Why does my son crossdress?

By Heather age 14

    If you are reading this, I am going to assume that you have some kind of relation to a crossdresser and you have come online seeking advice on what you should do to solve this problem. Iíll start by saying this: if when you discovered that the person was a crossdresser, you immediately thought of it as a problem, then you are most likely the one with the problem.
    Suffice to say, I canít speak for everyone in the world, nor can I define what is right and wrong for everyone. However, I never understood why crossdressing has been scorned and considered a "wrong" thing to do.

What is a crossdresser?

    Iíll start out by clearing up a very common confusion over the term "crossdress." Iíve seen how some people (including parents who discover that their son crossdresses) have jumped to radical conclusions when they hear the term. For example, a crossdresser can be seen by his parents as someone who is gay, someone who is transsexual, and someone who will have major problems being accepted by others in life unless the parents do whatever they can to stamp out their sonís crossdressing forever.
    Letís back up for a second. Here is a simple definition that I have seen almost in every dictionary and website: Crossdress -- to wear clothing usually associated with that of the opposite sex. End of definition. What I find to be incredibly odd is that nowhere in this definition does it mention something about being gay or something about wanting to have a sex change or not developing socially. The subtle point Iím trying to make here is that parents shouldnít immediately associate all of these qualities with their son. All it means is that he has tried on a new kind of clothing.
    Something else I find odd (actually, insulting is a better word) is that every women in America crossdresses every other day. Women wear slacks, ties, shirts, suits, sneakers, etc.... I never understood why women arenít forced in society to wear only skirts, dresses, stockings, and high heels. Now, I want the momís reading this to think about the last time they were wearing a masculine kind of clothing (pants, shorts, etc...) When you began wearing this clothing, did it classify you as a lesbian? Or was it because you wished that you could be male?
    The answer Iíll hear from most is that the clothes are simply comfortable and easy to wear. Now, why is it that the same answer canít apply for men?

Why crossdress?

    Iíve seen a lot of sites and people that try to explain why some men crossdress. Iíve seen reasons such as that the boy lacked a masculine role model, or because it is a compulsion, or even because of some kind of genes in the mind (I donít really understand the whole thing, but I digress). I would like you consider for just a moment that maybe, just maybe, possibly, people crossdress because itís fun.
    Iíve been to many a site, but Iíve yet to find one that discusses that the reason for crossdressing is because itís fun. I mean, when most girls are young, they always get together with their friends to paint their nails, do their makeup, and play dress-up. However, if a guy were to do the same thing, it gets seen as an unhealthy activity. Some men begin crossdressing just because feminine clothing is comfortable, the same reason that so many women where menís clothing.
    Of course, as I said, I canít really speak up for everyone. There may be people who crossdress because they are transsexual or gay, but parents should know that number of men who crossdress that are also transsexual is very slim. And the amount of crossdressers that are gay is even smaller. Maybe the whole gene thing can explain it too, but for the majority of crossdressers, itís because they just have fun doing it.

What should parents do?

    Many parents have responded to crossdressing in harsh ways. Iíve heard of mothers who put locks on their closet doors to prevent it from happening again. Iíve heard that parents try to force their children into the most masculine activities possible to steer them away from it. And Iíve heard that some parents just ignore their sonís crossdressing altogether.
    Well, every situation is different and so is every son. You may have to discover on your own what is the best course of action, but I believe there are some things that parents should do.
    First of all, every parent of a teenager knows that the more they forbid something, the more likely a teenager is to do it. So letís not forbid the crossdressing just yet. The most important thing I think a parent should ensure is secrecy. This can sound very selfish on the parentsí part, but it actually can help out the child. In todayís society, crossdressing is generally scorned by most. Thus, crossdressers sometimes have a hard time being accepted. If the child began crossdressing at a very young age, he may not yet understand how it would affect him if the everyone knew that he crossdressed. You should make sure that your child understands this. If he is a teenager, then he probably already knows all about it.
    As for the crossdressing itself, parents should allow it, but they should also set limitations. Parents should understand that, to a crossdresser, dressing up is pretty much a fun game. Iíll compare it to basketball here. For a sport like basketball, children just have playing it. The same is true for crossdressing. However, parents mostly would not let their children play basketball all the time. They would make sure that he has other hobbies as well. But that doesnít mean they ban basketball. Just make sure he is broadening his horizons.
    A lot  of parents may mistake my meaning here. I donít mean for you to inject them into something hyper-masculine. Let him stay with something he likes. Tennis for example, or playing an instrument, or karate, or something like that. But parents should be accepting of their son already. Your child does have feelings, so be careful about the way you handle it. Donít try to seem like youíre trying to change him or trying to steer him away from something. Just make sure he is developing other hobbies.
    For most crossdressing is like a hobby, so parents can try to treat it as such. Let you children have fun doing it, but donít let them go overboard with it. For example, set a rule that says that he canít crossdress until his homework is done. Also I think that parents should let their son have his own womanís clothing. Donít give him an entire wardrobe, just enough for him to enjoy dressing in. Buy your son who is own bra and panties, several skirts, different kinds of tops that he wants (let him pick what kind he wants, but indulge him too much or it could lead to problems) like tank-tops or nice blouses. And let him have one or two dresses. One should be a casual dress, and one should be a formal dress. Another restriction would be that on occasions, you can allow your son to wear his formal dress, do his makeup and hair and come to dinner.
    However, do not do too much to encourage you sonís crossdressing. If this happens, he could begin to crossdress too much. Crossdressing, just like anything else, can become obsessive. But donít mistake this for enjoyment. For example, if the first thing your son does when he comes home is change into a skirt, there is nothing wrong with that as long as he does his homework or goes out to get exercise or hang out with his friends. If your son crossdresses all the time when he is home and doesnít go out, or if he skips school so he can stay home and crossdress, then I would agree that there is a problem.

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Last modified: 02/09/09