January 24, 2016

What Drives Transphobia?

I got the following question from a blogger over at tumblr who is working on a research paper:

"Who do you see is more susceptible to being transphobic? Like...types of people?" 
Not all transphobes are conservative. The
radical feminist icon Germaine Greer is one
of the most extreme haters today. (Getty  Images)


Here is what I answered:

I would say that insecurity, anxiety and fear are the main drivers for transphobia, in the same way they are for homophobia, racism and sexist attitudes.

Life is not without its risks, and it takes a strong mind to handle all the uncertainty life throws at us.

If you have been raised in a dysfunctional family, or you are taught to fear “the others”, or you live in troubled times, it is easy to fall back on the more primitive sides of our minds.

Scapegoats

We look for someone to blame; we look for a place to vent our fear, and we do so by turning our fear into anger. We then channel that anger towards those that are different, the ones we do not understand.

This may give  us a much wanted emotional release, and for a moment it looks like we have a solution to our problem. For instance: "If we can only get rid of those pesky LGBT people, everything will go back to the way it once was, back in the good old days”.

Another group of people are using the same language and playing on fear without feeling it themselves. These are people who understand such social and psychological processes intimately, and who make use of them to gain power and influence. Many of them are borderline sociopaths or full-fledged psychopaths. Adolf Hitler comes to mind.


January 17, 2016

The Life of a Crossdresser

Many crossdreamers use -- or have used -- crossdressing to express their "other side". Here is one such story, shared by a fellow Scandinavian.

Great many crossdreamers express
their transgender side through
crossdresssing.
Illustration photo by Discovod.
Guest post by "Dr. Gonzo's Better Half,"

Dear Jack,

I am a writer and a traveller, in my 40’s. One marriage that never happened. 10 years of travels, working for companies around Europe. I consider myself to be a philosopher.

And a cross dresser.

A long time one too. And a puzzled one.

I hope I can shed some light on things, as I am in search for some answers myself. Hence, the "confession". Writing a blog post for Crossdreamers is like reminiscencing with a complete stranger you have never seen.

What am I?

It will be easier to start here than to tell my mates, or my parents:  “You know, I have searched my urges on the internet, and what I found is that I am an autogenophiliac. Which means I express my perversion by imitating the most feminine women by imaging myself, or getting dressed in their most feminine attire.”

In other words, I am a narcissist in denial who expresses his perversion through cross dressing. Or should I say I am a cross dresser with no gender variety, or is it something more?

Note that much of this story are fragments that might shed some light on this.

Arousal

For a long time, I thought that my little “fetish” differed from other cross dressers is that it aroused me. Did when I was a kid; still does today. And I believed that this pathologized me in some ways. Unfortunately, the first place I looked was Wikipedia and was introduced to the “perv” model to describe what I and apparently others in here have in common.

I never dreamt, or got aroused, by the thought of having a woman’s body before. It was their clothing. Their essence.

I have read Felix Conrad’s entire blog, and almost all of yours as well. And all of a sudden, I am not your “ordinary” cross dresser anymore. And the notion that it’s some sort of mental disease, or perversion, repulses me.

When it started, it’s hard to tell. For all I know, I may have had these “tendencies” for as long as I have lived. Your writing has forced my to dig deep inside. In fact, I have been trying to learn about this for the last week.


January 10, 2016

Felix Conrad Unmasks the Autogynephilia Theory in New Book on Transgender

Felix Conrad has written a new book on crossdreaming and being male to female transgender. It is definitely worth the read!
Felix Conrad argues that we will have to leave the
autogynephilia and fetish theories behind.

Photo: Ron Chapple Stock


Three years ago Felix Conrad launched his Transcend Movement site with a discussion of crossdreaming.

Since then there has been a wide variety of interesting blog posts, controversial video podcasts, and a book on how to survive as a male to female transgender/crossdreamer when not transitioning. He has even interviewed me.

And he has done all of this with a sense of style and flair previously unheard of in this corner of the web.

Serious humor

He is the master of what I call -- for lack of a better word-- a Catalan-British sense of humor. His use of irony has caused some bewilderment in crossdreamer and transgender circles, but no more than is needed in this field of gender confusion.

As soon as you move beyond the provocative headlines and  imagery, you find  deep, serious, thought-provoking analysis of the various myths and misconceptions found in the world of crossdreaming, crossdressing and gender variance.

He calls himself a philosopher, and has every right to do so.

(I am using male pronouns here, as he is presenting as male publicly, and is using them himself.)

Transgender: Fact or Fetish

A couple of weeks ago he published a new ebook called Transgender: Fact or Fetish - Reality or Delusion? 

While his previous book was more of a practical guide for living as a male to female non-transitioning "late onset" transgender person, this one is a bit more philosophical.

Felix, being a male to female transgender person himself, is cleaning out his closet, so to speak, realizing that he has to understand the main theories of what makes crossdreamers crossdream, before finding his own answer to the ultimate question: Who am I?

This could have become a very dry and theoretical book. It is the exact opposite. Conrad writes in a way that will make perfect sense to people who do not have a Ph.D. in philosophy.
Felix Conrad's book on transgender.

He is using everyday language in a way that helps us see through the convoluted jargon of -- for instance -- Ray Blanchard, the sexologist who has most strongly tried to define male to female (MTF) crossdreamers, crossdressers and transgender women as "paraphiliacs" or sexual perverts.

Indeed, this book can be considered Felix'  final farewell to the autogynephilia and fetish explanations of what causes transgender feelings and identities. He has tested them and found them seriously lacking.

Debunking the Autogynephilia theory

Ray Blanchard does, as many of my readers will know, divide trans women (and non-transitioning male to female gender variant people) into two distinct categories:

(1) "Homosexual transsexuals" (i.e. MTF trans people who are attracted to men), who -- according to Blanchard -- are hypefeminine gay men.


January 5, 2016

The Feminization Project - Fetish or Being True?

My good friend Cheryl has put up a post over at Crossdream Life that should be of interest to many of the readers of this blog.  Cheryl reflects on her own life as a male to female crossdreamer, and on her struggle to find some balance in her life without transitioning. 

What I like so much about this post is that she speaks plainly about many sides of what it means to be both crossdreamer and transgender, in a world which rarely welcomes such longings and fantasies.

She touches upon crossdressing, crossdreaming, gender identity and the use of hormones.

Here are a few paragraphs on the effects of using estrogen:

"During the time I was on hormones I really did become very consumed by appearing as Cheryl. I was a kid in a chocolate factory. I was determined to experience the gender crossover in as much honest detail as I possibly could. This caused a shift in what was at the centre of my arrousal mechanism. I no longer felt that cross gender presentaton or the thought of it carried an associated sexual component any more. I was more sexually interested in the more mundane or normal. 

"On trying to express the sexual side of crossdreaming I could not get to the top of the mountain any more and no longer understood the original attraction to those thoughts. Yet I still pursued the cross over of gender presentation, and was on the conveyor belt of transition in 5th gear. I was happy mentally and perhaps realised that this was as good as it gets. I encouraged myself to come off hormones which was rather difficult as they make you feel good. I realised fully that this was no fetish driving me but a forced deep within myself wanting to continue."

Cheryl's conclusion is that this is much more than a fetish, but that being transgender does not automatically mean that you can or should transition. If you cannot, then what do you do?

Cheryl presents her approach to this problem.

You can read the whole post over at Crossdream Life.

December 15, 2015

New Crossdreamer Ebook: A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary

New book explores the experience of gender variance through words and concepts.

My first ebook ever is now available for sale on Amazon.

A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary has its origin in a blog post series I wrote back in 2013. The idea was to find words that can help us feel, understand and express what crossdreaming and related forms of gender variance are about.

Words have power. They may limit us in our understanding, but they may also set us free from restrictive world views and invalidating narratives.

Good new concepts make us go: "Yes, that's it! That's how I feel. That's me. Now I get it." And we can then use those words to help others, who do not share our experience, understand. In other words: This book will also be useful for friends, family, teachers, researchers and others who relate to gender variant people.

Some of the words included in this book are already in use. Others are imaginary words, more meant for reflection than to be used in everyday speech.

Think of this book as a collection of mini-essays on crossdreaming and transgender.

You do not have to read them all in one setting. In fact, you do not have to read them in any particular order. But do read them!

You can buy the ebook now for US$ 2.50 over at Amazon.com. (In some countries VAT might be added).

You don't need a Kindle tablet to read it. You can read it in a browser, or use the Kindle app for smart phones and tablets.

The paperback version is a bit more expensive I am afraid, as this is print on demand.


EBOOK
PAPERBACK

Or by the ebook from Amazon Australia | Canada | Brazil | Japan | Netherlands | Italy | Spain | France | Germany | United Kingdom


The words included are:

December 14, 2015

The Crossdreamer Facebook Page Passes 3000 Followers

It could be that you don't know that we have our own facebook page for Crossdreamers.com.

This week the page passed 3000 followers, which isn't bad for a subject like this one.

I know that some of you hesitate before using your regular personal facebook-account to sign up to pages and groups like this one.

The good new is that you do not have to to read it. It is open to everyone.

Click here to get news and stories about crossdreaming, gender variance and transgender issues!

By the way: There is also a Crossdresser and Transgender page that has more than 7000 followers.

Illustration by Lucky Guy.

December 1, 2015

New Brain Study Indicates Great Gender Diversity

I would like to draw your attention to a recent article in the Guardian, which covers the research of a Israeli research team who have found that there is a huge overlap between male and female brains.

A complex mix of the "feminine" and the "masculine"
The volumes (green = large, yellow = small) of brain regions in 42 adults, showing
the overlap between the forms that brains of females and brains of males can take.
Image by Zohar Berman and Daphna Joel

The main point for me is not whether these researcher are "right" or not. Neuroscience is in constant flux, and there will probably never be a final theory that explains everything about this extremely complex organ.

What is interesting for me is how similar research data can lead to very different conclusions all depending on the point of view of the researchers.

The Guardian writes:

'Scientists analysed brain scans of more than 1400 men and women and found that while some features are more common in one sex than the other, each person’s brain has a unique “mosaic” of these features, as well as others seen commonly in both.

“What we show is that there are multiple ways to be male and female, there is not one way, and most of these ways are completely overlapping,” said Daphna Joel, a psychology professor who led the study at Tel-Aviv University.'


Scientists inclined towards gender stereotypes will focus on the macro level

This is nothing new. Even the neuroscientists who believes strongly in the dichotomy between "male" and "female" brains know that there is a lot of variation between individual brains, both male and female, but they interpret patterns they see on an aggregated level as proof of there being unique "male" and "female" brains. 

These aggregated findings are then used to confirm the gender stereotypes of the -- let's say -- sexually driven aggressive man and the passive and nurturing woman.

Overlap is the norm, stereotypical brains the exception

What is interesting with this study is that the researchers focused on the areas where there is least overlap between men and women on an aggregated level.

The Guardian again:

'Across the four different sources of brain scans they studied, the scientists found the percentage of “internally consistent brains”, in which all regions were at the male end or all at the female end, varied from zero to 8%, while those with both male-end and female-end features ranged from 23% to 53%.'

So even if you look at those regions who are supposed to prove that men and women are different, you find that most men have "female" traits and most women have "male" traits. At this point, of course, you have to ask yourself whether it makes any sense at all to call these traits "male" and "female."


November 17, 2015

Crossdream Life Forum Moves to a New Home

The Crossdream Life forum has moved over to a new address.

You can find the new forum over at crossdreamlife.lefora.com.

The reason for the move is simple: We do not have the resources needed to run our own bulletin board system on our own server.

We have therefore outsourced the technical part to Lefora.

I am afraid old members will have to sign up again to the new forum. But in return they get some nifty new features, like video embedding, chat, skins for personal home page, polls, photo albums and more.

The old site will be kept  as an archive for the time being.

Sign up for the new Crossdream Life forum today!

(Photo: Rawpixel Ltd)

Forum for crossdreamers, crossdressers and transgender people

Link to the Crossdream Life site for crossdreamers, crossdresser and transgender people