October 24, 2012

On how American psychiatry persecutes transgender crossdreamers and crossdressers

I know there are pragmatic souls out there that do not worry to much about crossdreaming, crossdressing and other transgender conditions being in the American Psychiatric Manual.

"What is the big deal?" they ask.

"Fetishistic transvestism, autogynephilia and autoandropphilia are just terms used by specialists. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you."

I recently came over a new paper on the paraphilias (perversions) listed in the DSM-IV (the current version of the  American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The text is a clear illustration for why it is so important to get crossdressers and crossdreamers out of the manual.

Being included in this section of the manual is much, much  worse than being hit by sticks and stones, believe me!

Judged by your company

Here are some paragraphs from the abstract:: 

"An overview and demographic description of each of the current DSM-IV-TR paraphilias (i.e., Pedophilia, Transvestic Fetishism, Exhibitionism, Fetishism, Voyeurism, Sexual Masochism, Frotteurism, Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified) are provided. Most of these are medical descriptions of sexual offenses..."

It doesn't say that crossdressers are sex offenders -- not explicitly . But, seriously, by grouping crossdressing together with practicing pedophiles, it is extremely hard not to make the association.

In other words: Here are some presumably well educated scientists who read this section as a list of sexual offenses. How can anyone think that this will not be read this way by non-experts?


October 8, 2012

Finding love as a crossdreamer

Photo from Photos.com
My post on my life as a crossdreamer has generated several very interesting comments, both online and in emails.

Joanna sent me the text included at the end of this post as a response to my discussion of the crossdreamer and/or  crossdresser's dilemma when it comes to establishing steady love relationships.

Sexual orientation

It seems to me a majority male to female (MTF) crossdreamers, whether they are crossdressers or not, fall in love with women. In the same way, female to male crossdreamers seem to be primarily attracted to men. Like most human beings they long for love and someone with whom to share their lives. 

But many MTF crossdreamers feel like they are wired like women sexually, which is one reason for why they often fantasize about being women when having sex. Needless to say, on the long term it may be hard to "play" the role of the man in bed, when what you desire is another role entirely.

It may be slightly easier to be a female to male (FTM) crossdreamer taking the proactive role in bed. In the dark undercurrents of our cultures being an aggressive man is still considered more admirable than being  female. Still, for a female bodied person not to live up to the gender stereotypes of the day is definitely not a walk in the park. There will be feelings of confusion, shame and guilt.

Establishing a relationship

Normally this has not stopped  crossdreamers from going steady or getting married. One of the reasons for this is that many crossdreamers truly believe that a regular heterosexual relationship  will cure them of their crossdreaming.


October 2, 2012

The Trans “Sense of Community” Survey

Cristan Williams has put up a trans community survey to study the way gender variant and transsexual people understand the notion of a trans community.

Those who have followed this blog know that this is not a simple questions. There are, for instance, crossdreamers and crossdressers who are clearly transsexual at heart, while others argue strongly that they are not even transgender.

They are all invited to take this survey, however.

Like Cristan, I mostly think of the trans community of a community of interest. The members of this community is a diverse bunch, but they have one thing in common: They violate the cultural mores of their own society by overstepping the borders between male and female in one way or the other.

This applies to crossdreamers and crossdressers, who commit the cardinal sin of dreaming or fantasizing of being the other sex, and it applies to transsexuals whose sex identity is clearly and indisputably misaligned with their birth sex. They therefore have an common interest in making society more tolerant towards those who find themselves on the outside.

Besides: The border between crossdreamers and crossdressers on the one hand and transsexuals on the other is blurred. Some transsexuals start out as crossdreamers, which tells me that there is much to gain and learn from interaction and collaboration.

UPDATE: Note that the survey seems to be targeting US citizens. I guess non-Americans may enter the name of their country instead of the ZIP-code. The survey also seems to be oriented towards "off-line communities", i.e. organized meetings of people in the local community. Again, I suppose you may add "online" as a location, if your main interaction with the trans community is online.

UPDATE 2: The survey is for Americans and is not anonymous. See comments below.

Cristan has more about the survey here.
You can take the survey here.

October 1, 2012

The Other Side of your Transgender Soul -- Body and Mind

Here is my final post on Jung and a transgender psychology.

The starting point for this series is the idea that the subconscious psyche compensates for what the conscious ego considers taboo and therefore denies.

For instance: All male bodied persons have psychological traits associated with culturally defined feminine values, but they find it hard to admit to these feelings and therefore suppress them.

Among many transgender people these suppressed feelings find a way to  the surface through crossdreaming and crossdressing.

The anima and animus becomes one

As I noted in my post on the anima and animus archetypes, the anima and arnimus archetypes may be understood in at least two ways.

The traditional way is to think of the anima as the underdeveloped feminine side of man and the animus as the primitive man in the woman.

The second explanation is to think of the anima and the animus as the gateway to the unconscious. In this sense they are parallels to the persona, the "mask" we show the people around us. The persona helps us interact with the world outside. The anima/animus helps us to interact with the world inside.

In order to function as a gateway to "the other side" the anima/animus compensates for what is lacking in the persona and the ego. If the persona is hypermasculine the anima appears as hyperfeminine in dreams, fantasies and projections. If the persona of a woman is emotional, her animus becomes quasi-intellectual.

I add the term "quasi" to signify that this intellectual side is underdeveloped, for the simple reason that this particular woman has never been encouraged to develop that side of her psyche.

The anima  of a male bodied person does not have to express culturally defined feminine traits only. Nor does the animus of a female bodied person have to be symbolized as a man in dreams and fantasies. It all depends on to what extent "the other side" has been integrated into the ego and the persona.

If the cultural ideas of what it means to be a man or a woman changes, the anima and animus are also likely to generate different content. If a woman is allowed to explore her aggressive and dominant side, her animus is less likely to express this part of her psyche in dreams and fantasies.

Murray Stein's interpretation

There are Jungians who have reinterpreted Jung for a the contemporary age, somewhat in the same vein as I have done here.


Murray Stein asks the same question in the highly recommended book Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction:

"But what about women who are not very feminine and men who are not very masculine in their personas? Does a not-very-feminine woman have a nonmasculine animus, and a not-very-masculine man have a nonfeminine anima? Jung would be obliged to follow this line of thought, given his premises."


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