So we can look at the above title in several ways. We could say it means that as Crossdressers we wish to look and appear authentic. But to me that’s an almost superficial way of looking at it.
Authenticity is more about being authentic about who we are. A better way of saying it is; for many of us, crossdressing allows us the opportunity to be authentic, expressing who we really are.
I can hear the scoffs from here from some casual readers who don’t dress; how can a Crossdresser, somebody who is dressing as someone or something they are not, HOW can they possibly be authentic. The authenticity lays in the purpose.
Some psychologists, crossdressers and other well read folks do not believe that gender is a binary. We do not live in a black and white world, there is every color and every shade of gray. The only true binaries I know are 1 and 0. So it stands to reason, giving everything we know about the human mind, persona, personality, ego, super ego, and id (I’m certain I’m forgetting so much here…) that to me, it’s easy to reason when you factor in variables of what makes us who we are, there are factors that can influence the gender scale. We sort of see this in certain disorders, like say a very mild form of Aspergers and say full autism spectrum disorder. NOT that crossdressing is a disorder. I simply use a disorder that is mentally based to illustrate a point. Crossdressers, transgenders, and psychiatry professionals have fought long and hard to make sure crossdressing isn’t seen as a disorder or illness.
So similar to the autism/Aspergers spectrum, gender is sort of the same way. Except it’s on a sliding scale. I theorize it begins somewhere on the far left, gotta start somewhere. There on the left you have hyper masculine. Lots of type A personalities floating around in this end of the pool. There may be some various issues that cause hyper-masculinity, but it is how these gentlemen present. This does not always hold true however. I have met online several crossdressers who would fit in this category, on a physical scale. They were body builders who crossdressed. Very type A personalities. I’ve also met very masculine type A personalities who crossdressed. A psychologist may argue they are overcompensating for their feminine wants and desires. That may be the case. Or maybe they were fetish dressers. But hyper masculinity and body Dysphoria may have a lot in common here. Only their health care provider could know for certain. Because of the hyper-gender aspect, you may see some sliding around in the gender scale, because men at this end of the spectrum may be compensating for something, whether a it’s gender issues, body issues or they never quite got over their puppy Skippy dying in their arms in the fourth grade.
We then slide some to the right. Here we have our average male. He simply is who he is, there is no question about how he presents, his gender is tightly defined, at least to him. Underlying nuances may influence who he is without him realizing. But he will generally present who he is. He is comfortable with this point of the gender spectrum and identifies solely as male.
Further still to the right, we first see effeminate males and then androgyny start to appear. Let’s be clear here, effeminate doesn’t necessarily mean gay. In this article I’m strictly speaking to gender presentation, and how an individual is perceived. Genders in this part of the spectrum do not tend to shift between or slide around too much. Who you see, is simply who you get.
Men in dresses. Yes, it does exist. I wish I could explain it, but they have to fit in somewhere. They aren’t true androgyne. But they aren’t quite fetish dressers. Like all other subjects within this spectrum, there is of course overlap. So you may have a Man In A Dress who does it for sexualized or fetish reasons. Or he may do it simply to be a non-conforming androgyne.
Now, a few more steps over, we start to encounter the slightly more than androgynous, the fetish dresser. Here there will be a lot of bouncing between gender roles. Fetish dressers tend to dress for purely sexual reasons. They dress to match a feminine ideal of sexuality, or match something they them-self find erotic or sexy. They do not identify with the feminine aspect at all, at least speaking to my experiences.
Now we encounter fetishized- female identifiers. These are crossdressers who may have started dressing due to sexual/fetish drives, but found that they truly identified with the feminine aspect. Perhaps they always were crossdressers on the gender spectrum, but due to fetish exposure or a slowed maturation with their dressing, they lingered at the fetish stage longer and its imprinted on their feminine identity.
Now we meet crossdressers. Like most segments on this gender scale, this one could also be a sliding scale unto itself. Also keep in mind that with each segment, there can be overlap. So on one end of the crossdressing scale you have CDs who dress to meet a feminine ideal. However they do not necessarily identify with the feminine aspect. They simply keep a balance from what they may see as a hobby or pastime and their life as a male. They may do it for the thrill or the skill needed to pull it off.
Further along into the crossdresser spectrum, we start to find CDs who do identify as female while dressed. They dress to fit in, they don’t want to be identified as male. They wish to be perceived as female. They may have no desire to live life as a woman and simply keep a balance, or in the left end of this sub spectrum, they may wish to spend ever increasing percentages of their time as their feminine aspect. This is where crossdresser starts to overlap with transsexual in my mind. Some would say transgender. I suggest that when you are dealing with a spectrum of gender, that we would all be transgender. Because on a s ale with few definite points, how do you nail down the finite points where transvestism begins and ends?!
So now we are at the transsexual part of the spectrum. I sort of see this as the middle point in relation to the scale. Simply due to it being common ground between the masculine and feminine points of the scale, and transsexuals existing on both ends of the spectrum. But for it to be middle ground, it sort of forces us to create a tier slightly above the primary line where we have Intersexed individuals. These folks are genetically both genders. Some present as masculine, others present as female. However, the secondary sexual characteristics are different person to person.
Admittedly, my experience with female to male transsexuals and crossdressers is limited. I apologize in advance if I slight anyone by omission or admitted lack of knowledge.
But from transsexual we move towards the right, encountering female to male crossdressers. These in my experience, are very rare. In my years online, I’ve only encountered one female to male crossdresser, who claimed she had no gender dysphoria. I think her favorite quote was, “I just want to enjoy male privilege .” So who knows what a true diagnosis would reveal.
Female to male fetish dressers MAY exist. I have no experience here to speak of. But I reason that if it exists on one side of the spectrum, you’d expect the transverse. Unless of course based on female psychology, women tend to manifest these gender issues differently, or perhaps they find better ways to attune to their desires and needs. Besides, given the way modern culture has evolved, women sort of have a luxury of crossdressing in plain sight, and no one second guesses it.
We come back to feminine androgyny. Still not a lot of movement within this grouping. If a woman is androgynous, she persists in being androgynous.
Welcome back to the average female. She presents solely as a culture stereotype of a female. She is comfort in her gender and expresses it. Cultural differences notwithstanding, she will dress as female.
Hyper feminine is a curious point to consider. Research has shown that hyper feminine women have some masculine tendencies. Women high in hyperfemininity held more permissive sexual attitudes, had more antisocial tendencies, and had more consensual sexual experiences. So upon reading that I wondered if it would eventually end up being more of a circular model than a linear spectrum.
I know all of this is a long way to go to back up my assertion. But I do not want to take for granted that every reader will know what I’m referencing.
But all of this has been to say that even a crossdresser can be authentic. Sometimes I wonder if they are more authentic, because they embrace and accept who they are, and what they present. The very act of them dressing is them reflecting how they truly identify. That’s being authentic. They are being true to their self, how they see themselves and how they feel.
I hope this gave someone food for thought, or helped you think of it from an angle you had not thought of before.
Ever & Always,