What does it mean?

Someone who uses the clothes or presentation of a different gender. The act of doing this is called “crossdressing”. This may be an activity that is done some or all of the time.

“This describes a person who wears the clothes usually associated with the “opposite” sex.” – BBC

Crossdresser is sometimes abbreviated to “CD”.

Crossdressers are different to drag queens and drag kings, who wear these clothes as a performance.

Defined by breaking norms

"Crossdresser" is a word that describes whether people are breaking the rules - “norms” - of how people are expected to behave or describe themselves.

Words like this can:

  • make visible that it is possible to break norms
  • help explain how people are discriminated against or targeted for breaking norms
  • help explain the privilege given to people who do not break norms

However, words like this can also:

  • imply that only certain people are allowed to break norms
  • be confusing, as almost everyone breaks at least some norms
  • be confusing, as people may not know whether they break enough norms to use the term
  • hide that some people don't just experience discrimination for breaking norms, and experience gender dysphoria too
  • result in the term being used to mean “normal person” or “abnormal person”

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

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