And my difficulty is that although I now know that I am not "male", I do not know that I am "female". I wish I did know that -- or at least it seems to me in my present state that it would be so much easier to live if I Just Knew I was female than to be as I am, stuck in the middle. (In contrast, I emotionally recoil from the possibility that I am still actually male.)
I struggled for a long time on the question of whether I was "just a cross-dresser" or something more, and I came up with "reasons" that I was one or the other. I was absolutely unable to settle the matter through reason, but one day, between two moments, I quietly knew I was not male. Revelation, if you want to call it that. A step of Faith. A Conversion. A Mystic Experience. However it happened, I didn't know and then I did.
I am intellectually prepared for the possibility that some day I will have another such revelation, that I will know that I am a woman. But I don't know that now, and I live with my agnosticism -- and with the possibility that some day that I will have a revelation that convinces me that I am not really female either. Though, to be frank, my heart leans more towards the hope that some day I will know myself to be female.
For myself, cross-dressing (before I knew I was transgender) was a compulsion, and I really couldn't have told you what I was getting out of it. It wasn't (consciously) to "be" female, even for a time. As I wandered closer and closer to realizing I was transgender, it was through the realization that even though I didn't feel as if I was female, that living as female worked better for me in so many ways.