I've heard the question "What's the difference between a crossdresser and a transsexual? asked as a joke quite a few times over the years, with the answer being a period of time, usually 18 months or 2 years. As a crossdresser who has no intention of ever transitioning, I find this so-called joke remarkably insulting and inappropriate, particularly because it is usually told by transsexuals and pre-supposes that every crossdresser will eventually realise that they are in fact transsexual and will transition to living as the opposite gender. Worse, this attitude confuses people outside the transgender community, who see such statements as confirmation of a misconception that they already thought was a fact, that all transgender people will transition.
I've been on the receiving end of abuse from someone who believed that I was doing a disservice to my wife and son for being in my family. The assumption was that at some point in the future (presumably sooner rather than later), I would abandon my family to transition so I shouldn't have been there in the first place. Another person was very upset when they found out about me, asking how they were going to explain to their son, when he gets older, why my son has two mothers. The answer is that he doesn't, and won't. Much as I'd probably enjoy spending a few consecutive days en femme, there are many reasons why I don't expect to ever live as a female continuously. It's simply not who I am.
This reinforcement of an incorrect stereotype is divisive to the transgender community, and yet I continue to see similar negativity expressed by all sorts of people who really should know better.
In a google search of blogs on crossdressing recently, I found one transsexual who believed that there were gay male drag queens, transvestic fetishists and transsexuals, and that the first two should stop trying to take advantage of civil rights gains by the latter. The author effectively denied the existence of crossdressers, implying that we are all fetishists or transsexuals.
Another blog that I stumbled upon appeared to claim to be authored by the partner of a crossdresser, and be in the form of an advice column. I read an article where that author advised that a father's crossdressing should be hidden from a young child, because what the parents do in their sex life is not something that a child should know about. The pre-supposition that crossdressing was purely a sexual thing also appeared to indicate a belief that crossdressers are all fetishists.
I'm at a loss to understand the motivation of either of those bloggers. I'm not sure whether they're impostors deliberately trying to spread misinformation, psychologically troubled or simply well meaning but incredibly misinformed. I can't think of any other alternatives.
This confusion between crossdressers and transsexuals reminds me of an incident that happened at a Seahorse NSW meeting many years ago. I was told by another member that I was a transsexual in denial, while my wife was standing alongside me. The logic used to justify this statement was that I made too much effort with my presentation. "If you were really only a crossdresser, you would be as unpassable as the rest us." Coming from someone who dressed like a street prostitute and openly acknowledged that fact, that was quite a remarkable statement. She simultaneously insulted every seahorse member present while saying something that could have potentially been damaging to my marriage if my wife had been as misinformed as some of the people I've mention above. Ironically, my presentation has evolved, matured and improved considerably since then.
It makes me so much more appreciative of my wife and the other people around me who accept me for who I am. I'm far from perfect, but I try my best.