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 (photos.com)
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.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!