I’m sharing here an essay I wrote in response to a note a I received recently from a pre-op transsexual that included, among other things, the following sentence fragment: “…but you are just a crossdresser; you can’t possibly understand what I am feeling about that.”

Obviously, it was the “just a” in that sentence that got to me.  I thought we had gotten past all that class warfare on the trans-spectrum.

Here’s my response in the form of an essay.

There are those among us who can choose to be women, but do so only whenever it is convenient and whenever they feel like it.

So I say to the dismissive transsexual: often those “just crossdressers” can be quite wonderful and happy as occasional women, even if only for themselves.  Often, while choosing to be women, they can look as good as and move with as much grace as any women, transsexual or cis-born.  And dress as well.  And unselfconsciously feel things with the same woman’s natural sensibilities.

Often, they are long passed the time when their sexuality was centered on their clothes, and instead the pleasure is just in being a woman in the world …  but doing so only occasionally.  Some of the lucky ones even find themselves in comfortable, even passionate, even if intermittent, relationships as a woman … and with a man or a woman, as they choose.

I admire transsexuals, the ultimate existential heroines, women of courage choosing to live their lives as they were meant to, being their ‘true selves’ no matter what tricks nature and fate have tried to play on them.  But, for some few, their own struggles have made them too dismissive of others on our wonderfully varied transgender spectrum.  Ironically, for some, it is their own lack of free will, lack of choice, that they claim as the justification for their attitude.

Here, I champion the committed crossdresser, the sporadic casual crossdresser, the underdresser, the successful passer, the never-leave-their-rooms, those just starting, those who have stopped being personally active, even those whose interest in women’s clothes never progresses beyond a fetishistism.  I champion them all, I argue for their fully legitimate, fully equal places in our community.

Exceptional Voice

I’m saddened by the last vestiges of class warfare in our community, especially from those who claim political correctness, but can’t suppress their lingering perceptions of the crossdresser as being, somehow, of a lower order of being than themselves.

As the politicians say, let me make myself clear: I find that most transsexuals nowadays are past all that, are fully respectful of us all.  But, for those that still succumb to it, this touchy defensiveness and unworthy disdain exposes a nerve of protest-too-much self-doubt that is embarrassing in its obviousness.

Get over it girls.  We’re not better nor worse than you.  We’re just different.  Let us be.  Celebrate us, as we celebrate you.

We are free.  And our courage is in recognizing and acting on our freedom … whenever it is convenient  and exactly when and only when we choose to.

Discussion Questions: Scarlett, my wonderful editor at CDH (see her photo with mine at the top of this essay: she’s the much younger and prettier girl!), predicted that this essay would draw a lot of attention and suggested that I tack on at the end of the essay some relevant questions for the CDH community in order to facilitate discussion.

These questions assume that you are a crossdresser, that you (at this time at least) don’t plan on transitioning, that you are not living fulltime as a woman.

When you dress as a woman, whether in reality or even just ”in your dreams,” is it more than “just dressing?” Is it just the clothes, or is it the desire to BE a woman in the world, however intermittently?

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I have never met a crossdresser who doesn’t wish that she had more opportunity to crossdress, that she could do it more often, that she could be successful presenting herself as a woman in public: given that is true: what exactly is it, in your opinion, that distinguishes a crossdresser from a pre-op transsexual? (In your response, go beyond the prima facie “crossdressers don’t want to transition”: talk deeper about the psychological and emotional differences.)

When you get your total girl on as a crossdresser, do you feel like a girl or do you feel like you need the hormone treatments and sexual reassignment surgeries to have that total feeling as a girl?

Please feel free to send in a response to my article or an answer to one or more of the questions posed to you above.

Sincerely, Cassie

More Articles by Cheryl Ann (Cassie) Sanders

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Deborah Sullivan
Duchess
Active Member
11 months ago

Great article Cheryl and I too have felt that same discrimination from other transgirls at clubs and events. Its like they look down at us as second class people. No the problem is theirs for not really understanding. we are every bit a women as they are but just choose not to do hormones and like our male self as well. I prefer the full gambit of life enjoying both sides.I am every bit a woman as any of them when I choose to be.

Connie Malone
Active Member
11 months ago

Whatever it is that is common among us, there are as many differences as there are trans women. That we all may find ourselves under the same umbrella might be disputed by some, but I don’t see any one of us as being in the center, holding up the umbrella, either. I must say that transitioning to living a woman’s life has included, by necessity, abandoning whatever male privilege I had enjoyed before. I have also given up my patriarchal position as husband, father, and grandfather; not the love, but it’s now so different than it used to be. Securing… Read more »

Diane Crow
Duchess
Trusted Member
11 months ago

Cassie, This is a beautiful essay. When I started crossdressing with any seriousness a year ago I felt a level of self love that I had never experienced before. In fact I received the love from myself that I had never received from anyone else. The loving caress of my soft hairless skin. The luxury of shaving my legs and the amazing feeling of actually feeling my skin against fabrics. The act of looking in the mirror and loving how I look. Feeling beautiful and complimented. I had never, sadly, experienced a love anywhere close to that from my parent’s,… Read more »

Diane Crow
Duchess
Trusted Member
11 months ago

Thank you Cassie. Life is good.
Hugs
Diane

stephanie plumb
Baroness
Active Member
11 months ago

She almost certainly started as “just a crossdresser” herself, so in reality she is no different or better than we are. She has just gone further with her personal journey. It’s sad that some girls feel the need to elevate themselves. An inverse version of this is in one of Monty Pythons sketches. It went something like this: “I used to live in a cardboard box.” “cardboard box! You were lucky, I lived in a paper bag in’t middle of road!” Sorry, I digress. I dress to physically experience the real me. Long gone are the negative thoughts I had,… Read more »

Rei Durden
Baroness
Active Member
11 months ago

Great answer, and the Monty Python reference……….classic!

Bianca Everdene
Active Member
11 months ago

Hi Cassie Thanks for your article. I have heard of this friction between transsexuals and cross dressers, but never met a transexual so no personal experience. I totally agree they should be more understanding of live and let live, we have as much right to wear what we want as they do. Personally I do not want to be a woman. Do I want to pass as a woman, that’s a difficult one. I guess when out I do strive for that, but feel that aim is more to do with just being able to enjoy being out wearing what… Read more »

Selilah Love
Active Member
10 months ago

I’ve never been a woman in the company of a man, but I think I’m in this phase now… (´・_・`)
the phase about the ‘man on her arm’ part… (〜^∇^)〜
lately, this intriguing thought, this curiosity, these what iffs have mesmerised and grabbed hold of a small corner of my mind and refuses to let go.. ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ
its a temptatious, fascinating and a little uncomfortable phase to be in for an indecisive crossdresser like me… ┐( ̄ヮ ̄)┌

Selilah Love
Active Member
10 months ago

Indeed I have Cassie… I reread it today too… I didn’t and couldn’t bring myself to comment there b’coz (its kind of an ironical paradox here, but) the only thing I am certain of right now is that I don’t actually know what I want… ヽ(´ー`)┌ …

also.. Hi Bianca.. even though I have no makeup tools nor makeup skills, I too want to pass in the looks department whenever the pink mist rises.. (〜^∇^)〜(〜^∇^)〜

Last edited 10 months ago by Selilah Love
Leonara
Ambassador
Active Member
11 months ago

Great article Cheryl,
When I dress as a woman, it is my desire to be a woman at that time.. I have had counseling to accept the woman within
My counselor, Heather, commented favorably on my demeanor and my presentation of my true self… yes I love to show off a cute LBD but for me it’s not only the dress but the beautiful woman showing it off lol..
I am balancing favorably my alter egos
Thank you again for another thought provoking article…
Leonara

Steph Cee
Steph Cee
11 months ago

Thank you for writing this, Cheryl Ann. The TS community is strong and vibrant where I live, and often the CDs like me get shunted to the background. But we’re just as vital as anyone on the spectrum and deserve to be treated as equals.

DeeAnn Hopings
Duchess
Member
11 months ago

Actually, I wouldn’t define it as a class issue. I think some people have been beaten up so much by events in their lives that they need to feel superior to someone; anyone. Being transgender often puts a lot of pressure on people, such as trying to be yourself in opposition to the narrow confines of how general society defines gender. Many just can’t handle that. It also shows up between trans people in terms of back stabbing, discounting other trans people and never missing a chance to talk negatively about them. As a community we have a lot of… Read more »

Susan Sue
Duchess
Active Member
11 months ago

Thanks for the article Cheryl. Enjoyed reading it. Personally I am jealous of the girls that had the nerve and ability to totally transition over to female, but I am also very happy for them. So of us are sort of stuck in between because of the lives we live or for whatever reason, and have not been able to take that step. I would hope that most of the girls that were able to transition to female would have some understanding in regards to what some of the girls are going through that couldn’t or wouldn’t take that next… Read more »

Leslies Ann Gray Girl
Active Member
11 months ago

Hi Ladies , My first question to the Trans lady is did you cross dress before SRS , and if so then you were just a cross dresser your self to . You decided to take it further and have surgery . My next question , how do you know were not going to SRS our selves? See were i am going with this, we all start out the same , to feel as fem as possible , to look sweet and be a lady . Surgery is very expensive and a lot cannot afford this so lay off and… Read more »

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