Two of the commonest feelings for cross-dressers/transvestites are guilt and shame. Why should this be so and how can we deal with it? These feelings come from an internalised moral policeman which was put in place when we were young. It is based on parental attitudes and society norms but is deeply programmed into our minds at a very young age and can be stubbornly difficult to shift. Cross-dressers can be torn between a strong sense of desire and need to express a hidden contrasexual part with an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame (which often leads to regular purges of cothing and other paraphernalia). The corresponding (self-) judgement can also be very present too. Although others can be judgemental in the real world it is often the imagined judgement of others, a paralysing fear, that is the cross-dresser’s worst enemy. The fear of exposing a vulnerable underbelly and feeling the associated shame.
The counselling process allows these thoughts and feelings to be brought out into the open to be discussed and understood. This disempowers these feelings and gives back a greater sense of control and self-acceptance. Often there are other factors tied in with the cross-dressing, for example parental love/acceptance/abuse/etc and these can also be discovered, understood and worked through.
Most cross-dressers will say that their inner opposite has been present since early childhood and is an inherent part of their personality. But they have a love/hate relationship with it. Counselling helps to foster a less polarised internal world and works towards a socially acceptable outlet which allows the inner opposite to live and breathe, in interaction with others, without a crippling sense of shame or guilt.
Cross-dressing can be seen from different perspectives. It can be seen as a perversion/pathology or a harmless and enjoyable creative experience. Unfortunately, for many people, the former retains the upper hand leaving many unnecessarily feeling guilt and shame and missing out on some of life’s richest experiences.