August 1, 2012

Causes of Transgender Conditions


Here is another guest post from David. In this post he discusses possible causes of transgender conditions (TG). 

David argues that sex identity cannot be explained by social  factors or by genes. The most reasonable explanation is found in the hormonal development of the fetus. 

Jack

Speculation about Transgender Conditions

By David/Davida

[Note: Personally, I make a distinction between sex identity (biological basis), gender identity (requires a biological basis but largely socio-cultural) and sexual orientation (biological basis). I consider each to be a separate factor in every individual, in whole or part. I also consider these factors to be variable and interactive producing a wide range of outcomes. While some outcomes are atypical relative to the norm, I consider all to be natural outcomes.]

No experiments possible

It appears that TG has a wider occurrence in males than in females so this speculation will be largely focused on TG in males. Thinking about biological factors in males who are TG it seems to that a definitive answer is unlikely simply because such an answer would require experimental research on humans, which would be unethical to perform in the first case and would never be permitted by a human subjects review board even if some scientist or group of scientists had no ethical qualms about performing the research. 

The animal alternative will not provide a definitive answer because animals aren't human beings and generalization from animal studies to humans will always be open to challenge, especially in something as unique as human sexual identity.

The case of David Reimer

What is left then? I would suggest that the next best thing to controlled, experiments on humans is what's often called a natural experiment. These are unplanned, unintentional events that often provide a source of data that would otherwise simply never be available.

For example, there is the case of David Reimer. Reimer was born a male along with a twin brother. Shortly thereafter, the two brothers were taken for circumcisions. The operation on David was badly botched. After consulting with "experts" on sex and development, David's parents decided to have him surgically modified to be structurally female. 


From that point on he was reared as a girl and was on estrogen therapy appropriate to developmental needs. At an early age David began resisting his status as a girl and insisted that he was a boy. By the time that s/he reached the age of 14, the parents gave up and explained what had actually happened. 

David Reimer 
From that point forward, David did everything that was within his power to reverse what had been done to him. He subsequently lived as a man as implied by the name David that he took for himself. Unfortunately, David ended his own life at age 38 (more here). 

There are apparently a number of such failed natural experiments, but David Reimer is the best know because he decided to allow all the details of his case to be made public.

What this natural experiment clearly suggests is that there is no significant socio-cultural contribution to sex identity. You cannot have a cleaner test of the socio-cultural hypothesis than a young child surgically modified to conform to external female morphology, estrogen therapy and socialization during childhood as a girl. 

Even if one argues that the parents weren't fully committed to the path they had chosen, the influences marshaled to affect a change in sex identity were far greater than can be imagined under any set of typical childhood circumstances. 

The likelihood that the parents weren't fully committed to making this natural experiment a success seems remote. They were convinced that it was possible by doctors who were supposed to know about these things. They chose to embark on the recommended course of treatment, which for all practical purposes was irreversible once the surgical procedures to remove the male testes and modify the genitalia was completed. They, no doubt, gave the project their best effort knowing that there was no going back. It just didn't take.

CAIS

Another natural experiment that has bearing on some of the issues is that of individuals with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) [more here]. 

The cells of which these individuals are comprised either do not have receptors for testosterone or do not respond to the hormone. The default morphology in such cases is female. When this occurs in a male fetus, the outcome is a child that is genetically XY or male and whose external morphology is female. Such individuals do not, however, have the internal female reproductive organs. In other words, a male genotype and a female phenotype, at least in most observable respects.

Individuals with CAIS are reared as girls and the parents and the child are often unaware of the presence of the condition until puberty. Many of these individuals do suffer psychological issues when they become aware of their condition but they do not grow up thinking they are male. 

Further, they almost invariably live as women and follow a typical female life course. They are sexually oriented toward men and usually marry. Many also become mothers and rear adopted children within their marriages. 

When there are other than temporary identity problems in these cases, they seem to be mostly accounted for by partial AIS (PAIS) in which the male child is born with deformed or incomplete genitalia. In such cases, the insensitivity to testosterone is not total. In some such cases, they may be surgically modified to be female depending on the status of the genitalia.

What this natural experiment suggests is that sex identity is not a simple product of DNA or genes. The outcome in CAIS is, for all practical purposes, a woman with male genes. These genetic males have female physical features, female sex identity and a female sexual orientation (i.e., toward males), which seems to be the human default condition. 

DNA is not all

A cell biologist, Bruce Lipton, argues that DNA directly controls nothing and these cases appear to bear him out. Lipton argues that DNA is simply a blueprint for various proteins and that like any blueprint it is not self-activating. DNA in a cell's nucleus must be turned on or activated before it will respond and produce a protein. 

What turns it on, according to Lipton, is a signal that is external to the cell. Such signals attach to a receptor on the surface of a cell and cue the cell to send a signal to the appropriate DNA sequence or gene in the cell's nucleus to activate it. Testosterone clearly seems to be a signaling chemical that can activate sex related genes and modify some cellular functions. In the absence of the external signal, the genetic sex of a male remains unexpressed.

Testosterone production

Sorting out the particulars and understanding the mechanisms and the variations may be possible by a careful study of natural experiments. The two types of cases discussed above seem to clearly rule out socio-cultural factors and simple genotype.

 The answer to the questions about TG in males will probably be found in exploring natural experiments that represent the middle ground between these two types of cases. It appears that the middle ground is probably formed by individuals with PAIS. What seems probable is that in TG males, sex hormones in their role  as external cues that activate genes will be critical.

In TG males, testosterone production is adequate for activating the genes that modify the fetus to follow a male line of morphological development. However, there apparently are further functions for testosterone that are in whole or part not carried out. It seems likely that the critical function is related to a signal to the cells, especially the neuronal cells of the brain, masculinizing the male fetus. 

Several possibilities follow but do not represent an exhaustive list:
  1. The testes fail to produce a sufficient quantity of testosterone during a critical period of  brain development.
  2. The testosterone production of the testes is adequate but blocked or neutralized by some  interfering chemical during a critical period of brain development.
  3. There is some interference with the sensitivity of the testosterone receptors on neuronal  cells by an outside agent during a critical period of brain development.
  4. Testosterone production is normal, there is no external agent interfering and the cell receptors are functioning normally but the timing of the testosterone release must match closely with a critical period in brain development and the timing is off.
  5. Normally, there is an additional surge of testosterone in male babies perinatally or immediately postnatally. There might also be a failure of this late surge or variable levels  of weakness in it that could affect brain development related to sexuality.
In any of the proposals above, the outcome is likely to be variable depending on a variety of factors. The outcome could be the default (female sex identity) resulting in a transsexual condition.  The outcome could also be only a partial conversion of the default female sex identity to a male sex identity (mixed sex identity) resulting in a range of TG associated outcomes.

Hormonal signals gone awry

The speculative hypothesis put forward here is that TG males arise from hormonal signaling gone awry. The errant signaling is likely to be largely, if not wholly, related to testosterone, especially too little hormone or weak sensitivity to the hormone at the wrong time. 

It seems likely that the explanation for TG females might also be found to be related to errant testosterone signaling or receptor sensitivity that occurs too late in the gestation process to affect morphology but could still cause neuronal cells to activate DNA with male sex identity functions. 

It seems likely that TG males and females are due to errant androgen biology. In the former, this is probably due to a deficiency of some sort and in the latter probably due to an excess of some sort. It also seems likely that there would be fewer TG female outcomes simply because the default biology is female and should thereby be more robust and less susceptible to errant hormone signaling.

Genetic activation, to one degree or another, of biological sex identity probably has limited but necessarily some biologically based behavioral implications. There is some pretty clear evidence from evolutionary analysis that there are some basic differences in male and female reproductive strategies that lead to differences in behavioral styles. 

Behavioral styles

For someone who has some degree of sex identity associated with the morphologically opposite sex, the greatest behavioral impact will be through socialization. Much of socialization takes place through social learning, which is observation based. 

The most critical factor in observational learning is attention to models. Thus, sex identity might be considered an attention orienting variable. For example, a male with a female sex identity, in whole or part, will to some degree be biologically oriented toward attending to female models. This is not unlike the priming that a fetus's brain receives to focus attention on language models to facilitate acquisition of language in its developmental environment.

The content that makes for femininity is largely socio-culture and will vary by time and place. An individual with a focus of attention for female behavior will through observation or social learning acquire some degree of those behaviors and attitudes associated with the female models in his or her life. The strength of this biological orienting response will affect how strong or weak are the learning conditions. 

A further impact on the strength of the learning will be governed by whether or not the environment supports and reinforces the learning of feminine content. In the case of TG males, there should be variability in the strength of sex identity both for male and female aspects. This should result in variable degrees in the attention orienting response to both male and female models. 

Combine this with variability in the environmental support for or disapproval of attending to and imitating cross sex models and there exists the potential for a wide range of outcomes ranging from fantasy male femaling (to borrow a term from Richard Ekins) to medically orchestrated sex change, which in fact is what is seen in TG males.

Conclusion

In sum, the hypothesis is that a male's sense of sex identity is determined at the biological level and is related to hormonal signaling. When this signaling goes awry, TG males result. It seems likely that the errant signaling is related to diminished androgen signaling at a critical time or selective cellular insensitivity such as in neuronal cells to androgen signaling at a critical time or more generally. The degree to which the signaling goes awry accounts for different degrees of expression seen in actual TG males. 

That femininity and masculinity are learned expressions of gender is, no doubt, largely true. However, it is also proposed that the focus of attention needed to readily acquire expressions of gender through observational learning has a biological basis in one's sense of sex identity. Finally, attempts to socialize against one's biological sense of sex identity, as in the Reimer case, will be met with resistance and will likely fail.

David/Davida

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Typical for many people even in scientific fields, he/she is shows an absolute cluelessness regarding the "socio-cultural" side. Jack, for someone that has in the past showed quite a bit of understanding to the "socio-cultural" side, this brazen essentialism on show here says a lot.

Also misleadingly inferring the David Reimer development was controlled, or that it is in any was conclusive. Far from it. Even his hormone therapy was fucked, and around puberty he was developing physically different from other girls.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

For the record: I find this an exemplary summary of the discussion of a possible biological influence on sex identity.

David's point was not to discuss all possible socio-cultural influences on identity formation. In this post that is considered self-evident.

As regards David Reimer and a large number of similar cases: These cases clearly indicate that there is a biological basis for sex identity.

We recently had a similar case in Norway, which effectively stopped the debate on whether sex identity is inborn or not.

Now, there are also cases of botched sex assignments that tells us that some may be able to adapt to the life of the opposite sex, and who do not report the same kind of trauma. This tells me there is a lot of diversity among human beings, and that our flexibility will vary. That does not change the main conclusion, however. For some it is impossible to overcome the inborn sex wiring (in the same way, I guess, that it is very hard to turn most heterosexual men into thriving gay men).

As for the term "essentialism": What David or I discuss is not essentialism, or the idea that the complete gender identity is inborn. I know there are transwomen who believe that the way you hold your handbag is inborn. It clearly isn't.

And as you point out, I have again and again documented how gender roles and gender expressions are culturally, and not biologically defined.

But this is the amazing thing about the human race. Unlike what we find in many other animals, our biological programming is not always predefined as regards its content. Often the instinct is defined as regards its function only.

I have used the example of disgust before: Disgust is a basic instinct aimed at protecting the individual from harmful elements in the surroundings.

But, since homo sapiens must adapt to a very different environment, what generates disgust is determined by upbringing and conditioning.

In the same way it is not hard to imagine a basic sex identity, which then makes use of cultural symbols to express itself.

This explains one of the paradoxes in Norwegian and Swedish culture. Norway and Sweden are clearly the most "feminine" cultures in the word, both in the sense that traditional feminine values are adapted by all, and as regards gender equality.

In spite of this, there is no movement towards an androgynous gender expression. In fact, Norwegian researchers have documented that Norwegian boys and girls focus more on presenting a masculine or feminine facade now than ever before.

For me this is a clear sign of there being a strong inborn need to be understood, respected and loved as a man OR a woman.

Sophie said...

Tend to be wary of spectrum type explanations, so wouldn't go along with the necessity for underlying biological conditions in all TG cases.
Thankfully I am something of a gender essentialist so I also don't have to posit the attention on models sort of mechanisms which do seem somewhat weak. Far easier to say that basic binary gender identity resides in different cognitive architectures, and that the formation of identity comes about by recognitions of sharing the same interpreted world with others of the same sex.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you proclaim to understand the difference between sex identity and gender identity.

Yet you allow the obvious conflation of those hugely distinct terms to stand unremarked, in the above otherwise exemplary post.

AMT

Lindsay said...

Gender has caused confusion on Jack's sites more than one time. Maybe we should start using "gender identity" when we're talking about social constructs.

Ariadna Azul said...

"It appears that TG has a wider occurrence in males than in females so this speculation will be largely focused on TG in males."

Seriously? is this a joke? the title was really attractive and i was enthusiastic about the article (the hormonal dynamics regarding crossdreaming are an interesting field we should explore to find more answers) but when i read that line i stopped reading. I don't think this could be taken seriously if u, David/Davida, starts making such bold and clueless statement. I am thankful you remarked "speculation". I am sorry but as part of the ftm crossdreamer community i feel ignored, and intellectually i find your statement like extremely naive. I think you should dare go further your comfort zone and check that, yes, crossdreaming ("transgender condition") occurs among females too, and in a significant frequency, (probably the same ocurrence, which by the way would prove crossdreaming is just a normal variety of human sexuality in both sexes and not just a fetish/condition exclusive of males with high levels of testosterone). Blanchard ignored us, but will you do the same? You shoulnd't feel comfortable trying to explain crossdreaming and sex identity if you are biased enough to ignore the counterpart.

Recently i have read Jack going pissed off about the fetish theory supporters and banning a user bc he dared think differently (which was hugely dissapointing: I didn't like that user either but he had stopped being offensive long time ago and he was just giving his opinions after all).

Jack, I really really like you and I'll always be thankful for the great job u have been doing here, i used to like your blog so much but lately it seems you just prefer comfort over truth.

I know you'll say "nobody forces you to stay here, you can leave if you don't feel comfortable here". But the fact is i prefer truth over comfort and your blog was the only one which was on the right path to find out a reasonable explanation for crossdreaming.

For the record, I am neither a hardcore "fetish" theory supporter nor an essentialist. Both points of views have bright points and flaws. Hasn't anyone else thought about a combination of both explaining way better the crossdreaming phenomena?

I firmly believe that the so-called "arousal construction process" really exists and plays an extremely important role in crossdreaming and it could be demonstrated easily. That was a brilliant contribution of whyxlup (sorry i can't spell his name). His huge flaw was reducing everything to a just fetish caused by trauma and humilliation and the mere term "fetish" is misleading and sounds offensive indeed. Also, he didn't do the effort to prove his theories which, at the end, caused them to appear as merely speculative. But ignoring some of his bright points is prefering comfort over truth.

On the other hand, essentialists' main flaw seems to go to the extent to believe our brains belong to the other sex so we are in the wrong body(which would imply nature made a mistake with us) and that's why we can't feel at peace with our own bodies or that the wrong hormones are intoxicating us, and so we just chose not to transition bc of the inconvenients of it. Is this our drama, Jack? Say no, please, and that i misunderstood you. I apologize, perhaps i am lecturing you wrong, but that's the general impression a lay person like me have visiting your blog lately. I apologize again: it absolutely doesn't make any sense! (Forgive me, Jack, did I say i really like you? I really do!)

Ariadna Azul said...

I do believe there's a powerful biological core for sex identity, of course. Like when I was a little kid and i always knew i was a girl and was ok with that, but the fact is i felt gender roles and societal expectations were wrong and I wasn't being able to fit. the "female gender" social constructions appeared as totally wrong but i still felt i was a woman. just a different kind of woman. I feel there's something masculine powerfully ingrained within me, yes! i do! if i believe that has a biological core? i do! yes, absolutely! but i don't feel that makes me a man in the wrong body, or that my brain belongs to the other sex, or even having an inner man, bc I still feel I am a woman, my body is ok and i am ok with it, (not a big deal) just social gender expectations and roles are wrong. Isn't this why we are supposed to be "transgender" and not "transsexuals"? Then why insisting in remaking the dysphoria as a drama we can't overcome? why splitting ourselves in two to fit the binary? and please, don't take this as i am being disrespectful to the sufferers of dysphoria, in fact i wish i could do something to stop that suffering. I seriously do. Never experienced it as a dysphoria itself but certainly there were few times when i abhored my female body bc of the consequences it brought to me regarding social interactions. But not intense enough to think about the transition. Poor my body, it wasn't it what was wrong,(any shape it has, it is my body, it is a temple and i love it for allowing to be alive) society and gender roles were what was wrong. This is what i wanna change.

I just feel like i am a "masculine" female. And I know so so so many girls feeling alike that thinking we are a minority just doesn't make sense, by the way.

Ain't lovely to think we are a superior breed of human beings with the best of female and male features(biological and cultural factors causing it)? And that our discomfort comes, not from a condition, but just wrong simplistic social expectations? the infamous binary.

I apologize again if i offended. Not my intention, i swear. In fact, all I wanna do is to help. And to change things are wrong in society. To reach happiness and I wish i could do something for other that suffer. I seriously do.

Warm hugs for Jack and greetings to everybody.

Ariadna

Paplia said...

@AriadnaAzul,
Seems like you are attempting to explain your sexual fetish with being a "masculine female".
Sorry to shatter your myth but being masculine has nothing to do with some dominating sex-role stereotypes. You are a fetishist, enjoy that. Enjoy your kinks and sex. No need to equate such sex roles with real transgendered and transsexual people.
I wouldn't consider butch lesbians or fag-hags as transgendered. They are just sex creatures and that is normal. But the fact is that they are cisgendered.

Paplia said...

It surprises me to no end that several fetishists such as crossdressers and BDSM fetishists want to explain their abnormal sex desires with transgenders and hence want to malign us so badly.
Gender identity has nothing to do with social roles of male and female. I feel female because I am transgender and born in wrong body. Not because I like some sex role in bed.

Anonymous said...

Of interest...

"I’ve written extensively on this subject and by this subject I mean the whole war that has constantly raged between “Transgender and transsexuals” I’ve studied the whole phenomenon extensively and interviewed a great many transvestites and quite a few type V transsexuals. In my life I have met a mere half dozen type VI Transsexuals. They are like comets you may meet one in a lifetime even then probably would not be able to distinguish them from regular male or female. The etiology is in fact elementary, female brain, psychology and personality locked in a partially male body. For a type V the syndrome displays itself with a little less intensity, there may be physical challenges for the individual to overcome. Nonetheless, drive towards a complete and total sex change is present. The etiology of both types is quite similar.

This is what I discovered in my research and it matches that of Harry Benjamin whose book I read a short while after I completed my study. I was searching for a reason for my own overwhelming need to be a complete woman. In that regard science has so far failed to provide us with a fully satisfactory answer perhaps one day. For female to male transsexuals the problems are even greater since it is not yet feasible to create human tissue where none has existed before; not to a full enough extent anyway.

Society when first confronted by transsexuality in 1950’s with the publicity that surrounded first Christine Jorgensen and then Roberta Cowell (even though Roberta preceded Christine) actually understood and accepted them as women. Albeit women who had changed sex they were accepted as women. For the few who followed in their footsteps in USA government administrations throughout the country changed documents to match their corrected status. There is documented evidence that for a lucky few even UK quietly changed the birth certificates of transsexuals until the justice Ormrod verdict in Korbett v Korbett established a precedent subsequently adopted in much of the western world. The general public however still to a great extent understood transsexuality.

Gradually since 1980’s transvestite men who for years had been marginalized as perverts have sought to attach themselves to transsexuality in order to attain for themselves the lingering acceptance society has or had for the condition. Narratives stolen from the biographies of Jan Morris, Christine Jogansen, Aleisha Brevard, Caroline Cossey, April Ashley (the other Korbett) and many others have been parroted to naïve psychiatrists by transvestites to obtain hormones and even some partial surgeries searching for the ultimate “pass”

Psychiatrists who happen to be homosexual such as J Michael Bailey and Ray Blanchard and perhaps Ken Zucker who may or may not be have careers vested in the issue have formed convoluted theories (and that’s all they are theories) linking transsexuality to extreme transvestism. Even against the protests of many hundreds of women who know in their heart of hearts and at the base of their being that the theory is way off beam where it seeks to include them. Since when however, have men ever listened to women? So the war of words continues and the terms and theories become ever more complex and coated with jargon and pseudo science in the attempt to justify simple obsessive cross dressing.

Continued...

From the earlier "My Hubby is a TG" thread.

A Mad Tranny

Anonymous said...

Continued...

"My college professor once said to me “If you cannot explain something in a way everyone can understand, you do not understand the subject well enough” I have learned that lesson. It seems some people have not with their use of unnecessarily lengthy words and explanations.

Once transsexual women have no desire to deny you access to the treatments you seek. No desire to tolerate your being beaten or ridiculed or ostracized by society. All we ask is that you seek acceptance on your own terms and do not use and abuse us in the process. Claiming we are all a part of the same etiology is like trying to claim all animals are human. Stop it cease desist and we will leave you alone and may even support you." ~Cassandraspeaks.

From the earlier "My Hubby is a TG" thread.

A Mad Tranny

Anonymous said...

@Paplia, Ariadna & Mitchell.

I think what is abetting and adding to your confusion and inability to come to terms with your discomfort is that you have all bought into the idea that gender=sex.

Quite simply it does not. Gender is a term correctly used to describe the social roles/mannerisms/styles deemed appropriate to a biological/morphological sex. Gender can be fluid. Sex cannot. It is binary, except inthe case of intersex which involves ambiguous genitalia.

That sex is easily determined and defined by a simple and cursory examination of the genitals.

Unfortunately, as a result of the PC mind/gender bending agenda of certain LGBTg lobbies the language and protcols in our schools and government has been "politically corrcted" to conform with the new "progressive" thinking.

This new "tolerance" has resulted in high school drop-out rates in excess of 50%, literacy below 30% and in some minority communities, 70% of children born to single moms.

It is easy to understand how such stresses on a society can result in the many forms of gender confusion/variance apparent in today's world. It is also natural for those suffering from these feelings to try to seek answers that explain how and why they feel the way they do.

Nevertheless, it would be wise to consider the source and motivations of those advocating
these unproven theories as a basis for social policy. I find it most important to maintain and understand the difference between sexual-identity and gender identity.

For example: I am a reasonably attractive middle aged woman, married with children and grand-children. I operate heavy equipment for a living and while at work I dress and act pretty much like "one of the boys". One could argue that I have adopted a 'male gender-identity'. This 'gender-bending' does not however change my sex.

From what I have read here, nobody has need or desire to change their sex and are simply seeking to make peace with their own feelings of crossgender identification; IE crossdreaming.

I certainly do not see a problem with that and would urge that you all just keep it simple and address your feelings in those terms without getting carried away with hormones and irreversible body modifications.

Ariadna Azul said...

@Anonymous:

Of course I know what gender is and that is not the same as sex.

I am ok with my sex=woman (biological), that's what i said, regarding the article of Davida, "sex identity and hormones". What I am against is the traditional gender roles assigned to females and that was was aimed to Jack and regarding a discussion in the forum that probably u haven't read.

Thanks anyway for your post.

Greetings.

Ariadna

Anonymous said...

Estamos de aquerdo.
"...traditional gender roles assigned to females" are a whole other topic and a good one.

As a woman, I tend to push the envelope in that I do a lot of things which used to be exclusively the perogative and oerview of men.

One easy transgression is golf, (Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden).

Also, I am not so sure that particular disatisfaction withgender roles has any relaltion to body dysphoria

Anonymous said...

@ Mitchell

WhatEVER it is that ails you, it cannot be "cured".

One way or another YOU and only you will have to deal with it sonner or later.

Your only power over this thing is knowledge. Unfortunately the internet is rife with charlatans, each with their own particualar brand or flavor of some 'snake-oil theory' about te how and the why.

For me this is of little consequence as what really matter to YOU is what works for you.

"Seek and ye shall find."
"Ask, that you might be answered"

Ariadna Azul said...

"Paplia said...
@AriadnaAzul,
Seems like you are attempting to explain your sexual fetish with being a "masculine female".

*Do I have sexual fetishes and kinks? yes! definitely i do, like everybody, but they are not the main reason i find myself "masculine" (note the quotations marks). You misunderstood me. I wasn't talking about intercourse, but if you ask me, I don't mind accepting to have fetishes and kinks, by the way they have varied during my life, some have dissapeared, some have became stronger recently. This is really constructed and artificial. Most of them could be considered dominant, mildly sadistic, "thrusting" or "masculine" (abusing the term just for practical purposes). But that wasn't my point, I was talking about some traits of my personality and the way i see the world and relate to it and people. Note that I use the term "masculine female" with quotations marks just for practical purposes. I am not taking it seriously. Call it whatever, I don't care. :)

"Sorry to shatter your myth but being masculine has nothing to do with some dominating sex-role stereotypes." i totally agree. don't worry, u r not shattering my myths. you can sleep tight tonight: I am still happy. :)

"You are a fetishist, enjoy that."

As I said, I have fetishes, and I really enjoy them. I really do. I don't mind being called a fetishist or whatever, bc most of people have fetishes. No big deal. But when the idea is that general the term "fetish" starts sounding silly and i prefer to take a term coined by another user: "arousal construction process". Anyway, they mean the same at the end.

"Enjoy your kinks and sex. No need to equate such sex roles with real transgendered and transsexual people."

Believe me: I love my kinks! and I enjoy my sexuality: it is rich, non conformist, and free of guilt. Don't worry. I don't think you have read my previous posts but there you can notice I abhor the term "transgendered" applied to myself, and I really don't want to be related with transsexuals. I am not transgendered, that I am sure I know. But i was using the term with quotations marks (again) to indicate the usage it has in this blog, just for practical purposes.

"I wouldn't consider butch lesbians or fag-hags as transgendered. They are just sex creatures and that is normal. But the fact is that they are cisgendered."

I am really far from being a butch lesbian or a fag-hag. Regarding your usage of the term "transgendered" "cisgendered", you seem to believe you have the truth about their legitimacy, usage and validity. For me, those and other labels have really no importance. I am not that concerned (like you seem to be)about classifying people. I am not that biased.

"It surprises me to no end that several fetishists such as crossdressers and BDSM fetishists want to explain their abnormal sex desires with transgenders and hence want to malign us so badly."

I laughed a lot when u said "abnormal sex desires". Give us lessons about what is normal, please! :D (god, this is hilarious, sorry!)

You seem to be really proud to be "transgendered". Please, don't worry, many of us are not eager to steal the term from you, you can keep it for you.

It is funny how you seem to believe that gives to you a kind of sanctity. I don't wanna destroy your myths; seriously, I am not interested, as far as you are happy with ur own labels, go for it.

Ariadna Azul said...

"Gender identity has nothing to do with social roles of male and female. I feel female because I am transgender and born in wrong body. Not because I like some sex role in bed."

I think Anonymous explained to you that gender and sex aren't the same, right?

"Sex is annotated as different from gender in the Oxford English Dictionary where it says sex "tends now to refer to biological differences, while . . . [gender] often refers to cultural or social ones." "A working definition in use by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its work is that "'[s]ex' refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women" and that "'[m]ale' and 'female' are sex categories".[3]")

You seem to be confusing "transgendered" and "transsexual".

Btw, if you feel "female" and being born in the "wrong body", we should leave you being happy with your own self definitions.But please, don't pretend to know everything about me and define me. You don't know me. I would challenge you to define to me what is a "female" for you and how does "it feel to be one". I am a "female" and probably I have no idea what it is. But perhaps you are a "true female" and I am not. Who knows. (notice the quotations marks too and how little i care about "gender")

And, for the record, my fetishes, sexual life and "roles in bed" are something I wasn't discussing here, but I don't mind doing it when asked. :)

Ariadna Azul said...

@Anonymous

"Anonymous said...
Also, I am not so sure that particular disatisfaction withgender roles has any relaltion to body dysphoria"

I totally agree! :)

Anonymous said...

"David argues that sex identity cannot be explained by social factors or by genes. The most reasonable explanation is found in the hormonal development of the fetus."

Consider:

"What this natural experiment clearly suggests is that there is no significant socio-cultural contribution to sex identity. You cannot have a cleaner test of the socio-cultural hypothesis than a young child surgically modified to conform to external female morphology, estrogen therapy and socialization during childhood as a girl."

"What this natural experiment suggests is that sex identity is not a simple product of DNA or genes. The outcome in CAIS is, for all practical purposes, a woman with male genes. These genetic males have female physical features, female sex identity and a female sexual orientation (i.e., toward males), which seems to be the human default condition."

Given that I find the above beyond reproach, I would suggest that those who have come to terms with their gender identity, (or cross-gender identity), are in a sunstantially better situation than those who are impacted with a crossed sexual identity.

Jack Molay said...

@Ariadna

1. About female to male crossdreamers.

I believe female to male crossdreaming is as common as the male to female variant.

As I understand it, David's conclusion is based on the idea that the female "blueprint" is the default one for human beings, and that the development of male traits are caused by adding hormones. This is a common idea in biology.

The logical conclusion to this argument is that the chance of "errors" in the development of male fetuses is larger than for women.

My starting point is the observation of the female to male crossdreamer communities, which seem to be as large as the male bodied ones (at least if you include Boy's Love/yaoi).

If you read my presentation of Joan Roughgarden's work, you will also see that I am not sure if the simple "the female is default" model is correct.

2. Jack being pissed off about fetish supporters.

I am definitely pissed off about some fetish supporters, and did indeed ban one such activist from both Crossdream Life and Crossdreamers.

He was giving his opinion, all right, and I allowed him to do so for more than a year, to the point of inviting him to write a guest blog post (he never did).

In the end, however, I realized that there was no dialogue, only a man preaching a post-structuralist gospel that can neither be proven or falsified. But I can live with that.

The problem was that he kept on insisting that all transgender are fetishist, transsexuals included. If this had been a purely intellectual debate (a dubious concept in itself), that might seem acceptable.

But my reason point for starting this blog and contributing to the creation of Crossdream Life was the exact opposite: To create a room where both transsexual and non-transsexual crossdreamers could explore their lives without fear of being reduced to perverts.

The fetish theory and its sibling, the autogynephilia theory, are used systematically by sexist scientists and moralist fanatics to persecute transgender people of all variants, including transsexuals.

To use those theories and the related terms to "liberate" crossdreamers will never work, partly because crossdreaming is so much more than a fetish, and partly because the rest of the world will never understand the terms that way.

To my dismay I realized that many transgender now identified the term "crossdreaming" with the fetish theory, to the point of accusing me of being both homophobic and transphobic. Transgender members were starting to leave Crossdream Life, offended and rightfully hurt.

For a transsexual man or woman, being told that he or she is a fetishist is similar to a black person being told that he or she is racially inferior. Believe me, it is that bad!

History has given us a lot of philosophers and scientists who "proved" that non-white people were intellectually and morally inferior by birth, or that homosexuals are fetishistic degenerates. The way the transvestic fetish and autogynephilia theories have been promoted is not that different, and I have done my best to explain why this is so.

That does not mean that I want to shut up everyone who believe they are fetishists. There are clearly fetishistic aspects to how crossdreaming plays out. But I can no longer let this blog be a vehicle for those that denigrate transmen and transwomen. I am sure you will agree with this.

That you say that I prefer comfort over truth is disappointing. For some four years now I have presented all ktypes of research on transgender and gender issues.

cont...

Jack Molay said...

...cont

I have discussed all kinds of approaches, from autogynephilia to reincarnation (!), and have gradually come to the conclusion that this is indeed a phenomenon that has an inborn element.

Personally, this conclusion give me no comfort, as it means that I will never be myself, and I will never live anything approaching a happy, normal, life. If this had been a kink only, I might have.

Like David, I do not believe that this is a "essentialist" position where all stereotypical female traits follows from the inborn element.

When I use the short hand "inner woman" (or "inner man") it is not to say that male to female crossdreamers have a complete set of feminine traits, mannerisms and abilities hidden in the brain.

After all, that is not the case with non-transgender women either. A female fighter pilot may live up to male stereotypes, but she still identifies as a woman. She is a woman.

The development of a human being is a very complex process consisting of genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, environmental and cultural factors.

This is why I have put so much emphasis on describing the variation of traits and abilities among non-transgender men and women.

All women have masculine traits. All men have feminine traits. But that does not stop these men and women from identifying and feeling male and female. The mix of gender traits does not mean there is no sex identity. For most people the sex identity is given. They do not reflect upon it. For others it is not.

The strong experience of pain and dysphoria felt by transsexuals cannot be explained without some kind of biological trigger. If this was purely a psychological phenomenon, it would be cureable. It isn't.

I see now that I will have to spend more time on explaining how the development human traits and dispositions can be triggered by a biological core, without being defined by them, i.e. without being "essentialist".

This is a given fact in modern neurophysiology, but it is not often explained outside that field.

My argument is simply that in the same way hunger (a biological driver) may lead to an urge for pizza or escargot (which are cultural expression), we may have inner drivers that lead to identification as men or women. "I want to be loved as a woman" is biological. "I would love to wear a ball gown" is cultural.

For a majority of people (trans or non-trans) sex identification is a binary matter. "I feel like a man" OR "I feel like a woman". But since sex identity is caused by several factors in varying intensity, it is also possible to imagine identities outside the binary. They are rare, but they are there.

It seems to me we have crossdreamers of all kinds: Those that completely identify with their birth sex, different gender variants and those that identify with their crossdreaming target sex.

It is possible to imagine different causes of all this crossdreaming, with fetishistic non-transgender crossdreamers at one end and gender dysphoric transsexuals at the other. I must say it sounds very unlikely, but I will definitely look into the possibility.

Jack Molay said...

By the way, the fetish debate is useful for one reason: It forces the different views out in the open.

There is one thing that worries me, though. I sense a high intolerance for ambiguity.

One the one hand you have separatist transwomen who do everything they can to explain that they have nothing in common with non-transsexual crossdreamers. The crossdreamers are fetishists. They are not. They are "pure" women.

On the other hand you have fetish-oriented crossdreamers who argue that they have nothing in common with transsexuals. They are men, and the transwomen are something else (unless they believe the transsexuals to be just like them).

Both camps believe the fetish-theory can be used to make sure that the male to female "fetishists" remain unambiguous men, and the female to male "fetishists" remain women.

This solves two problems: The MTF crossdreamers do not have to worry about being transsexuals, and the MTF transwomen do not have to worry about being fetishistic men.

There is something seriously strange going on here. It is as each side find the other side so toxic that they are willing to do anything to avoid any association with them. And they do so by using the same "fetish" model!!!

I am not saying that transwomen are men. Far from it. I am so naive that I actually think the "woman trapped in a man's body" metaphor is a useful one -- albeit a bit too simplistic.

And I am not saying that all MTF crossdreamers are transwomen.

But seriously, there is erotic crossdreaming on both sides of the fence. The two groups have something in common.

What is it that makes people fear this so much? My guess is the following:

(1) We are raised to believe that the male/female dichotomy is the most important of all. Standing outside that dichotomy means that you are not "real" in a sense.

(2) Being transgendered does not necessarily mean that you are androgynous or outside the gender binary. For most crossdreamers it means that you are trying to "please" two genders at the same time.

The MTFs play the role of a man on the outside, while having a secret dream of being a woman on the inside.

That is intolerable, as it threatens the very fabric our societies are built on. Therefore they are forced to pick one sex or the other.

The greater the dysphoria the more likely you understand yourself a woman (because you are a woman). The weaker the dysphoria, the more likely you are to identify with your birth sex and your male role.

Could it be that some "non-dysphoric crossdreamers" find the fetish theory so attractive, because it relieves them from the pain of facing a transgender nature?

And could it be that militant transwomen find the fetish theory so attractive, because it reserves the perversion for the men, and leaves them virtuous asexual women?

Anonymous said...

"I realized that there was no dialogue, only a man preaching a post-structuralist gospel that can neither be proven or falsified"

You mean like you preach your biased gospel. You assume that something can only be true by virtue of the scientific process.

"The problem was that he kept on insisting that all transgender are fetishist, transsexuals included"

Like you keep on insisting on the "inner woman" of those who are aroused by the feminization narrative. Only where there is the presence of autophillic arousal, that this theoretically should and does influence gender-dysphoria.

"But my reason point for starting this blog and contributing to the creation of Crossdream Life was the exact opposite: To create a room where both transsexual and non-transsexual crossdreamers could explore their lives without fear of being reduced to perverts"

"But I can no longer let this blog be a vehicle for those that denigrate transmen and transwomen"

Truth or comfort?

"partly because crossdreaming is so much more than a fetish"

You are assuming that what ones sexuality is in total isolation and that there is no connection with one's being in general. You are simply uncomfortable with the idea that what one is aroused by can influence how one identifies.

"For most crossdreamers it means that you are trying to "please" two genders at the same time."

The commonsensical presupposition that there are "inner" genders that are there and that must be "expressed".

"Could it be that some "non-dysphoric crossdreamers" find the fetish theory so attractive, because it relieves them from the pain of facing a transgender nature?"

Could it be that the "dysphoric crossdreamers" (due to a lifetime of arousal mediated correlation) have simply invested psychologically and ideologically in the notion of a respressed feminine inner self? That where there is the presence of a repressed substance, it tends to be coupled with a will to express it?

AMT

Lindsay said...

@AMT

I'm fine with your points as long as you admit that the opposite is equally possible.

Anonymous said...

YO !!! WORLD !!! We now have the presence of a weasely LOW-LIFE with absolutely no personal intergrity using MY adopted acronym. (AMT)

In other words we have a Mad Tranny IMPERSONATOR!!!

The above comment signed AMT, (my acronym) was not written by The GENUINE Mad Tranny. I did not make that comment.

My guess is that this 50+ y/o shame filled transvestite is attempting to discredit my views by impersonating the object of his never to be attained fetish.

What this means is that this poor sop is just a pitiful troll. I just thought I should point that out in light of the shameless behavior exhibited by the above noted GROSSLY envious impersonator.

I also find "Linsay's" timely response to this obviously "strawman argument", interestingly suspect.

The REAL Mad Tranny

Anonymous said...

You mean there is TWO Mad Trannies???

-Paplia

Lindsay said...

@the real AMT

If you were registered you wouldn't have this problem!

I should be insulted by your accusations against me but I think every opinion should be suspect. I personally don't agree with the fake AMT's arguments but I can see where they may apply in some cases.

We need to get away from this "my opinion is the only correct one" attitude. Or even the binary solution and realize that this is complex issue with a spectrum roots.

Hence my comment to the fake AMT

Anonymous said...

"We need to get away from this "my opinion is the only correct one" attitude. Or even the binary solution and realize that this is complex issue with a spectrum roots."

We are dealing with a phenomenological structure that has become imprinted and sexualized. The nature of the structure is given in how the fantasy narrative functions in order to be arousing. The underlying narrative may be indicative of how the initial structure became sexualized, especially in the case of subjects who are aroused by narratives with masochistic elements, indicating traumatic imprinting.

How should the inconsistent and inherently vague claims of accompanying identification (as a gender), or bodily-dysphoria relate to the existence of the imprinted (and imprinting of the) arousing phenomonology? Taking into account account queer theory's refinement of commonsensical notions of self-identification as well as naive scientific essentialism.

-AMT MKII

Anonymous said...

@AMT MKII aka (K)M-D

Give it a phenomenological rest! Or at least attempt to speak English.

And WHY are you attempting to colonize my online persona? Are you so jealously envious? You do not even know me!

@Jack. Your highly insulting misgendering of women who have survived a transsexual experience and have absolutely no agenda nor interest in trans affairs is tantamount to you being referred to as a freak.

Why do you insist on using such inflamatory language? Is a fetish for all things feminine, or women? Is it some sort of phenomenologcal paraphilia, or just simple crossdreaming?

I mean you guys can go around and round with the rhetoric. But again, to what end?

A Mad Tranny

Anonymous said...

@Lindsay

Sorry...

Lindsay said...

The problem I have with phenomenology is that it's proponents can't clearly explain what it means. When I looked into it, it really just seemed to be peoples opinions unsubstantiated by any facts. They use big words to hide this lack of real data and then belittle anyone who tries to question it.

I can support the idea that traumatic events can cause fetishes. But it's not the only way. And to keep preaching that it is the only way is blinding you to the complexity of human beings. And to make the extrapolation that it is the sole cause of gender dysphoria unfounded.

Until you can clearly and concisely teach us phenomenology and present us with the facts that back it up this debate is a waste of time. At least Jack has presented his side clearly and with data to back it up. Insulting Jack does not disprove what he has presented and just contradicting him is equally unconvincing.

Anonymous said...

"phenomenology...peoples opinions unsubstantiated by any facts."

That is EXACTLY what it is. An understanding of the world with no reference to objective reality.

A simple 'de-rail'.

A Mad Tranny

BTW. It is/was not my intention to insult Jack. My intent was/is to point out just how painful and demeaning it can for some, to be referred to as 'trans-women'.

A Mad Tranny

Jack Molay said...

HERE ARE SOME COMMENTS FROM DAVID

A few, hopefully, clarifying comments on the posts made in response to my piece.

I set out to share my thoughts with Jack on the TG topic based on my personal experience and the reading
that I've done in an attempt to put my personal experiences into a meaningful context.

I didn't ask that it be posted but did agree to it being posted. If it doesn't work for you, sorry about that.

On the wording sex, sexual identity, gender identity and sexual orientation, each of these has a somewhat variable meaning depending on who you're talking to but I mostly use them in the way
that sex researchers like Milton Diamond (Pacific Center for Sex and Society -- University of
Hawaii) use them.

A number of people seem to key in on my use of the word "biological" and overlook my use of the term "socio-cultural." I suppose one sees what one wants to see.

However, I pretty clearly stated that I take a largely, though not exclusively, socio-cultural
view of gender identity.

To quote from one of the opening sentences in the piece "...requires
a biological basis but largely socio-cultural." I think the biological component is probably an
orienting response that prompts attention to specific types of environmental stimuli.

By way of analogy, I think language works along similar lines. We have a biologically based orienting
response to attend to certain types of sounds, especially patterned spoken sounds. We learn from
what we attend to.

Anyone familiar with the experimental literature on social learning theory will know that attention is a critical factor in social learning. We generally attend to social models
that we perceive as being "like us."

If one has an innate sense of femaleness then there will be a
bias toward attending to females in the environment. If one has a mixed sense of sexual identity
there will be a more diffuse focus of attention that includes both males and females.

What we learn when we attend is largely socio-cultural in nature whether it is how persons of a particular sex are expected to behave (gender expectations) in the social context or how to communicate in that context (English, French, Russian or what have you).

As for those upset with my focus on MtF, I can only say again that what I have to say is based
on my personal experience and my attempt to understand that experience. I was born with a male
body. I haven't had any TG experiences flowing the other way and haven't given them enough
thought to have a lot to say about them.

As for those that disagree with my statement that there appear to be more instances of MtF, I can only offer that all of the incidence statistics that I've seen give about a 50% greater incidence to MtF.

cont...

Jack Molay said...

COMMENTS FROM DAVID CONTINUED

That said, I am in no way trying to diminish the experience of FtM individuals. One can argue that there are many FtM cases hidden for various reasons but anyone that wants to argue that point will have to uncover the cases to convince
me.

There are some good reasons to believe that the male sex is inherently more susceptible to
biological variations from both internal and external influences both during gestation and during
subsequent development. This is evident in a greater incidence in males of almost all conditions
with a biological basis.

Since I assume TG is biologically based, I see no reason not to apply that demonstrated susceptibility to variations in sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation or gender
identity, which is the least biological.

There were as I recall comments disagreeing with my view of gender identity as dimensional in
nature. It pretty much must be either categorical or dimensional.

The former is digital in nature;
i.e., it either is or isn't (black or white). My experience includes little that is as simple as black or
white. To quote Milton Diamond, "Nature loves variety. Unfortunately, society hates it."

Whenever you have at least three variations on a theme, you have a potential for a dimensional
construct.

Personally, I'm convinced that I am an animal with a biological developmental history
largely driven by evolutionary forces. Thus, I find it difficult to be persuaded by radical social
construction arguments that deny any role to biology, which is the same argument that I
hear from the divine creationists of my acquaintance.

When I was a student in introductory philosophy I was taught that there are essentially two types of questions. There are questions of fact and questions of belief.

Questions of fact are public and
can be resolved one way or another through systematic investigation following established rules
of evidence. Questions of belief are private, faith based and can never be resolved objectively
though one might be persuaded to change one's belief for reasons that have nothing to do with
evidence.

I consider the biological contribution to TG to be a question of fact. Therefore, I
suspect it will eventually be resolved by systematic investigation following established rules of evidence.

All I did in my piece was suggest, based on my experience and reading, what types of variables one might investigate to resolve the question. I make no claim to having supplied
and exhaustive list and any and all of you are free to suggest other biological variables and your
rationale for them. It strikes me that much of the discussion herein is moving us no closer to
resolving the question.

I have found better things to do with my time since leaving academia than engage in polemics
and don't expect to make any further contributions.

For those who found something worthwhile in my speculation I am happy to have been able to provide it. For those who found nothing
worthwhile in my speculation, I apologize for wasting your time.

David/Davida

"Intolerance is the natural concomitant of strong faith."
Durant

Jack Molay said...

@A Mad Tranny

"@Jack. Your highly insulting misgendering of women who have survived a transsexual experience and have absolutely no agenda nor interest in trans affairs is tantamount to you being referred to as a freak."

I am very careful not to misgender any women or men. I repeat this again and again, and it seems there are those that are unable to listen.

I consider all transsexual women women, 100 percent, without any footnotes or small print. I fail to how that can be insulting.

Am I such a threat to you that you have to shoehorn me into your enemy image of the hated "transgender"? Are you unable to see that in this discussion I am defending the genuine sex identity of transsexual people against those that want to reduce them to fetishists?

As for the terms "transwoman" and "transmen". These are commonly used by transsexuals. They simply refer to a person who has had his or her body identity realigned with his or her sex identity (or who plans for such a transition). The words are shorthand for "transsexual woman" and "transsexual men". That is all.

In a debate on transgender issues you need nouns that identify people who have (or want to) transition from the rest of the population. Outside that discussion the proper terms are simply "man" and "woman".

As for those who continue trying to undermine my arguments by questioning my motives: We have all motives. We are human. The test is whether we are able to go beyond those motives when exploring ourselves and our world.

This debate is starting to sound like the kind of conversations kids have: "Is so!" "Isn't!" "Is so!" "It isn't!" "You are stupid!" "Am not!" "Are so!" "No, you are stupid!" It gets boring after a while.

David/Davida makes a coherent argument backed up with research and personal experience. That is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

"it really just seemed to be peoples opinions unsubstantiated by any facts. They use big words to hide this lack of real data and then belittle anyone who tries to question it."

Facts?? Data?? Come on, if your gonna have some input at least you can learn some basics from the semiotic or "social" sciences. A non starter.

"And to make the extrapolation that it is the sole cause of gender dysphoria unfounded."

No one has been insulting here or has said anything about arousal being the only cause of gender-dysphoria, only that autophillic fetishes influences bodily "dysphoria" and idealization.

"present us with the facts that back it up"

The only fact is the existence of the structure of arousal, the rest is theory/phenomenology and pragmatic correlations. An inability to understand "phenomenology" severely handicaps anyone from understanding the coevolution and relationship between the biological and cultural.

"That is EXACTLY what it is. An understanding of the world with no reference to objective reality."

"When I was a student in introductory philosophy I was taught that there are essentially two types of questions. There are questions of fact and questions of belief."

Naive positivism. Philosophical/theoretical cluelessness. Such talk of "belief and facts" is indicative of a shallow understanding of even the mediocre Anglo-American tradition of philosophy.

paplia

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

"You are assuming that what ones sexuality is in total isolation and that there is no connection with one's being in general. "

No, I have never said so and I never will. There is no sex without sex. That is: Sexual desire is inherently connected to the fact that we are "sexed" beings biologically. And there are strong feedback loops between the biological and mental levels.

I have always found the ideal of the "classic transsexual" quite bewildering, exactly for that reason. The ideal seems to be a woman who reports no sexual arousal whatsoever. Even Harry Benjamin had a category of asexual transsexuals. As far as I can see most women are very sexual beings with a healthy appetite for the erotic, and it therefore make sense to me that transsexual women are too.

The difference between you and me is that while you believe that the psychological process (including the crossdreaming) causes the unusual sex identification issue, while I believe that it is underpinning sex identity that triggers the crossdreaming.

At a fundamental level human beings are animals, and as for all animals much of what we do or feel has an instinctual basis. The post-structuralist idea that the mind is completely separated from the body makes no sense to me, precisely because it removes sexuality from the body.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

"Facts?? Data?? Come on, if your gonna have some input at least you can learn some basics from the semiotic or "social" sciences. A non starter."

My background is actually from the humanities and the social sciences, so I know the relevant arguments quite well.

Indeed, I am using post-structuralist research and methodology in my blog posts on the cultural context of gender. In that respect their writings are very useful.

Thanks to the debate taking place at this blog for the last year or so, I have also reread my Foucault, gone through three books by Butler and even digest large dozes of Deleuze and Guattari.

My take on this is the following:

Yes, there are "proofs" and evidence in post-structuralist philosophy.

Whenever thinkers in this field make use of historical data, they are able to contribute significantly to our understanding of the social construction of belief systems, including sex and gender.

Michel Foucault is a master in giving examples of how people in other cultures and periods thought differently, proving that our understanding of gender roles is at least partly the product of our belief systems or mentalities.

However, since the starting point for these thinkers is that all human thinking (semiotics, language games, schema) is socially constructed, it becomes impossible for them to even consider biological processes in a constructive way.

Butler, for instance, ends up reducing even biological sex to a social construct. I agree that our interpretation of the biological level is colored by our belief systems (there is no way around that), but to conclude that flesh has no effect on the mind is dangerously naive.

This is where neurophysiology brings in the necessary corrective. Much of what we do, feel or think is based on or influenced by biological instincts, and studies of the effects of brain damage gives us ample proof of why this is so.

Let me make this clear: The problem with the post-structuralist approach is that it cannot be used to say anything meaningful about biological processes, as this strand of philosophy lacks the tools needed to do so.

This becomes painfully clear in Judith Butler's explanation for her own sexual orientation.

She is forced to use her own version of Sigmund Freud's libido theory to explain her own homosexual desires, using her own life as the only case study.

That is not very convincing, partly because you need more than one case to convince me, and partly because Freud's libido theory already contains the conclusion promoted by you and other fetish supporters: It is all about sex.

Again modern neurophysiology provides the corrective. It is not all about sexual desire. There is, for instance, a basic need for food, comfort, social belonging, play and so on and so forth. Moreover, there are feed back loops between the mind and the body that makes reductionist conclusions of the post-structuralist kind unsustainable.

Deleuze and Guattari provide a phantasmagoric orgy in creative ideas and original text analysis, but make no attempts at proving anything biological. The idea that desire has no content or form and is therefore given shape by language is just taken for granted, no real arguments provided.

This tells me that post-structuralist arguments regarding the biological basis for sex is a matter of faith only. The tradition is caught in an ideological trajectory or lock-in that makes any other conclusions impossible.

(By the way, none of these phiosophers make use of the word "fetish" to describe their understanding of sex and gender. They know perfectly well that the word has too many negative connotations to make it useful for this kind of debate.)

Anonymous said...

"Sexual desire is inherently connected to the fact that we are "sexed" beings biologically. And there are strong feedback loops between the biological and mental levels.

I have always found the ideal of the "classic transsexual" quite bewildering, exactly for that reason. The ideal seems to be a woman who reports no sexual arousal whatsoever. Even Harry Benjamin had a category of asexual transsexuals. As far as I can see most women are very sexual beings with a healthy appetite for the erotic, and it therefore make sense to me that transsexual women are too". ~Jack

The above statement is a good example of where you regularly go awry in your efforts to substantiate your belief that there exists a biological basis supporting your personal theoretical construct....what some of your readers think of, or refer to as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The major problem in the above staement is your erroneous conclusion that "The ideal seems to be a woman who reports no sexual arousal whatsoever."

This is patently false in that Harry's own research shows that those few women who were correctly identified and appropriately treated with HRT and SRS, did infact enjoy sex to the same degree as natally born women.

Harry found that only some of those 151 subjects in his study were in fact asexual but he did not classify those as "classic". He also found that of the approximately 150 subjects in his study, only 52 went on to undergo SRS and of those only 17 reported "good" or "satisfactory" results.

My issue with your use of the term 'transwoman' is that it is so easily used or mis-used to include those transgenders/crossdreamers who have no need nor desire to physically correct their bodies.

Another example is these false conclusions/assumptions can be seen here..."As for the terms "transwoman" and "transmen". These are commonly used by transsexuals." WRONG!!! They are commonly used by 'I wanna-be/may-be' types who in fact MAY be but certainly will NOT be once they are corrected and are no more "trans" then cancer survivors are "cancermen" or "cancerwomen"

While I personally find polemics exremely tiresome and a complete waste of time, I do find that without a clear and mutually agreed upon understanding of language and terminolgy, little of use can be accomplished.

A Mad Tranny

Lindsay said...

@paplia said

"An inability to understand "phenomenology" severely handicaps anyone from understanding the coevolution and relationship between the biological and cultural. "

Then you need to explain in plain english what it means. Teach us. We don't have time to take several college classes to figure it out. My experience is that if you can't explain it to laymen you don't really understand it.

Lindsay said...

@paplia said:

"No one has been insulting here or has said anything about arousal being the only cause of gender-dysphoria, only that autophillic fetishes influences bodily "dysphoria" and idealization."

You obviously haven't been following Jack's blog very long. There have been many long heated debates about this.

Jack Molay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Molay said...

@A Mad Tranny

Harry Benjamin had three categories for transsexuals:

Types IV and V were classified as asexual. Type VI has the following classification: "Intensely desires relations with normal males as 'female', if young. Later: Libido low. May have been married and have children, by using fantasies in intercourse." (The Transsexual Phenomenon, p 19)

In addition type III, "true transvestite", may become transsexual in Benjamin's book . Type III is definitely not asexual.

I admire Harry Benjamin very much, and has learned more from him than any other researcher in this field.

The fact remains, though: According to him the only transsexual women who have a normal libido is the gynephilic type III and (possibly - this is unclear) the young androphilic women found under type VI. The rest are either asexual or have a low libido.

I guess it is reasonable to assume that majority of the older, previously married, type VI, are gynephilic transwomen, and the younger marriage oriented one androphilic.

Today it is very hard to explain why the lesbian transsexual women of types IV, V, and VI should be less likely aroused than the androphilic ones, and why type III should have a more normal libido than the majority of those found in types IV, V and VI.

By the way, Benjamin did not accept your clear division between the pathological transvestite and the real transsexual:

"A sharp differentiation between a fetishistic and a latent transsexual inception of transvestism is not always
possible. The fetishistic can gradually develop into the (basically) transsexual variety, as case histories have
repeatedly shown me. The former, however, may well contain elements of the latter from the very beginning." (p. 23)

Anonymous said...

"Sexual desire is inherently connected to the fact that we are "sexed" beings biologically. And there are strong feedback loops between the biological and mental levels."

Yet you shy away from accepting that how people identify can be influenced by something as mere as what they are aroused by.

"The post-structuralist idea that the mind is completely separated from the body makes no sense to me, precisely because it removes sexuality from the body."
"it becomes impossible for them to even consider biological processes in a constructive way."
"it cannot be used to say anything meaningful about biological processes"

The post-structuralist theorising isn't at fault, but the understanding of the relationship between the semiotic and the body, the complexity of how the body utilizes neurological structures in terms of imprinting and other mediation.

"They know perfectly well that the word has too many negative connotations to make it useful for this kind of debate."

Unless there is an equivalent term to "fetish", I think I would be constantly repeating "sexually arousing phenomenological multiplicity"

"Teach us. We don't have time to take several college classes to figure it out. My experience is that if you can't explain it to laymen you don't really understand it."

Everything can be learnt from wikipedia etc in no time. It isn't really that complicated. That isn't to say that everything can be represented in laymens terms or commonsense etc. Much of the terms and tools are invaluable for this subject.

"You obviously haven't been following Jack's blog very long. There have been many long heated debates about this"

A fetishistic constructivist wouldn't make that claim. For a constructivist self-identity and fetishism are both constructed, are malleable and are not isolated structures

Anonymous said...

Jack. Again your bias is showing. In your efforts to explain/justify/equate your paraphilia/fetish, you intentionally attempt to MIS-INTERPRET and PARSE Dr. Benjamin's study by EXCLUDING the paragraph preceeding your higly edited quote.

"The transvestite with a latent transsexual trend:

The second inception of transvestism is not fetishistic but in all probability the result of an inborn or early
acquired transsexual trend of "latent" character. (S.O.S. III). Those patients (like true transsexuals), invariably
date the beginning of their deviation to earliest childhood. "As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a girl" is a frequent part of their history. [8] While it is quite possible that such statements may merely express the wish that it may be so...."

As seems to be your norm, you are again conflating the facts, and grasping at the statistical exceptions and ignoring the fact that Harry was discussing those patients that he catagorized as transvestites, (IE crossdresssers).

"When first interviewed, the patient may appear to be a TV of the first or second group. He often hesitates to
reveal his wish for a sex change right away. Only after closer contact has been established and confidence
gained does the true nature of his deviation gradually emerge. Such seeming "progression" was observed in five or six out of my 152 transsexual patients, on whom I am reporting in this volume."

Harry's discussion of his three types of transexxualism begins on page 38.

"The first type to be described under "transsexual" would be one of the intermediate stages, one that wavers
between transvestism and transsexualism, and in whom the cross-dressing is in all likelihood not of fetishistic but
of basically transsexual origin. He lives as a transvestite but, if honest with himself, he would want to be sexchanged,
that is to say, operated upon."

What is most notable about the this study, (The Transsexual Phenomenon", by Dr. Harry Benjamin), is that HE himself classified it as an INITIAL study in need of significant follow-up, which sadly never occured. Dr. Benjamin also noted that there was a great degree of overlap between his Kinsey (S.O.S.), scale catagories, (3)...and his Types I-VI.

Lindsay said...

@anonymous said:

"Everything can be learnt from wikipedia etc in no time. It isn't really that complicated. That isn't to say that everything can be represented in laymens terms or commonsense etc. Much of the terms and tools are invaluable for this subject. "

I've read the wikipedia and I find it confusing. I spend all my time looking up technical words that I don't understand. I'm hoping that an expert, like yourself, would have an easy time explaining it, and how it pertains to this discussion. If you truly understand it, you should have no problem putting it in terms that the typical reader can understand. Other contributors to this forum are very good at this.

Anonymous said...

Give it up Lindsay. This pompous, wanna-be sophist could not explain his way out of a wet paper bag.

He cannot impress you with his brilliance, (he obviously has none), so he is attempting to baffle you with his bulls**t.

He cannot even define a fetish without resorting to "sexually arousing phenomenological multiplicity". Huh???

Why not..."From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jump to: navigation, search










Look up fetish in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


Fetish may refer to:
Fetishism, the attribution of religious or mystical qualities to inanimate objects, known as fetishes.
Sexual fetishism, sexual attraction to objects, body parts, or situations not conventionally viewed as being sexual in nature.
Commodity fetishism, a Marxist concept of valuation in capitalist markets".

K I S S
e t i t
e m u
p p p
l i
e d

AMT

Jack Molay said...

@A Mad Tranny

You quote Benjamin: "The second inception of transvestism is not fetishistic but in all probability the result of an inborn or early
acquired transsexual trend of 'latent' character. (S.O.S. III). Those patients (like true transsexuals), invariably
date the beginning of their deviation to earliest childhood. "

I think you are misreading me. Everything you quote in your comment proves my point. (And yes, I have read the whole book - several times).

There is a significant number of crossdressers and crossdreamers who are gender dysphoric, which proves that the simplistic idea of dividing transgender into two distinct groups does not work.

I have been in touch with a large number of crossdreamers and crossdressers when working on this blog. I can assure you, many of them report severe gender dysphoria.

A large number of them also report childhood longings after being the opposite biological sex. Most of them report temperaments that are more in line with the traditional female roles in our society (avoiding rough and tumble play as kids, focusing on solving instead of creating conflicts, preferring female company etc). And many of them seek to express that feminine side symbolically.

I am not saying that all of these are transsexual. I, for instance, struggle with gender dysphoria every day, but am not going to transition. But there are too many similarities between their suffering and the suffering of transsexuals to dismiss them as fetishists or autogynephiliacs or OCD or whatever.

I realize that you are having a field day now with the fetish oriented activists preaching their gospel here and elsewhere online.

But you have to ask yourself: Why are they so aggressive? What makes people go to the extreme of embracing the fetish label? Why are they so extremely provoked by me arguing for some kind of inborn basis for their identification with their target sex? If they really felt fine with being a fetishist they would not bother.

I suspect some of them fear that they are transsexual themselves, and now they are doing everything they can to avoid that conclusion, dragging transsexual and gender dysphoric crossdreamers down the drain with them.

They are in many ways your mirror image: They spend a lot of time here building a wall against the suspicion that they are like you. You spend an equal amount of time here trying to build a wall against them. And you are both using the same weapon of mass destruction: Stigmatizing transgender people as fetishists. I find that very disturbing and very disappointing.

That does not mean that I think all crossdreamers are transsexual. Far from it! Many truly identify with their birth sex and do not experience gender dysphoria. But they still crossdream, which tells me that they have something in common with the gender dysphoric crossdreamers.

Back to Benjamin: If some crossdressers and crossdreamers are not fetishist, but still have so much in common with type I and II, wouldn't it be interesting to find out what that is? That commonality cannot be fetishism, as both you and I agree that the type III transsexuals are not caused by a fetish. So what is it?

I think both you and the fetish oriented crossdreamers scream "NO!" for the simple reason that you find it too threatening. It is as if the existence of different shades of transgender would undermine your social standing as men and women.

I do not get that. There is huge variety among women as regards personality traits, behavior, interests and mannerisms. They are all women, and the existence of the transgender grey zone does not change that.

Anonymous said...

@AMT

That wiki definition of fetishism is hilariously quaint!

Even if self-identification is influenced by the fetish, do you accept that it is still potentially a feminine self-identity worthy of bodily modification and entrance into society legally as a "female"?

Isn't still the following your basic argument?

The date one chooses to alter their body somehow has something to do with the authenticity of the presupposed "gender" of one's psyche, which is itself supposed to somehow magically be self-evident?

"There is a significant number of crossdressers and crossdreamers who are gender dysphoric"
"I can assure you, many of them report severe gender dysphoria"

Stop pedalling this misleading trash. Nothing about these reports of bodily-dysphoria is self-evidently transsexual. On the contrary, even the reports of early childhood identification are all but totally are in line with a sexualization of perceived social anxiety/self esteem ITSELF. The trauma is itself what one is aroused by!

"Why are they so extremely provoked by me arguing for some kind of inborn basis for their identification with their target sex? If they really felt fine with being a fetishist they would not bother."

A matter of not only untruth, but potentially harmful misinformation. Akin to black cock supremacists propagating a rationalization for their fetish as a natural expression of they're ineptitude in relation to the black man. Or an amputee fetishist propagating a rationalization for their fetish as a natural expression of their "real" inner amputated self.

"I suspect some of them fear that they are transsexual themselves"

This nonsense again!

"dragging transsexual and gender dysphoric crossdreamers down the drain with them."

Truth or comfort. What a misleading demonization of sexuality.

"Many truly identify with their birth sex and do not experience gender dysphoria. But they still crossdream, which tells me that they have something in common with the gender dysphoric crossdreamers."
"for the simple reason that you find it too threatening."

Nonsense commonsensical presupposition that one inherently identifies with an underlying "sex". What we have in common is that we masturbate over humiliating feminization fantasies, nothing more. And no it is not a the same as a typical female submissive tendency.

Lindsay said...

@wxhluyp

"Nonsense commonsensical presupposition that one inherently identifies with an underlying "sex". What we have in common is that we masturbate over humiliating feminization fantasies, nothing more. And no it is not a the same as a typical female submissive tendency."

Your error is using "in common". I'll agree that some people are as you describe. But for a lot of us it isn't a fetish. Never has been. You may be a man who "masturbates over humiliating feminization fantasies" but I'm not and quit saying that I am. Quit treating me as if I'm stupid because I believe in different theories too. And theories are what we're talking about here. There is good evidence that there are hormonal and/or genetic causes too.

Anonymous said...

Where to start? OK in brief, the disparaging 'arguments' offered by anonymous (paplia?), make no sense to me, as they seemed to be primarily an attack on Jack's concept of "crossdreaming". Hence they shall be summarily dismissed as irrelavent to this comment or at best just a tiresome angry rant.

Now Jack's retort is of only slightly more interest in that his 'argument' consist of a hodgepoge of misdirection, misquotes and generally misleading misinterpretation of extreemely limited data.

Again I will start with Jack's annoying habit of misusing, or mixing up the terms and concepts presented by Dr. Benjamin in his seminal study, "The Transsexual Phenomenon".

MY quote from Benjamin was...

"THE TRANSVETITE WITH A LATENT TRANSSEXUAL TREND:

The *second* inception of transvestism is not fetishistic but in all probability the result of an inborn or early
acquired transsexual trend of "latent" character. (S.O.S. III). Those patients (like true transsexuals), invariably
date the beginning of their deviation to earliest childhood. "As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a girl" is a frequent part of their history. [8] While it is quite possible that such statements may merely express the wish that it may be so...."

Please note that this quote was taken from Br. Benjamin's discussion of Type II TRANSVESTITES. IE CROSSDRESSERS. Heis drawing the distinction from the Type I TV, which is dresses primarily fr sexual gratification.

Br. Benjamin goes on to note that these references to early references to childhood identification, " may merely express the wish that it may be so....". Please note that this claim is "LIKE" or similar to that narrative provided by transsexuals.

As to why fetishists so 'aggressively' resist your AGP/crossdreaming/trans construct is that they quite simply are NONE of the above, and resent being labeled or classified by others who have no clue what goes on inside their heads.

Just because your CD model works for you does not mean it works for them.

I think what you are so ardently trying to explain/describe (crossdreaming), would be described by Benjamin as your Type II or III TV or in the extreme, where SRS is sought, Type IV.

AMT

Anonymous said...

Rather than fence with you point for point, perhaps a bit of clarification from the good doctors book, in his own words.

I have included a link of the entire text as a simple Google search leads to mostly LGBT/WPATH driven links which do all they can to "spin" the ideas proposed, to fit and/or justify their own agenda.

"A general survey with an attempt to define, diagnose, and classify
Transvestism (TVism) as a medical diagnosis was probably used for the first time by the German sexologist, Dr.
Magnus Hirschfeld, about forty years ago when he published his book, Die Transvestiten.[1] The term is now
well known in the sexological literature, indicating the desire of some individuals - men much more often than
women - to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex. It is, therefore, also described as "cross-dressing."
Most writers on the subject refer to transvestism as a sexual deviation, sometimes as a perversion. It is not
necessarily either one. It also can be a result of "gender discomfort" and provide a purely emotional relief and
enjoyment without conscious sexual stimulation, this usually occurring only in later life.
Hirschfeld and his pupils saw many of these persons in his Institute of Sexual Science in Berlin, Germany. This
memorable Institute with its famous and rich museum and its clinic and lecture hall (Haeckel Saal) was
destroyed by the Nazis rather early in their march to power (1933). (This destruction occurred soon after the first
and only issue of Sexus, an international sexological magazine, was published by Hirschfeld while he was away
from Germany.) The Institute’s confidential files were said to have contained too many data on prominent Nazis,
former patients of Hirschfeld, to allow the constant threat of discovery to persist.

con'd....

Anonymous said...

Many times in the 1920’s, I visited Hirschfeld and his Institute. Among other patients, I also saw transvestites
who were there, rarely to be treated, but usually, with Hirschfeld’s help, to procure permission from the Berlin
Police Department to dress in female attire and so appear in public. In the majority of cases, this permission was
granted because these patients had no intention of committing a crime through "masquerading" or
"impersonating." "Dressing" was considered beneficial to their mental health.
Havelock Ellis proposed the term "eonism" for the same condition, named after the Chevalier d’Eon de
Beaumont, a well-known transvestite at the court of Louis XV. In this way, Ellis wanted to bring the term into
accord with sadism and masochism, also named after the most famous exponents of the respective deviations,
the French Marquis (later Count) Donatien de Sade, and the Austrian writer, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.
Because of the much more permissive fashions among women, and for other reasons, the problem of
transvestism almost exclusively concerns men in whom the desire to cross-dress is often combined with other
deviations, particularly with fetishism, narcissism, and the desire to be tied up (bondage) or somehow humiliated
11 (masochism).
Transvestism versus transsexualism
Transvestism (TVism) is a rather frequent occurrence, although it would be impossible to say how many
transvestites (TVs) there are, for instance, in the United States. From students of the subject (TVs themselves) I
have received estimates ranging from ten thousand to one million. Many transvestites are unknown as such,
indulging in their hobby in the privacy of their homes, known perhaps only to their closest relatives, sometimes
only to their wives. Others are most attracted to going out "dressed" in order to be accepted as women in public
by strangers. They may invite discovery and arrest, but this danger is an additional attraction for some of them.
Others may live completely as women, their true status sometimes discovered only after death.
The majority of transvestites are overtly heterosexual, but many may be latent bisexuals. They "feel" as men and
know that they are men, marry, and often raise families. A few of them, however, especially when they are
"dressed," can as part of their female role react homosexually to the attentions of an unsuspecting normal man.
The transvestite’s marriage is frequently endangered as only relatively few wives can tolerate seeing their
husbands in female attire. The average heterosexual woman wants a man for a husband, not someone who
looks like a woman; but mutual concessions have often enough preserved such marriages, mostly for the sake
of children.

con'd....

Anonymous said...

It is not the object of this book to deal in detail with transvestism (TVism) in all its aspects. The object is to deal
with transsexualism (TSism) principally. Yet, an extra chapter on TVism with further characterizations will have to
be inserted in order to let the picture of transsexualism emerge more clearly. Repetitions will be unavoidable; but
the relative unfamiliarity with the subject, even in the medical profession, may make those repetitions
permissible, if not desirable.
The transsexual (TS) male or female is deeply unhappy as a member of the sex (or gender) to which he or she
was assigned by the anatomical structure of the body, particularly the genitals. To avoid misunderstanding: this
has nothing to do with hermaphroditism. The transsexual is physically normal (although occasionally
underdeveloped) [2]. These persons can somewhat appease their unhappiness by dressing in the clothes of the
opposite sex, that is to say, by cross-dressing, and they are, therefore, transvestites too. But while "dressing"
would satisfy the true transvestite (who is content with his morphological sex), it is only incidental and not more
than a partial or temporary help to the transsexual. True transsexuals feel that they belong to the other sex, they
want to be and function as members of the opposite sex, not only to appear as such. For them, their sex organs,
the primary (testes) as well as the secondary (penis and others) are disgusting deformities that must be changed
by the surgeon’s knife. This attitude appears to be the chief differential diagnostic point between the two
syndromes (sets of symptoms) - that is, those of transvestism and transsexualism.

The transvestite usually wants to be left alone. He requests nothing from the medical profession, unless he
wants a psychiatrist to try to cure him. The transsexual, however, puts all his faith and future into the hands of
the doctor, particularly the surgeon. These patients want to undergo corrective surgery, a so-called "conversion
operation," so that their bodies would at least resemble those of the sex to which they feel they belong and to
which they ardently want to belong.
The desire to change sex has been known to psychologists for a long time. Such patients were rare. Their
abnormality has been described in scientific journals in the past in various ways; for instance, as "total sexual
inversion," or "sex role inversion." Beyond some attempts with psychotherapy in a (futile) effort to cure them of
their strange desires, nothing was or could be done for them medically. Some of them probably languished in
mental institutions, some in prisons, and the majority as miserable, unhappy members of the community, unless
they committed suicide. Only because of the recent great advances in endocrinology and surgical techniques
has the picture changed.[3]

http://tgmeds.org.uk/downs/phenomenon.pdf

Anonymous said...

"My 1965 critique, supported by evidence available at that time, argued that human beings were, from birth, predisposed or “biased” to act in certain ways and that their “behavior is a composite of prenatal and postnatal influences with the postnatal factors superimposed on a definite inherent sexuality.”

Dr Milton Diamond

Jack Molay said...

@AMT or @Fetishistic Crossdreamer

(I am unable to keep you two apart, and will have to ban anonymous comments from now on.)

I am sorry, you have both lost me.

I am trying to establish a dialogue here about those crossdreamers and crossdressers that do eventually transition and those that do suffer from gender dysphoria, but you continuously avoid this fact by trying to sort the people living in this zone into one of two distinct categories: Transvestite/crossdresser or transsexual.

That does not work, as none of the variables used to distinguish the two are absolute in this "grey area":

1. Crossdressing? Of course transsexual women dress as women before transitioning. They are even required to, and i guess most of them "crossdress" from an early age. Hence dressing cannot be used to sort the good from the ugly.

2. Looks and mannerisms? Well, this is the indicator used by Blanchard and his lot. To me it is nonsense. Young transsexual women are obviously more feminine and attactive than late transitioners. Old women are in general less feminine than men, and bodies ravaged by testosterone even more so.

3. Sexual arousal? Surely not. As I have pointed out, transsexual women are most likely as sexual as any other man or woman. In their fantasies they are bound to imagine themselves as women. Which makes it impossible to distinguish them from "autogynephiliacs".

4. Fetishes? I don't believe that crossdreaming is caused by fetishes, but acknowledge that all men and women have their kinks. This also applies to transsexual women. This cannot be used to distinguish between the two groups, either. Read Julia Serano's book for a brilliant analysis of this question.

5. Age? Gynephlic transsexual women are more likely to have lived a long life as crossdressers and crossdreamers, probably it is harder for a gynephilic transsexual woman to find love than an androphilic one. This leads to more suppression and more desperate attempts at living as a man. Does this make them perverts? hardly.

6. Sexual orientation, as in "real women love men". This would mean that all gynephilic transsexual women are perverts since they like to have sex with women. Needless to say, this also means that all homosexual men and women are perverts. That does not work for me.

So, what I am saying is that none of the methods traditionally used to distinguish between pure transvestites and pure transwomen work.

Jack Molay said...

@AMT

Benjamin repeatedly argued that there are no clear categories:

Here is what he said about this:

""Coming back to the differences between transvestism and transsexualism, another simpler and more unifying concept and a corresponding definition may have to be considered. That is, that transvestites with their more or less pronounced sex and gender indecision may actually all be transsexuals, but in varying degrees of intensity.

"A low degree of largely unconscious transsexualism can be appeased through cross-dressing and demands no other therapy for emotional comfort. These are transvestites (Group 1).
A medium degree of transsexualism makes greater demands in order to restore or maintain an emotional balance. The identification with the female cannot be satisfied by wearing her clothes alone. Some physical changes, especially breast development, are requirements for easing the emotional tension. Some of these patients waver between transvestitic indulgences and transsexual demands for transformation (Group 2).

"For patients of a high degree of transsexualism (the 'true and full-fledged transsexual'), a conversion operation is the all-consuming urge, as mentioned earlier and as a later chapter will show still more fully. Cross-dressing is an insufficient help, as aspirin for a brain tumor headache would be (Group 3)."

My point exactly. You and many classic transsexual women are misreading Benjamin because it suits you. Benjamin's types are intended as a map to help us navigate a complex landscape, not as absolute categories intended to sort the wolves from the sheep.

By the way: Hirschfeldt did not distinguish between transvestites and transsexuals. He called them all "transvestites".

Jack Molay said...

I am now, belatedly, going to insist on people logging on before making comments. You may still use pen names and pseudonyms, but we need to be able to distinguish between the different commenters.

A. Quiet Voice said...

Yes Jack, we get that Benjamin never intented that his "Types I-VI" be used as an absolute.

Nor did he intended that it be blended and blurred so that those at one end could claim kinship with those at the other.

Speaking of 'extremists', that is precisely your position. Much like the TG Borg, you insist that everyone is a crossdreamer/transgender/autogynophyle, or subscribe und seig heil to your paternalistic mysogyny.

Guess what Jack. A fetishist is not transgender nor an autogynophile. Neither is a Type V or VI "true transsexual".

Your reference to Rose White is just another trans*parent strawman.

Jack Molay said...

"Much like the TG Borg, you insist that everyone is a crossdreamer/transgender/autogynophyle, or subscribe und seig heil to your paternalistic mysogyny."

I am not saying that all MTF transwomen are crossdreamers or that all MTF crossdreamers are transwomen. I am simply saying there is an overlap. This is also the message of Benjamin.

I do not expect everyone to agree with me. That would be boring and unproductive. But I do expect people to take me seriously. Nazi references are not helpful in that respect.

Ariadna Azul said...

@Jack:

Thanks for your response. I feel I misunderstood you. I apologize. I clearly see now you are in the middle of a battle, being accused by both camps for many things you haven't actually done or said.

I see I agree with you more than I thought, but your late focusing on a biological core confused me to the extent of accusing you of "essentialist". I apologize again.

Thanks again for your response and I'll be around.

Greetings,
Ariadna

Jack Molay said...

@Ariadna

No problem! Neither the blog form or the comments are well suited to explaining the complexity of what we are facing here. We all have to simplify and popularize, and when we do, misunderstandings will occur.

Maybe we should edit an ebook on crossdreaming, collecting some of the main perspectives in a more coherent manner.

Ariadna Azul said...

@Jack:

Oh, yes, the e-book is such a good idea! *.*

A. Quiet Voice said...

NOOOOO, Jack. Again you misquote Benjamin, who never used this totally ambiguous, (define as desired),term.....
"transwoman".

Artemis said...

I am a "person" who is unsure about how extreme their condition is. However unfortunate or uncomfortable they may be, labels at least identify the problem, and the more distinct the better. I think a large set diagram is needed to clarify what the multitude of labels are and where they fit because it confuses the hell out of me. From the comments on this post I could be all or none of them! If I was confused before, I am bewildered now!

I think you should start creating a central document to summarize the discussion. Some of your replies here are really good, but hard to find for the casual crossdream surfer!

Also, I wanted to say it's great that Davida and some posts included citations, would appreciate more of this on this site to backup what some people are saying.

Lindsay said...

A. Quiet Voice said...
NOOOOO, Jack. Again you misquote Benjamin, who never used this totally ambiguous, (define as desired),term.....
"transwoman".

Jack has a clearly defined glossary of terms. You should use it when you don't understand something technical here. I use it all the time.

A. Quiet Voice said...

Aw geee, Lindsay. Thaannnnx, but NO THANKS.

Why would I want to further immerse myself in Mr. Molay's, self-justifying fantasy?

I am perfectly capable of understanding such simple concepts as men who get off on wearing women's underwear.

It is an odd perversion, harmless for the most part but with the potential for some serious evil.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/secret-life-of-crossdressing-killer-colonel-revealed-20101019-16rt2.html

Lindsay said...

@a.quiet.voice

I really like your guilt by association. I haven't laughted that hard in a while. So, do you think I'm going to become a crossdressing murderer? Or are you saying we all are?

Evil can rear it's ugly head head anywhere, I suggest you look in a mirror ;-)

Keep up the humorous posts, they really make my day!

A. Quiet Voice said...

Ther you go again with the self-imposed victimhood. Is that really how intellectually vacuous and shallow you are, accusing me of being evil?

ROFLMAO! :-))

Jack Molay said...

@Artemis

As Lindsay point out, I have included a glossary. The glossary often included different interpretations of each concept, as different "tribes" interpret the words differently.

The main problem here is that language has become a battle ground. For instance: The term "transgender" is simply an umbrella term for a wide variety of gender challenging conditions. Among health professionals the term encompass both crossdressers and transsexuals.

However, since some transsexuals do not want to be associated with crossdressers and some crossdressers fear association with transsexuals, they are trying to redefine the concept. The separatist transwomen try to force a new meaning on the word, defining it as fetishistic crossdressers, while some "separatist" crosdreamers understand it as synonymous with transsexual.

This is why it is so hard to make a map that everyone will agree on. Language has become a battle field.

As for references and citations, I strive to include such in my blog posts, but I must admit I do not always have the time to do so in the commentaries.

A. Quiet Voice said...

Good point Jack. Language/ terminology is at the root of this disagreement. Just like Howard Lowman, (AKA Virgina Charles Prince), you have introduced a new term, (crossdreaming), in your efforts to distinguish YOUR tribe of "Men Who Would Be Queens", from those perverted 'fetishists'.

This is pretty much the same trick that Prince pulled off when he coined the term 'transgederist', to set himself and his tribe of heterosexual transvestites, (crossdressers), apart from those 'delusional perverts' who 'mutilated' their genitals in their 'insane' efforts to remedy what they saw as a physically correctable deformity.

The only difference that I see between Howard Lowman/Virginia Prince is that he wisely and judicially differentianted and "separated" himself from those poor souls afflicted with transsexualism.

What you term "seperatist transwomen" is not only a fruadulent fabrication but just one more highly offensive misgendering of WOMEN who have corrected that physical defect.

This is not a question of those men and women who corrected their birth defect "separating" themselves from some political alliance that they were never, EVER, members. Rather it is a resistance to being included in a philosophy of thought that we do not agree with and which is for the most part an anethema to those of us who subscribe to the binary just like 90% of the general population.

we are not trying to "redefine" YOUR loosely and ambiguously defined, newly coined term....No. We simply do not want to be defined by it and FORCED to be included in your 'rainbow spectrum' of gender non-conformists.

Lindsay said...

@AQG

You're really confusing us. What do you want us to call you? What should we call ourselves? It seems like what ever we call you, you get insulted. So please tell us. If you want to be called a woman we'll be happy to oblige you.

It seems like whenever someone coins a term to separate themselves from transsexuals you get insulted. Prince coins a term so differentiate himself from transsexuals and you're insulted. Jack coins a term to define his type of transgenderism and again you're insulted. You should be happy that these people don't want to be called transsexual and yet it seems to throw you into some kind of rabid frenzy. Do you not consider yourself to be a transsexual? I you're not transsexual what are you even doing here?

I think it boils down to that you're afraid that we are going to be mistaken for transsexual and if that happens it will make you look bad. You're afraid that the more men wear dresses the more likely it is that you will be accused of being a man in a dress.

You just throw a steady stream of insults at us. You seem to have 10 or 20 derogatory terms for us. You can't say anything with out insulting us or implying terrible things about us. We're happy with being called transgendered and crossdreamer. But constantly degrading us accomplishes nothing.

A. Quiet Voice said...

@Lindsay.

I must say that the feelings of confusion on your part seem quite understandale. Based on what I have read on this blog, everyone except Jack of course is confused about something. In most cases it is their "gender" and why they seem so unhappy.

Perhaps if I were to put it to you this way. How would you feel if I came into your home uninvited and proceeded to tell you what to make for dinner and...just how to cook it.

Understandably you might protest. You are then told that your behavior is intolerant, bigoted and hateful and that you should be more accepting of those who hold or adhere to different values.

You are then told that since you do not accept having strangers come into your home and telling you how and what to cook for dinner that you are free to leave.
Is that not what you are doing?

Jack, and an ever growing number of extremely vocal "transgenderist" MEN have labeled ALL women who may have been born with and (hopefully have), corrected an extremely rare congenital birth defect, as "trans- women".

Don't you get it? Every "T-Gurl" part-time or full-time recreational crossdresser is now "trans"-something.

We are NOT "trans" anything. We are women, plain and simple. You all ask, no DEMAND to be accepted as whatever gender you choose to present as per your personal fantasy or mood or level of AGP "anxiety", and yet you, (collectively) will not allow us the courtesy of not labeling us 'trans". You claim that you do but the reality is far, far from that claim and you know that.

To be clear. I am not insulted that Lowman/Prince coined a term to separate and distinguish himself from transsexuals, which he considered deluded perverts. What I find offensive is that that term has been turned on its ear by present day activists to INCLUDE that tiny group of people that it was originally designed to specifically exclude: To wit Jack's assertion that, "the term encompass both crossdressers and transsexuals."

Also, it seems that you too have fallen into that old trap of inventing false arguments which you project onto those that might protest some of your many factual inaccuracies. An example might be a quote from your most recent...."You seem to have 10 or 20 derogatory terms for us."

I defy you to come up with examples to justify even one half of that claim as well as where I, "can't say anything with out insulting us or implying terrible things about us".

Jingles said...

Is it really important to classify autogynephilia/cross-dressing as having a biological origin? If it has a biological origin them it may be cured with appropriate drugs. For instance physicians could monitor the hormone levels in the fetus and wipe cross-dressing from the face of the earth.

What if all this was simply a design of nature from a million years ago. Back in the neolithic days life was tough. There were dangers of nature, humans were hunted by animals, humans were in danger from other humans. To survive humans organized in clans and their leaders were the toughest, dominant, alpha males in the group. These leaders called the shots and they practiced polygamy. They gave their loyal lieutenants were rewarded with valuable property - like wives. Of course this meant that those males who were less competive, less dominant did not get wives. Not to worry, nature designed these males to receive sexual gratification from fetishes and self feminization. Without the human race may not have survived the neolithic age.

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