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Closeted as a Cross-Dresser

Dear Rachel and Claire,
I'm a man that's been with the same woman for five years. I don't have the heart to tell her that I really want to be a woman. I've been cross dressing since I was very young. I love her very much and I'm not gay. I don't know how to tell this to her.

Please help,
Closeted

A:

Dear Closeted,

Five years is indeed a long time to keep such a profound desire to yourself. Many people choose to deny vital parts of themselves because they fear rejection from their partner. Such secrecy just doesn't work. People end up bitter and resentful, or sneak off to do whatever it is they can't do with their partner, or they break up. It sounds like you can keep mum no longer.

In speaking up you'll be proactively shaping your life and pursuing your desires. If you don't, you'll be squelching a part of you that's clearly core to your personality. Be loving and straightforward: what you say here is a good start. You can help her understand your feelings and you can give her resources about transvestism and transgenderism, but you can't make her want to go through your exploration and potential transition if she's not up for it. The only way you'll know is by talking to her. Have you been able to explore your gender or cross dress in the last five years? Maybe you're interested in sex reassignment surgery, maybe you want to live as a woman and keep your biology intact, or may be you would be perfectly satisfied with dressing up in pretty frilly things every now and again.  Maybe you need some time and space to explore your gender and your different options. Getting your desires out in the open is an essential starting point. You might want to to look up the Transgender Guide on the internet, they have great resources for you and your partner. Good luck on your journey!