In this fascinating episode, board certified sex therapist and addictions counselor Dr. Carol Clark helps us demystify the concept of cross dressing and take away the stigma and shame commonly associated with it. If you or someone you know is a cross dresser, the insights from this episode will surely help in getting accurate information out there and prepare people to receive somebody who might reveal that they’re crossdresser and validate that.
Is there an intersection of cross dressing and gender and how do we define it?
In general, cross dressing is defined as wearing the clothes that are normally associated with the other sex or gender. It has gender implications as far as how we present it such as when a person identifies with one gender but presents as another and, in so doing, feeling like another gender. All of that is separate from sexual orientation, which is who you are attracted to.
Is cross dressing the beginning of somebody identifying as transgender?
It may or may not be. Dr. Clark emphasizes that cross dressing is a form of expression for various reasons. It is important to distinguish different reasons, particularly in therapy, to know what brought the person to therapy. We have to ask the cross dressers what’s the allure of that, what’s their motivation, etc.
How much are cross dresser suspected of being gay?
Generally, cross dressers are heterosexual men wearing women clothing for various reasons. It is always important to ask and not jump to any conclusions. We have to fix society to have a better understanding of cross dressing so a person can just dress up however way they want without the judgment.
What should a partner do?
It is important to reassure partners of cross dressers that it is not about them, and it is not their fault. Partners should have a deeper communication and try to get to know each other again. Just like in any marriage or partnership, it will come down to some compromises and making some adjustments in the relationship to make it work.
When should a cross dresser tell their partner and/or their children?
There are no “shoulds” but ideally you want your partner to know before starting the relationship. As in any case, revealing a big secret can be very traumatic to the other person and can be felt as betrayal. Keeping it a secret will not make it stop or go away.
Understanding cross dressing
These days where there are so many different ways of identifying your gender, cross dressers aren’t calling themselves as such and try to avoid calling themselves anything. For them, it is a way of life. For therapists, and for our friends and family, it all boils down to asking questions like, “Why are you showing up in my office? What’s your issue? How is cross dressing a problem for you? What is the meaning of this for you”
Dr. Carol Clark is a board certified in sex therapy and addictions and is the president, founder, and senior instructor for the International Institute of Clinical Sexology and the Therapist Certification Association.
From prisoners to celebrities, businessmen to artists, Dr. Clark’s work has helped individuals from a multitude of backgrounds to find a better life. She employs a variety of interventions to effectively assist those seeking personal growth and an improved sense of well-being in their lives. By using the concepts in her book, Addict America: The Lost Connection and My Pocket Therapist: 12 Tools for Living in Connection, she facilitates the healing that allows full intimacy and Connection.
In conjunction with her educational and professional development, her spiritual journey has evolved to an emotional and intellectual awareness of addiction as a condition that permeates all aspects of people’s lives.
Find her on Facebook & Instagram @DrCarolClark.
You can also check out The International Institute of Clinical Sexology on Facebook @sextherapyphd and on Instagram @iics.phd.
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