Why Do We Do What We Do?

I have noticed that when I write I tend to be contemplative, as in always wondering why. It could be any topic that has my interest, and it’s no different with my dressing. I’m wondering the why exactly for not feeling fulfilled when presenting in my birth gender only. What causes the desire, or should I say compulsion, to dress?

Because it is a compulsion. Make no mistake. And so I revisit and analyze and try to understand this part of me.

Why as a young child did I find my mom’s makeup so fascinating? Why did I sometimes imagine myself as a girl? I didn’t often dress, and on the rare occasions when I did, I made sure I was absolutely alone. My fear of being caught was so great that I was actually able to go very long stretches without dressing at all.


As an adult, I went years without dressing, to my ultimate detriment. Let’s just say I was tired of life. Oh, I had my reasons—a wife, kids, parents who probably wouldn’t be very supportive (I loved you dad – but I’m talking about you.) But still, along with other factors it ultimately brought me to a point where I no longer wanted to go on. So why do we dress? Or go even further?

I think a lot of it has to do with the stereotypes men are supposed to live up to. We are not supposed to show our feelings, express emotion – be human. When I was younger, I was tormented by the feeling that I just wasn’t living up to the masculine ideal. I was an emotional, introverted, shy boy, who wanted to express my feelings, but felt as if I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be “manly” to do so. I was not macho. I liked reading and learning. I liked school. I went out for cross country just to say that I participated in a sport. I loved girls (women), but I wasn’t even on their radar. Nerdy guys don’t really cut it in high school.

But I never lost my love of things feminine—makeup especially. I loved the thought of being someone else; someone who could be who they were. Show emotion. Show feelings. Be the empathetic soul I felt I was. In other words, be more feminine.

And…I knew that wasn’t allowed. If I wanted to express my emotions it defined not only my gender but my sexuality. And that, I think, is a real problem. I love women, but I would love to be one, too. Society defines us as girls or boys, women or men, gay or straight; with or without emotion. There is no gray area.

So I come back to the why. Why do I (we) dress? I have my thoughts. Ultimately, I may never know the whole answer. And yet, that is not what is really important. I just know that it is a part of me, and what is important is that I embrace who I am every day! To know that I can express my feelings, that I can be emotional, and that I can let the feminine (woman in me) out. Let her be expressed in the loving way I look at my children, or in my interactions with others on a daily basis – to show appreciation for the effort they put into their appearance or the care they show their spouse or children. Show my admiration in how they interact with others.

That is a true benefit of femininity; the ability to interact and empathize with other people. How much better would society be if men were allowed the same privilege?

But we aren’t. And yet – that is the essence of April.

En Femme Style

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April King

I have been crossdressing since about the age of 7, and took a 30+ year hiatus from dressing while I was busy raising my family. I started dressing again a few years ago, and at times I feel TG, and other times, simply someone who likes to crossdress. I finally like who I am though, and I am moving closer and closer to who I want to be, but I'm not quite sure who that is yet. My feelings go back and forth over time, yet I'm finally at peace with who I am and can't wait to keep moving forward.

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Renee Crow
Renee Crow(@reneecrow)
1 year ago

I agree with what you said about being able to see the other side it wasn’t until I started getting more involved with my famine side that my mind was open to see the reality of what was going on around me. i notice people looked different, and they looked at me different even as a man they saw me in away that can be explained as magical and that’s just how i feel when i am dressed up

Lauren Mugnaia
Active Member
Lauren Mugnaia(@reallylauren)
2 years ago

Oh April! I just found this, and it so truly echoes all that I feel and have felt as a feminine person. I have always been feminine and drawn to femininity. I too have always been very emotional, I cry while listening to music and watching movies, and was often teased because of that. But to be able to show my emotions as I have moved through my life has always been a great gift and not a problematic issue. I wouldn’t give that part of me up for all the treasure I could ever be offered. Thank you for… Read more »

Marg Produe
Active Member
Marg Produe(@margprodue)
2 years ago

Hi April,
As a late comer to TGH, I just came across this wonderful article of yours. I can really relate to it since I was always trying to be my father (which was impossible) but in reality I was actually my mother. Thanks for all the helps
Safe Journey,

Jan Johns
Jan Johns
3 years ago

I too took a 30 year break from dressing raising a family, now its my time well almost, best wishes

4 years ago

What a lovely story. I can re late in several ways, good luck to you on your journey!

Maxine Doos
Maxine Doos(@maxined)
4 years ago

Thank you so much for this contribution, April. I for one really enjoyed reading it. Your account of the early years is so familiar. I too loved school, was a nerd and worshipped girls from a distance. I rarely dressed, only partially and in total isolation. In late secondary school I was fortunate enough to meet the love of my life and to this day I consider my HSC year (last year of secondary school) as the best year of my life. Sadly, during 1st year at uni I was convinced by my mother and a few of her friends… Read more »

Maxine Doos
Maxine Doos(@maxined)
4 years ago
Reply to  April King

Unfortunately not, April. I ended the relationship during my 1st year at university.
40 odd years later, I am yet to find a field with grass as green as that 1st paddock. 😳

Terri M
Terri M(@terrim)
4 years ago

I started going out enfemme in 1978 at age of 30. Prior to that as teenager I would put on a slip and makeup belonging to my mother. In 1981 my wife of 10 yrs found something and as a result I told my wife and stopped dressing. After almost committing suicide I saw a psychologist and asked Why I dress ? She had no clear cut answer. But she did help me. I then began a policy of balance in my life. If I found out Why ? , what would it change. I dont think it would change… Read more »

Jessica Ray
Jessica Ray(@jessicar)
4 years ago

This reflection of your transgendership mirrors a lot on this site I expect. A great article from beginning to end. I can only tell people reading don’t leave it festering and get on with life.
Love to all reading.

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