Det andra jaget vid manlig transvestism

Larsson, Sam., 1996. Det andra jaget vid manlig transvestism. Ett jagteoretiskt och kognitionspsykologiskt perspektiv. (The second self and male transvestism. A self-theoretical and cognitive perspective). Written in Swedish with an English summary. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Psychologica Upsaliensia, Uppsala

Keywords: Transvestism, cross-dressing, cross-gender behavior, cross-gender identity.


This study is a comprehensive examination of cross-dressing among men and gives descriptive information, a review of the literature, and some new research data. The theoretical part of the study presents an interactionistic and multidimensional model for the analysis of heterosexual transvestism. Various theoretical approaches are analyzed, and a self theory based on a cognitive and transpersonal psychology perspective is successively elaborated. Transvestism is viewed as multidetermined and many possible motives and explanations to cross-dressing are discussed. The multidimensional model emphasizes the complex interaction between many different personal and situational variables such as biological, psychosocial, cognitive, emotional and identity factors. One important argument in the model is that transvestism can be seen as an expression of a second self or a feminine self, or better, of a cross-gender identity. The cross-gender identity is conceptualized as a subsystem of the self. The model also conceptualizes transvestism as a multi-stage developmental process.

The empirical section contains three different studies: The main part of this thesis focuses on a quantitative and qualitative in-depth analysis of a group of twelve typical transvestites from a cross-dressing club in Sweden. However, this group of transvestites is also compared to a small group of marginal transvestites and male-to-female transsexuals. The empirical results give a detailed picture of the experiential world of the transvestite; his inner consciousness, and the cognitive and affective changes associated with cross-dressing. The results show that these changes are ego-syntonic and pleasurable. The results also emphasize the need for a developmental perspective on transvestism; the early time period seems to be more associated, for example, with erotic fantasies. However, the late stage seems to focus on the expression of the girl within or cross-gender identity. Our transvestite sample was comprised of highly educated men and high prestige workers. Many transvestites in our sample also reported a happy childhood; however, the marginal transvestites and the transsexuals reported more unhappiness as children compared to the transvestite group. The results for our transvestite sample confirm previous findings that male transvestism can be seen as a second self or a cross-gender identity and that cross-dressing follows a dynamic pattern from an early “fetishistic stage” to a later “gender identity stage”.

The second part of the empirical study contains a comparison between treated and untreated male cross-dressers. This comparison was based on an interview study of 92 male members of a cross-dressing club in Sweden. Multiple comparisons between the treated and untreated subjects showed many similarities between the groups. However, there were also significant differences: Members of the treated group more often were unmarried or divorced, experienced more difficulties functioning in the male gender role and also seemed to have a more intense identification with the feminine self.

The third part of the empirical section reviews the findings from a study of 50 wives and long-term partners of transvestites in Sweden. The results show both positive, neutral and negative attitudes in various degrees toward cross-dressing, and both positive and negative factors in the marriage attributed to transvestism.