Some definitions…

There haven’t been that many studies on cross-dressing, possibly because it’s really not that important.  It’s just a bunch of guys in skirts; that’s it!  However, one which I think might be worth mentioning is a study in the 1960s with 504 transvestites and its follow-up with 1200 transvestites in the 1990s by Prince and Bentler:

  • 12% were transexuals
  • 12% were doing it for a sexual fetish
  • 69% were “Seeking feminine expression”
  • 28% had a “homosexual experience” (versus 37% in the general population; Kinsey)

How representative the sample was I have no idea; in the earlier study, they got responses from men subscribing to a magazine, which would be a self-selecting group that skews the results.  Also, I would define “Seeking feminine expression” as “Just doing it for the hell of it” (I don’t consider myself particularly feminine; I just think the clothes look good and want to try ’em out).  The phrase “homosexual experience” is a bit vague as well; what counts as a homosexual experience?  Being hit on by another man?  Kissed?  Full-on bow-chika bow-chika?  Something considered homosexual by one person might not be considered so by another.

In October 1993, the CIA produced a report, Sexual Behaviour & Security Risk and had the following to say about transvestites. They are:

  • are male heterosexuals
  • distinct from drag queens or female impersonators (RuPaul says she “dresses like a drag queen”)
  • are Not Dangerous (yipee!)

That’s pretty much the definition I’m going to go for. The report also says transvestites:

  • lack public acceptance
  • may lack discretion
  • are susceptible to blackmail/extortion

– you don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the box to realise that the lack of acceptance and susceptibility to blackmail are linked.  As for discretion, that depends on what you’re wearing and what you do whilst wearing it…

I’ll refer to some of these studies again later (if I remember).

psychology, innit?

4 thoughts on “Some definitions…

    • Miss Twist says:

      It’s a talk I did when I used to be involved with Edinburgh Skeptics (part of the Skeptics in the Pub network; we organised talks on various topics involving science, reason, and critical thinking).
      The content from the talk has since been peppered around various blog posts here under the ‘psychology’ tag. 🙂

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