January 17, 2016

The Life of a Crossdresser

Many crossdreamers use -- or have used -- crossdressing to express their "other side". Here is one such story, shared by a fellow Scandinavian.

Great many crossdreamers express
their transgender side through
crossdresssing.
Illustration photo by Discovod.
Guest post by "Dr. Gonzo's Better Half,"

Dear Jack,

I am a writer and a traveller, in my 40’s. One marriage that never happened. 10 years of travels, working for companies around Europe. I consider myself to be a philosopher.

And a cross dresser.

A long time one too. And a puzzled one.

I hope I can shed some light on things, as I am in search for some answers myself. Hence, the "confession". Writing a blog post for Crossdreamers is like reminiscencing with a complete stranger you have never seen.

What am I?

It will be easier to start here than to tell my mates, or my parents:  “You know, I have searched my urges on the internet, and what I found is that I am an autogenophiliac. Which means I express my perversion by imitating the most feminine women by imaging myself, or getting dressed in their most feminine attire.”

In other words, I am a narcissist in denial who expresses his perversion through cross dressing. Or should I say I am a cross dresser with no gender variety, or is it something more?

Note that much of this story are fragments that might shed some light on this.

Arousal

For a long time, I thought that my little “fetish” differed from other cross dressers is that it aroused me. Did when I was a kid; still does today. And I believed that this pathologized me in some ways. Unfortunately, the first place I looked was Wikipedia and was introduced to the “perv” model to describe what I and apparently others in here have in common.

I never dreamt, or got aroused, by the thought of having a woman’s body before. It was their clothing. Their essence.

I have read Felix Conrad’s entire blog, and almost all of yours as well. And all of a sudden, I am not your “ordinary” cross dresser anymore. And the notion that it’s some sort of mental disease, or perversion, repulses me.

When it started, it’s hard to tell. For all I know, I may have had these “tendencies” for as long as I have lived. Your writing has forced my to dig deep inside. In fact, I have been trying to learn about this for the last week.


A story of a cross dressed life

I never considered myself gay, nor feminine. I was however ecstatic when my mother dressed me up in some frilles when I was about 1 year old. Of course, I cannot remember this. Or perhaps, deep down in my conscience I do.

Not to act like a patient, nor an analyst, but there is something I would phrase as “trigger points”.

The five year old in a skirt

Example of one such trigger point:

I was about 5 and was getting ready to go to a party with my mother and the man we were living with at the time. For some strange reason, I wanted to get my suit trousers off, and get myself into a blanket as if it was a skirt.

Funny how a long lost memory has popped up like this. Me coming to this website for answers may have been another.

On the outside, I was like every other little boy. Although, I always had this notion that I could never measure up with the rest of them or the best of them. There was also something else inside that may have been lurking there.

The outsiders

When school started, I really found out what living in a harsh world meant. Bullying, yes. I fit in by beating up, or at least give any tormentor something to remember me by. Often angry.

Feeling outside of the norm.

I would love it in the beginning of a school year when the girls came with their finest dresses first day after summer vacation. I would often pull my towel around my waist and a frothy bathrobe with a belt and pretend these were something else.

Other than that, my best friend and I would do what every other kid would do. At least regarding the gender normative. I played football. Climbed in trees. Fought.

And then we discovered cross-dressing. I don’t know who suggested it (it may have been me), but around the age of 12 we raided his mother’s wardrobe. I would start doing the same in secret at home.

Nobody knew.

Then my family moved away. For a year or so, there was no cross-dressing, only cross dreaming.

The ballerinas

In 6th grade, I experienced something disturbing. We were producing a Christmas show, and four of the boys were volunteering to play ballerinas.

One mate of mine had on a dress with pettis and the works. Yes! I was secretly envious of him. Did I show it?

Not a single word.

It came back with vengeance the year I turned 14. When I was bored, or wasn’t out playing football, I would spend time at home in the summer, exploring my mother’s wardrobe. I found my favourites, and was in heaven when I wore them.

7th-9th grade was a terrible time. Not so much bullying, but the feeling of not belonging anywhere. And this was still a time of homophobia. And I was, of course, a part of that majority. Coming out as someone who gets off wearing the most feminine dresses from his mother’s closet would be socially suicide in any case.

Puberty kicks in

Puberty didn’t really start to kick in until I was 16. It bothered me. I would be jealous of the other mates in the locker room whom had started to grow, and also get muscles. I had mixed emotions of growing body hair. That meant I had to shave when getting dressed. And that could give me away.

One winter vacation when my parents were out of town for a week, I would spend every day dressed up in different dresses and suits. I would rush through my paper route, and get home and get dressed up again.
Crossdressers may be triggered by TV series that
depict the expression of femininity in one
way or the other. Cast photo from North and South
from the 1980s.

When the TV series North and South went on TV, I would be obsessed about the ball gowns. One might say that my crinoline fetish started right there, although I had always been fascinated by them. I could fantasize about them constantly. How it would be like being in their situation? Or at least being dressed in their gowns. Same thing with Gone with the Wind.

When I had turned 15, my mother did something that devastated me. She threw away some of her old wardrobe. In secret, I would go down to the garbage room and retrieve “my” favourite dresses. And by all sense of the word, hence forth, those dresses were mine.

Not long after, I did my first purge. I didn’t dare having them in my own closet.

Off course, being aroused was one thing, but ejaculation was never in question until the age of 16.

On the outside, I played ball with the rest. But there were times my secret was hard to keep.

The urge

One Saturday night I got the urge. Although my parents were home, I still snuck into their bedroom, and had to try on something. I looked myself in the mirror, and rushed to change. That’s when I heard footsteps on the outside, and opening the door. I hid behind the door, and the piece of cloth under my shirt.

It was my dad. I was wondering what I was doing in their room, and what I had underneath my shirt. I said “nothing”, and “just a piece of clothing”.

I was practically caught once at the age of 15 by one of the neighbours during winter time. I had snuck down to the garage to throw something away in the bin room. She saw me, and in panic, I hid in that shack with her trying to open the door on the other side. She called the police, and they yanked the door open with ease.

I just wanted her to go away after telling them what was going on, before even leaving the bin room. In deep shame I looked down on myself while walking up the stairs to get undressed in self disgust. I did deny for myself that I was in fact a cross dresser. The term “transvestite” grossed me out when I heard the term the first time. And was hoping that it was a term that did not apply to me.

When I went to bed, my mother came for “the talk”. My mouth was sealed. This was a secret I wouldn’t even give up under pressure of water boarding

But where-ever I would go, I would have my cross dreaming with me.

The traveller

Like said, I was always a traveller. My year in the US as an exchange student was a painful, but learned from it. I found the darker side of the “conservative” American mindset. The highlights were going on trips with other exchange students and let off some steam from the pain of having to deal with rednecks every day.

My cross dreaming travelled with me. It was always there. Some times as a relief from the pressure, followed by a feeling of remorse. Like a hangover. “I’m never gonna drink again”. And then you get hammered the next weekend having forgotten about the Sunday morning pledge.

Coming home to Scandinavia was strange. I was starting a new school, and had to start all over. I felt strange. I had seen something that no other around me had seen or lived through.

And for a time, I was also back in business raiding my mothers wardrobe.

How many trigger points do we have now?

On the outside, I had started playing handball, going back to football, martial arts, and lifting weights. And off course, dating, and drinking during the weekends. I got myself a job in a store.

In the army

Ready for Pavlov’s failed experiment: “Army Duty”. For a while, my urges were under the lid. I had a full life outside cross dressing.

Until one school party in the 1990’s. A cross dresser party. We were in 12th grade, and were about to challenge gender stereotypes. I had two of the girls making me up, and dressing me.

Any arousal? Funny, no! Any “AGP” [autogynephilia] symptoms? Not at all. In this context, we were a bunch of guys and girls dressing up in each others garments, and having a laugh about it.
Through his autogynephilia (AGP) theory,
Ray Blanchard has contributed to the
sexualization AND stigmatization of trans people.This 

drawing by Jayna Pavlin refers to his role in the inclusion 
of autogynephilia in the American psychiatric manual.
More about AGP here.

Besides, there was no trigger for me right there and then.

It did get me into my old fantasy games, however.

The writer

At the university, I would rather spend time writing poetry about the BS I saw, and flirt with the girls. I was a full fledged bohemian at the time. Sick and tired of the state of things, but too busy drinking, and chasing the girls I never had a chance to connect with as a teenager.

My cross dressing periods only came sporadically. And always when I was alone.

That’s when depressions started to kick in. CDing [cross dressing] was only a source of shame and guilt. But like a drug addict, I couldn’t stop.

In the late nineties, I started ordering clothes. And buying women’s clothing for Xmas under the pretence of them being presents. When I had money to spend, I invested unabashedly in my wardrobe and without regret (unless I bought something that did not fit). That’s when I started wishing my feet were smaller, so I could easier fit normal shoes with high heels. They were presents for the repressed part of me.

Was there an erotic aspect to it?

Given the fact that getting dressed, made up, accessorised can be a highly erotic act in itself (as preparing for a date or an event), but this arousal doesn’t last. But the feeling of euphoria lasts. Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable as it were. Corsets. Stockings. High heels! Full skirted dresses. Skirt suits. Pleated skirts. Anything that is feminine!

That’s when I had my first breakdown, as it were. After that week, I went out, got really drunk on a ferry to a country next door, and landed in the drunk tank.

After that, life was pitch black. I locked everybody out, and didn’t work for months.

Going south

That year, I went to Southern Europe to visit my father, and get some distance from things. But that also meant another purge. A heartbreaking purge. All because I didn’t want my parents to find out and start asking awkward questions.

I met the first transsexuals down there. They were not blatant about their gender identity, nor their androphile sexuality [being attracted to men].

During carnival season, my father suggested I dress up, and in something feminine. Off course I declined. I would much rather be on the outside, observing.
From a drag queen competition in Las Palmas.
Photo by Borja Suarez/Reuters
It seemed to me that half of of the town were cross dressers. I have never seen so many men in dresses at one place in one time. I still felt I couldn’t connect with anyone there. Not even my bisexual father. Even though he did ask me if I had sexual issues.

Sexual issues

As in: I can’t get an orgasm unless I fantasize about myself walking down the stairs dressed like Cinderella when having sex with my girlfriends?

Off course I didn’t say anything. Except that I missed having a girlfriend at the time.

I was all of a sudden not “getting any” after some years of full bohemian life.

Instead I buried my head in a novel I started writing before leaving. Drinking every day. Forgetting about my “AGP”.

Again it worked well for a while.

Lovers and break-ups

Until another trigger point came in 1999. I was having my compulsory once-in-a-lifetime back packing tour around Europe. Stopping in Amsterdam.

By that time, I had gone from being an ardent anti-“drugs” disciple to slowly opening my eyes to the value of a joint over booze. Another process that has taken 20 years since my first joint after the army service.

I also found a flee market at Rembrandtplein. And went nuts. And I was right back in my hoarding mode.

I found more clothes in Germany. And came home with a full new bag with women’s clothes, even makeup.

The trip home from Germany was almost unbearable. I couldn’t wait to transform properly for the first time in more than two years.

I kicked out my mate who had borrowed my place during that time, and even if I was deadly tired, it didn’t stop me from going through the transformation ritual.

The dressing lasted until I got some new roomies, and decided to move out. I needed a change of scenery. And moved into a collective where dressing would be almost impossible outside the confines of a small room.

Then I spent some more years abroad.

I had two romances, in which one almost ended in marriage, but ended with me doing another purge at my ex-fiancées bidding. She found my (...) wardrobe when I was back in my own country to sort things out. I was devastated. Having to choose between her and a part of me that my mother finally came to say would always be a part of me no matter how much I resisted.

I chose my girlfriend, who then broke up with me only months after.

Doubly devastated. I guess she was using another excuse to break up with my CDing.

Then I found out that my mother had known all along! She just never said anything!

I have read and heard horror stories about parents giving their kids a lashing for sneaking in their room like a thieves acting out their “perversions”.

The thing is that she was the one spilling the beans behind my back to my girlfriend. And I might have lied to her about my CDing just due to fear. How can or could she expect me to tell the whole secret when that was the secret I wanted to keep hidden for as long as I lived?

However: When I told my friends, my trusted brothers in arms, about this predicament, none of them were bothered by my little hobby.

That was the time I started thinking about suicide. I was in the darkest place since the army. (Those are days I have blocked from my mind completely). I had been taken anti-depressants, but found cannabis as a much better medicine. But something told me to take a break from it (still some doubt, and a voice from Anslinger that weed causes reefer madness).

So I went deep diving in the bottle instead. There were memory lapses. I stayed more than a year getting over the worst before I figured out that another job in another country would solve things. In a way it did. My writing and fighting spirit came back.

TG fiction and hypnosis

My CDing was barely there. For years I coped. Travelling from place to place from job to job, sometimes going hobo to have something to write about, sometimes I would live like a king. I was out, gathering more GEMs for my “great literary career”.

But with all that spare time, and with some money, and the internet. The internet can be a dangerous thing for a frail mind under pressure.

Soon I found myself engulfed in feminization hypnosis videos. My CDing came back with a vengeance -- once again.
There are companies that sell feminization hypnosis CDs
and videos that are to make both crossdreamers and
trans women feel more feminine.

I found a range of TG fiction, captions, and much more. I never bothered to ask why at the time. I ordered my first dresses online. Off course a bit big. I had lost weight the last years.

During that fall, I would dress as often as I could.

And an embarrassing moment when my landlord walked in on me (I thought I had the house to myself until he came to check on some things), and saw me all dressed up in the living room. To my surprise, he apologized and said that he didn’t mean to embarrass me.

Finally, I came home to my country in the north of Europe broke, unemployed and injured instead of going to (...)  as planned.

Once again, my cross dressing came back. Money started to pour in. As some karmic justice, I won respectable sums betting. I was about to replace my entire purged wardrobe. Just as I dreamt about two years earlier. But it wasn’t enough. I needed a wider outlet. I needed to experience my “inner woman” in a public space. So this year, I managed to go a week to England….

Marion comes out


And Marion was born.

My ex-fiancĂ© once asked me, in a sarcastic voice, if I had any name yet. I honestly didn’t. I never got any further than my image in me as a beautiful woman in beautiful gowns and dresses.

I got an appointment with a CD shop with a lovely lady who offered me accommodation for the 3 nights before going to this weekend event. For the first time in my life, I would meet other cross dressers. I needed to find out where I was in this vast spectrum. And no surprise, her son was also a cross dresser.

Was I just another cross dresser, or something more?

Everything was new. I was about to realize in real life that I wasn’t alone. That all the stories are real.

I was interacting with other people while being dressed and made up. Actually making a whole new base with new people whom are living this every day.

Being addressed with female pronoun. Being treated like a lady. Going to the women’s toilet. Everything was a new sensation. Taking the train to the coastal town where the event was. A nerve wrecking ride, but still exhilarating. I would look myself in the mirror, and I would clearly pass if someone were more than two feet away from me.

Marion was born. For a week I was Marion. And was upset when they had put my male name on the guest list.

As far as pure “AGPism” goes, there wasn’t a trace of that. I was living my fantasy. At least parts of it. Now, I could concentrate on learning to interact with people as my female self.

The event had the entire range it seems like.

I spent four days with some of the most fascinating people from the entire transgender scale.

From heterosexual cross dressers, to gays, to veterans, scholars, married, pre-op, and post-op.

What frightened me a bit, is that when we had a pageant they convinced me to partake in because they all thought I was going to win. I luckily didn’t. I’m afraid that my male psyche would take another dive on that one.

Shopping
Many crossdressers find shopping for their male persona
boring. Shopping for the other side, however, becomes
a pleasure. Photo: MoustacheGirl.


I learned something. I love shopping. When going into town for the first time to shop, I was nervous. But I wasn’t alone. Besides, I was -- apart from my voice -- passing (according to witnesses).

The high was of another dimension. Here, I could walk into a shop straight to the women’s department all dressed up and gorge myself without anyone lifting an eye.

Normally, my planned sessions seldom last more than a week.

So the last night before going for one night in London, my male part slowly came back. Concerned. A part of me wanted to travel to London fully dressed. Another partof me not so. I would be afraid that changing back would be harder, even tough necessary. I didn’t have a chat with myself that night.

And a musician, a post-op told me: “Don’t worry about it. We’ve all been through it!” She was dressed more masculine than me that weekend if I can use that angle.

When I took the train back to London with all the delays, Marion was still with me. I envisioned myself in my feminine clothing travelling instead of my male clothes.

Marion was here to stay. The male part of me hates shopping. He has one pair of shoes he uses regularly and walks around in jeans.

Marion loves shopping. She loves fashion. Looking fabulous. She has more clothes than “I” will own in my entire life. And I got them all within the two years I’ve been home.

I thought that I was going to cope with things. I have not been dressing since I left Britain.

The CDing however comes and goes. The feelings have been strong this week since I started reading about this and using your blog as reference point.

How much do I have in common with them? With you? With other cross dressers?

These days, I plan my “guilt-free” dressing sessions. And I take the time I need. I already plan my next trip where I can explore my inner woman further incognito while doing my favourite pastime – travelling. Britain has become the playground for the Marion in me.

Autogynephilia

Out of intellectual curiosity I wanted to find out what this “AGP” was, and what causes, and if there’s a cure as if I would ever want one. Hence, I came to this blog. What am I?

Apparently not just the normal cross dresser.

I have started fantasizing about real breasts. At least breast forms so natural they blend with your skin when attached and have special neurotransmitter that would make the touch of them as if you were touching your own skin.

Can this be progressive?

Does this all make sense?

Where do I belong on the HBS scale?
In the 1960s Harry Benjamin developed a scale of different variants of
transgender. See the post on Harry Benjamin for more.
Click in image to enlarge.

I’m hearing about Christine Jorgenson and Lily Elbe. And certain things strikes a cord. Which ones?

And just like you, I refuse the term “autogenophiliac” as if this is some form of pervesion. If that was the case, according to Mr. Blanchard [the man behind the autogynephilia theory], all “AGPs” must have a constant erection for the duration of the dressing session, no matter how long it takes, and no arousal must occur during that session. Which is futile and ridiculous.

Blanchard seem to forget that all you need to get sexually aroused is a dick. Or a vagina. He also seem to forget that the largest erogenous zone is the brain. Someone who is into the science of sex should know this.

The variation of fantasies that might turn up in that giant zit between the ears is endless. But the notion that being aroused by getting dressed is some sort of pathology while others are not is beyond ridiculous.

I have found the Harry Benjamin scale as a useful tool. At least I have had to come to the conclusion that I am a cross dreamer with a strong female presence inside of me. But how strong?

I feel like standing at a crossroads in life. As if there are 8 books inside that same head fighting to get out at the same time. It’s as if I have 8 tabs that takes huge amounts of resources from my computer's processor and having the CD “condition” on top of it all.

This text has been shared with permission of the writer. The text has been edited to protect his identity.

For more crossdreamer life stories, visit the Crossdream Life forum.

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