December 2, 2018

Crossdresser, Transgender, Bigender: In Search of an Explanation

A gender variant person explores their gender identity, their sexuality and what has made them who they are, with a special emphasis on being bigender.

By Guest Author Jemimah/Jeremy

Recently I bought my first reasonably lifelike wig. This, together with some good concealer I bought a little earlier, are my first steps towards creating an ‘en femme’ persona which is not laughable. Good – but is it taking me into a different world.

Two or three years ago, when I first realised that I was at least attracted by the idea of crossdressing, I wrote a rather wild note entitled ‘why me, why now’.

I now feel the need to do something more rational and try to work over the ideas which relate to where I am – which I think for the moment is bigender. Lots of wandering the web and reading books has provided lots of theories and opinions and probably most of it is covered somewhere on the Crossdreamers web site but I wanted to work it out myself.

Brain types

Also I wanted my understanding to be based on academic, or at least unemotional, sources.

November 27, 2018

Identifying people by their genitals is not science

Dr. Ketil Slagstad, the editor of the leading Norwegian medical journal – The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association gives a good summary of current research on sex and gender in the latest edition.

“Biologically speaking, we all fall somewhere along a spectrum of sexes, of which male and female represent the extreme ends,” he writes and gives succinct summary of the current research front.

“ increasing amount of knowledge is available with regard to the biological complexity of sex, and proof that the binary sex model finds no support in biology.”

Old men fighting for an old world order

He strongly criticizes  the current attacks against intersex and transgender people:

"The pattern is one of ageing, authoritarian, heterosexual men discriminating against minorities in a wish to appease their voters. There is no room in their world view for the human complexity that actually characterises the societies they are elected to govern; but the ideas of purity that are partly rooted in national conservatism and partly in religious fundamentalism are not echoed by science.“

Indeed, the current backlash against transgender people is partly caused by cynical politicians and religious leaders who are using people's fear of the unknown to forward their own interests.

September 18, 2018

The suicide rate among FTM transgender youth is much higher than among MTF teenagers. Why?

Here is an article that has made me rethink certain preconceptions about female to male transgender people: "Half Of Transgender Teen Boys Have Attempted Suicide, According To A New Study"

The study, made at the University of Arizona,  says that about 50% of transgender teen boys have attempted suicide at some point in their lifetime. The similar number for transgender teen girls is 29.9 percent and for non-binary youth 41.8 percent.

In comparison, 17.6% of cisgender females and 9.8% of cisgender males had attempted suicide.
Chaz Bono is one of the few truly visible transgender men in the media. Photo: Gage Skidmore.
I must admit that I would have guessed that the attempted suicide rate would have been just as high among male to female transgender youth, as the misogynistic stigma attached to femininity would make the social pressure they face worse.

August 24, 2018

10 years with Crossdreamers!

The Crossdreamers blog was founded 10 years ago this day. Here's to the next 10!

The first post on this blog was posted on August 24 2008.  The first few paragraphs were:
There are a large number of men out there that have secret dreams about how it would be like to be a woman. 
I am not only talking about the visible ones, the cross-dressers and the transsexuals who have become public figures. 
No, I am also talking about what appears to be "ordinary men", with no immediate plans for sex reassignment surgery or hormone treatments, but who nevertheless harbors feelings that many will find strange and hard to understand.
I promised to  "test any scientific, psychological, religious or philosophical theory that might throw light upon the subject, how far fetched they may be," as well as presenting the thoughts and fantasies of those I later came to call crossdreamers.

And so I did.


At its birth the blog was called "Confessions of an Autogynephiliac." A leading American transgender activist told me that the name was bad on at least two levels:  The word "confession" implied guilt, and the word "autogynephiliac" implied support to Ray Blanchards invalidating autogynephilia theory. She was right on both counts.

I had from the very start been very critical of Blanchard's theory, but reckoned that since this was the term people like me would use when searching the internet, it made sense to include it in the title.

I soon realized, however, that the term could not be salvaged or "appropriated" by the transgender community. Sure, it was very important to write about such erotic fantasies, as ignoring  them had caused so much suffering among gender variant people, but the term itself referred to Blanchard's unfounded and misleading explanation for the phenomenon, so it had to go.

August 19, 2018

Incels, Crossdreamers and Transgender Women

Natalie Wynn, also known as ContraPoints, has posted an interesting video about the relationship between incel culture and the way some crossdreamers and transgender people experience their lives.
Natalie Wynn, AKA ContraPoints

Unless you have been living under a cosy and warm rock for the last few years, you will know that incels, or "involuntary celibates", represents a sub-culture of seriously depressed and self-loathing men who think they are  inevitable losers in the game of love.

They think of themselves  as unattractive and pathetic "betas" who cannot beat the alpha-males regardless of much they try.

This is mostly because feminism has given women too much power, they say. The women can now go for the alpha-males, all the time. And if a woman does marry a "loser," she will always cheat on him with the mentioned alpha "Chad".

The return of skull measurements

All of this despair is sometimes mixed up with a pseudo-scientific philosophy based on old-fashioned phrenology and eugenics, where the shape of your skull tells you whether you are a winner or not.

The idea is that women are attracted to hypermasculine men with hypermasculine skulls. This understanding is based, I  suppose, on quasi-Darwinistic theories where masculine looks signal that the man is a protector with good genes. You know, in the way the male with the biggest tail is the coolest dude on the block in the world of peacocks.

This leads to a psychological no-win situation for those who believe they have a feminine, weak, skull. If this is the case, there seems to be literally nothing you can do to find true love and happiness. Your inferiority is inborn. End of story.

August 5, 2018

On lesbians, transgender people and feminism

Here is another question I got over at tumblr:
What definition of "lesbian" and "feminist" does this blog use? I appreciate that male-inclusionists use the term egalitarian for themselves. Why use feminist for yourselves when you support gender essentialism and refuse to acknowledge sex-based oppression?
Yes, I know, this is most likely a trans-exclusionary "radical feminist" trying to get me to show the world that I am misogynistic anti-feminist. But I cannot let an opportunity like this get wasted.  Here is my reply:

What is a lesbian?

A lesbian is normally defined as a homosexual woman, meaning that she is sexually attracted to people of her own gender. I believe that sexual orientation can often be more fluid than the binary this concept grows out of allows for, but for many this represents a perfect description of their sexuality.


A feminist is a person who supports feminism. As I see it, feminism should at least include the following:

1. A clear understanding of how our societies (which are dominated by men and the Patriarchy) stop women from from achieving equals status to men as regards real power and influence, employment and salaries, legal framework, social welfare and services, as well as personal respect and validation. Moreover, feminism will have to include political means by which to change this.

But that is not enough. The oppression of women is so effective, because it is part of our language, the mental maps we use to navigate the world, and our institutions. This explains why women sometimes are as strong supporters of the status quo as men are (as in women voting for Trump and Putin).

Therefore feminism must include:

2. The goal of replacing the Patriarchy with a new understanding of biological sex, sexuality and cultural gender where men, women and non-binary people are understood as equals – politically, socially, and culturally. This is a society where being a man is no longer understood to be the default norm for being human, and where men no longer dominate.

Biological sex should be irrelevant. Sexual orientation should be irrelevant. Gender identity should be irrelevant. Everyone should be seen as human first, anything else second. But we are definitely not there yet. I live in a country where the three most powerful politicians are women, but where women continues to be belittled, ignored, dismissed and harassed because they are women.

August 2, 2018

What about non- and detransitioning transgender people?

I got the following anonymous question over at tumblr:

Why do you invalidate and devalue the experiences of detransitioners? Stop talking over them just bc they make you feel threatened. They're actually very lovely and they send an important message that we need to explore other options for dysphoria management. What about trans ppl with chronic illnesses that can't do HRT? They need our support but we just ignore them.

Here is my answer:

I do not devalue the experiences of detransitioners, nor do I feel threatened by them.

I have underlined repeatedly that the complexity and diversity of sex and gender lead to difficult choices for many transgender people (and I am using the word transgender in its wide “umbrella” sense here).

People with gender dysphoria may chose not to transition for many different and legitimate choices. I am a gender dysphoric transgender person and I have not transitioned.

Given the rampant transphobia and homophobia in our societies, I am also not surprised see that some who have transitioned find living and presenting as their target sex difficult, and detransition for that and other reasons.

Regretters used in anti-trans propaganda

However, right now the very existence of “regretters” is used by transphobic TERFs and right wing fundamentalists to invalidate the identities of all transgender people.

The argument is that if some are detransitioning, all those who transition are “fake” and that transitioning is a recipe for mental illness and suffering. This is why I over and over again underline the following:

1. Only a small minority of those who transition regret doing so (between 0.6 and 4 percent according to the studies I have read).

2. The great majority of those who transition report a much higher quality of life and health after transitioning. While the attempted suicide rate among all transgender people is around 40%, the similar rate for those that have transition is more or less the same as the general population.

I say this not in order to devalue the experience of detransitioners, but to ensure that their very existence is not not used to undermine the legitimacy of transitioning as an essential  tool in transgender health care.

July 24, 2018

Transphobic propaganda and the myths of desistance and regret

The great majority of transitioning trans people do not regret their decision to live as their true gender.

It is interesting to see how transphobic, lesbian,  "radical feminists" (TERFs) use the exact same arguments that were used to invalidate and marginalize lesbians. 

The most common one was that homosexuality was an acquired sexual perversion caused by the propaganda of the homosexual movement. If you could protect children from the gay movement, there would not be any lesbians.

This is obviously the same argument that is used today to stop lesbians from adopting children. Lesbian parenting is unnatural, will hurt the children and make them gay and so on and so forth.

The desitance-argument

The desistance-argument forms the foundation of the TERF argument against the the identity of transgender people. Since so many gender variant people, in the end, do not chose to transition, the TERFs assume that none of them are really of the gender they claim to be.  They have been duped by trans activists.

This is a completely misleading reading of the research available, as it mixes up gender nonconformity with gender identity. 

Variation in gender expression is used as a way of exploring both identity and sexuality among straight, gay and queer people. You will find “butch”, “femme” and “androgynous” people among all of them. 

The majority of these people are not gender dysphoric. They do not experience a severe misalignment between their gender identity and their assigned gender, or between mind and body. They simply express masculinity, femininity or any other aspect of cultural gender in a way that feels right for them.

June 24, 2018

Interesting video sums up research on male and female brains

Below I have embedded a great video from SciShow Psych on the differences between female and male brain. I recommend it because Hank Green and colleagues have clearly read most of the relevant literature in the field.

The conclusion they come to is that although you may measure differences between the two biological sexes brain wise, it is unclear whether these differences have anything to say with men and women’s abilities, interests, or behavior.

It is also clear that if there are any clear differences, they are normally very small and only make sense on an aggregate level. That is: The individual male and female brains always display a mix of “femaleish” and “maleish” traits.

Hank Green does not discuss research into the brains of transgender people in this video. What his presentation tells us, however, is that it makes little sense to say that a trans woman is a woman because she has a “perfect female brain”. Given that there is so much variation between men and between women in this respect (a woman may have a brain that looks similar to the average “male brain” and still identify as a woman), being close to the female average neither confirms or invalidates her gender identity.

June 21, 2018

Does the WHO ICD-11 Manual Erase Transgender and Non-binary Identities?

In the new WHO ICD-11 manual the only condition described is gender incongruence. Does this mean that transgender people who are not suffering from this kind of misalignment between experienced and assigned gender will be denied the help they need?
The new edition of the health manual of the World Health Organization no longer considers being transgender a mental illness. Stigmatizing diagnoses like "transvestic fetishism" have been removed.

After my positive review of the treatment of gender incongruence in the new edition of the international WHO health manual, I got an email from one concerned non-binary reader who pointed out that since gender incongruence  – i.e. the experience of a deep mismatch between the experienced gender and assigned gender – is the only symptom of being transgender included in the manual, the medical profession may ignore the suffering experienced by other transgender and non-binary people.

They  argued that the medical gatekeepers may even use the manual to erase other parts of the transgender spectrum, leaving us with what was once called "the classic transsexual" (i.e. those that are able to live up to the "trapped in the wrong body" narrative) as the only "real" transgender people.

They also argued that given the gender stereotypes listed under the gender incongruence in childhood definition, this may even lead to continuation of a system that forces transgender people to live up to the stereotypes.

The threat of a binary backlash

You are not paranoid when they are out to get you, so do understand what this reader is getting at.

Transgender separatists ("HBS", "truscum" or "transmedicalists") may try to use this new edition to argue that they are the only real transgender, that there is no spectrum and that other transgender people should stop calling themselves transgender.

June 19, 2018

The WHO ICD-11 health manual removes transvestic fetishism. Being trans is no longer a mental illness.

Yesterday the World Health Organization released the new version of its International Classification of Diseases, the ICD-11. The new edition brings some very good news to transgender people.
Being transgender is no longer considered a mental illness by the international medical community (Photo: Wavebreakmedia)
"Transvestic fetishism" is no longer included

First of all, the diagnoses of "transvestic fetishism" and "dual-role transvestism" are no longer included.

Several countries, including the Nordic ones, have already removed the transvestic fetishims of the list of "paraphilias" from their national versions of the ICD-10 , arguing that crossdressing is just an unharmful expression of gender variance, and that including it in the manual causes needless stigmatization and suffering.

According to the WHO crossdressing and crossdreaming are no longer considered  mental illnesses.

Being transsexual is no longer a mental illness

Furthermore, being transsexual (in the sense of suffering from a mismatch between your biological sex and/or expected gender role and your experienced identity) is no longer classified as a mental illness, either.

April 25, 2018

No, this blog is not telling transgender people that they should not transition

A recent reddit-discussion indicates that some trans people have interpreted this blog to mean that crossdreamers are not gender dysphoric and that they do not have to transition. 

For  a couple of years now I have experienced som rather nasty attacks over at the reddit transgender subreddit.

The comments themselves have never been very clear about what it is that causes this animosity.  I have suspected the attackers have been truscum or transgender separatists who hate the idea of "real transgender people" having anything in common with "transvestites" and "fetishists".

That may still be true, but a recent discussion over at the forum indicates that there is something more. Some of them clearly blames me for having put their transitioning process on hold.

I wish there was simple test to determine if you should transition,  but there isn't. Photo: natasaadzic
One participant, Denika Mae, put it this way:
It has been 4 years since I've been on your site. Up until the point I had to come out, I absolutely used your site and essays to believe I wasn't "That kind of trans person" in relation to needing to transition, and that normal people live with these feelings every day until I was suicidal. 
You can't control what people do with the stuff you put out there, so I can't blame you for that, but your rhetoric is responsible for giving me excuses to delude myself for years until I was in a very dangerous emotional place, and couldn't lie to myself anymore. In fact, the only sites that've done me more of a disservice are the COGIATI test site and the old sites for WPATH and Benjiman protocols. 
I take this very seriously, as my goal with my blogs have been very much the opposite: To give closeted transgender women and men the language and facts needed to determine for themselves.

Here is my reply:

"I am truly surprised that people may read my site to mean that gender dysphoric transgender people should not transition.

April 17, 2018

"Transvestism" is on its way out of the WHO health manual, but its makers leave a loophole for further invalidation of transgender people

It seems the WHO health manual, the ICD-11, will remove the "fetishistic transvestism" diagnosis from the chapter on paraphilias. This is good new for the transgender community, as is the fact that being transgender is no longer considered a mental disorder. Unfortunately the current text proposal may still be used to reduce a transgender identity to a paraphilia.
The new medical manual from WHO removes the "fetishistic transvestism" diagnosis, which is great. Unfortunately, its makers still seem to think there is a clear divide between crossdressers and those suffering from what it calls gender incongruence. (Photo: Creatista)

Transvestism is out

As I have reported before, it is now pretty certain that "Fetishistic Transvestism" will to be removed from the paraphilia chapter of the international WHO health manual, the ICD-11 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 11th Revision).

Richard Krueger, Geoffrey M. Reed, Michael B. First and Peer Briken, members of the ICD The Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health (WGCSDSH), put it this way:

March 28, 2018

What Transphobic Norwegian Doctors can Teach Us about the Diversity of Transgender People

The major Norwegian clinic for transgender people is run by  doctors who are invalidating large sections of the transgender community. This  tells us a lot about how old stereotypes and prejudices among  gate keepers can ruin the lives of young trans people.

You'd better live up to the stereotypes if you want to get help from the transgender university clinic in Oslo. Photo: olgakr.
A progressive country...

As a Norwegian I am happy to say that we have some of the most liberal gender identity laws in the world. A trans person who wants to get legally recognized as their true gender, fills in an online form,  and that is all there is to it. There are no gate keepers in the legal sphere.

Morevoer, "transvestism" has been removed from the Norwegian version of the international medical manual, the ICD-10, and is no longer considered a mental illness. The same applies to being transgender in general.

...with a reactionary trans clinic

But getting your true gender legally recognized does not necessarily get you the medical assistance you need.  The National Treatment Unit for Transsexualism (Nasjonal behandlingstjeneste for transseksualisme, NBTS) at The University Hospital of Oslo has controls people's access to  surgery and does so in a very restrictive way.

I know of many trans people who have been denied any kind of help if they have admitted to erotic crossdreaming fantasies, for instance, or if they have not lived up to gender stereotypes as regards dress code, interests and mannerisms.

In the end it got so bad that Amnesty International got involved, arguing that the whole policy was in violation of trans peoples' human rights. (I have written more about this here.) 

A white paper has proposed a whole new regime, basically arguing that more clinics should provide services of this kind, in that way removing some of the power The National Treatment Unit for Transsexualism  has today.

Doctors show their true face

That has turned out to be a very wise recommendation, indeed. In a recent article in the major Oslo newspaper Aftenposten, leaders of the NBTS express opinions that are undeniably transphobic.
Among traditionalists Jazz Jennings is the perfect
transgender girl. God bless Jazz Jennings, but
the fact is that a large number of trans kids
are forced to hide who they are. 

The arguments they use to invalidate trans people are the  ones readers of this blog will know far too well:

Trans people who come out during puberty or later, and who do not visibly express their true gender through gender stereotypes throughout childhood, are not considered the right kind of transgender.

Anne Wæhre og Kim Alexander Tønseth from NBTS address the minister of health, Bent Høie, in their article, arguing that his liberal policy for transgender people has backfired.

The recent upsurge in young people approaching the clinic is, as they see it, the result of a "misguided and misplaced kindness mixed with minority activism and professional conflicts."

On why some trans people do not come out until after puberty

The main reason for why some transgender people do not seek help until after puberty is found in social repression and stigmatization.
According to conservative gate keepers real
transgender people come out before puberty.
Photo: Wave Break Media

In my article on Anne Wæhre og Kim Alexander Tønseth and the transphobic attitudes found at The National Treatment Unit for Transsexualism (NBTS) at The University Hospital of Oslo, I have argued that there is no mystery why some transgender people do not come out, and seek help, before after puberty has had some effect.

Here are some alternative explanations:

The identity-defence model

Dr. Jaimie Veale and Dr. Terri C. Lomax have suggested that this is about personality profiles. The late bloomers are people pleasers who have desperately tried to live up to the expectations of family and friends, unlike the more extrovert and uninhibited trans kids who refuse to adapt.

Their "identity-defence model" looks at the degree of gender-variant identity developed, and whether defense mechanisms are used to repress this identity.

They put it this way:
We believe that an introverted child is likely to have less confidence to express this gender-variant identity, and it is also possible that children with greater impulse control, agreeableness, or conformity are more likely to cognitively avoid their gender variance. 
They suggest that as far as transgender people goes, the outgoing personality types are more likely to become attracted to people of the opposite sex (male to female loving men and female to male loving women), while the shy and introvert transgender people – those who repress their true gender – are more likely to find members of their target gender "exotic" and therefore "erotic".

February 4, 2018

Natalie Wynn takes an open-minded and critical look at the autogynephilia theory

ContraPoints (AKA left wing video blogger Natalie Wynn) has made a very interesting and well made video on the autogynephilia theory and its influence on sexology, medicine, and transphobic propaganda.
Vanity. 1890. Auguste Toulmouche.
I have uploaded more images of "female vanity" to CDL.

I have written extensively about the pseudo-scientific and transphobic nature of the autogynephilia theory on this blog, and is not going to repeat those arguments here (summary here).

Natalie also gives you the main scientific arguments against the theory, but this is not the main focus of the video. Instead she uses her own life and her own feelings to explain why the theory falls short and why it is so destructive.

She is a brave woman, indeed.

In real life we are all deviants

Her common sense approach to the sexology of perversions is liberating. She puts the lives of both trans women and non-transgender women into a real life context -- a context where no one adheres to the simplistic stereotypes of this kind of researchers.

As she explains, her sexuality as a transgender woman -- now that she is living as a woman -- is very much the same as the one of the her cisgender sisters.

The reason some trans women may feel or behave differently at some point in their lives, is that their options to express their true identity are pretty limited when presenting as a man.

January 28, 2018

It is Time to Break the Vicious Circle of Transphobia

A look at how transphobia and homophobia cause male to female crossdreamers and transgender people to behave in ways that  confirm the prejudices of the narrow minded. It is time to break the vicious circle of transphobia.

The circle of transphobia is a circle, so you might start anywhere along it's curve, but let us for simplicity's sake start with childhood. In this presentation I will present a male to female crossdreamer and someone who has a clear female gender core (to use Felix Conrad's term). Much of the same applies to female to male crossdreamers and those who are somewhere in the non-binary and gender fluid parts of the gender continuum.

1. Childhood gender dissonance

A young male assigned gender variant child, will -- as the surrounding culture increasingly demands adherence to the expected roles of gender -- start to feel some kind of dissonance between what feels right and what parents, peers and friends expect.

As the kid learns the ins and outs of language, they may try to express this unease, buy telling their parents that they are not "really a boy" or by trying to express their dreams by other means, most likely through play. Preferring Barbies to toy guns has become a bit of a cliché in transgender narratives, but there is something to it.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!