I suspect that for a small number of crossdressers the act can break down some barriers for us. It allows us to consider ourselves and our sexuality from a different perspective. There isn’t a set way that this happens, but sometimes it does, and it can really freak people out.
I acted on my sexuality about 10 years before I realized that I was transgender. In a way, it was a precursor in that I didn’t feel that I was doing didn’t feel odd or distressing in any way. I was doing something that felt completely natural to me. Years later when I first went out dressed, similarly it didn’t feel strange to me either.
However, since I have been dressed for a very high percentage of the time over the last 7 years, I have not had any encounters with anyone. But, I will admit if a physically interesting person came along (male, female, trans, whatever), I might be sorely tempted.