People (usually males) who call themselves cross-dressers, or transvestites, dress as the opposite gender for emotional satisfaction, erotic pleasure, or just because they feel more comfortable doing so.
They feel a strong recurring desire to cross-dress but are generally perfectly happy with their birth gender and have no wish to permanently alter the physical characteristics of their bodies. Often the cross-dressing provides a pleasant outlet for them to explore feelings and behaviours associated with the opposite gender and therefore they frequently use opposite gender names and pronouns while cross-dressed.
Although they enjoy the actual periods when they cross-dress, some people can initially find it difficult to come to terms with their desire to cross-dress and may spend a period of time struggling alone with feelings of shame and fear.
In due course, most are able to move beyond these negative feelings and simply enjoy cross-dressing with others at supportive social evenings and occasional weekend events.
Nearly all people who enjoy being drag kings or drag queens have gender identities which completely match their birth gender and most do not consider themselves to be transgender.
Being a drag king or drag queen is about the occasional portrayal of the opposite gender with an emphasis on performance and fun.
The opposite gender persona they portray is therefore usually a dramatic or humorous one. Drag performances may take place on stage but they are also often done informally during parties, carnivals and various other situations.
- Adapted from Gender Identity - An Information Booklet For Transgender People In Scotland and Their Families and Friends