Early psychiatric studies found a correlation, or further explanation, in the conditioned response or “imprint” factor after the early withdrawal of a parent whereby the child then projects its affection on an inanimate object — often a garment once worn by that parent.– hence a source for later fetish behavior. Recently there has been further studies of imprinting. We have seen behavior work done with goslings of Canadian Geese — a biologist became the surrogate mother to some six goslings, hand fed and reared them. Then, when they were able to take wing, he had them follow his ultra-lite plane from Maine to a southern state. The geese wintered there and came back to their former home in the Spring. Considering that a bird’s brain is considerably smaller than a human baby’s, and that recent findings indicate that most of the billions of neurons are electrically connected from inutero to about age six and then this wiring action continues at a slower pace in the teen years, one must seriously consider to what extent the inclinations to cross dress had become imprinted. Variations of the following tales are told by innumerable CDs of their childhood experiences: Grew up in large families where their major daily contacts were with sisters and very little affection provided by mother; A career mother who had little time to spend with their child (I was one), but the craving for female affection remained; A mother who had wished for a girl baby so she dressed and treated the baby as that gender even up to high school age; Boy baby dressed and played with by sister(s) as another sister and often went out shopping with their “sister”. Interestingly, grandparents would carry on this subterfuge — treating the child as a girl — during summer vacation visits. Now add a research paper featured in “Sixty Minutes” on TV where babies were seperately exposed to two puppets — the “Good” puppet wearing clothes of a different style and color from the “Bad” puppet. The good puppet stood in an open box and then the bad puppet slammed the box closed with the other puppet inside. The babies who had not yet reached the speaking level were then individually shown both puppets — without exception each baby wanted to cuddle the “Good” puppet — obviously knowing good from bad, right from wrong behavior without ever having been instructed to do so in their few years of living. “Proof” is hard to come by, but one can’t help to wonder how much those very early years were influenced by imprinted proclivities towards cross dressing. Must point out in order to avoid confusion that those pre-puberty children who immediately gravited to feminine articles and activities and knew, or suspected, that they were born in “the wrong gender body” are not the subject of the above for in those situations unbalanced chromosomes or wiring (Described by H. Benjamin) are the causation.
From my own experience and countless others — many CDs encountered an article of their mother’s or sister’s clothing, relative applying makeup and similar feminine exposures before they had reached puberty — the majority had this very first experience while less than six years old. The one explanation that makes sense to this writer is that these experiences, even of short duration, “triggered” something in the wiring of the brain so that within the next ten years, and in many — twenty to forty years later — did they become aware of an urge to cross dress — set the stage for the emergence of cross dressing.
Yet, for reasons still not understood, the majority of males early on exposed to the exact same experiences never react in the same manner. Why the ambiguity? Evidently that “trigger” reacts to imprints on only some children but not to most. Further, the majority of those who develop in this direction will remain fixated to a particular fetish for years before, as previously observed, the desire to broaden the experience of cross dressing becomes the prime motivation.