March 24, 2012

A Young Crossdreamer's Tale

I got an email from an 18 year old crossdreamer a few days ago. I asked him for permission to publish it on this blog, as it describes how it may feel to be a crossdreamer in a clear and succinct way.

When we are alone with these feelings they may seem insurmountable. But the fact is that there are literally millions of men and women out there who have such feelings, and even more who fear being out of the norm. 

In fact, having studied gender and sexuality for quite some time now, I have come to the conclusion that most people are "abnormal" in one way or the other. Being rare is not rare and nature loves variation.

Note that this text contains some explicit language. To those of you who find that so offensive that you won't read it, I would say that you have lost the proper sense of perspective.

The life of Z

"Hello. My name is Z. I stumbled upon one of your blogs about a week ago. I read through articles and links for hours that day.

I can find no easy way to put this. I'm basically e-mailing you because you obviously understand the general situation I am experiencing. I thought typing this would be easier because I don't even know you AND we are from different countries but I find it almost impossible to even build up to say what I want to scream in my head.

I'm 18 and am trying to face my feelings. I'm in my last year of high school, I have an amazing fiancee, and some of the best friends I could ever ask for. I am estranged from most of my family but [has] the most supportive aunt. (...)

None of these things have any importance to you, I'm sure but they do help me come to what I want to say. 

Childhood dreams

"I have had these feelings as far back as being a small child, around 5 years old. I never cross-dressed (not until I after I met my beautiful fiance anyway), never had an interest in girly toys or anything like that. But I always thought about being a girl.

From early on I knew this was a taboo. Both my mother and step father taught me about sex and homosexuals and all that when I was still very small. They taught me being gay wasn't wrong and what mattered most was being happy. 

March 15, 2012

New study indicates that female chromosomes may make males more masculine

I am always taking biological research on sex and gender with a grain salt, as many of the studies are both reductionistic (in the sense of reducing amazingly complex phenomena to one or two variables) or plain out sexist.

I continue to read them, though, as many of them give additional input and additional perspectives that may be valuable in our journey towards a better understanding of transgender conditions.

Here is one such study.

Hormones in the womb

Remember that the ruling paradigm on the biological side of sex and gender research is that the sex of a boy or a girl is determined by pre-natal hormones, i.e. the hormones the fetus is exposed to before it is born.

"The predominant idea is that the difference between male and female behaviours is down to hormones," says Emilie Rissman at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Male fetuses are exposed to testosterone from 4 weeks old, while females are not.

In this scenario the role of genes is reduced to being triggers deciding which hormones are to be produced and in what quantity. Because of this, sex variation -- including transsexuality -- may be understood as the result of genes not producing the normal amount of the  expected hormones. 

Rissman's team wanted to find out of if genes -- or, to be more precise, sex chromosomes -- could influence sex-specific behavior directly, i.e. beyond what could be expected from the pre-natal flow of hormones. 

Remember that the XY sex chromosome combination will normally make a boy, while the XX variant normally leads to the fetus becoming a girl.

XX does not a girl make

What they seem to have found is very unexpected: An extra set of female (sic!) genes appears to make males more -- not less -- masculine. And yes, the effect is not the result of the production of pre-natal hormones.

March 6, 2012

On crossdreaming, Asperger and Klinefelter

When I started this blog one of the very first topic that popped up was the relationship between Asperger and male to female crossdreaming.

Several online friends added comments arguing that they believed they suffered from Aspberger's syndrome.

My review of Gilmartin's "love shy male lesbians" also documented that there were some extremely shy and introvert men out there who dream of living the life of a woman.

They believe society will not accept shyness in men, while it is considered a virtue among women. They therefore dream about being women. The love shy male lesbians are probably neither crossdreamers nor Aspeberger, but the correlation between shyness and gender is definitely there.

What is Asperger?

Please note that Asperger is a clinical term for a mental disorder. The Wikipedia gives the following definition:

"Asperger syndrome, also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported."

Tina from India

Tina has sent me and email she has allowed me to share with you. She is a male to female crossdreamer who believes she has Aspberger. Links and comment in [brackets] have been added by me.

"Hi Jack,

First of all thank you so much resolving so many doubts I had in my mind.I have been reading your blog from quite some time and it was an eye opener. I resisted commenting before I wanted to understand what various theories are and I think I understand them to a good extent (just because of your awesome blog). 

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!