December 23, 2017

What Japanese monkeys can teach you about sex and perversions

We are at the end of the year, and Japanese macaques monkeys have come crossdreamers to the rescue, effectively undermining some 150 years of hard sexological work aimed at separating  good people from the sexual perverts.

Japanese macaque monkey. (Photo: vichie81)

A basic tenet of sexology, especially of the so-called "evolutionary psychology" type, is that sex is for procreation, men are sexual predators who would sleep with anyone anytime to spread their seed, and women are timid and asexual beings, protecting their eggs while waiting for the evolutionary fit Mr. Perfect -- the so-called Alpha Male.

Since these are traits based in biology and nature, the same researchers have also been projecting this ideal on other animals, finding "proof" in studies of chimpanzees, penguins and what not.

This logic has obviously also been used to invalidate gender variant and transgender people, effectively reducing their crossdreaming (i.e. the dream of becoming their target sex) to a misdirected sexual impulse: a fetish and/or a sexual perversion ("paraphilia").

Monkey do

The Japanes macaques have not read the paraphilia memo, because members of one tribe has been found to be using  nearby deers for sexual pleasure. It seems the relationship is consensual. The researchers are not sure what the deer get out of this, but deer who do not like this kind of attention can easily shake the monkeys off. In fact, they have been known to do so.

The researchers explain that the observations were conducted on the two free-ranging groups of Japanese macaques living in the Meiji Memorial Forest of Minoo Quasi-National Park, an unfenced
forested area located on the outskirts of Minoo City, Osaka Prefecture, in central Japan.

This is how the study is presented in scieneese:
This is the first quantitative study of heterospecific sexual behavior between a non-human primate and a non-primate species. We observed multiple occurrences of free-ranging adolescent female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) performing mounts and sexual solicitations toward sika deer (Cervus nippon) at Minoo, central Japan. Our comparative description of monkey-deer versus monkey-monkey interactions supported the “heterospecific sexual behavior” hypothesis: the mounts and demonstrative solicitations performed by adolescent female Japanese macaques toward sika deer were sexual in nature.

November 12, 2017

There are no Normal People

The concept of "normal people" is a threat to all of us, including -- of course -- transgender, non-binary and queer people. 

Time for a closer look!

There are no normal people. Seriously!

If you look at any distribution of human traits, abilities, interests, looks or mannerisms you will probably never find one person that is the average of them all, and if you do, that person is so rare that he or she is abnormal.

The median line in this figure has no width in reality. It is purely a theoretical construct, useful for statistics and research but with no counterpart out in the real world.

Illustration by lamnee.
"But hey, Jack, wait a minute!" you might say. "All of us consider 'normal' to be a broader area than that. Normalcy is rather something like this section of the bell curve."

Sure, but that is also a theoretical construct. In statistics normalcy may be defined as the area between +1 and -1 (the number is not important here, but it equals the marked area in the figure above), equalling 68 percent of a sample. 

Used to measure people, that would make 68% of us normal. 

Men are taller than women, right?  Well, no, not really. My wife and I have visited Asian countries a few times, and Sally can look down at the local men most of the time. This is all relative, really.

As Augustin Fuentes points out in an article over at Psychology Today: If you actually go out and select thousands of individual people at random and just look at their heights in the absence of any other data, you are going to be able to accurately determine their sex by their height alone only about 30 percent of the time.

October 25, 2017

Listen to this podcast about crossdreaming in a relationship

A heads up for a very brave and very interesting podcast from the couple John and Nikki, two podcast publishers who until now have mostly talked about their open relationship.
Photo: Antonio Guillem

The latest episode, however, is about John's crossdreaming and what that has done to both of them.

They cover some of the same ground as I did in my July blog post on Telling Your Girlfriend about Being a Crossdresser or a Crossdreamer.

If you look at this comment to that post,  you will see that Nikki is not the only one who have felt betrayed and hurt, not so much by the crossdreaming itself, as the fact that their partner has kept this part  from them. My wife expressed the same disappointment and hurt when she found out about my transgender side.

I guess the main message from my blogpost and the courageous discussion of John and Nikki, is that openness about this is the only meaningful option in the long run. The female partner should not be left in the dark about this, and -- I speak from my own experience -- the secrecy is also destructive for the crossdreamer.

That being said, it shouldn't be hard to understand why male to female crossdreamers stay in the closet, even vis-a-vis their partners. They are violating one of the strictest taboos in our misogynistic societies: A man that dreams about being a woman is at best weak and pathetic, at worst a sexual pervert. The fear of losing the respect of the loved one is strong. It is, unfortunately, quite realistic as well.

We are facing one of the many negative feedback loops that makes human existence so hard: Stiff necked prejudices stops people from living out their own dreams and potential, and the need to belong to your local community turns us all into cops policing the trespassers. Transgender people are often themselves the best cops, hence the secrecy.

I wish they would stop using the terms "autogynephilia" and "AGP. This is an N word in the transgender community and for very good reasons.

Nikki and John are not transphobic, but the man that coined the term is, and the term itself refers to crossdreaming as a sexual perversion.  The theory itself is extremely bad science. It been thoroughly debunked by people who actually know something about this and who have joined not only the 20th century, but the 21st as well. More about that here.

If embedded player does not work, download the episode here.

September 22, 2017

The LT Story: On How the Medical System Can Be Used To Force Transgender People Back Into The Closet

Illustration photo by Evgenyata Manenko
The medical system continues to be used to invalidate transgender identities and force gender variant people to live up to the expectations of traditional gender roles and identities.  

Here is the story about a member of the Crossdream Life forum, a Portuguese MTF transgender youth, who was committed to a mental hospital by force, most likely for being transgender.

Last fall the Crossdream Life Forum (CDL) got a new member, a Portuguese, 19 year old, male to female transgender.

I always use the term transgender in its wide umbrella sense, indicating some kind of gender variance. As far as I am concerned it is always up to the transgender person to decide what this means as regards gender identity and pronouns. She accepts both female and gender neutral pronouns. She thinks of herself as feminine transgender and non-binary.

Since this article is about a person who is still in a legal conflict with the medical establishment, I am going to refer to her as LT here.

The threat: Hospitalization and anti-psychotic drugs

I had met LT for a couple of times in the CDL chat room. She normally kept herself in the background, but would offer a comment from time to time. I remember I tried to entice her to tell us something more about her, but at the time she preferred not to.

Later on, however, she became more open in the chat room, and in July this year, I got a disturbing personal message from her. A doctor threatened to put her in a mental hospital, planning to give her anti-psychotic drugs.

She told me about parents who did not understand her, and who definitely did not accept her transfeminine nature. LT argued that her parents thought of her as “crazy”. I doubt they used the term in its clinical sense.

September 18, 2017

What Pepsi Cola Can Teach You About Sex and Gender

Pepsi Max promises max masculinity, here symbolized by
three phallic bottles.
Pepsi Max is dying, and Coca Cola Zero is disappearing from our shelves. What is happening in the Cola world and what does it mean for sex, gender and the understanding of transgender lives?

The first time I heard about Pepsi Max was back in 1993. I saw some ads promising "Maximum Taste. No sugar." I remember my first reaction was: Why on earth would someone drink a cola drink that is not sweet?

When I did taste it, in France I believe, I realized it was just another no-calorie soft drink with an artificial sweetener.

It tasted more or less the same as Pepsi Light (Diet Pepsi for Anglo Saxon readers). For all practical purposes it seemed PepsiCo had launched the same drink with a different label.

Defined by the symbols, not the content

I was wrong. The drink might have been the same on the inside, but it was very different on the outside. The cans and bottles  were black, they were masculine and they had the word MAX written on them in glowing, testosterone-boosting, lettering.

Indeed, the advertising gave the same message. This was a calorie free "hard drink" for real men who would not be caught dead with something white and girlie.

It took a loooong time, but Coca Cola eventually got the message, launching Coca Cola Zero in 2005. The cola expert would probably be able to taste the difference between Coca Cola Light/Diet Coke and Coke Zero (given that the two contained different artificial sweeteners in some countries), but most people would find it hard to pass a blind test, in spite of constantly changing formulas.

July 24, 2017

Telling your Girlfriend About Being a Crossdresser or Crossdreamer

Last week I got an email from a male to female crossdreamer and occasional crossdresser who wondered what and how he could tell his girlfriend about his gender variance. 
Illustration: nuravectorgirl

His girlfriend had taken an open approach to his story, but was hesitant about the crossdressing. Now he was looking for ways of explaining his feelings to his girlfriend.

He is using male pronouns.

He also wondered if this crossdreaming would progress into something more, like in wanting to transition and live as a woman. At the moment he expresses no need to transition or dress publicly as a woman.

Here is my reply:

I wish I had a simple answer for you. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) there is so much variation among crossdreamers that it is hard to foresee what is going to happen in the future.

There are, as I see it, two main reasons for this:

1. Gender variance is a continuum, and whatever it is that triggers these dreams and desires come in different forms and intensity.

2. Some crossdreamers are on a journey. They gradually find out that they are somewhere else in that landscape than they originally thought. There is -- for obvious reasons -- a lot of repression going on.

There is a lot of variation among crossdressers and crossdreamers

I our survey of crossdreamers we found that 1/3 reported severe gender dysphoria (in the sense that they could be considered transsexual, and transitioning would be one possible solution).

I reckon that another 1/3 lives in what I have called the twilight zone, being some shade of non-binary or gender queer, while the final 1/3 feel comfortable in their assigned gender and their crossdreaming and crossdressing is more like a trait spicing up their life.

July 19, 2017

The Transgender Clash of Narratives

Much of the conflicts and misunderstandings in the transgender debate seems to be caused by what we can call the clash of transgender narratives. As I see it, they do not have to be in conflict.
Photo: Jupiter Images

The trapped in body narrative

We hear the phrase over and over again: "I feel like a woman trapped in a man's body." "I feel like a woman trapped in a man's body".

For many (but not all) transgender people, the phrase does capture something essential about how they feel about themselves, especially if they are suffering from gender dysphoria, a deep sense of discomfort caused by a mismatch between their assigned gender and the way they feel gender wise.

The narrative is popular among sex and gender researchers steeped in the neurophysiological tradition.

The main explanation given is that during the pre-natal brain development of a fetus it is exposed to an unusual flow of hormones that feminizes the brain of male to female transgender persons and masculinizes the ones of those assigned female.

This model  does leave room for nonbinary persons and those who do not fully identify with one or the other gender, as the exposure to this unusual hormonal mix may vary. However, these people are often ignored in the debate.

The main problem with this narrative is that many of its supporters have a tendency of turning the concept of female or male into a well defined "thing", and that the definition of a woman or a man is reduced to a well defined list of abilities, interests, personality traits and expressions.

May 23, 2017

Masculinity, anime, and autogynephilia

I noticed that some TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) and other anti-trans activist linked to an article by SocialJusticeWizard over at Medium. The author makes some interesting observations about the Japanese fondness of cuteness and crossdreamer fantasies. But since they use the autogynephilia theory to interpret what they see, some of the conclusions are problematic, to say the least.
The extreme feminine cuteness in Japanese anime
might be an effect of forced hypermasculinity, but it
is not the cause of crossdreaming

The idea that porn turns people into crossdreamers is to put the cart in front of the horse, as I see it.

Here's my comment, as published over at Medium:

I do appreciate the effort in trying to understand male to female transgender people who crossdream. I am sure you are right about the feminine cuteness of Japanese popular culture being a hypercorrection to lives imprisoned in masculine hardness.

But the connection to “autogynephilia” is not convincing, and I am saying this as one who has worked with male crossdreamers (people who fantasize about becoming their target gender) for more than ten years.

You are clearly aware of the weakness in your theory yourself:
“I don’t have a straightforward explanation of why this identification also leads to the development of autogynephilia — why the boy begins desiring to be sexually passive and submissive, even becoming ‘pseudo bisexual’ in Blanchard’s terms, when he is originally heterosexual.”
First of all: Most male assigned people do not become crossdreamers. This also applies to those that have repressed their more vulnerable or feminine side to the point you are describing. The great majority of men watch porn. That does not make them crossdreamers. Many men read manga and watch anime. That does not make them crossdreamers.

May 17, 2017

The Kiel Transgender Film Festival 2017 - The Awards

The Kiel Transgender Festival Headquarters
(photo by the festival)
Here are the awards from this year's Transgender Film Festival
in Kiel, Germany.

Movies gives transgender people a human face and makes it harder to turn them into stereotypes.

This applies to all: Those who transition and those who do not. Drag queens and crossdressers. Gender variant kids and those who have lived for a while.

It seems to me this year's transgender film festival in Kiel has managed to capture the breadth of the transgender community.

Best Film of the Year: 

Ekaj by Cati Gonzalez

Best Trans-Performance:

Jonny Beauchamp in Thirsty. 

Elle Fanning in Three Generations 
Thirsty (facebook)

Best Actress (non-tg-role):

Naomi Watts in Three Generations.

Beste Actor (non-tg-role):

Badd Idea in Ekaj.

Best long Documentary:

Lucy by Melinte Reitzema

May 14, 2017

How language makes us shame women, femininity and trans people

Culture's contempt of women and femininity drives many male to female crossdreamers and trans people back into the closet. Bullying and harassment play important roles, but language itself also shapes the way we think about sex and gender.
Woman as vampire (Edvard Munch)

The reason so many seem to despise male to female gender crossings more than the female to male ones, is that being a woman is understood as something negative. Womanhood is associated with weakness, both physical and mental.

To use the terminology of the day: Women are less privileged than men, and the dream of becoming a woman is therefore a sign of some kind of mental desease or madness. A woman striving for masculine interests and expressions, on the other hand, is reaching for greatness.

There is no factual foundation for such misogynistic beliefs, in the sense that biology gives women more or less the same abilities and temperaments as men. To the extent there are differences, they do not influence women’s abilities to take part in modern society negatively. They are as good as men (and even better if we look at the current enrollment in higher education). Still, even seemingly clear headed people fall back into the pool of stereotypes over and over again.

Internalized misogyny

This has obviously a profound effect on male to female gender variant people, from the occasional male to female (MTF) crossdresser to the transgender woman. They all sense that many people look down upon their identities and choices. This is also why so many male to female crossdreamers and transgender people stay in the closet.

Indeed, you will also see that many MTFs themselves share many of these prejudices, as expressed in fantasies, stories and role playing.

April 24, 2017

Tomboy or trans: The main misconceptions in the current transgender debate

On April 18 Lisa Selin Davis published an article in the New York Times called My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy.  She was clearly annoyed with the fact that some people think of her gender-nonconforming kid as transgender. Davis believes that her child is just that: non-conforming when it comes to gender roles.
Photo: Digital Vision

I have included some links to the following debate below.

Needless to say, TERFs and other transphobes have tried to use this article to argue that transgender activists are trying to turn perfectly normal cis kids into trans kids, and even entice them into transitioning.

There are even arguments about being trans becoming "trendy", which -- given the 40 percent attempted suicide rate among trans people -- is both stupid and insulting.

There are three fundamental misconceptions that drive this debate.

Transgender is not the same as transsexual

Davis and others seem to believe that the word transgender means transsexual, in the sense that a transgender person wants to -- or should -- transition and live as their target sex.

This is not what transgender means. Transgender is an umbrella term for all types of gender variance and have been so since the early 1990s. A tomboy (a girl that expresses stereotypical masculine traits or interests) is transgender by this definition.

April 23, 2017

The Directory of Crossdreamer and Transgender Resources

The word of crossdreaming and gender variance has gotten its new directory.
(Photo: Patrick Milo)

I find it hard to believe myself, but I have been working on this blog for over eight years now. That inevitably means that there are posts and pages here that no longer deliver in the way I want them to.

There are, for instance, a lot of resource pages here, pages that were set up to help people find relevant information online about crossdreaming, "autogynephilia" and transgender issues. The main page had become too long and unruly.

So today I have divided it up into several directory sub-pages. This adds a click to the process of finding information, but it makes it easier to find relevant items under each category.

Articles on gender, gender variance and crossdreaming

Resource sites on gender variance and crossdreaming

AGP Debate:  articles, papers and sites covering the controversial autogynephilia theory

Books on crossdreaming, gender identity and trans sexuality

Science: Scientific papers on gender variance and crossdreaming

Forums: Organizations and online discussion forums

Blogroll:  Blogs and personal sites on crossdreaming and gender variance

Transgender Dictionary

Essential Posts

My next task will be to go through all listings and see if some links have gone stale.

If you know of articles, sites or resources that are not there, but should have been, add a comment to this post!

April 2, 2017

Transgender on tumblr, stories beyond crossdreaming

From blog post on Casa Susanna, a 1950s Trans Hideaway
Some of you will know that my wife and I have trans blogs on tumblr. These are more for quick references to recent transgender news and articles, plus from reblogging relevant blog post on gender variance.

The blogs are actually quite popular. Trans Express  and Sally's LGBT blog have 10,000 followers combined.

Here are some blog posts that might interest you:

One in Every 137 Teenagers Would Identify as Transgender, Report Says
Older people have been suppressing gender variance in themselves and others for years. The new generations are much more open about this. The new numbers tells us that the percentage of people who are trans have been severely underestimated.

The real cause for bathroom hysteria
is the fear or the unknown or -- in other cases -- the need for a scapegoat that can carry your own undigested frustrations.

See also Three myths in the bathroom debate.

March 15, 2017

Women Who Love Cars, Also Known as Autogynephilia

This New York Times article (which arrived in our office through a worm hole from a parallel world uncannily like our own) covers the autogynephilia theory of sexual attraction. Be ready for a bumpy ride!
Anne loves her sports car. Photo: Jupiter Images

There has been a lot of discussions lately about Ray Blanchard's controversial autogynephilia theory.

This is most likely caused by the fact that both right and left wing extremists have found that his theory can be used to attack a particular group of women.

Autogynephilia is Greek, made from the words for "self-propelling" (auto), "woman" (gyne) and "love" (philia) . In other words: Women who love cars.

A typical "autogynephiliac" would be Anne, a university professor who told us that she loves driving around in the city in her red sports car:

"I feel powerful and sexy. The car is like an extension of myself. It expresses my true self," she tells the New York Times

Rosita, a 35 year old Latina nurse living in San Diego puts it this way:

"I want a 1967 Ford Mustang. I want to feel it roaring under me. I want its beauty, its strength, its speed!"

Inside the mind of Ray Blanchard

Ray Blanchard, who is a traditionalist evolutionary psychologists, argues that autogynephilia is a paraphilia (a sexual perversion). The autogynephile women are suffering from a so-called "erotic target location error", as they -- according to him -- love cars more than men.

February 24, 2017

How Many Transgender People are There, Really?

The number of transgender people has been
seriously underestimated (photo: Llewellyn Chin)

There are more transgender people around than most think.

The New York Times reports that:
Nearly 150,000 American teenagers from 13 to 17 years old — or one out of every 137 — would identify as transgender if survey takers asked, according to an analysis of state and federal data that offers an answer to a question that has long eluded researchers
In addition to an estimated 149,750 transgender teenagers nationwide, accounting for 0.7 percent of the population ages 13 to 17, the Williams Institute Study estimates that there are 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States (some 0.6 percent).

The number of those who have transitioned is much smaller than the number of trans people

I am convinced all many of the studies on the number of transgender people (in the broad umbrella sense of the term) seriously underestimate the percentage of the population who are some kind of gender variant, and that this even applies to this new study.

One of the reason is that so many of the statistics are based on respondents that have already been involved with the health system. That is an extreme selection bias.

The other one is that they tend to conflate the word transgender with transsexual (someone who would like to or have transitioned) or gender dysphoric, numbers that do not catch those who are neither, or those who are living in denial or cannot go down that road for other reasons. Lynn Conway makes a good case for the higher estimate.

Some interesting web site statistics

I have no way of giving a correct estimate of much larger number of MTF transgender, but I got access to some really interesting web statistics from a person running a transgender caption/fiction site (mostly erotica), targeting male to female crossdreamers. The site had 1.6 million unique visitors every year. And this was not one of the biggest sites of this kind.

The great majority of visitors to such English language sites are American. So if we say that some 1.2 million of these visitors were from the US, and we count in the fact that a lot of transgender people are not into this kind of erotica, and that there are others who live in the kind of denial that stops them from finding such sites, wouldn't it be reasonable to believe that there might be as many as 5 til 10 million male to female transgender/gender variant people in the US alone?

Given that there are some 150 million people assigned male in the US, and that some of them are kids, that would leave us with a percentage closer to 5 than to 1.

And yes, I belong to those who believe that an erotic interest in crossing genders is a clear a sign of being some shade of transgender, in the wide umbrella meaning of the word. If you are gender variant, that will also affect your erotic fantasies.

Mine is no way a scientific number, but it makes me keep my mind open to the idea that being transgender -- in the wide sense of the term -- is much more common than most believe.

There are probably as many FTM as MTF transgender people

I do not think there is any reason to believe that there are fewer transgender people among female assigned transgender people.

I realize that this is often explained by the traditional idea that female biologically speaking is the default, and that male is caused by the addition of male hormones in the womb, but it seems to me that these days biologists are leaving such a simplistic model behind.

I suspect that the fact that fewer FTM transgender people are reported is caused by a combination of several factors: Cultural, in the sense that those assigned female can more easily express masculine behavior without being labelled as a sexual pervert. Until recently female to male transgender people were also less visible in the media and elsewhere. They had fewer role models, which made it harder for them to explore their identity. This is definitely changing now, as more trans men are coming out. There is also a medical side to this, in the sense that until recently it was harder to envisage transitioning with bottom surgery for those assigned female.

The narrow approach of the Williams Study

By the way, the Williams Study, which is based on data from the nation wide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), reflects a relatively narrow understanding of the term transgender.

The respondents were asked:
Do you consider yourself to be transgender?
The first question may lead to many interpretations, and it is hard to see what the respondent is actually responding to (transgender as in transsexual or transgender as in gender variant).

If the respondent answered yes, they were asked:
Do you consider yourself to be male-to-female, female-to-male, or gender non-conforming?
The second question widens the scope explicitly, including gender non-conforming (and non-binary identities, I would surmise). Still, if they had interpreted the term transgender to mean transsexual, in the classic sense, they would not have seen this question.

If the interviewer was asked for a definition of transgender, the interviewer responded:
“Some people describe themselves as transgender when they experience a different gender identity from their sex at birth. For example, a person born into a male body, but who feels female or lives as a woman would be transgender. Some transgender people change their physical appearance so that it matches their internal gender identity. Some transgender people take hormones and some have surgery. A transgender person may be of any sexual orientation – straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”
The definition seems to go back to a more traditional, binary, understanding of transgender, which again will influence the responses.

The analysis is an extrapolation based on adult responses to a federal survey. Given that the data is based on responses from adults (who are more likely to think of trans as "transsexual") as well as young people, I suspect this confusion has led the researchers to underestimate the number of trans youth in the US.

This blog post is partly based on an entry in a Crossdream Life discussion.

February 20, 2017

Interview with a Love Shy Crossdreamer

Last year I was contacted by a young male to female crossdreamer from Britian, who wanted to ask me some questions about how to cope with being gender variant. The conversation ended with me asking her a few questions. 
Photo: Hramovnick

(I am using female pronouns on her request).

The more I learn about crossdreamers, the more I realize that this is a diverse group of people. That is: You cannot make up a profile that fits all crossdreamers, in the same way there is no pattern of personality that fits all women or all men, all Europeans or all Asians.

(This also means, of course, that crossdreaming most likely is not the end result of one particular type of psychological event.)

Still  some crossdreamers have more in common than others. Some, for instance, tackle their gender variance by isolating themselves socially.

Q: We have been chatting a bit about crossdreaming and loneliness over at facebook, and I would love to share some of your reflections with my readers. Could you say a few words about where you stand today?

Jennifer replied:
"I live at home with my parents and I work, I really want to cross dress and find someone who truly gets me but I'm worried about being mocked etc."
And that sentence sums up, as we will see,  Jennifer's major challenge quite nicely.

Q: I know that for you crossdressing has been one way of expressing "your other side". Could you say some more about what role crossdressing plays in your life?

Jennifer tells me that for her crossdressing has been an important outlet for crossdreamer feelings:
"Cross dressing helps me be the real me or Jennifer as I've come to know myself. It's like I hear her calling me to express who I really am and I love it, I need it."

February 11, 2017

Waking Up the Anima – Jung Applied to Transgender Women

Guest writer Jocelyn Muchilinski takes a new approach to using Jung's theory of the subconscious to explain transgender experiences.  

The anima represents the female
side of the male psyche
Painting by Indra Grušaitė 
Guest Post by Jocelyn Muchlinski

The Anima and the Animus

Carl Jung introduced a new vocabulary into psychology. Among the most important words in this vocabulary are anima, animus, and projection.

In this essay, I will commandeer these words and twist them to suit my meanings. Perhaps Jung will forgive me for perverting his language so freely.

The anima is the female soul in every human. The animus is the male soul.

I want to encourage readers to understand the anima and animus as two entirely different people living in the same body. I also want to suggest that the animus, in cisgender men, is one and the same with the man himself.

That is to say, the animus has the reigns of the ego. The animus is expressed and brought to life in the words, thoughts, and actions of the man. The anima, on the other hand, gains life by projecting itself onto female figures in the man’s life.

In this way, both anima and animus take an essential and substantial role in the life of the cisgender man.

Conversely, the anima is the soul and person of the cisgender woman. This woman, who is the anima incarnate, experiences her animus by projecting it onto male figures in her life. Projection of anima and animus occurs naturally first on the parents of a child.

Thus, for a boy, his first experience of his own anima is vis-à-vis his mother. For a girl, she sees her own animus—her male soul—in her father.

February 8, 2017

If There Was a Magic Pill

I got permission to publish this crossdreamer poem by Marion Raven Thorsdottir.

If there was a magic pill
Female Thor (Marvel)
That could make this innate urge go away
None of us would be here today
Why is it like this?
Because a society through its infinite
jurassic way of thinking
Has glorified war, violence, militarism
Scoffed at the moon Luna
The softness, the sway 
of the feminine wave
The life giving wave of of Yin
How much has changed
Our existence is no longer a sin
As if it ever were
how much things still are the same
None places either of us could go to
If presenting as we are today

With long standing internal strife
Hours, days, weeks, months, years on end
hoardings and Urges,
Anxiety and purges
Pain and pleasure all mixed together
Self imposed feelings of shame
Until some day
Finding that we are not alone
Listen to the ancient wisdom of the past
From places and cultures
Uninfested by fantasy fairy tales
Imposed on the world
Through conquest and war
Proclaimed as eternal Truths
How wrong they were
How wrong they are
Listen to the voices and signs from times
Before patriarchy replaced matriarchy
Where two spirits were respected
Feared and revered 
Listen to the water, listen to the wind
Also our voices of wisdom will be heard at last
As I take mine from the delicate storms of thunder

Is there a way 
Out of this rabbit hole?

February 3, 2017

On cooties and the gender binary

Illustration: DmitryMo
This week I published a short post over at my tumblr blog called "How to avoid transgender and gay cooties". This led to a couple of questions in the line of "What on God's earth is a cootie?" 

The cootie phenomenon does actually say a lot about gender and socialization.

I'll come back to that. But first, here is what I wrote:

How to avoid transgender and gay cooties
"We are all aware of the increasing problem of transgender and homosexual cooties.

A perfectly straight white man may enter a restroom and find himself in the company of a gay man. Before you know it the straight man starts singing songs from Broadway musicals, while growing a mustache. The two of them don’t even have to touch each other!
Transgender cooties are even more devious. A transgender person enters the women’s bathroom and soon all the women in that room have got trans cooties. They start dreaming about climbing trees, having independent careers and wearing jeans and leather jackets.

Fortunately there is a way of avoiding the cooties. Don’t think about them!

The fact is that you have shared a bathroom with both homosexual and transgender people many, many, times already, but you did not know they were gay, lesbian or trans. You did not think about it, so you did not catch the LGBT cooties.
Don’t think about LGBT cooties and you will be OK!"
"Cooties" is a term used by children. The Urban dictionary defines it this way:
When children reach the age where they notice the sexes are different the children claim a member of the opposite opposite sex will give you "cooties" if they touch you. 
In Norway the terms are "jentelus" ("girls' lice") and "guttelus" ("boys' lice"). If a girl touches a boy, the rest of the kids will cry out: "She touched you! She touched you! You got  girl's lice!" Or something to that effect.

January 24, 2017

No, trans women are not men and trans men are not women

You meet them online, you meet them in various social settings: The people who think that gender is so simple that it is only a matter of what’s between your legs. Here is my response to one such individual.
Photo: Visivasnc
 “Transwomen are male, Transmen are female, there is nothing wrong with that fact at all.”
I hear this argument over and over again: "Men are men, and women are women. It is simple!"
No, this is not simple.
In this context I normally hear one of three explanations for what male and female are:
1. It is about genitalia -- taken as a sign of biological sex.
(The reality is much more complex, by the way. Many are born with ambiguous genitalia)
2.. It is about chromosomes -- XX is female, XY is male.
(This is not true either, there are intersex XX males and XY females who live as -- and identify with -- their assigned gender).
3. It is all about upbringing and socialization 
(Nope: The fundamental gender identity rarely changes even if you are raised as the opposite sex.)
Transgender feelings are real, regardless of what is causing them
In spite of genitalia, chromosomes and upbringing. In spite of a culture that harasses and ridicules gender variance (and in particular femininity and female identities in those assigned male). In spite of societies that reward men richly for playing the manly game: There they are, trans people who dream, long and desperately need to live their lives as the gender they feel they are. 
They did not ask for this mismatch. Most of them would give a lot not to feel this way. But they do and it does not go away.  For many of them this is a matter of life and death. The attempted suicide rate among transgender people is 40 percent. You do not try to kill yourself unless you are experiencing something very, very real.
In other words: The very existence of transgender men and women, the very people you try to invalidate, proves that you are wrong.

January 18, 2017

Yes, I'm Barbara

I asked Barbara over at Crossdream Life for permission to republish a version of a blog post she wrote for her own Crossdream Life blog (which is restricted to CDL members). It is a poetic presentation of a psychological breakthrough as regards gender and gender identity. This is not uncommon among transgender people, although the way this takes place may vary a lot. Barbara is a male to female crossdreamer.
Sometimes transgender doubts may be resolved by
a psychological breakthrough. (Illustration: sezer66)

Guest post by Barbara

It started with innocent restless obsession with all the things gender :) Old beliefs about two-spirited people were shaken, new ideas were written on the water, I was consuming page after page of  information in the vain hope of reaching the unreachable.

All this was be accompanied by one single black metal band: Mgła. Their great albums were the only music that I could stand. Excellent melodies, dark atmosphere and nihilistic lyrics; this combination was exactly right. A good dose of nihilism was a good thing; 

If I were to come to some conclusion, it had better not be an artificial construct, not a made-up position. So aggressively questioning everything except feelings was a right thing to do. Day after day tension built, thoughts buzzed in my head like a swarm of locusts.

The main question was: Who am I? Am I two-spirited? Am I female? Or is it all is made up and I just have a fetish (I’m a fetish, how funny)?

Is that true, that female part of me, or is it a defensive construct? What if the male part of me is an artificial construct? (Giggles) It feels like a right thought. What am I wearing? Male clothes? But why? Am I a female to male crossdresser? (more giggles) Ok, I’m not bad at passing as male (Did I say that aloud?) 

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!