By David Galatians
This is my story of walking on the path to healing and redemption with the Lord. Let me clearly state that I am a Christian. I believe that crossdressing is a sin and is not the plan that God has for us – His children. I have had a person tell me that I must deny this “religious” stuff and not deny who I am and what I want. They even told me that I should leave my wife in pursuit of crossdressing. I ask what benefit do I gain in pursuing the world of transvestism? Will it bring me peace deep in my soul where the pain is hidden? This person that talked to me was a total stranger and the anger in their words tells me that they don’t have peace in pursuing what they have decided to do. Crossdressing hasn’t done anything positive in my life to this point and what is the definition of stupidity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. This may not be your story, but it is mine.
6th grade is the year I started noticing women – mainly my teachers. I started recognizing their beauty and my body responded sexually to that thought through masturbation. But I also started recognizing that I also noticed their clothing and thinking how I would look in their clothing. During the year my 6th grade team did a play, I was chosen to play one of the main parts. For my costume, my homeroom teacher brought a shirt from home for me to wear. I remember the feelings I had for that shirt thinking it was hers. Once the play was over, I asked if I could keep it “for the memory.” I treasured that shirt and wore it in my room often and even masturbated wearing it. One day, I was looking at it closely, noticing the sleeves and the tag, and figured out that it was one of my teacher’s husband’s old shirts. All of sudden, the appeal of that shirt was lost. It was just a piece of cloth. And I got rid of it. This started me on a long road of crossdressing.
Through the years, I started a routine of going through the cycle of finding women’s clothes to borrow, buy or steal, then start feeling guilty, shameful or some other bad feeling(s) personally or spiritually [Christian], and then get rid of everything and determined to be “good.” But remaining good never stayed for a long time. My mom caught me one time as well as my sister, but except for hurt feelings nothing else was pursued in trying to find out why a boy wanted to wear women’s clothing. I just knew that getting women’s clothing wasn’t acceptable. No attempt at healing though. No discussions. At times, I would think about if I could get away with wearing a piece of women’s clothes out in public, but I never did that because I figured that there was no way to hide being a boy. This was the pattern through junior high school, high school, college and into graduate school. The only times it was different was when I could get pornography to add to the fantasy.
I thought being with women would heal me. NO! I thought being married would heal me. NO! This is the basic path of my life. After one failed marriage, I got married to my second wife. She has been a blessing to me and we have two children, a son and her daughter from another marriage. I just knew that I would never want or need to buy and wear women’s clothing, but soon I was finding and rationalizing how to get women’s clothes into my wardrobe. At the beginning it worked with my wife, even to the point that I bought some women’s boots and wore them out in public. But then the cycle started up again. I told her and she got rid of the clothes and boots for me. So the next time, I had to start lying more and hiding them from her. Several times we would have a come-to-Jesus meeting when she discovered them. So the cycle would continue. Be good and then bad. But nothing would stop me. Press repeat. Press repeat. Press repeat. So I have done this so many times that last year, she finally told me that I will never stop thinking that I wanted to be a woman and said, “Enough is enough. I’m done. Do whatever you want. Go out and buy all the women’s clothing that you want. I’m finished. For the first time I feel free. All I want to be is friends but I’m thinking about ending it all.” This is after 23 years of marriage!
The day that we had that talk (The Talk) will be forever etched into my mind. If there was ever a WAKE UP CALL in my life, this is it! In my cycle of falling and reconciling, reconciling most of the time looked like going back to church, reading the Bible and/or getting online help. But this time my wife says, “What’s different?” To that I could give no answer. BUT there is hope!
That Hope looks like Jesus Christ! I clearly heard him say to me “I love you and I want to be with you.” My wife feels free, but the crazy thing is that it caused me to be free also. I had a choice to make of two different pathways (there were probably more, but only two that I saw) as far as I see it: 1) Go do what my wife says. Go buy all the women’s clothes and accessories and just follow that path that I thought I always wanted. At least that is what my thoughts and actions showed with no signs of ever changing. Or 2) do what I usually do and turn back to Christ. Christ has never left me. He has never hurt me. I have never felt shame or guilt following Him. If there is any chance that my wife and I make it through this roughest season of our marriage, Christ is the only one in my corner that can help. Crossdressing and transvestism isn’t going to do that. It isn’t going to comfort me. It isn’t going to be there to help put the pieces of my life back together. So there is only one clear choice. Turn to God, repent in reverent sorrow and get help. You see God doesn’t leave us. We leave him. But He is always watching for us to return and NEVER turns us away. But here is the key to God: He takes us as we are, but He doesn’t want us to stay there. He loves us. He has a plan for us. He wants the best for us. And if we trust Him, He will create good out of bad. He promises that in His Word. But don’t get the wrong idea. He isn’t a magic rabbit’s foot. Turning back to Him doesn’t guarantee that my marriage will be reconciled; though that is my greatest hope. You ask, “why would I choose God then, if I don’t have the guarantee of reconciliation?” Because, He is good. He is faithful. Even if my wife leaves, I have God and if I am willing to really trust Him, He tells me that He will take care of me. Crossdressing and transvestism isn’t going to be there. Honestly, I’m not strong enough to go it alone in the world and I don’t know how people that don’t believe in God do it.
So what does the path in the “wilderness” look like that I am traveling with God? First, it is recognizing that I have a problem and need to get help for this addiction. Yes, this is an addiction. Any destructive behavior you do repeatedly and unable to stop on your own is an addiction. I have signs of an addict: I lied. I manipulated. I deceived. I hid stuff. I lived a life of secrecy and seclusion. My body always wanted release through masturbation and looking at pornography or images, looking at crossdressing sites, going to online women’s stores or reading crossdressing stories. I wanted women’s clothing and thought about how I would look dressed up in them. I would call in “sick” sometimes to work so I could stay home because I stayed up all night taking care of my needs. A good part of my days, I would be thinking about being that perfect woman in my mind. This needed to stop. If you can’t admit that you have a problem, you can never move away from it.
Second, was to seek out help. I have done this several different ways. I looked on the internet to find resources to help me heal. This forum and the men’s prayer group is one of those resources. I contacted a therapist. I have been meeting with him weekly. I contacted a former pastor of mine to talk to. Within two days, I had looked two other people in the eyes besides my wife and told them that I was addicted to crossdressing. I never wanted to tell anyone outside my safe comfort zone of my wife. Since my first two encounters of confession that I am an addict of crossdressing, I have gone on to tell others. Doing so for me broke a stronghold of crossdressing in my life. [I will warn you though. This is my story. Yours might be different. When you feel lead to confess, use great discernment and find a trusted person to talk to. It isn’t good to just start telling any and all. Sometimes as we try to swing the pendulum from one side, it goes too far to the other side and creates more problems than help]. Yes, I hear other addicts of crossdressing saying are you crazy?! I’m just like you. I am not about to tell someone else about crossdressing – especially to another man! But I knew that I needed to confess this problem. If I didn’t confess, I don’t find help. Next, I went back to church. Every time the church doors open, I am there asking for prayer with anyone who will pray with me. You see the church I go to doesn’t see asking for prayer as a weakness. There is no shame in going forward after service and asking for some help. Along with church, I found a fellow Christian man that has sexual addiction problems also and became accountability partners with him. I am no-holds-barred kind of guy now in asking for help. Whatever I can do to heal from this, I am going to do it. I have daily emails sent from ministries that deal specifically with sexual addictions. I read my Bible daily along with prayer. Not just a few verses, but chapters. ANYTHING I CAN DO!!!!! Because the truth is I can’t heal alone from something that is done in the dark and secret! Neither can you. You will have to have outside help and accountability. Look into everything that is a resource. [And there are more possibilities than what I have used]. Don’t stop at one thing because that might not be the only thing that helps you or a combination of resources might be your help. If something doesn’t help, stop using it. There is no shame in looking at something and discovering that it doesn’t help you. The point is that you are moving forward.
Third be prepared for the next time I am tempted. This is a war! You have to be willing to do daily battle. What does preparing for war look like? PURGE!!! Even if you have done it many times before, do it again. You can’t defeat something that is a constant temptation. The temptations and memories that come from within and outside of you will be enough to handle. I had a pair of women’s gloves that I have had for years. When I would purge everything else, I always held on to them. They were nice, but also they were that one thing I could keep “under the radar”. Worse comes to worst, I can wear them while fantasizing and even in public. Yep they are gone. This time I purged like I never have. Anything that had a slight connection to women stuff I got rid of. I got rid of some nice luggage because they were only sold in the women’s section of this online store and that was an attraction to my crossdressing side. My wife even said,” but that is luggage.” She even knew I bought it. But it had to go because I could be carrying it and it could trigger thoughts of being a woman. I even went more extreme. I got rid of some water bottles because they had flowers and feminine design that I could make me feel womanly while carrying them. I still find some things here and there that I have forgotten about, but they go to the Salvation Army. I don’t want one thing that might make me feel like crossdressing or go onto the internet to fantasize. I am tired of worshiping things like cloth, pictures and accessories. [Just the other day, it hit me. Why don’t I just worship a Rubbermaid tub? Or my shower curtain? I mean this is exactly what I do with women’s clothes and shoes. They are just things, so just give me a rock to worship and ask for help from it. What’s the difference?] I have bowed down too much to this stuff and it is time I learn to build real relationships with real people – like my wife and God – and risk the pain and frustration of building relationships. This battle isn’t going to be a short one. There is no end date you can put on the calendar. The only time that it is going to end is when we are perfect and that is only going to happen in Heaven. You may be sober for a while, but you have to see with wisdom and know that somewhere, sometime you are going to see, hear, experience or think something that is going to take you right back to wanting to crossdress. So EVERYDAY you have to make the choice not to do it and prepare yourself to escape from it as you go through your day. Make posters, sticky notes, reminders, anything to put up in your closet, in your bathroom, in your car, on your phone, or on your computer of Bible verses, prayers, wise saying and/or anything else that will help you to remember to stand strong. Journal. Do something to remind yourself all the time to watch out and be ready for temptation. Don’t trust your mind to remember for you! You want to win this thing. Do everything in your power to prepare for when it comes; not if it comes.
Fourth, CELEBRATE!!!!!! This sounds crazy, but rejoicing at the victories that you have helps you to continue on the road to healing. One of the things that has happened to me is that the sexual side of my body has shut down. Before the faithful day of “the talk”, the thoughts of crossdressing, pornography and masturbation was always with me. And my body was always looking for the next fix. Even when I really knew that going online was bad and I really didn’t want to do it, I would give in because of how “charged” my body was. The next day after “the talk” all of that went away. My body isn’t needing to masturbate and my mind is clear. This has gone on almost 2 months now. This has been a HUGE help in me staying pure and gives me strength to continue through each day. I don’t know what is going on with my body, but I thank God for it. Does this mean I’m healed of crossdressing? I don’t know. With the testimony of other men that are dealing with crossdressing issues, I don’t think so. He maybe just is giving me a rest from the front line. Healed or not whatever God has done to my body, I appreciate it and celebrate this change since it has never been this way before with the other times that I have tried to come out of the crossdressing addiction. I can say that I have peace and joy now that I have never had before. It feels good and I rest in God because of it.
In closing let me leave you with a couple of random thoughts. First, I have had to come to the conclusion that anything I did before day of “the talk” was not real recovery. I have even had to look deep into my relationship with God and question “What happened that I am right back to the same spot that I have tried to recover from so many times before? And I am in the worst situation that I have ever been in because of crossdressing.” Something wasn’t right, so I just have to start from the beginning again. If I were describing it to another person, my life looked like an “O”. Always going in circles and never getting anywhere better. I know a lot about church, the Bible and religion but it didn’t create an everlasting relationship with my Creator. So starting from the beginning and asking that question to Christian mentors along the way will help me find the road to lasting recovery and relationship. And hopefully I can describe my life now as a “Y”. Seeing a path ahead that is leading to true joy and peace and moving forward. Second, pray raw! Don’t try to pray “the right things” to make sure God is “happy and accepting of your prayers.” Before “the talk” I was angry at God. “Why would you give me this addiction? Of all addictions, this one is the worst, because nobody in the church will understand it. They will just judge me and shun me.” I wanted God to end it all for me. What use am I anyway in this world? But I knew that suicide wasn’t the answer, it is selfish and when I really thought about it, I would have my wife, kids, parents and some close friends that would miss me and be hurt by a decision like that. That is probably the most raw that I have been with God. The problem was that I wasn’t able to hear His answer. I wasn’t in the right place yet to hear Him. “The talk” was His way in. Also, He taught me through an article called Integration and Contentment written by Barnabas on this forum [link here: http://www.healingfromcrossdressing.org/integration-and-contentment/ ] that He created me exactly how He wanted me. The world says that I must fit into a certain emotional, mental and characteristic stereotype as a man, but God doesn’t have stereotypes. He created the man He knew He needed. I am unique. So back to praying raw, I still do that today. I don’t have the anger, but I don’t follow a script. I just talk to him like any other person on earth. Also, He already knows everything about me, so purging my inner “house” is easy. He shows me many times through this raw praying what I am holding back from Him still and shows me the dark corners and cupboards that I still need to open up to Him to clean out of my life. Some things are about crossdressing, but there are other things like really trusting Him that He is leading me to something better that I could have ever imagined here on earth and even in my marriage. He already knows these areas of my life and I think He just wants to hear me ask Him for His help. Praying raw helps me get down to the nitty gritty and builds our relationship.
I hope my story can help you see yours. Being addicted to crossdressing isn’t the end of the world even though many times it feels like it. It is just another addiction like anything else that people are going to where they feel safe and can handle those areas in their lives that they can’t. Because it is an addiction, getting out of it is going to be a fight. A fight that will be waged until God calls us home on His terms. But there is hope! There are many people ready to help you. Encourage you. Love you. You just have to let them know you need the help. YOU GOT THIS! Turn one foot toward recovery and just start. Then become determined to intentionally put your other foot in front of that one. And keep repeating that. When you fall, get up and start again. Walk with me in this declaration, “I don’t plan to fall today with your help God and I don’t plan to fall tomorrow. PERIOD. END OF ANY OTHER FUTURE PLANNING.”