Cross-dressing

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Cross-dressing is the wearing of clothing and other accoutrement commonly associated with a gender within a particular society that is seen as different than the one usually presented by the dresser.[1] Cross-dressing has been used for disguise, performance art and as a literary trope in modern times and throughout history.

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 runs significantly counter to those norms and, therefore, can be seen as a type of transgender behavior[citation needed]. It does not, however, necessarily indicate transgender identity; a person who cross-dresses does not always identify as being of the opposite gender.

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.

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History of crossdressing

Crossdressing exists throughout much of recorded history. There are many examples in Greek, Norse, and Hindu mythology. Dozens of historical figures were known to crossdress; Joan of Arc is a notable example. There is a rich history of crossdressing reflected in folklore, literature, theater, and music.

Varieties of cross-dressing

There are many different kinds of cross-dressing and many different reasons why an individual might engage in cross-dressing behaviour.[2] Some people cross-dress as a matter of comfort or style. They prefer clothing associated with the opposite sex. In this case, a person's cross-dressing may or may not be apparent to other people. Some people cross-dress to shock others or challenge social norms.

Both men and women may cross-dress to disguise their physical sex. Historically, some women have cross-dressed to take up male-dominated or male-exclusive professions, such as military service. Conversely, some men have cross-dressed to escape from mandatory military service[3] or as a disguise to assist in political or social protest, as men did in the Rebecca Riots.

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