50 Transvestic Fetishisim

Name: Glen
Source: Glen or Glenda (movie, 1953)

Background Information

Glen is a heterosexual Caucasian male and presumably in his late twenties. He appears to be in good physical heath, appropriate weight for stature and is a smoker. Glen was raised by his biological parents and has one younger sister. According to Glen his relationship with his father was strained. Glen’s father wanted a son that was interested in sports and who would be a great athlete, none of which Glen was interested in. He expressed that his mother was more affectionate towards his sister and that he longed for that type of affection. He lives in the city, has a stable job, maintains friendships and has been engaged to be married for 1 year to his fiancée Barbara. Glen and Barbara have a healthly relationship displaying respect, open communication and expressions of affection. Glen has no history of drug, alcohol or other mental health issues.

Description of the Problem

Glen has a desire to dress in women’s clothing (cross-dressing). He has expressed that being able to dress in clothing of the opposite sex makes him happy and more comfortable in his environment. While living at home he fulfills this desire by wearing his sister’s clothing when none of his family members are at home. In order to fulfill his desire to wear women’s clothing in public he wears one of his sister’s dresses to a Halloween party. After Glen moves from his family residence, he finds it easier to cross-dress. He purchases more clothing but still hides them in case his family was to visit. Living alone also provides more instances to cross-dress in public. He is happy being male and has no desire to change his sexual orientation. Since his engagement to Barbara he is experiencing stress brought on by his need to dress in women’s’ clothing and whether or not to disclose this information to Barbara or keep it a secret. He finds support from a close friend (who is also a transvestite) who encourages him to be forthcoming and not hide his secret.


DSM-IV-TR criteria
A. Over a period of at least 6 months, in a heterosexual male, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing.
Glen did not meet criteria for Transvestic Fetishisim. He exhibits symptoms more associated with being a Transvestite or cross-dresser. He exhibited no recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors in addition to his cross-dressing.

B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. It involves using nonliving objects to obtain sexual arousal.
Glen’s cross-dressing created distress within himself and his relationship with Barbara. She began to see signs of difficulty or stress in Glen which create trust issue for her. Glen experiences extreme stress about the idea of telling Barbara and possible losing her because she could not understand his obsession.

Accuracy of Portrayal

Glen did not meet criteria for Transvestic Fetishisim. The movie portrayed an individual who did meet criteria for cross-dressing: A desired to wear clothing of the opposite gender in some instances to relieve stress brought about by daily encounters. The essential feature of Transvestic Fetishisim is defined as recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing. Glen did not exhibit any sexual urges or sexual fantasies while engaging in cross-dressing. He expressed his desire to cross-dress was only for comfort and happiness within his environment. This movie did not address any of the aforementioned criteria in regards to Transvestic Fetishisim.


There is no empirically supported treatment for Transvestic fetishism. Two types of therapy have been utilized in an effort to treat this disorder: aversion therapy, involving electrical shock and orgasmic reorientation, an attempt to help individuals learn to respond sexually to generally acceptable stimuli. Both of these treatments were developed when little was known about the disorder and when it was less accepted. Today there is less focus on treatment of the disorder and more encouragement for societal acceptance. In cases where individuals have come in for treatment it is mainly due to others, such as spouses and /or family members requesting they seek treatment. Prognosis for this disorder is poor due to the fact that most individuals with this disorder do not want to change. Treatment that is demanded by others such as one’s spouse or family members is almost always not successful.


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