September 25, 2014

Strong support for broad transgender and LGBT alliances found among gender variant people

The Crossdreamer Survey of Gender Variance shows that a great majority of gender variant people support broader transgender, queer and LGBT alliances.
Illustration by incomible

There has been a lot of discussion in transgender and queer circles about social, cultural and political collaboration.

This is partly a discussion on political convenience (they face similar types of oppression), and partly a discussion of what it means to be trans and/or queer.


The continuum interpretation

Since the early 1990s the dominant interpretation of the word transgender has been as an umbrella term embracing a wide variety of gender variant people, including crossdressers, drag queens, transsexuals and various shades of genderqueer.

The terms queer and genderqueer are normally understood to refer to those who fall outside the gender binary of strictly male and strictly female.

People supporting this position often believe in models describing continuums of both sexual orientation and gender variance. In other words: Transgender people may identify completely with one gender (their target gender), or they may see themselves as partly male and partly female or something outside the gender binary.

This kind of thinking is found both among gender variant people, the researchers studying them and the health personnel trying to help them.


The binary interpretation

Others focus more on the differences than the similarities between the different types of gender variant people. This especially applies to those who want to distinguish between transsexual men and women on the one hand and other gender variant people on the other.

They may argue that these two groups are fundamentally different (in the sense that the different "conditions" are caused by completely different phenomena), or that the problems they are facing are so different that it makes little sense for them to collaborate.

This position will be found among some representatives of the health systems, especially those who believe in more traditional gender norms, and among transsexual men and women who do not feel at home under the broader transgender umbrella. There are also gender variant people who do not like to be associated with transsexuals.

When we carried out our survey of gender variance, one of many objectives was to see if we could learn more about how gender variant people feel about collaboration and reciprocal support between various shades of queer and transgender, transsexuals included.

In this blog post we are going to present some preliminary findings from this survey. A more in depth analysis will follow later on.


September 21, 2014

The Crossdreamer Survey of Gender Variance, Some Preliminary Results

The Crossdreamer Survey on Gender Variance received 1202 responses, representing a wide variety of queer and transgender people. Here are some preliminary results.

In August we invited readers to fill in a survey on gender variance. There remains a lot of serious number crunching to do, but we would like to present some preliminary findings.

We have written a separate article that presents various methodological issues. Please read it if you have questions about why we carried out the survey the way we did.

Please note that this presentation is temporary. We will come back with an in depth analysis based on a more complex cluster analysis later on.


The number of respondents

All in all we received 1202 responses, out of which 1199 we consider valid and useful for analytical purposes.

1199 is a high response rate for a survey like this one. We are confident  that the data can be used to draw some general conclusions regarding the lives and attitudes of this group of gender variant people.

We were very much aware of the fact that the readers of Crossdreamers.com are not necessarily representative for the population of gender variant people as a whole. With the help of our friends we therefore distributed the invitation to a large number of sites, forums and social media groups. (A warm thank you to all of those who helped us!)

We knew, however, that many of these channels were dominated by people assigned male at birth. To get input from more gender variant people assigned female at birth, we developed a separate (but similar) questionnaire to be published on tumblr. This invitation was eventually published on -- and reblogged by -- 105 different tumblr blogs. This second survey also gave us more data on the younger cohort.


More about the two sub-surveys

Here are the main numbers regarding the respondents:

The Crossdreamer.com Survey (distributed via Crossdreamers.com and forums and sites targeting crossdressers, crossdreamers and genderqueer people).
Number of respondents: 720 in all (out of which 718 will be used in the final analysis)
93% were assigned male at birth, 6% female.
The crossdreamer.com sample is dominated by adults, as shown in the figure below.

September 1, 2014

"I am something that does not exist!" (On queer schwulwomen, girlfags and guydykes)

In this guest blog post Ili tells about her life as schwul (girlfag). How do you explain something when the language you speak lacks the words for it, she asks, and when the culture you live in doesn't see it as possible? 
American comedian Margaret Cho modelling
the girlfag T-shirt over at Beyond the Binary

Guest post by Ili 
Note: I will use the German word schwul for “gay male” in this article because English has no single word for the concept, and because schwul has a subtly different meaning from "gay male".

A great many English-speakers are offended by the English term "girlfag," given that both"girl" and "fag" are at least potentially pejorative - a linguistic battle to which nobody has yet figured out a workable solution. Perhaps the German schwule m├Ądchen will eventually be adopted into English.
I am something that many people will tell you does not exist. Schwulwomen (“girlfags”) and lesbian men (“guydykes”) cannot, by current gender-bound linguistic standards, be real.

While the advent of trans identities in the last few decades has brought significant changes in the meanings of “man” and “woman," the words “
schwul and “lesbian” still have rigid definitions, even within the LGBTQ communities: only men can be schwul, only women can be lesbians. Anything else isn’t possible, per definition.

And yet I, as well as an uncountable but significant number of men and women like me, feel strongly that we are these impossible identities, the schwul female, the male lesbian. To say that these identities are problematic is to understate the case dramatically.

Thinking the impossible

To begin with, it often takes years, perhaps even decades, for a nascent girlfag or guydyke to realize her or his tendencies. A woman may identify with schwul culture since puberty – but until she accepts the "impossible," she may think she’s crazy, or the only one of her kind. She may try for years to reconcile herself to normative heterosexuality - after all, she likes guys, she must be straight, right?


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