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Obsessesed by the Crossdressing Obsession — Failures as males?

| Oct 6, 2008
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blackcloseup.jpgI’ll admit that wanting to understand the origins of being trans/ambigendered is one of my personal obsessions. I’ll also admit that I have no professional qualifications (e.g. in psychology or psychiatry or neurochemistry, etc.) that allow me to make scientific judgments on this issue. I’m merely applying logic to what I observe and suggesting hypotheses. Given the paucity of scientific study of our particular brand of the human condition, I figure that’s at least a valid starting point.

The general pop psychological explanation is that we trans/ambigendered guys crossdress because we feel that we don’t — or can’t — live up to male gender role expectations. In other words, trans/ambigendered behavior is “learned” from our environment. More succinctly, it is caused by a sense of our inadequacy as males. Well, who among us would argue that we have never experienced feelings of inadequacy (call it “low self-esteem” if you like, but I despise that over-elasticized term)? But is that cause — or result?

Start with the logical question: does inadequacy in the male role always generate a desire to adopt, full or part time, feminine appearance and behavior? Obviously not. There are many men who feel inadequate as men and who never experience a desire to crossdress, much less to adopt a fully feminized appearance even part time. Feelings of masculine inadequacy generate all sorts of behaviors (many very negative), so there must be some other component for those of us who crossdress that motivates us to present feminine expression (a much healthier outlet for feelings of masculine inadequacy than say rape or spouse or child abuse, one might argue).

Also, if our desire to create a feminine image were the result of inadequacies as males, then would it not be enough for us to adopt feminine behaviors as compensating strategies? Wouldn’t it be enough to seek to develop qualities such as nuturing or cooperation that are deemed feminine? Psychologically speaking, that should enable males to overcome anxieties and inadequacies and fill the void of having “failed” at the male role. And it doesn’t involve crossdressing — so there must be something else that attracts or compels males to adopt a feminine image and persona.

Moreover, let me add that I’m not sure that we can even say that all trans/ambigendered males are inadequate in the masculine role. When I look at the biographies of many of us, I don’t see a bunch of losers — quite the opposite! I see people who have succeeded in male roles in business, the military, professions, sport, and — most tellingly — as husbands and fathers. There is no compelling reason to assume that we feel discomfort with the male role because we’ve failed at it. It seems more to me that we have given the masculine role every possible chance but that it has failed us. In short, we just don’t feel satisfied in fulfilling society’s masculine expectations.

Thus, I believe that the origin of our trans/ambigendered behavior goes deeper. It goes to our identities, our views of who we are. We feel a need to express a part of ourselves that is not masculine. We feel ourselves to have, to a greater or lesser degree, a feminine component that is part of our image of who we are. We aren’t just rejecting male behavior, but we do reject an exclusively male identity. And I think that the origins of this identity go not to what we have learned but to an innate spark of desire. My guess is that it lies in the prenatal wiring of our brains (a good bit of which gets determined, particularly for males, by the in utero hormonal environment) which helps determine the core of our gender identity.

To sum all this rambling up, I think we trans/ambigendered males are born with the proclivity to want to experience life from a feminine perspective in addition to the masculine perspective to which society and biology entitle us. As we are socialized we learn that because we are male we are to be masculine and we try to live up to that expectation. And because we are hard wired to have a feminine component, the masculine role is not completely satisfying. Therefore, due to societal pressures, that dual identity creates tensions often manifested as feelings of guilt and inadequacy (which often bear little relation to our actual performance in the masculine role). At some point, we act on that small inborn voice which tells us: you won’t be happy until you find out what might have been. In other words, until we begin to create that feminine component that we’ve always known — or perhaps better expressed, felt — has existed as an integral part of us. Personally, I’ve found that there is a very rewarding balance that I’ve achieved by admitting that I’m pretty darned good at being either masculine or feminine and I enjoy both. It’s a great feeling because it has allowed me to know and become who I a really am. I have been able to balance what I am internally with what society expects me to project externally.

Now if I can just get those around me to see that I’m a better person — no, I am more completely the person they know and appreciate — because I straddle the gender divide and more thoroughly embrace all aspects of humanity than if I just settled for what society tells me I should be, maybe my life will be complete and whole.


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

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  1. says:

    Dear Angela
    You will not be able to countact Uncle Ezekiel, on the other side thaey don’t care about that stuff.
    Cross Dressing has nothing to do with ancesters. Read Sylvia Brown, Edgar Cayee and many
    other psychics. Please do the research on google and you will find more info then you want!
    Most people live between 35 and 40 lives on earth before we can stay on the other side
    to be a Spirit Guide for other humans. A Spirit Guide is a human being who has perfected their Spirit to 99 % pure in the eyes of God.
    They along with Angels help you in your life here on Earth!
    It has to do with the lessons we learn living as both male and female.
    But when you chose to come back three or four times as a woman your sub-conscious holds on to those lives, these feelings, these emotions.
    Your sub-conscous is just like a video camcorder. It recordes very life you live!
    Their is a veil of silence in your mind that keeps you from remembering all these lives!
    You need to get regressed or to have a past lives reading by a professional to find out about who you were and that will explain it to you and why you have these feelings and needs!
    We humans have one Spirit whcih is always with us, it is Gods Spark in us!
    Each time we live a life we are issued a new soul. new body, new mind.
    Your Soul is your track record on earth of Good and Bad, Saint or Sinner!
    If you really want to know why you dress, then find a Pro and pay the price, it is for
    your own well being and will answer all your questions.
    It cost me $200. She told me things about my present life that she could never know. She told me
    when my life was in danger and when my Spirit Guide got me out of danger!
    She told me things about my childhood that I was amazed at!
    A Professional Psychic will not ask you any questions.
    They will ask you for a photo of you, your date and time of birth and a personal object.
    Key, Ring any thing that touches you everyday.
    Thats all they need. Most are very religious.
    If you want the answers they are out there for you!
    Kay Santillo

  2. angela_g angela_g says:

    Well, in this universe anything might happen so I won’t discount reincarnation. But, it might just be that it’s a physical thing like too much estrogen when we’re in the womb. Or it’s the right amount of estrogen to produce us and it is set by our DNA. The hard part about figuring that out is that you can’t just ask your male relatives if they like to wear ladies undies and no one is going to tell you stories about great, great Uncle Ezekiel who used to hang out at the saloon in drag and sip a sasparilla or two. If we had crossdressing ancestors they were most likely in the closet and we’ll never know. But, we could consult mediums and try to reach Ezekiel across the great gulf of the beyond and ask him. Anything’s possible.

  3. says:

    Dear stephanie
    I was surprise to see the lack of readership to my own comments, Why We Do THis on the TFG Chatboard.
    Re-incaration is the reason dress.Many don’t believe it! Well all have lived many more lives then one. We live many times and cris-cross back and forth between a Man and a Woman in different lives. We who dress are still connected to our past lives. I have had two reading about my childrens past lives that both very much right on the money. We had problems with our children and I asked for a reading. She provided all the past info that helped me and my wife solve the problem with our children. My wife could not make the second reading. The woman said to me, I know that you have questions about your present lives and why you dress! ??????????? ………….. I said to my self how could this woman know my secret! She said, don’t be concerned, cross dressing is not new. It has been going on since the beginning of time! It is addressed in the Bible. She said, let me put your mind as ease. Your last life was lived as a Woman in France and you owned a Womans Dress and Underwear Store that also sold High heels shoes. They were all the rage in the 1880 and 90’s.
    The reason you feel so comfortable with it is becuase it is all locked in your Sub Conscience!
    Before that you lived as a woman in England and you again owned a Woman Dress shop!
    All of these good and comfortable feelings come racing back. Your sub consciences is just like a
    Video tape recorder! If you were regressed you would remember all of your past lives!
    Their are hundreds of books on re-incaration out there get some and read up on it!
    It has relieved my guilt and it longer concerns me.

    A sister

  4. says:

    But what are the origins of the “erotic thrill” or the longing “to be women”? That’s what I’m asking. Maybe we can’t know. Maybe many don’t care. But it seems an answer to that question of why might be an important step to gaining acceptance, answering a fearful and panicked spouse’s questions, or simply a better understanding of oneself. I just don’t think this was a choice I made, it seems too deeply rooted for that.

  5. angela_g angela_g says:

    I know why I do it. I was fascinated by feminine images from my earliest memories. As I grew closer to puberty the desire to wear the clothing and other feminine items that I saw in those images grew more and more erotic. After coming out and being an active crossdresser for many years the thrill is still there. It’s tempered by age and maturity but seeing a great pair of heels on someone and wondering where I can get a pair like them, then where I will wear them is still an erotic thrill. Expressing a femme side is just a bonus that grew out of the desire to be able to present that fascinating feminine image.

  6. dina dina says:

    Stephanie,
    This is a good exploration of the ultimate question of why we do this. Yes, the immediate response might be feelings of inadequacies as males for those of us who crossdress (different from those who feel deeply transgendered or transsexual). But you are right to note that many CD’s are successful (defined by different measures) as males, yet we still want to be women, if only part-time. Better, as you suggest, to see it as a widening of our horizons and fulfilling some not-knowable need within ourselves. Better also, I think, not to over-analyze it. Again, as you suggest, it might simply be a case of “wiring” that is different than the majority of males, whether “successful” or “unsuccessful”, however that is defined.

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