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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.”


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.

Errors and omissions

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