November 29, 2013

A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary, from "Affirmation" to "Crosswaves"

Language is power. It can set you free. It can help you understand who you are. By coining new words or reinterpreting old ones we make the invisible visible.
Crossdreams. Photo: IT Stock

For crossdreamers -- that is men and women who fantasise about being the opposite sex -- this is extremely important, because there are no words to describe their lives. Or, if there are words and narratives, they do not capture their own experience.

The term "crossdreamer" has been my attempt to establish a new word untainted by the  attempts made by some sexologists and psychiatrists at turning our being into an illness, or the common sexist bigotry that says that any man or woman who imagine him or herself as the opposite sex must be a pervert. To a certain extent this strategy has worked well, even if we always have to relate ourselves to the prejudices of the day.

Most communities, strictly or loosely defined, develop a more nuanced vocabulary to help them describe their own struggles and victories. According to Ole Henrik Magga the Northern Sami people of Scandinavia have 1000 words for reindeer. I do not think we need 1000 words for crossdreaming, but maybe we could test a few?

Based on comments and posts made by crossdreamers over the last five years or so, I have made  list of terms that may help crossdreamers interpret their own lives. The point is not necessarily that we are to use these words in our everyday discussions. My hope is that they will get us thinking.

I am planning to turn this dictionary into an e-book.

What I would love to see from you are comments that describe a crossdreamer feeling, experience or idea that might help other crossdreamers understand who they are in a better way. And who knows?Mmaybe we can even get others to see crossdreaming in a clearer light.

Below I have included my first proposals to get us going. Entries marked by an asterisk  are coined by me.

Affirmation

A crossdreamer is affirmed when is or her crossdreaming is recognized. There are three levels of crossdreamer affirmation:

Level 1: You realize that you are not the only one having such feelings. At this point any recognition might help, even if it by someone who invalidates you.

Level 2: You meet people who accepts you for who you are, and who do not try to discredit you as some kind of freak. You realize that you are just another variation in the great wheel of Life, and that there are millions of crossdreamers out there: women and men, gay and straight, young and old.

Level 3: You manage to affirm your own being and to love yourself as the one you are.


Ambiviolence*

The fear of ambiguity leads to ambiviolence.
Photo: Robert van den Eijk
Sex identity, gender roles and sexual orientation are  fundamental parts of our belief systems, and they are policed by strong taboos and tough penalties for those who dare to challenge these beliefs.

Ironically, it is very often those that have doubts about their own sexuality and sex  identity who become the strongest upholders of orthodox beliefs. It is as if they want to control their own  ambiguity by forcing others into the pigeonholes of their narrow minds. This is, for instance, why you find so many gay preachers persecuting homosexuals.

Crossdreamers are often victims for this kind of ambiviolence. The male to female crossdreamers are harassed for being sissies in school. They are ridiculed for being sexual perverts when they grow up. They are penalized for not living up to the ideals of "the real man".  Moreover, they internalize the contempt of others, becoming their own tormentors.

The female to male crossdreamers may hide under the more positively loaded term "tomboy" when young, but even they may be scorned for their so-called  lack of femininity.

Creative crossdreaming 

The German resarcher Uli Meyer coined the term "creative transvestitism". I have adapted it as "creative crossdreaming" which means more or less the same.

November 28, 2013

On the current attacks on girlfags

It seems the tumblrverse have discovered girlfags (a lose term that includes non-trans women with a fascination for gay male culture, as well as FTM crossdreamers and trans-men).

It seems it is their sharing of gay male imagery that has pissed some homosexual readers off. Apparently any straight woman who find gay men attractive must be a perverted fetishist.

The fact that both gay men and lesbians may worship the human body as well as  a wide various of gender expressions is apparently completely unrelated to the girlfag's enthusiasm for gay men.

Yepp, this is old fashioned invalidation of your opponents by labeling them as sexual perverts all over again, but now some of the persecuted have decided to become the oppressors.

Another example of such attacks can be found over at the Facebook Girlfag and Guydyke group. 

In order to reach tumblr readers, I have posted two short blog posts on girlfags over there:

"Stop the harassment of girlfags!"

"Lou Sullivan, pioneer FTM trans-activist and girlfag"


November 21, 2013

What Comic Book Hero Nemi Taught Me About Sex, Gender and Transgender

Nemi violates your gender expectations.
On what the Norwegian comic strip Nemi can tell us about female sexuality.

The main reason for why people think ill of male to female crossdreamers and crossdressers is not found in people's understanding of men. It is found in how we look at women.

We have been taught to think of women as loving, emphatic, demure, quiet, peaceful and -- let's face  it -- far less sexually charged than men.

While women look for serious commitments in their love life, we say, men look for quick and dirty sex. The women want to raise and love kids. Men like to spread their seed to every corner of the world.

These are the implicit images that powers the world view underpinning the autogynephilia theory, conservative religious attacks on crossdressers, the rad fem persecution of crossdreamers, as well as the toxic gospel of the so-called "classical transsexuals".

Since male to female crossdreamers dream of having sex as women, they must be perverted men, they say, because only men dream about having sex, apparently. Women only fake it.

This mental map is obviously all wrong. Not only does research show that women can be as libidinous, promiscuous, aggressive, unfaithful and evil as men. Living in a country that must be the most gender equal in the world, I can also tell you that given the opportunity many of them behave very much in the same way as men are expected to behave.

That does not necessarily mean that the inborn female and male sexuality is exactly the same. There may still be variations, but these are not found in categories like promiscuity and aggression.

Our view of female sexuality is changing

Popular culture has caught up on this. As women get more and more liberated, and education, politics and contraceptives have set them free, the true variation of the female sex become more apparent.

I think the turning point in American television was Nancy Botwin in Weeds plundering her smoke detector for batteries to power her vibrator (see embedded video below). It became painfully clear that many women masturbate regularly, and therefore -- most likely -- are as horny as men. (Apparently 44 percent of US women between the age 18 and 60 have used a sex toy).


November 19, 2013

What explains the difference between the two types of MTF transgender?

Part 4 of the "Gay" vs. "Straight" Crossdreamers Series.

Photo: pixtawan
The the whole idea that woman-loving male to female crossdreamers (whether they are transsexual or not) are perverts, while male bodied trans people who love men are not, rests on the premise that the two groups are fundamentally different.

In the previous posts in this series I have documented that this is not so.

I have argued that the reason the majority of androphilic (i.e. man-loving)  trans women say that they have never experienced crossdreaming -- i.e. fantasies where they get aroused by the idea of being a woman --  is because they refuse to reduce their sexual feelings to one and one factor only.

Like other women the excitement they feel from being an attractive female  is blended in with a wide variety of other factors: their attraction to their lover, the desire their lover feel for them, the affirmation given by other men and women.

They live up to the model for accepted sexual behavior in women, being a woman attracted to men. They therefore -- correctly, in my opinion -- interpret their arousal as an effect of the interaction between her as a woman and he as a man.

The main reason for androphilic transwomen transitioning when young is most likely also found here. It is easier for them to live up to the archetypal gender model of women loving men.

November 15, 2013

Autogynephilia: Bad Science Revisited

Part 3 of the "Gay" vs. "Straight" Crossdreamers Series.

In my two previous blog post I have documented that gay men and lesbian women may indeed crossdream (that is: get aroused by the idea of being the the opposite sex).

I have also  pointed out that there are trans women attracted to men out there who -- like XX women -- get excited by exploring their female sexuality.

Fixing the numbers

But if there are androphilic (man-loving) transsexual women out there who experience crossdreamer fantasies, should not researchers like Blanchard have found them?  According to his autogynephilia theory, men or trans women who love men cannot have crossdreamer fantasies.

I see diversity. Others feel an incessant need to sort people into neat piles.
Photo: Jacob Wackerhausen

Well, I have already told you about how Blanchard is capable of denying the existence of female to male crossdreamers, even if he has witnessed one first hand. 

Frans de Waal puts it this way in his fascinating book The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates.


November 10, 2013

On crossdreaming lesbians and sexy trans women

Part 2 of the "Gay" vs. "Straight" Crossdreamers Series.

In part 1 of this series  I looked at crossdreaming among transgender men who are attracted to men.

Crossdreamers fantasise about being the other sex.

The science of "autogynephilia" and related schools of thought argue that there are two types of male to female trans people, and only the ones attracted to women have crossdreaming fantasies (i.e. they get aroused by the idea of being a woman).

In this post I will take a look at female to male "homosexual" crossdreamers, before going back  trans women who love men.

What about the lesbians and trans men?

Blanchard's denial of the existence of female to male androphilic (man-loving) crossdreamers will go into history as one of the most embarrassing blunders in the history of sexology, proving once and for all that the man has absolutely no understanding of what he is talking about.

He does recognize that lesbians and trans men exist, however.  So the question is: are there female to male gynephilic -- i.e. woman loving -- crossdreamers out there (XX lesbians or trans men)?

Here is a comment added to this blog by "happy as i am":

"I'm new to this site..I recently started dating again at 59. I am a woman and lesbian..when I am sexual I completely believe I am a man.. my fantasies are me being in a male body and when I do have sex it is total visualization of me having a penis. only one partner has ever said something and she said it is like your spirit crosses over.. 

"I never thought to google it till this new relationship started up 6 weeks ago..she is very feminine and it is bringing this to the forefront in a way that made me think more about it. I believe it should be in the DSM [the American psychiatric manual] simply because I always wondered if others have these same feelings and sometimes it affects me and how I act in different sexual relationships. 

"I now want to be free to be and act sexually in sync with who I feel I am. I am more soft butch / adrogynous but male when I am having sex.. I think it would help to have therapists be aware that this exists so they can help folks understand and accept it. I am quite happy with myself as I am and have no issues with it but it is helpful to know that I am not alone with this."


November 8, 2013

When men loving men crossdream

Part 1 of the "Gay" vs. "Straight" Crossdreamers Series.

Crossdreamers get aroused by the idea of being the opposite biological sex.
Feeling sexy, AKA autogynephilia.

It was the existence of crossdreaming male bodied persons who made Dr. Ray Blanchard of Toronto develop his infamous autogynephilia theory, where he argues that (1) male to female crossdressers and transsexual women who love women are of the same kind and (2) none of them are women.

One of the fundamental tenets of the autogynephilia theory is that male bodied persons who are attracted to men (homosexual men and androphilic/man loving trans women) cannot experience crossdreaming fantasies (called "autogynephilic fantasies" by these researchers).

That is: Male bodied people attracted to men can not get aroused by the idea of being a woman -- not even if they are trans.

(I guess it is implied that the same applies to XX lesbians and XY trans men. Female bodied persons are for some bizarre reason often exempt from the pathologization of trans people.)

The main point here seems to be that it is the very arousal from imagining yourself as a man or a woman that marks you as a paraphiliac or a pervert. Gay men and women and heterosexual trans men and women are also considered mentally ill by Blanchard, but then for different reasons.

Being a sexy woman

I have always found the idea that pre-op man-loving (androphilic) trans women do not get turned on by the idea of having a female body strange. After all, how can trans women attracted to men imagine themselves having sex if not as women?

And if they do fantasize about having sex as a woman, wouldn't the very idea of being a sexy woman become arousing by association? After all, women born women experience "autogynephilia". Women's sexual fantasies are full of scenarios where their beauty makes men (and women!) desire them. And yes they get turned on by this very scenario. Read a couple of steamy romance novels, if you do not believe me.

Which leads me back to the main question: Why do not androphilic male bodied gender bending people report crossdreaming fantasies?

The story of jynx

It turns out they do. 

Here is  a comment  over at PsychForums. written by "jynx", which gives one clear example of a gay man getting excited by the idea of being a woman. I am taking the liberty of quoting some of the text here.

I am using the male pronoun as he is identifying as male in the text. He is in his early 20's now, but tells of early childhood experiments in femininity. Please note that English is not his mother tongue:

"When i was 3-4 years old, i put towel my hair. I imagined towel is my girlish hair and i was a girl. I often imitated female characters on tv. My dad reprehended me because of these things so i didn't put towel my hair anymore."


Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!