met will never have an interest in crossdressing. The reality is that about 85% of all CDs are straight or heterosexual. Their interests and vocations pretty much follows a cross section of our population, i.e., many having wives and children, actually having higher education levels than the norm, and entering work arenas that we might think of as “macho” such as truck drivers, coal miners and airline pilots.
Many conventions are held around our country and the world, monthly meetings are found in practically every major city and annual cruises are taken by CDs with their spouses or girlfriends. At such meetings the rules are strict and observed. No sexually-tinged public activity of any kind permitted, no obscene, erotic or sexual articles or exhibits allowed, must dress in lady-like conservative attire for daytime activities and ocktail/dinner dresses are fine for the evening. Provocative, fetish or androgynous attire is never acceptable.Obviously the rules are more strict than any business convention I ever attended The resulting intermingling has brought clearer insite and attitudes among those participating – a positive step.