I thought I’d figured out who I was and where in the world I fit in. But with one question in Crossdresser Heaven’s chat room, I started to wonder if I was mistaken.

If I don’t go out dressed in public does that make me less than a proper crossdresser? Am I really just playing dress up at home? Am I nothing more than just a fetishist with an excessive liking of women’s clothing?

What makes a person a “proper” crossdresser?

I used to think that I fit the bill. I believed that I was more than just someone that likes to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. My feelings when I’m dressed are greater than just the erotic turn on that I’d associate with a basic fetish. I felt grounded and centered within myself when I became Sarah. That’s not something I can honestly say I feel when I’m going about my day as the male me. To me I feel “right” when I’m “playing dress up”; in fact I’d suggest that I’m actually playing “dress-up” as the male, playing a part that I’m expected to fill.

I wrote a while back about not needing labels because I wasn’t in need of one. I’m Me and that’s all the label I needed. And that still holds true.

But I also feel the need to belong.

To fit in.

To be accepted.

And I honestly believed until one question that I had found that with Crossdresser Heaven. I felt that for the first time I was surrounded by people who “got me”. Who spoke my language and were kindred spirits. Sure, like any group there are people who are more adventurous and outgoing, while others are more modest and reserved. I didn’t judge or question my commitment because I know that my own circumstances make me less than outgoing. I’m not “out there doing it”, but rather I’m closeted. Stuck at home in a small community surrounded by people that in one way or another have an impact on my ability to live and survive here.

I’d love to be able to experience the highs of going out with friends and being accepted as one of the crowd. Being one of the “girls”, but sadly it’s unlikely unless something dramatic happens in my part of the world.

But that’s okay. I know that life has its limitations and although Id love to do more, I can’t. I’ve accepted those limitations as being part of my life. It’s the same as the limitations I have had placed upon me by my wife. Her tacit acceptance comes at a price and doesn’t include support of my “playing dress up”. I love her and it’s important that I not do anything to upset her. Even to the point where I’ve let a small part of me go for now and maybe forever. I grab every opportunity to be Sarah that I can and I love the feeling of calm and oneness that drops over me. But I’m also, on those fleeting occasions, well aware of the time approaching when I will have to “put her away.”

I also wonder if this is how my wife sees my dressing. I’ve tried to explain, but she just gets this look that says the conversation is over and I’m better off walking away. Maybe the tacit support is just her tolerating me until I “come to my senses” and move on from this silly fetish. I hope it’s not, but if someone within the crossdressing fraternity, a sister, can think like that, then it’s not a stretch to think my wife won’t feel the same.

If I’m not willing to push forward and demand that I have time as Sarah and also that society accepts me as such, am I just a wannabe? Playing at a part privately and living off the hardships of those brave enough to actually get out there and live it. Am I just pretending to be part of the “in crowd” and never actually putting in the effort to help “push the team forward”? I had to stay away from the site for a while because I was so upset that others might think that way about me. It really upset me to think that I may not belong after all.

I honestly believed that in my own little way I was an equal of my sisters here, but maybe I wasn’t. Maybe all my inane chatter about shoes and lingerie and clothes was all just a game I was playing without realizing.

Am I out of my depth and I should return to the fetish pool with all the other try hard wannabes?

After a few hours spent steaming while I avoided the chatroom, I’ve come to the conclusion that the question was loaded and meant to do nothing more than elevate some while lowering others. A setting of hierarchy within the crossdressing world if you like. My legitimacy can’t be judged by someone who doesn’t know me. My claim or theirs in fact to being a real cross-dresser isn’t something that can be judged by anyone but oneself.

These thoughts of not being proper, or somehow less than others are of course wrong. There are no “proper” crossdressers or sub classes. We are all the same. We are all more than just people with an avatar who chat about silly things. Yes, some may never venture out of their homes. Some may never in fact ever venture out of the closet within their homes, while others are living out in society bravely walking where some of us can only dream.

I believe that we truly are joined in more than just a desire to wear clothes. When I’m not dressed I still feel Sarah within me. I honestly believe that she is a part of me and that I need to embrace her to feel like I am real.

So perhaps to some, I am playing dress up and maybe they will look at me like a child pretending to be a grown up and smile. Is that a reflection of who I am or rather an insight into who they are? Maybe to the hardcore group out there, we few closeted ladies are just silly men playing.  However, to us, it’s not a game. We feel trapped, but our life choices and locations mean that our desire to get out there has to be curbed. But we are not any less or diminished because of that. Our inner lights don’t burn as bright as some, but they still burn.

Perhaps I’m just too thin-skinned and need a stiff drink while sitting outside in the moonlight, laughing at the preposterous people around the world who, like me, dare to judge.

So does my old label still fit?

I believe it does. I’m still Me and I truly believe that I belong with my friends at CDH, just as many of you belong here too.

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Sarah Daniels (SC)

Im a Wannabe writer. Short stories so far but I want more. Like everyone I think I have a novel in me somewhere, but not sure what it is yet. Have a few things on the slow boil and a couple of cold cases tucked away for another time.

Latest posts by Sarah Daniels (SC) (see all)

44 Comments
  1. Gina Angelo 1 month ago

    Just saw this article Sarah, and I thought you explored an important question. I, like you, have wondered where I fit in. I started out alone with Gina in a closet at night, while my ex slept. Then circumstances changed and I was more free to explore Gina and that has led to going out occasionally, when I had someone to help with my makeup. Now that I am doing that myself, I am going out more frequently. But I never had stopped to wonder where I fit, nor do I judge where others are in their journey. Life doesn’t come us nicely gift wrapped and I realize that many here do the most they can with their circumstances.

    However, it is interesting because you could take the same type of question and apply it up levels. For example, I now have members ask when I plan to start my transition, given how much I enjoy going out en femme, how I look etc. So am I not a real TG person if I do not go the next step (e.g. hormones SRS etc)? The questions just keep coming.

    But thank you again for lending a voice to this segment of CDH. I agree that there should be no judging nor labels or categories. We are a continuum and I accept all the ladies on the site.

    Hugs
    Gina

  2. Amanda Patrick 1 month ago

    Hi Sarah,

    It does not matter if you go out or not. You are you. And being able to Explore the Sarah part once and a while whether it be at home or were ever; and how much dressing goes into that doesn’t matter. The important thing is for you to be happy. Circumstances can change overtime.

  3. Ah yes………the type-casting head rises again. It seems the general populace likes to pigeon-hole each other or they are just not content. I guess deep down inside, we are all insecure as to our role in the universe. My own personal introspection has given me the conclusion that…..”I am the Alien” and believe me…..I am happy about that. Jeese, who would want to be tagged a “human” with all the non-sense and dis-harmony in the world.

    I am happy being me, I love being me and estatic that at my age I don’t have to try and fit in. I can speak my mind without reprisal…..cause I am just a crazy old phart and don’t have to fit in anywhere; and get away with it. A plus for growing older. LOL.

    Lady Veronica

  4. Esther Min 1 month ago

    Thank you Sarah….
    It feels like it was written for me and….this means a lot to me…

    • Author
      Sarah Daniels 1 month ago

      I think for lots of Us Esther we feel like this. Im glad I was able to do something that people appreciate.

      Sarah.

      • Mikki 4 weeks ago

        Sarah, I am in the same place. Not sure what my next step is, but I know I have to do something. Have no idea what, but something. I have no interest in transitioning further, but really enjoy dolling up. I wish I could bring Mikki out more often. Very nice article. Thanks, Mikki

  5. Sarah,

    Very nicely put! I believe that it is a statement of culture more than anything. We all want to “fit in” and to do so we want to categorize others so as to create and separate them into groups. Those similar and those who aren’t. Of course, it also comes out as good and bad. It’s not just about us being on the crossdressing-transgendered spectrum, but it pertains to everything we do in life. I belong to the human race…oh, sorry, too broad because I have to include everyone and that wouldn’t be fair… That’s my point. Because of the issues that face us all, we should make it a point to be inclusive, compassionate, and above all kind to our fellow sisters.

    Brina

  6. Sara Marie Franklin 1 month ago

    Very good article Sarah. I think this a question we all would like to know and a lot of that is so we feel like we are someone and not an oddity. I think your article did a great job of bringing to light that we are all people and all at some stage in our life. I hope that after you wrote this article you feel you belong and are a wonderful person whether that be at stage A or stage B in your life you are you. I have always though of the Transgender world as a rainbow and we are all some place on that spectrum. Everyone is unique and everyone has different situations in their lives so no one is doing this the exact same way. If i can still a line from Brina’s comments above, she says it perfectly. “Because of the issues that face us all, we should make it a point to be inclusive, compassionate, and above all kind to our fellow sisters.” Sarah stay beautiful weather dressed or not you are one of us.

    Sara Marie

  7. Dayle 1 month ago

    Really well written and insightful You thoughts speak to me. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Kim Paige 1 month ago

    Thanks Sara! I’ve gone through the same dilemma. I believe in the gender spectrum; all of us are on it, some firmly entrenched in one pole or the other; and some of us uncertain or simply fluid. Like you, I find peace and comfort in being Kim, have not seriously considered transitioning but am exploring and wouldn’t rule it out either. What I’ve come to appreciate on CDH is support, acceptance and most importantly understanding. While there is a broad range on CDH’s gender spectrum – while there are differences between us – I have found more commonalities and no judgement.
    Kimberly Anne

  9. Leonara 1 month ago

    Thanks Sara for a inciteful article..and for me , your article has put my CD journey, although, bumpy into perspective… CDH for me is very supportive and I embrace well written articles like yours. Leonara

  10. Samantha G..... 1 month ago

    Great article Sarah. I sincerely hope no gals here feel pressure that they have to go out or that they have to pass in public to be considered legitimate. Very few CD or TG folks will pass 100% so that should not be the goal the rest of us should feel we need to reach in order to be ourselves. It took a long time and a lot of help from CD friends (here & elsewhere) before I finally ventured outside. It was the right time and place for me.
    For each person it will be different, and even if they never go out of their house
    that does not mean they are any less than any of us. I’m glad we embrace everyone here
    no matter where you are in your journey.

    Hugs….. Samantha

  11. Holly G 1 month ago

    Thanks Sara for a wonderful article!
    I often have so many questions in my head about where I am on the spectrum and how I would label myself and even if I ever come close to thinking I’ve figured it out, the wind will blow or I’ll see a squirrel and just like that, I’m back to questioning it all! The support here of my girlfriends has been wonderful in that they are all accepting and continue to tell me to relax and enjoy exploring who I am. Holly has been a part of my life for over 30 years even if I failed to give her a name for most of that time. I was too scared to fully open myself up to her for most of that time, but recent years have allowed me to try. It’s a constant battle as I’ll go emotionally all in for a time, and then need to back out and stop for a time, but hopefully as this all continues, I, like many others here, will hopefully continue to grow more comfortable with who I am…all parts of me, and then eventually help others to also see the beauty in those of us open to this wonderful spectrum.

    • Amanda Patrick 4 weeks ago

      Hi Holly,

      I can relate to what you say about going all in emotionally. I feel as if I am all in and feeling confident. And out of no where comes the need to just back of for a while. I am presently in that mode. But the fact that I am still on the site proves my interest is still there. so this seems to be just the journey it self at work.

      • Holly G 4 weeks ago

        Hi Amanda,
        It’s always nice to hear when someone can relate! I feel like I’m on a pendulum as I swing from one side to the other often it seems. The interesting thing is it seems each swing is more pronounced over time. I can’t seem to stop thinking about Holly these days and wanting to indulge in my feminine side as much as possible lately…that might also be due to the amazing two dresses I found this past week though
        Hugs!
        Holly

  12. Gisela Claudine 1 month ago

    Sarah,
    You’ve done a tremendous article. I was touched. I’ve seen some passages of my life reflected in your words. Once when I was depressed, a friend told me a few words that today I wish to repeat it to you. “Don’t let outside judgments hurt you. You are you and your circumstances. Nobody knows you better than yourself. You are a unique person. Unrepeatable. Just live your life and you disregard those who criticize you”. Differences make the world more fun whenever we’re tolerant.
    Cinnamon kisses,
    Gisela.

  13. Labels are things given by others to help themselves figure out who they are. You are Sarah and we are glad you are here.

  14. Darcy Anne Damulakis 4 weeks ago

    Great Article Sarah !!! Very genuine and heartfelt and I think you are saying what all of us have felt and pondered forever in our lives. This can be different for each and everyone of us and where we take this depends on our individual situations, not one being more right then the other. You are however no less feminine or less anything than the rest of us and you do fit in with who you are as Sarah because from within it is who you are. This is not always about the clothes and make up, yes we love them as well, after all, how we outwardly present is an extension of who we are. But it does not change what makes you tick. Loved the article !!!

  15. Peggy Ann Culpepper 4 weeks ago

    I have to take it slow and easy. this is my first venture into an open forum as the real me.
    I’m terrified. ALso 77 years old and realize that ican never really be me. Have a very
    interesting life story to tell if i can get the courage to share it.taking lifes pleasures one day at a time and only wish that the whole world could see and know Peggy ANN.

  16. Terri Anne 4 weeks ago

    Thank you Sarah. So well wrtten. It’s easier to say it when we’ve lived it, right. A similar type of episode 2 months ago deeply hurt me and caused me to ask, what was I doing? I am very slowly getting back to accepting Terri Anne again.
    Your article has been a blessing for me Sarah!
    Maybe now I can begin the return to enjoying my femininity expressed in my dressing.
    , – Terri Anne

  17. Jess Jones 4 weeks ago

    These are exactly the kind of questions that led me to seek therapy. My goal is to gain a better understanding of why I enjoy this so much, am I doing it in a healthy manner, and what pitfalls might I need to keep an eye out for. Asking myself these questions privately has not provided the level of confidence I am looking for. So I seek professional assistance/guidance. At the end of the day, however, I am not about to think any less of myself for how my feminine desires manifest themselves, whether society approves, or if I need to apologize for it. In my heart I know that I am a loving, caring, giving compassionate, and honest person. And that doesn’t with the style of shoe I decide to wear today.

  18. Jess Jones 4 weeks ago

    These are exactly the kind of questions that led me to seek therapy. My goal is to gain a better understanding of why I enjoy this so much, am I doing it in a healthy manner, and what pitfalls might I need to keep an eye out for. Asking myself these questions privately has not provided the level of confidence I am looking for. So I seek professional assistance/guidance. At the end of the day, however, I am not about to think any less of myself for how my feminine desires manifest themselves, whether society approves, or if I need to apologize for it. In my heart I know that I am a loving, caring, giving compassionate, and honest person. And that doesn’t change with the style of shoe I decide to wear today.

  19. Karen 4 weeks ago

    I love your article because I can totally identify with it. I too have been and still live as a CD in the closet in a small community. I have not discovered any others in my area and have felt alone and thought I could never allow anyone to learn of my secret. I joined this site to share how I feel about dressing and to hear from others about how they cope with their self imposed hiding. It is that people like you that talk about how you are able to still handle hiding that gives me hope

    Ricki

    • Roberta H 4 weeks ago

      You have so neatly captured my responses to this wonderfully written article. Thank you to both of you.

  20. Liv 4 weeks ago

    Sarah, thank you for your wonderful article. Until a year ago I used to think I was crazy and weird, having the need to express my femminity. I felt that I did not fit in anywhere.

    Here on CDH I found likeminded people. This wonderful community has helped me to find inner freedom and accept who I am, without judgement. Accepting my femme side which I kept hidden for so long. This goes well beyond the labels or dressing up. I feel it is not about how and where we express ourselves, but the ability to be ourselves and embracing our feminity. To be able to once in a while drop the masks we are wearing to fit society.

    I am so glad you have embraced Sarah as a part of you. You are a wonderful person, no category needed. Just be you!

    hugs, Liv

  21. Shannon Fox 4 weeks ago

    Hi sarch saw the article and it makes perfect sense am closeted myself and your right we are all crossdresser even if we do it closeted or not. I love be Shannon and I know exactly who I am and no one can tell
    me different. Hugs and kisses.

  22. Samantha Murphy 4 weeks ago

    You are no less a girl than the rest of us. Love yourself and try and find some balance. You are loved here and supported.

    Be yourself!!!!! Try and stop attaching a label or feeling like there is a pecking order. None of us know what you have been through and even walking a mile in your heels we would not know. Do what is best for you!! Do not deny Sarah and don’t put her in a pecking order. We all sacrifice to be ourselves. Be the best you can be!!!

    Love,
    Samantha xoxo

  23. Deety (D.T.) 4 weeks ago

    Sarah, I have held back from making comment, not because I disagree but because I believe you have touched upon something essentially important. As human beings we always want to put people into convenient little boxes and it is essential that we do so to enable us to respond to them in an appropriate (for us at least) manner. The problem is that none of us, and I mean none, ever fit exactly into the box: and all of us (and I do mean all) have a nasty habit of wriggling about and even jumping into other boxes.

    For a great many people outside our community there is only a few boxes they can put us in. We are “crossdressers”, or “Queer” possibly “Homo-Sexual”, but definitely “Odd”. Inside our community. however, there are as many boxes as there are people plus an uncounted number more. We are all different and all constantly changing and evolving, yet to the larger world we are all the same.

    That’s the trouble with boxes, they are either too large to be truly useful or too small to be practical. Lets all think, as you have done, outside of the box and boxes and realise in order to be human we have to be individually ourselves.

    Thank you for saying it so loud and clear.

  24. Karen Cobb 4 weeks ago

    Thank you Sarah for such an interesting, thought provoking article. It is not often I read something and agree with everything said.
    Like you and many others it seems I am in the same position, not knowing where I stand but knowing where (and who) i want to be.
    I look at the photos of the lovely ladies on here, check profiles and read forums and think to myself that i am so far behind (and seemingly stuck) that I question what everyone must think of me. Then I remember that this community is so supportive and without judgement that I’m so thankful that I joined.
    Thanks again.

  25. Marianne 4 weeks ago

    Sarah,

    like so many others I found your article very insightful and well written, dealing with the all too common question about fitting in. I also loved Deety’s reply illustrating the problem with the good old boxes we like to sort things in.
    Personally I have cared very little about fitting in for most of my life and consequently many around me have possibly found me more than a little bit odd. From having my own chemistry lab in the basement of our house and installing local phones between our house and my tree house out in the meadow in my teens, through driving a $3000 used Russian built Lada while at the same time collecting a $30.000 library on viking age runic inscriptions in my 20’s and learning bookbinding as a bonus, to now being a wheeler dealer in antique metal building toys actually making a bit of money while expanding my own collection. Being a cd and sewing my own dresses just add a little to the stack.
    Enough about me. You are you Sarah, and no one can say otherwise or demand you to do this or that to be true or real. You have no reason to confirm with the unpleasant shape of an ill-fitting box.

  26. Ashleigh 4 weeks ago

    Very eloquently written article. You have shared so many of my feelings and struggles. I very appreciate your openness and willingness to share.
    I can tell you, having been a long time participant in another online “support” group, that the acceptance, understanding, and lack of judgement on this site is far superior to what I was used to from the other. I was, on more than one occasion referred to as “ just a cross dresser” , an as such didn’t really understand what it was like to truly be in the transgender community. It is extremely hurtful to have who you are and how you feel be diminished by someone who claims to be supportive. I have never felt anything but kindness, and acceptance here. So much so that I have written a couple articles as well.
    Never stop being you! Regardless of the pigeon holes some may try to put you in.

  27. Terrisa Washbourne 4 weeks ago

    Hey Sarah, I once was at a point myself where I too felt I didn’t fit in here on this site. I am not TG nor do I have the desire to play woman; I am me and I am true to me. I’m just a simple dude in a skirt and you are you and I am not you and you are not me (lol). Just be your self for yourself and not others. I actually don’t call myself a Crossdresser anymore but a wearer of alternative fashions.

    I loved your thoughtful article. It was well written but you did leave some words leftover from deleted lines and I will always wonder what those lines might have said.

    Hugs – Terrisa

    • Marianne 4 weeks ago

      A wearer of alternative fashion – that was the best description I have ever heard.

  28. kate dancer 4 weeks ago

    Thank you Sarah for you thoughts, my situation is the same as yours although I do wish I have the nerve to go out in public, then may be kate would be released from the closet lol. Thanks again for sharing your story hun huggs kate

  29. Cara Love 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing you story Sarah. I can very much relate to it, as my wife knows but will not tolerate me dressing. After being married for so many years, I have to make a conscious decision of whether to risk what is otherwise a great marriage for the opportunity to dress more openly at home. I’m not sure I will ever get to the point of going out in public, but really wish I didn’t have to hide it from my wife. I keep praying that someday I can find a way to explain it to her in a way she can understand and accept.

    Cara

    • Cara – I hope you are successful in finding a way to explain it to your wife. My wife knows about April, because I got to the point in my life where I had to be free to express her, but I have been trying for a couple of years now to find the right words to get her to understand why. For me at least, April is a way to escape the pressures of my “male” life. I can take on the role of someone without the responsibilities and problems of everyday living. I can be a whole different person, a whole different gender, who can express herself in ways not open to my male self.

      It is always hard to weigh hurting someone (and possibly driving them away), against being true to yourself. I know which path I chose and why, but it is a difficult decision for everyone, and I wish you peace and happiness in whatever your choice.

  30. Laura days 3 weeks ago

    Hi Sarah, your story touches very important notes. It’s hard to know where you fit in for everyone I believe, but your story helps us remember our personal realities, the influence our local community has on our lives, and how much the what the male side has obtained or archieved can be lost by wanting to expose more of our femme selves. I can not say I completelly understand your situation since I have not been on it, but there are many here who do, and those who have not been in similar ones, can get a fair idea of the hardships and tears it makes to your inners self.

    And about fitting in? For some you may just be playing, but I’d believe most of us on this site would agree to disagree with that statement. We all have our realities, and we all have different needs when it comes to dressing and exposing our femme selves, and we all have different oportunities in life. As long as you believe you fit in on this community, you do.

  31. Cynthia Dubois 3 weeks ago

    I too have often wondered where I fit in. I remember reading somewhere that the best way to determine where you fit in is just to look at what you do while you are dressed. Is dressing something erotic to you? Is it something you only do at certain times in certain situations? Or is it something you do everyday? I know for myself it is something I do every day, and while I’m dressed I’m usually just doing my everyday things. In other words, I’m doing nothing different that I wouldn’t be doing if I wasn’t dressed, but I just feel more myself and more natural doing it as a woman. Where does that place me on the “spectrum”? Who knows, but if dressing is something you need to do, I say just do it.

  32. Thanks for the article Sarah. As you can see from the responses, there are many of us in similar circumstances. I’ve never ventured out dressed, and probably never will. There are many reasons for someone to make that choice. I have children and siblings and parents who would be affected. I have a career I love which would be adversely affected. And, although I love and need Elise, I also love and need my male personna as well. If that doesn’t make me enough of a CD for someone else on this site, than top bad for them. I haven’t been cross dressing in the closet for close to 40 years to please anyone else. I’ve done it to please myself. And, although I’ve often wished I had a partner who was accepting (neither of my exes were), I kind of like the fact that dressing is my own private activity. It is truly the only time I get to be completely selfish and focus on my needs and desires.

  33. Arianwen Day 3 weeks ago

    Hi Sarah. Thank you for this article – I’m so glad of your response to the question. You are defined by who you are, not by what others think or say you are. Stay strong! Hugs. Rian x

  34. PaulaPlaytex 2 weeks ago

    When talking about “FITTING IN”…Are you talking about fitting in your lingerie (JUST KIDDING). Just wear your Bra all the time like I do…I no longer care anymore if someone notices it, I NEED A BRA (46B/C) and I WANT to wear my BRA. BRA WEARING IS NOW PART OF MY LIFE !!!

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