“Transvestism” was coined in the early 1900s to describe persons who habitually and voluntarily wore clothes of the opposite sex (This writer will not get into a current dispute that sex and gender mean different things.). Initially lumped into this group were heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and other labels provided they wore the garments of the opposite sex part or full time.. “Tranny” is a description that at one time included all of the above along with those who transitioned by hormones and/or surgery; though, at present, the term “transsexual” is a more appropriate term who physically altered their sex.. But in the 1960s when gays and lesbians became more visible to public scrutiny (and more accepted) the heterosexual CD community became increasingly uncomfortable for the society-in-general’s knee-jerk response upon meeting a transvestite was that they must be gay. The fact that roughly 85% were not prompted them to use the description “cross dressers” instead to differentiate themselves. The approximate 15% that are mostly bi-sexual in orientation will be discussed further along in this treatise.The above explanations should not be construed as judgmental in any way.
Nevertheless, in a few countries heterosexual CDs still prefer being called “transvestites”, while in some other nations all CDs are collectively joined together and “transvestite” is a derogatory term. Confusing isn’t it?
Previously we touched upon those people in the biblical era along with Greeks, Romans and elsewhere whose custom would now be considered as cross dressing. If the early 1900s were any indication — their lives were filled with torment, guilt, fear for their safety and utter confusion; for these unfortunate beings didn’t know whether they were merely unique, perverted, mentally insane or what. Not too many centuries ago the “insane”, as in Dicken’s novels, were confined in asylums too horrible to contemplate, and cross dressers, regardless of sexual orientation, were relegated to the same fate. And yet, in that same period males in the “upper” classes (nobility, land owners and so on) wore corsets, silk hose, wigs and other finery. “Dandies” were in fashion in the Courts of the many monarchies, but woe to the poor. Go figure!
Until recent years even “straight” cross dressers were viewed by the medical community as either suppressed homosexuals that should, if possible, be physically transformed into feminized bodies or deemed to have a type of sexual fetish. The fact that the great majority of homosexuals has and had no desire to dress as the opposite gender didn’t seem to trouble the doctors and therapists making such diagnosis. One can only imagine the extent of agony indured by the victims of this misdiagnosis.