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)

43 Comments
  1. Arianwen 4 months 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

  2. Elise Michelle 4 months ago

    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.

  3. Cynthia Dubois 4 months 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.

  4. Laura Days 4 months 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.

  5. Cara Love 4 months 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.

  6. kaydee 4 months 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

  7. Terrisa Washbourne 4 months 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 months ago

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

  8. Ashleigh 4 months 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.

  9. Marianne 4 months 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.

  10. Karen Cobb 4 months 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.

  11. Deety 4 months 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.

  12. Samantha Murphy 4 months 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

  13. Shannon Fox 4 months 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.

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