December 28, 2010

December 20, 2010

The cause of crossdreaming - an alternative model

I spend a lot of time presenting research on gender and sex in this blog, and some of it get pretty heavy. So, this time I have decided to write a popular presentation of what I believe crossdreaming is, without footnotes and Latin terms. You can find the references elsewhere on this blog.

I have previously compared the birth of a personality, gender orientation included, as a remix of humanity.

There are literally millions of variables that make up a human being: natural, psychological and cultural. Each and one of us is the end result of a particular mix of such traits.

Most of these traits are not gender orientated. And if you really look at the men and women you know, you will soon see that they do not adhere to the stereotypes of the movies and the adverts.

There are strong, aggressive, and power hungry women who run for public office. There was a time when they would be called "mannish", but not anymore.

There are shy kind, and compassionate men who love to play with their children. There was a time when a man would be found effeminate if he pushed the baby stroller. Now modern women find this a requirement in their partner. The Norwegian company Stokke and others now deliver a "masculine" stroller. Being compassionate has become a manly thing in my corner of the world.

It may be that there are some statistical differences as regards behavior between the sexes on an aggregate level, but it is weak and nothing like the one you see when it comes to -- let's say -- height and body mass.

In spite of this, there are times when even the diverse cultural language of the modern world is not flexible enough. There are men who find that they feel much more like women, and women who identify with men.

These are the transgender people, from crossdreamers who fantasize about having the body of the other sex to transsexuals who decide to step over the dividing line and become the one they are inside.

Two explanations

There could be at least two reasons for this:

The first one is that there is some kind of critical mass. In a male bodied person this point is reached when the number and intensity of his typical "feminine" traits reaches a critical mass, and he is no longer a man, but she is a woman. Some may live close to this tipping point. They are neither men nor women, or rather: they are a little bit of both.

The second one presumes that there is only one (or at least a limited number of factors) that determine gender identity. If this is the case it does not matter if a male bodied person has a large number of "feminine" traits. If the core trait that determines gender identity says "man", he will identify as a man.

I'll come back to what I believe is the case at the end of this article.

The one armed bandit

Allow me to simplify thing a bit to make this clearer.

Imagine a Las Vegas slot machine with a million wheels, one for each trait. Imagine conception as pulling the lever, and the resulting position of the wheels as a picture of your personality.

In the real world things are a little bit more complex. Some wheels are more likely to give a specific result than others. The position of the wheels may change throughout life as a result of external influences, but this picture should give you a rough idea of where I am heading.

Now, let's take away all those wheels that are not relevant to the formation of biological sex and gender identity.

Among those who believe men and women fall into two distinct compartments, the the perfect combination of symbols for a man would be the one to the right.

I guess we are talking about G.I. Joe here, the exact opposite of the hyper-feminine Barbie.

Barbie would be all pink Venus signs.

Now, how many real life Barbies do you know? Really...

No, I guessed as much. There can not be more than a Barbie per thousand women around, probably less. (Fortunately)

The fact is that in the real world we all come out with a mix of "masculine" and "feminine" traits.

The slot model

For the sake of simplicity I am going to reduce the number of gender relevant variables to seven. In the real world I would guess there are thousands, many of them overlapping, but this is for illustrative purposes.

Note that many of these traits are the end result of a large number of variables. The Human Genome Project has shown that we have far too few genes to couple traits like these to individual genes. The traits are the end result of a complex interaction between genes, proteins, hormones and more.

The fact is that factors in the surrounding environment man turn genes on and off. We now also know that you may inherit gene switch changes from your parents (epigenetics). Biology, psychology, society and the surrounding environment is constantly interacting in all directions.

The sex of the body

The first four variables (or slot "wheels") in my model are basic and instinctual. By this I mean that they are clearly determined by your biological make-up. You do not chose them. They chose you.
The first variable is the sex of the body. For most people this will be XX female or XY male.

This variable determines if your sex organs point outwards or inwards, whether your voice will drop when you hit puberty, or -- alternatively. whether your chest will start to swell. You know the drill.

I have used the traditional Venus and Mars symbols to represent the body sex.

December 19, 2010

Transgender terms compared

Using Google for transgender trend web search has always been hazardous: Too many searchers use some of these terms searching for adult entertainment. Hence the results do not give you an accurate picture of how people think about these issues.

Google has now opened its Google Books database for researchers. Using books as a proxy for public interest is also problematic, but these data do at least give you an impression of what scientists, scholars and fiction authors think about their usefulness.


"Since 2004, Google has digitized more than 15 million books worldwide. The datasets we’re making available today to further humanities research are based on a subset of that corpus, weighing in at 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often they occurred in each year."

I have done a search comparing the use of some important transgender terms, namely: "transvestite", "crossdresser", "transsexual" and "transgender".

Later on, I will see if I can find the time to look at variants of the various words.

Click on image to enlarge, or go to Google Ngram to study it.



As far as I can see, there are no surprises here.

The first term for any transgender condition was "transvestite" (although the meaning was soon narrowed down to "crossdresser".) It was born in the early 19th century.

December 13, 2010

The dominant crossdreamer

I got an interesting question in the mail the other day, and I would like to share it with you. Anonymous 22 asks: Why is it that most crossdreamers seem to be sexually submissive?

"While I haven't seen anyone definitely state such, it seems every AGP fantasy I've ever heard of, both personal fantasies and those in the form of written fiction, frequently use themes of submission as a component of the wish-fulfillment.

I've seen some people suggest this is so those who have such fantasies don't have to feel guilty about them, and also, as I think you may have spoken about on Crossdreamers, as the submissive element can sometimes function as a tie-in to femininity.

In addition, I have heard many personal stories on blogs, and such, wherein the writer suggests that in addition to being autogynephilic, he is also generally sexually submissive.

And of course, in the world of BDSM, forced feminization is a not apparently uncommon fantasy for male submissives; though I'm not one to speculate on the reasons for this; as someone is only somewhat knowledgeable of the specifics on that particular spectrum of human behavior. It might have more to do with the humiliation aspect of the practice.

So here is my question: Out of curiosity, have you ever encountered anyone who is both autogynephilic and tends towards sexual dominance in their fantasies?

December 3, 2010

What is feminine and masculine anyway?

On this blog I have been using words like masculine and feminine quite liberally. After all, that should make sense, given that crossdreaming is a transgender phenomenon, and boys who dreams about being girls should have a pretty good idea about what that entails.

I have gradually come to the conclusion, however, that I have no longer a clue about to what these two words really mean.

Feminineness defined

Dictionaries are of no help, as they have a tendency of defining

a term like "feminine" as "associated with women and not with men", or -- if they are very advanced -- giving it a culturally relativistic definition: "Femininity (also called womanliness) refers to qualities and behaviors judged by a particular culture to be ideally associated with or especially appropriate to women and girls."

There are several reasons for my problem.

Gender equality

One is the fact that I have grown up in Scandinavia.

I have seen the "qualities and behaviours" of women change before my own eyes. Women not only have the right to vote, they practically run the place. Four out of six Norwegian party leaders are now women. The Conservative Party and the right wing Progressives are both run by what was once the "weaker sex". When Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundland ran the place, we had worried young boys asking their mothers if it was possible for men to become Prime Minister.

Women were traditionally supposed to be non-intellectual, emotional, passive and caring and completely unsuited for leadership. Men, on the other hand, had apparently no aptitude for child care.

It is strange to see how Norwegians now consider the willingness to take care of your kids to be as much a masculine trait as a feminine one. Fathers are expected to spend time at home with their new born child during the first year of its life. When I grew you rarely saw a man push a stroller.

The flexibility of language

Still, this is not only about changing gender roles. This is also a question of perception and language.
When I grew up, the traditional core family continued to be the norm. Middle class women stayed at home in a Mad Men kind of way.

That being said, people were pretty flexible when it came to determining to what extent one could call a man a man.

I remember my uncle Thomas and aunt Ragna very well. Thomas was a very small man with a weak disposition. He never talked loudly (if he talked at all) and was very nervous among -- well -- anyone. He was a businessman, although not a very successful one, as he lacked the kind of aggressiveness and stamina required to succeed.

He might have been the boss back home, but every body knew, to quote Woody Allen, that mom made all the decisions. Ragna was a formidable woman, a big and strong primary school teacher who faced no disciplinary problems what so ever. She had a strong willed personality and a lot of opinions about anything. She was the aggressive boss. He was the submissive partner.

But they clearly loved each other, an no one doubted the fact that she was a

woman and he was a man. No one would call her masculine or him feminine. And I believe the reason for this was they had four kids. They were as heterosexual as you get.

I am sure may uncle and aunt both faced problems when growing up. He was probably teased for his "effeminacy", while she was reprimanded for sticking her neck out. But in the end they were both accepted.

The eternal bachelor had it much harder. He was considered feminine even when he was not.

Here's my point: If you had asked them about what feminine and masculine meant I am pretty sure they would have repeated the stereotypes of the day: "Women are emotional and caring, men are aggressive and dominant." And they would do so even if they themselves behaved differently.

And as for the gay bachelor: He was turned on by men, wasn't he? And if you were turned on by men you were feminine by definition, even if you had the body and beard of a fisher man.

My mother definitely believed that women had a natural capacity for infinite love, but the fact is that the only person that had this quality in our house was my father. He was the caring introvert. She was the aggressive power player.


Hence there seems to be no connection between what people believe they believe and how they actually act.

November 23, 2010

On crossdreaming and autogynephilia as a fetish

Is autogynephilia a fetish? And is that why so many would rather not be associated with the term?

Autogynephilia (AGP) means to love oneself as a woman, and the researcher that coined the term, Ray Blanchard, argued that autogynephiliacs had internalized their external love object, so instead of loving a flesh and blood woman out there, they love the idea of themselves as a woman. He called it a paraphilia.

In the online debate about autogynephilia (or crossdreaming, which is the term I prefer) the most common used term for the condition is, however, that it is a fetish.

It was Blanchard's mentor Kurt Freund that called this condition for "cross-gender fetishism".

WHO on fetishistic transvestites

In modern medicine, crossdreaming is often classified as a fetishism. The World Health Organisation manual ICD-10, fives the following definition of crossdressing as a "disorder of sexual preference":

"Fetishistic transvestism: The wearing of clothes of the opposite sex principally to obtain sexual excitement and to create the appearance of a person of the opposite sex. Fetishistic transvestism is distinguished from transsexual transvestism by its clear association with sexual arousal and the strong desire to remove the clothing once orgasm occurs and sexual arousal declines. It can occur as an earlier phase in the development of transsexualism." (F65.1)

Under the category "gender identity orders" there is another type of crossdressers, unsullied by impure desires (F64.1):

"Dual-role transvestism: The wearing of clothes of the opposite sex for part of the individual's existence in order to enjoy the temporary experience of membership of the opposite sex, but without any desire for a more permanent sex change or associated surgical reassignment, and without sexual excitement accompanying the cross-dressing. Gender identity disorder of adolescence or adulthood, nontranssexual type. Excludes: fetishistic transvestism ( F65.1 ) "

This is an attempt to make sense of the group of crossdressers who do not report sexual arousal, but who nevertheless do not want to transition.

You can see that the authors have had a hard time distinguishing between crossdressers who crossdress for sexual purposes and the rest. To be honest with you: I think this distinction is completely bogus.

In this classification the experts uses sexual desire as the most important factor for defining the two groups. This could make sense in a time when sexuality was considered impure and of the Devil. These days sexuality is considered a natural and good part of human existence. Heck, even fetishes are now normally considered an acceptable variation of human sexuality.

To argue that crossdressers who get aroused by crossdressing are fundamentally different from those that do not, must imply that "the fetishistic transvestites" (the crossdreamers) do not share the dreams of the asexual "dual-role transvestites ", i.e. the dream of temporary or permanently being members of the opposite sex. From what I see, many -- if not most of them -- do.

This becomes even more paradoxical when it argues that fetishistic transvestitism can be an earlier phase of transsexualism:

"Transsexualism: A desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one's anatomic sex, and a wish to have surgery and hormonal treatment to make one's body as congruent as possible with one's preferred sex."

(The WHO definitions are clearly based on Harry Benjamin's sex orientation scale. Benjamin solved the paradoxes presented above by arguing that there were no clear boundaries between the different types of fetishists and transsexuals.)

What is a fetish?

There are many definitions of sexual fetishism, but at the core of most of them is the notion that something nonsexual, such as an object or a part of the body, arouses sexual desire or is necessary for one to reach full sexual satisfaction. Since a lot of autogynephiliacs crossdress, it is easy to conclude that female clothing is this object.

November 19, 2010

November 14, 2010

Childhood crossdreamers

The myth says that crossdressers and crossdreamers (men who get aroused by the idea of being a woman) become what they are when puberty hits. The myth is wrong.

There are to many crossdreamer childhood stories around for this to be true.

Repressing your inner girl

Autogyn tells one harrowing child hood story over at "Living with Autogynephilia".

"I don't remember the exact year or how old I was, but I'm sure it was somewhere before the age of ten. I remember losing a tooth. I remember my mother telling me to write a note to the tooth fairy- to accompany my tooth."

In the not s/he wrote that s/he wanted to be a girl. That was a mistake.

"Shortly after, days, weeks, I'm not sure, I caught my father trying on my mothers one-piece swimsuit. Only, I didn't actually *catch* anything, that is until he raised his index finger to his lips to shush me.

"I stood there watching him, and then something even stranger happened. He ran out of his bedroom, and all over the house and in front of my mother. He kept yelling, 'Look at me, I'm (my name),' repeatedly. My mother was laughing hysterically."

If someone is in doubt why some crossdreamers manage to suppress their inner woman, this should be an example good enough.

Crossdreamers are liers

The fact is that there are a lot of people, researchers as well as transwomen, who deny that M2F crossdressers and crossdreamers experienced gender dysphoria or gender confusion when they are kids. The idea is that since crossdreamers are purely sexually motivated, their fantasies and dreams cannot appear before puberty.

This is one of the reasons Ray Blanchard argued that "autogynephilic" transwomen are lying. Their childhood stories are constructs helping them appear as regular "classic transwomen". The idea is that the earlier your gender dysphoria appears, the more "real" it apparently is.

It is well known that for a long time many doctors and therapist only accepted M2F transgendered who did not report sexual arousal from feminization fantasies as real women ready for hormone treatment and surgery. At the time researchers seemed to believed that only men were perverts, and that women were pure as snow.

I do not doubt for a minute that some crossdreamers wanting to transition told the doctors what the doctors wanted to hear. Why shouldn't they, when the doctors at hand were so hung up in 19th century stereotypes of what it means to be a man or a woman?

But that does not mean that their childhood memories were false. Given the stories told on this site, and all the crossdreamers I have been in contact with, I can say with 100 percent certainty that yes, many crossdreamers dreamed of being girls at a very early age.

The life stories of Anne Lawrence

I went over to Anne Lawrence’s site and reread her narratives about autogynephilia.

She asked readers of her site to provide their life stories. She did not explicitly ask for childhood experiences, I believe, as Lawrence originally seemed to share Blanchard’s belief that autogynephilia (crossdreaming) appears at puberty.

She had to conclude, though, after having gathered these narratives, that “cross-gender feelings frequently preceded overt autogynephilic arousal, often by many years”.

This is no way a scientifically valid sample. Moreover, out of more than 100, she only presents 59 online . In spite of that I believe her survey proves that crossdreaming can be a childhood phenomenon.

Three types of childhood crossdreamers

Some of these narratives point to a childhood that is similar to the ones reported for androphilic transkids and classic transsexuals. That is, there seems to be at least three categories:

(1) Those kids that appear as “normal” boys, taking part in rough and tumble play etc. etc.

(2) Those that “pass” as boys, but display some “girl-like” behavior. They avoid rough and tumble play and do prefer more peaceful activities. I was one of them myself – a kind of “proto-nerd”, I guess. I preferred drawing to soccer and skiing, but also found building model warplanes a good thing.

(3) Those who clearly identify with girls, often cross-dress as kids and prefer playing with girls.
These are not absolute categories, I believe, but more like a gradual continuum.

This means that single cases of crossdreamer kids appearing “boyish” as kids do not prove anything, one way or the other, as regards the possible “femininity” of other crossdreamer kids.

Out of Anne Lawrence’s 58 autogynephilia narratives, the following report childhood transgender issues: 1, 3, 4?, 8, 9, 13?, 19, 23, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 38?, 44, 48, 50?, 54, 55, 56.

That is 21 out of 59. It might be that some of the others would have reported childhood experiences, as well, had they been asked to. We can also speculate about how many crossdreamers suppress childhood dreams about becoming girls. (The question marks mark cases where the narratives may possible be interpreted in such a way that they do not confirm childhood experiences. To me they look genuine.)

Crossdreaming before puberty

Lawrence admits that these narratives are in conflict with Ray Blanchard’s theory of crossdreaming (autgynephilia) being a sexually driven paraphilia:

“There was one way in which some of my respondents’ stories were less consistent with Blanchard’s ideas about autogynephilia. If the desire for sex reassignment is indeed an outgrowth of these persons’ autogynephilia, then we would expect autogynephilia to appear first, with cross-gender wishes appearing only later. But some of my respondents who freely acknowledged autogynephilic arousal reported that they had experienced cross-gender wishes long before their autogynephilia became evident. (…) It is hard to know whether accounts like these are accurate, or are simply retrospective re-writings of early memories to agree with accepted notions about transsexualism. I believe that we must at least consider the possibility that autogynephilia can, in different individuals, be either the cause or the effect of a desire for sex reassignment.”

Even childhood crossdreaming may have a sexual component (see On the Science of Changing Sex for a very interesting case). Children are sexual beings. But it becomes harder to explain why a M2F crossdreamer kid dressing up as a girl is more fetishistic or paraphilic than an androphilic transgirl trying out mama’s shoes.

Some quotes

I have copied the paragraphs from these narratives that are relevant to the childhood AGP question.

No 1: ” I have no doubt, as I look back on my past, that when I was five and wearing perfume, or making pretty necklaces out of colored beads, or arranging flowers, or when I was seven and volunteering to play ‘Mother Goose’ in the school play, that sexual motivation was a part of what I was experiencing.”

No. 3: “I began crossdressing at three or four. My absolute earliest lifetime memory is, in fact, of standing in a closet happily wearing my sister’s dress, knowing somehow that it was “wrong” and that I should never be caught. I fantasized a lot during my childhood about being a girl, or transforming into one, but I had friends of both sexes, and was feminine in appearance but not necessarily in action. I would have been a tomboy, if I [had been] a girl. My sister was my best friend, and we played with dolls and girlish fantasy games, but I also played cowboys and softball and ran around the badlands with my boy friends.”

No 4: “I do not believe myself to BE a woman, nor did I ever believe myself to BE a girl while growing up. I certainly wasn’t masculine — I played almost exclusively with girls and did not act at all macho, but I never thought I WAS a girl.”

No 6: “I really can’t trace autogynephilia back too much beyond adolescence — I never fit in and really didn’t do boy things, but I didn’t do much girlish stuff either (although I remember some interest, but avoided it because of fear of repercussions of peers).”

No 8: “I did dress in some of my mother’s underthings as I was growing up, but never did fully dress until around 10 years ago.”

No 9: “I had begun cross-dressing as a child and had fantasizing about being female. From puberty onwards, I was sexually aroused by the idea of being a women, wearing women’s clothes, fetish items, and being made love to as a women by a man. ”

No 13: “I did not engage in much crossdressing at an early age. I did sneak occasionally into my Mother’s room and try on a slip, panties, or a bra, but that was the extent of it.”

No 19: ” Following the classic definition of transsexuality, my feelings started at an early age, at least as early as five, years before puberty. I didn’t fit in with boys. I loathed sports and fighting, and war-related role-playing. I was quite drawn to trying on my mother’s and sister’s things, including clothes, makeup, perfume, and jewelry, both real and toy versions. My favorite toys were all my sisters, the dolls and the easy bake oven.”

No 23: “When I was six or seven, I used to masturbate with a piece of clothing — it did not need to be gendered clothing, I just did not want to touch my penis — and fantasize about not having a penis, [and] having a vagina.”

No 25: ” I am almost 100% sure that my desire to be a woman is more established than [my] autogynephilia, which I also recognize [in] myself. The former has been rather stable since the age of six, whereas I don’t recall any remotely autogynephilic fantasies before the age of 20.”
No 26: “I have distinct memories of having wanted to be a girl beginning at age four to five years old, and when I saw a rerun newsreel of Christine Jorgensen at 9 years old, I blurted out to my parents I wanted to do that (not smart). ”

No 28: “As an aside, I do not conform to the portrayal of standard physical characteristics of autogynephiles, as I was feminine as a child, transitioned at an early age, and have generally “passed” without effort.”

No 31: “I was used to wear my Mom’s clothing and shoes from the age of five years. I liked this very much, especially because I had the feeling that I was a woman. I was jealous of many school girls, especially the beautiful ones. I wore my mother’s clothes and shoes, and even had my own small wardrobe.”

No 34: “I have known since very early childhood that I was transsexual, though I had no term for it then. However, the standard or classic transsexual definitions did not seem to apply. ”

No 35: “But I don’t think that autogynephilic sexuality is the reason I am transsexual. Rather, I think it is a symptom of my transsexualism. I had my first feelings of wanting to be female around the age of 3-1/2. All through childhood, I prayed that I could become a girl. I started crossdressing around the age of seven. However, since I was an extremely shy child, I was also an extremely compliant child. I was told I was a boy and would always be a boy no matter what. And so, I tried as best I could to get on with life as a male.”

No 38: “I am a transsexual woman who has a sexual attraction towards women. I first knew of my lesbianism at age 10 or 11 when I was told the word and its meaning. (…) Since my pre-teens, I have behaved in a way that is quite consist with being a woman. While I may never have felt as if I “were” a woman (I still don’t — I feel like me and I’m a woman), my presentation, social attitudes, sexual behavior, etc. are all quite consistent with a life-long internal identity as a woman.”

No 44: “I have vivid memories starting from about age six or seven of wanting to be a girl, and of sexual desires which accompanied it. I also remember feeling ashamed of those feelings, though I do not remember any particular incident that instilled such feelings. Fantasies of intentionally becoming a girl began around age 10.”

No 48: “My first understanding that I desired to be a woman, and its accompanying excitement, came when I was around five years old. This occurred watching a Doris Day movie, and at first it involved the wonderful clothes she wore.”

No 50:” When I was younger, maybe eight years old, I always wanted to wear diapers and pee in them. Around this same age, I would often pull my penis and testes down, and cross my legs to hide them and see how I’d look with female genitalia. ”

No 54: “I started crossdressing as a child, probably about age five or six, and continued to do this most of my life.”

No 55: “I grew up wanting to be a girl. At age six or earlier, I can remember praying to God to let me be a girl.”

No 56: “I began having feelings of wanting to be female at a young age, and started crossdressing in my sister’s clothes at age five.”

By the way, many of the respondents confirm that they have been lying about their autogynephilia to health personnel: “I didn’t bring it up because I wanted SRS. I figured out early on that I had to present what they wanted to see, not what I really was. I had no belief at all that I could get approval without lying, so I lied.”

But I doubt that they lied about their childhood.

November 6, 2010

The Vernon Coleman study of Crossdressers

In 1995 the author and crossdresser Vernon Coleman made a survey of crossdressers.

The European Medical Journal Special Monograph On Transvestism/Crossdressing was based on questionnaires which were completed by 414 British males during July and August 1995 and on written communications from over 600 other British males during the same period.

Coleman belong to the crossdressers who think there is no connection between crossdressing and transsexualism. I think there is such a connection, although I understand his point about there being a big difference between the crossdresser who has no wish to become a woman for real, and the transsexuals who are driven by a gender identity dysphoria.

Coleman also denies the existence of crossdressers assigned female at birth. I know they exist.

His results are very interesting, though, and seems to confirm findings made by others.

I include some of the results below. The complete report, with Coleman's comments and quotes from crossdressers can be found over at his site.

How old were you when you began wearing womens clothes?

The average age at which males in this survey started dressing in womens' clothes was 13. The youngest respondent reported that he had started crossdressing at the age of 4. The oldest was 70 when he started dressing as a woman.

This confirms that the myth that the urge cannot "awaken" before puberty is exactly that: a myth.

Why do you do it?

Note: Respondents were invited to tick as many options as they liked.

a) Because I like the feeling of women’s clothes: 321 (77%)
b) Because it gives me a sexual kick: 244 (59%)
c) Because it helps me relax and deal with stress: 202 (48%)
d) Because I want to be like a woman: 262 (63%)

"Surprisingly, perhaps," Coleman says, "the most common reason given for cross dressing was the feeling of wearing women’s clothes."

The question is, of course: What does that mean? Is it the sensual feeling associated with the feminine, or is it just a practical way of avoiding an itch? The fact that close to 60 percent get a sexual kick out of this, seems to confirm the idea that sex is an important part of the motivation. This is why Ray Blanchard ends up reducing "autogynephilia" (the love of oneself as a woman) to a sexual perversion.

Coleman makes a very important point, however, by pointing out that there is more to this than sexual desire:

"A man who is under constant pressure to achieve, to perform and to make money may find that he can escape from those pressures most effectively by slipping on silky, feminine clothes. He can change his personality and his perception of society's expectations of him within seconds."

I see that a lot of people talk about "male privileges" when discussing transgender issues. For men caught in the web of gender stereotypes (the man being responsible, strong, untouchable, "uncryable") the "female privileges" give room for emotional relief.

"By dressing as women they can liberate their feminine, gentle side - and (temporarily at least) escape from their aggressive, ambitious, demanding masculine selves," Coleman says.

In Christian and Muslim cultures there is a tendency of keeping this "clean" longing for emotional relief from the "tainted" urge for sexual relief. I believe this division is artificial. Still, it is clear that crossdressing is much more than a "sexual fetish" for these men. It is also a way of expressing a feminine identity and to deal with stress.

If you had the opportunity would you have a sex change operation?

94 respondents (23%) answered 'yes'
320 respondents (77%) answered 'no'

Coleman argues that crossdressers are different from transsexuals:

"Many lay people who come into contact with transvestites confuse cross dressing with transsexualism. Wives, girlfriends, employers, workmates and friends often suspect that transvestism is merely a stepping stone on a longer journey; a half way house on the way to transsexualism. This mistaken view is also common among many professionals (doctors, psychologists and social workers) who assume that transvestites and transsexuals are merely variations on the same theme. Some psychiatrists regard transvestites as gender dysphorics but on the evidence obtained by this study I would regard that as a misnomer. Some transvestites would like to become transsexuals but most transvestites (over three quarters according to this survey) have no doubts about their gender and are perfectly happy about their crossdressing. "

I think Coleman is mixing etiology (the cause of both phenomena) with the expression of that etiology. The idea of there being several types of transgendered people (inincludingrossdressers and transsexuals) is based on the understanding that they have a common -- or related -- cause. The fact that as many as 23 percent want a sex reassignment operation points in that direction. Many MTF transwomen have started out as crossdressers.

But Coleman is of course right in insisting that most crossdressers do not want to transition. They want to remain men, while exploring their femininity through crossdressing.

Has being a transvestite ever lost you a job or a relationship?

66 respondents (16%) answered 'yes'
348 respondents (84%) answered 'no'

Coleman adds:

"At first sight the low percentage of crossdressers answering `yes' to this question seems surprising. It is clear, however, (particularly from the response to Question No 13: Do you live in fear of people finding out that you are a transvestite?) [69% said `yes' 31% said `no'] that a very large number of transvestites are extremely secretive about their crossdressing. These transvestites clearly believe that they would lose jobs or relationships if their secret became common knowledge. Most transvestites would probably prefer to be open about what they do. The secrecy tends to add to the guilt they feel. Many transvestites are also aware that it would be much better to tell their loved ones than to have them find out by accident."

The stigma attached to crossdressing makes this much harder than it need to.

Another important point, that Coleman does not make, is that the fear associated with crossdressing, is a strong indication of this not being a voluntary urge, something the crossdressers decide to do just for the thrill of it. The risk is too high for this to be the case. This points in the direction of this being some kind of inborn trait.

If you go out crossdressed, in your opinion, how many of the people who see you are convinced that you are a woman?

82 respondents (20%) reported that they never went out crossdressed
125 respondents (30%) reported that no one who saw them would be convinced that they were women
95 respondents (23%) reported that a few of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women
87 respondents (21%) reported that most of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women
23 respondents (6%) reported that all of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women

These numbers show that the men have a pretty realistic understanding of how they appear. They still crossdress, and the fantasy of being a woman brings emotional relief all the same.

Those who believe they could pass, are not necessarily lying. If they are a bit feminine looking at the outset, they may be able to get away with it.

Have you ever had sex with another man?

82 respondents (20%) said 'yes'
332 respondents (80%) said 'no'

Coleman adds:

"The incidence of any homosexual experience among transvestites (1 in 5) is slightly lower than the incidence of any homosexual experience among non transvestite heterosexuals (usually regarded as 1 in 3). Most of those transvestites who admitted to having had sex with another man said that their homosexual experiences were isolated. The incidence of genuine homosexuality and bisexuality among transvestites is considerably less than 1 in 5 and probably close to the normal figure for non transvestite males of between 5% and 10%."

Coleman draws our attention to a very important fact. A significant proportion of heterosexual cismen do report having sexual experiences with other men. I would guess that this proportion would be even higher in cultures where being the active part in a homoerotic relationship is not considered gay or effeminate, and therefore OK. In other words: Our strict division into homosexual and heterosexual is misleading.

If we are anything like our closest relative in the animal kingdom, the bonobos, you may even postulate that bisexual behavior is the default, and that heterosexual relationships is just one of many natural variations.

I believe we need to develop a more sophisticated and nuanced view of sexual orientation. Being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual is not one simple, unified, permanent and stable trait that is valid for all sides of life. This is especially true for crossdreamers, as they may distinguish between:
  1. Sexual practice (some of them report having had sex with men, even if they fall in love with women)
  2. Sexual attraction (some of them report being attracted to the male physique at the same time as they are attracted to women)
  3. Romantic attraction (some are sexually attracted to men, but fall in love with women)
  4. Sexual fantasy (some report having fantasies about having sex with men, even if they are not attracted to them)
  5. Sexual identity (some consider themselves homosexual or bisexual, but their interpretations of these words may vary)
  6. Gender identity (most of them identify as men, some as women and some as something in between)
  7. Gender expression (when crossdressing these male bodied person express their own understanding of femininity, when they are not they express their idea of maculinity)

Have you ever had sex with a woman while you've been dressed as a woman?

228 respondents (55%) answered 'yes'
186 respondents (45%) answered 'no'

This response shows that a surprisingly large percentage of crossdressers are able to integrate their crossdressing into their sex lives.

Coleman adds:

"The number of transvestites who have made love to their wives or girlfriends while crossdressed will probably surprise many - particularly those who, quite wrongly, assume that transvestites are gay."

308 respondents (74%) answered 'yes' to the question "Does your partner know of your transvestism?" 106 respondents ( 26%) answered 'no'

When asked whether their partner approve of their crossdressing 177 respondents (43%) answered 'yes', while 237 respondents (57%) answered 'no'. Although a surprisingly large percentage of female partners accept this part of their man, it is also clear that many of them just tolerate it.

That being said, as many as 153 respondents (37%) answered 'yes' to the question of their partner helping them choose clothes, make up etc.

The good new is that it may be possible to establish stable relationships where the partner accept the crossdreamer's inner woman.

November 1, 2010

An autogynephilia historical time line

Zagria has put up part two of her useful timeline of the history of autogynephila.

The overview includes links to relevant sites and books, and helps you get an overview over the sequence of events.

Part 1: 1910 - 2000
Part 2: 2001 - 2010

The Crossdreamers blog is now part of transgender history. Who would have thought...

October 28, 2010

Transgender life stories: Bert and Bea

I am going to share another reader's life story with you today, a male to female crossdresser -- "Bert"/"Bea" -- who believes he will have to remain single for the the rest of his life.

Now, the obvious argument against this conclusion is that a majority of crossdreamers do find love. Moreover, I have seen no proof that such relationships are more likely to fail than others. I have been together with the same fantastic woman for many, many years now, and would not even consider living without her.

Still, I can see why B/B has come to this conclusion. When you read between the lines, you will see that he makes his conclusion based on two factors:

1. He has never fallen in love.
2. Women do not want this kind of a partner.

But also note how accepting his friends are when his inner woman comes out of the closet.

I have often wondered if I would have dared to approach my girl friend the way I did back then if I had known what I know about crossdreaming now. At that time, in my twenties, I did know about my fantasies. But since I was not crossdressing, it was easier for me to live in denial. I believed -- or hoped - that this would all pass if I managed to get a girl friend. It did not, of course.

Like B/B I had never fallen in love. Or so I thought. The fact is that I was scared of women. I had probably loved many women, but never dared to admit as much to myself. The pain of never being able to do anything about it was just too much to contemplate.

At the time I believed this fear was caused some really bad childhood experiences. Now I suspect it was caused by a fear of being rejected because of my crossdreaming condition. I believed women were looking for "real men".

October 24, 2010

Strong resistance against proposed paraphilias in the DSM-5

The Forensic Psychology Blog reports that several of the proposed new paraphilias (perversions) that are included in the proposal for the next edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5) were rejected in a symbolic vote at the end of a debate at the annual meeting of the American Association of Psychiatry and Law (AAPL) in Tucson, Arizona.

The participants of this meeting sent a clear message to the DSM-5 developers: The proposed paraphilias, Paraphilic Coercive Disorder, Pedohebephilia, and Hypersexual Disorder, should not be included.

The main arguments are that all three proposed diagnoses lack a sufficient scientific basis and that they are highly likely to be misused in the forensic context, the primary site for their application.

The meeting did not vote on autogynephilia, probably because this diagnosis does not have the same legal ramifications.

It is interesting to note, though that autogynephilia has even less of a scientific basis than pedohebephilia, another of Blanchard's many paraphilias.


Thanks to ACH for the tip!

October 22, 2010

Autogynephilia: An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

Alice Novic has discussed autogynephilia with Dr. Ray Blanchard. Here is her report.

Jack's introduction

This a blog for and about crossdreamers, people who experience cross-gender arousal. There is not much research on the topic, and much of what there is is based on the studies done by Ray Blanchard, a highly controversial figure in transgender circles.

I am very critical of his research. Even if I find his observations very useful, his explanations of them are problematic, to say the least. Still, I believe in the development of open learning arenas where everyone has a chance to be heard. This also applies to Dr. Blanchard.

Jack


Autogynephilia: An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

by Alice Novic, M.D.

Dear Jack,

After reading my August interview with you, a kind Canadian psychologist offered to put me in touch with Ray Blanchard. Planning to say more about this controversial scientist in part two of our interview, I seized the opportunity to become a whole lot better informed. And Blanchard was so forthcoming, in fact, that his email reached me before I could get one off to him. He was rather open and happy to talk over the phone.

I delayed, though, for a week, while asking him for some of his most important articles to read. I wanted to make my own mind up about his ideas, and I didn't want him to have to simply repeat them for me after he'd already spent years articulating them and making them public.

He let me pepper him with questions the following Sunday and handled each one head on. In the process, I was surprised to learn how his work extended beyond the parts I knew and admired.

To me, he is responsible for three major ideas. I've been well aware of one and mostly oblivious to the other two.

Idea #1: There are two types of trans women.

The one I've admired is that no matter how inconvenient it is for us, there just plain are two types of trans women, who differ in terms of arousal, orientation, effeminacy, personality styles, and career interests. He calls them androphilic and autogynephilic (or as I would say started-out-gay and started-out-straight trans women).

I asked him as a scientist whether one or another does better with transition. And he explained that the majority of both types find satisfaction with their new role in life, and perhaps autogynephiles slightly more than androphiles.

Idea #2: Crossdressers have some close relatives, and our whole family needs a name.

Perhaps because the name autogynephile had rubbed me so wrong, I never thought of the brilliance it took to come up with the concept. Before Blanchard, we only had the term transvestic fetishist (or its equivalent, crossdresser).

Through surveys and studies, he observed that there were at least three other groups of people who resembled crossdressers but weren't especially interested in dressing up: men aroused by the idea of dressing up, men vicariously aroused by men who were dressed up, and men aroused by transforming their bodies but not by dressing up.

Blanchard realized that it would be very misleading to refer to these three groups plus crossdressers all simply as crossdressers or crossdresser types, because that is not the behavior they have in common. What they share is that all of them are (or originally were) aroused by the idea of themselves as women.

Which leads us to that now-notorious name autogynephile. Phile as in aroused by. Auto as in one's self as. Gyne as in woman. Hence, autogynephile is a very sensible name for all those men (presumably) who are aroused by the idea of ourselves as women regardless of how we prefer to act that out.


October 21, 2010

Online transgender reading

Here are some interesting posts and articles relevant to the crossdreamer journey.

Am I a transwoman?

Living with Autogynephilia has a post where he discusses the sexual frustration of being a crossdreamer, and the social isolation that follows, can be seen as an expression of transexuality.

He writes:

"My point being, that the social control of our society allows me (the real, truest me) to only exist when I'm not acting within it. And thus, I squeeze every damn second I can spare allocating it to things that the real me actually enjoys [i.e crossdreamingin private, my addition].

And this is why I want to know whether or not I'm a transexual. Transexuals (may) get to interact in real life. So if there is some confusion with my gender-identity, I want it solved."

The concepts of gender and sexual orientation

Crossdreaming ilas has a very interesting discussion about basic concepts like sexual orientation.

He points out that sexual attraction is not necessarily the same as physical attraction, and that sexual orientation is not necessarily the same as sexual identity.

He writes:

"Sexual Identity is something that is influenced by your behaviour and you behaviour is being influenced or directed by the situation you are in (i.e. when you are in a straight relationship and have bisexual feelings which you cannot act upon you identify with being straight because you cannot behave like a bisexual).

Does this mean that there are two essential parts to a person’s sexuality (namely Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity) and that if those two are not the same that this creates a conflict in a person’s feelings?...

And if that isn’t complicated enough there are also people (like me) who would rather have had a woman’s body.

These people may be sexually attracted to men only when they think of themselves as female. But they can also be only sexually attracted to females when they think of themselves as a female and then there are also those that are sexually attracted to both men and women.

These feelings not only bring Gender Identity into the mix, but (for me) also raise the question that if an autogynephiliac has two separate sexual orientations (one for being a man and one for being a woman), can one orientation spill over to or have an influence on the other?"

I believe he is on to something important here.

In everyday speech as well as in the research done by reductionist biologists and psychologists there is a tendency of saying that sexual practice = sexual orientation = sexual fantasy = sexual identity = body image = gender identity = gender expression, and if they do not, we are talking about a perversion.

But what if crossdreaming is the end result of a statistically unusual, but nevertheless naturally occurring, mix of these dimensions?

Suicide is not a solution

Sarah, over at A Crossdreamer's Journey, has written a heart-felt and very important post about pain, depression, suicidal thoughts, and the spiritual meaning of life.

Sarah says:

"Statistics will show that us transgenders as a group have an incredibly high suicide rate. I have seen quotes pointing out that as many as 30% of us (hand raised) have considered suicide at one time or another. One would think that a large study would be suggested as to why this is so. But since most of society views us the way they do I'm afraid such a study will be long coming. I just hope it doesn't have anything to do with wanting us to disappear."

I don't think so, but I have even heard "classic transsexuals" urging crossdressers to climb into their closets and disappear, so there are definitely people out there that hold us in contempt. On the other hand, there is an increasing understanding for the needs of various types of transgender people among health professionals.

Sarah goes through different aspects of living in darkness, and suggests ways of handling depression and despair, gaining self acceptance and the acceptance of others, coping with harassment at school and work and more.

There is a lot of wisdom in that post!

October 17, 2010

New crossdreamer/autogynephilia blogs

Here are two new interesting blogs written by crossdreamers for crossdreamers:

Ilas over at Crossdreaming ilas says this about himself: "Simply put...I am a bisexual man who would have liked to have had a female body instead. Some call it a 'Lesbian trapped in a man's body', others call it an Autogynephiliac or a Crossdreamer. I am trying to find out what is true for me and where I think I fit in best. What I am doing here is write down my experiences, thoughts and theories to get them out of my head and out in the open for other people to react on. "

"Autogyn" calls himself "a confused genderqueer trying to navigate life's rough waters. Destination: unknown." This blog is called Living with Autogynephilia.

October 15, 2010

Guest post: Crossdressing is not a fetish!

Here is another guest post written by Nadia-Maria Soraperra for the Knowing about CDing forum over at Flickr (an invite only forum).

Nadia argues that crossdressing is – usually - neither about sex nor fetishism:

When you are studying the crossdressing phenomenon in-depth, you are faced to the unavoidable, irrefutable, (irrefragable) observation that most crossdressers used to indulge in autoerotism (or in sexual acts with others) using women clothes.

It must be rare if you ever happen to know about one crossdresser who never did it, or never will do it, at least for a certain period of her life. For many CDers [crossdressers], discovering autoerotism whereas playing with woman clothes around puberty is exactly how the whole history has begun.

This sexual behaviour, involving pieces of women clothing, is not easy to understand from a layperson point of view (who is as a rule the CDer herself or of her spouse), but all seems to be clearer for them as soon as you call it a fetish, a sexual disorder known as fetishistic transvestism.

That’s why an easy conclusion has been consistently that crossdressers suffer essentially from that disorder and even dress ultimately for sex. Ironically, many CDers will eventually agree with being diagnosed as fetishists. For those who may not agree at being labelled as fetishists, so-called «experts» (the famous Ray Blanchard being one of them) have individuated various other disorders, and especially this one known as GID, the «Gender Identity disorder».

Attentive readers in this [flickr] forum already know that I don’t agree with that simplistic and biased view. I believe instead that our population of «regular crossdressers (RCDs)» don’t suffer any disorder at all, but from a severe unacceptance by society that may lead some of us to depression or despair.

To understand something about crossdressing you don’t have to be confused as taking consequences for causes. In an insightful paper, the author shows rather convincingly how sexual excitation from crossdressing is only a side-effect of crossdressing, not the cause. Please see : The causes of Transvestism I already quoted in an old thread.

Anyway, as human beings, all of us are «sexual» beings and we know that sex – if not driving the world – at least plays a (great) role for almost everybody , whether a man, a woman, or a transgender being. We devote considerable time to find partners for the sake of enjoying good sex.

October 10, 2010

Kaleasha's life story

I have another life story for you, this one from Kaleasha. When I asked her about her use of the word "homosexual", as opposed to for instance crossdreamer, she gave me the following reply:

"I use the word homosexual freely because at the time I first accepted my feelings that was the only way I could describe them to people. And even though people are not understanding of homosexuality, they understand it a lot more than autogynephilia or transsexuality."

Here is Kaleasha's story:

Hi I am now in my early thirties. I am masculine and have seriously dated two women in
my life.

But ever since the age of 13 I have been attracted to men. I would feel really guilty about this and I would not tell anyone. I was only attracted to older men so I never had the fear of being exposed, because I would not approach another male classmate.

One of the first men I experienced sexual desires for was this guy at a festival that had his shirt off. His chest and his muscles impressed me. Now, what makes my experience so unique is that I did not consider myself gay. Because I found women to be the most beautiful things on the planet. Sometimes I would see a pretty female and just stare at her beauty for hours. I could easily talk to my friends and peers about women and direct them to look at the cutie that was coming down the street.

While outside no one would ever see me look or smile at a guy. Only thing that I sometimes did if a guy sexually aroused me, I might start to walk a little funny but I would try my best to straighten up.

Now when I was home and got horny I would masturbate. But, unlike most guys I never just jerked off. In fact I still cannot masturbate with a hard penis. I would think of my self as a women and my penis as a vagina. And I’d fantasize about me being one whorish slut for some man. No matter how hard I tried to think of women sexually I never could.

In high school I would play sports and lift weights. By the time I graduated I was physically the strongest person at my school.

Through out my high school years I would classify myself as homophobic. When I was 19 I started to notice more gays, and transgender in the city. This gave me the idea that there was nothing wrong about being gay and perhaps I could let my real self come out one day. So, started to act a little girlish around my family and friends to see what their response was going to be.

Surprisingly, as long as I did not over do it or was playful, people still remained friendly. I discussed my feelings with a female classmate and she told me I was definitely gay. I was still in denial and I would try to give a bunch of reasons why I wasn’t. This friend was very important in my search for identity.

I decided then that I should eventually tell one of my best friends of 8 years that I was gay. I started by telling him that I wanted to dress a girl. He began to laugh. I said I knew this was going to happen. He stopped laughing and asked why? I then told him that Iiked men. He then stated that I he would still be my friend.

A month later I saw him and his girl going to the movies. I talked to them for a little bit and I asked him when was the next time he wanted to hang out. When I got home my brother told me that this friend just called.

When I called him back he began to holler at me asking me what was wrong with me. I said what are you talking about? He said all of this hanging out and that I was changing. I did not argue back because I did not know what it was all about. I just went to the bathroom and tried my best not to cry. I still tried to remain friends with him and I would periodically call him but things were never the same.

From that point on I was extremely careful on who I revealed my sexual orientation to. Never revealing it at work, or school, or to people that I knew were straight.

October 8, 2010

Girls who will be boys; on F2M crossdreamers, autoandrophiliacs and girlfags

The myth of the non-existent female to male crossdreamer is crumbling. It turns out that women can be gender confused as well, without being "homosexual" in any traditional sense of the world.

(Warning! This post includes explicit language that some may find offensive.)

One sign is the fact that "autandrophilia" (sexually aroused by thought or image of self as male) now has been included in the DSM-V proposal, another is the fact that an increasing number of female to male crossdreamers are embracing the "girlfag" concept.

Now, girlfag is not my term. I prefer the term crossdreamer, as you may know. But the fact that there are female-bodied persons out there that embrace the term is interesting and deserves a discussion.

The Wikipedia defines "girlfag" as "a biologically female individual who feels a strong romantic or erotic attraction towards gay males or male bisexuals or their milieu."

The Urban dictionary has several definitions, one of them being:

"A woman who is very attracted to gay/bi/trans men. She may (or may not) also feel she is (fully or partly) a 'gay man in a woman's body'. Girlfags identify primarily as queer, and are often attracted to more types of people than just gay/bi/trans men."

The opposite of a girlfag is a guydyke (male lesbian).

The Girlfag Community

When you take a look at the online Girlfag community, you will soon see that we are often (but not always) talking about girls that want to be like dominant boys in bed, regardless of the sexual orientation of the male partner.

Attracted to gay or feminine men

A few quotes:

"I'm yet another noob to the group who just found the wikipedia article on girlfags and guydykes, and was pleasantly surprised to find there's actually a term for this!! for so long I've struggled with trying to explain my sexuality and thinking I'm a completely and utter weirdo for only ever being sexually attracted to gay men, or super effeminate straight men (if only I could find more of those!)

"... manly guys do absolutely nothing for me, it's so sad because it totally limits me, especially since coming around to the conclusion that I'm more or less straight, after a couple of years of identifying as bisexual, and countless years before that of complete confusion about the whole orientation thing."

The feeling of confusion due to a lack of relevant terms is a concurrent theme in these posts. The traditional terminology does not fit.

A gay man trapped in a woman's body

Here's one girlfag talking:

"I found this community the night before last through the Wikipedia article on girlfags and guydykes after I typed in 'a gay man trapped in a woman's body' on Google and searching around a bit, after having just uttered that combination of words in an earlier conversation and finally wanting to come to terms with what I meant by that.

"This is an expression I've used on many an occasion when getting into a discussion about sexuality with friends to describe myself because it's the only seemingly-accurate descriptor that would pop into my mind, though it has often been met with varying degrees of puzzlement."

Being the dominant one

Most of these women cannot be mistaken for lesbians, as they are clearly attracted to men. Still, some of them argue that they are attracted specifically to gay men.

"I'm a 48-year-old cis-female who has always thought of herself as perfectly traditional in her sexual preferences. My relationships have always been with men who identified themselves as straight, and it was natural for me to regard my lifelong attraction to gay men as a slight quirk of my artistic personality: after all, they're MEN, right? Even the fabulous turn-on of having a straight lover with a penchant for receiving anal sex failed to expand my horizons: what I though I was enjoying was the new experience of being dominant in bed."

Crossdressing tomboy

Some girlfags grew up as tomboys:

"I came out as bi when I was 15, but was always a very masculine tomboy. I was even transgender as a toddler--I dressed as a boy for an entire year, and even had my parents call me a made-up male name. I have struggled to reconcile my feminine side with my masculine side for my entire life, and my love of men, yaoi [Japanese term for female oriented fiction focusing on male gay relationships] and male homosexuality with my own female gender and my innate feeling that I was not straight...

It is interesting to note that she finds gay male erotica fascinating. The reason is, of course, that she identifies as a gay man in her fantasies.

"When I came to college, I joined a queer sorority, and did not realize what the experience was missing until just recently, when I realized that I'm a girlfag, and quite possibly transgender. While I'm not really thinking of transition or surgery, or even that such concepts apply to me, I'm happy to know that many more people exist who feel similarly....I am in a long term, extremely committed relationship with a very feminine straight (dare I say metro) man...

I have often noted that it must be easier for F2M crossdressers to live out their fantasies, as they can get away with dressing as men. This can still be a problem, though, as this kind of dressing might not be accepted by parents during childhood. This girfag notes:

"I am also struggling to undo the stigma against wearing men's clothes that has been instilled in me since childhood. I love men's clothes and feel extremely confident in them."

October 7, 2010

The October Fantasia Fair, Massachussetts

Miqqi Alicia Gilbert, the professor behind the study of crossdressers and transgender people I mentioned in a previous post, has sent me an invitation for those of you who should happen to be in the neighborhood of Provincetown, Massachussetts, the US of A, on October 16 to 23.

Gilbert tells me that the Fantasy Fairs is part conference, part social gathering: a "full immersion experience":

"There are workshops in the morning and afternoon, a Keynote speaker following lunch, and special events each evening. You'll learn from community leaders, helping professionals, and your peers in formal and informal situations. You will be fascinated by the topics, which range from gender theory to hair removal to wig care to speaking in a feminine voice...

"Couples find support, friendship and caring, and enjoy the opportunity to participate in workshops that explore and recognize the ups and downs of a relationship with a transgender partner.

"In addition to lunches that are provided each day in some of Cape Cod's best restaurants, there are two formal banquets, a
fashion show, a cabaret/talent show, receptions and special events — all to entertain you while helping to develop the whole individual."

Click here for the latest Fantasia Fair newsletter, which has info on the event.

October 6, 2010

September 30, 2010

Crossdressing: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Here is a video on crossdressing I found over at Vimeo.

It was created by Maddie for a women's studies/comparative studies class her second quarter of freshman year at Ohio State University.

Crossdressing: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation from Maddie on Vimeo.

September 24, 2010

Childhood experiences and gender identity development

This is a blog about identity and understanding. Men and women who get turned on by the idea of being the other sex, often struggle with what it all means and how they can cope with it.

Do not hesitate to publish your story in a comment or you can send it to me (
jack.molay@gmail.com) and I will put it up in a separate post. Maybe others will recognize their own lives in what you write, and maybe you will get some useful comments.

Here is one such story, from "ilas".


Two accidents and a crossdreamer

"I have come to realize that certain childhood experiences of mine may have influenced my sexual development and therefore my gender identity (I am theorizing under the assumption that it is not inherent to my biology to begin with).

I never really knew what to make of all these feelings until I found out about the AGP theory. It seemed to fit so nicely…but after a lot more study into the subject I am starting to wonder if it really is. Fortunately the AGP [autogynephilia, another term for crossdreaming, or -- in the case for biological men: having feminization fantasies] “umbrella” is pretty big and it keeps growing. This gives me plenty of hope of someday “fitting in somewhere”. This apparently is important to me.

So I would like to pose some questions to you all.

Please keep in mind that everything I have written here are just random thoughts and realizations that I just put down. I am not really good at writing and I don’t really know how to make a coherent story of it.…so bear with me please!

Also, I sometimes may get a bit graphic, it is not my intention to offend anyone, but it is necessary for me to tell the whole story. Ok…here goes…

You see, there are two instances in my childhood where something happened to my genitalia. The first was when I was about 4 (?) or so and I saw my brother (who is 5 years older than me) pull back the foreskin of his penis in the bathroom. Of course, as a little brother I wanted to do everything my big brother did, so pulled back my foreskin as well. Mine however wouldn’t go back again. I had to go to the hospital and doctors fiddled around with it.

As the doctors could not fix it easily, they wanted to put me under a general anaesthesia the next day to fix the problem. So I had to stay the night in the hospital. My underpants were chafing my acorn so they cut a hole in my underpants to let my penis hang out. Leaving me exposed all night. The next day I was put under a general anaesthesia and the Doctors fixed it.

The second instant was when I was around 7 or 8 (?). I was climbing a big metal slide in the playground and I was standing on a horizontal metal pipe in the middle of the construction which was about 3 meters above the ground. When the school bell rang all the other children jumped of the slide which made the whole thing vibrate. I slipped and each of my feet went down a different side of the metal pipe. You get the picture…suffice to say it hurt…badly. I passed out and woke up in the class room.

First my scrotum was black then blue and after that yellow. This lasted for several weeks. I can’t really remember any pain though (suppression?). My brother called me “blue-balls” for several weeks too (ouch).

Not liking ones genitalia

All in all both instances were pretty traumatizing (I guess?). I never really thought of it before, but I am wondering if these two instances may have been the catalyst for me not really liking my genitalia, because of the pain and humiliation they caused me, and therefore not liking my gender? Setting me on a path that made me put a lot of focus on my genitals and on girls (who seemed to have it better). Making me actively and consciously play with my genitals at a very young age (8 or 9)?

Erotica

Then there is also the fact that I started reading books with erotic stories in them when I was 10 or so feeding my (sexual) fantasies immensely and again putting me on a path of sexual knowledge and interest which was way ahead of my age.

Also, when I was reading those stories I (somehow) related and identified more with the women in the stories then with the men, making me explore my own body very differently then most other boys do (?). Because of this I found out that I really enjoyed anal stimulation (which probably made me feel more feminine because of the penetration).

By the way…the first anal stimulation I had was putting a tampon (go figure) in my rectum. God knows why…but I did. The stimulation started to evolve from there. Combine that with the fact that I have let my hair grow long ever since I was 12 (don’t know why) and I try to let my body stay as thin (not anorexic) and feminine looking as I can by working out and shaving my stomach and genitals, and you obviously have someone who wants and needs to be a girl…

Or is that not true? Who knows...I certainly don't.

Also…could the first accident (being so exposed and having my genitalia touched by several strangers) be the cause of me being sexually submissive?
I guess am just very curious about what anyone else would make of this. Your responses are very much appreciated.
In addition, below you can see the comment I made on another blog about AGP (http://crossdreamjourn.blogspot.com/2010/08/its-in-cards.html?zx=aa9eed7c454a557)


Gynephilic

I am not attracted to men, either as a man or a woman. I do want to have sex with them though. In fact I have. As a man I have had sex with another man, but not because I was attracted to him, but because I "needed" to have sex with a man (probably to make me feel like a woman).

Now I suppose I am not gay (because I am not attracted to men) and I am not Bi-Sexual either (again...because I am not attracted to men), but I can physically have sex with a man whilst fantasizing about being a woman.

Oh man...how confusing this all is :-)

I don't cross dress either. I have tried it once but it’s just not for me. I do however like talking/being with girls better than with guys. In fact I am better at it and I feel more comfortable around them too.

I can also relate to girls better than to boys (I just don't have that much to say to men).I don't think this is because of gender insecurity though, because I don't feel less (or better) or subordinate or whatever to men in general. I just like being around girls better.

On the other hand...I also like it when gay men look at me with an interest. In fact I do my best to look good whenever I see one. It makes me feel pretty and wanted. I am still not attracted to them though. Having said that...if I didn't have a girlfriend already and the guy looks good I would probably dive in the sack with him though.
Who I am

Oh...I don't know any more...I cannot seem to make sense of it all.I think the best way to describe me is:

1. A sexually submissive heterosexual man with such a large feminine side that it confuses him, and a very well developed imagination which tries to make sense of it all.

2. A man that is apparently bi-sexual in his fantasy life which "makes" him tend to do bi-sexual things in his real life (which complicates the hell out of it).

3. A man who would have rather been a girl because they just seem to have all the fun (in his opinion), i.e. nicer clothes, nicer bodies, more sexual power, make up, nicer shoes, nicer hair, and better yet the female genitalia (which just seem to be so much more fun to play with), but doesn’t feel like there is a girl trapped a man's body (kind of).

Yeah...that about sums it up. Pfff...I guess the quest for self identification continues!

Again, your responses are very much appreciated.
With kind regards, ilas.
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