August 18, 2014

Take Part in our Survey on Gender Variance!

You are invited to take part in our survey on gender variance and cross-gender expressions, identities, concepts and fantasies.
Illustration:Robert Churchill

The objective is to gain a better insight into the self conception and ideas of gender variant people of all shades and colors.

These include -- but are in no way not limited to -- crossdressers, crossdreamers, transsexuals, drag queens and drag kings, girlfags and guydykes, non-binary identities, queer and genderqueer.

The results will be published on the Crossdreamers blog, but the data will also be made available to researchers.

The survey is completely anonymous. You will not be asked for your name or email address, and we have no way of tracking your real identity. 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE PART IN THE SURVEY!

31 comments:

  1. Woow! We got over 300 respondents during the first 24 hours. Thank you! And keep them coming...

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  2. It will hopefully give you a good slice of how your readers identify and what our similarities and differences are. I for one am very curious about the results!

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  3. @Joanna,

    We have divided the survey in two. One version is targeting readers of this blog and similar sites and forums. There are now some 450 replies to that one.

    In addition we have promoted a very similar questionnaire over at tumblr to reach the younger cohort. At the moment of writing we have some 350 responses over there. This means a total of 800 respondents so far, and counting.

    And yes, I can tell you that we have already some very clear findings as regards the prevalence of dysphoria, support for a transgender alliance and so on. I will come back to this later on.

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    1. I am very encouraged by this jack. Well done!

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  4. This survey (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JqMrQRImR0B6KOLmFxqRXSXEKw8xHjpubHjdutISa08/viewform) is very uncomfortable-making. It seems to treat trans people like "extreme" cross-dressers, and you ask for identity and include genderqueer but then leave nonbinary identities out of the sexual and romantic orientation questions. There's a lot of other dodgy stuff in there but it left me feeling like you think of a whole section of people as fetish objects rather than individual human beings with thoughts and feelings, and I can't really articulate it very well because I'm not 100% awake yet. Please refrain from surveying people about gender and gender variance until you know more stuff about gender.

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  5. @Lotte

    We were very careful not to narrow the options down to binary identities.

    To give an example: Under the question "What is your romantic orientation?" we did deliberately not limit the options to "men" or "women", but also included "both men and women", "neither" and "other".

    I have, in fact, gotten comments criticizing the survey for including too many unknown terms under the identity question, including non-binary categories like "genderqueer", "non-binary", "non-gender/agender", "polygender/omnigender", "girlfag", "guydyke", "demigender" and "queer.

    Remember that we can crossreference the answers given under the identity-question with the answer given under the romantic orientation question. We do not have to ask them again about this.

    You say that we think of "a whole section of people as fetish objects rather than individual human beings with thoughts and feelings."

    I must say I find this surprising, as the whole idea of this survey is to learn more about how gender nonconforming people feel and think.

    We have included questions about what turns people on, but that is because sexual feelings are an integrated part of what it means to be human.

    One of the main problems in the transgender debate, as far as I am concerned, is the fact that the sexuality of gender variant people is used to invalidate them, often using words as "fetishists" to do so.

    Those who have followed this blog for a while, will now how much that troubles me. I think it is better to get the sexual aspect of sex and gender out in the open. There is far too much suppression and denial as there is.

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  6. @Jack

    Criticism for including identities like nonbinary can easily be ignored - if you don't know what it is, then don't check that box, right? And the question is optional. I'm confused about why people could complain!

    "To give an example: Under the question "What is your romantic orientation?" we did deliberately not limit the options to "men" or "women", but also included "both men and women", "neither" and "other"." - that's exactly what I mean though. You can be attracted only to men and/or women, or no one. If one were romantically attracted to me (nonbinary), they'd have no option but to check "neither" because I am neither, and that gives the impression that the person is aromantic - which is not the case, because they are romantically attracted to me. See?

    Part of my discomfort is that you don't define cross-dressing, and you do define transgender, but you include cross-dressers and drag queens. Most drag queens and cross dressers say they're not transgender, and if you ask a transgender person to define transgender, they'll say something like, "someone whose gender is different to the one they were assigned at birth".

    There are resources out there that help with asking people about their gender identities and orientations for monitoring purposes, for use by companies in making sure that their staff or customer base is not being discriminated against. The wording advocated is pretty inclusive. For example, a lot of people once they've transitioned like to disconnect from the label "trans", and if asked whether or not they're trans they'll say they're not, but if you ask "is your gender sometimes or always different to the one you were assigned at birth?" then you get people who identify as trans, people who don't, nonbinary people, genderfluid people, etc. Which is more useful. It also doesn't include cis drag artists who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

    "Remember that we can crossreference the answers given under the identity-question with the answer given under the romantic orientation question. We do not have to ask them again about this." - I think I've missed something here. How are the identity question and the romantic orientation question connected?

    Yeah, I'm totally fine with you asking about what turns people on. I pretty much skipped over that because I'm asexual. But when transgender people are put in the same box as (usually cis) cross-dressers, drag artists, etc. it gives the impression that you think of trans people as being extreme versions of cross-dressers, sort of thing. Most trans people aren't cross-dressers, so I am utterly baffled.

    In the identity question, there's no option for cis men or cis women; why not? Might it not be useful to see how many cross-dressers are cis and how many are trans?

    As a nonbinary person, how do I know when I'm cross-dressing?

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    1. Lotte,

      You seem to attribute a lot of negativity to the term cross dressing. After all the vast majority of transsexuals cross dress before transitioning into women. If you are still male bodied but live as a woman that could also be referred to technically as cross dressing.

      More importantly for me is this questions: is the dressing identity based or just for kicks?

      Does dressing every day have more weight than dressing every second day if your internal identity is female but you cannot transition due to job or family constraints?

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    2. Lotte has some valid points... but i guess its impossible to make a survey where you satisfy both the extremes.. unlike Lotte, id be more content answering a survey like this if it is less about transgenderism... but i hope youll make more surveys like this, its hard tho!

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  7. @Lotte

    Thank you for your clarification. This helps, as I might have misunderstood parts of your question.

    So, why would we include a list of non-binary categories under "identity" and not under "sexual orientation" and romantic orientation? Well, given the list included, it is obviously not because we do not know about non-binary identities.

    The main reason is the need to limit the length and complexity of the survey. We had to choose a selected number of main topics, and romantic attraction to gender variant people was not one of the prioritized, unfortunately.

    Still, we were very aware of the need to avoid a lock-in into the traditional gender identity equals sexual attraction equals romantic attraction trap. We needed to give the respondents room to express at least parts of this complexity, which is why we consciously chose to include questions regarding romantic orientation and fantasies, as well as categories like "other" and "neither".

    We even included a control question regarding "sexual fantasy" partners, where we added transgender men and transgender women. It might have been an idea to add more categories to that question (like "androgynous" or "non-binary"). The reason we chose not to was that it would require too much explanation.

    When you list a number of alternative "gender identities" you do not have to explain what each identity entails. You cannot identify as something you do not know the name of. You may be sexually or romantically oriented towards persons you find hard to classify, however, which makes it necessary to explain each term. We decided not to add that kind of complexity in this questionnaire, although it is clearly something we can come back to at a later stage.

    What we did instead was to add a five-point scale on attraction to feminine and masculine gender expressions. This allows us to triangulate some of the dimensions you are looking for, although it is not a perfect solution, I admit.

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  8. @Lotte

    Should we have defined crossdressing? Maybe we should. We believed, however, that there is less disagreement regarding the term crossdressing than the term transgender. The reason we clearly defined the term transgender is the disagreement regarding the meaning of the term you point to. Without a definition that question would be of no value whatsoever.

    Note, however, that we included several control questions to gauge the respondents' understanding of that term, as well as their understanding of their place in the wider community of gender variant people.

    As regards the relationship between crossdressers and transsexuals: One of the major reasons for having this study is to look at the overlap between these two large categories.

    We know for a fact that many, if not most, trans women start out as crossdressers. In other words: The categories do overlap. By way of the questions regarding dysphoria and intention to transition, we will now get a better understanding of how large this overlap is.

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  9. I find it utterly baffling that you would think it acceptable to write a survey on gender variance and its intersection with sexuality, but consider sexual attraction to gender variant people not a priority.
    If you want to measure whether people’s attraction differs depending on if their partner is trans or not then use cisgender men and transgender men (and same for women) so as not to other transgender people. At the moment, the wording implies that transgender people are not the gender the identify as, which is incorrect.
    Crossdressing is complex subject and you need to define it if you want useful results. I am AFAB and currently identify as cis but am questioning. I frequently wear men's boxers because I have genital piercings and the fit is comfier. Is that crossdressing? However, some days I get anxious and weepy when I put on a dress because it feels like a costume and I don't recognise myself, so I change into baggy shorts and a t-shirt from the women's section to feel better - is that crossdressing? Is wearing the dress in the first place crossdressing, because it feels that way some days. Trying to answer these questions made me feel ill and I don’t suffer from physical dysphoria – were you aware that this survey is going to make transgender people and questioning people like myself feel unsafe?
    You can’t look at the overlap between transgender people and crossdressers if you insist crossdressing makes you transgender. While there is overlap (though a closeted transgender woman wearing women's clothing is not crossdressing, because she is a woman even if she hasn't told anyone yet or entirely figured it out herself), you can't study that connection if you treat them as the same thing. They’re part of the broad spectrum of our relationship with gender, but being trans is not the next step up on the gender variant ladder - gender non-conformists are not trans due to their non-conformism, they may be transgender additionally, or they may not.
    You also do not differentiate between people who use different names in costume and people who become their new identity wholly. You give people the option to define their usage but call it a "cross-gender alternative name”. Again - a trans woman calling herself Mary is not using a cross-gender name, because she is a woman with a woman's name. A person who changes their name and never uses their former name is not using an alternative name – they’re using their real name.
    Your questions do not separate cisgender people who use gender as an element of fetish, performance or experimentation, and people who live permanently outside of their assigned gender. This invalidates your claim that you're studying how these identities intersect because you force them to group themselves together.
    Your scale of attraction from masculine to feminine doesn't make sense - if I select the middle does that mean I like both, I strongly prefer non-binary/androgynous people, or am not attracted to either? Your results will be unusable because people mean different things by 3.
    "Do you support a broad transgender alliance?" This question is a simple yes or no, with no room for commentary – your results won’t differentiate between "truscum" and people who object to cisgender people being included under the trans umbrella.
    There’re problems with the language used, erasure and wilfully misunderstanding the meaning of transgender and the basic know-how of making a survey to collect accurate data. For something as nebulous as gender all these questions should have the option to write an answer to clarify.
    Finally, you need to stop using slurs which do not apply to you as a heterosexual man. Girl[slur] and guy[slur] are not appropriate words to use for enjoying queer porn. I am a bisexual woman and men who are aroused by my sex life do NOT get to reclaim a slur which does not apply to them. Being attracted to lesbian and bisexual women is not a transgender issue, nor is it a queer issue - it is an element of heterosexuality.

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  10. @cleorosenash

    "You can’t look at the overlap between transgender people and crossdressers if you insist crossdressing makes you transgender."

    Just to make one thing perfectly clear:

    We do not accept the idea that "transgender" equals "transsexual".

    Since the early 1990s the most common usage of the word "transgender" is as an umbrella term covering all types of gender variance, crossdressers included. So, yes, crossdressers are transgender, although not necessarily gender dysphoric or transsexual.

    Still, we know that not all people use the word this way, which is why we defined it clearly in the survey, as well as included questions on the same topic using different terms.

    We know that some of our respondents may interpret the word differently, even if it has been defined, and we have included questions that help us correct for this.

    In other words: We are not as much looking at the overlap between crossdressers/crossdreamers and transgender as the overlap between crossdressers/crossdreamers and gender dysphoric transsexuals.

    "Your questions do not separate cisgender people who use gender as an element of fetish, performance or experimentation, and people who live permanently outside of their assigned gender."

    Yes, they do. We have included several questions on sexual fantasies, gender expression, gender identity, dysphoria and transitioning, in order to identity different transgender experiences.

    But we do not take the divide between "fetish"/"performance" on the one hand and transsexual on the other for granted. This is one of the things we want to study.

    "At the moment, the wording implies that transgender people are not the gender the identify as, which is incorrect."

    There is nothing in this survey that implies this. We ask them about their assigned gender as well as their own gender identification.

    You might be referring to the "You have had sexual fantasies about having sex with..." where we included "transgender" as two options. This does in no way imply that we think that trans men are not men and trans women not women.

    "You also do not differentiate between people who use different names in costume and people who become their new identity wholly."

    You have to keep in mind that the questionnaire includes other questions that help us identify transsexual men and women who have transitioned. We will of course interpret the responses in this context.

    We have also asked if the respondents consider themselves cisgender.

    "Girl[slur] and guy[slur] are not appropriate words to use for enjoying queer porn."

    The terms "girlfag" and "guydyke" are terms used by gender variant people, which is why they have been included. Girlfags often describe themselves as queer or genderqueer.

    Moreover, since we know of people who call themselves girlfags and guydykes who are not only transgender, but also gender dysphoric, it makes sense to ask them about their life experience.

    It seems to me you are a bit too eager to put them into the "cisgender/heterosexual" box, without knowing much about them.

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  11. @cleorosenash I agree with pretty much all of what you've said. Thank you. <3

    @joanna Santos A trans person wearing the clothing of a gender different to the one they are assigned is not cross dressing, even if they're not "out". I don't have anything against cross dressing - I reckon since I'm agender I'm probably cross dressing all the time, no matter what I wear. I'm not sure how you extracted negativity re: cross dressing from my post.

    It is really important to distinguish between transgender people and cis people, and you're not doing that.

    @Jack Molay An adherence to an outdated definition of transgender to suit your wish to mash together cross dressers and transgender people will not give you useful data, AND it's blatantly offensive.

    I'm gonna wander off now because it's pretty clear that the maker of this survey isn't going to listen to the views of the marginalised groups they're harming.

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  13. Our definition of transgender is in no way outdated.

    We share the umbrella interpretation of transgender with the DSM-5/The American Psychiatric Association, the UK National Health Service, the American Psychological Association, The World Professional Association for Transgender Health WPATH, the American Medical Student Association, and the US National Center for Transgender Equality, to name a few.

    This is also reflected in the current version of the Wikipedia article on transgender.

    We are listening to all the marginalized groups under the transgender umbrella. I find it hard to understand who that can be "blatantly offensive".

    As regards the questions on crossdressing: We expect transsexual men and women to answer "not relevant" to these questions.

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  14. It's not surprising that not everyone would find the questions fitting because every case is so unique and every gender variant person identifies so differently on the spectrum. However, I found that I was able to answer the questions in a way that suited my own situation quite well.

    Looking forward to the results!

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  15. @Lotte

    Many people would call a male bodied person wearing clothing appropriate for the opposite gender cross dressing. It comes down to point of view does it not?

    Is it because you have a preconceived notion of what a "crossdresser" is?

    I don't consider myself a crossdresser and identify as gender variant. I dress as a female every day but not for work. I have reasons personal and family reasons for doing so.

    Labels are what each person thinks they are.

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  16. @joanna,

    As a transitioned transsexual, I don't appreciate you referring to how I dress as crossdressing. I find it quite offensive. Perhaps try not to assume what the experiences of others are if you have not lived them yourself.

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  17. I am not referring to transitioned transsexual but to people who remain within the confines of their biological sex an simply choose to dress differently. I was merely saying that many people would consider that crossdressing.

    Lotte was making a definitive demarcation between transgender and crossdresser and I am saying that the line is not always clear and it depends from which angle one views it.

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  18. You are ignoring all criticism that points out that you are causing harm and offense to the people you are attempting to study, so it seems like there is not much left I can say to you. Again, I want to emphasise this; attempting to take this survey made me feel physically ill. Having to answer a solid yes/no to "do you crossdress" when crossdressing is not defined WILL be stressful to transgender people, and for me as someone who is questioning their identity, it was impossible to answer.

    Most crossdressers identify themselves as cisgender and heterosexual. I know several straight male crossdressers who would be no happier at being lumped under the transgender umbrella than transgender people are. You're essentially no different from people who say that a man in a skirt is "less of a man" - you're just trying to turn that kind of gender essentialism into a positive. That isn't going to work, and it isn't doing anyone any favours.

    If your question offers people the choice between "men" and "women" and "transgender men" and "transgender women" that IS othering and setting them apart as not real men and women. If you want to ask if people fantasize about both cisgender and transgender men (and/or women) then say so - offer cisgender and transgender as options.

    Please stop using slurs which do not apply to you. I have read your arguments about gay men inventing the term "fag hag" - there is a difference between a marginalized group making use of a slur which applies to them in a semi-reclaimed sense, and a group claiming it for themselves without any of the history behind it.

    Being a girl[slur] or guy[slur] ALONE is not a queer identity. That does not mean I believe everyone who identifies themselves that way is heterosexual and cisgender - I don't. Let me put it this way - a high percentage of gay men have had anal sex. I have also had anal sex. That does not make me a gay man. If some people who enjoy these crossdreaming fantasies are also queer, that does not mean that enjoying those fantasies is in itself queer - just as eating pizza, breathing air and wearing hats are not queer just because queer people do them. However, the issue with these identities is that they allow straight cisgender people to force their way into queer spaces and conversations and insist that they belong - that isn't ok. It's giving people a way to speak over marginalized groups and it's actively harmful. The behaviour of these people can easily become sexual harrassment - not that all of them are like that, but when you make it an IDENTITY rather than a sexual taste it gives people a sense of entitlement. Asking a woman to stop "shipping" real life gay men suddenly becomes oppression of her queer identity. Lesbians feeling unsafe around a man who masturbates at the thought of their sex life suddenly becomes, by your definition, transphobia. This is screwed up in a big way.

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  19. Well said, @cleorosenash.com! You said that so much better than I could've done. I agree wholeheartedly.

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  21. very well stated Jack! indeed if one bothers to read "The Transsexual Phenomenon" by Harry Benjamin you will note that he often had great difficulty determining who was a transvestite (term of the day) and who was a transsexual and we know that sometimes it is a question of time before some of them transitioned.

    Stating that there is always a clear boundary is ignoring reality and the evidence we have collected over the last 5 decades of research.

    How many transsexuals have begun their lives in complete denial only to transition in their 40's or 50's? well the same applies to some who call themselves crossdressers. No one wants to face that stark reality.

    The only certainty you have is where you are today and tomorrow may bring a different conclusion to your reality.

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  22. [I apologize, there were too many errors in the comment Joanna is referring to, so I am posting it again.]

    @cleorosenash.com

    It seems to me you constructing a conflict that does not have to be there, using phrases like "feel[ing] physically ill". It is as if you are forcing your own interpretation onto what are intended to be open ended questions.

    Moreover, your comment may be interpreted to imply that being associated with crossdressers is in itself offensive. I am sure many crossdressers and other transgender people will find that problematic, to say the least. I hope this was not your intention.

    Just to make this perfectly clear: No one here is saying that transsexual men and women are crossdressers. I have for a long time argued strongly that transsexual women are women, no "buts" involved, and will continue to do so.

    "Most crossdressers identify themselves as cisgender and heterosexual."

    This is one of the things we have set out to find out. We have now the opportunity to see if people who crossdress and crossdream (transsexual men and women NOT included)experience gender dysphoria, identify as transsexual and more.

    There is nothing definitive in the research I have seen so far that supports the idea of an absolute and clear boundary between crossdressers on the one hand and transsexuals on the other. That does not mean that transsexuals are crossdressers, however.

    Remember that many transgender people are on a journey towards greater self understanding. Many transsexual men and women start out identifying as cisgender, crossdressers, genderqueer and more.

    54% of crossdressers identifying as crossdressers and responding to the recent US Transgender Discrimination Survey, reported that they did want to transition some day. That does not mean that all of them necessarily are gender dysphoric or transsexual, but many of them might perfectly well be.

    " If some people who enjoy these crossdreaming fantasies are also queer, that does not mean that enjoying those fantasies is in itself queer."

    You might be right about that. And you are definitely right when it comes to how people self-identify. Again, using this study we might learn more about this. This is why we included a wide variety of questions addressing these phenomena.

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  23. "Most crossdressers identify themselves as cisgender and heterosexual."

    This is one of the things we have set out to find out. We have now the opportunity to see if people who crossdress and crossdream (transsexual men and women NOT included)experience gender dysphoria, identify as transsexual and more.


    You'll probably never find these answers, because we don't even know the crossdressing population which was between 3% and 10% for males. Let's assume that most crossdressers that visit your blog have more trouble with their gender identity, you'll probably miss a lot of crossdressers in your research. Just sayin'

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  24. "that all of them are like that, but when you make it an IDENTITY rather than a sexual taste it gives people a sense of entitlement"

    I find this statement to be intensely ironic. That some groups insist that they be allowed to identify themselves, and in fact obstructing that is a sort of thought crime, and then breathless deny that same thing to others presumably in defense of their own frame of reference.

    This is a fundamental political problem. You can't change the culture norms around TG without a consensus on what it is. There never was a debate about who actually was a black man in the 60's in the US and even today, there is no question about how to define a homosexual. Any political cultural improvement for TG people is doomed until this is solved in an inclusive manner.

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  25. I wonder whether the 54% is accurate when it comes to crossdressers whom want to transition..
    Maybe like most dysphoric crossdreamers, their view of themselves is not "transsexual" but it is yet to come the more they notice how they actually differ from their biological sex. They start to notice how much it makes sense for them to be more feminine than they thought themselves to be.. meanwhile, the term "crossdresser" fits better than just wearing clothes reflecting their identity.

    Also, the study should have been more broadly available than only in the TG-circles since i bet the huge lump of self-identified straight guys, whom crossdress, lies outside the LGBT community. I noticed how some crossdressing forums in the web include mostly members whom are closer to being transsexual, just like on Crossdreamlife. But naturally it makes sense since they are the ones mostly in need for support for their confusions.

    Well, there are no perfect studies..

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  26. Anonymous says:

    "Let's assume that most crossdressers that visit your blog have more trouble with their gender identity, you'll probably miss a lot of crossdressers in your research."

    (Sam Z makes some similar observations).

    That is an important point. This is why I doubt that the 54% reported in the American study is the actual percentage of MTF crossdressers identifying as transsexual. After all, they are more likely to fill inn a questionnaire on transgender issues.

    That being said, the numbers do tell us that there is a significant number of crossdressers who do feel this way, which is in itself an important correction to the idea that all MTF crossdressers are cis.

    As for the distribution of the questionnaire: We have made two versions of the survey, and the second one has been promoted via tumblr. We have managed to reach a different audience there, in particular young respondents assigned female at birth.

    @Koala

    I agree. Note the "embarrassment" part of ofcleorosenash's argument. Much of the current hostility towards crossdressers, crossdreamers, girlfags and guydykes is based on fear of embarrassment and the possibility of being associated with someone who is not living up to the stereotypical standards of gender.

    The most potent weapon used against marginalized groups throughout modern history has been to focus on their presumed sexuality. Black men were considered oversexed and therefore animal like and primitive. Black women were seducing with women, turning them into lesbian feminists. Strong willed women were either hysterical or promiscuous. Gay men were fetishists, and lesbian women were perverted inverts. Right now the TERFs are attacking trans women for being "autogynephiliacs." There is a clear pattern here.

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  27. Sam

    you are exactly correct. We cannot lump in cis men who crossdress with gender variant people who identify in part or entirely as transsexual.

    Cross dressing means different things to different people which is why I have so much disdain for broad generalisations about what that cross gender expression signifies

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  28. "Still, we were very aware of the need to avoid a lock-in into the traditional gender identity equals sexual attraction equals romantic attraction trap."

    The idea that sexual orientation drives gender identity is actually a pretty modern idea. Before the 1960s people weren't as culturally focused on sex and sexual orientation issues as they are today.

    In some ways this has made things worse for people for heterosexual people with cross gender identities. Heterosexual men in particular are now more obsessed with not appearing "camp" in public and some are now more reluctant to work in female-dominated professions - either because they will be seen as gay, or because they think it would be too psychologically unsettling working closely with confident/ sexually attractive women.




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