Partner and Family Support


Issues for Partners and Family


Many important issues come up within a family when one member comes out as a cross-dresser.


Rejection is Common

In one form or another, it can range from totally severing the relationship to simply refusing to acknowledge the reality of the situation by demanding them to "stop cross dressing" or do it out of sight. This latter process, whilst simple, is unlikely to stand the test of time for many. It can lead to resentment and hostility through the mutual frustration of having unresolved issues.


It is not an easy thing to deal with. Acceptance will rarely come automatically and is unlikely ever to be total and unconditional, particularly given it often threatens you in terms relating to your own sexuality, self esteem, emotions and concerns about embarrassment, ridicule and alienation.

The Sense of Loss

It is extremely common and healthy to experience a sense of despair as you face the reality of the situation. Many partners and familiy memebers express this as being like a bereavement as they attempt to come to terms with the sense of loss. Feelings of isolation and loneliness that confront them as they adjust to or reassess the image of the cross dresser as a total person.

Education is Important

It is essential that before you embark upon any course of action that you can make an informed decision. Literature on the subject should be sought out and studied. Professional counseling is a valid consideration as is the simpler and cost-free 'peer support' that groups like Seahorse offer. We have people who know what it is like, have felt the pain and anxiety, know the issues you're dealing with and can share this experience and the practical realities with you.

Compromise is Essential

Relationships survive through 'give and take'. Life is a series of negotiations. The cross-dresser will zealously require as much freedom as you will give and you, in turn, will place certain taboos or restrictions. Essentially you will have conflicting interests, but these can often be resolved by negotiation and compromise on both sides.

The issues that are likely to arise are:

  • Frequency and duration of cross-dressing.
  • Money spent on clothes, makeup, etc.
  • Your role as a companion to the cross-dressed person.
  • Privacy and secrecy.
  • Sharing or non-sharing of cosmetics, clothes, etc
  • Hair removal, manicure of nails and other grooming issues, that may impact the cross-dresser's appearance as a male.
  • Impact on the family unit through children's knowledge.
  • Positives can come from Negatives

    After disclosing their gender issue to you, your loved one has 'lowered their barrier'. It is an ideal time for you to reciprocate and share your issues and concerns about your inner self, relationship, etc. The intimacy that revelations compassionately dealt with can create may result in a stronger bond and closeness between you both than ever previously existed. It is a time when a relationship can be examined, measured and rehabilitated to achieve mature happiness through compromise, respect and understanding.


    It is unlikely that anyone has anything harder to disclose than a gender identity issue. For many, the disclosure is the result of years of soul searching, frustration and anguish. It is common that this suppression over years has resulted in the person being withdrawn, moody, depressed. On occasions alcohol or drugs, violent behavior have been in evidence due to the frustration of suppression. Many have found that through self acceptance of their gender issue, an inner peace is found enabling them to overcome these tensions and dependencies.

    Children and cross-dressing.

    It is unlikely in the extreme that any child knowing about cross-dressing will be inclined to become a cross-dresser. Children's acceptance in our experience is generally good, however the age and manner in which they are told is important. A young can child poses a privacy issue. A teenager, especially a son, is likely to be shocked on discovery and have difficulty at a time when they are exploring their own sense of self. If a child needs to be told, it should ideally be done on a family basis, preplanned perhaps with professional assistance.


    This information is not intended to be exhaustive. It's intended to let you know that you're not alone. There is hope. We hope it raised your consciousness about your feelings and was comforting in that you now know that many others share them.