Cross dressing does not necessarily mean that you are gay. Contrary to popular opinion, cross dressers are not necessarily having a crisis of identity or psychologically imbalanced. For cross dressers, it is just a means of self-expression and exploring one’s identity, especially with regards to the opposite sex. For conservative parents, this may not be an acceptable practice, especially since gender roles have been completely indoctrinated into them. It is impossible for you to maintain this a secret from your family, and eventually you will have to explain this to your parents. Here are some steps you might want to follow when explaining cross-dressing to your parents.
- Come to terms with your own identity. You will have to determine with finality your own sexual orientation. Ideally, there should be no room for ambiguity. When revealing the fact that you are a cross-dresser, you will have to answer the inevitable questions about your sexuality. While there are some gay men who will cross dress, some straight men do as well (an example would be Hollywood director Ed Wood). If you are part of the latter, you may have a harder time explaining your proclivities.
- Revealing your secret will definitely shock your parents. You may have to warm them up to the idea beforehand. Send some feelers out, but don’t be too blatant about it. Remember, you don’t want to shock them. It will be best to create a non-hostile and serious environment where you can sit down and talk to them. Be serious when you say you have something important to tell them.
- When finally telling them you are a crossdresser, get straight to the point. Be firm and confident with what you have to say. Explain why you do what you do, and tell them how your cross dressing started. You will have to prepare for a lot of strong reactions from your parents. Cross dressing is against a lot of social conventions, and they may react with grief, anger or disappointment. Don’t blame them for this – it is a normal reaction to an unusual situation. This is a step you’ll have to go through together, so you have to put up with this stage of negativity.
- There are a lot of reasons for cross dressing: you may feel that it gives you the freedom to express yourself, or get in touch with your feminine side. If there are sexual fetishes involved, you may have some difficulty explaining these to your parents. Just be sure you are calm and rational when talking to them.
- The most important part will be constant reassurance. Just let them know that you’re not crazy, and that you’re still the same person that you always have been. You have to reassure them that you are still a rational person whose identity does not change with your clothes.
There are a lot of people who can support you through this time. Guidance counselors, support groups and even religious elders can help you through this trying time. Remember that you do not go through this life alone, and that you have a circle of friends and family to support you.