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- This articles is about cross-dressing in general. For specific information about cross-dressing for sexual reasons, see Transvestic fetishism. Compare also the List of transgender-related topics and Transvestism (disambiguation).
Cross-dressing is the act of wearing clothing commonly associated with another gender within a particular society. The usage of the term, the types of cross-dressing both in modern times and throughout history, an analysis of the behaviour, and historical examples are discussed in the article below.
Nearly every society throughout history has had a set of norms, views, guidelines, or laws, regarding the wearing of clothing and what is appropriate for each sex. Cross-dressing is a behavior which runs counter to those norms and therefore can be seen as a type of transgender behavior. It is not, however, necessarily transgender identity since a person who cross-dresses does not always identify with the other sex.
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. (See "Equal clothing rights" below.) However, referring to a person as a cross-dresser suggests that their cross-dressing behavior is habitual and may be taken to mean that the person identifies as transgendered. The term cross-dresser should therefore be used with care to avoid causing misunderstanding or offense.
historically the term eonism was used, named after a Frenchman, D'Eon, who was noted for this behavior.
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