A Cross-Dresser’s Compendium

Wolf's HeadYes, I know this site is registered as “The Wolf’s Head” but that’s  because I am proud to bear the Gaelic name that transliterates as such in English and, in medieval times, the wolf’s head was the sign of an outsider, of someone beyond the pale,  an individual, or an outlaw even and, as I am a cross-dresser, society often tries to make me reprise that role. Fortunately, I have developed sufficient ego-strength to be able to stand up for myself and can express my views intelligently and forcefully, when required. Furthermore, I am knowledgeable about that which I speak, so I am not prepared to accept the assertions passed of as fact by many members of the  psychiatric and related professions that cross-dressers qua cross-dressers are suffering from a “mental disorder” or are psychopathological per se.

Whilst I am a cross-dresser, I am not defined by it; it is only part of my personality. In short, I am just me, as a visit to my Introduction page should make clear.

Please note, this site is  a work in progress and is being added to as time permits. It is also very pink, but that is not a political statement and neither is it a clue to my sexual orientation; I just like the colour.

For those of you who hadn’t already comprehended the fact, this site deals with the subject of cross-dressing and it is written from a purely idiosyncratic standpoint - mine. In other words, it will include anything I find amusing, relevant, instructive, or consider may be of interest to anyone else out there who is inquisitive about cross-dressing, for one reason or another. It also tries to expose many of the false claims which have been made about cross-dressers and cross-dressing by analysing and rebutting them where necessary. However, if you are the sort of person who is likely to be offended by a discussion about cross-dressing, then don’t bother reading any further unless you are prepared to put aside your prejudices and insecurities.

As Sarah Clayton said in her paper entitled Gender Issues And Cross-Dressing In The Long Eighteeth Century (2002)

    …the idea of a man dressing as a woman creates a greater sense of external anxiety than the idea of a female taking on masculine roles. It illustrates what can only be defined as a ubiquitous anti-feminist sentiment which has tainted our perceptions of gender roles, both in the eighteenth century, and now…Gender ambiguity was not and still is not acceptable.”

Since it is not relevant to the period she was studying, Clayton omits to point out explicitly that much of the current non-acceptance of gender ambiguity and cross-dressing is due directly to the pathologizing of the phenomena by the embryonic psychoanalytic profession in the 19th Century and subsequently, though she readily acknowledges that she deliberately does not use the word “transvestite” in place of “cross-dressing”, because the psychiatric profession has “poisoned the well”, as it were:-

    “The term ‘transvestite’ is problematic as it is a product of late nineteenth and early twentieth century psychological discourses and is thus potentially anachronistic and even worse, pathologizing.”

Whilst the psychiatric profession as a body is still guilty of pathologizing cross-dressing per se, it is interesting to examine the inconsistencies between its attitude towards that phenomenon and others which it ascribes similar aetiologies to but which it does not pathologize. This represents not only a dishonest attitude towards cross-dressing on the part of the psychiatric profession per se, but also a completely inconsistent one. It is discussed in more detail throughout this site, but at greater length on  the Parallels & Similarities page.

 Nevertheless, so successfully has the psychiatric profession been at moulding public opinion to accept its own view that cross-dressing is an act of  “sexual deviancy” and represents a “true mental disorder [which has been] established by objective medical evidence”, that even the UK Government has been persuaded by the claims made in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-Text Revised (2000).  During the Parliamentary debates and in correspondence with the UK’s Joint Committee on Human Rights regarding the  Mental Health Bill, specifically in relation to the powers regarding the powers of “Detention [of a citizen by the authorities] on Grounds of Unsoundness of Mind”, the Government  declared in a written response  in 2007 to the Committee’s concerns that:-

    “The Government's understanding, therefore, is that gender dysphoria and transvestic fetishism potentially constitute "a disability or disorder of the mind" in the terms of the Mental Health Act 1983 ("the 1983 Act") and a "true mental disorder" for the purposes of Article 5(1)(e) of the [European] Convention [on Human Rights], where they reach a sufficient level of clinical significance.(emboldening added)”

It continues:-

    “It is the Government's understanding that transvestic fetishism...would be considered clinically to be an abnormality of sexual preference.”

However, readers may be reassured that in the same written reply, the Government also opined:-

    “The fact that transvestic fetishism is classified as a mental disorder does not, of itself, mean that it requires treatment, let alone that it would call for treatment in hospital, or that there would be a justification for detaining someone in hospital for such treatment.”

Naturally what was meant by the qualifier “clinical significance” was not defined per se, though it is clear from the document that this lies solely within the province of an “approved mental health professional”. That safeguard should give all cross-dressers out there a renewed sense of confidence that they will be treated fairly and honestly should they be unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of these people, particularly  those “professionals” who subscribe wholeheartedly to the claim in the DSM-IV-TR that it is based on “objective medical evidence” - see here and here for further elucidation.

At this point, I should also like to make it clear that anyone who has visited this site under the misapprehension that cross-dressing per se involves pornographic titillation or the prospect of sexual encounters that they will be disappointed. Consequently, I suggest that you redirect your attentions elsewhere, since there is nothing here which is likely to be of interest to you - and I, for one, am not interested in anything that you may have to offer.The fact that society at large, and the psychiatric profession as a body, may consider that we are all “sexual deviants” according to their lights, does not mean that we have anything else in common.

Genuine contributions or questions about any aspect of cross-dressing from others are welcome, but any which I think inappropriate, for whatever reason, will be ignored or expunged.

Those who wish to do so may either e-mail me here , or you can visit my Guest Book and either leave a message there or send me a private note.

Finally, if anyone  is still interested in what I’ve got to say, you’re welcome to enter the site and look around, or even participate if you will, but  bear in mind that this site is a work-in-progress and that it is still continuing to evolve, so please come back later if you do not find something of interest here at the moment. Site navigation is pretty simple, and should need no explanation, so go on, click on a few links and see what you can find.

Footnote: Anyone who wants quick, superficial answers to their questions should check-out my FAQ page first, though I recommend that they make the effort to read my more detailed information pages.

            This site is dedicated to Ma-Tzu Tao-i (709-788 CE)

                          And Omori Sogen (1904-1994 CE)

              © Caroline Devilliers 2008