Lynne passed along a comment she read from a cross dresser "on line" acquaintance which I believe was worth sending along to you for your thoughts, here in Cyrsti's Condo.
I'm going to highlight a couple excerpts:
:"I am not a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any kind of expert on matters of sex and gender. However, I am, among more important things, a crossdresser. I accept this part of me as a form of artistic expression. The art (or craft, if you like) is in being able to superficially transform into an attractive woman using fabric, pigments, and jewelry applied to a masculine body. Doing so to a feminine body is, well, not much of a challenge, is it?
It is entirely possible that visually-stimulated sexual development of males during the teen years, compounded by the plethora of confusing social inputs, can establish a crossdressing habit. I believe for most, crossdressing is a form of sexual exploration in the beginning, a way to have access to a virtual girl, if you will, to satisfy oneself. Part of this has to do with the fact that in many societies, sex is verboten among children, often well into the teen years. This makes sexual exploration very difficult, especially for boys living in a paternalistic culture where notions of virility are very important.
Crossdressing, or playing around with frilly things belonging to mom or sisters is a way, perhaps, to explore this taboo thing called sex. Eventually, the frilly things get worn, makeup is added, etc. Doing so in secret, living in a society that will accuse a boy of being a sissy or worse, amplifies the sense that a boy is doing something wrong, and hence shame becomes a constant companion.
For most men, I suspect this continues on, since memories from our formative years certainly remain, contributing to an evolving understanding of sex and relationships.
These men may chose to suppress it due to shame or family issues, continue to push the envelope across the spectrum of fetish, or, like me, explore crossdressing as an artistic option that compliments painting, drawing, or whatever. In the latter case, the sexual connections have long disappeared, and the activity has become performance art mixed with the thrill of doing something society often thinks is deviant or wrong, even though it is not considered so among those who are enlightened.
But for a minority of men, crossdressing may have revealed something about gender identity, which previously may have been latent or simply misunderstood. I cannot speak much to this, since I know nothing about it. I leave that to others more well-versed on the subject than me."
Here is where I jump back in. I too can not speak to the numbers of cross dressers compared to, transgender / transsexual women or men. I just know I went through the process where the sexual connections disappeared very early in my cross dressing process. Being a railroad buff, I compared it to being "switched" onto another track all together. For years I stayed on the track for real or imagined reasons. I did suspect though, I was on the wrong track and sooner or later derail.
I did derail - or rather my life did in a big way. It had nothing to do with being a cross dresser or transgender woman. All I do know is, in the process, I had the best chance of my life to be "switched" onto a new gender track. I took a deep breath, hitched up my big girl panties and bought my ticket. Very quickly though, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt, I was finally where I always should have been. I will forever remember the moment of deep seated warmth and well being which enveloped me one evening.
Similar to the person who wrote the original post, I'm not an expert either, just someone who has been riding the gender rails for over a half century now. I just happen to be semi literate enough to write about it.
If by chance, the person who did write this does stop by the Condo, I would love for you to take the credit and read more of your thoughts!