Crossplay is cosplay in which the person dresses up as a character of the opposite gender. Crossplay's origins lie in the anime convention circuit, though, like cosplay, it has not remained exclusive to the genre. As the name implies, crossplay is a portmanteau of crossdressing and cosplay.
In Japan, female costumers tend to dominate (in numbers) the field of cosplay in general, often portraying a huge assortment of colorful characters regardless of gender. Most females who crossplay are not actually homosexual or transgendered and simply enjoy the art of dressing up as their favorite character. For these crossplayers, it is no different from an actress playing a male role.
Male to Female crossplay is typically divided quite definitively into these two groups: those engaging in genderplay, and those attempting to pass as female.
Genderplay Crossplay is a costumed gender performance which plays with or parodies traditional gender roles, perceptions and issues by intentionally presenting a confusing gender identity.
The stark contrast between these two groups is due largely to the social context surrounding the subject of male crossdressing. For most males, dressing in women's clothing is not something to be taken lightly, and so most crossplayers choose either to take the approach of ironic humor (intentionally not passing), or that of the masquerade (attempting to pass).
The majority of MtF crossplayers are neither homosexual nor transgendered, though the ratio of homosexual and transgendered individuals is slightly higher within MtF crossplayers than it is with the general male public. The anime convention community is largely seen as accepting of the blurring of gender roles, and as such, may encourage some male fans to experiment with unconventional gender roles, in ways which they might not attempt outside of the convention environment.
Mana, the Malice Mizer guitarist and Midi:Nette owner is one of the leading figures in the crossplay scene. He has rarely intentionally smiled or spoken in public. In his filmed interviews, he whispers into the ear of a band member or confidante, who then relates his words back to the interviewer. He has also been known to simply look at the camera as subtitles appear, as well as using Yes/No cards. According to him, this is because he considers his music to be his voice. Mana never appears in public in casual clothes and spends alot of effort to maintain a perfect look. Maybe he avoids to talk in interviews because his possibly male voice might ruin the overall gothic lolita impression.
Kaya from Schwarz Stein is offering another point of view: "Male and female, to be either means to be able to express myself from both points of view, doesn't it? In order to express my world of decadent beauty, I want to be able to sing with the ache of both male and female. Being both male and female, being sexually borderless, I would like to convey that I think this is a very important thing. I want to shake up the view of life where people think because your male you have to be like this, and because you're female you have to be like that. I want to uproot the listener's senses....though if I say that, it's probably an overstatement of sorts, but I think I want to show people how wonderful it is to be borderless"
Rinoa and Squall at Anime Expo 2004