September 16, 2019

What does "assigned gender at birth" mean?


I think the transgender community and its allies often take the word "assigned" for granted, rarely stopping to think about what it means or what it conveys to others.

Guest post by Veronica Claire

This is a topic that I raised in a private conversation with Jack, and he was keen to see it shared with a wider audience.

Assigned gender and assigned sex

Nuances differ between assigned gender and assigned sex, and there are shades of meaning within each. The everyday sense of the word is easiest to recognise when we are talking about (a) the way society allocates social roles and expectations based on our genitalia, or (b) the case of intersex people who were raised as boys or girls and even operated on for no reason other than society's intolerance of ambiguity. This is assignment in anyone's dictionary.

Other times, assigned sex or gender is used essentially as a euphemism for anatomical sex at birth, in contexts where neither society's social assumptions nor the possibility of intersex conditions are really under consideration, and where casual readers might be mislead to believe that we are denying the reality of anatomical sex beyond the act of assignment. Such usage is not wrong, but it should be cogniscent rather than reflexive.

September 12, 2019

Are cis women responsible for the murders of transgender women?



Some  trans-exclusionary "radical feminists" (TERFs) are getting really annoyed at me over at tumblr.

I believe the main reason is that I present the similarities between them and other transphobes in a clear away, and they hate to be put in the same box as right wing extremists and religious fundamentalists.

My comparison of apartheid bathroom segregation and the current TERF/extreme right attempts at banning trans women from women's spaces really got them going, as did a tumblr post I wrote on how TERFs  must share some of the blame for current violence against transgender women.

This is probably why I was asked this strange question: "how is it women's fault that men kill trans women?".

This is most likely a TERF trying to bait me. She wants get  me to write something outrageous that can be used in her fight against transgender people. And the fact that she even bother to ask such questions is a good thing. My blog is clearly making a difference.

Did I bite? But of course I did!

You can read my response regarding the murder of trans women and the role of TERFs and other "Aunt Lydias" over at Trans Express!

The photo is from the TV series The Handmaid's Tale. The woman to the left is Aunt Lydia, the matriarch that is doing all she can to support the misogynistic tyranny of Gilead.

September 10, 2019

When women dream about being men

There are quite a few female assigned people out there who fantasize about being men.  Some of them identify as a trans, some as transgender and some as something else, but what they have in common is the fact that they dream of being men, living the life of men, dressing up as men, and having sex as men.

You might say that this should not come as a surprise, given that there are so many male assigned people who dream about being women, taking on the role of women, crossdressing and wanting to have sex as women.
Illustration photo: Ranta Images


The seven steps of FTM denial 

The fact is, however, that until quite recently, they have been close to invisible. I believe this has caused by what I call the seven  steps of FTM (female to male) denial:
  1. Women are close to asexual beings, having no sexual fantasies at all. (This was actually a common idea all the way up till the 1960s.)
  2. If they have sexual fantasies, these are romantic vanilla fantasies about giving themselves over to a strong, manly, man.
  3. If they do explore masculine expressions, it is because they are going through a tomboy phase, easily "cured" by a real man.
  4. If they insist on expressing masculine traits and behaviors, it is because they are lesbian, and all lesbians (according to this view) are butch women and therefor misguided mirror images of real men.
  5. If they insist on being men (instead of being women expressing masculine traits) they are suffering from some kind of mental illness.
  6. If they are truly transsexual, they have to be sexually attracted to women, again because they are mirror images of real men.
  7. If they associate themselves with gay men – and are attracted to men – they are misled by the transgender cult, suffering from "rapid onset gender dysphoria".
Item seven on this list, the pseudo-science of "rapid onset gender dysphoria" (which is actively used to invalidate trans men who do not come out until puberty or after puberty) is actually a perverted sign of progress, because it tells us that it has become close to impossible to deny the existence of FTM crossdreamers and trans men who love men.

Their whole world view is at stake

Even Ray Blanchard and his supporters – transphobic sexologists who have for ages argued that there is no "female" equivalent to male to female trans person  who love women – now have to admit that a lot of female to male transgender people actually do love men, and dream about being a gay man in a homosexual relationship.

Their last stand is the idea that female to male crossdreamers and trans men are different from the male to female one, because those assigned female at birth are not straight crossdressers who get aroused by the idea of having a male body. In other words, there is no "female" equivalent to the much derided "male transvestite" or the "autogynephiliac".

This is important for them, because the existence of such female assigned crossdreamers would undermine what's left of their beloved binary, that is the idea that sexual orientation on the one hand and masculinity/femininity on the other are one and the same thing.

They have dismissed male to female crossdreamers and trans women who love women as being perverted straight men. That is: The dreams of these people are powered by a misdirected male sexuality.

Women cannot suffer from a misdirected "male" sexuality, according to this view, since the sexuality of women is fundamentally different from the one of men. Nor can such fantasies be the result of a misdirected female sexuality, because that would make the female sexuality too similar to the male one, forcing these so-called experts to replace their beloved binaries with and understanding of sexuality as complex continuums of sexual desire and gender identity.

According to the transphobic fringe of sexology female assigned crossdreamers do not exist. Yet, there they are. (Post on reddit)


The last stand

I meet this last stand online in discussions with the old fashioned fringe of sexology, with trans-exclusionary "radical feminists" and MTF crossdreamers who have accepted the "autogynephilia" narrative and who believe their crossdreaming is nothing but a fetish.

The feminist defends this final barrier, because they do not want "men" in women's spaces.

I suspect many of the MTF "fetish" enthusiasts want to defend this wall, because they fear a breach here may force them to accept that they are some shade of transgender.

And a conservative sexologist like Blanchard would have to admit that the traditional  idea of women given him through a Catholic upbringing was nonsense all along, which again would mean that the whole model of sexuality and gender he has been defending since the late 1980s is also make-believe and nonsense.

Now that we see female assigned gender variant people crossdress, dreaming about having sex with men as men, the only argument left is the following:

Yes, there are female to male trans people who crossdress and dream about being gay men, but they do not get aroused by the idea of having a male body.

You might ask why this particular expression of gender variance is more offensive than all the others (crossdressing, having stereotypical interests or traits traditionally belonging to the other gender, crossgender role playing etc).

I cannot give you a rational answer to this. Blanchard would probably say that this is the clearest example of them being sexually attracted to the image of themselves as the opposite sex, but the truth is that even he admits that "autogynephilia" (as he calls it) is expressed by many means, this kind of body arousal being just one of many.

I think the reason is that they haven't heard of this kind of female to male crossdreaming, so they latch on to it in order to prove that FTM crossdreamers are nothing like the MTF ones.

Blanchard has even come up with a new syndrome/diagnosis that is supposed to describe such female to male crossdreaming, namely "autohomoerotic gender dysphoria". He has absolutely no data to scientifically prove the existence of this phenomena, which probably he and his friend Bailey have published their "findings" over at 4thWaveNow, a transphobic blog for transexclusionary radical feminists.

FTM male body arousal

It is true this particular type fantasies is more common among MTF crossdreamers than the FTM ones. FTM androphilic crossdreamer erotica (as found in for instance slash and yaoi) is more focused on the relationship between gay man, than the idea of being transformed into a man (as found in many MTF "TG" stories, captions and comics).

But this is not an absolute divide. There are a lot of MTF stories and fantasies that focus on being in a lesbian relationship. Lately FTM fantasies about having a male body are also reported more frequently, as I will document in part 2 of this article.

On the gynephilic side, i.e. among FTM crossdreamers who love women and who may belong to the lesbian community, such body arousal has been around for a long time, as reflected in the popularity of "packing" (wearing a strap-on to make a visible bulge) and chest binding.

The fact that idea of having the body of your target sex becomes arousing, should come as no surprises, as having such a body makes being affirmed as your target sex possible.

Documentation

I have already written several articles where I document this kind of crossdreaming among FTM trans people.

Max Wolf Valerio is a gynephilic (woman-loving) trans man who clearly finds the idea of having a male body arousing:

"I want to look like these superheroes -- muscular, svelte, great in tights and a synthetic bodysuit! I spend hours drawing their perfect, well-muscled forms, contemplating with awe what it would be like to possess their agility, speed, fantastic legs, and great biceps. It's the same excitement that I'll feel overtake me when I run across ads in magazines where a confident, brawny muscleman tells all the ninety-nine-pound weaklings of the world that they can get great bodies and wow the chicks. How could I have that? There must be a way. I want it so much I could burst." (See my article  Female to male crossdreaming - the Max Wolf Valerio story).

Lou Sullivan, the co-founder of the American FTM movement, was a gay trans man, who originally thought of himself as am FTM crossdresser and "transvestite". He was never shy about admitting that sexuality was a big part of his identity:

"I dream of being a man since I can remember. I always felt aroused by the thought of me having a male body. I always wanted to have a penis. I always considered men are lucky for having that powerful and strong body, that ability to penetrate (with the amazing pleasure it implies) and be dominant." (See my article On Lou Sullivan and what female to male crossdreamers mean for our understanding of transgender)

See also:
The Rayka & Jack Dialogue on Crossdreaming (my discussion with an Iranian FTM crossdreamer and girlfag)
New web site on girlfags and guydykes (+ the story about the blind men and the elephant)
"I am something that does not exist!" (On queer schwulwomen, girlfags and guydykes)
On crossdreaming lesbians and sexy trans women
The Kama Sutra on Transgender People
Girls who will be boys; on F2M crossdreamers, autoandrophiliacs and girlfags
Autoandrophilia, on women who fantasise about having a man's body
Is it true that 1/3 of non-transgender people fantasize about being the other sex?



September 9, 2019

On being non-binary and bigender and the fear of coming out to the family

Bigender people sometimes feel male, other times female. (Illustration photo. Original photo: Nadofotos, gender switch in Faceapp).

In this guest post Jemimah writes about being non-binary and bigender and the fear of coming out to their family. Jemimah is assigned male at birth, but they may switch between a male and a female gender identity.

By Jemimah

I was recently asked whether writing help me deal with my gender complications.  The answer is possibly.

A follow-up might be to ask about reading. I do a lot of reading; I am, for instance,  about to go and follow the Silk Road to China. But while the Chinese situation in Xinjiang is interesting,  it is not directly relevant to the topic of this blog post.

Non-binary and bigender identities

I have read lots of books on transgender issues recently, though. One book in particular did provide some relief. It was Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows, a collection of essays arranged by Christine Burns.

It is a complete history of all modern activities in the non-straight world in Britain and has, for instance,  some surprisingly encouraging accounts of straight politicians helping the LGBT community.

The book probably caught my eye because included in it is an essay on non-binary identity, by Meg-John Barker, Ben Vincent and Jos Twist. Non-binary is, as they point out, the most common umbrella term for people who experience their gender as neither male nor female:
"Non-binary people can have a fluid experience of gender, experiencing themselves as more male, more female, both or neither, at different times. Other non-binary people experience themselves as somewhere between male and female, or as a separate third category, for example."
Their main focus is on the area somewhere in between male and female. This may be the more common condition. They think that about one in 250 identify themselves as other than male or female.

The non-binary identities they are discussing are not necessarily bigender in the sense that I, Rick/Ria [a 26 year old British bigender person] and the neuroscientists V.S. Ramachandran and L.K. Case understand it, though.  I believe myself to have, one at a time, a male and a female gender.


Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!