There are many different usages and meanings of the term transvestism. Most experts agree that the correct usage is when people dress in clothes normally worn by the opposite gender in order to identify with that gender in some manner. A transvestite is a biological male who feels a strong compulsion to dress and present, on a regular basis, as a female. It is also known as cross-dressing. Some dictionaries add the words 'for sexual pleasure', but this is not really true because many cross-dressers just feel comfortable when they don the clothing of the other sex.
Many people who go in for wearing the clothes of the opposite sex have become unhappy with the word ‘transvestite’. They prefer to describe themselves as ‘cross-dressers’. Several websites have claimed that the incidence of cross-dressing in men is now about 1 in 100. However, there is at present really no way of establishing whether this figure bears any relationship to the truth.
Recent research has confirmed that most transvestites are not homosexual. The vast majority of male transvestites like being men. In contrast, men who are uncomfortable about being male, or who feel they are not male inside, are said to have gender dysphoria. Dysphoria means a chronic feeling of discontent.
So why do men cross dress?
No one really knows why some men have this desire. Most men who cross-dress describe it as an outlet for stress, and they tend to want to dress up more during times of tension at work or at home. Some men get relief from tension simply by wearing women's lingerie (often silk) under their exterior male clothing. These guys often go no further than that with their cross-dressing. Most transvestites, however, want to appear as female as possible in their outer garments and want to wear make-up. Men who cross-dress are not mentally ill. Indeed, psychologists in the USA have decided that cross-dressing comes within the normal range of...