Cross-dressing is the act of wearing clothing commonly associated with another gender within a particular society.
The usage of the term, the types of cross-dressing both in modern times and throughout history, an analysis of the behavior, and historical examples are discussed in the article below.
Nearly every human society throughout history has distinguished between male and female gender by the style, color, or type of clothing they wear and has had a set of norms, views, guidelines, or even laws defining what type of clothing is appropriate for each gender. Cross-dressing is a behavior that runs significantly counter to those norms and therefore can be seen as a type of transgender behavior. It does not, however, necessarily indicate transgender identity; a person who cross-dresses does not always identify as having a gender different from that assigned at birth.
The term cross-dressing
denotes an action or a behavior without attributing or proposing causes for that behavior. Some people automatically connect cross-dressing behavior to transgender identity or sexual, fetishist, and homosexual behavior, but the term cross-dressing
itself does not imply any motives. However, referring to a person as a cross-dresser
suggests that their cross-dressing behavior is habitual and may be taken to mean that the person identifies as transgendered. The term cross-dresser should therefore be used with care to avoid causing misunderstanding or offense.