December 18, 2013

What does transgender really mean? On Wikipedia's misleading article.

The recent discussion on what a girlfag is or isn't has made me realize that there is a lot of confusion about the meaning of the word "transgender", and the main reason for this uncertainty is found in the current version of the relevant Wikipedia article.
Wikipedia is trying to amputate the transgender rainbow.
(Photo:  PinkSherbetPhotography)

The Wikipedia definition

The article starts out with the following sentence:

"Transgender is the state of one's gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one's assigned sex."

No wonder many of my crossdreamer and girlfag/guydyke friends do not want to call themselves transgender! If they feel at home in their own bodies and/or identify with their birth sex this definition will not describe their sense of self.

This definition reflects, however, in no way the common usage of the term "transgender". You can find traces of this fact in the rest of the Wikipedia text.

The article states, for instance:

"While people self-identify as transgender, the transgender identity umbrella includes sometimes-overlapping categories. These include transsexual; transvestite or cross-dresser; genderqueer; androgyne; and bigender."

The inclusion of crossdressers alone is enough to undermine the first definition given above, given that many crossdressers identify with their birth sex.

(Please note that other parts of the Wikipedia article allows for the inclusion of those who are transgender not because their gender idendity is at stake, but because they like to express themselves in way that are in violation of expected gender behavior. In other words: The text does not stop people who identify as their birth sex to call themselves transgender. Still, since the main parts is about gender identity, the text is not normally read this way.*)

So what does transgender really mean?

December 16, 2013

Truscum and the Transgender War of Words

While "classic" male to female transsexual women reject the word "transgender", the female to male transsexual separatists are claiming ownership. What is a crossdreamer to do?
Separatism divides and weakens us (photo: Ken Lloyd)

There are many wars on terminology going on in the spheres of gender and sexuality. The common denominator seems to be a need to uphold some kind of cultural and natural purity.

Accusations about appropriation and mislabeling are launched with varying precision, in gay as well as trans communities.

In the case of the transsexual separatists, this is a fight to end all doubts about them being real women or real men, as any association with crossdreamers and crossdressers is seen as a threat to their legitimacy.

The narrative of the classic transexual

The male to female transsexual separatists  argue that real  transsexual women suffer from a medical condition, and that they have nothing in common with crossdreamers, crossdressers, drag queens,  and gender queer, who  -- according to them -- are not suffering from such a medical condition.

Since they mistakenly believe the word "transgender" was coined by the infamous male to female crossdresser Virginia Prince (it wasn't!), they become insulted if you try to include them under this umbrella term for gender variant people.

According to them they have never been part of the Transgender Continent. Calling them "separatist" is therefore also insulting. They live on an island of their own.

The bizarre reversal of the female to male separatists

In my recent ventures into the female to male side of the Trans Continent, I have found the brother tribe of the MTF classical transsexual.  On tumblr, which has become an important arena for trans debate, they are know as "truscum".

(No, I have not been able to find the origin of the term truscum, although it seems clear that it was originally meant as a slur against the separatists.)

The truscum argue that transsexuality is a medical condition and that transsexuality is defined by the symptom of physical sex dysphoria (i.e. severe suffering from a misalignment between sex identity and body). They accuse non-transsexual people of "transtrending", i.e. appropriating real transsexual identities.

But here's the kicker: The FTM truscum trans men call themselves transgender! 

December 13, 2013

Trans woman speaks out about crossdreaming and transitioning

There is a very interesting post over at the reddit Crossdreamer subedit written by transtwin about crossdreaming and the question of transitioning.
Gender questioning (photo: Vladimir Nikulin)

It is interesting because transtwin is a transsexual woman, and we do not often hear from crossdreamers after they have transitioned. (They are, for obvious reasons, moving on with their lives.)

Secondly it is helpful because she presents a very balanced and pragmatic approach to the decision gender dysphoric crossdreamers have to make.

She writes:

"Whether you like it or not, you have a type of sexuality that requires you to look carefully at yourself and take an account of your life and your future in a way that others don't have to. Here is what you need to ask yourself:

  • How do these feelings impact me on a daily basis, how have these feelings evolved over time? How do I anticipate these feeling impacting my ability to do my job, function as a member of society, and fulfill my potential? What do I see in my future in regards to these feelings?
  • How do these feelings impact my relationships with others? Do I feel that I am hiding a part of myself I wish I wasn't? In sexual relationships, do I feel like I am satisfied with who I get to be? Does my sexuality mesh/match well with my partner, really?
  • Will I grow older and always wonder 'what if?'
  • What are my reasons for hiding this side of myself from others? Do I find myself modifying my truths and doing my best to be what others want me to be instead of what I want to be myself?"
She does not say that dysphoric crossdreamers ought to transition. She does not say that transitioning is wrong. Instead she underlines the need for a process where you try to understand what all of this is and what it means for you:

December 10, 2013

A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary, from "Negation" to "Real Life Fantasies"

Here is the third part of my Crossdreamer Dictionary. You can read the first entries here!
Many crossdreamers are torn between the male and the female.
Photo: Vasiliy Yakobchuk

Are there any crossdreamer phenomena, feelings or ideas you think should be included? Please add them in  a comment!

I know, for instance, that some of you think my selection slants too much to the gender dysphoric side. That should not come as a surprise, given that I am using my own life experience when writing.  It would therefore  be particularly useful with input from non-dysphoric crossdressers.

It does not matter if the capital letter of your entry has been covered. I will make a follow up post. Moreover, I will add them all to the following ebook.


One efficient way of disciplining
crossdreamers is to invalidate
their sense of identity. Illustration: Elenarts
Many people seek comfort in strict  stereotypes, and they do their best to police others who do not share their prejudices.

A very efficient way of forcing others to adhere to whatever is considered "self-evident" in a society is to negate or invalidate the lives of those who fall outside these norms.These tactics are used against women, people from other cultures and different races, the disabled, homosexuals and  transgender.

As Julia Serano has pointed out in her book Excluded, there are many ways of invalidating people,  transgender and crossdreames included:
  • Claiming that you are mentally ill or incompetent.
  • Sexualizing. People of color are for instance often depicted as being exotic, promiscuous or sexually predatory.
  • Accusing you of being immoral, like in "homosexuals are out to deceive straight people".
  • Claiming that you are sick or contagious (Like in: "One drop of Jewish blood is enough to make you a dirty Jew!").
  • Arguing that some type of body or behavior is anomalous or even "unnatural". (Homosexuality is for instance often considered "unnatural", even if same-sex relationships are common in nature). 
  • You are accused of being inauthentic or fake (like in "You are not a woman. You are just a male rapist  in an ugly dress!")
  • Claiming that you and those who like you are suffering from a fetish (like in: "He does not really love you; he just has a fetish for fat people".)
Negation causes a tremendous amount of suffering among crossdreamers, as it makes it extremely hard for many of them to integrate this side of themselves into their sense of self.
Pretending (photo: Cameron Whitman)


Many crossdreamers become normaliens (or norm-aliens) when they try to adapt to the gender identity and the gender roles their friends, families and colleagues expect of them. This especially applies to crossdreamers of the introvert and sensitive personality types.

To all the people around them they appear to be "normal" (although somewhat socially awkward) men and women. On the inside, however, they are nothing like it. Many normaliens are splitters, i.e. they compartmentalize their mind into separate male and female parts.


Female to male crossdreamers may explore their male sexuality by wearing a strap-on dildo when going out.

Male to female crossdreamers may "pack" as well, normally wearing female underwear. The term originated in the lesbian subculture.

December 4, 2013

A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary, from "Dark Crossdreamers" to "Misaffirmation"

Here is the second part of my new Crossdreamer Dictionary. You can read the first entry here!

Crossdreamers are men and women who get excited by the idea of being the other sex. In this series I try to present imaginary (and not so imaginary) terms that can help us understand what crossdreaming is about.

Dark crossdreamers*
Some crossdreamers have suppressed
their other side completely.
Photo: michele piacquadio

Dark crossdreamers are people who have managed to suppress their transgender side completely. They are not even aware of splitting (i.e. a mental compartmentalization of their other side).

The dark crossdreamers are as mysterious and invisible as dark matter, although some dark crossdreamers may have a breakthrough, as the suppressed side forces its way to the surface. This is why we know they exist.

The existence of dark crossdreamers makes it impossible to determine how large a proportion of the human population is actually crossdreamers.


Dysphoric crossdreamers feel a strong sense of misalignment between their bodies and their minds. Quite often they will feel completely alienated from their own bodies and the gender role they are forced to play. They only manage to live the "normal" lives of someone assigned to their birth sex through great sacrifice. Many of them will end up transitioning.

In spite of what some  would like you to believe, most transsexual men and women have been crossdreamers.

Erotic dissonance

Crossdreaming or being turned on by something (song, movie scene, etc.) that is not meant to be sexual but simply funny, exciting, etc.

(Hat tip to Hagia Sofia)


Euophoria is the intense sense of joy a crossdreamer may feel when he or she is able to express his or her hidden side. This may be male to female crossdresser's joy of wearing feminine attire, the female to male crossdressers mischievous sense of power from "packing", or it may be the emotional release that comes from writing a story, a caption or a comic that make perfect sense.

Euphoria is related to soaring.

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.


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.


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 are 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."

October 17, 2013

Crossdreamers on Facebook

I have put up a page for this blog over at Facebook.

My hope is that we can use this page to generate more interest in -- and understanding for -- crossdreamers in the world's largest online community.

Visit the Crossdreamer Facebook page and click on that Like button here!

October 8, 2013

Are all crossdreamers transsexual? Is Jack?

In a discussion over at the concept of crossdreaming has come up, and I see that there are some confusion about what my position is as regards the nature of men and women who get turned on by the idea of being "the opposite sex".
Photo: Erik Reis,

auto andrea writes:

"He [Jack Molay] propagates a theory that aims to positively accommodate gender-dysphoric autogynephiliacs, by basically reducing the condition to transsexualism. Those autogynephiliacs who have never experienced gender-dysphoria, he implies, are repressed transsexuals."

I can see why auto andrea has come to read me this way, but this is actually not what I say.

What I have said is that all crossdreamers most likely have something in common, and that this "something" most probably has a biological core.

This does not mean that all crossdreamers are transsexuals -- repressed or not repressed. The fact is that I think only a minority of crossdreamers are truly  transsexual, in the sense that they completely identify with their target sex.

October 3, 2013

Dysphoria, Crossdreaming and the Politics of Gender

In this guest blog post Joanna Santos argues that we have lost ourselves in the politics of gender. She recommends another approach to gender variance, on based on tolerance and compassion.

By Guest Writer Joanna Santos
Lili Elbe undertook sex realignment surgery in 1930.

Gender dysphoria has likely always existed as part of the human condition but much of our understanding and interpretation of what it is gets lost in the cacophony and noise coming from all directions.

In today’s society, we have lost ourselves in the politics of gender and have forgotten to go back to the source.

Fetishists and Classic Transsexuals

On the one extreme you have fetishists who argue that their activity is sourced in their own natural psychology and have no problems agreeing with Ray Blanchard that they are engaging in a paraphilia of their own choosing.

They have no issue with admitting that they are comfortable with their fetish but at the same time insist that gender dysphoria cannot be sourced in biology and is a purely psychological construct.

On the other extreme you have the older generation so called “classic” transsexuals who argue that they alone suffer from a complete psycho sexual inversion and are true women seeking a correction which will return them to a state they should be in naturally had there not been some cruel mistake made. Anyone else is an impostor or a “man in a dress” and their worst fear is that their “womanhood” will be invalidated in the eyes of society by merely being associated with the loathsome transgender umbrella.

Harry Benjamin: Between the Extremes

The problem with both of these positions is that they ignore the people who live in between both extremes; the research by people such as Harry Benjamin as well as numerous studies and interviews involving post transition transsexuals.

September 24, 2013

Transinclusive feminism vs. radfem transphobia

Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette
Moderate feminists are now standing up against the radfem persecution of transgender people.

Some are surprised when I say I consider myself a feminist. They shouldn't be. As I have found that the temperaments and abilities of men and women overlap completely, gender equality is the only option.

Maybe (and I underline maybe) the average woman experience the world differently from the average man, and maybe this difference is partly grounded in "the flesh". But even if this is the case, this can be no ground for political, social or cultural discrimination.

Besides, I have so far in my life never  met an "average woman" or an "average man". The more I learn, the more I enjoy the diversity of human personalities, beyond gender.

Post-structuralist feminism

This being said, there are types of feminism out there that I find extremely disturbing, and that especially applies to the so called "radical feminism" or "radfems".

This tradition have grown out of the so-called post-structuralist tradition found in the social science and humanities departments in some American universities. Its roots can be found in post-modernist French philosophy.

The post-structuralist tradition is focusing on language as the basis for human experience and understanding. Strongly influenced by the French philosopher Michel Foucault they argue that the structure of language and symbols shapes the way we think.

August 26, 2013

Crossdreaming : A Push Towards a Self Authoring Journey

On the road to self authorship (photo: Hemera/
In this post, guest blogger Janikest argues  that crossdreamera needs to develop narratives that makes sense of their lives.

Only then can they find ways of navigating a society that shows little understanding of what crossdreaming is about.

"Crossdreaming : A Push Towards a Self Authoring Journey"

By Guest Writer Janikest

Crossdreaming is a complex phenomenon with a wide variety of features and expressions from one individual to another. One thing is quite recurrent though : to the casual "fetishist" to the dysphoric "twilighter", crossdreaming is likely to come up with a host of issues, ranging from love shyness to chronic or permanent anxiety.

Wandering around forums and reading books on the topic has also allowed me to notice another common feature : The people who seem to be able to handle crossdreaming (be it finding an outlet, trying to figure out what it is, or chose to transition) share something in common. The present text is aimed at understanding what they share.

August 21, 2013

Eddie Izzard on Crossdressing

British comedian Eddie Izzard has created a meme on Tumblr based on his appearance in the Australian TV show, the Project.

Izzard is asked about dressing up in women's dresses.

Izzard gives a reply that in a very clever way exposes the way our sexist societies differ between male bodied and female bodied "crossdressing":

"No, I wear dresses. They are not 'women's dresses'. They're my dresses. I buy them. It's like when women wear trousers. They're not cross-dressing. They're not wearing 'men's trousers'."

The retort shows us what a rhetorical master Izzard is.

And he has a point: Female to male crossdressers and crossdreamers get away with dressing up as men, mostly because crossdressing women are seen to be moving "upwards" in the social hierarchy. Being a man is good.

Crossdressing male bodied persons, on the other hand, are embarrassing both themselves and their social circles by appearing as something as humiliating as a weak and vulnerable woman. Even women may despise a man who wants to be a woman.

That being said: Izzard's comment misses the whole point of crossdreaming. Putting on a dress for a male to female crossdreamer is not the same as putting on trousers for a woman who is not a crossdreamer.

This is not a practical choice. This is not about dressing up comfortably.

No, this all about using stereotypical female clothing in order to express another side of the psyche, a side that most crossdreamers and crossdressers percieve as female and/or feminine.

This is also why so many women spend so much time on dressing up as women. They use fashion and make-up to express themselves as women. And yes, one of the objectives is most likely to appear beautiful, sexy and attractive.

If all men were expected to wear dresses (as -- let's say -- the Romans did with their gender neutral tunicas) the dresses would lose much of their power to symbolize femininity.

Female to male crossdreamers also crossdress, but if they want to express their inner masculinity they have to add more than a pair of jeans.

In subtle ways, they may add masculine looking shirts, belts or caps. If their need is stronger, they may flatten their chest. Like some lesbians, they might even be "packing".

Izzard knows this, of course. But he also knows that by sowing confusion in this way, he may get some of the viewers to take a minute to reflect on the topic of sex, gender and clothing.

That is a good thing.

I have not been able to find the original program; Nor am I certain who made this animated GIFs originally.

tg_captioner gave me the URL for the interview. Thank you! Here it is:

August 14, 2013

A Frank Discussion of Autogynephilia

Being sexy feels sexy. That is natural.
Photo by Vladimir Nikulin
"Hopeful Kylee", a transseuxal woman videoblogging over at YouTube, has published a fresh and frank post on autogynephilia that should be of interest to all crossdreamers, also those who are not transsexual.

As me, Kylee simply argues that women too get aroused by the idea of being sexy and being attractive, of feeling desire and being desired.

How can a pre op transsexual woman not get aroused by the idea of being desireable, when sexuality is such a central part of the lives of nearly all people?

It seems to me  that too many of us has fallen for the myth that women are somehow less interested in sex than  men, less libidinous, and with sexual fantasies restricting themselves to the engaging in the missionary position with their faithful husband every Saturday night.

The sexual fantasies of women

I am currently working on a series of blog posts on the sexuality of women born women, and their sexual fantasies.

I am going through all the relevant research I can find. I am reading steamy romance novels, and erotica written by women for women.  I am also studying collections of female fantasies made by people like Nancy Friday.

Apart from the transformation part,  all the motifs of MTF crossdreamer fantasies and fiction are found among XX women. All of them, including the more extreme fantasies of humiliation and rape.

The existence of crossdream fantasies can therefore not be used to pathologize transsexual women.

Non-transsexual crossdreamers

As for the rest of us? Well, having erotic male to female transformation fantasies does not prove that you are wired like a woman. I guess you could argue that these fantasies draw on instincts and mental figures common to both sexes.

Still, the existence of women like Kylee, tells me otherwise. As she points out, the desire to transition is for her much more than a desire to be a sexy woman. It is much more fundamental, much more comprehensive and applies to all the aspects of being a woman.

This makes me suspect that also non-transsexual crossdreamers share some, but not necessarily all, of the trans women's fundamental identity.

The pure and the impure 

Kylee indicates that there may be two types of crossdreaming (my word, not hers).

July 29, 2013

Warrior Princess - On Using Hypermasculinity to Kill Off Your Feminine Side

Kristin Beck, before and after
A new fascinating book covers the life of Kristin, born Chris, Beck, an American Navy Seal who ended up transitioning.

The book,  Warrior Princess A U.S. Navy Seal's Journey to Coming Out Transgender, should be of interest also to non-transsexual male to female crossdreamers. It gives a clear example of what has been called "hypermasculinity": attempts at suppressing a feminine side by getting involved in stereotypical male interests.

I have no way of definitely knowing whether Kristin Beck is or has been a crossdreamer (in the sense of having experienced sexual fantasies of being a woman pre-op), but she was definitely a crossdresser while  male bodied.

She was also married with a woman, so I guess we can say she had a lot in common with many of the readers of this blog, whether they are transsexual or not.


She is not the first MTF transgender to have joined the military to toughen up and become "a real man". Military male bodied persons are twice as likely to be transgender as civilians.  Still,  I do not think there are many crossdreamers out there who have joined special ops like the Navy SEALs in order to support a fragile male identity.

The fact that many gynephilic (woman-loving) male to female transgender often chose stereotypical male occupations has been used to "prove" that they are not real women. (This implicitly means that female firefighters and fighter pilots are not real women, either, but let us put that aside for a moment.)

Family members and friends may also push them into traditional masculine occupations in order to have them "cured" of their crossdreaming.

This is an old tactic, often used for  homosexual men (and women). The idea is that if you force them into accepting activities "appropriate to their sex" they will rediscover "their true selves", or -- if not -- they will be conditioned to accept their fate.

This does not work for the gay and it does not work for crossdreamers, but as long as people can make themselves believe that this is a question of will and character, and not the result of an inborn trait, I guess both family members and crossdreamers will continue trying.

June 28, 2013

Laurence Anyways -- a Transgender Journey

Poster for Laurence Anyways
Laurence Anyways is a French Canadian film from 2012 that should be of great interest to the gender dysphoric side of the crossdreamer community.

Laurence, the protagonist, is transsexual at heart, and finally comes to the conclusion that she can no longer live as he, and wants to come out as a woman.

"I'm not gay," Laurence explains to his girl friend Fred. "It's not that I like men, I'm just not made to be one."

This is not primarily -- or only -- a film about being transsexual. The main focus of the story is the relationship between Laurence and her girl friend Fred, and how the two of them tackle the upheaval of Laurence finding herself.

This is a truly a love story. Fred tries hard to adapt to the new life of the person that she deeply loves.

But this is not a love story of the pink poster Hollywood type. It becomes extremely hard for the two of them to make their love story fit the script the people around them are used to and expect.

It is not a secret that a significant percentage of marriages and love partnerships ends when one of the two transitions. This is a story about the kind of challenges such couples meet and what these challenges do to them.

Melvil Pupaud plays Laurence
The film was made by Xavier Dolan, a Canadian actor and filmmaker.

Here you have an homosexual man making a movie about a gynephilic transsexual woman, who befriends a group of gay drag queens.

Needless to say, Dolan doesn't give a damn about the script written by Ray Blanchard and his crew. I mean that in a good way!

The fact that the movie is made by a gay man may explain, a couple of the few unexpected elements in  the movie.

June 12, 2013

On lesbians who watch gay pornography and what it means for transgender crossdreamers

Did you know that many lesbians watch gay male porn?  

I didn't either, before I saw the movie The Kids are All Right with Julianne Moore and Anette Benning as a lesbian couple with kids.
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as lesbian
mothers liking gay male pornography

In one scene we can see the two of them watch a movie with men having sex with men in order to get into the mood.

By accident, their son finds the movie later on, and in wonderfully akward scene we see how the two parents try to explain what this is all about.

In the name of fair use I have taken the liberty of embedding the relevant scenes here. (This is not office material.)

And yes, this has a lot to do with crossdreaming. Read on!

June 4, 2013

The Massey University Study of Transgender People

When the gender shoe does not fit (
In my post Jaimie Veale's study of gender variant people throw new light upon crossdreamers I presented the high lights from one of the most important new studies of gender variant people. In this post I give a more in depth assessment of the findings.

The study

What makes the underlying study  from Masset University of New Zealand and her Ph.D: thesis much more reliable than similar research, is the number of respondents.

Ray Blanchard, who coined the term "autogynephilia", used the database of the Clarke Institute in Toronto for his studies of transsexuals. His ""Heterosexual and Homosexal Gender Dysphoria" paper of 1987, for instance, refers to a selection of 197 respondents, all of them patients at the university clinic.

Veale, on the other hand, is working on a sample of 2277 respondent, gender variant and gender typical, recruited via the internet.

There is still a bias towards white, "western", respondents, but she manages to cover a much wider group of gender variant people, also people who have not and will not seek out gender therapists.

In other words: Veale does to a much larger degree include non-transsexual transgender and crossdreamer people.

Gender Variant

Veale defines gender variant as "a subjective sense of not belonging  completely to the gender of one's birth-assigned sex." 

Note the word "completely". The term gender-variance is used to refer to the behavioral expression of this  identity which could range from occasionally dressing as one's identified gender to  living full-time in this gender. 

She has deliberately chosen to look into biological, psychological and cultural factors that other researchers have argued may influence the development of gender identity.

She explains this in this way:

"Previous research has found that genetics, prenatal hormone exposure, neuroanatomy, handedness and dermatoglyphics  [studies of fingerprints] (proposed to be related to susceptibility to developmental disturbances), fraternal birth order, and abuse are related to gender identity. While a number of investigators have studied these variables individually, the present study is the first know research to examine the inter-relationships between these variables." (p. 2).

Her point is that variations in gender identity and the intensity of alternative gender experiences may be the end result of an interaction between various factors -- genetic, hormonal, psychological and cultural. Moreover one variable might "hide" another influential cause of gender variance.

How to intepret results

When one read studies like this one, it is extremely important to keep in mind that she is writing about statistical aggregates, and not absolutes that apply to all people of a certain category.

May 28, 2013

Jaimie Veale's study of gender variant people throw new light upon crossdreamers

Jaimie Veale believes in the diversity of
humanity (photo from
Extensive study confirms spectrum of gender variance and debunks the autogynephilia theory.

Jaimie Veale is a New Zealand scientist who has spent quite some time on understanding transgender and transsexual conditions, including what I call crossdreamers.

I 2011 she published her doctoral thesis on gender variant identities, a follow up on earlier work that had also discussed Blanchard's autogynephilia theory about birth assigned males who get aroused by the idea of having a woman's body.

In her Master thesis from 2005 she warned strongly against Blanchard's idea of dividing male to female transsexuals into two distinct groups ("autogynephiles" who are attracted to women on the one hand and "homosexual transsexuals" who are attracted to men on the other.).

Her own research supported a model with a wide diversity of gender identity and gender expressions, all with some kind of common core.

Her doctoral thesis efficiently debunks the whole model of Blanchard's. She finds none of the patterns he has projected upon the transgender populations. The sexual orientation of transsexual women (or transgender male bodied persons in general) cannot be used to sort them into two distinct groups with different origins.

Her study is based on a a survey of  of 2277 respondent, gender variant and gender typical, recruited via the internet. This makes it, to my knowledge, the largest survey of this kind, and the fact that she has included non-transsexual transgender persons as well, makes it much more reliable as a source of knowledge about crossdreamers.

By the way, the survey covers both female bodied and male bodied respondents. Later on, I will see if we can use the survey to learn more about female to male crossdreamers.

May 23, 2013

Some good news from the DSM and the Gender Dysphoria working group

There is some cause for transgender celebration
 in the DSM (
The male to female crossdressers and crossdreamers who feel distress from their condition are still to be considered mentally ill by American psychiatry. That is the bad news from the new edition of the DSM-5, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

There is some really good news to be found in there as well, though.

The Gender Dysphoria working group has clearly had wiser leadership than the paraphilia working party of Ray Blanchard.

First: gender dysphoria is no longer called a "disorder". It is no longer considered a mental illness (although it is still included in a manual of mental illnesses).

Secondly: they refuse to give in to the notion that there are two distinct types of transsexuals, where one is perverted and the other is not.

Being -- or having been -- a crossdreamer does not disqualify you from being recognized as transsexual.

I have gotten hold of the "Gender Dysphoria" chapter and this is what it says about crossdreamers (in the text referred to as "an individual with transvestic disorder"):

"An individual with transvestic disorder who has also clinically significant gender dysphoria can be given both diagnoses. In many cases of  late-onset gender dysphoria in gynephilic natal males, transvestic behavior with sexual excitement is a precursor."

It is as if the Gender Dysphoria group has looked at all the pain the paraphilia subworkinggroup will cause transsexuals through their Transvestic Disorder text and decided to do something about it.

"Autoandrophilia" did not make it into the DSM-5

The absurdities of  the DSM continues (stockbyte).
I have had a hard time getting a hold of the relevant texts from the new edition of the American psychiatric manual, the DSM.

So much for democratic transparency.

From what I hear, though, it seems "autoandrophilia" did not make it into the DSM.

Someone within the DSM machinery might have concluded that enough is enough. There is no research underpinning this "disorder", so let's leave it out. That would be the optimistic version of what has happened.

I fear, however, that they all believe that female to male crossdreamers do not exist. Because if they knew the female to male variant existed, it would be close to impossible for them to leave "autogynephilia" and male bodied crossdressers and crossdreamers in the manual.

According to my source the "autogynephilia" term remains under the Transvestic Disorder category.

This means that male bodied crossdreamers who feel distress from their gender variance are considered mentally ill, while female to male crossdreamers and crossdressers are not.

May 19, 2013

Ray Blanchard and the Missing Girlfag (The DSM-5)

Blanchard refuses to let transgender people
out of the DSM (Drawing by Jayna Pavlin)
Ray Blanchard denies the existence of female to male crossdreamers, in spite of including "autoandrophilia" in the DSM-5, and in spite of having described a girlfag in a 1987 paper on transsexual men and women.

Tomorrow the American Psychiatric Association is to publish the fifth edition of the American manual for mental illnesses (DSM-5).

(Update 1: The manual was presented at the APA annual meeting today, but the text has not been published online)

Unless there has been a miracle "autoandrophilia"will be included as a new mental disorder.

"Auotandrophilia" is, as some of my readers will know, Ray Blanchard's term for female bodied persons who get aroused by the idea of being men -- people I call female to male crossdreamers.

Many of them call themselves girlfags. Some, but not all of them, are transsexual. Others, but not all, are crossdressers.

Blanchard refuses to believe in girlfags

In a recent interview Blanchard, who is the leader of the "paraphilia" (perversion) subworkinggroup of the DSM, admits that he had been the one to suggest the inclusion of "autoandrophilia, not because he believes "autoandrophiles" exist, mind you, but because he would like to avoid attacks from feminists.

You read me right. The DSM is going to include a diagnosis for a new mental disorder the leader of the responsible working party, Mr. Blanchard, does not even believe exist.

This is also why he has not presented any scientific research that documents that this "non-condition" is a sexual paraphilia (perversion).

This is a scandal that undermines the legitimacy of the whole DSM-5 enterprise.

Girlfag disbelief

Blanchard's bizarre tactics made one girlfag make the following comment to me in an email:

"First this idiot tells me I am mentally ill. Next he tells me I do not exists. Is this man crazy?"

It would be tempting to include a new disorder for people like Blanchard in the DSM. His obsessive attempts to classify sexual perversions is more than a little disturbing.

However, this is not so much about madness, as it is about a scientific and mental lock-in.

The female to male crossdreamers threaten to undermine his whole autogynephilia vs. homosexual transsexual theory, so he has to deny their existence.

May 9, 2013

New films and music videos about the lives of trans people

I have found myself writing more about transgender film lately.

And while I was working on a review of the Canadian film Laurence Anyways, I got an email from the German Transgender Film Festival,  regarding their award winners of 2013.

This give me an opportunity to present a wide variety of film and music covering the whole spectrum of transgender lives and expressions, male to female and female to male.

There is a lot here that leaves an impression, and you can see for yourself.

I would like to draw attention to one interesting trend: Non-transgender people who use their art to give support to cross-dressers, drag queens and transsexuals.

I can remember one friend telling me once that I could not possible like the Pet Shop Boys, because they were homosexual. It dawned on me that there was a rule in the universe that the gay were given all the good music, probably in compensation for all the other crap they had to go through. Moreover, I learned a valuable lesson about what it means to be a "real man".

Their Winner video has now, finally, given me an explanation for my abnormal enthusiasm for gay electronica.

I am also glad to announce that fellow countryman, Morten Harket from a-ha, has made a video about a crossdresser.

We are moving forward, one step at a time!

May 7, 2013

Misfits: Gender Swap

There are not that many TV episodes and movies out there who depict the sexual aspect of the "what if" scenario of crossdreaming.  This is probably because crossdreamers are invisible in the public debate, or they are classified as weird crossdressers on the one hand and weird/suffering transsexuals on the other.

The two sides of Cutis in Misfits
We are again saved by British television.

Misfits is  series based on the same concept as American TV series like Heros, Alphas and Mutant X, but it is much darker, funnier and explicit in comparison.

The superheroes of Misfits are juvenile delinquents doing community service.

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen the series, you definitely ought to. Note that the following paragraphs include spoilers!

In the episode called Gender Swap, Curtis, who has been banned from organized sports, used his newfound ability to change into a woman to get on the women's track team.

As most often is the case in Misfits, this episode (and the one to follow) breaks a lot of taboos regarding sex and gender, while at the same time delivering a strong message on misogyny and the treatment of women.

I have edited some selected clips from the episodes here for reference:

May 5, 2013

Ray Blanchard lied when including autoandrophilia in the DSM-5 proposal

Cracks appear in Blanchard's facade. 
It turns out it was Ray Blanchard who suggested that "autoandrophilia" should be included in the new edition of the American psychiatric manual, labeling a large number of transsexual men as mentally ill in the process. He now admits that he did so in order to avoid being attacked by feminists. He does not really believe in their existence. 

As some of my readers will remember, the  new proposed version of the DSM-5 include a category called "autoandrophilia" refering to  female bodied persons experiencing sexual arousal when imagining themselves as male.

It now appears it was Dr. Blanchard, the chair of the paraphilia sub-workgroup,  who proposed the inclusion. But he does not believe in it.

Let me quote a recent  interview with Blanchard:

"[Motherboard:] Do you think autoandrophelia, where a woman is aroused by the thought of herself as a man, is a real paraphelia [sic]?

[Blanchard:] No, I proposed it simply in order not to be accused of sexism, because there are all these women who want to say, 'women can rape too, women can be pedophiles too, women can be exhibitionists too.' It’s a perverse expression of feminism, and so, I thought, let me jump the gun on this. I don’t think the phenomenon even exists."

April 29, 2013

Crossdreamers on British TV: Moving On

I love American TV. The arrival of cable has let lose a wave of high quality creativity.  I have found very few empathic presentations of crossdreamers, crossdressers and other transgender peope, though.

Scene from "Dressed to Impress"
The Brits, on the other hand, has produced quite a few episodes giving a more realistic view of what it means to be different, and without the sexist bigotry that often follows.

Cheryl made me aware of Moving On, a British TV series with stand alone episodes, one focusing on the life of a young male to female crossdresser living with his working class parents.

It' s a bit like Crossdreamers meets Eastenders, if you know what I mean.

The story does not give an easy solution to anything. In fact, misunderstandings caused by the boy's crossdressing creates havoc between the parents.

But the BBC has managed to depict the boy with sympathy. Besides, it is good to see a young crossdresser for once, as the actor undermines the standard stereotype of ugly old "autogynephiliacs".

For the time being the full episode is available on YouTube. You can see for yourself.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!