Are you ashamed of being a crossdresser

Last week I got a resounding response when I touched on the topic of otherwise benign crossdressing websites displaying a warning. Perhaps, not so subtly asking the question – Are we ashamed of crossdressing?

I got a touching response from Michelle via email. She has kindly allowed me to share it with you:

But some of us are not proud of who we are at all.  I for one am VERY conflicted.  I really enjoy dressing up pretty and sometimes it is sexual, but sometimes it is not.  My wife, however, does not tolerate it at all, sexual or not, private or not.  I love my wife dearly, so when I do dress behind her back, I feel extremely guilty.  Sometimes the guilt is because I have been to websites that I should not have been to, and sometimes it is because I have indulged myself sexually (never with another person, just masturbating, but still) and I know that she would not be pleased.  Sometimes I wish that Michelle would just go away and not haunt me anymore.  But then, I am irresistibly drawn to do something later that I will regret.  I feel as though I have no power of myself.  But you are happy with who you are so you probably don’t understand me (and those like me) and I don’t even know why I am telling you all this.

Michelle showed bravery and honesty in sharing this with me. I know first hand the pain, self-loathing and confusion she expresses. The lack of control over your desires, wanting to fulfill your needs and to still love and respect your wife. These are not easy things to grapple with. Many people never have to deal with something so heart wrenching.

Michelle’s email is a beautiful expression of a truth many crossdressers live with, and it touched a chord with me. I thought I’d share my response to her with you, dear reader.

En Femme Style

I spent much of my life believing that crossdressing was a curse, or worse – a sin I needed constant forgiveness for. Society and religion had convinced me that I was doing something wrong. If only I had enough will power, or enough faith, or a mastery of my emotional triggers – then I would be free of crossdressing. I was wrong for doing it, and I was weak for continuing. As much as I accomplished in my life I could never conquer crossdressing. I felt powerless, until I realized that I did have the power.

I could not change my desire to crossdress, any more than I could change my height or the color of my eyes. But I could change the meaning it held for me. Up until then I had viewed crossdressing as a cross I must bear, but what if it was truly a blessing? I couldn’t make society accept me, but what if I accepted myself?

With much introspection I asked myself – why should I be ashamed of crossdressing? At this question my mind flooded me with answers, most of which involved some variation of how other people would perceive me. I tend to agonize about what other people think, but crossdress or not, other people have perceptions of me – both positive and negative that I can influence but not control. Should I be ashamed because of what other people may think? For centuries people thought ill of another based on the color of their skin. Does that mean every person of color should feel ashamed? Absolutely not!

It took a long time, but I finally overcame this reason to be ashamed. Yet so many more reasons remained. One kept nagging me – ‘was this the most productive use of my time?’. Were the hours spent perfecting my makeup technique and shopping for clothes well spent? Perhaps not – though the same could be said for hitting a little white ball around with a stick.

The mind is cunning, next it asked, ‘What about your wife Vanessa? Surely your crossdressing must do harm to her, don’t you feel guilty about what you put her through?’ Ahh, well played mind. I do feel guilty about this. For my wife I want to be the man she deserves. I don’t agonize about the perceptions of the nameless stranger on the street, but I do care very deeply about what my wife thinks.

So I took a step back, and took stock of my ‘husbandry’. I crossdress, but I’m more caring and compassionate than most men. I wear makeup, but I treat her as my equal and respect her opinion. I’d rather get a manicure than tinker with a car, but I share my feelings and listen to her do the same. I realized that our relationship to another is more complex than a single issue. How fortunate a couple would be if crossdressing were the only issue to deal with. It doesn’t erase the guilt I feel putting her through this, but it does put it in perspective. Would your wife rather you spend every night drinking in the bar than crossdress? Likely not…

Sex has a unique way of making us feel guilty – we’re conditioned to be ashamed of our bodies almost since birth. In this case, perhaps you feel uncomfortable that your desire to crossdress is partly sexual. Even organizations like Tri-Ess try their best to separate crossdressing from sexuality. This is one I don’t feel qualified to unpack, though having a sex drive and becoming aroused is natural and healthy.

So is crossdressing a blessing? That’s something you get to decide for yourself. Personally, crossdressing has made me a better person. It has also allowed me a unique opportunity to share my acceptance with others. If I can offer just one person comfort and hope, then I’m doubly blessed in getting to share my blessing with others.

You may not be able to control your crossdressing, but you can control what it means to you. Will it mean shame, guilt and heartache? Will it be a part time hobby you indulge in, as harmful as a round of golf? Or will it open up the doors to bless others with compassion and love?

The choice is yours. The only wrong answer is choosing not to decide.

Hugs and blessings,

Dear reader, what do you think? How have you come to terms with your crossdressing? How do you deal with the shame and guilt? Is crossdressing a blessing or a curse?

Leave a comment and help another in heartache.

Exceptional Voice

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I’m passionate about creating a safe space for everyone in the transgender community to find laughter and friendship on their journey. I completed my physical transition in 2011 and through it I lost everything, and gained everything. I am blessed that I was forced to gaze inward and embark on the journey to discover and live my authentic self. My deepest wish is that all who wander here may find peace, happiness and freedom.
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6 years ago

I feel a of this at times
But now
I accept me
Thats important
Now that my wife knows i dont feel the guilt of the secret
I do feel anxious about her having to deal with it
She to her credit says she wants me to be myself not be restricted and be happy
So i underdress wear my lingerie to bed some nights
Wear my sexy girl jeans
Get my colored polish pedicures
Bra when i want and
Heels at home only
I m happy !

6 years ago

I feel that if you are happy that’s great being your wife is ok woth crossdressing that’s great also my wife puts up with my crossdressing but will never participate fully love to have fun like that you don’t know how lucky you are.

Colleen' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
5 years ago

Great article, It truly helps me not feel so alone in the world. EVERY thing in the article above I can relate to I’m a married closet cross-dresser and I have finally come to terms that I’m never going to change. I have tried for too many years to suppress this desire but it always comes back I feel absolutely, positively scare to death in coming out to my Wife (the love of my life, the absolute best thing that ever happen to me). I have struggled with guilt, shame and embarrassment of being the freak who need to way… Read more »

5 years ago

Wow what a storie thats me, I am not alone! The story fits me like a glove its a wonderful explanation of my last40 years THANK YOU .

peter harlow
peter harlow
5 years ago

I to feel ashamed sometimes in fear that I will forget my TRUE LOVE which is my WIFE. For 22yrs even though we have been separated now for 5yrs for health reason which were beyond my control . Like I said we have been apart and because of it I have turn back to crossdressing. At time I do wear feminine clothes under my male clothes she knows about it but when i am at her home. I have to act like a male husband. So Yes Petrasweetheart Knows what you are going though. Love Petra P.S. if Michelle want… Read more »

5 years ago

I am one of those that has suffered years of guilt, disgust with a feeling that I must be damaged to have such needs. . Why I was born with an urge to dress and feel a women has seemed like a curse many times but that has changed. I now know that we are good, decent and caring people just like anyone else and do bring happiness to our families and friends. My wife is and has always been my best friend and lover. I have two great kids , both smart and hard workers. Me and my wife… Read more »

rachael' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
5 years ago

am very happy in my life now,got the balance right,got a nice guy in my life,treats me well,but tottaly platonic,family for most part accepting! am out often as rachael and why not!decided againt grs,as at my age not such a good idea lol,go out, enjoy life,its to short!!

Peggy Ann Culpepper' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
Peggy Ann Culpepper
4 years ago

Traveled that same road for over 50 years. Took to drinking to the extent that I almost lostt everything. That certainly wasn’t the answer. Just piled the guilt and shame higher, until it almost killed me. Wife hated my crossdressing but would still by me panties, slips and bras,etc. because she knew this would abate my heavy drinking. It helped me stay sober over an 8 year period, which saved my life as well as my job. My cding over this 35-40 year period was tempered by the fact that we had children in the house (7 in all) over… Read more »

Roxanne Lanyon' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
Roxanne Lanyon
4 years ago

You go, Girl. I am so proud of you!
Your Roxanne Lanyon

Roxanne Lanyon' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
Roxanne Lanyon
4 years ago

I love who I am. I adore being Roxanne. I am just a little careful of where I am, sometimes. But I have been in downtown Atlanta en femme, and felt right at home. I showered this afternoon, and while there, I took the opportunity to shave my legs, and under my arms. I always try to do these lady-like things, because it brings me just a little bit closer to who I really want to be! I love being a lady, and will always try to be one (as best as I can, anyway). Maybe someday, I will even… Read more »

Jessica Scarlett Ray
2 years ago

Yes! I still have some shame of being transgender but now outing myself 7 weeks ago I have become more passionate over Jessica Scarlett’s needs and wants. Nobodies negativities even my own will put her back in the closet. Most of the negativities are imagined by ourselves and do not have any relationship to the real world. Yes! My partner thought I would be ridiculed but I have had nothing but support.I have had the odd snide remark mainly from cis females with their own inadequacies, thats all. When you take the hardest first step you get the most rewards.… Read more »

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