August 3, 2010

HBS 1: The Harry Benjamin Syndrome Part 1


Some of you may have heard about the so-called Harry Benjamin Syndrome. It is a term developed by trans women who vehemently oppose any association between them and what I have called crossdreamers, among them crossdressers.

The argument is that science has proved that this particular group of trans women, the HBS women, are real women brain wise, and that transitioning crossdreamers and crossdressers are not.

In three posts I will take a look at a new book from the Harry Benjamin Syndrome camp, and see if their arguments hold water.

Please note that these blog posts refer to a use of language that many crossdreamers might find offensive.

Not in the Wikipedia

Fleur Black tried to get the following paragraphs into the Wikipedia:

"Harry Benjamin Syndrome is not the same as transsexualism or transsexuality but is the medical correct term for the very small group of people who genuinely feel to be trapped in bodies that do not match their brain.

"All who claims to be similar, but refuse to to accept the logic, tests, evidence and accuracy of HBS - Harry Benjamin Syndrome are bigots, fools, transgenders, transvestites, crossdressers or autocunniphilics."

(I love the word "autocunniphilics", a great pun on Blanchard's "autogynephilia".)

Violet Grey quotes this Wikipedia entry in her introduction to the book HBS Harry Benjamin Syndrome Comes of Age, a book written by Rose White.

"Unfortunately," Grey writes, "the Wiki board (...) allowed HBS to be lumped in with the transexualism label that many non-HBS crossdressing men claim in order to legitimise their autogynism and homosexual urges."

Harry Benjamin Part 2

Rose White is explicitly considering her book a continuation of Harry Benjamin's enormously important work The Transsexual Phenomenon. Benjamin had indeed argued that there were biological men who felt themselves trapped in a man's body.

White goes on explain why there is a natural continuation from his book, to the idea that the HBS syndrome is completely different from what people like me call other types of transgender conditions:

"Harry advanced the study of truly transexed people and codified diagnostic criteria that has still not been improved on despite the protestations of generations of transgenders and it is only fitting that the condition should actually be known as Harry Benjamin Syndrome - or HBS - to separate its sufferers from all the gay, lesbian, bisexual, crossdressers, transvestites, transgenders, genderqueers, autogynes, non-ops and others who claim to be afflicted with exactly the same condition that Harry found when in fact they have nothing but various degrees of mis-nurturing to account for their weird urges."

Not transsexual

One major point in the book is the need for a term that does not associate the HBS trans women with "transgenders". You may already have met classical transsexual activists that redefine the word "transgender" to mean autogynephiliacs and effeminate gay men only. White takes this line of argument to the next level, by arguing that the word "transsexual" has become tainted as well.

"In practices HBS do not like to have the word 'transsexual' applied to them as it has been adopted by a vast number of people who are not but not merely give the impression of being of opposite sex and/or gender to that they really are. Thus crossdressers, transvestites, genderqueers and similar claim the label 'transsexual' when in fact they are perfectly happy with their bodies and genitals and would not accept genital surgery if offered to them."

Naturally feminine

White argues that only HBS (and, I presume, XX women) are naturally feminine. All other transgender, wannabies, crossdressers, maningas (men how have SRS just for sex), non-ops are not.

The proof is that HBS' have a second puberty when taking female hormones, argues White:


"The MtF HBS shows it by behaving like stereotypical late teenage girls in taking delight in the changes brought to their bodies and faces by the estrogen regime and indulging in the love of shopping for fashions, makeup and accessories that so mark the teenage girls. (...)

"Now that we know about BSTc [a brain section that is thought to indicate a female gender identity] it is easy to realise that the truly-HBS brain will respond to the estrogen regime exactly as does the pubescent girl. If a wannabe transsexual does not show this adolescence to any great extent with an estrogen regime then the truth of the matter is simply that they do not have a female brain trapped i their male body!"

White goes on to say that watching a group of HBS women will be like watching a group of non-transgender girls:

"..the body and face language, ways of sitting, holding glasses or cups, and socially interacting will be totally female without any of the effeminacy displayed by gay men or the TGs. In comparison the TGs will sit and look exactly like blokes in frocks..."

The HBS girls are exactly the same as a non-transgender woman, White says. They even share their enthusiasm for high heels, colorful makeup, and bright jewelery. The book has a separate chapter on why HBS women love shopping.

(Seriously! I am not making this up!)

Painted nails

There is also a sales site for the book called The Harry Benjamin Syndrome Review. The site has a picture of a HBS woman's hand with painted fingernails. The ad explains that the picture was chosen to show that

"(...) to a HBS women finding time to do her nails and the money for pretty rings is important - those who claim to be HBS women but angrily assert they should not 'have to' follow such female pastimes are not really HBS or else they would 'want to' - this conundrum is explained in Chapter 14."

It isn't really. Explained in Chapter 14, I mean. Exactly how this test is supposed to exclude transitioning crossdressers is unclear to me. One thing is certain: trans women who find "pretty rings" less important are not real women, according to White.

What this means for non-transgender XX women with no interest in such female pastimes is not explained, either.

Crossdreamers are gay men in denial

White argues that her theory is corroborated by TGs [trangender people] being predominantly late transitioners with homosexual proclivities:

"I know one person like this who was the effeminate little boy and is now a unhappy unconvincing homosexual post-op who sits legs gaping and has zero femaleness -- not even a handbag! Others I have had short contact with dress as male as possible and hate women's shops!"

Th HBS women may "goodhumouredly" make fun of a real HBS woman's bad choice of an outfit, White says, but...

"...they will not sneer and snigger as they do over the simple crossdresser who they can see and sense has zero femaleness and only dresses for masturbation or to invade the woman's camp for some reason. These older women are all well aware that most men (sic!) get sexual thrills from dressing and that they look ridiculous with their lack of femaleness perfectly obvious in the ill-chosen finery."

HBS FTM transmen, on the other hand, will find that transitioning with hormones bring an increased enjoyment in drinks, cars, girls, and sports, according to White.

The bad and the ugly

White has a complex list of categories that helps her sort out the bad seeds: transgenders, maningas, amazons, fetishists, amputation fetishists, autogyne (a variant of autogynephile; she truly hates Blanchard but find his terms useful when it comes to dismiss fake trans women), malignant bisexual, homosexual, lesbian, pseudo-transsexual, regretters, drag kings, perverts, hermaphrodites, dual-moders, and so on and so forth.

The reason she makes this long list is to make sure that people know the difference between a real woman and the pseudo-trans women. In spite of her second puberty theory, White admits that it can be difficult to see the difference between a HBS and another person who has had surgery. I guess some of the "perverts" even have hand bags.

Her test of sorting out male perverts who want to look like women, by checking if they want to keep their male genitalia, is not fool proof either, as there are "autogynes" who go for the full surgery package.

"When these patients are healed and emerge they may be perfectly passable as the opposite sex or they may conceal their body modifications under the exactly the same styles of clothing they have wore all their mature life. Thus it can be impossible to know without direct confrontation and intrusive questioning if the person leaving the clinic is a HBS waiting to disappear into stealth, a lesbian too long on vaginal estorgen who now feels a flat chest better sums her up or just a man who got a vagina because he has seen the porn queens writhing and moaning in constant climax and thinks that if he had a vagina he would be able to have the same endless orgasms."

However, elsewhere she argues that a HSB person can easily spot another HBS among all the transgenders jostling under the transgender umbrella and instantly feel an affinity with them that is different from the feelings all the others engender: "How they do it is a mystery known only to HBS, " White says. She is right about that.

No homos please, we are British

I have tried to find out whether White allows for homosexual HBS', i.e. gynephilic trans women. I think not:

"Obviously everyone varies but by and large a HBS will have an internal image of themselves with a man and that man will be as idealised as any other woman's. This is in itself a marker of the difference between HBS and all other people under the TG umbrella who get sex change and choose same sex partners or get the genital surgery with sex in mind."

The HBS have many enemies:
"The enemies are Fouratist homos, the public, the press, bigots and fools, ignorant medics, penny pinching political manipulators, BRSS dykes, religious pedophiles, closet homos and unfortunately the unaccepting homos a.k.a. Manginas who themselves try to become HBS in the vain hope that masquerading as a woman will help them refuse to confess that they are just homos and not HBS."

Blanchard is Belzebub

White, who is British, wants the EU to get out of the clutches of the American psychiatric manual, the DSM, as this one is dominated by arch enemy number 1: Ray Blanchard. (The fact that the Europeans do not follow the DSM is apparently of no importance).

She often refers to Blanchard and his followers as BLZB (for Blanchard, Lawrence, Zucker and Bailey = Belzebub):

"He [Blanchard] is personally fixated on dreaming up all sorts of silly names for what are basically natural human conditions and persuasions and by doing so ensures that vasts numbers of people with simple desire to cross gender lines or go as far as sex change are labelled perverts, queers and freaks -- or has he has it peedoheebeejeebies, autogynes etc."

White is of course doing exactly the same as Blanchard does in her book -- i.e. labeling all non-HSB's as perverts -- but that is all right, I guess.

What does this all mean for crossdreamers?

White's use of language and complete lack of serious argumentation tell much of the story. I find it very hard to respond to this book as if it was a scientific, philosophical or political work. It is more like a piece of hateful extremist propaganda. It is homophobic, sexist and -- who would have believed it possible? -- even transphobic. It definitely undermines any serious attempts at turning the Harry Benjamin Syndrome into an alternative to the transgender narrative that presently dominate research and health care.

It is hard to imagine what could have possibly made White write this book. It could be that she has been urged on by others taking part in HSB discussion forums. But that does not explain why she ended up in those circles in the first place.

I have no problem understanding the existence of gay-bashers, racists, sexists and transphobic persons. Such people are normally driven by a deep sense of insecurity and a need to sort everything into neat and clean categories of good and bad, the clean and the tainted. Normally such persons project their own dark sides out on others, especially on people that do not follow the norm and they do not understand. By doing this they are able to generate a feeling of superiority and they get an easy target for their own frustration and anger.

But White is a transsexual woman. She has most likely been the victim of prejudice and bigotry herself. Like many transpeople she has probably been called a sissy, a fag, and a pervert, and she should therefore know better than copying the practices of her own tormentors.

But maybe this is the explanation. Maybe the crossdressers and the crossdreamers remind her of her own past, and the very fact that she once had the body and maybe even the mannerisms of a man. She therefore constructs this strange tale about this ultra-feminine stereotype of a second puberty, to keep the distance from a part of herself she would like to forget. If that is the case, we are witnessing a personal tragedy of gigantic proportions. Unfortunately that does not excuse what she is doing.
The classic transsexuals

There are some more serious activists out there who share White's contempt for "the trangendered" and who agrees with her idea that crossdreamers have nothing in common with what they call "classic transsexuals" (CT), even if they are angered by the bigotry of the HBSers.

So even if White's book cannot be taken seriously, some of the arguments require a serious discussion.

In the next two parts I will look into the basis for White's arguments:

Agria believes the colors of Black, Grey and White are all names for the same "flower" woman, which sounds plausible to me.

27 comments:

tg_captioner said...

ugh! I'm started to finally understand that earlier video. Clothes, rings and long nails do not define us. If that were the case, every tomboy would be classified as a man trapped in a woman's body.

While interest in these things might elude that this person enjoys being a woman, by not enjoying them does not rule them out as not being trans. One could also make an assumption that if someone is shy (not dominate), they could be classified as feminine instead of masculine.

I guess what I'm saying is that our looks and actions do not define us, what's going on in our minds does. And since you can't peek into my mind, I guess your just going to have to keep on guessing.

Haku said...

I always thought the HBS-activists (hogwash and bullshit) were autogynefiliacs in denial. They sure don't fit the profile of the "early onset" (homosexual transsexual by Blanchards description) at any rate, since they seemingly are all late transitioners, have a sexual history as heterosexual men, have at some point in their lives had a social identity as men.. And a extremly large percentage are actually computer geeks.

(And now I feel bad about having made such a stupid generalization. But dammit... geekiness and AGP seems to come together and I can't ignore that)

Dale Innis said...

Eww, nasty! Easy to explain, though: she is (was) just a small-minded homophobic bigoted woman, unfortunately born into a man's body.

No reason that shouldn't happen now and then. :)

So as a result she has to think up a picture of the world in which she gets to be a woman, but still differentiate herself from all of those icky queers and homos and other weirdos out there. Sad, really...

Jack Molay said...

@Haku

"I always thought the HBS-activists (hogwash and bullshit) were autogynefiliacs in denial."

Well, by saying that you are actually making an argument very similar to the one of White, who -- of course -- thinks that crossdreamers are "homosexuals in denial."

I can't say if Rose White ever has harbored feminization fantasies, and it doesn't matter to me. If I understand her correctly she lives as a woman now, which makes her a full fledged woman in my book.

Your generalization about autogynephilia and geekiness is interesting, though. Admittedly, there are far too many "non-geek" crossdreamers to make this into something more than a partial correlation.
Moreover, I know of a large number of natural born female computer geeks, so there should be nothing to stop a transwoman from being one, either.

Here is a thought, though:

Imagine you are a young crossdreamer feeling alienated from the rough and tumble sports and night club oriented activities of male peers. Imagine also that you are afraid of being labelled a "sissy" or a "queer". That leaves out traditional male activities like sports and traditional female activities like bleeding hearts and artists.

So where do you excel? In a non-physical male dominated arena, of course, an arena that has the advantage that it consists of a lot of outsiders like yourself! Heck, you may even find girl nerds that are able to look beyond your muscle mass and fall in love with you!

Christy Martins said...

Gosh, where to start?

It seems HBS-activists are duped by the modern social construction of beauty in western society.

The attractiveness or *femaleness* of attributes such as hair, makeup, shaving, nails, and shopping vary by culture and there are no universal standards.

So to say that taking interest in these attributes indicate a *woman trapped in a man's body* is kind of ridiculous to me.

Amanda said...

Honestly,

If the HBS want to be exclusive, very few (if any) people who transition or think of transitioning are women. The chances of having a normal female brain after being exposed to anywhere near the levels of testerone a normal male is exposed to is effectively 0. Of course, by that definition genetic females with conditions like CAH aren't women either. If we pick genetics, AIS women aren't women.

The real question is not so much whether a person is female but where we draw the line and do we?

My personal opinion is that if a person is psychologically and to some extent physically better equiped to live life as a woman, they should at least be allowed to live their life as at the very least second class women and ideally women.

Really, the reality is some HSTS come off as very gay men and many late transitioners come off like men in dresses.. but just because the most visible members correspond to these stereotypes doesn't mean all do. The point can't be about criticizing people for their choices but rather about helping people make the best choices possible and deal with their problems in the healthiest way possible. If some man who deep down inside loves to be a man finds out about something called a crossdreamer and chooses that label rather than deciding that he must be TS, things are a little better.

As far as I can tell, life as a male or life as a female is only really better if you are a male or a female (or primarily so). The life of one or the other might seem glamorous but without some true lean that way, it is probably not going to be a lot of fun. And yes, we make life for feminine men and butch women miserable that doesn't make them women and men respectively.. so know yourself.

I have had gender issues all my life and I often don't fit well into the boxes the TS ocmmunity has laid out. Does that suddenly make me an AGP in denial or some other non-true TS person? Honestly, I am just a feminine person who feels that she/he/it is more female than male who wants to try to live as one after years of horrible shame and pain trying to fit in as a male. Personally, I think that all most of the core TS theories do is give people conditions they can use in order to hide the shame of who they really are. Some people undoubtedly were born the most feminine creatures in the world, never wore regular male clothes, or were gender confused in their lives and absolutely must transition. I don't think that humanity is generally so simple.. The entire community needs to stop painting inhuman caricatures in order to justify their shame. I am not a pretty little thing.. not really and I suspect very few people here are either. My life is shame and fear.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Blanchard like some big enemy of the TG community?
The fact is, if it could be solidly determined who the so-called "real" TS are, it would be easy to diagnose.
Maybe one such test would involve Lorenna Bobbitt walking in with a big knife and seeing if said TG got nervous or relaxed. Hey do you know what jeffery Dahmer asked Lorenna? "Are you gonna eat that?"

Vickie said...

To me, her descriptions sound like something from a 19th Century phrenology manual than actual research.

Anonymous said...

I actually knew someone who was a male becoming female - whom I knew both before during and after the transition - and this attitude expressed by blanchard is familiar to me. It's the exact same attitude this person expressed, and it was frustratingly reinforced by the therapy sessions transexuals are required to undergo during transition. Perhaps the biggest annoyance I had is that she wanted everyone to be understanding of her, and adopt her terminology, while simultaneously she REFUSED to treat people with other unusual sexual situations with the same courtesy. (i.e. that being an MTF transexual having sex with a man is somehow more "correct" and "normal" than man-with-man gay sex.) Someone like that is being a hypocrite when asking others to be respectful toward them. Her attitude seemed to be "I'm not a horrible freak like THOSE people."

Another strange way that such a "you're a bigot if you don't adhere to my attitudes about how gender works" attitude sometimes turns backward on itself into its own form of bigotry is in how it turns cultural biases ABOUT gender into the very definition of gender. The fact that only women wear dresses is cultural, NOT biological. The fact that only women wear lipstick is cultural, NOT biological. I can't accept those sorts of things as the sole definition of how gender is defined because doing so requires me to be a sexist. To say that our culture's various rules about gender are themselves hardcoded effects of some metaphysical real gender is to turn back the clock on decades of advances of feminism. It's the claim that there really IS truth to the attitude that certain jobs are only suitable to men, that certain jobs are only suitable to women, that the cultural pigeonholes that result from years of bigotry are somehow based on real truths about gender.

I happen to really *like* tomboy girls and find a girl wearing typically boy-like clothes like jeans and a tee shirt to be rather attractive, and it's NOT because I'm thinking of her as a guy. It's because I don't see cultural assumptions about clothing and behaviors to be the true definition of a person's gender.

Sultana said...

I have never really discriminated between transwomen like me and the other types of transgenders and I don't believe most of other transwomen do it either. What makes me get bothered about is how some people transition for the wrong reasons and worse of all, they are the only people who somehow come big and loud in a news channel,showing the appearently "true color" of transgenderism to the mass public and undermining its real seriousness we real transwomen are subjected to because of our real condition.
I don't say crossdreamers are queer biological men with fetishes, but I also cannot agree with the fact that all of them are women. I do believe gender is not binary and many many people don't fit into the poles though society forces them to. But that simply does not mean all of them are having the condition which Harry Benjamin championed for.

Jack Molay said...

This is true. Only a minority of crossdreamers are women in any sense of the term, although they may have a strong inner woman or a strong feminine side.

There have been some studies of crossdressers and their dreams and aspirations. It seems that around a quarter of them have considered transitioning, but that only a small proportion of them again have actually gone through with it.

Some of the non-op crossdreamers probably are women, but choose to remain biological men because of their life situation.

On the other hand: There are most likely some who have transitioned, and who probably shouldn't have.

But then again: that is life. It is messy and we are only human.

Haku said...

Jack, late reply, sorry.

"Well, by saying that you are actually making an argument very similar to the one of White, who -- of course -- thinks that crossdreamers are 'homosexuals in denial.'

I can't say if Rose White ever has harbored feminization fantasies, and it doesn't matter to me."

I was talking about HBS-activists in general, I haven't read her book (not going to either).. I know more than a few late transitioning women who has gone the path from heterosexual cross dressers (supposedly autogynephilic according to Blanchard), to then heterosexual (that's what they're saying anyway) post-transsexual women, to then HBS-activists spending years trying to convince everyone of the difference between them and transvestites.The arguments are usually a lot like Rose White's but maybe a little less paranoid and centered around the belief that anyone who do not want genital surgery could not possibly be a "genuine transsexual".


"thinks that crossdreamers are 'homosexuals in denial.'"

Does she really? I thought that was your interpretation, "crossdreamers" is obviously your word. If she does, then her insight into the t-community is seriously a lot poorer then she likes us to believe, that screams late transitioner to me. Honestly, everyone with minor knowledge of the t-community knows that the transvestites (who supposedly are motivated by autogynephilia) are predominantly gynephilic. For many years Queens weren't even allowed in "mens club" organizations like FPE. And most, if not all, androphilic transsexuals have experiences fending of frisky gynephilic cross dressers (you seem to understand this judging from your later posts, I haven't read them yet though).

"I understand her correctly she lives as a woman now, which makes her a full fledged woman in my book."

I think you have a kind heart, Jack. I don't share your view. And everyone in the t-community who likes to give the impression they have been fully integrated and accepted as women in society hasn't been either, really. It's quite tragic.

I may come of as total bitch, but I'm more than a little tired of the "Tulip Purple's" of the world trying to dominate or rewrite the transsexual narrative to fit their liking and obviously obscuring parts of their pasts.

"Moreover, I know of a large number of natural born female computer geeks, so there should be nothing to stop a transwoman from being one, either."

Of course not. But wasn't the point.

"Imagine you are a young crossdreamer feeling alienated from the rough and tumble sports and night club oriented activities of male peers. Imagine also that you are afraid of being labelled a "sissy" or a "queer". That leaves out traditional male activities like sports and traditional female activities like bleeding hearts and artists."

Yes agreed. But the interests transsexuals choose still seems to correlate with sexuality. I'm not trying to put any outdated values across by this, I'm just stating my own observation. I would say that at least 90 % of transsexuals I know who identifies as dykes or bisexuals are either extremly or very computer savvy, whereas I can only think of two girls I know who actually lives together with men and have the same interests in computers. Then if you believe the "act female / want to be female" narrative of trans women, technological nerdiness and AGP do clearly seem to correlate, at least within the transsexuals. And btw, androphilic pre-transsexuals are as afraid of being called sissy and get beat up by their classmates at school as everyone else, that still doesn't stop them from pursuing interests thats mainly centered around clothes, fashion and make up.

Jack Molay said...
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Jack Molay said...
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Jack Molay said...

@Haiku

Thanks for some really good points!

I do not doubt for a moment that some of the HBS or CT activists have harbored feminization fantasies and are now living in denial.

This is a typical psychological reaction when you are trying to establish a new public identity, especially if you are so caught up in gender stereotypes as some of these people are.

However, I guess many of them will also be telling the truth, both to themselves and to us, so I have no way of finding out who is who.

Since I also recognizes crossdreaming transwomen as real women, it does not make much of a difference to me. They are all real women to me, even if others do not recognize them as such.

The fact that White believes that crossdressers and crossdreamers are homosexuals in denial, makes perfect sense to me.

If she believes in the traditional binary tale of two separate sexes where sex, gender and sexual orientation run in parallell, biological men who dream about being the catchers must be gay per definition.

She and her sisters are unable to see the irony in this: She is attracted to men, but since she has never -- apparently -- harbored feminization fantasies she is a real woman, while crossdreaming transwomen are gay fetishistic men.

In short: she does not see the difference between drag and CD, because it helps her uphold the idea of the absolute dichotomoy between HBS women and "fetishists".

This is, as you point out, shere nonsense.

Others, in the Classic Transsexual camp, accept that even "real transsexual women" can be gynephilic lesbians. They therefore make up other rules to make the distinction. At the moment the argument that real women would never keep their penis, seem to be popular.

As for interests and sexual orientation. You are definitely right in that there is some kind of correlation, although I am uncertain about the causality.

I believe the reason women in general prefer nursing to engineering is mainly caused by culture, not by nature, but I am open to other ideas.

Do you have any ideas regarding why gynephilic crossdreamers should prefer computers as opposed to feminine gay men and androphilic crossdreamers?

Amanda said...

Jack,

I felt that I would jump in here because I work with computers and while I love parts of the work, there are many times I wish I had picked something else as a career.

Personally, I can think of three very good reasons why a feminine TS individual would not be in the computer field.

First, masculine TS who transition are much more intelligent than average and feminine TS do not share that correlation. Being techy requires a high level of intelligence. The average computer geek is well above average intelligence.

Second, there is generally less interest as most feminine people have far less interest in how things work and solving problems for the problem/challenges sake.

Third, a feminine person is going to have more difficulty bonding in primarily male computer teams and that is going to strongly reflect the degree of success she can achieve and at most organizations is going to be extremely unhappy because she lacks the friendships (and kind of friendships) she needs. A feminine person realisticly (and this includes women) has to work about twice as hard to succeed in a male dominated field as a traditional male. If you are not masculine, being in the computer field means learning to market skills that most people in the field don't have (typically soft ones and perhaps literacy) and downplay places where you are less suited to the work than your coworkers (interests in low level hardware, fascination with technology for its own sake, etc.).

So, I think there are many reasons why feminine people do not consider a job in computers.

On the flip side, the reasons they might enter the field include less social stigma and increased earning power.

I do not think any of this changes the facts. It is very hard for a feminine person to succed in the technical arena and I really wish that were not the case.

Jack Molay said...

@Amanda

"masculine TS who transition are much more intelligent than average and feminine TS do not share that correlation. Being techy requires a high level of intelligence."

I guess you are referring to the studies that show that M2F gynephilic late transtioners have an on average higher IQ than the androphilic and predominantly early transitioners. (I am not sure I would use the words like "masculine" and "feminine").

But these studies only cover transwomen, and not crossdressers and crossdreamers in general.

I can probably explain why late transitioners have an higher IQ (the ones that transtion late have often been been resourceful men with money), but not why crossdreamers in general should be smarter.

"Second, there is generally less interest as most feminine people have far less interest in how things work and solving problems for the problem/challenges sake."

I am a Scandinavian, you know. I live in a country with close to full equality and with problem solving women all over the place.

The majority of university students in my country as well as the US are now women. They are not less capable than men in succeeding academically. Still, for some reason there are some fields that seem closed to them. Computer science is one of them, medicine is not, even if that is a much harder discipline. So this must be a matter of culture, not porblem solving abilities.

So if androphilic transwomen are less analytical, it must be because they want to live up to the gender stereotype. That might be, but why?

"Third, a feminine person is going to have more difficulty bonding in primarily male computer teams..."

This is a valid argument for both transwomen and ciswomen.

Did you know that programming originally was considered woman's work? Until the 1980s most programmers were considered part of the secretarial staff and therefore women. Then something happened that made the men take over. Some kind of social feedback loop gave this work higher status and made it less and less attractive for women.

Research shows that the women who do work in such environment often desexualise themselves (dropping make up and stylish clothes) in order to be accepted as skilled technicians.

But this does not explain why this kind of environment should attract more gynephilic crossdreamers and transwomen.

Maybe the reason there are fewer androphilic transwomen among computer people is simply that they transition very young (often in their teens)and therefore face the same cultural obstacles as all women. The late transitioning gynephilic transwoman does not face these obstacles because she has built her career as a man.

Anonymous said...

I have loads of respect for Harry Benjamin and the doorway he has opened to proper care of those who really do have a medical condition. Benjamin noted both social reasons AND physiological ones. Both deserve to live their lives in peace. But whoever is running around using Benajmin's name for hate speech like this makes me absolutely disgusted. It is disrespectful to Dr. Harry Benjamin's research. He would not be proud. This is terrible. Now I understand why there is a huge e-war going on between the people behind "HBS website" and all others. What elitists.

Anonymous said...

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Jack Molay said...

"The standard for being a "real woman" seems to be one's level of enchantment with "becoming a woman" to White. This seems counter-intuitive to me, or rather, the opposite of how I feel. "

Yes, White's ideal is in many ways an old fashioned crossdream, turned into an ideology of sorts.

I like the word "enchantment", as gives the right connotations to what is happening here, but also -- of course -- to what many crossdreamers feel.

But I think you are right, most crossdreamers are very much aware of the fact that it is an "enhcantment", and that the enchantment alone is not enough to support the real life of a woman. Maybe this is why they are so militant: They are doubting their own choice.

Needless to say: This only applies to a tiny minority of trans women. Most go on living their lives as women and are no longer interested in our issues. Which is why so few of them take part in our discussions.

joannaS said...

@Jack

"But I think you are right, most crossdreamers are very much aware of the fact that it is an "enhcantment", and that the enchantment alone is not enough to support the real life of a woman. Maybe this is why they are so militant: They are doubting their own choice.

Needless to say: This only applies to a tiny minority of trans women. Most go on living their lives as women and are no longer interested in our issues. Which is why so few of them take part in our discussions"

I am in fundmental agreement with this statement which is why indeed there are so few transsexuals who come here.

I am not a full blown transsexual but would like to help others feel good about themselves but admit that when I was writing my blog this topic became obsessive. So while I no longer have any hesitation about how I handle my dysphoria I want to share what I have learnt with others here who might still feel shame or guilt for crossdreaming or dressing.

If I were a fully transitioned woman I would no longer need to come here and just move on with my life. Yes the challenge of being a transsexual would be there but that would be a new set of challenges not related to being male bodied with a deep wish to be female. Instead the new realities of being accepted as a female and being downgraded as a human being in the eyes of society would be the new challenge. its another ball of wax altogether.

Jack Molay said...

"So while I no longer have any hesitation about how I handle my dysphoria I want to share what I have learnt with others here who might still feel shame or guilt for crossdreaming or dressing."

Thank you for doing so! Thank you!

joannaS said...

It is my distinct pleasure Jack and thank you for helping others with your site.

A. Quiet Voice said...
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joannaS said...

For me the only way out and up a as a crossdreamer (if you will) was to take the high road; meaning that self acceptance was mandatory for me.

Once I determined that I fit either a type 3 or 4 classification, I knew no amount of psychotherapy would change anything for me. I had to stop swimming upstream against the current and accept that this is the way I am and its made all the difference to me in the world.

The therapy I underwent focused more on self understanding and acceptance than trying to change myself and, although I was accepted into the hospital's 2 year program to see whether GRS was for me, I stopped the process because deep down I knew that transition wasn't for me.

If you are a type I you don't need to come here and try and figure things out because you strongly identify with your male identity. A type 2 gets a little murkier but once you fall into a true transvestite or the type 4 (which Benjamin determined to be a mix between transvestite and transsexual) you need to find a way to cope that works for you. Those repentant preachers who wea their wife's panties aren't you and you know it so you need to deal with your feelings and accept them. it took me a long time but I got there and I'm happy and I can now be a better partner and father to my children.

I remember a crossdresser named Yvonne who had a website I frequented. Then all of a sudden at the age of 52 she decided to just stop dressing. He swore off everything and decided he was going to live as a conventional male and be happy with his wife and his life. I wondered how he was just able to do that after an entire lifetime of dressing. I never heard about Yvonne again until someone recently posted on my blog (which I don't add to but is still there) and said that Yvonne had committed suicide about 2 years ago. I was deeply saddened by this and wondered whether Yvonne had come to a crisis point where she was perhaps really transsexual but couldn't deal with the feelings and with the fear of taking that big step forward.

Its a tough enough life without this extra burden so find something that works for you and go with it. No shame and no guilt; just be yourself.

Jack Molay said...

I am sad to hear the news about Yvonne. I know that many crossdreamers try to suppress their feelings, but they always come back to bite you, if you do not embrace them is some way or the other. There is definitely a sexual component to all of this, and the sexual drive cannot be tamed, not really. Just ask any celibate priest or nun with a healthy sex drive.

joannaS said...

@Mitchell

"Far too much shame, guilt, and ostracizing of gender non-conformity. Especially, when it is over something so benign as wardrobe... we live in a world with some seriously fucked up priorities"

@Jack

"I know that many crossdreamers try to suppress their feelings, but they always come back to bite you, if you do not embrace them is some way or the other.."

Truer words were never spoken.

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