My name is Caroline Devilliers and I am, amongst other things, a geriatric cross-dresser or transvestite. Should anyone wish to know any more about me, I suggest they visit my Biography page. For the moment, however, it should suffice to say that I just love any opportunity to dress en femme and I don’t see why society or other people should have a problem with that per se. Naive of me, perhaps, but anyone who does have a problem with the issues discussed in this site should realise that it is a consequence of your own insecurities and prejudices, not mine.
Nevertheless, I appreciate what 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.”
As for those who of you out there who are either cross-dressers themselves, or who have a partner who is one - or are genuinely interested in the subject of cross-dressing for one reason or another - I hope that you will find something here that will prove to be mildly informative, amusing, or even of some use to you. There is a caveat to that invitation, however, which is that this is a work in progress, so if you do not find the information you were hoping to find, you can always contact me direct. Either that or visit again some other time.
Oh, and for the porn-hunters out there, don’t be too disappointed that there’s nothing for you here, as this site is about cross-dressing not pornography, or the date-a-trannie phenomenon, and your predilections are well catered for elsewhere (try Googling “pornography” - as at today’s date there are 24.9 million sites listed). Besides, most cross-dressers object, quite correctly, to being associated with pornography per se, as the latter subject is generally held to be a completely different and distinguishable interest in its own right.
As for anyone else out there who is likely to feel offended or upset by the contents of this site, I refer them to the warning published in my Prolegomenon, if they’ve not read it already.
However, I hope that anyone visiting these pages will come to realise - if they don’t already know it - that anyone who considers cross-dressers per se to be some kind of sick perverts is that their attitude indicates much about the psychodynamics of the beholder that they might prefer to keep private.
As for those cross-dressers out there who fear that they are some kind of sad deviant or sick pervert deserving of disapprobation, or ostracism, or even hostility, I have but this to say to you: You are as capable of being decent, worthwhile, caring human-beings as anyone else, so just get on with it and be yourself. Remember, also, that your cross-dressing is part only of your personality, even though you may consider it the most important part, and no matter how often you may feel compelled to do it. Or, to put it in the vernacular: If your personality stinks, then it stinks, and the fact that you are a cross-dresser is as irrelevant as if the most important aspect of your personality was, for example, that of a fanatical Manchester United supporter, or a devout Roman Catholic, or any of the other ten thousand labels by which humans describe and limit themselves.
Remember, too, that the critical tone in much of the psychoanalytical literature towards cross-dressers is directly attributable to the fact that it is based almost exclusively on the case-histories of cross-dressers who had presented themselves with psychopathological problems, real or imagined, but that does not mean that cross-dressing is psychopathological per se, or that it was necessarily the only problem which those people believed they suffered from. It may have been these other problems which were the real source of their distress or unhappiness and, in any event, the attitudes of the psychiatric profession qua profession towards cross-dressing and cross-dressers leaves much to be desired, an aspect which is explored in more detail throughout the pages of this site.
There remains also the fact that some psychoanalysts argue persuasively that the diagnosis of cross-dressing as a pathology is no more than iatrogeny on the part of their colleagues, and support for that view is the fact that the professional literature is filled with inconsistencies, contradictions, misdiagnoses, unsubstantiated claims and remarkably little by way of concrete evidence. One only has to compare the two so-called “definitive” manuals, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-Text Revised and the International Classification of Diseases-10 to confirm this for oneself, (see here and here, respectively).
However, nothing in the foregoing is to suggest that cross-dressers should overcompensate by making the mistake of proclaiming, as many do, that they are “proud” to be a cross-dresser, or that cross-dressers have a “special gift”, or any other such specious nonsense. The fact remains that cross-dressers qua cross-dressers are no more worthy of respect per se than any other members of society.
Furthermore, it is also a mistake for one to limit or define oneself by proclaiming membership of one taxonomic class or self-referential group of persons to the exclusion of all others. Cross-dressers are not just cross-dressers, and those other aspects of their personalities are just as important, if not more so, than their cross-dressing for the development of a well-rounded personality.
Additionally, one should not overlook the influence of “labelling theory” (see here for a summary) suggested by Edwin Lemert in his book Social Pathology: A Systematic Approach to the Theory of Psychopathic Behaviour (1951). The very fact that someone is labelled a cross-dresser results in them using the role assigned to them as a means of defence, attack, or adjustment to the problems created by the subsequent societal reaction.
Not forgetting that psychoanalysts are themselves frequently prone to what Stephen Purcell refers to as “perverse countertransferences” (see here), and that they often have a vested, and perverted, reason for pathologising, labelling and otherwise vicariously enjoying their patients’ problems, some of which are undoubtedly iatrogenic, i.e., they are induced by the physician through his diagnosis, manner, or treatment. Naturally, clinicians who are prone to “perverse countertransference” or iatrogeny deny that either of these phenomena are an issue, at least for them, but then they would say that, wouldn’t they. Seems that it’s OK for some members of the psychiatric profession to pathologize their patients, but don’t anyone dare do it to them.
Whilst there are no accurate statistics, cross-dressing is still a minority preoccupation though it is likely to be more widespread than is commonly believed. Admittedly, I have read a report which claimed that as many as 50% of men have, at some time or another, dressed partly or completely in women’s clothes, but insufficient information was given to enable one to check the veracity of the claim. Other estimates I have seen put the number of occasional or regular cross-dressers at around 10% of the male population in most developed countries, but again there was insufficient information on how this this figure was arrived at. However, some of the literature puts the number as low as 1-2%, though even in those reports there was no indication how these figures were calculated.
Another point to bear in mind here is this: even the most sophisticated extrapolations of statistical data may well be mathematically valid, but generally they bear little resemblance to post facto objective reality.
Incidentally, and I offer this as a piece of anecdotal evidence, whenever I go shopping, I am always surprised by (a) the number of men I see examining female clothing, and (b) the way in which they are examining it. Were I in true psychoanalytical tradition to hazard a guess regarding the motives of these men, I would conclude that (a) they were considering a purchase on their own behalf, and (b) that they were, in all probability, cross-dressers. However, if anyone out there dismisses my conclusions on the grounds that they are not supported by concrete evidence, I would say simply this: Welcome to the realms of the social-sciences.
One thing is almost guaranteed for anyone reading this who is not themselves a cross-dresser. In all probability there is at least one cross-dresser amongst your circle of colleagues, acquaintances, friends or family.
At this point, perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce what I mean when I refer to cross-dressing. As this is dealt with in more detail on my Definitions page, I will simply reiterate here that cross-dressing can fairly be defined as no more than someone dressing in clothing which society at large considers inappropriate for that person’s assigned gender, irrespective of whether there is an erotic component or not and regardless of whether the cross-dresser is distressed by the experience.
I have included more information about me on my Biography page for anyone who may be interested.
And should anyone be interested in commenting on any of the issues raised on this site, you may write to me here; all correspondence will be given the attention it deserves.
Finally, 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.