Cross-dressing in film and television

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Film poster for Glen or Glenda

Cross-dressing in film has followed a long history of female impersonation on English stage, and made its appearance in the early days of the silent films. Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel brought the tradition from the English music halls when they came to America with Fred Karno's comedy troupe in 1910. Both Chaplin and Laurel occasionally dressed as women in their films. Even the beefy American actor Wallace Beery appeared in a series of silent films as a Swedish woman. The Three Stooges, especially Curly (Jerry Howard), sometimes appeared in drag in their short films. The tradition has continued for many years, usually played for laughs. Only in recent decades have there been dramatic films which included cross-dressing, possibly because of strict censorship of American films until the mid-1960s. One early exception was Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Murder!, where the murderer is a transvestite who wears particularly frilly dresses and petticoats. Cross-gender acting, on the other hand, refers to actors or actresses portraying a character of the opposite gender.

Film and video[edit]

In Some Like It Hot (1959), two struggling musicians have to dress as women to escape the ire of gangsters. The film is a remake of a 1935 French movie, Fanfare of Love, from the story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan, which was itself remade in 1951 by German director Kurt Hoffmann as Fanfares of Love.

In Blake Edwards's 1982 musical comedy film Victor Victoria, Victoria Grant, a struggling soprano, is unable to find work but she finds success when she becomes "Count Victor Grazinski", a female impersonator. The film is a remake of Viktor und Viktoria, a German film of 1933.

David Henry Hwang's 1988 play M. Butterfly focuses on a love affair between a French diplomat and a male Beijing opera singer who plays dan, or female, roles.

Dr. Frank 'n' Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show wore nothing but women's clothing the entire film/play.

In The Drew Carey Show, Drew's brother, Steve Carey, is a cross-dresser.

Robin Williams played a divorced father who dressed as a nanny to be with his children in the 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire.

Dame Edna was an elderly drag queen with "wisteria-colored hair" who did international chat shows in the 1990s.

As a central plot element[edit]

Movies that feature cross-dressing as a central plot element:

As a non-comedic element[edit]

Most of the above films are comedies. Films in which cross-dressing is treated in a more serious manner are relatively rare, although the list does include several dramas and biopics.

  • The Female Highwayman (1906) – Features a female criminal who dresses as a man while committing thefts and an armed robbery
  • Hotel Splendide (1932) – Features a criminal gang whose leader disguises himself as "Mrs. LeGrange"
  • Young Fugitives (1938) – The heroine dresses as a man.
  • Shadows on the Stairs (1941) – Tom Armitage (Miles Mander), dresses as a woman.
  • The Wicked Lady (1945) – The heroine poses as a highwayman.
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) – The heroine wears a cavalry uniform to accompany her uncle to safety.
  • Glen or Glenda (1953) – Inspired by his own experiences, Ed Wood wrote, directed, and starred in the movie as a troubled cross-dresser, in a sort of plea for acceptance. Originally an exploitation film about Christine Jorgensen.
  • Psycho (1960) – Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), is a killer who wears his dead mother's clothes.
  • Monsieur Hawarden (1968) – Title character Mr. Hawarden is actually a woman who disguises herself as a man to avoid prosecution for a murder she committed fifteen years ago.
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – Sonny robs a bank to finance his wife Leon's sex change operation. Chris Sarandon plays Leon.
  • The Tenant (1976) – The main character suffers from a split personality.
  • A Strange Role (1976) – The Hungarian revolutionary is forced to hide from the persecutors, changing into a woman's dress in the sanatorium Hercules Waters.
  • Yentl (1983) – Barbra Streisand plays a Polish Jewish woman who disguises herself as a man so she can study the Talmud in early 20th-century Europe.
  • Gardes-Marines, Ahead! (1988) – Dmitry Kharatyan plays a Gardes-Marine Aleksei Korsak who disguises himself as a girl.
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989) Alexis Arquette plays Georgette, a transvestite, thrown out of the family home who falls in love with a local criminal.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Ted Levine plays serial killer Jame Gumb, better known as Buffalo Bill who makes the skins of his female victims into a woman suit for him to wear.
  • Pret-A-Porter - Danny Aiello's character is revealed to be a cross-dresser towards the end of the film, wearing a Chanel suit which viewers had presumed was for his mistress.
  • The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) – A lone woman in the Old West takes on a male role in order to survive.
  • M. Butterfly (1993) – a French diplomat (Jeremy Irons) becomes infatuated with a dan performer (John Lone) in a Chinese opera, where all roles are performed by men.
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) — a drag queen takes his act on the road.
  • The King of Masks (1996) – A Chinese girl poses as a boy in order to get adopted by an elderly man.
  • Liang Po Po: The Movie (1999) – Jack Neo cross-dressed as an elderly woman.
  • Baran (2001) – An Iranian boy falls in love with a young Afghan refugee, who must dress as a boy to keep her job at a construction site.
  • Osama (2003) – A 12-year-old Afghan girl dresses like a boy in order to get a job during the regime of the Taliban.
  • The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) – While on the run, Sarah disguises her son, Jeremiah, as a girl and passes him off as her "sister" until he is raped by her current boyfriend and is found out. (Note: In the film adaption, Jeremiah is played by both Cole and Dylan Sprouse in different scenes, both of whom have had several other roles that involved cross-dressing.)
  • Peacock (2010) – Cillian Murphy plays John Skillpa, a man who as a result of severe child abuse has formed the alternate personality of Emma Skillpa and dresses as a woman to become Emma.
  • Albert Nobbs (2011) – Glenn Close plays a 19th-century Irish woman who poses as a man to work as a butler in Dublin's most elegant hotel.
  • Les Misérables (2012) – Éponine changes her clothes from feminine to masculine in order to join the June Rebellion.
  • The Boxtrolls (2014) – Archibald Snatcher is disguised as Madame Frou-Frou.
  • Rudhramadevi (2015) – A young princess is disguised as a boy to keep the succession of her royal family line intact.
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) – Slade is disguised as a female film director named Jade Wilson.

As a minor plot element[edit]

Many other comedy films include instances of humorous cross-dressing, but do not feature it as a central plot element. Movies in which cross-dressing plays a minor but important role include:

Comedic element in documentary[edit]

  • In the documentary Giuliani Time there are excerpts from Rudy Giuliani's appearance in a video, which was shown for the occasion of an Inner Circle press dinner.


Programs that feature cross-dressing[edit]

  • Accused - In the episode "Tracie's Story", Sean Bean plays Simon, an English teacher, who by night cross-dresses as Tracie.[6]
  • Ask Harriet Jack Cody (Anthony Tyler Quinn) a sexist sportswriter loses his job and has to dress up as his female alter ego named Sylvia Coco in order to get it back.
  • All in the Family featured female impersonator character "Beverley Lasalle" in later episodes
  • 'Allo 'Allo! featuring cross-dressing in most episodes.
  • The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) – The main character pretends to be a boy in order to obtain a job at a coffee shop that only hires men.
  • Angry Boys (2011) - Chris Lilley cross-dresses as two characters, Ruth (Gran) Sims and Jen Okazaki in this Australian comedy show.
  • Amazing Stories - In the episode "Welcome to My Nightmare", Harry, a teenage horror movie buff's obsession lands him in a terrifying scene from the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho but with him in the role of Marion Crane.
  • Are You Being Served? often features John Inman taking on female roles. Some of the other cast members such as Frank Thornton occasionally appear in drag as well.
  • Arrested DevelopmentTobias Fünke (played by David Cross) disguises himself as a British nanny named Mrs. Featherbottom in order to maintain a relationship with his estranged family. (This is a direct reference to the film Mrs. Doubtfire). This development is an outcropping of the fact that, throughout the series, Tobias exhibits signs of being a latent homosexual.
  • Baskets - Louie Anderson portrays Christine Baskets, the matriarch of a quirky family in Bakersfield, California.
  • Baywatch Nights - Mitch Buchannon goes undercover as a female impersonator in the episode "Kind of a Drag".
  • In Axis Powers: Hetalia, Poland cross-dresses as a hobby and has a "valley girl" accent.
  • The Big Bang Theory – In the first two episodes of the series a cross-dresser is described as having occupied Apartment 4B prior to Penny. The character was not named or seen until a flashback scene in Season 3, Episode 22 when Leonard Hofstadter knocks on her apartment door and Louie/Louise, portrayed by Ajgie Kirkland en femme, directs Leonard to the "crazy guy across the hall" (Sheldon Cooper). Sheldon also dresses up as a french maid after losing a bet with Howard Wolowitz. The whole gang dress as female DC superheroes after losing a bet.
  • Blackadder has several cross-dressing incidences.[spelling?]
  • Black Butler (2010) - In one episode Ciel dresses as a woman.
  • Bosom BuddiesTom Hanks and Peter Scolari star as two single men who must regularly disguise themselves as women, in order to live in a ladies-only hotel, the only apartment they can afford.
  • Boston Legal character Clarence Bell is a transvestite client who came for legal help after being fired from his job. He later joined the firm as a legal assistant and eventually as a lawyer.
  • Boy Meets World – Different characters cross-dress in later episodes.
  • Briefgeheim - French teacher Ms. Tijnman is actually a man dressed as a woman.
  • Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures (2011) in the episode "Epic Girls" Bucket and Skinner disguise themselves as girls in order to sneak into a party. They are also shown trying on different dresses.
  • Chappelle's Show - in the skit "The World's Greatest War", a dead black gangsta[7] can been seen wearing a blue high heel in a video.
  • In the Cory in the House episode "That's So in the House", Corey poses as his sister Raven.[8]
  • In season 4 of Criminal Minds Jackson Rathbone plays a janitor at a hotel with split-personality disorder. The character, Adam, is a shy, abused, withdrawn young man. His alter-personality, is a strong, confident, southern women named Amanda. Adam/Amanda tries to kill his/her father because of all of the abuse suffered. Afterwards 'Amanda' becomes the dominant personality. At the end of the episode 'Amanda' is shown to have undergone a transformation, complete with make-up, a long curled wig, and pink clothing.
  • Crusoe (2008) – A recurring character Oliver is revealed to actually be a woman named Olivia (played by Mía Maestro). Crusoe discovered her one-day when she was bathing for the first time on the island after being aboard the ship for so long. She pretends to be Oliver and helps the doctor for her personal safety from the male crew.
  • In Cyberchase, Delete impersonates Motherboard with a wig and some makeup.
  • Cybersix from the 1999 serial and the comic, dresses as a male teacher named Adrian Seidelman, in order to escape Von Richter (her creator).
  • Cybill, in the episode "Cybill with an S", a hooker reveals herself as an undercover policeman, very brief in the beginning.
  • Chihiro Fujisaki from Danganronpa cross-dresses as a female because of his deep insecurity about his weak physique, resorting to cross-dressing to hide his gender identity.
  • Dårfinkar & dönickar[9] – The main character Simone is mistaken for a boy on her first day at a new school when she does not correct her teacher for mispronouncing her name as Simon.
  • Deal or No Deal – On the episode that aired on February 14, 2008, contestant Edward Tommasi wore heels and a dress to win a $10 bet.[10][11]
  • Dexter's Laboratory – Many episodes feature Dexter in drag. Examples being Dimwit Dexter, Remember Me?, and Tribe Called Girl.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the 1966 story "The Highlanders" the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) dresses as an old washerwoman as a ruse to try to find his companions in a crowded tavern in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden.
    • In 1973 in "The Green Death" the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) disguises himself as a cleaning lady to infiltrate Global Chemicals, where he engages in banter with the UNIT operative Mike Yates and refers to his plastic bucket as his 'handbag'. Both these interludes of 'cross-dressing' are played mainly for their comic value amid serious story-lines.
  • On Dog Eat Dog, episodes 13[12] and 23[13] of the series saw the balance beam challenge of the show altered with the requirement that the contestant who participates in the challenge must wear six-inch high heels to walk across the beam. Both contestants who were selected to attempt the challenge were men and both failed to complete the challenge. Other episodes of the show saw contestants attempt to find the biological woman among a group of drag queens[14] or to find the biological man among a group of drag kings,[15] as well as a derivative of the former where a contestant has to find the bearded lady among a group of five individuals.[16]
  • Dragon Ball
    • In the episode "Oolong the Terrible" (in a scene adapted from the Dragon Ball manga's fifth chapter "Oo! Oo! Oolong, Bulma and Goku learn that a shapeshifter named Oolong has been kidnapping village girls to marry him. Bulma comes up with a plan to rescue the girls by tricking Oolong into taking Goku crossdressing as Pochawompa the next girl Oolong has his sights on. When Oolong first appears he is in the form of a red devil and tries to flirt with Goku who unfortunately has to take a leak though Oolong mistakenly assumes "she" is being shy and transforms into a handsome man causing Bulma leave her hiding place to woo him, while Goku takes the opportunity to relieve himself unfortunately Oolong notices and enraged turns into a bull though Goku responds by removing the dress and challenging Oolong to a fight.
    • In the episode "Look Out for Launch" (in a scene adapted from the Dragon Ball manga's twenty-seventh chapter "Nothing to Sneeze At"), in order to trick Good Launch into wearing pink frilled black lingerie leotard with matching leggings, Master Roshi convinces her and Goku (who is young and naive) that it is a training uniform with Master Roshi, Krillin, and Goku wearing identical lingerie as "training uniforms" so Launch won't suspect Roshi's real reason which is to see Launch in lingerie as he is an old lecher in addition to being a legendary martial artist. Unfortunately for Roshi, Launch's personality changes when she sneezes, going from her good and innocent persona to her tough gun-toting Bad Launch persona, who unlike her good persona quickly realizes what she's wearing and angrily pulls out an IMI Uzi to shoot at them in a comical fashion before sneezing again and returning to her Good Launch persona with neither Goku nor Good Launch realizing Master Roshi's deception due to their pure-hearted personalities.
  • Dragon Ball GT
    • In the episode ″Trunks the Bride″ Trunks was forced to dress up as a bride to save a girl and planet's village after it was attacked by a monster named Zoonama who can create earthquakes. It was supposed to be Goku as the fake bride, but because he was too short to wear the dress he and Pan agreed on making him the fake bride.
    • In ″Whiskers of Power″ Trunks as Trunksette becomes the ″bride″ for Zoonama as he is taken to Soonama's lair while there Goku, Pan, and Doma, the bride's fińacee, try to cut Zoonama's whiskers as he drinks a potion to knock him out, they only cut one and he wakes up! With Pan finding out that Zoonama can only predict earthquakes and not make them, Zoonama's lair, really a volcano, burst in to flames as Goku blast it with his Kamehameha destroying it as the episode ends with Goku, Pan, and a happy-to-be-out-that-dress Trunks is given a dragon ball though someone steals it.
  • El Hazard – Makoto Mizuhara impersonates Princess Fatora of Roshtaria who is kidnapped by the Phantom Tribe because of his uncanny resemblance to the princess.
  • The Drew Carey Show – Drew's brother, Steve Carey, is a cross-dresser.
  • The Famous Five TV series
  • Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman – A Children's game show on PBS Kids Go! Some episodes have boys dressing up in female outfits. Jay in Season 3 wore a cheerleading outfit (but it had shorts) in the episode "The Ol' Switcheroo". In the episode "Will they Like the Show? It's a Shoe-In!" featured boys playing basketball in high heels,[17] and in the episode of Season 4 called "Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? It's...Ruffmanman!", Brian was with Bethany as part of the "Indestructible Butterflies"
  • Firefly – Mal Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion) wears a dress and a bonnet as a disguise while saving a town from bandits. He is later asked about this, and his response indicates that he has cross-dressed in the past.
  • The Flip Wilson Show (1970) - Flip Wilson plays Geraldine Jones as a recurring character in this sketch variety series.
  • Friends – Chandler's father (played by Kathleen Turner) is a cross-dresser.
  • Fruits Basket – Ritsu Sohma dresses as female, because it makes him feel more confident, and comfortable. His cousins Ayame Sohma and his younger brother, Yuki occasionally cross-dress because they look good in female clothing. With the former it's voluntary, the latter less so.
  • Fushigi Yuugi – Nuriko, one of the Suzaku Seven Celestial Warriors, dresses as a woman in memory of his dead sister. In the middle of the manga series, the Suzaku Warriors had had to dress up as women to avoid being killed in the island of Nyousei, where barbaric, cannibalistic, anti-masculinist women lived. This idea is excluded from the anime series, but revived in the omake.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure – In one episode, Nagisa Misumi disguises herself as a man twice in an attempt to reclaim Mepple, who had been confiscated. In a later episode, Nagisa plays the part of Romeo in Verone Academy's school play of Romeo and Juliet.
  • In Game of Thrones, Arya Stark is a tomboy who prefers more masculine activities such as sword fighting instead of the more feminine activities like embroidery. After her father is arrested and executed she assumes the identity of a boy named "Arry" and tries to return to her family.
  • In the anime Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (also known as the New Generation segment of Robotech) the character of Yellow Belmont/Lancer cross-dresses as a means of disguise, as well as to perform in his rock singer identity (known as Yellow Dancer in Robotech).
  • Gintama - In Episode 24 Gintoki and Katsura are wearing female kimono as Piko and Zuka.
  • Glee – In Season 3, episode 16 ("Saturday Night Glee-ver"), actor Alex Newell portrays Wade Adams, a member of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, who performs as his transgender alter ego "Unique". In Season 4, Wade/Unique becomes a recurrent character.
  • Golden Girls – Dorothy Zbronak's (Beatrice Arthur) brother Phil Petrillo, who was never seen on air, is a cross-dresser. When he died in the episode Ebbtide's Revenge, Phil's widow Angela had him buried in a teddy, to which Dorothy said to her roommates "it looks like he died in a Benny Hill sketch!".
  • Gravitation – The main character, Shuichi Shindou, wears his sister's schoolgirl uniform and dons a maid outfit to try to get the attention of Eiri Yuki.
  • H2O: Footprints in the Sand (2008) - Hamaji Yakumo is a boy who cross-dresses as a girl.
  • Hana-Kimi (1997–2004) - The manga series centers on Mizuki Ashiya, a Japanese girl who lives in the United States. One day, she sees a track and field competition on TV, and becomes attracted to one of the high jump competitors, Izumi Sano. She begins to idolize the young athlete and eventually transfers to Japan to attend the same school that Sano attends. There is a catch, however: Sano attends an all-boys high school, named Osaka Gakuen and Mizuki must disguise herself as a boy to enter. It has been adapted into four drama shows: Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (Taiwan), Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Japan), Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Japan) and To the Beautiful You (Korea).
  • Happiness! (2006) - A secondary character of the series, Jun Watarase, is a boy who dresses as a girl.
  • HeartCatch PreCure - For the first half of the series, Itsuki Myoudouin cross-dresses as a boy because her brother is too ill to be heir of their dojo.
  • Heaven's Lost Property - In episode 11, Sugata dresses like a long-haired woman while Mikako dresses like a man. Also, Tomoki is transformed into a girl called "Tomoko".
  • He's a Lady – The 2004 reality television series involves male contestants competing with each other to act as effeminately as possible, including cross-dressing.
  • Hikari Sentai Maskman – Princess Igam (Mina Asami) has been raised as a man so that she could one day take the imperial throne.
  • Himegoto (2014) – The protagonist, Hime Arikawa, dresses as a girl.
  • Hollyoaks character Kris Fisher is a cross-dresser.
  • I My Me! Strawberry Eggs – Main character Hibiki Amawa disguises himself as a woman to obtain a job as a gym teacher at school that will only hire women.
  • iCarly – In the episode "iWant My Website Back", Spencer dressed as an old lady to fool Nevel into giving iCarly their URL back, but instead, he attracted an old man.
  • InuYasha – Jakotsu of the Band of Seven always wears women's clothes and repeatedly flirts with Inuyasha.
  • Invader Zim – In the episode "Walk for your Lives", Zim uses a fat lady disguise to get rid of an explosion that is exploding really really slowly.
  • In the British TV sitcom Keeping Up Appearances Hyacinth's brother-in-law Bruce is a cross-dresser which Hyacinth tries not to let people find out about. In several episodes one can see Bruce in his outfits.
  • The King's Affection – Main character is a Joseon royal princess posing as her dead twin brother – the Crown Prince.
  • Goretti from Killinaskully was played by actor Pat Shortt.
  • Various characters from Kuroshitsuji including main character Ciel Phantomhive and Grell Sutcliff cros-dress in some episodes and the OVAs.
  • LeonardoLisa disguises herself as a boy named Tomaso so she may study art under Andrea del Verrocchio.
  • Love in the Moonlight - A 19th-century Korean girl dressed as a boy and eventually becomes a eunuch.
  • Louder with Crowder (2017) - US political commentator Steven Crowder has a regular segment in which he cross-dresses for comedic effect.
  • The Loud House – Lincoln dresses up as a girl like in episodes like "Overnight Success", "A Novel Idea" and "Cover Girls".
  • Maid Sama! – Aoi Hyoudou, an internet celebrity, cross-dresses so he won't be made fun of for liking cute, girl things.
  • Maria Holic – Mariya Shidō is a boy who cross-dresses as a girl.
  • M*A*S*HMaxwell Klinger (Jamie Farr) regularly cross-dresses as part of a futile attempt to be dismissed from the military.
  • Master of NoneLena Waithe's character Denise is a lesbian woman who poses as a hippie man. In Season 3, Denise is married to Alicia (Naomi Ackie).
  • McHale's Navy – Whenever McHale and/or his crew have to disguise themselves in order to carry out one of their elaborate schemes, it's usually Tinker (Billy Sands) or Ensign Parker (Tim Conway) who has to dress up as a woman.
  • MegaMan NT Warrior (Rockman.EXE) – Villain Magnus Gauss (Gauss Magnets) cross-dresses as a woman and is obsessed with Dr. Wily. In one episode (unaired in the dub), three of the main characters cross-dress as idol singer Aki-chan to rescue a group of kidnapped girls.
  • In Merlin's Apprentice a young girl Brianna disguises herself as a male squire in order to avenge her family's loss of land.
  • "Written in Blood", the second episode of crime drama Midsomer Murders, features a cross-dressing victim.
  • Rich Fulcher plays a woman named Eleanor in the Season 3 episode "Eels" of the British comedy show The Mighty Boosh. He continues to dress as Eleanor for stand-up comedy gigs, and refers to her as a separate person from himself. In the season 2 episode "Nanageddon", main characters Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) dress as nanas in order to sneak into a bingo game and find the elusive demon, Nanatoo.
  • Minami-ke – Makoto regularly cross-dresses as Mako-chan to get close a girl he likes. Another character, Tōma, is a tomboy with three older brothers who regularly wears male clothing.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – Gundam pilot Tieria Erde cross-dresses in the second season in order to gain entrance to a party.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ – Gundam pilot Judau Ashta cross-dresses in the second season to free his female companions from a harem
  • Along with the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus dressing up as women for comedic purposes, Monty Python featured a sketch called "The Lumberjack Song", about a lumberjack who likes to "put on women's clothing and hang around in bars."
  • Mr. Headmistress – TV movie – Ex-con Harland Williams disguises himself as the new Headmistress of an all-girl school to avoid some thugs.[18]
  • Murder, She Wrote – The episode "Birds of a Feather" features two drag queens. Also in "Amsterdam Kill", there is a woman disguised as a man and there is another in done of the episodes set in Ireland.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – In the episode called "Brotherhooves Social", Big MacIntosh is disguised as a mare named Orchard Blossom with a blond wig and a blue dress complete with pink makeup and fake eyelashes.
  • My Partner Knows Best - On the April 25, 2018 episode,[19] the husband contestants were forced to run an obstacle course in high heels and subjected themselves to a full body wax.
  • Nail Shop Paris – An author tries to break out of her writer's block by disguising herself as a boy so she can base her next novel on a nail salon staffed only by men.
  • In The Nick Cannon Show Nick dresses like a woman in 6 episodes.
  • Otoboku – Mizuho Miyanokoji cross-dresses to attend a girls' school as per his grandfather's wishes.
  • On Our Own – the oldest brother of an orphaned family cross-dresses, pretending to be an older aunt, to keep his family together until he is legally of age. Features the Smollett family.
  • One Piece – A Japanese anime and a manga about pirates includes a number of cross-dressing characters, the okamas. The most notable of them are Mr. 2 (a.k.a.Bon Clay) who can change his physical appearance and Emporio Ivankov, a queen of a drag queen kingdom, who can change his sex by controlling the hormones (and strongly resembles Tim Curry's Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
  • One Well-Raised Daughter - In this South Korean serial drama, the main protagonist, a female has to dress like a boy in order to inherit her family's Soy Sauce business in order to keep it out of the hands of a scheming woman and a competing company. Although she is outed after she succeeds, she exacts revenge on them upon learning their plans to take over the business.
  • Opposite Sex – In the pilot episode, the first three boys (Milo Ventimiglia, Kyle Howard and Chris Evans[20]) in a formerly all-girls school do a drag routine in the schools annual talent show.
  • Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru – The main character of the series, Mizuho Miyanokouji, is a boy who cross-dresses as a girl.
  • Ouran High School Host Club – Main character Haruhi Fujioka cross-dresses regularly and is initially mistaken as male by the members of the Host Club. Also, various Host Club members cross-dress on occasion, including manga episodes 10 (Hikaru, Kaoru, and Hunny as part of a plan to keep Haruhi away from Saint Lobelia's Zuka Club, and in the anime adaptation, Tamaki and Kyoya also cross-dress for the same reason), 11 (Hikaru and Kaoru take turns dressing as the witch of the central wing), 15 (Hikaru, Kaoru, Tamaki, and Mori all dress in Alice costumes, and Kyoya portrays the Black Queen as well as Alice's mother in this chapter), and 20 (Hunny while going undercover with the Host Club to monitor Haruhi and Hikaru's date).
  • Perfect Strangers Larry dresses up as a woman in the episode Just a Gigolo.
  • Pokémon – James from Team Rocket, often appears in a dress or skirt, and in one of the banned episodes, he is even seen in a bikini complete with inflatable breasts. A partial list of characters including Ash Ketchum (three times), and Jessie and Meowth of Team Rocket, have also been known to cross-dress, although not as often as James. One of Misty's older sisters dress up as a prince and Gastly also once disguised as a beautiful maiden and an old woman at a summer festival.
  • The Powerpuff Girls – Bubbles disguises herself as one of the Rowdyruff Boys, Boomer, to go undercover and track down his brothers, Brick and Butch. Professor Utonium also disguises himself as a woman in another episode.
  • Princess Knight – Princess Sapphire disguises herself like a man to fight in her adventures.
  • Princess Princess – Three students in an all-male school dress as girls to raise the spirits of the other students.
  • Queer as FolkMelanie Marcus (Michelle Clunie), the lesbian attorney/lawyer, embodies more masculine traits such as in "The Wedding" where she wears a tuxedo as a bridegroom to marry her partner Lindsay Peterson (Thea Gill).
  • Robin Hood – Djaq (played by Anjali Jay) is a Saracen who true name is Saffiya, but she disguises herself as a boy by adopting her dead twin brother's name and appearance.
  • In the Round the Twist episode "Lucky Lips", Pete is given a magical lipstick by a mysterious fortune teller that would make any female unable to resist kissing him. In the episode "Know All", Tony ends up being dressed as a fortune teller.
  • Ramen Fighter Miki – Episode 10 Part 1 includes a scene where Kankuro is wearing Miki's outfit while trying to beat her at her own game (that being ramen delivery). Then at the end of Episode 12 Part 1, he dons the disguise of an aristocratic lady to try to get Miki to challenge him.
  • Ranma ½ – A Japanese anime about a martial artist called Ranma who can transform into a girl. His gender is easily changed through means not under his control, so a costume which works on one gender often suddenly and comically becomes inappropriate cross-dressing. Also appearing in the anime and manga are Tsubasa Kurenai and Konatsu, who are male cross-dressers, and Ukyo Kuonji, a female cross-dresser and potential love interest of the gender-changing Ranma.
  • The Riches – Sam Malloy (Aidan Mitchell), the youngest son of an Irish-American Traveller family, prefers cross-dressing. Even though under certain circumstances Sam can wear boys' clothes, he occasionally reverts to girls' clothing, much to the embarrassment of his family. (The Riches also features Eddie Izzard portraying Sam's non-transvestite dad, Wayne Malloy.)
  • The Rose of VersaillesOscar François de Jarjayes, the main character of the series, is a woman who was raised as a boy and who cross-dresses as a man.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race – a competition reality show premised around Drag Queens, men who cross-dress professionally as a means of entertainment. The show gives a deeper side to the art of female impersonation, as well as insight into the world of a gay drag artist.
  • Sailor Moon – In one episode of the first season, Zoisite (one of the villains) disguises himself as Sailor Moon. In the "Sailor Moon Super S" season, Fish-Eye always dresses like a woman. In both "Sailor Moon S" and "Sailor Stars" seasons, Haruka Tenou (Sailor Uranus) wears masculine clothes most of the time, and even chooses to wear the masculine version of her school uniform, to the point of being mistaken for a boy by other characters. In "Sailor Stars", Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten, became Sailor Starlights.
  • Samantha oups! – French comedy series starring two men who portray themselves as women—Samantha (played by David Strajmayster) and Chantal (Guillaume Carcaud).
  • Sasameki Koto – Masaki Akemiya is a boy who cross-dresses as a girl.
  • Saved by the Bell – Zach and Screech occasionally dress as women either to disguise themselves or for comic effect.
  • SheeZaam - A cartoon pilot about a male sanitation worker who gains a magical ring that grants him superpowers, but since the ring is intended only for a woman, his superhero form is cross-dressed.[21]
  • SheZow — A cartoon about a preteen boy who gains a magical ring that grants him superpowers, but since the ring is intended only for a girl, his superhero form is cross-dressed.[22]
  • In the Silver Spoons episode "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", Ricky (Ricky Schroder) is convinced to dress up in drag and be a friend's date for a dance because his friend saved Ricky from an almost fatal accident previously.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", Lisa Simpson disguises herself as a boy named Jake Boyman in order to learn math when the school is segregated by gender. Bart has also worn girls' clothes on several occasions, sometimes by choice, and sometimes against his will.
  • Something in the Air – Features a cross-dressing politician, Doug Rutherford (played by Roger Oakley).
  • SpongeBob SquarePantsSpongeBob has dressed like a woman in several episodes. His best friend Patrick Star cross-dresses in order to protect himself from what he thinks is an assassin in the episode "That's No Lady".
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has on several occasions featured characters cross-dressing. In "Profit and Lace", the character Quark dresses as a woman to prevent an enemy of his to ascend to the power of Grand Nagus. In another Ferengi-related episode, "Rules of Acquisition", a female Ferengi cross-dresses because females are not permitted to earn profit in the Ferengi culture. "Rules of Acquisition" is also one of the few episodes that references how the Federation views homosexuality when the character Dax discusses that it's a normal thing for a man to be in love with another man (She doesn't know that the man she is chatting with at the time is really a woman, cross-dressed).
  • On The Suite Life on Deck, Bailey pretended to be a boy so she could attend Seven Seas High on the SS Tipton because all of the girls rooms were taken. She becomes Zack's roommate and he agrees to keep it a secret. It is quickly found that Bailey is actually a girl and she ends up rooming with London.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody - Both Zack and Cody (played by real-life twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse) cross-dress in several episodes for numerous reasons; one most notably being Cody entering a beauty pageant for young girls while Zack approves of it because the first prize is a new bike.
  • Summer Heights High – Chris Lilley cross-dresses for the character of Ja'mie King in this Australian comedy; she is often seen wearing a green school dress.
  • Sungkyunkwan Scandal – In 18th century Korea, a young girl dresses as a boy so she can attend a prestigious school and earn money to support her impoverished family.
  • The Jeffersons – George's navy buddy Eddie (Edie) Stokes and employee Leroy cross-dress to fool Louise when George can't find the real Eddie .
  • Three's CompanyJack Tripper (played by John Ritter) dresses up as a woman in two episodes. Larry Dallas (played by Richard Kline) also dresses up as a woman in one episode.
  • Tipping the Velvet – A coming of age story about a young woman named Nan (Rachael Stirling) who falls in love with a male impersonator.
  • Together – Singaporean drama which in episode 10, Yao Wuji (Zhang Zhen Huan) was asked to cross-dress as part of his job of being an Ah Gua (a man who acts like a woman) which made his father (Wang Yuqing) to nearly kill him by constantly beating him. He was also seen cross-dressing in episode 9.
  • Twin Peaks – The character Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) disguises as Japanese investor Mr. Tojamura, Denise/Dennis Bryson (David Duchovny) is a male character who wears women's clothes because it relaxes him, and at one point Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) impersonates the Log Lady.
  • The Ugliest Girl in Town – sitcom about a male American actor who accepts a female modeling job in London to be with his girlfriend.
  • Uh Oh! - During episode 74 of the first season, a part of the Slime Tour obstacle course race that took place in Victoria, British Columbia included an obstacle where the three participants had to first put on ball gowns à la Queen Victoria before moving on to the next obstacle; one of the children in the race was a boy named "Rad" Rhys.[23] A variety of other obstacle courses of the Slime Tour that aired on different episodes of Uh Oh! included requirements for contestants to don dresses before proceeding onwards with the course, and many of the contestants in those courses were boys. The organizer of the Slime Tour, “Slime Master” Shaun Majimder (and later, Ryan Belleville), has also occasionally dressed as a woman at times when introducing some of the different obstacle courses of the Slime Tour.
  • Victorious - in the episode "Beck Falls for Tori" Beck disguises as Tori in or to do the stunt.
  • We Can Be Heroes (2005) - Chris Lilley cross-dresses for two characters, Pat Mullins and Ja'mie King in this Australian mockumentary, the first show that Lilley created.
  • Work It – American television sitcom about two men who must dress as women in order to keep a job in a bad economy.
  • World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Dustin Rhodes portrayed "Goldust", a gimmick that involved cross-dressing as well as former wrestler Vito LoGrasso, who later gained the nickname "The Toughest Man To Ever Wear A Dress". Tyler Breeze's "Fashion Police" gimmick alongside Fandango also involved cross-dressing. Numerous other male wrestlers in various promotions have also donned women's clothing as a punishment for losing a match over the years such as Brian Pillman and Perry Saturn.[citation needed]
  • Young Americans TV series in which one of the female characters poses as a boy.
  • You Can't Do That On Television – Several comedy sketches, particularly in the early years, featured boys in the cast wearing dresses for various reasons.
  • You Rang, M'Lord? – Cissy is a lesbian cross-dresser, complete with monocle, cravat and short hair.
  • You're Beautiful – A young nun cross-dresses as a boy to impersonate her brother in a boy band. You're Beautiful was remade into the 2013 Taiwanese series Fabulous Boys.
  • Zoey 101 – In one episode of this show Lola disguises herself as a boy to prove boys can still act the same if a girl is around.
  • In Zoids: Chaotic Century episode 28 "Run, Wolf!" Prince Rudolph Zeppelin III is disguised as a girl in order to hide his identity.

Animation, cartoons and anime[edit]

  • Bugs Bunny frequently cross-dresses in his cartoons for either comedic effect, or to confound a male opponent. Notable examples include "Rabbit of Seville", "What's Opera Doc" and "Rabbit Seasoning", all in attempts to deceive Elmer Fudd.
  • Doctor N. Gin from the Crash Bandicoot series wears a ballerina dancer outfit in Crash Tag Team Racing. The tutu, obtained through one of Crash's missions, is an alternative costume that made N. Gin feel "pretty" and boosted his self-esteem.
  • Him from The Powerpuff Girls series is shown every time, wearing a typical skirt, fishnet stockings, and high-heeled boots.
  • Jessie and James from Pokémon cross-dress as ballet performers and wedding couples.
  • In the manga and anime Ouran High School Host Club, the main character of Haruhi Fujioka cross-dresses as a boy so that she can work in a host club to pay off a debt she owes to the other members. Haruhi's father, Ranka, is also a cross-dresser.
  • In the manga and live-action series of Hana-Kimi (Hanazakari no Kimitachi e), the main character, Mizuki Ashiya, cross-dresses as a boy to attend an all-boys boarding school to meet her idol, Izumi Sano.
  • In the manga and anime Shugo Chara, Nagihiko Fujisaki cross-dresses as his "twin" Nadeshiko out of family tradition. He also cross-dresses in his transformation Yamato Maihime.
  • In the manga and anime Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure, one of Michel's servants named Lady Bat, who cross-dresses as a female, is actually a male.
  • In the anime and manga Hetalia: Axis Powers, Poland is a man and dresses like a woman sometimes.
  • In the anime Himegoto, the main character, Hime Arikawa, cross-dresses to join the Student Council who promises to pay off the debt created by Hime's parents. There are also four other characters who cross-dress, including Hime's brother, Kaguya, HIro Toyotomi, No. 1, and Mitsunaga Oda, all of whom are against the Student Council.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Can a Mulan Live-Action Movie Work?". 31 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Between Your Legs". 22 January 1999. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via IMDb.
  3. ^ Stein, Jeff (November 11, 2011). "Style: Cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover story dismissed by historians". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Eddie Izzard: Comedian and actor opts to use pronouns 'she' and 'her'". Sky News. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Angels in America". December 7, 2003. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  6. ^ "Accused (TV Series 2010–2012) - IMDb". IMDb.
  7. ^ The World's Greatest Wars Chappelle's Show (Uncensored) {Starts at 04:26/05:16}
  8. ^ Corey in the House - That's So in the House
  9. ^ Dårfinkar & dönickar on IMDb
  10. ^ He Said yes to the DRESS! | Deal or No Deal US Season 3 Episode 43 | Full Episode
  11. ^ Devin Shoulders (2018-01-01), DOND: "The $5 Bet" S3 Ep 37 (2-14-08), archived from the original on 2020-04-30, retrieved 2018-04-03
  12. ^ Dog Eat Dog: Episode 13 "High Heel Balance Challenge", archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-05-30
  13. ^ Dog Eat Dog: Episode 23 "High Heel Balance Challenge", archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-05-30
  14. ^ Dog Eat Dog: Episode 12 "He or She", archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-05-30
  15. ^ Dog Eat Dog: Episode 17 "Drag Kings", archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-05-30
  16. ^ Dog Eat Dog: Episode 23 "He or She (Bearded Challenge)", archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-05-30
  17. ^ Fetch with Ruff Ruffman Basketball with High Heels
  18. ^ "Mr. Headmistress". 15 March 1998. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via IMDb.
  19. ^ "My Partner Knows Best" Hell on Heels
  20. ^ VOSS, BRANDON (January 5, 2009). "A-List: Chris Evans". HERE MEDIA INC. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  21. ^ SheeZaam on vimeo
  22. ^ "Breaking News - The Hub Network Unveils 2013-'14 Program Slate with Six New Additions to Join Nine Returning Original Series -". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  23. ^ Uh Oh! (Game Show) | Episode 74 | YTV Retro, retrieved 2018-06-02