I agree with so much that the other ladies here have told you. Moving from being a crossdresser to understanding you are transgender is not inevitable, yet often the two have connection.
I crossdressed when I was younger. It was normally an erotic experience and usually somewhat disheartening. Disheartening because I knew eventually I had to take off all the clothes and go back to my male world. Erotic because it was the means I was able to recover something “good” out of the deep disappointment of having to go back.
Overtime I came to realize I just didn’t want to dress as a girl (now woman), but I truly wanted to be one. Dressing couldn’t achieve that for me, thus the disappointment.
The next leg of my journey was to finally admit and ultimately embrace my reality. I am not simply a man, a male. I am trans. (Gulp)
Furthermore, I finally discovered: OK, just say it, “I am a woman.” Now I understand and readily embrace that despite all outward evidence I am a woman at my soul level. I am not simply a man with a strong feminine side, rather I am a woman who is deeply feminine and longs for the world to know me as such.
That’s where I am now. I am not currently transitioning. I am not sure I ever will. But I am much more open to the idea, tremendous upheavals for many notwithstanding. Maybe transition probably won’t be to full time womanhood, but maybe it will. I don’t know at this time.
The point is that understanding and embracing yourself as trans is a process, a journey as so many call it. I am currently 68. I been consciously on this journey for 63 years. I don’t regret not transitioning earlier. I don’t regret taking all this time to figure it out.
But what I am concerned about is the possible regret that will come if I chose to remain closeted rather than introducing Charlene to the world at large. I am not a man who wants to be a woman, no, I am a woman who simply wants to be. Imagine coming to the end knowing that very few if any actually ever knew the real you.
I hope this helps. May you be blessed in your journey of self discovery.