Any time you see someone say that crossdressers are not trans, remind yourself that there are also members of the trans community who claim that people who aren’t medically transitioning aren’t transgender. There are people who claim that if you don’t pass as cis and don’t want to pass as cis, then you aren’t transgender. Gatekeeping is everywhere, and it’s all bullshit.

For so many of us, crossdressing was our gender gateway, it was our first exploration into subverting our birth assignment, and often our first taste of gender dysphoria. The cisgender patriarchy is a strong force, however, and it indoctrinates denial. We are trained to be afraid of transness, brainwashed to doubt our own validity and to hide our diversion from cisnormativity.

So we stop at crossdressing, we stall out at that place, flirting with the idea of something more but too scared to take it for ourselves. Some girls go through cycles of expression and purging, dumping everything because they’re just too full of shame. My gender expression began with crossdressing, and thanks to all the shame and guilt that surrounded being trans, my gender expression ended at crossdressing for twenty years.

If you’re a crossdresser wondering if there’s more to this than just a subversive thrill… well, you’re taking the time to read the social media posts of trans women, so yes, there is probably more to it. Men don’t feel euphoria from dressing like women and women don’t feel euphoria from dressing like men.

If you’re a cis man who used to crossdress and keeps telling yourself “all boys explore their sexuality like that”… no honey, they don’t. Take it from a girl who used to think that.