December 10, 2013

A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary, from "Negation" to "Real Life Fantasies"

Here is the third part of my Crossdreamer Dictionary. You can read the first entries here!
Many crossdreamers are torn between the male and the female.
Photo: Vasiliy Yakobchuk

Are there any crossdreamer phenomena, feelings or ideas you think should be included? Please add them in  a comment!

I know, for instance, that some of you think my selection slants too much to the gender dysphoric side. That should not come as a surprise, given that I am using my own life experience when writing.  It would therefore  be particularly useful with input from non-dysphoric crossdressers.

It does not matter if the capital letter of your entry has been covered. I will make a follow up post. Moreover, I will add them all to the following ebook.


One efficient way of disciplining
crossdreamers is to invalidate
their sense of identity. Illustration: Elenarts
Many people seek comfort in strict  stereotypes, and they do their best to police others who do not share their prejudices.

A very efficient way of forcing others to adhere to whatever is considered "self-evident" in a society is to negate or invalidate the lives of those who fall outside these norms.These tactics are used against women, people from other cultures and different races, the disabled, homosexuals and  transgender.

As Julia Serano has pointed out in her book Excluded, there are many ways of invalidating people,  transgender and crossdreames included:
  • Claiming that you are mentally ill or incompetent.
  • Sexualizing. People of color are for instance often depicted as being exotic, promiscuous or sexually predatory.
  • Accusing you of being immoral, like in "homosexuals are out to deceive straight people".
  • Claiming that you are sick or contagious (Like in: "One drop of Jewish blood is enough to make you a dirty Jew!").
  • Arguing that some type of body or behavior is anomalous or even "unnatural". (Homosexuality is for instance often considered "unnatural", even if same-sex relationships are common in nature). 
  • You are accused of being inauthentic or fake (like in "You are not a woman. You are just a male rapist  in an ugly dress!")
  • Claiming that you and those who like you are suffering from a fetish (like in: "He does not really love you; he just has a fetish for fat people".)
Negation causes a tremendous amount of suffering among crossdreamers, as it makes it extremely hard for many of them to integrate this side of themselves into their sense of self.
Pretending (photo: Cameron Whitman)


Many crossdreamers become normaliens (or norm-aliens) when they try to adapt to the gender identity and the gender roles their friends, families and colleagues expect of them. This especially applies to crossdreamers of the introvert and sensitive personality types.

To all the people around them they appear to be "normal" (although somewhat socially awkward) men and women. On the inside, however, they are nothing like it. Many normaliens are splitters, i.e. they compartmentalize their mind into separate male and female parts.


Female to male crossdreamers may explore their male sexuality by wearing a strap-on dildo when going out.

Male to female crossdreamers may "pack" as well, normally wearing female underwear. The term originated in the lesbian subculture.


A sexual technique where a woman uses a strap-on dildo to penetrate a man anally. This is more or less the same set-up as the one used by "top" butch lesbians on femme "bottoms" (to the extent the butch/femme distinction makes any sense to them at all). Couples with male to female crossdreamers may make use of pegging as a way of accommodating  the crossdreamer's wish to be the bottom.

Some more dominant female to male crossdreamers have been know to prefer this approach as well, one of them immortalized in episode 6 of season 2 of Weeds, where Andy Botwin is taken from behind by the female Dean of Admission at a rabbinical school.

See also this clip on YouTube (not office friendly(.


Like all other human beings crossdreamers may engage in play, when allowed to. This may be everything from creating a room for exploring your other side in a safe setting (like in clubs and organizations for male to female crossdressers), in bed with someone you love and who accepts you back, or in public if you have dared to venture out of the closet.
F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1916, The left photo, from a
musical performance,  was published in the New York
Times (Vintage Everyday)

Male to female and female to male crossdreamers may also make use of cabarets, carnivals, cosplay-conventions and similar venues to express themselves.

Some argue that the fact that crossdreamers play proves that this is nothing but a "performance". For some this may be the case. For other crossdreamers this is a way of expressing the other side of their soul.


Many crossdreamers personify their inner man or inner woman in order to explore this side of their psyche. Typically male to female crossdreamers will find a female name and a female avatar to use in online forums or in virtual online worlds. Female to male crossdreamers may also present using male names and other symbols of masculinity.

The ponyo is often given the personality traits and urges that seem incompatible with the social role of the crossdreamer's birth sex.

Another term for ponyo is "mirror sister" (or "mirror brother").


For some crossdreamers a surge may be followed by a purge. This is often some kind of ritual cleansing, whereby the crossdreamer swears  to never give in to crossdreaming fantasies ever again.

The wives of male to female crossdreamers have been known to salvage their husband's female wardrobe after such a purge. Creative crossdreamers may delete their collection of crossdreamer erotica or close down their TG caption blog.

Purges are nearly always followed by new surges and the circle is repeated. Needless to say, if you had taken away the shame and the guilt and accept the crossdreamer for who she or he is, all this nonsense could have been avoided.

Rage Against the Machine

Crossdreamers are often denigrated, harassed and invalidated. Young male to female crossdreamers are called sissies, "girls!" (as if that was a bad thing), perverts and losers. Female to male crossdreamers may be forced to wear pink dresses and to avoid rough and tumble play. Not only are they told not be themselves; they are told that their own personality and their own dreams and desires are not real, but abnormal aberrations.
Bullying ruins the lives of many young crossdreamers.
Photo: Mikael Damkier

The normal and healthy human reaction to such abuse is anger. Rage is a tool given us to by nature to protect the very core of our being. Crossdreamers are most often denied this outlet, however, which is why many of them turn their rage against themselves. They start burning up from the inside.

If these crossdreamers are lucky, there comes a point where they start searching for answers, and if they starts searching for answers they will find others struggling like themselves. In the end they may come to understand that they are not freaks, but wonderful incarnations of the creativity of life.

I found this one over at the Misfit Boy blog.
MTF crossdreamers may interpret this
as some kind of dream scenario. It is, in
fact, the exact opposite: This is a trans boy
facing the expectations of a mother
wanting to help her daughter.
At that point their rage may become rage against the social and cultural machine that tried to kill their true selves in the first place. It becomes a rage against those who betrayed them: parents, "friends", teachers, bigoted health "professionals", priests and politicians. Some may be consumed by this anger. It destroys them. For others it becomes a vehicle for liberation.

Real life fantasies

Many crossdreamers report of real life fantasies from early childhood onward. These are elaborate fantasies or day dreams where they explore an alternative life being the opposite sex.

Such real life fantasies are also found in transgender fiction. In spite of what some seem to believe the majority of  transgender short stories are not primarily erotic in nature.

To be continued....

UPDATE: The Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary has become a book!


  1. @Mitchell,

    The most pleasurable and interesting part of writing a blog like this one is all the stories told by other crossdreamers in comments and emails.

    After we established Crossdream Life this source of learning has become even larger. And there are so many different roads taken towards an understanding of what crossdreaming is, and I find that I learn from each and every one of them.

    I also find that I learn a lot from those who end up with a different explanation of crossdreaming than myself. Every time that happens I have to revisit old ideas, and maybe adjust or even change them.

    As for the concept of "nous" or "spirit". There is something about that way of thinking about learning that captures the unconscious part of understanding in a good way.

    I sometimes have the feeling of being guided by an unknown part of myself. "You should read this book!" she says. "You will find something there!" And, indeed, there may be a quote that changes everything.

    The mind is a mysterious place, indeed!

  2. Rage against the machine was something I espoused and in my inability to exorcise my crossdreaming brought me much frustration. It was only in accepting this part of myself that I gained liberation but it is not an easy process.

    Self acceptance also killed the idea of transition for me because that would have meant becoming someone I wasn't either. No I did not choose a side but chose instead to be myself.

    Thanks for another nice set of entries...

  3. @Mitchell,

    One reason the lesbians and female to male transgender slips under the radar, may be that we live in cultures where being a man is considered the best. A man dreaming about being a woman is therefor a pervert, while a woman wanting to be a man becomes a sensible person.

    Then there is this strange phenomenon of lesbian sex being sexy, while gay sex is bad, coupled with the idea that women are born bisexual, while men are not.

    These views are clearly the products of the heterosexual male mind, which loves a double dose of femininity, but is threatened by the idea of men loving men.

    This misogynistic view of femininity is strangely enough reinforced with a different way of thinking: The idea that all women are pure, emphatic an innocent.

    This explains why a lesbian butch packing is not considered a pervert, while a crossdressing man is. Many experts in the field (Blanchard included) seriously believe that women cannot be "paraphiliacs".

    The unpleasant reality of female rapist (of which there are many) is conveniently ignored in this scenario.


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