In the dawn of time, all humans were naked, so there was no such thing as cross dressing, but current research shows that cross dressing is a psychological condition, so although there was no cross dressing, there were cross dressers. These people must have been very confused, and didn't know how to solve it.
Then, about ten thousand years before some hippy was killed for pointing out the flaws in the current regime, clothing was invented. This clothing was the same for both genders, and therefore, in order to cross dress, men simply had to shave off their beard. This was considered weird by people who like facial hair. It did, however, necessitate the invention of the razor and the false beard.
Over the next several thousand years, history records several cross dressers, such as Nefatutu, an Egyptian Pharaoh who was really a man, but pretended to be a woman in order to marry his own brother. Those ancient Egyptians, eh? Then there was Pope Joan the Only, a woman who cross dressed as a man, and became Pope, only to be told that the Pope can only wear dresses. Pope Joan is also responsible for the invention of underpants. During the realm of Louis VI of France, cross dressing became a national past-time, and make-up was invented. Any one who was any one was a cross dresser. If you didn't wear a wig, make-up, high-heeled court shoes and a flouncy dress, you were a nobody, and up for beheading.
Cross dressing has been used as a disguise on many occasions. The most well known of these were the Rebecca Riots in Wales. In these riots, men would dress in their wives clothing and attack toll gates, gates they believed were overcharging. Although many used the clothing as a disguise, some used the riots as a excuse to dress up and be women for a couple of hours a week. Long after the removal of the gates, these men formed the Rebecca Riots Re-enactment Society, which is still going strong today in Wales. Other notable one off's include Bonny Prince Charlie, and a variety of women who for some bizarre reason wanted to be in the army.
History's most famous cross dresser also holds the record as the longest named cross dresser in history, going by the name of Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée Éon de Beaumont. No surprise that on becoming a woman, she changed her name to Chevalier d'Eon. Many people might not think of her as history's greatest cross dresser, but her name carries on today in the Beaumont society, a group that supports transgendered individuals.
The Victorian era finally allowed cross dressers to come into their own, with the invention of women only make-up, corsets and gorgeous gowns. The corset was quite possibly the single greatest invention for cross dressers, finally allowing them to adopt a feminine shape at the expense of most internal organs and the rib cage. Sadly, during this period it was made illegal to cross dress, driving transvestites underground and into the theatre, where they were allowed to wear women's clothing, due to it also being illegal for a woman to act. Though the act denying women to act was repealed, the one for cross dressing was not repealed until 1964, when it was accidentally found during a clear out of old laws. By then, the population of the world had decided that being a cross dresser was Not The Done Thing, and allowed them to make derogatory remarks. This was typified by the denigration of Edward Hyde, the colonial govenor of New York, who was called a cross dresser in order to force him out of office.
The First World War saw the first occasion of cross dressing by people who didn't feel the need to express their feminine side, but also didn't feel the need to go to a foreign country to be shot. This scam had a moderate success rate, with many being put in the navy instead of the army.
By the time the sixties rolled around, attitudes were starting to change, and cross dressing suddenly became a fashion again, but only among hippies. Those that retained the straight laced Victorian values still sneered and beat the crap out of those who chose an alternate wardrobe. It was also during the sixties that a distinction was finally made between transvestites and transsexuals, with both being classified as a mental illness by the newly formed World Health Organisation that needed to prove it was doing something. They also made being gay an illness, forever inextricably linking being gay and wearing women's clothes together.
Cross dressing was finally popularised in the 1970s with the invention of Glam Rock. The invention of Gender Reassignment Surgery, or 'Sex Change' as it was known before political correctness got hold of it, was also perfected. Although there had been a number of attempts throughout the twentieth century, with Lille Elbe in Germany being the first, the 1970s finally saw it take off. Renée Richards was probably the most famous of the GRS recipients. Renée is notable, as she finally got the government to realise that if you walk like a woman, talk like a woman and dress like a woman, you should be treated like a woman and allowed to use the girl's changing room at the swimming baths.
Despite finally being recognised as a life style choice, cross dressing remains to this day a largely underground hobby. Specialist clubs have sprung up to cater for the estimated 1.7 million cross dressers in the UK. It has to be estimated as most cross dressers refuse to admit that they are. There remains great societal pressure for people to conform and not wear a bra if the genes say XY. Although, some men could really do with wearing one, whether the are a cross dresser or not! However, as the twenty-first century continues to trundle on without any sign of jetpacks and moon bases, society is beginning to adopt an attitude of 'so what' at cross dressers. If a man wants to go to dinner in a nice frock, so what?
What does the future holds for those who feel better in a dress? More general acceptance and less bigotry, hopefully. The day when a group of drunk nineteen year old boys can share a drink with a transvestite will be the day when cross dressers are truly accepted into society.
Viva la femme revolution.