Thanks again for all the nice responses. I sense that many of you would have a lot more to say, but it wouldn't conform to the purpose of this particular part of the forum. Would anyone be willing to delve deeper into the question of whether or not crossdressing is a sin? If so, what part of the forum would be appropriate?
I wanted to respond to come of the other comments:
The following link about cross dressing and Christianity is from a Protestant perspective, but I thought it contained some useful advice. Perhaps it will be of help to you:
I've read that site many times, and have even had some correspondence with the author. Unfortunately, his experience is not the same as many other sincere Christians who are dealing with this issue in their life.
The question is not whether it is possible to abstain as bearing a cross. It is possible to abstain. I've done it for years at a time. I've found, though, that the fruits of abstention are not good. The real question is:
Is cross-dressing a sin in Christianity?
The early Christian Jews were convinced that gentile converts should be circumcised and follow the Law. Lucky for us, Paul stood up for freedom in Christ. Paul could have gone with the flow, played it safe, and sided with the Judaizers. Wouldn't a simple circumcision procedure be a good trade for eternal salvation? Paul said circumcision to attain righteousness counts for nothing. I feel compelled to ask the same question about another verse from the Law, namely Dueteronomy 22:5. If I can gain righteousness by not crossdressing, then why did Jesus have to go to the cross?
As I understand it, cross dressing is often something apart from homosexuality.
This is my experience. I've never been confused about my sexual orientation. I have an unblemished record of heterosexuality.
You say that you believe that cross dressing is not a sin because you don't feel convicted as such.
That is not at all what I'm saying. I'm leaving open the possibility that I am unable to recognize it as a sin internally/spiritually. Intellectually, I have serious questions about whether or not abstaining from this will help or hinder the working out of my salvation.
If a sociopath feels no remorse for killing someone, does that make their actions any less sinful?
That's not a fair comparison. Even an atheist can agree that the sociopath is wrong to murder. We have incontrovertible teaching in the new covenant that it is wrong. Crossdressing is not comparable to murder in any way. I'm not speaking of severity of the action. I'm talking about our ability to objectively know based on scripture and reason that crossdressing is a sin. Is there sacred tradition in Orthodox history that count it as sin?
Can you suffer? Can you persevere through suffering, pain and discomfort?
I understand that Christians may be called to endure suffering. But I'm concerned if you offer this as a description of the life you think a Christian should live. I hope it won't come to this. I much prefer to live in the fruits of the Spirit.
If it does come to that then I believe I can persevere. In fact, I believe that if I'm convinced that crossdressing is a sin, then it will be relatively painless to walk away from it. As an example, for most of my life I never felt guilt when fantasizing about physical intimacy with a woman outside of marriage. Then one day Jesus' words about committing adultery in our hearts clicked with me. I don't find it the least bit of a burden to avoid those thoughts. Not because I feel guilty about it, but because I understand that it is sinful.
I appreciate the recommendations to talk to a priest. I've already met with the local Orthodox priest and attended a service (though we didn't discuss this issue). I plan to start attending regularly after the first of the year.
Lastly, I would sincerely appreciate an open dialogue on this topic. There is nothing you can say to me that is worse that what has already been said to my face by others! This quote sums up what I'm hoping to find in the Orthodox church:
The Eastern Christian paradigm is that of a Hospital rather than a court of law as in the West.
Somebody get me a doctor!