April 18, 2019

Left-Hander in London

We know that facts and logic may not be enough to help bridge the divide between LGBTQ people (especially transgender) and some people. There is also a place for humor and music to help facilitate understand and discussion. This is where I believe I can help.

Guest post by JJ Marie Gufreda

JJ Marie Gufreda (JJ) is the author of Left-Hander in London:  A Field Guide to Transgenders, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals - In the Family, On the Job and In the Pew and  a playwright and performer. (Private photo).
I’ve been focusing my marketing and development on two areas - doing my show for as many people as possible, and helping companies improve their Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

March 31, 2019

Strike a Pose! On Trans and Crossdreamer Cultures.

The TV series Pose tells us how amazingly creative crossdreamers and trans people can be, when they need to explore and express who they are.
Poster for the TV series Pose.

Crossdreamers are people who sometimes or constantly dream about becoming another gender. They may identify as trans, cisgender or nonbinary. There is an amazing variety in the way they dream about – and express – their longings.

You should think the fact that we have this cross-gender orientation in common, would make us want to share and learn from each other.

But no, instead the interplay between gender roles, sexual orientation, assigned gender and race has divided us into different tribes.

This is unfortunate, because there is so much to learn from how other crossdreamers have expressed themselves and explored their identities.

This is one of the reasons the TV series Pose should be of great interest to all crossdreamers and gender variant people.

Pose is a work of fiction, but it follows up the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, a film about the 1990s ball culture of New York.

March 23, 2019

New Research on Genes and Gender Identity

The feedback-loops between gender identity, real life experiences, cultural concepts, genes and hormones are complex and messy, but there is a growing consensus among scientists that hormones do play a role in the creation of transgender identities.

The main focus is on the pre-natal period, when that person is still in its mother’s womb, being exposed to hormones aimed at triggering the development of gender specific organs and a gender identity.

Mapping the genes of trans women

In a paper called “Genetic Link Between Gender Dysphoria and Sex Hormone Signaling” Madeleine Foreman, Lauren Hare, Kate York, Kara Balakrishnan, Francisco J Sánchez, Fintan Harte, Jaco Erasmus, Eric Vilain and Vincent R Harley reports on a research project including 380 transgender women who have transitioned and 344 control male subjects.

They have looked at associations and interactions between variants of 12 sex hormone–signaling genes and gender dysphoria in transgender women.

February 5, 2019

New research shows that gender variance does not follow sexual orientation

New research indicates that as many as one third of non-transgender people may dream about being or presenting as the opposite gender. Crossdreaming is common among both cisgender, gender diverse and transgender people. But is there a connection between cross-gender dreams and sexual orientation?

In my blog post on crossdreaming among non-transgender (cis) people, I presented the research of Daphna Joel and Roi Jacobson on gender identity and sexuality of trans, queer and cis (nontransgender) people. Their study shows that there is only a very weak correlation between sex, gender identification and sexual orientation.

According to this research it makes little sense to  divide trans and queer people into distinct categories based on their sexual orientation (as researchers like Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey do):
Sexual attraction was similarly characterized by a wide range of combinations of attraction to women and to men, from attraction to only one gender, to both genders, or to none. These findings replicate results from previous studies conducted on cisgender (Jacobson & Joel, 2018; Joel et al., 2013) and gender-diverse individuals (Joel et al., 2013) and extend them to transgender individuals.
Or let me phrase this differently: You can divide people into categories like "homosexual" versus "non-homosexual" if you want to, but those categories do not tell you much beyond the fact that some people are attracted to people of their own gender, while others are more flexible. These categories are too blurry and indistinct to be used to say anything about the their gender identity.

January 13, 2019

More than one third of non-transgender people have had crossgender dreams and fantasies

Some people dream about being the other gender. The fact that transgender people do so, are increasingly becoming accepted, but a recent Israeli study indicates that more than one third of non-transgender  people have dreamed about belonging to "the other side" too. 

It becomes harder to separate  transgender people from non-transgender (cisgender) people if cisgender people are crossdreaming, but if we think of gender as a complex continuum rather than a strict binary, it starts to make sense. The Israeli studies tell us that the boundary between cis and trans is very fuzzy, indeed.

One in three people have had erotic crossdreaming fantasies

In my recent presentation of Justin J. Lehmiller's  comprehensive study of sexual desire in the book Tell Me What You WantI noted that one third of his respondents report that they have had erotic crossdreamer fantasies. In other words: They have imagined themselves as having the body of the opposite sex in their sexual fantasies.

Given that the great majority of his respondents identify with their assigned gender, this could mean that at least one third of Americans have been crossdreaming. Since there are many who have non-erotic crossdreamer fantasies, the percentage may be higher.

He writes:
For instance, about one-quarter of men and women had fantasised about cross-dressing, and nearly a third had fantasised about trading bodies with someone of the other sex. In addition, about one in four men and one in six women had fantasised about having sex with a cross-dresser, and even more (about one in three men and one in four women) had fantasised about sex with a transsexual partner. [My emphasis]

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!