August 24, 2015

Finding Yourself Through the Crossdreamer Community

Last year I contributed a chapter on the crossdreamer community to a book on trans people and the internet. The book project was ultimately cancelled, so I have decided to publish the paper here instead.
Crossdreamer liberation is about self-acceptance
Illustration: Molay/andresrimaging/Risto Viitanen

Gender variance is breaking cultural and social taboos. This is the major reason being trans and gender variant can be so difficult. By breaking taboos, you risk losing your friends, your family, and the respect of your community.  

There is another group of taboos that are just as strong, the ones associated with sexuality. Communities world wide police desire, forcing people into very narrow boxes of normalcy. 

Crossdreamers exist where the violations of the norms of gender and sexuality intersect. Crossdreamers are men and women who not only dream about being a sex different from the one assigned to them at birth, but who have erotic fantasies about this.

This is the story about how crossdreamers started organizing online communities to explore their identities and sexualities. This is not going to be an “objective” and “disinterested” article. I have played an active part in building this community. Nor do I claim to represent all crossdreamers.  

Note that I use the term transgender as a broad umbrella term for all gender variance. According to this definition all crossdreamers are transgender, even if they are not all suffering from gender dysphoria, and even if only a minority of them are transsexual.

Psychological repression

Some transgender people become what I have called “splitters”, people who manage to divide their psyche in two, leaving one part for the inner sex and one for the outer. I have been aware of my female side since I was nine years old, but I managed to keep this side of me separate from my conscious gender identity as I grew up. I thought of myself as male, even if I considered myself a “failed” one.

August 16, 2015

Resources for Partners of Transgender People

When I found out my husband is a woman inside, I started googling. I wanted to find information for people who have a transgender spouse, forums with support for partners of transgender people and stories of couples that had found a way to make it work. Here is what I have found.
When the one you love is trans. Image by Kannaa.

By Sally Molay


August 9, 2015

Fixing up The Crossdreamer Portal

I have spent some time cleaning up The Crossdreamer Portal, our guide to sites and forums of interest to crossdreamers and crossdressers in particular and other trans and queer people in general.

Here's what has been done:

  • Implemented new visual profile, with a design more similar to (Text on white background is generally easier to read.)
  • Moved blog extracts over to the right hand column for easier access and less clutter.
  • Reduced the number of direct feeds from crossdreamer blogs. Blogs who have not been updated since 2013 have been moved into a "other" list at the bottom of the left column.
  • Reduced the number of links from the crossdreamer forums (Crossdream Life and the crossdreaming reddit). The previous list was a bit too overwhelming.
If there are sites you think are missing and should be included, please let me know. Add a comment to this blog post.

August 8, 2015

Must Read Transgender and Crossdreamer Reflections by Felix Conrad

If you have not done so already, you should go over at the Transcend Movement site and read some of the transgender and queer philosophy of Felix Conrad.
The Transcend Movement has a beach club feel to it.
This will all be explained later on.
(Illustration by alexaldo)

During the last couple of months Felix has written several very interesting blog posts on crossdreaming, crossdressing, trans and queer over at his Transcend Movement site.

We are on the same page, Felix and I, but he has his own, unique take on crossdreaming, and there are definitely places where we look at things  differently. This is exactly as it should be.

I should add that Felix has his own way of presenting his arguments -- provocative, with lots of irony, and a refreshing disrespect for political correctness. Don't let that stop you! There is gold here!

Here are some of the blog posts you may want to take a look at:

"Why Caitlyn Jenner is a bad role model for (some) crossdreamers"
Felix argues that whatever a rich American celebrity does transgender wise is of little relevance to most MTF crossdreamers.

"The cause of autogynephilia: erotic target location errors"
Felix is kinder to Ray Blanchard than I am, but read this intelligent critique of the "erotic target location error" part of the autogynephilia theory.  (And if none of these words and names mean anything to you, read the blogpost anyway! He is revealing the logical errors of traditionalist science here.)

July 31, 2015

13 Books on Crossdressing, Crossdreaming and Gender Variance

For many the struggle with sex, sexuality and gender identity leads to reading -- a lot of reading. In this three part series I will present books that have helped me in my understanding of myself, crossdreaming, gender dysphoria and transgender issues.
Illustration by Olyzel

Please add a comment if there are other books you have found helpful and interesting. I will add them to the permanent list of trans-relevant books.

She is not the man I married. My life with a  transgender husband, by Helen Boyd
  • Boyd treats crossdressers and crossdreamers with respect and empathy, but without hiding the difficulties that follows from gender variance of this kind.
Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays From the Struggle for Dignityby Kelley Winters.
  • Brilliant debunking of the autogynephilia theory and a good discussion on how psychiatry has contributed to the persecution of transgender people.
Nevada, novel by Imogen Binnie
  • This novel is hard to describe: Honest, funny, tragic, radical... Anyway, the book contains some of the best descriptions of crossdreamers I have ever seen in fiction, whether they are closeted or transsexual. (And then there is that wonderful description of autogynephilia-supporter J. Michael Bailey....)
Girlfag: A Life Told in Sex and Musicals, by Janet Hardy
  • Girlfags are not necessarily female to male crossdreamers, but some of them are. Hardy's book is part autobiography, part essay on women who identify with gay men.
Grrl Alex, a Personal Journey to a Transgender Identity, by Alex Drummond.
  • A fascinating book by male a to female transgender person who tries to find a place between crossdressing and transitioning. Part 2 of the book gives a good review of research on crossdressing, crossdreaming and transsexuality.

July 21, 2015

What Caitlyn Jenner's Story Means for MTF Crossdressers, Crossdreamers and Transgender

Caitlyn Jenner's journey will make a huge difference for all transgender people, including crossdressers and crossdreamers. 
Caitlyn Jenner (Photo: Time)

2014 was declared the transgender tipping point, with black trans woman Laverne Cox on the cover of Time.

Fast forward to 2015: A late transitioning 65 year old transgender woman is on the cover of Vanity Fair. Like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock before her, Caitlyn Jenner gives transgender a human face. Laverne and Caitlyn express strong support for each other.

Late-onset trans icon

So why is this important, not only to transgender people in general, but also for male to female crossdressers and crossdreamers? Well, the big deal is that having Caitlyn Jenner as a trans icon in major media is no longer a big deal.

This also mean that more and more people ignore the old way of presenting trans women: as emotionally disturbed men.

According to the old narratives of transgender, the ones propagated by old fashioned researchers, transsexual separatists, and trans-exclusionary radical feminists, Laverne and Caitlyn are two different species.

June 2014: Laverne Cox on the cover of Time
Laverne, who is sexually oriented towards men, is at best a "real transsexual" or -- according to researchers like Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey -- an effeminate homosexual man.

Cailtyn on the other hand, who would normally be classified as a "late-onset transsexual", and seen as a perverted heterosexual man, a transvestic fetishist or -- according to Blanchard -- a "autogynephiliac".

But no. This has not become a major issue in the public debate. With very few exceptions, no one cares.

Feminists criticize Jenner because she is a woman

Yes, Caitlyn has been criticized. Feminists activists have argued that she should not give in to the sexualized gender pressure of contemporary culture, dressing up as she did in the Vanity Fair photo shoot.

But when they say so they have already accepted her as a woman. Theirs is a feminist argument, and not an invalidation of Jenner's identity or of trans women in general.

July 15, 2015

On Being Transgender, The Jack Molay Interview

Felix C has basically turned crossdreamer blogging into transgender chill-out clubbing.
Who is Jack Molay?
Illustration by Jorgenmac

Really, there is no other site out there quite like the Transcend Movement.

Felix and I had a talk about how to make a good pasta sauce, crossdreaming, autogynephilia, my life as transgender, bullies, Sense8 and more.

You can read it all if you click here!

July 5, 2015

Conservative Minister Defends Transgender Right to Self-determination

A conservative minister of health becomes a strong supporter of transgender rights, changing the main principle of transgender health care in the process. Only the trans persons themselves can decide on their gender identity, he says.
Norwegian Minister of Health, Bent Høie,
and transgender lesbian activist Christine Marie
Jentoft agree that the transgender people are the
ones who should decide on their legal identity.
(Photo: Reidar Engesbak, Blikk)

The Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie, recently made an important argument about why there should be no trial period for people who want to transition.

He wrote:
"When I started working on these issues, I believed that a period of reflection was necessary -- before you take such an important decision. But, a meeting with Skeiv Ungdom [the Norwegian organization "Queer Youth"] made it clear to me that such a requirement is unreasonable for those concerned.

These people have had a lot of time for thinking. Some of them have felt a misalignment between body and gender since they were small kids, while others have spent a lot of time questioning and doubting their way to the same answer.

To demand a period of reflection means that they will once again feel that they are not believed or taken seriously. You tell them that they have not spent enough time to think this through on their own."
Høie is talking about a change of legal gender status here, which does not necessarily entail hormones and surgery, but in principle this is a radical shift in how transgender people are treated in this country.

Abolishing the gatekeeper function
Trans man Luca Dalen Espseth has argued strongly
against the current practice of health personnel asking
transgender people about sexual desires and
behaviors. (Aftenposten)
(Photo: Nathalie Wiik Lystad)

Høie's argument is a very powerful one. The current logic is that transgender people seeking a legal change of gender have to be protected against themselves by non-elected representatives of the medical establishment, the so-called gatekeepers.

By decoupling legal acceptance from medical transitioning, Høie gives the power back to the individual, following the principle that those who are going through this are more likely to know what's best for them.

Today castration is required

Currently Norwegian law requires that a person must undergo medical treatment that includes castration to achieve legal gender recognition. Moreover, the power to grant such medical treatment has been given to the National Treatment Unit for Transsexualism at the Oslo University Hospital, a unit that has repeatedly been accused for demanding that their transgender patients live up to traditional gender stereotypes to be accepted for treatment. 

Forum for crossdreamers, crossdressers and transgender people

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