Is it time for a new name for cross-dressers? The long used term transvestite has been buried, except for the few cross-dressers that are still comfortable using this term, as it doesn’t reflect the current description of cross-dressing. Thus this term has been dropped by most of the community.
The definition of transvestism (Merriam-Webster) is “a person and especially a male who adopts the dress and often the behavior of the opposite sex especially for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification. Its origin is from the German word Transvestit, from Latin trans + vestire to clothe and the first use of the term tracked was in 1922!
The broader term “transgender” by definition is the umbrella word for people who do not conform to typical gender roles. These groups include: cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals and people who identify as genderqueer. Although cross-dressers and transsexuals are both classified as transgender people, their identities can differ radically. Though many people are using the terms transgender and transsexual interchangeably, they are not synonymous terms.
Because of the once negative connotation of the term transsexual, due to its roots in describing this identity as a disease, originated in a medical and psychological condition and the negativity associated with the history of a transsexual, the word transgender has been adopted by the transsexual community.
The coming out of transsexuals by high-profile people, such as Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner as being transgender, has further solidified the term transgender for the transsexual community. And, let’s face it, if you are cis-gender or not familiar with the transgender community, there’s no reason not to associate with the term transgender as being someone who is transsexual, at least by definition.
Terminology can be ridiculously binding and inaccurate, yet when dealing with descriptive of gender, especially in this early stage of awareness on just who the transgender community is and how they fit into our society, it has become highly relevant in the understanding the similarities and differences of these groups.
So, now that the transsexual community is mostly recognized by the world, including the media in their depiction of them, as transgender people, what term should be used to describe the cross-dressing community? I have used the term dual-gender, other cross-dressing friends of mine use the terms: bi-gender, gender-fluid and ambigender.
And, since transgender is part of the LGBTQ protected class, how does the cross-dressing community remain included in the protection of the government and society if they are not included in the “T” of these protected classes. Should cross-dressers, even change their name or just continue to self-identify as a cross-dresser as part of the transgender community? And, come out and tell their story.
As always, I am here to help cross-dressers tell their story and to empower the entire spectrum of the transgender community. I know this is a controversial topic, as most of my articles are. I am aware that some of these definitions may offend some of you, so I have listed a number of links to the current standard definitions below.
I look forward to your thoughts on this topic. We could all use support in our fight in living to become our authentic selves, no matter what we are called.