September 26, 2016

When Real Life Gets in the Way of Transphobic Science

Gigi Gorgeous first came out as a gay man, then
as a trans woman, and now as a lesbian, falsifying
the autogynephilia theory in the process.
Two recent articles and a YouTube blog post present lives that prove the stereotypes of transphobic psychologists wrong. 

Meet Ekundayo Afolayan, Gigi Gorgeous and Kat Hamilton!

Sexology has caused a lot of suffering in queer and transgender circles.

Since the late 1980s terms like "transvestic fetishism" have been used actively to invalidate the  identities of male to female transgender people, mostly by reducing their sense of self to some kind of sexual perversion.

The clearest example is the the autogynephilia theory of Ray Blanchard, which is based on traditional gender stereotypes and a strict binary understanding of sex, sexuality and gender.

He is basically reducing sexuality, gender expression as well as gender identity in male to female trans people to a function of sexual attraction. In other words:  Who you are attracted to determines what kind of transgender person you are. And male to female transgender persons are either effeminate gay men or mentally ill straight men, according to this theory.

In real life there is no one to one relationship between sexual orientation on the one hand and masculinity and femininity on the other.

In real life there is no clear boundary between male to female transgender people who love women and those who love men, neither when it comes to appearance, behavior, desires nor when they first become aware of their gender variance.
Modern sexology often reduces the identity and
sexuality of trans and queer people to
"autoeroticism", a strategy used to invalidate
gay, lesbian and transgender people for more
than a century. (Thinkstock)

But that is exactly what the theory requires.

"Homosexual transsexuals" (this is what these researchers offensively call straight trans women who love men) are described as effeminate and sexy young transitioners, while "autogynephilic transsexuals" (i.e homosexual and bisexual trans women) are masculine, unattractive,  and "late-onset".

Actually, this binary encompasses non-transitioning transgender persons as well, including drag queens and crossdressers.

I am not going to repeat the main arguments against the theory here. You will find ample documentation here and here.

In this post I will present three recent publications made by people who all violate the borders set up by Ray Blanchard.

August 21, 2016

Coping with gender dysphoria without transitioning

Felix Conrad has published a new ebook: How to Jedi Mindtrick Your Gender Dysphoria, containing some pretty useful observations and advice for those MTF crossdreamers who do not go down the road of transitioning.
Felix' inner wise man talking to his inner woman.
(Photo of female Luke Skywalker by MJ MIller.)

The recent interest in transgender issues has been of great help to transgender people of all types.

Yes, the bathroom laws represent a back-clash, but you only get a back-clash when society is changing, and in this case in a much more tolerant direction.


There is still one group of transgender people  --- and I am using the term in its broader, umbrella meaning of gender variance here -- who remain invisible, though. Or, at least, less visible.

These are the gender dysphoric transgender people who -- for a wide variety of reasons -- decide not to transition.

This is the group Felix Conrad, our MTF crossdreamer philosopher per excellence, targets in his new book How to Jedi Mindtrick Your Gender Dysphoria.

August 14, 2016

On being transgender -- hope and despair

Many transgender people struggle with shame, guilt and self-denial, some to the point of attempting suicide. Monica P. Mulholland's book brings hope to those troubled.
Monica Mulhand (from Newshub New Zealand)

I recommend that you to take a look at Monica P. Mulholland's book Me! The gift of being transgender

Although the book's main focus is on transgender people who have transitioned or intend to transition, it does cover the needs of the whole transgender spectrum.

There is even a chapter on crossdreaming. Most MTF crossdreamers and crossdressers will therefore find something of interest.

Monica herself courageously discusses the dark side of being transgender, including the pain of gender dysphoria, the fear of social exclusion and the possibility of self-harm and suicide attempts.

Many transgender writers avoid this topic, as they fear that writing about it may trigger destructive behavior. I agree with Monica: We need to bring this part of being trans and gender variant out into the open, and talk about it. That is the only way we can bring trans and queer people out of isolation.

Talk about feelings

Monica underlines the need to look at transgender feelings:
"Many who misunderstand the Transgender experience seem to lose sight of the word 'feel'. They may speak about the anatomy and endocrine processes, while dismissing the Transgender person's 'felt' experience as 'personal choice' -- rather than as something physiological. 
"Feelings are an extremely important part of the human condition -- and especially so when trying to understand, and communicate with, a person who is Transgender. If a Transgender person does not feel known, understood, accepted, loved or included, then barriers to feeling of well-being and self-worth negatively impact their communication with those who are most important to them."

July 29, 2016

The Pseudo-Science of Autogynephilia

Lisa Mullin, trans woman and trans activist, has actively documented how the so-called "autogynephilia" theory of Ray Blanchard, J. Michael Bailey and Anne Lawrence has been used to invalidate the identities of transgender people, even if the theory is bad science based on debunked stereotypes. 
Lili Elbe, "The Danish Girl", would have to be classified
as an "autoygnephiliac" according to the Blancahrdian
system, which means that she will look masculine
 and have male mannerisms. The fact that none of this
is true, means nothing to the AGP supporters.

In this guest post Lisa gives a clear and succinct summary of "AGP" absurdities.

By Guest Writer Lisa Mullin

Be prepared for sarcasm, but the following is actually all based on what Ray Blanchard, Alice Dreger, J. Michael Bailey etc have stated.

'Autogynephilia' (AGP) is an mysterious ailment with strange symptoms and effects: It is only about sexual desires, no human being (cis or trans) has a gender identity.

Everything an AGP trans woman does is motivated by sex; if  she want to go to a bathroom it is not because they want to pee -- it is only for sexual reasons.

July 21, 2016

Explaining Gender Dysphoria

Photo by Patrick Miko 

Lisa Mullin, a transgender woman, explores the nature of gender dysphoria or that deep sense of discomfort and suffering that may come from living in a body and a social role that does not match your inner sense of self.

By Special Guest Writer Lisa Mullin

It is incredibly hard to explain to others what gender dysphoria actually feels like. The concepts can be so alien to an ordinary cis (non-transgender) person that it would be easier to explain quantum theory….

It is hard enough for trans adults to understand and explain but even more difficult for parents trying to understand their child and work out whether they are transgender or not.

But here is my attempt.

Is see this as having three dimensions that vary for every trans person:

(1) Physical

(2) Behavioural

(3) Visual

Each can be broken down further.

Physical Aspects

This is the simplest and the easiest for others to understand. Basically you miss bits you should have and don’t like bits you do have. They just feel ‘wrong’ to you.

It never goes away, though you can distract yourself from it, even suppress the feelings for periods of time. It can become very intense at puberty when, especially for trans boys, things like breasts start growing.

Here's a personal example: I didn’t want my penis as a kid, even tried to cut it off (stopped real fast when it hurt though, I barely broke the skin).

I missed having a vagina (even though I didn’t know what that was) and kept feeling between my legs as a young (6-10) kid to see if it was there and if it had grown in yet (as I expected).

The sadness I felt when I was older and knew it would not happen was intense.

Behavioural Aspects

This is complicated because it covers a range of things. Body movements, hand movements, voice, games played, types of friends, toy preferences and so many others.

June 23, 2016

Reflections on a Possible Crossdreamer Pride Flag

Transgender flag presented in Pride parade (Getty).
We are in the middle of the global Pride season. There seems to be a flag for any sexual and romantic orientation possible, and others for  gender identity.  But is there one for crossdreamers and crossdressers? And do we need one?

As regards the second question:

Probably not, as most -- if not all -- crossdressers and crossdreamers fit under the transgender umbrella. They are all -- in one way or the other -- gender variant.

The transgender flag

And we already do have a transgender flag, created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999.

The transgender flag
Helms described the meaning of the transgender pride flag as follows: 
"The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives."
Some still find it a bit traditional, restrictive and binary (especially because of the baby color reference), but as far as I can see, there is ample room for non-binary transgender identities under this flag. The description may -- for instance -- include crossdreamers and crossdressers who present as their assigned gender, but who still feel the need to express the other side of their personality. 

Besides,  many crossdreamers find that they are  transsexual, and end up presenting and living as their target gender.

A crossdreamer flag proposal

But there is more to flags than actually having to fly them in public, as a recent discussion over at Crossdream Life  clearly demonstrates.

Lost247365  presented this sketch of a possible crossdreamer flag some days ago. It was Lost's presentation and the following discussion that caught my interest, more than the question of whether this flag will actually ever fly in a Pride parade.

June 9, 2016

The Medieval Crossdreamer

Jewish women in Haggadah for Passover (the ‘Golden Haggadah”)
The story about a medieval  poem on  becoming your true gender.

Many of you will have met the following argument in the transgender debate:

Since crossdreaming and transgender identities are social constructs, they are most likely to be the end product of modern Capitalist society, the Patriarchy or something equally sinister -- an line of argument which will most likely lead to a discussion about sexualization and fetishes.

This impression is reinforced by the fact that historians and art scholars have had a tendency to ignore -- or outright censor -- the voices of gender variant people from other cultures and epochs.

As I pointed out in my blog post on  crossdreamers in the Kama Sutra, until recently all English translations of that work skipped the part about straight women dominating straight men, most likely because it was considered threatening to the world order or impossible to understand.

So a lot of work is needed in this field. I am confident that if we look, we will find crossdreamers and transgender people in all cultures and all periods of time. They lives will be expressed in different manners according to  local language and cultural framework (as they are today), but they will have this in common: A desire or a need to express or be recognised as their true gender or as a blend of the two.

A Medieval Poem About the Longing to Become a Woman

A year ago Tuitey made me aware of a beautiful transgender poem over at tumblr.

The poem was written in the 14th century by a Jewish male to female transgender philosopher  and translator from Provence:  Kalonymos ben Kalonymus (also known as Qalonymos ben Qalonymos ben Meir). The poem was originally published in the book Even Bohan (or Eben Bohan) in 1322.

May 1, 2016

Looking for students and scientists who want to study transgender issues

Dr. Jaimie Veale is looking for students and researchers who would be interested in studying transgender  issues.
Jaimie Veale

Dr. Jaimie Veale has done some extremely important research in transgender people, documenting, for instance, a diversity and a complexity that goes far beyond the traditional dichotomies between two types of male to female transgender people.

In this context she has delivered compelling evidence that undermines the so-called "autogynephilia" theory of Dr. Ray Blanchard of Toronto, a theory that effectively reduces transgender identities to paraphilias.

I have presented some of her research here  and here, and you can find more material over at her own web site.

Having spent some time in British Columbia, Jaimie is now back in New Zealand, in a faculty position at the School of Psychology at the University of Waikato.

In time Jaimie hopes to be able to build up a team of researchers interested in everything transgender (crossdreaming included). If you are interested in this kind of research, and would even like to contribute yourself, do not hesitate to contact her. She may even supervise students from a distance.

Forum for crossdreamers, crossdressers and transgender people

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