The word transvestite was established by a German doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld, who introduced it for the first time in his literary work “The Transvestites: An Investigation of the Erotic Desire to Disguise”. This word made possible the description of >those people who voluntarily put on clothes or clothing totally opposite to their sex. Transvestites take physical and psychological characteristics and aspects related to the opposite sex, that is, these people often decide to dress and adopt attitudes that are socially used by the opposite sex, since they feel dissatisfaction for exercising only the gender established for their sex.

what is transvestite

They are those people who voluntarily put on clothes or clothing totally opposite to their sex. There is also the term transvestism, which is understood by literally wearing the clothes of the other sex, this fact, in itself, could be a symptom that is part of another different disorder, but the peculiarity of the term is that it is also known as fetishist , because the person has a sexual arousal for the simple fact of wearing clothes of the other sex.

Perhaps for this reason, women dressed as men and men dressed as women are seen in many places, but it is also important to emphasize that these people are satisfied with their sex, accept it and have no conflict with their body or their genitals, the opposite case. that of transsexuals, these if they feel imprisoned in a wrong body.

The word transvestite comes from a Hispanic modification of the word “transvestite”, this word has its origin from the Latin “Trans” which means to cross or surpass, and “vestite” which means to dress.

history of cross-dressing

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The term had its origin in the year 1910, when the researcher Magnus Hischfeld published it in his book “Human Secular Behaviors”, although of course, he exposed it as a kind of clinical perversion in which people dressed in the clothes of the opposite sex, perhaps for personal taste or excitement. However, before this person made the term public, many took these behaviors as an aeonism, which totally dignifies the behavior of transvestites, but adding sexual nuances to their acts.

This second term came from D’Eon de Beaumont, in charge of giving the name to the word. Over the years, the term has been executed as a totally repetitive practice in different areas, whether used by women or men, however, in the latter the situation was more critical for people, since they were the most famous. or those characterized by such behaviors. But this was seen even in remote times, in fact, ceramics with figure decorations narrating transvestism are still preserved today.

Gender identities and transvestism have been in the world and history from various aspects, even more so in mythology and in the oldest cultures in the universe. The most classic example of this is the anecdote of Thetis, mother of Achilles, who dressed him as a woman to hide him so that he would not be taken to the Trojan War. Another anecdote is that of Hua Mulan, a story that tells the life of a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to belong to the Chinese army.

These behaviors are considered a kind of abomination for the church and it is very emphasized in the bible, because there they prohibit men from wearing women’s clothes, just as women should not wear men’s clothes either, because if they did they were in rebellion and against the sacred words.

Transvestite Characteristics

Transvestites are subjects who tend to adopt the clothing and physical and psychological characteristics of the opposite sex. For this to happen, it is not necessary for these people to undergo aesthetic operations that refer to a change of sex to make certain areas of the body predominate so that they appear of the opposite sex, they simply look for quick alternatives that make them look and feel like a man or, failing that, as a woman, regardless of their biological sex.

Sometimes they will be seen with opposite sex outfits, but not so remarkable, they are often called closet transvestites because they represent both genders.

The term defined as transvestite psychology is totally different from transgender, since the former only wear men’s or women’s clothing as the case may be, on the other hand, transgender people change their biological sex and this is permanent. In addition to this, most transvestites are heterosexual, so homosexuality is not a primary or essential characteristic of them.

Transvestites feel good about the sex they were born with, in fact, they have no problem with it, they simply feel pleasure dressing or staging the opposite sex, which is why some experts consider that these behaviors are the result of degrees of gender dysphoria and it tends to be seen as a cross-dressing disorder.

These subjects are characterized by being flexible, somewhat more liberal than the rest and seek to break with the stereotypes that have marked people since ancient times.

Transvestism according to psychology

Transvestite - According to psychology

The term refers to a totally intense and repetitive type of sexual arousal, usually recurrent only by wearing clothes of the opposite sex. Transvestite psychology is known as a disorder and occurs just when the person feels that her behavioral tendencies are considerably interfering with the development of her daily life.

For psychology, the term is more fetishistic than a way of life, in fact, the clothing (and not the person itself) is the fetish and, in turn, a kind of paraphilia.

There are some elements that come together in transvestism, which will be explained in a list below.

  • The disorder does not occur in all people with these behaviors, but they can develop it over the years.
  • Doctors manage to make the diagnosis only when the patient has deficiencies in his daily life because he has the impetuous need to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex, a situation that harms both his life and his environment.
  • Despite the belief of many radicals, the existence of drugs that are effective with this disorder is negative, therefore, experts recommend conducting psychotherapy to help them adapt to themselves, to manage to keep their behaviors at bay and to make your life more bearable.


Transvestism causes can begin in childhood, at the age of 5 the child can start wearing dresses as a simple game of experimentation, reaching adolescence becoming a kind of unstoppable progression, since in adulthood the individual can wearing women’s underwear that is more discreet and, over time, can be exhibited in public at events such as costume parties, dressed entirely as a woman.


This condition varies a lot between its different degrees of transvestism and the associated sexual behavior, some even masturbating taking advantage of the pleasure and excitement that being wearing a garment represents for them or expressing the behavior of the transvestite when fully dressed as the other sex; It can be thought then that the imagination is the one that fulfills the most important role since the person can give free rein to her hidden desires by wearing a garment of the opposite sex.

The profile of a transvestite is almost always the same, a heterosexual man, married and with a child, acts can occur in secret for years without the couples knowing or simply accepting it as a hobby of their spouse, but upon discovering these acts they almost always end in the termination of family and couple life.

Currently there is a variety of couples who accept and understand the different situation that such a life and trying to help start psychological therapies, since this personally, socially and psychologically is difficult to assimilate.


There are therapies for transvestism, in fact, the most used is the behavior modification technique together with psychoanalysis, the results of which are very satisfactory, because as in all cases, the lack of knowledge and information is the biggest problem. For this reason, education, learning about this disorder and its complexity, helps to better develop the acceptance of a different lifestyle.

famous transvestites

An individual, whether it is a man who dresses as a woman or a woman who wears men’s clothing, does not necessarily have to be homosexual, many times these people do this because they are related to the world of entertainment, where men are often seen making characterizations of women and this is simply in a professional way. An example of this is Moreno Michael, who is a great Venezuelan imitator and among his characters is Celia Cruz, Lila Morillo, among others.

But there is also the figure of transvestites Mexico, in fact, in that country a telenovela was recorded in which the protagonist, the actor Jaime Camil for things in life was forced to disguise himself as a woman, this novel was called “Por Ella Soy Eva” which was very successful both in her country and in other countries where it was broadcast.

For many people, going to shows where men characterize women, it is more funny in terms of comedy, a man dressing as a woman than a woman dressing as a man.

There are also those actors who played women or transgender people and had to dress as the opposite sex, including Jeffrey Tambor, who played Maura Pfefferman in the film “Transparent.” Even Jared Letto played a transsexual woman in the film “Dallas Buyers Club.”

But in addition to the cases mentioned in this post, it is necessary to mention the important transvestites around the world, among them, Lili Elbe, who before undergoing surgery to change her sex and become the first transgender woman in the world, was a transvestite and claimed that she felt more comfortable dressing as a woman than as a man. Her story is known under the film “The Danish Girl”.

Another important figure is Elliot Paige, who was originally known as Ellen Paige and had tendencies to dress and act like a man. He recently broke the news of his transition and name change from Ellen to Elliot to the world. There are also Sasha Velour, Violet Chachki, Bianca del Rio, Courtney Act, Conchita Wurst, Kim Chi, all considered Drag Queens.

Shemale Frequently Asked Questions

What is a transvestite?

A person who likes to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex.

What is transvestism for psychology?

It is a fetish or paraphilia.

Are transvestites homosexual?

Not necessarily, some maintain their sexual orientation, few are homosexual.

How do transvestites do makeup?

His style is Drag, more exaggerated than usual and therefore more remarkable.

What is the difference between transvestite and transgender?

The former dress as the opposite sex, the transgender do not feel comfortable with their biological sex and decide to change it through surgery.