Don Davis

Teach What You Learn: The Straight Guy's Primer on Gender Identity

Filed By Don Davis | July 31, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender, gender issues, LGBT, Respect, Sexuality, Trans, transgender, transsexual

For today's story, we will travel far afield from the typical domains of politics or science or law that have so often provoked our thinking into an often overlooked area of human relations:

To which gender do you belong?

It's a simple question, or so common sense would tell us--either you're male, or you're female.

As it turns out, things aren't quite so simple, and in today's conversation we'll consider this issue in a larger way. By the time we're done, not only will we learn a thing or two about sex and gender and sexuality, we'll also learn how to offer a community of people a level of respect that they often find difficult to obtain.

Do you get off casting hexes?
Assuming forms of either sexes
And oh...are you a boy or a girl?

--Imperial Drag, "Boy Or A Girl?"

The Setup

The best place to start today's story, I suspect, is with a story.

Regular visitors to this space will recall the recent conversation we had regarding the life and times of Gladys Bentley. When the story was reposted here, it was there pointed out to me that I was confusing gender and sexuality at various times in the diary.

It occurred to me that education was the solution here; to that end I located Lifelines Rhode Island's "TGI/Gender-Spectrum Terminology Guide" (which, unless indicated otherwise, will be the source for the material you see here today). Tobi Hill-Meyer was kind enough to confirm to me that the information here "covers a lot more than most terminology lists I've seen"...and with a confirming source in place, I think we're ready to move forward.

Actually, before we do that...a caveat. Everything that will be presented today is "in flux". Terminology and attitudes and thinking evolve rapidly in this area, and Ms. Hill-Meyer would tell you to worry less about exact terms and to pay more attention to the general concepts that this discussion incorporates.


The first thing you should know is that biological sex, gender, and sexuality are three completely different things, neither associated with the other. What I mean by that is that an individual might be male, or female, some combination of the two (intersex persons)...or none of the above--but that has no bearing on whether that same person might find themselves sexually attracted to males, or females, or intersex persons...or no one at all.

Did Someone Say Sex?

Let's start with biological sex.

The human body expresses sex in four different ways, the first being genetic. Genetic males carry an X and a Y chromosome, genetic females two X chromosomes. Intersex persons might have a single X chromosome (known as XO) or some combination of three or more X and Y chromosomes.

"Gonadal" males possess testes, gonadal females possess ovaries; intersex persons might possess undescended testes or streak ovaries.

Those persons who possess testosterone or DHT in the body are "hormonal" males. Estrogen and progesterone are found in hormonal females, and intersex persons might have levels of any of these hormones that are either high or low...or they might not have the "receptors" that allow the body to recognize the hormones that are present.

Morphological sex is expressed by the presence, in males, of the Wolffian duct and a penis. Females will possess a Mullerian duct and a vagina. Intersex persons might possess both a Wolffian and a Mullerian duct or incomplete internal sexual organs--or none of the above--and an enlarged clitoris, a "micro-penis", or a shallow and fused vagina.

A Word or Two on Gender and Sexuality

Perception, the folks at Lifelines would tell you, exists in two parts: gender, which is derived from the perception of whether you appear to others to be male or female, and gender identity, which is based on your own perception of yourself as male, female, neither, both, or whatever other label you might choose to attach to your gender identity. The "take-away" from this line of thought is that people are entitled to make their own choices regarding gender identity.

Sexuality, or sexual orientation as it's used by Lifelines, can be a bit tricky, but it works like this: start with an individual's chosen gender identity, then proceed to whom they are attracted to. For example, if your gender identity is female, and you are attracted to females, you would be a lesbian. Options include straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual...and pansexual, a term used by those who see more than two sexes--and genders--within the rich tapestry of human existence.

I ought, therefore I am.

--From Immanuel Kant's "Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals"

It's All About Respect

Everyone still with me on all this?

Good, because now we get to the heart of the matter...the "how to show respect" part...and if you've been keeping up, what's coming next will be fairly simple to grasp.

Mispronounciation is the act of referring to someone with the incorrect personal pronoun--in other words, incorrectly referring to a "he" as a "she". To avoid this, all you need to do is refer to the individual using the pronouns that match that person's appearance.

If the person to whom you are speaking is visually expressing their gender as female, that person is referred to as "she", and vice versa. The fact that the person might not be "passing" in a manner that you find entirely convincing is irrelevant, as is the fact that the person may or may not have had sexual reassignment surgery.

If that same person were to express their gender, on another occasion, as a male, you would refer to the same person as "he".

A Definition or Two

In keeping with the admonition to not worry so much about every single term, but instead to make an effort to grasp the concepts presented here, we will not endeavor to define everything on the list; instead touching on just a few terms and explaining why they are important.

"Tranny" is considered offensive and should be avoided.

A "crossdresser" is someone who does not associate their clothing choice with a desire to express as a different gender. In other words, when Rudy Giuliani dresses as a woman--even as he views himself as a man while doing it--that's crossdressing. (It has been pointed out to me that this definition is not accepted by everyone, which is a perfect example of how "in flux" this can be.)

Drag Kings and Drag Queens are entertainers who express themselves in an alternative gender. If the person with whom you are speaking is not on stage at the time...these terms are probably inappropriate.

Transsexual persons are taking hormones and have had sexual reassignment surgery...most of the time. (Some people use the term to describe themselves even though they have not had surgery.) This term is often used within the medical community.

There are some people who do not prefer this term, either because it implies that a mental illness is somehow involved, or because it implies a change of sexuality, as opposed to a change of gender. (You should know that the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", also known as the "DSM-IV-TR", does in fact describe Gender Identity Disorder as a mental illness.)

The word transgender, which has been in common use to describe people who are expressing any number of gender options, is considered offensive by some people because it is sometimes used to describe a person's gender choice, instead of the preferred "he" or "she".

Androgyne persons do not wish to express a single gender choice, instead choosing to present themselves in a way that blurs the line between male and female. Someone who expresses their gender in this manner might or might not also express their sexuality the same way.

Trans is the currently preferred term to describe people who are...well, trans.

Someone who fits into any of the categories we have described here would be considered a trans person. A trans man would be someone who was female at birth, but is now expressing the gender choice of male; obviously a trans woman would be someone who was designated male at birth and is now expressing the gender choice of female. ("Trans" is a prefix defined as "across, over, or beyond")

If you fit into none of these categories, but instead are always expressing yourself in the same gender as your birth gender, the term cisgender or cissexual is in current use; this derived from the prefix "cis", which is defined as "on this side of".

Forward to the End

So what have we learned today?

We learned that there is a community of people who do not find the two gender choices "man" and "woman" representative of all the options available...and we learned that, within that community, there are people who might wish, from time to time, to vary their gender role.

Beyond that, we found out that gender and sexuality are separate and not interrelated, and that a person can change one while not changing the other.

We learned that addressing someone using the gender they have chosen is the best way to show that person respect--and the other thing we should be taking away from this discussion is that terminology changes rapidly, but the larger concepts presented here have more permanence, and over the long term I would expect those concepts to change less than the terminology.

So go forth and have some summer fun...and should the occasion arise, apply these principles, and summer will be more fun for those you meet up with as well.

And who doesn't love that?

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Marja Erwin | July 31, 2009 5:01 PM

I hate to nit-pick about this...

But transsexualism is our condition. Social, hormonal, and/or surgical transition are ways we deal with our condition. Some transsexual people, including myself, regard our condition as a birth defect, and transition as an attempt to ameliorate or cure it. Others don't take this view.

In addition, our sense of what kinds of bodies we should inhabit need not correspond with our sense of what kinds of gender roles we should perform. Unfortunately, terms like "transmasculine" and "transfeminine" can confuse the issue.


Marja Erwin | July 31, 2009 5:03 PM

P.S. I don't mean to suggest that people should only perform binary gender roles anyway.

this was a point of contention in more than one forum as this story rolled out, and in your two comments you have touched on the difficullty that can exist in reconciling the feeling of some that binary roles work for them with the reality that for others, choosing gender--or choosing no gender at all--is also an option.

thanks for being an ally.

you're more than welcome...but clearly, judging from jessica's comment below, i, and a lot of others besides, still have a considerable amount of learning to do.

I hate to nitpick as well, but this point is pretty important...

A "crossdresser" is someone who does not associate their clothing choice with a desire to express as a different gender.

Actually I and the vast majority of crossdressers I've met (online and offline) crossdress specifically to express a different gender. I.e. male-bodied crossdressers want to express themselves as, be seen as, and be treated as women -- but part-time is sufficient to satisfy that need. (FWIW, some crossdressers do so for fetishistic reasons alone, and also those reasons aren't mutually exclusive with a need to do so for gender-related reason.)

There's also people who engage in crossdressing for non-gender related reasons, such as Guiliani (as far as we know), or guys who dress up for Halloween or Pride, etc. So I agree it's useful to point out that not people who crossdress would self-identify as trans. But that doesn't negate the fact that most self-identified crossdressers see themselves as trans, at least that they would say they crossdress because to express their gender.

I realize you relied on Lifeline's glossary, but it's a definition that was poorly written and mostly seemed aimed at making the point that it's inappropriate to refer to transsexuals as "crossdressers." (There's a lot of politics around who's the "realest rabbit" when it comes to the trans spectrum, and sadly I suspect the Lifelines definition consciously or unconsciously reflects that.)

Sorry to be a hard-ass about this, but crossdressers suffer from the same sort of invisibility problems that bi folks do. So it's really frustrating to see our identities erased yet again, especially in a 101 piece.

(And FWIW, we crossdressers are actually the vast "dark matter" of the trans universe -- anecdotally I'd guessestimate that there's probably 10 crossdressers for every transsexual, but almost all of my fellow crossdressers are deeply, deeply closeted (akin to being LGB before Stonewall.)

if i were doing an "after-action assessment" for this story this would almost certainly be the the first issue on the assessment list, and the solution would likely be to be less reliant on a single source.

the politics of all this are still rather murky to me, but that's something i think we'll see working itself out over time.

finally, a question: are you suggesting that crossdressers may be associated with the formation of stars at the edges of gaslaxy discs and emitting an unusal amount of protons at the centers of galaxies?

those who are geeky enough will hopefully see the humor in that comment, those who don't are invited to view this dark matter primer.

Thanks for being understanding Don. As you've realized the trans communities are pretty complex and so it's good to refer to multiple sources, as well as consult with multiple people (ideally on different parts of the trans spectrum) to get a comprehensive view of things.

FWIW, GLAAD's Transgender Glossary of Terms and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's Stylebook Supplement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Terminology are good resources that reflect pretty widely used definitions, although like any style guides they may lag behind evolving usage.

As far as dark matter goes, I didn't realize it's also associated with star formation, but that's a nice extension of the metaphor, given that many late-life transitioners (who become part of the "visible spectrum" as it were -- at least for a time) identified as "just a crosssdresser" in earlier years.

i've seen the guide and it does indeed appear useful...and it will be in my bookmarks going forward.

Frankly, that guide is horrid regarding women of transsexual correction we are women (or men) first and primary, not trans somethings.....absolutely not transgender since our gender (identity) is consistent from birth and like most people's never changes (or trans)

And I'll add, there is exactly one group that are actual experts on transsexuality and that would be those who were born with the condition (a neurological form of intersexuality), treated it (with hormones and surgery) and are long post-corrected. We are the ones who know the condition from beginning to end but it's those partway through who presume to talk about it.

I'd refer you to a blog entry I wrote recently prompted in part by this one published elsewhere.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 12:03 PM

Thanks Lena!

Totally correct to my experiences also.

And I've noticed a fair few proclaim themselves purely as 'fetishists' as a form of self-denial that fades with growing self-acceptance and they embrace the rest of themselves or often its as a desperate placation of a partner who fears they may be heading towards SRS the moment they discover they are a CD.

As for population proportions... With the greater TG population coming to in some studies and figures 4% to 10% of the population it seems to me that CDs must outnumber TSs by more like 50-1 or 100-1.

I definitely agree that there's some people (or their partners) who find much easier to think that they're crossdressing as a sexual kink than to admit that gender expression might be involved.

That said, it's pretty well documented (see Richard Docter's "Tranvestites and Transsexuals" for example) that for many crossdressers and late-life transitioning transsexuals, crossdressing (the activity) tends to start off with more of a fetishistic approach that fades over time. There's a lot of probable reasons for this, which are too complex to adequately discuss in a single reply. But the short version is that most of us tend to begin around puberty, so crossdressing tends to get intertwined with budding sexuality and it takes time to figure out that there's more going on, and even more time to admit it to oneself.

FWIW, the "it's just a kink" has a parallel to drag queens, some of whom's interest is more than "it's just for the stage" -- but there's very few who will admit so publicly since it's generally not socially acceptable in the circle they move in. (I also perform drag so I've got an insider's view.)

As far as relative proportions of folks on the trans spectrum, trying to estimate a deeply closeted population is inherently problematic, but I think most people would agree there's at least an order of magnitude more crossdressers.

FWIW, the two most reliable numbers I've seen are from:

1) a Swedish health survey, which was a true random sample of the general population, and had a single question about whether someone had ever crossdressed. IIRC, about 1-2% of the male respondents said they did and about half as many of the female respondents did. Even though it was anonymous survey, it's reasonable to assume that not everyone who'd done was willing to admit it.

2) Reports by the Thai military that about 2% of recruits (selected at random from the population) were katheoys Now while Thailand is much more socially tolerant, according to the reports I read, getting discharged from the military for being trans carries some serious life-long repercussions (you get tagged with the equivalent of a "Section 8" discharge), so I think it's reasonable to assume there's more trans people who butched up during their military service.

So in both cases, these numbers are probably bottom-range estimates.

there is no doubt that this would be a difficult universe of subjects to correctly count, and in both of the numbers you've quoted here i can only imagine how the conversations must have occurred regarding how to model for urban/rural distribution and how to model for...shall we say..."truthiness" among the respondents.

if you're referring to a straight partner, then the fear that the other partner is crossdressing at all is probably of more immediate concern than the (perhaps as yet unconsidered) possibility that the same partner might eventually seek reassignment.

this is a huge unknown for the straight community, and the very fact that someone's crossdressing can be the source of all sorts of fears..."if i stay with (him or her) does that make me gay?", "how do we deal with the kids?", "what will they say at church?", and "how will i survive as a single person?" being the first ones to come to mind.

Not quite everyone who appears to be transsexual is, technically.

A significant proportion of FtoMs - at least 10% - are protogynous hermaphrodites. That is, they change naturally from looking somewhat, mostly or completely female at birth to looking somewhat, mostly or completely male later in life.

Such conditions are rare in humans, but Dichogamy, serial hermaphroditism, is the norm rather than a rare exception in many other species.

Protandrous hermaphrodites also exist, but would be less than 1 in 1000 (0.1%) of MtoFs, a negligible fraction.

Such people have really interesting legal problems.

good catch...and by the way, do i understand that you wrote in from australia?

good on you...

Yes. Ta muchly.

I'm one of the negligible fraction by the way - which is why I'm interested in some of the more unusual medical phenomena regarding biological sex and gender in humans.

Even for someone whose body changes to match their gender, it can be quite disorientating, and just a little bit scary. Actually, terrifying is closer, the phenomenon is not well understood by the medical profession.

speaking of medical are no doubt aware of the debate in the us over the adoption of some sort of health care reform, and i wondered if i might ask a couple of questions:

--how do australians feel about the quality of today's public health care?

--much of the debate in the us is based around the fear that a "public option" health insurance plan would destroy the private insurance industry. obviously in australia there is a very large public option. do i understand correctly that australian private insurers are successfully living alongside the government insurance system?

--is there a lot of "tension" between the private clinics and hospitals and the public hospitals?

--what would you want americans to know about the australian system that we probably don't know?

all of this is for an upcoming story, so my last question would you mind if i refer to your comments in my story?

First - of course you may refer to my comments. Nice of you to ask though.

Re: Public Health Care - mostly right, but needs improvement in some areas. Hospital ERs are overloaded, health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is too poor - a matter of the tyranny of distance more than bigotry. Dental care isn't included. Having seen hospitals in the UK, the US, Canada, Thailand, and Australia, I'd put the quality of care in reverse order. Australia best, then Thailand and Canada in a dead heat, then the US, with the UK last.

Re: Insurance. Everyone is covered for basic medical treatment through Medicare. HOWEVER... only those below the poverty line won't have considerable extra medical expenses from a hospital stay. Costs are in general a lot lower than the US.

The Government is revamping the system at the moment, but it used to work like this: If you were poor, health treatment is nearly free. But pay more than $10,000 per family per year, and you qualify for the nearly-free rate.

If you're well-to-do, over $40k US per year, the government taxes you extra if you don't have private health insurance. So you can pay $3,000 a year for that, and get additional benefits like chiropractic etc, or pay $2,500 in tax and get nothing.

Everyone pays 2% of their taxable income in Medicare Levy in addition to this.

Example: I pay a $35 standard prescription fee for drugs that on the open market would retail for $30-$120. Someone with 95% of my income would only pay $5, I'm just above the poverty line. I could either find one of the few GPs who bulk-bill, and pay nothing for a rushed sausage-factory consultation, or see a GP who charges $75 a visit, getting $40 back when I put in the paperwork to Medicare.

Insurance would cover perhaps $60 of that, and Medicare would pay nothing.

Re Private vs Public - there's little difference. A private hospital would be paid for by insurance, and you may have 2 to a room. Public, 4 to a room, and you'd have to pay extra for the TV.
And if anything goes really wrong, Public and Private are streamed together, there's no difference in standard of care. Except the public hospitals, being larger, tend to have more equipment, so for serious illnesses many people opt to go public even though insurance would pay for private.

Re Things Man Was Not Meant To Know - Employers don't provide medical insurance. That's up to the individual. It's not legal to buy insurance that covers the whole costs of treatment, there's always some co-pay. When it comes to what treatment the docs can prescribe and still have the drugs subsidised, the Health Department dictates which drugs are most effective, and only they qualify.
Worse, if a drug you need is not prescribed for another condition, you have to pursuade a pharmacy to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of applying for an import license. That is, if you can find a doc willing to write a prescription for you first.
Dental care isn't covered (private insurance is good there). Optical cover is limited, and the government again dictates how many years must elapse between prescription changes - if they are to subsidise them.

The system is imperfect. It is national though, so we don't have the Canadian problems of different states covering different subsets of conditions. It doesn't have universal subsidy, so can cause financial difficulty - though not bankrupcy.

It's a compromise, not as Universal as the UK's over-stretched and overly-regimented NHS, nor as dog-eat-dog as unbridled capitalistic oligopoly with little real competition, as in the USA.

Many bits need improving, some bits are really bad. But the standard or care is very high, we don't have the MSR bugs in US or UK hospitals, and although you may be severely financially hurt by illness, there's a cap on how bad the pain can be.

So of course the Government is going to radically change it.

Since this is a little off topic, would the two of you mind taking this off the thread and onto e-mail? Don's address is

Frankly, this is another post that leaves me both confused and a little bit angry.

Gender, regardless of the definition intended, is not described in any way by male and/or female; they refer to sex. The correct gender terms are masculine and feminine. As are man and woman.

It is so easy to fall into lazy usage such as this, which epitomizes the routine category confusion, because common language has been colonized by the transgender ideology--as much the legacy of Judith Butler as anyone.

At the end of the piece, the terms cisgender and cissexual are used synonymously, both meaning

always expressing yourself in the same gender as your birth gender

It quite naturally follows that for those confused by the categories sex and gender they would use two completely different words to say the same thing, not what they are meant to, i.e., two different things.

It is difficult to see where transsexual fits into this truncated analysis since there is no option for, not a change in sexuality, as commonly understood, but for a reconciling of one's anatomical and hormonal sex with one's inner certainly of sex, what Julia Serano calls subconscious sex.

Frankly, I like the use of the word sexuality not for who you want to fuck, but for the entire experience of being male or female. Though this word has probably been corrupted by its usage as a synonym for sexual orientation and forever barred from this, to me, rather natural usage.

This experience, for lack of a better word, is completely beyond the understanding of those who, well, have never experienced it. Rather like same-sex attraction is beyond the understanding of those who have not experienced it. Though there has been enough profile given to it--and support from heterosexual people of good will and conscience--that there is at least a semblance of this throughout society.

Not so for transsexuality.

Gender identity in this analysis is the resolution or irresolution of subconscious sex with birth-assigned sex and the resultant dissonance or not.

Rather like, if not exactly like, the resolution or irresolution of one's sexual orientation by accepting or rejecting it. The usual term for the former is coming out.

It is another category error to apply this term to transsexual people and our transition.

Certainly, transsexual people seek to express their affirmed sex, even as cissexual people do.

Cisgender people are those who retain their birth-assigned gender, usually related as male sex supports masculine gender and female sex supports feminine gender.

Cissexual people are those who retain their birth-assigned sex, though not necessarily their birth-assigned gender.

There is undeniably a similar appearance to transsexual people and transgender people, particularly early in a transsexual person's transition, but appearances can be deceiving.

To judge persons by their appearance, the claim of respect made in the piece not withstanding, is not, cannot be the whole of it. We accept the claim of a person's sexual orientation, or we should, simply on their say so.

The routine subsuming of transsexual people, against our will, into the categories of gender and transgender is complete violation of this respect.

The routine erasure of the "condition" as Marja Erwin puts it above, the routine repudiation of the experience, and claim, of our lives belies any declaration of respect.

first, thanks for taking the time to write...and to write well.

let us address the issue of male and female, to get the thing going.

i hope you'll understand that i came to this still trying to gather all the points of view associated with these issues--in fact, i only became aware of judith butler during the research for this story--and in my defense i will point out that there are numerous sources who do use male and female in reference to both sex and gender (something that i understand you do not condone)...and i find the useage even in poetry:

"Sex: Female
Gender: Male
(Read Between the Lines)

the sex of a thing is defined
by it's physical genitalia: male or female
gender is an individual's
self conception of being male or female
i want to know
why can't i be both?

i am:
sex: female
gender: male"

to be completely honest, the question of transgender ideology is really beyond the "horizon" of this story, and i would not feel qualified to express any comment in that regard without more research and some effort to seek additional insight from other sources.

the associated question of appearance is taken up by your comment, and i would encourage you to reconsider the original point of the story, which was to provide guidance that might reduce the amount of mispronounciation out there.

because it is often impossible to rapidly ascertain a person's circumstances of life at a glance, the use of appearance as a pronouning guide seems appropriate.

this is not meant to imply that mere appearance is the whole of any person's life experience, and to the extent this concept was communicated inelegantly i apologize.

your comments regarding sexuality and the male or female experience do strike a responsive chord, but i do not know how the language problem you note can be easily resolved.

finally, you very appropriately note my misuse of cisgender and cissexual as the same term, and i should not have made that mistake.

this mistake lead to the "truncated analysis" that you also note, but i wouldn't read too much into that--it really was a mistake and not an effort to "disenfranchise" the transsexual experience.

I appreciate your response to my comment.

The thing about Judith Butler is quite simple, most people simply don't understand her, they just say they do--though I like to believe I'm one of of the ones who actually does. I've written a few commentaries on her work at my blog, so, my knowledge, or ignorance, is on display for all to see.

I quite take your point there is general confusion regarding the categories of sex and gender, among many other things, and the consequences are among those I have pointed to in this and other recent comments.

I don't attribute any malevolence--male violence, that one just struck me--to you. I rail against the sloppiness of language, which I attribute to the pervasiveness of the transgender ideology which I argue is so pervasive that it is invisible--except to those who endure its abuse: transsexual people.

Appearance is a complicated notion, wrapped up in social conventions, but one that transsexual people must address every moment of their lives, both before and after transition.

Our knowledge of sex and gender is both intimate and extensive, even if it is unable to be articulated to many other's satisfaction.

We are relegated to "pigeon holes" by others throughout our lives--not that we are unique in this--but that few, if any, of them are those of our own making.

The response to attempts to evolve our own, authentic voices are often--though not here, now--met with flame and fire.

Identity formation being what it is, the taking up of what we are always already--a very Butlerian phrase deployed in a very unButlerian manner--our condition as used in comments, is empowering, but may not seem to differentiate us either from transgender people on the one hand or gay people on the other.

Mostly because we--and I speak here of transsexual women--seem to be merely men in dresses when we have never been men, seems to give license to some to declare we are crossdressers--when we were/are never men--or just gay men who refuse to accept our sexuality--in the common usage. (You rightly point out that sexual orientation and gender identity are not connected.)

Witness the slurs men use when they kill transsexual women. Witness the reduction to sexuality--conventional sense--of Zucker, Blanchard, Bailey and their ilk and our well grounded fears of what they are doing to the DSM V.

Appearances can be deceiving.

I take both solace and strength from gay and lesbian people and other marginalized/oppressed minorities in their struggles against, among other things, the language itself which has always been a tool of oppression.

I struggle to find the the path to clarity, both for myself and for others.

in reading this comment and the couple that follow i see your point regarding the desire to diverge because of experience...but i also note your comment that so many communities share the same history of oppression and disrespectful treatment from the larger society at large...which leads me to think that almost a taoist dynamic here--that associated with the need to diverge is the need to unite with others who may have a different personal experience but are subject to more or less the same bad treatment from more or less the same bad people.

as somebody who is coming to this from the backgound of an observer of politics it's my hope that both of you see that, despite the differences in life experience, there is a lot of common purpose as well, and that the desire to celebrate divergence is moderated by the desire to work together to resolve some of those larger problems that you both face together.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 11:38 PM

One of my favourite aspects of Taoism is how in the symbol of The Tao the teardrops of Yin and Yang, the masculine and feminine principles of 'the way', there is a corresponding pearl of the other contained within. And with the key to 'the way' being a harmonious balance of energetic principles it's a philosophy thats principles lead easilly to trans-friendliness (though like all such systems it has it's bigots too).

Indeed the same problems of conformity, of hostility to the different, of judging others by negative stereotypes, of ignorance etc effect us all. Problem is in oppressed groups we tend to Internalise a lot of that oppression (see link I provided in another comment) as well as absorb a lot of the bigotries in society against other groups. So you can find transphobic GLB's TS's who hate CDs and vice versa, racists, sexists etc.

Often these are even stronger in oppressed groups than in the general population! This is because many oppressed people want to fit in and want to identify with the 'mainstream' oppressing society not because it is oppressing but because it is seen as 'the' society. And so they will defend the status quo, justify it's flaws in all particulars save for the discrimination against themselves and they will discriminate against other marginalised groups.

It's like the kid with glasses tripping over the overweight kid at school so the rest of the kids will be more accepting of the kid with glasses and see he can be just like them.

Thus the victims attempts to survive for themselves reinforces and strengthens the bullying/opressing culture. Whereas whats really needed is the undermining and dismantling and condemning of the bullying culture so that differences are seen as valuable not detrimental and conformity to fit in and be the same is seen as the enemy of all. A unity of diverse equals rather than a hierarchy of differences enforced with physical and emotional and psychological violence.

As every group has its people struggling to survive themselves and perpetuating the problem it's easy for someone from one group to see those in another and label the entire group as 'bad' while seeing the same behaviour in their own group as justified and an understandable response to what they have suffered. This perspective bias also feeds into the rest and further strngthens and perpetuates the oppression.

By building bridges between groups, by making friends and allies in other groups, by condemning such opressing and scapegoating within our own groups we can dissmantle this pattern if not wholly then substantially enough to drastically improve the lives of masses of people.

the exact same thing happens within the "politics of politics"--and as odd as it sounds, the republican party is experiencing this very phenomenon today as the mitt romneyists and sarah palinists devour each other, with little recognition of the extent of their common purpose.

as to how this can happen: allow me to add one other impediment to the list you used to close the prior comment: group self-preservaion.

it appears to me that one of life's great paradoxes is the need for humans to form groups...but once those groups are formed, virtually all groups seek to defend their group's existence against percieved threats, sometime to such an extent that the other purposes of the group becomes subsumed in the process to the fight for group survival. (many will point to churches as examples of this circumstance, but others might point to political parties or unions...)

while group self-preservation can have a negative impact on group behavior, it can also lead to alliances, as occurred between black and jewish groups during the civil rights movement in the south.

The problem with groups is that, historically, they have been founded upon the notion of single policed identity, sometimes called a "corporation," not an alliance, certainly never a coalition.

This is the bitter education of working within organizations that call themselves GLBTTQ, but see their purpose only through the prism of sexual orientation.

The voices of gender identity, or, my preference, subconscious sex, and gender expression--less so, because this has often been adopted by sexual orientation--are not given anything approaching equal time or equal resources.

it is a bitter reality...and a lot of times you just have to eat it until they larger group gets around to thinking about you.

we're seeing the same thing here as we attempt to get the uninsured some form of healthcare coverage: there is an alliance with those who suffer because the insurance they have is not working for them either, and right now it looks as though insurance reform is "backseating" expansion of insurance to the uninsured.

that said, the uninsured are at least part of the conversation...and that's progress, compared to the last 40 years.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 12:57 PM

"There is undeniably a similar appearance to transsexual people and transgender people, particularly early in a transsexual person's transition, but appearances can be deceiving"

There is also a similar Experience. Of discrimination and oppression and more. And it may well be that the both are variations or degrees of effect of the same biological causation (we'll have to wait on the scientists to start including more CDs in their studies to be sure but other neurological-spectrum variations suggest it's likelihood).

The rest of us also suffer from presumptions and from invalidation if we don't fit a narrow and undiverse and often ideological narrative and criteria.

Not every transgender person uses the term because they subscribe to an ideology. Tbe words usage has spread because it was filling a needed gap in the existing language. Look at the word Terrific (it comes from the same source as Terrible and Terror) or the way we use the word Sex to describe not just anatomical structure but confusingly also copulation because it was short for 'the sex act' which was itself a awkward adoption of euphamism. This is common in language, not a conspiracy or ideology but ordinary linguistics. Words meanings depend on their usage and the need for a word to use in that manner.

The S&GD term (Sex and Gender Diversity) is a better umbrella one I think as it can include Intersex better also.

And it does away with the nasty vicious cruel and harmful meme where the most clossetted and most vilified people: crossdressers and other non-binary-identity/expression transgender people, get painted as some all-powerful conspiracy of borglike assimilators.

Most of them are too worried about someone finding the secret stash of clothes and makeup they use to stay sane and give themselves some outlet for expressing their inner gender identity and whether or not they can 'quit' being who they are or find a 'cure' and how much money they spent replacing everything since their last purge in their last failed attempt to quit being different and force themslves tobe 'normal' or whether they should take their own life as a way out of it all than to worry about what a post-op pre-op or non-op TS gets catagorised as. Most don't even know what to call themselves let alone anyone else!

By all means lets take up terms like S&GD and improve our terminology but lets remember that there is a lot of diversity in there and neat demarcations are hard to find and most attempts to narrowly define the catagories just leave nore and more people swept under the carpet for not fitting in the neat boxes.

Not only do transgender and transsexual people share the experience

Of discrimination and oppression and more

Gay and lesbian people do, as do people of colour.

While similarities are certainly important, for want of a better term, internal experience, as opposed to the external experience you speak of, is different and, as a consequence, needs diverge and call for different voices and responses.

Our internal experience, as transsexual people, is one of sex not of gender.

You probably do not need the medical interventions I did to change things you probably do not want to change. As one whom I respect has termed it Cybele's knife is something I needed; you probably don't even want to think about it.

You argue that it may be the same biological causation for both transgenderism and transsexualism.

I would argue that for those whose necessity is sexuality in the sense of total experience I have posited elsewhere in these comments, the exploration of gender that is transgenderism will prove inadequate and they will proceed to Cybele's knife.

Those for whom the exploration of gender is sufficient, will not.

Appearances can be deceiving.

There is no shame in either trajectory, only difference--and divergence.

I argue for divergence.

I will not accede to the routine repudiation of the experience, and claim, of our lives nor of our routine erasure.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 10:45 PM

Ah see well Jessica thats where you really need to meet and talk to a few crossdressers about their personal experiences and not go by the false stereotypes.

Maybe 70-80% of crossdressers I know well have thought of surgery at some point and quite a few have concidered it often!

Nature almost managed it for me regardless, and almost killed me in the process, with a strangulated hernia of the testes. And in my youth struggling with the ever growing dischord of my body I wished that I'd get the testicular cancer i'm at greater risk of just so I'd have to get SRS and fall on one side of the fence permanantly.

When in my teens i started getting some breast growth i was exstatically haopy and deeply terrified and miserable alternately. When it went away by itself as the doctor said it would I was happy and misserable with that too. And some days my slowly receding hairline and growing more fragile hair and beard stubble makes me want to just plain scream and scream.

Thing is that many crossdressers have BI-Gender Identity! And yes, that includes their feellings towards their bodies often enough too. They too can have serious body issues, they are just less often genitally foccussed or less clear-cut as to make surgery a less desirable option or a less simple choice.

It seems to me quite comparable to the difference between mild Autism and severe Autism and Aspergers.

When your internal sex-identity says two things at once or alternates between the two then alternating and mixed gender-expression is often the only practical long-term relief of that dischord and dichotomy.

As I keep saying, transsexuals are not being erased. Their circumstances are much more often and more respectfully and more accurately expressed in media regularly.

Crossdressers and the like however are more often disrespected, mocked, treated as invalid or mere kinksters after kicks or people out to scam or fool others. They suffer many of the same forms of discrimination that TSs do and often for the same reasons.

Perhaps you'd be surprised to know that the assumption that MtF crossdressers are male-attracted and therfore part of the gay community means that many of them too have issues about being subsumed into 'gay' like your issues (and there is a lot of homophobia that drives this and is also a result from this) and too that the fact that the transsexual narrative is THE MAIN and near only publicly accepted public transgender narrative means that they feel subsumed into YOUR ideology and circumstances!

Things are a lot more complex than you realise, and your working on a number of incorrect assumptions about people like me. Heck, the CD community by and large is filled with it's own myths and self-deceptions and denials and quashing of aspects so as to try and fit in (usually to fit into the concerns of Cis-partners) as well as a large dose of homophobia and internalised transphobia. Things that more of us are speaking out about though.

Ideology has to be adjusted to evidential reality or it's worthless nonsense. Jessica, I'm a piece of evidence. Try to get to know me. Drop by my blog and ask whatever you like. Before trying to compare our experiences find out first what mine actually are rather than what you imagine they must be.

It's a common trap that the hostility and bigotry against crossdressers et al is also used on transsexuals and many respond not by condemning the transphobic bigotry but instead by attempting to distance themselves from the most villified people. The same thing happens in other oppressed groups plenty too. It's a waste of resources, it harms the powerbase of the group, it actually reinforces the oppression of all oppressed groups involved and it is also profoundly unethical and morally reprehensible. Just as were i to sit by and let my Aboriginal cousins suffer racism because their skin is darker than mine and ignore that they are my family it would make me as bad if not worse than ignorant white racists.

Get to know me Jessica. Get to learn about my experiences and issues. Set the ideology aside for a while and learn what our commonalities actually are and what our shared issues actually are and then we can work together against the primary sources of oppression against us both rather than the horizontal hostility bickering and scapegoating that merely interferes with our capacity to make real lasting effective progress.

Transgender is not the source of transsexuals problems, nor are transsexuals the source of crossdressers problems nor either the source of problems for Gays or Gays the source of problems for them, even though you will find people in each group that make those claims. Bigotry is the real problem. So lets reject bigotry within our communities and fight it together within society as a whole.

I have a number of Transsexual friends, I fight for their issues as much as my own. Try to get to know some crossdressers and bi-gender people, there's a wide diversity amongst us all. The Sex and Gender Diverse community is wracked with Internalised Oppression. I reccomend this article on that Give it a read and it may help you understand better the way our oppression makes us turn on each other.

I really do not like to address myself directly to persons in the way you are addressing yourself to me. It leads all too often to flame, fire and ashes.

I spent much time early on in my transition working in a "transgender support" organization--an exclusively crossdresser organization. I worked, or attempted to work, on common goals, only to find they always seemed to exclude the needs of those who weren't as you describe yourself.

I have spent time working with organizations that evolved from addressing only issues of sexual orientation. Their practice, as opposed to what they have promised--including a trans advocacy policy I drafted, which it adopted (advocating for both gender identity and gender expression in human rights and hate crime law)--excluded those whose primary purpose was not sexual orientation.

I am deeply suspicious of unity talk.

What this usually means is that minorities, not just transsexual people, but those with issues other than sexual orientation or gender non-conformity, but of race, class, age, dis/ability, etc, are excluded.

This is the bitter lesson learned in Canada about same-sex marriage--one that will eventually be learned in the United States.

Until true coalitions can be formed, where the explicit needs of all constituents are formally recognized, with an agenda of free common goals agreed upon, inclusive of all, minorities will always excluded.

This exclusion is usually couched in precisely the kind of rhetoric we hear from self-identified transgender persons on the one hand or gay and lesbian people on the other--who see their purpose as the only possible unifying issue.

Until the recognition of divergent trajectories is as much cliche as the doctrines of the transgender umbrella and gay rights, voices such as mine are needed.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 12:33 PM

I agree that far too often many minorities get left out of many organisations and processes or recieve only token support.

It's an issue I too care about. But splitting minorities off from their likely allies as often happens with the anti-TG stuff and plenty of others just leaves a minority out in the cold with no resources. Especially scattered small groups of people like TSs in rural and regional areas.

As you can see by my many posts here at the Australian Governments Human Rights Community Consultation (listed under my birth-name same as my recent guest-blog article) and the AHRC Sex and Gender Diversity Report forum (now closed but archived, my posts under the name battybattybats) I argue not just for my own issues but others like Transsexual medical treatment, ending unethical unneccessary Intersex Infant surgeries, preserving Indiginous cultural rights and many more. I concentrate on what I know more about certainly but I tried my best to bring up important issues for others who relied on my voice to speak up for their issues.

So while many might as you fear discuss unity when they mean support them while they ignore you I, while still human and imperfect and capable of making mistakes, sure do my darndest to actually support others seriously.

Whats needed in my view is not seperating minorities from uncaring larger groups but holding the larger groups accountable for bias and bigotry and inaction, as well as fostering an inclusive culture of mutual support for all with priority based not on the most numerous or the closest to their goal already (aka the least-needing!) but based on severity of need.

The formal goals of our likeliest allies in Canada--gay and lesbian people--have been achieved. Now their goals continue to be those of sexual orientation. I have written extensively of this "post-marriage" phenomenon on my blog--which can be accessed by clicking on my name at the end of my comments.

I was expelled from Egale Canada--think of it as Canada's Human Rights Campaign--precisely for holding it to account for its actions and exclusions.

Their is little historical experience, as I have learned not only from reading history--usually a revised history--and from my own involvement for anything other than a single policed identity unity advocacy which, in the service of democracy works only for the goals of the majority.

A recent amendment to this is only to work for those covered by the Canadian Human Rights Act--which does not include transsexual people, and possibly not transgender people, though gay people who have recently launched a human rights campaign seem to argue the act includes gender non-conforming people--as gender non-conformity is part of "all things associated" with homosexuality. Their argument, not mine.

The attempt to hold accountable--what in any other context would be called speaking truth to power, but which is never the case when transsexual people, or, "post corrected" people, speak--is not one that draws much support from power.

The dialectic of majority/minority--the master/slave dialectic, perhaps?--is eternal. The particular players change. As a transsexual person, post-corrected, and even before, I'm in a double minority: A minority in the LGBt movement and a minority under the transgender umbrella.

The only dynamic I see is between how much must I moderate my rhetoric so I will be consider a credible participant in a dialogue determined by those whose experience, whose trajectory in life is not mine and how much I can be true to my needs and lived life, and to those like me--and how much I must vitiate it to maintain credibility.

this is such a tough situation, and one that many people who seek redress for wrongs have to deal with.

if it helps, i'd invite you to consider that in the struggle for civil rights, success often "devolves down" to smaller populations from larger ones, even if it does take some considerable amount of time.

in the us, we've seen women, generically, achieve sufferage and movement toward pay and other legal equality. racial communities are achieving recognition, and even more recently, gay communities are as well.

there are two pieces of good news in this story: the pace of positive change is coming faster and faster, and as more and more people become more and more tolerant success for everyone become more of a reality than a dream.

but you get a lot farther with friends than without them, and as you've acknowledged, there is movement among the gay community to recognize your fight and to start to act in a way that supports your struggle.

i do understand your suspicion, but without allies a process that is already inherently tough becomes a whole lot tougher.

In the US people with transsexual histories had civil rights and accommodations that have largely been erased along with our forced erasure under the use of transgender as a forced umbrella identity we rejected from the get go.......

What to know the source of the anger of those of us long ago corrected? This, and the denial of our own completion as women and men by those who claim the right to speak for us as they deny us the right to speak. We speak our truths in any venue transgenders can have us banned from and we are banned. If they cannot do that, they shout us down, if they cannot do that they actually threaten us.

As a Pagan religious leader, as an outspoken feminist as a woman in a mysogynistic society, no prejudice, no discrimination comes remotely close to the shear hatred, attempted violence, attempts to disrupt every single aspect of my life such as work, mail, phone, internet, domain ownership, place to live, forced outings costing jobs all by "transgenders" who object to me simply speaking my truth and the truth of thousands like me.

i noted at your site the comment that post-completion women are no longer covered by the provisions of the ada...but i have to say that i cannot understand why such women would be subject to the provisions of the act.

as you have noted, you have, as a post-completion woman, resolved the disabling condition that made you eligible for the provisions of the act in the first place.

it would seem to me that as a woman--not a post-woman, or a trans-woman, but just a woman--the means of protection against discrimination in employment and housing and accomodations are more rightly found in the venue of the civl rights act than the americans with disabilities act.

Rev. Donna Lee | August 1, 2009 9:26 AM

I have always considered myself to be transsexual. i have done this to let people know that yes, I am know I womyn. There is something about actually not having a penis and having a vagina and clitoris that is the defining part for me.
I understand that transgender was the word used and it it bow becoming trans. However I must say that in having gone all the way so to speak in my transition I do want that to be known. Today I identify as a womyn. When at a conference I will use the word transsexual to denote I have had GRS.
The main point I want to emphacize is respect. Call someone as they appear. I have been called he and that gets a withering sarcastic comment such as " Would you like me to show you that I am female " or if it really pisses me off, " can I speak with your manager ".
The whole gender issue is really quite backward here in the good old US of A. The right wing plays off on bathroom fears to try to and are sometimes successful, to block trans equality laws. We just beat a measure to roll back GLBT rights here in gainesville do to when trans rights were added to the ordinance the religious right used that as an opportunity to try to roll back all GLBT rights here. They lost only getting 42% of the vote. They are doing the same thing in kalamazoo, Michigan right now.
Is there an answer to the respect question? Yes! Call everyone as they appear. Problem solved. And pass an inclusive ENDA to end discrimination. Problem solved even more.

as someone in the business i suspect you'll see this even more clearly than i, but a lot of the problem here seems to be that a significant portion of the hard-right republican community is very closely associated with particular evangelical churches.

those churches develop "fear of modern times" ideologies that, to be as blunt as possible, see as the ideal the america of the 1950s, where whites ran things in a godly way, blacks knew their place, and there was no such thing as "gay". (the choice of the word gay, of course, reflecting the reality that for many people any variation of trans automatically equals gay.)

the fact that this america never existed does not detract from its utility as a tool of political motivation...and apparently, in your community, that tool works on about 42% of the voters.

Excellent article Don, thank you for all your hard work. The human race is growing in leaps and bounds as we learn to understand and respect each other.

as much as i'm a cynic...i'm also an optimist...and even though several of my comments here are influenced by taking hard looks at political realities, in the aggregate i see progress here as well.

in this case, the future belongs to the future; meaning that there is a giant change in attitudes between 25 and 50 year-old people on questions of equality--and another, equally large, between the average 50 year-old and the average 75 year-old.

Another term I'd include in your set of definitions would be "genderqueer," increasingly used by people who don't identify as a specific gender or who don't feel that their gender identity fits into either the "masculine" or "feminine" boxes. I think it's kind of similar to the way you used "androgyne," but the way I relate to those terms, "androgynous" is more how I would describe my appearance/presentation, but "genderqueer" is more how I would describe my identity.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 1:07 PM

I concur on adding genderqueer as it turns up fairly often. Though some I've met are using the term 'genderfree' instead of genderqueer because of issues they may hve with the reclaiming of the term queer.

Marja Erwin | August 1, 2009 1:28 PM

But genderfree can mean free from gender roles, while I think genderqueer usually means having unique gender identities.

A trans womon might be butch, femme, androgynous, or, for that matter, genderfree, and still completely womon-identified.

A genderqueer person might take on all the stereotypical masculine or stereotypical feminine roles, and identify as neither male nor female. I may be wrong about this; I don't know any genderqueer people.

Marja Erwin | August 1, 2009 1:30 PM

Short version: gender identity is about brain sex. It isn't about gender.

Emily and Batty,

Can you two expound a bit more on genderqueer? It's the one portion of trans-life that I still don't get. I don't really see the difference between genderqueer and androgynous and, well, being trans. I tend to think of trans as the melding post of genders since there are so many "options" available in different configurations. I've never understood what "genderqueer" was specifically or, at least, how it differed from the other terms.

Thanks in advance for the help.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 11:04 PM

Good question.

I'm far from an expert on it though, so those who know more please chime in, but in my experience thus far the difference between Androgynous and Genderqueer is the androgynous person feels and/or appears sex-less or an equal combination of both whereas a genderqueer person moves around a lot more, some days much more masculine others much more feminine some days appearing androgynous and others perhaps as one sex or the other.

As I mentioned before some I know are using the term genderfree instead.. as in having full gender liberty, the unrestrained expression of any gender combination. Though like all words it has other possible meanings like free of gender or without gender which is not how those i know who use it mean by it.

Using Transgender as an umbrella term Androgynous and Genderqueer/genderfree are both definately part of transgender as Trans can mean Beyond and Over and Surpassing as much as it can mean change and on-the-other-side-of.

Mind you I once had an argument with the cis-wife of a crossdresser who claimed i was not 'out' because my main (but not only, so she was wrong I might add) public expression is a gothic mixed-gender expression and she did not consider genderqueer truly transgender only attempting-to-pass skirt-wearing as such. The binary-gender bias can be found all sorts of places.

i'm looking at your answer to bil's question and my response as to how i had interpreted the use of androgyne...and i'm still fairly confident that i was on the right track in that usage.

and while we're on the subject, might i also note that there is a considerable amount of...insinuation...that is directed towards the goth community as well.

we have a friend who owns a store that sells gargoyles as its main product line...and she dresses in a goth style...and i'll never forget flipping on the local evening news the night of the columbine shooting, and there was our friend, being interviewed about "what's up with the goths", or some such thing; the insinuations being that "the goths did it", that "they're all alike", and, of course, that somehow all goths, everywhere, know about each other's doings.

which is a long way of saying that you seem to have it double tough out there, and i hope that, despite what presumably gets thrown at you from time to time, life is treating you well.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 10:45 AM

Thanks, indeed there is a lot of anti-goth and anti-emo et al discrimination out there. I personally haven't suffered much in years (I've got more grief for having CFS than for being Goth) but I know people in my town who have suffered abuse from verbal harssment to having child-welfare called on them just for being Goths.

A significant portion of anti-goth and anti-emo bigotry is actually related to the greater acceptance of and expression of gender-non-conformity in the subcultures. The femininity of style and makeup use amongst male Emos and the cultures high gay-tolerance was cited as some of the reasons behind Mexico's anti-emo riot for example.

i was going to ask you if there might be a connection between anti-gay sentiments in mexico and the anti-emo movement...but a bit of quick research answered that question very nicely.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 3, 2009 1:00 AM

Indeed. These biases and bigotries follow distinctive patterns with substantial intersections.

And of course the same stupid 'blame the other oppressed cousins' rubbish occurs in subcultures.. there was conflict between the Bat-Cavers and the Goths, between the Goths and the Baby-Bats (which was often an offensive term used by late-80's goths for mid-to-late 90's Goths, though some claimed it for their own), and now between the Goths and Emo.

In every group there are conformists, marginalisers and scapegoaters trying to chuck people out of the group, split the group or blame part of the group or a related or similar group for the oppression received from the priviliged mainstream. With a lot of 'we were just getting left alone and you've gone and drawn attention to yourselves and stirred things up again' nonsense.

Especially the finger pointing at the bad elements found in ALL groups used as an excuse for fanning the flames of tribalist internecine and wasteful and hurtful rubbish.

Thankfully theres a fair few of us Goths reaching out to Emo and building friendships and alliances of mutual support on sub-culture discrimination (sometimes called Alterophobia deriving from Alternative Culture) as well as educating against it within our own communities.

Just like the conflicts found amonsgt GLB let alone the current topic. Conformity, hostility to those different to themselves especially those largely similar to but different in at least one one villified extent (like getting SRS or not getting SRS, anything to trigger the 'association' factor). It's a common enough pattern.

my understanding of the use of "androgyne" was that it could be used in reference to those who might find "masculine" or "feminine" inappropriate, either because the person's life experience includes a gender other than a strictly masculine or feminine one, because someone frequently changes their gender role, or because in this person's life experience there's no need for a gender role at all.

genderfree and genderqueer would be terms that apply to subsets of this larger group.

Thanks for a wonderful dialog Don!

I transitioned M2F and after a year plus living full time as a woman came to the conclusion that although I am definitely not male, I am also not female. My own personal experience of being an androgyne is that I am neither of the commonly recognized binary genders, however I also know other androgynes who are both genders. It's a pretty wide umbrella.

You might enjoy reading one of my blogs, "What is an Androgyne Anyway?", which was cross posted here couple of years ago.

i will take a peek at the blog...and, as always...who doesn't love a compliment?


Angela Brightfeather | August 1, 2009 1:05 PM

Hi Don,

Thank you for laying out some of the basics about Trans people. I recognize that the implications of getting into why the Hopi and some other societies consider there to be at least 32 distinct genders is a bit much and beyond the basics, but suffice it to say that you have adequately touched on the subject of Trans in a good and supportive way.

Just to add a few perspectives. I find the designation "Tranny" to be acceptabled among Trans people, but agree that it is less than acceptable for non-Trans people to use the term. I don't find this unusual within minorites and the same thing happens in many minority communities having their own distinct ways of addressing each other in terms that others are not invited to do. So the lesson there is, if you hear a Tranny calling another Tranny a Tranny, don't consider that a license to do so if your not a Tranny.

I could comment on a any number of things you have said, but I also know that in doing so, there will always be someone out there who disagrees with some aspect of the comment, because that is what happens in a quickly evolving minority like the Trans community.

In any event, all these points boil down to the same thing, justification for being different than the average J.Q. Citizen type cis-person who seems to have a handle on exactly what they are gender wise. Most notably because they probably have hardly ever question it.

You seem to be a person with more than an "earthly" perspective, so perhaps you may be able to identify with what I call "moments of ecstacy." For whatever reason and in whatever form, I find that Trans people are who they are because they recognize that being Trans in whatever form that is comfortable to them, allows them more moments of ecstacy in their lives. Now just plug in the word happiness for ecstacy and you've got it.

It would seem perfectly natural and right for anyone who understands what it is that makes their lives happy, at no cost to anyone else, to be monumentally unhappy if they were stopped from doing what it was that made them happy or were direspected, condemned and discriminated against because of it.

That is the situation as it exists today and what has to be changed or at least understood.

As far as all those definitions....they mean very little if the basic principles of respect for another person's happiness is missing.

i think the lasst few words of your comment do truly get to the heart of the matter--that what really counts here is respect for another person's happiness.

and you are right...i do easily grasp the concept of moments of ecstacy--in fact, there's something about picking my own blueberries right off the farm, or sitting on the rocks up on the ridge behind the house...or coming out the front door and finding a deer staring back at me...that absolutely create moments of joy.

I hate to nitpick too...

No actually I love to nitpick, and maybe someone already pointed this out, I didn't read all the comments, but the article makes it sound like males produce testosterone and females produce estrogen, and intersex produce both. This is incorrect.

All humans produce all hormones, just in different proportions.

And the preponderance of one or other sex hormone--or the body's ability to respond to one or other--develops secondary sexual characteristics consistent with the preponderant, or effective, sex hormone.

Sometimes, there is even effect on the primary sexual characteristic.

It is the alteration of the balance, even replacement of one by the other that constitutes cross sex hormone replacement therapy.

i have to put the blame for this error, ultimately, at my own overeliance on the information as presented by the folks at lifelines...but this is an additional example of how i would have either done better by using more sources or avoided discussion of terminology at all.

that said, i would rather have brought this material to the table--and the corrections--than to not have addressed terms at all, as the resulting conversations have been of great interest to all.

"To avoid this, all you need to do is refer to the individual using the pronouns that match that person's appearance."

My appearance/gender presentation doesn't always necessarily match my gender identity (non binary androgyne) due to safety concerns and/or needing to make a living, however my gender identity is consistent regardless of external expression.

I don't believe we can gender people based only on appearance. A person is the gender they say they are, regardless of appearance.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 1, 2009 11:13 PM

Good point.

I think that when it comes to etiquette where a pronoun is unavoidable trying to go by appearance untill you learn the persons preferance is at least an atempt at politeness... but how often do we really need to use sir or madam these days? And They can be used instead of He or She easilly enough when talking about someone and not wanting to use their name too often in ones sentences.

The biggest difficulty seems to be business where a few people I know locally have asked me whether they should use Sir or Maam with a customer in town whose gender presentation is ambiguous and they want to be polite to them as well as follow their businesses customer-service rules. Alas not knowing the person I don't know how they identify either so my advice was to just be friendly and avoid any pronouns as much as possible.

i'm going to reply to this and the next comment in the same way, so i'll combine the two for the convenience of all three of us.

i got it backwards...see the comment above, in response to zythyra.

re: "To avoid this, all you need to do is refer to the individual using the pronouns that match that person's appearance."

i dont know who said this originally, but no. Please dont do that actually. My appearance (according to cissexist assumptions about appearance and gender identity) is "male", my identity is not. In fact i really hate it when people do this, whether theyre cis or not. This assuming on my behalf. There is zero reason for a business to gender the way they interact with clients. Instead of "Sir, what would you like this evening?" how about "And what can i get for you this evening?". Simple. Done and done. No awkward silences, no eyeballs flitting over the table to friends, no endless apologies when the error has been "discovered". It doesnt have to be that big a deal if people choose to do a little work.

the fact that you might be doing business with someone and you want to treat them with absolute courtesy is most assuredly a driver of the desire to properly pronoun...but that said, i use "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" in colloquial speech as well, and i have also been known to mispronoun in my writing, which is how we came to this story in the first place.

and while we obviously don't want to make assumptions based only on appearance, it's also a fact that someone who is dressed as a man, who might be doing so for reasons of safety, is not advantaged by being addressed as "ma'am", no matter that they might be concealing what's in their heart.

"the fact that you might be doing business with someone and you want to treat them with absolute courtesy is most assuredly a driver of the desire to properly pronoun"

Yes, when you live in a cissexist society that insists that gendering, ungendering and misgendering someone against their will is considered a courtesy. i dont.

"and while we obviously don't want to make assumptions based only on appearance, it's also a fact that someone who is dressed as a man, who might be doing so for reasons of safety, is not advantaged by being addressed as "ma'am", no matter that they might be concealing what's in their heart."

i wouldnt suggest calling someone so dressed "ma'am", this is a bit absurd, unless they asked to be addressed so. i would suggest however that cissexual folks please work on their need to gender everyone around them, and to presume to know or understand any piece of why anyone presents the way they do. That is the essence of my problem with this entire string. Obviously i make assumptions all the time based on what i see and what ive been indoctrinated to believe about that. Sighted people do this every day. But i problematize it, because it's ... well... a serious problem lol. It's based in cissexual privilege; it's attaching cissexual meanings to all things, and i want people who wish to be in solidarity with me to challenge this in themselves, and not only when it comes to someone they have identified as being trans, ts, genderqueer or any other way of existing in the world.

i can appreciate where you're coming from here...but you have to appreciate that business will be the last "adopter" of your thinking.

is it a question of "cis-privilege", or a perception that this is what "the customer" wants?

i don't know, but i'll tell you this: i recently wrote a pair of stories describing the history of racial discrimination in las vegas, and one of the "take aways" from those stories was that casino interests actively supported racial discrimination because they percieved it as being good for business.

the first "crack in the wall" came when the integrated moulin rouge casino opened and immediately started doing huge business. the casino only managed to stay open for six months...and many sugggest the other casino interests had a hand in that closure.

it took four more years before casino interests acceeded to allowing the integration of casino floors throughout vegas, employment integration came later...and intergration in housing didn't occur until 1971.

my point: business is unlikely to be a friendly force in the process of change, the perception that customers like "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" isn't going to go away in the immediate future, and given that reality, using pronouns in a way that brings less offense is probably a more readily achievable goal than a world without pronouns.

Angela Brightfeather | August 1, 2009 11:22 PM

"and you are right...i do easily grasp the concept of moments of ecstacy--in fact, there's something about picking my own blueberries right off the farm, or sitting on the rocks up on the ridge behind the house...or coming out the front door and finding a deer staring back at me...that absolutely create moments of joy. "

The concept of being Trans as our esctasy or happiness should be common to everyone and should make being Trans not only understandable to everyone, but also 100% acceptable. After that happens, definitions all become irrelevant anyway.

All people have those moments in their lives that gives them moments of esctasy. You mention a moment when you see the deer in your yard. They are moments that take your breath away, or at least seem that you have no need to breath and all things become silent and you feel one with all other things as time stands still. The love and need of those moments is as intense and basic as a parent seeing her young child in their first Christmas play at school and not being able to control the happiness, love and elation she feels in her heart. Nothing else exists in those moments.

For Trans people, those moments come as quickly and as surely as every step they take to become what they feel they must be in expressing themselves, most notably because they have been trapped in a gender expression based upon what is between their legs, rather than what is in their mind and spirit.

This understanding is the common ground that we may all meet upon in life. The impediments to achieving this equality are discrimination and the fear of diversity.

i am happy to associate myself with this comment...but i would add that also standing in the way of greater understanding are a community of people for whom moments of joy are found in the unhappiness of others--or in the concept of sadness generally--which is why garbage could so very successfully release a song called "i'm only happy when it rains".

Bee stings...strangulated hernias...this reason for, that reason against...this variation of crossdressing, that variation...the intellectualization seems to never end. As for the " many 'options'" that Bil alludes too, that is a CD thing, one that doesn't apply to classic transsexuality. MtoF transsexuals innately know from a very young age that they are female...and then move heaven and earth to have GRS, die trying, or live a complete life of misery while trapped by their circumstances; that is the only path for transsexuals. The "options" are two, and the dividing line quite finite: (1)classic transsexuality and (2)everything else including their myriad variations. Though not a bad thing, one being no better and holding no more prestige than the other, nonetheless a fact that invokes much resentment toward transsexuals by those whose life narrative doesn't align.

i'm not trying to be mean here, but i suspect there will be many who will read this and feel resentment because the comment seems to demean anybody whose journey to transition doesn't involve getting their penis cut off.

there are two groups of people that i suspect will feel especially demeaned and will likely be especially resentful: those who have established a different hormonal balance than the one they might have had at birth, and those who have undergone metoidioplasty and testicular implantation and penile implantation.

i don't mean to be the nit-picker here, but i don't see how you can say there's "classic transsexuality and (2)everything else including their myriad variations" and not realize that the construction of that sentence will be seen as demeaning to all the "theirs" out there.

now you could respond by saying "well, facts are facts and there's no need for me to compromise and that's just too bad...", but, you know what?

if that's the manner in which you respond when facing this question...that's where the resentment would be coming from...and despite the fact that you acknowledge that "one [holds] no more prestige than the other", i don't people are going to read it that way.

I have greatly appreciated your responses to my comments and the, in general, measured replies to others in these threads, however, I'm unable to let this pass:

getting their penis cut off

Factually, this is an inaccurate statement, because little is discarded during the MTF procedure--the most significant parts no longer needed are those that produce testosterone, the rest, in the "penile inversion technique," at least, is used in a manner that always seemed to me the way it would have been had this error of birth not happened.

The focus, historically, has always been on MTF transsexual people, not necessarily because of anything we might have needed or wanted, but because of society's obsession with femaleness and femininity.

And the control of femaleness and femininity--what has been called sexism and misogyny. Many make the argument this cannot possibly be applied to transsexual women because, well, we are not and have never been women.

Maybe the notion of respect that pervades these comments--which I unconditionally support--is the answer to this.

The challenge to all is whether the person standing in front of one is actually a woman.

Some make the argument that the relative absence of FTM transsexuals is because they started out as "women" (I use the quotes because they are no more "women" before transition than MTF's are "men" before transition); I would argue just the reverse, society considers their necessity of being men quite natural and not the spectacle that it is for MTF's.

After all, who would want to be a woman? is the rhetorical question I usually ask at this point.

This brings up a larger point I wish to make regarding the focus of most of the comments, as opposed to that of your original piece. The comments, for the most part, focus on the individual; your piece focuses mostly upon the general and definitional.

I agree with the entire thrust of the comments regarding respect of the individual and each individual's happiness.

But I'm concerned with the generalizing that occurs when the appearance of individuals, transgender and transsexual, seem to converge and so, consequently, it is argued, they must be the same.

Appearances can be deceiving.

I agree human rights and hate crime protections must be addressed for all--in Canada where I live there is no question transsexual people have no formally recognized human rights and no hate crime protection whatsoever; this is where my own advocacy is focused. It is less clear whether transgender people, those who do not medically transition, are so left out.

Gay and lesbian people have clearly had their human rights formally recognized for a decade and hate crime protections since 2002.

This is the locale from which I argue.

Access to the medical services transsexual persons need must not be lost in the drive for common identity.

This drive has quite clearly left transsexual persons out of the national discourse, such as it is, in Canada, regardless of all the uproar when provinces remove sex reassignment surgery from our single-payer health system, or a women born women only pharmacy is established in Vancouver--the city with the organization of feminists that traditionally excludes transsexual women.

Often, though this is not always clear, this organization excludes those who don't live their lives as women--that is, transsexual men.

I wish to end with the phrase I highlighted at at the beginning of this comment.

This is precisely the kind of generalizing and demeaning comment that comes from the perspective of those who do not medically transition or even able to conceive of it in any other way than that of an absurd, self-destructive action.

There is no phrase I have ever seen, or can even imagine, that is the equal for FTM's, say, those who cut off their breasts; our language and attitudes do not seem to be able to support such an equally outrageous statement.

This is my point regarding society's differing attitudes concerning men and women, and consequently, transsexual women and transsexual men.

Our necessity to be part of society as the men and women we have always been, regardless of appearance, and, for the most part, heterosexual and gender conforming, challenges those who wish to forcibly include us in the transgender umbrella and the gay rights movement without considering how our trajectories diverge.

i knew that was going to get me in trouble...and the best defense i can offer is that i had just finished answering so many comments that were of an entirely different nature, and i read that, and really reacted improperly.

so i do realize that was offensive, and for that i do apologize.

there is an object lesson here for those who would promote the "classic transsexual" meme, however: i'm clearly not here to diminish anyone's experience or to be demeaning, and yet i surely did just that to a number of readers.

and the same things seems to happen with this issue as well...the intent may not have been to suggest that "classic" is better then "everything else", but that is most definitely how it reads.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 10:00 PM

Yes, 'classic transsexual' and the other oft-used 'true transsexual' are very demeaning and invalidating of many other transsexuals.

And I see that for some transsexuals they reject the term transgender because they see it as invalidating. These Cisgender transsexuals could just call themselves that, cisgender transsexuals, It seems an accurate descriptor, or some other such term could be coined without invalidating others with terms like 'classic' or 'true' and without attempting to rob those transsexuals who do support the term transgender of it.

I regret that this is precisely the issue that is of concern.

Those who choose to name others with terms that are of comfort, not to those who are named, but to those who do the naming.

The term you find offensive was created not by any transsexual person, but by Harry Benjamin.

Maybe you should complain to him.

These things do not spring fully formed into the world like Athene, but develop over time--even as the transgender meme has.

For myself, and myself alone, this is less something I do for my own identity certainty but more for those who will come later AND for my belief there is something wrong with what has been established in the years since Butler first brought into the world what has become the meme of transgender.

From posting on sites like this, and my experience with the organizations I have tried to work with, I am prepared, more or less, for the vilification that is the inevitable consequence of this advocacy.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 11:00 PM

But if Transgender must be redefined to take into account the feellings and issues and self-identity of others then so must 'classic' transsexual.

And a word is not owned by it's coiner, words evolve through their usage. Language and ideas are living adapting ever-changing and frankly at any time still strictly nebulous things with any word holding only a vague sharing of meaning between any two people at any one time. (a family member is a linguist with philosophy/archaeology/anthropology/art background)

Surely consistency, accuracy, respect and fairness supports Cisgender Transsexual as valid, along with Cisgender Cissexual, Transgender Cissexual and Transgender Transsexual? And with the S&GD term the better umbrella term allowing greater inclusiveness and awareness of the diversity under the umbrella ending the one-group-representing-all problem and also resolving similar problems with Intersex issues too?

Terms used by those of us on the frontiers of knowledge and advocacy certainly seem to be fluid.

Although I am old enough to have watched the evolution/creation of these terms, I was pre-occupied with just trying to live a not very complete life before I had to the courage to transition.

More recently, I have tried to explore their history.

I have learned of the rage of those who, well aware of their "condition" and the identity that flows from it many, many years before the term, let alone the concept transgender was created.

I suppose for those 30 years my junior the mutual redefinition you advocate is nothing difficult in a world which, as they have known it for the short time they have known it, is not a problem.

Though I have only come into this in the last 8 years or so, I have more than a little appreciation for those who feel the intrusion, at least, of what you advocate.

For the 20 or so years that transgender has developed a following, they have watched their lives and achievements stripped from them.

I don't think young transgender people have any understanding of this--and they seem not to want to understand this.

My reading of intersex people is that they do not wish to be any part of transsexual issues, believing their condition is purely physical--a position classical transsexuals themselves take.

And that it is not socially constructed, which seems to be the view of those who hold the view that its all about gender--following writers like Judith Butler.

Lateral abuse/violence, which I believe you, or possibly someone else in these comments pointed out, is rife in all oppressed populations. Though this has been denied every time I have brought it up.

I believe this is very much a part of the oppression of all of us, though I do not yet see a way through it.

Ultimately, I simply do not believe that suggestions, even as respectful as yours, from those that do not understand the lived lives of transsexual people are appropriate.

Whether in Canada or the United States, we just do not have models of true coalitions/alliances; the only models we have are of majorities dictating to minorities.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 12:03 AM

See now this is where, as my Grandmother used to say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You are making judgements on the issue from one specific perspective. No more nor less valid than any other single perspective and utterly useless by itself and guaranteed to skew understanding.

How much do you know about the label conflicts amongst crossdressers? About the conflicts between the terms Transvestite and Crossdresser?

How many crossdressers do you think support the term transgender? Self identify as Transgender? Want to be associated with Transsexuals and their issues?

What about the connection between the label Gay and crossdressers?

Would it surprise you to learn that there is similar views about transsexuals colonising crossdressers?

Would it surprise you to hear that there is frequent anecdotal evidence that crossdressing appears to be hereditary? I was surprised to find out how many closeted crossdressers found secret stashes of clothing makeup photos etc when dealing with the deceased estate of fathers uncles and grandfathers or who were told about a deceased fathers secret when coming out to relatives as a CD.

Would it surprise you to hear that some scientists studying the neurological evidence of TS being a physical condition predict that variety of conditions is expected in degrees likely explaining most and maybe all sex and gender diversity? Of course the studies haven't been done yet on the CDs. And considering the perpetual hostility towards us i expect we'll be waiting a looong time.

But being a crossdresser is not 'socially constructed'. It occurs AGAINST THE TIDE OF SOCIAL PRESSURE. It occurs DESPITE attempts to 'quit'. Accepting it and stopping fighting against it is neccessary for personal emotional and psychological survival. Wuite comparable to the TS need for surgery CDs who try and repress being a CD either totally or to too great an extent suffer depression, mood swings, self-destructive behaviour, high levels of suicidal ideation etc.

All that points logically to simply a mild or partial form of the same physical condition that causes TS just like there is mild Autism that can go from nearly undetectable and severe Autism and a range in between! Just like many neurological conditions and variations.

What disgusts me, genuinely disgusts me, is while I'm fine with peoples self-definition and them defining themselves by other terms than transgender it is that i see them using the same arguments that the homophobes in the crossdressing community use to object to being connected in any way under GLBT or gay.

Theres a smattering of reasonable points 'they arent often giving our needs any priority' 'this organisation went back on their promise to us' etc but then theres all the bigotry, the 'all gays hate us' (false exaggeration) 'everyone thinks CDs are gay when they are not' (ignores that plenty of CDs are, marginalising gay and bi CDs) 'Gays reflect badly on us' (plain homophobia) 'we're not accepted because of Gays' (blames Gays for societies trnasphobia scapegoating them) and worst is all this involves the utterly despicable notion that if another group is vilified then stepping away from them is better than being vilified for being connected to them. That abandonment is vile in the most extreme.

See the same pattern is found everywhere. And no matter how many times I or others I know say to these people in ANY group that I respect their self-identification and don't insist they call themselves Gay or Transgender or Transvestite or Crossdresser etc they almost without fail continue to make the claim that all of us label them thus and its hurting them blah blah blah, in other words in the vast majority of cases they are merely using that argument as an excuse to heap vilification on others and to try to drive schisms between groups because of their hatred and bigotry of the other group.

Well no matter the arguments of the loud but small homophobic minority amongst the crossdressing community Gays and Crossdressers will and do have shared interests and a shared history and there are plenty of gay crossdressers.

I challenge the non-transgender transsexuals to accept that I at the very least recognise their self definition as non-transgender. I challenge them to make their points without hatred and vitriol and vilification of non-binary transgender people. I challenge them to recognise that idiotic bigots exist in all groups and to stop harbouring and justifying that in their own group nor judge all members of other groups by the existence of bigots amongst them because all groups have them.

classic transsexuality meme?

Classic transsexuality is a birth condition, not an identity. Once the condition is treated with transition, hormones and surgical correction it is cured.....period. We are then not cis-transsexuals, we are women or men. This will always separate us from transgenders who do claim an identity.

What is so damn hard to understand here?

Label me anything other than bisexual woman, Pagan Priestess or Feminist and you are demeaning and devaluing all I went through, all I gave up to be a woman.....woman, period. Not transsexual woman, not transgender woman......woman. Try reading those blog entries I linked to, my stats show only three people used the link

Absolutely no one who claims a transgender identity ever speaks for me. We have nothing in common. We women with transsexed/intersexed histories are fed up with the TG bullying clearly on view here. We are the only experts on our lives, the only ones who can speak our truths.

i would have read the story by now...but i've been a bit busy here hosting our friends.

no offense intended by not having made it there yet, and i will as the volume of comments settles a bit here.

(i'm trying to finish another story tonight as well, so i may take until tomorrow afternoon or evening before i'm entirely caught up.)

i meant to ask you a second question.

i can see three possible explanations as to why srs was cut from the list of procedures for which canadian insurance will pay:

--there is a desire on the part of the harper government to "make a statement" about what would or would not be tolerated, and this could be one way to do it.

--there is a desire on the part of the harper government to "reduce the footprint of government". this kind of a benefit cut could be "sold" as a means to move to that goal.

--is there a "triage" issue: in other words, was this change justified for budget reasons in order to continue to provide coverage for what was percieved as more urgent care?

do you have any thoughts as to which, if any (or all), of these explanations might make the most sense?

The first part of my answer, Don, has to do with the nature of single-payer health care in Canada.

What is and is not listed, that is covered, is not a decision of the federal government, now headed by the Conservative Party Leader, Stephen Harper, but by the provincial governments.

Second, the savings of delisting SRS is minuscule.

In Ontario, the province where I live, the cost to the single-payer health plan was less than $150,000 out of a budget that when delisted 10 years ago was, maybe, $20 billion. When the Ontario government relisted it a year ago June, the provincial health budget was in the neighbourhood of $40 billion.

It seems to me that fiscal probity is not an argument that can be sustained.

Your second and third points have certainly been made by the conservative leaning provincial governments that have made these cuts.

What do I think?

My opinion, for what its worth, is simply that transsexual people are relegated to second class status by society--as well as by the organizations that claim to advocate for us--as well as the leaders of these organizations who themselves declare they have our best interests at heart.

For years, these very same people and the organizations they have lead, have declared that the human rights of all LGBt people have been recognized when they know this is not the case--which might give us leverage in this.

Their inaccurate claims--obviously a gently description--is another barrier that must be pierced simply to get to the starting point.

Unlike those who make these claims--whose human rights have already been recognized and who have hate crime protections--and who claim to speak for us, we are not permitted to speak.

For a minority that is reviled, even as can be seen in the comments to your article, it is not a problem to dismiss our health needs.

I have written extensively on this on my blog.

I believe the transgender meme, that on its face doesn't recognize the medical needs of the transsexual minority, contributes to this.

This is barely a first draft of an answer, but then one more extensive would require more space than a comment can take up.

And that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

The real reason for cutting SRS coverage is the same reason it is becoming seen by the public as an "option" in the US.....this damn "transgender" umbrella that utterly erases the fact that over 300 separate scientific studies have established as fact that transsexuality is a neurological form of intersexuality with an almost 100% cure rate with surgical correction. A medical condition, not an identity which is what transgender is. No biological causality has ever been indicated by any study anywhere for transgenders but they keep claiming it will happen. It never will. We have science, they have wish fulfillment.

But by claiming to speak for us, by claiming they are just like us and they don't need the life saving medical interventions, they erase the medical truth, make the treatments harder and harder to obtain

Transsexuality is a curable medical condition. Transgenderism is an identity and almost certainly a psycho-sexual disorder.

Ah yes, the super-secret studies that us evil transgender people are keeping under lock-and-key (with the help of black helicopters and the Illuminati)....

Citations? From actual peer-reviewed scientific journals?

As I told you on My Husband is a Crossdresser Named Betty a year ago......well over a thousand related scientific studies are listed with abstracts on TS-SI. You also can check Zoe Brain's blog, I believe she keeps a specific list, again complete with links and abstracts on that site.

Super secret? Only to those who's need to avoid reality is such they keep denying their existence like some Holocaust denier or Obama birther nutcase.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 12:33 AM

Oh it's NARTH time now is it?

The question is not whether there is biological evidence for biological causation of TS.

There is, neurological and so far at least one gene.


See if for example I got 50000 white people and tested them for the HIV virus, and got the same amount of black people and gave them a psychological questionaire on depression and then claimed that 'Black people Don't get AIDS cause the study found no positive HIV results' that would be called SCIENTIFFIC FRAUD.

Because obviously the same test had not been performed on the black people. The absence of results came from the absence of the proper test.

So Transheretic please stop the NARTH and Focus on the Family act of missrepresenting scientific evidence. Please stop the SCIENTIFFIC FRAUD.

Cite the comparative FMRI scan studies of representative samples of CDs GQs TSs and Cis controls that show that there is no variation between the Cis and CD brain activity.

Cite the comparative brain-dissection neuroanatomical studies comparing the discoveries re the neuron count in the lymbic neucleus of FtM TSs with the same results of a significant crosssection of CDs GQs and Cis that show CDs have identical neuroanatomy to Cis.

Cite the genetic study that shows whether the gene found by Australian resarchers to be more common in FtM TSs than the general population occurs no more or less commonly in a representative crosssection of CDs!

And the same for Every Single Form of Evidence Found of Biological Causation of TS!

Otherwise your claim is unscientific rubbish no better than the worst of the homophobic lies about science. Only biological studies can test for biological evidence, So you can pulp all the biased psych rot with its lack of proper scientiffic methodology. Where is the proper hard-science comparative representative sample size biological studies on crossdressers?

But it has been relisted in Ontario--though I had surgery before that, about four months, actually, with resources from settling a human rights complaint.

As for Alberta and Manitoba, these provinces have only just announced delisting.

It took a decade before Ontario relisted--it may well be a long time before the same happens in Alberta and Manitoba.

i just came by to touch base, as i have things to do this afternoon...but good luck with alberta, which seems to be a bit of a "province unto itself".

Alberta is an interesting case.

For many years, while Ontario delisted SRS, Alberta sent many people to the Montreal Clinic of Dr. Pierre Brassard--the world-class SRS centre. When I was there for my surgery, there was a FTM from Alberta.

As I understand it, there is a rather large colony of transsexual people in Calgary that had grown up over the years of those who had travelled there for surgery.

BTW, Alberta has long been a bastion of Conservative party government, i.e., Stephen Harper's party. It was as if the rugged individualist philosophy allowed for the rugged individualism of transsexual people.

The far more interesting case is Manitoba--often, and currently, governed by the New Democratic Party, long a champion, in other jurisdictions, of transsexual people. I have worked with federal member of parliament, Bill Siksay, on his private member's legislation to add gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

Where sexual orientation has been included, respectively, for a decade and since 2002.

As ENDA and the Matthew Shepherd laws are debated, and adopted, it is my hope that, as we have imported much that is unpleasant from the USA, we might now import something positive.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 11:29 AM

Spot on there Don about why people get upset with this kind of thing (though you may want to check the details of SRS again and remember some nice folk will still be sensative about the subject too)

I have a good number of friends who are transsexuals, some that fit the 'classic' definition but who do not use the term. The need for access to medical procedures for many transsexuals is indeed vital, I've had one friend attempt suicide several times because of it.

The Us Vs Them argument generally goes along the lines of 'if CDs get recognised and/or we get included with them our needs will be forgotten for theirs and there will be no SRS for TSs'. And in the process of following this argument they demean invalidate and alienate a large group with what will be when enough come out of the closet a substantial amount of voting and cultural power who'd otherwise be rather natural allies especially as some who initially identify as CDs turn out to be TSs once they start undoing their denial and so some members of the CD community transition (Not to mention some 'classic' TSs just don't buy into that argument).

So many CDs once they belong to a TG community know several TSs and become aware of TS issues as well as their own. It doesn't take too long belonging to a crossdressing forum before someone you know transitions.

Meanwhile attempts to frame the situation as nasty fetishist CDs suborning TS for their own legitimacy while undermining the existence of TS for some nefarious purpose (presumably becuase we are all just plain evil silent-movie moustache-twirling villains who get their kicks denying TSs SRS i suppose) merely isolates further and further some TSs from those who would be and should be there allies. And as more CDs come out those TSs with CD friends will find an ever growing support base and allies in their struggles.

It is beyond offensive for crossdressers, drag queens and transgender identified persons to presume to define and "explain" the issues of women and men with a post corrected transsexual/intersexed history. We speak for our own lives, are the only experts on them.

We have voices but are mostly shouted down. Our civil rights issues are absolutely not the same and the TG pursuit of their is often in direct harm to ours. Those are facts.

Further, when transgender people push the umbrella and try to force women and men post corrected under it that is an act of verbal violence, an absolute attack on personal identity and a direct denial of being women and men without modifiers after our bodies finally match our souls (minds) and our lives are on an equal footing with almost everyone else non-trans on the planet. That you and others refuse to see or hear this is the problem.

The relationship between TGs, LGBs and women such as myself are best described as abuse cycle virtually the same as a battered wife.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 9:47 PM

So your saying that crossdressers, who while outnumbering TSs substantially are so rarely out that the openly out TSs outnumber the openly out CDs are somehow drowning out the voices of the TSs?


Your problem is that plenty of TSs support and use the term transgender. While that remains true the term remains valid. I personally am not fussed by the dropping of the term as the main umbrella were it to occur because as I'm also involved in Intersex issues I prefer S&GD and it's broader more inclusive umbrella anyway!

I respect your right to self-identification. I support your choice of absence from Transgender. But you don't speak for all TSs and untill the day the TSs I personally know ditch transgender then it will be true that TG includes TSs no matter how much you hate the personal self-identification choices of other TSs every iota as valid as your own.

And you think that respecting the acceptance of TG by many other TSs is remotely as bad as the long-term bashing over years of a wife by a physically abusive husband? Seriously?

Not only does that belittle the experiences/identity/choices of TG TSs, the experiences of battered wives including family and friends of mine but the hypocracy of the TS seperatists hate-speech about crossdressers and other trangender people with the invalidation of their non-binary identities, accusations of fetishism and scapegoating etc as well as the invalidation of binary-identified people that support the TG term that really takes the cake.

And which human rights of mine directly abuse any human rights of yours? We harm you by our very existence? Sorry but enough CDs and GQs and TG TSs have died with a belly full of pills or at the end of a noose. We exist. I reccomend adaptation to that fact because you can't kill us all or keep us all in the closet with vitriol and abuse anymore. I have nothing against you and support TS issues and your personal and factions right to self-identification as not-transgender. Just not all the anti TG, anti non-binary, anti human rights hate.

Yes, I know some who I would believe are transsexual but who self-identify as transgender.

I am happy to accept their self-identification. But they have made clear they will not accept my self-identification as transsexual.

There is something wrong about this non-equation.

The vehemence with which they declare that simply to say "transsexual and transgender" is to silence transgender people, while to say "transgender" only does not silence transsexual people is a stance I do not understand.

Transgender is a meme that is currently supreme--those who doubt this, or claim they are somehow demeaned by the cavilling of those who reject their forcible inclusion in their identity, well, I hardly recognize their seriousness when every news article, every television broadcast speaks of transgender not transsexual, and certainly not transgender and transsexual.

I spend most of my time in the world outside, since this has always been my purpose and goal--simply to be a woman in the world--but I find it difficult to see the repetitive use of terms that simply do not accurately describe my life, in fact, state that my life is wrong.

My advocacy is simple, transgender AND transsexual.

I will not accept the argument that states the message must be simplified so that cis people--both cisgender and cissexual--can understand it.

And when they understand it what do we tell them? That we lied to them and the truth is really something else?

Some may wish to do that.

I do not.

do i understand your comment to read that you do not feel that you, yourself, could have understood, explained, or found common cause with your "corrected" self until after the correction was concluded?

to extend the metaphor, had you, in your pre-corrected state, sought to group yourself together with those who are post-corrected, would that have been assaultive behavior?

with all respect, not every disagreement is an assault, and not every effort to seek alliances is an attack--and by the way, if you don't think the discrimination and mistreatment that the transsexual community suffers at the hands of the larger society isn't coming from pretty much the same place as the discrimination and mistreatment experienced by the transgender community with whom you do not wish to be linked...well, it is, and for that reason alone you might wish to "extend the umbrella".

Excuse me?......bullpucky Don....

My pre-corrected self tried to form alliances with transgenders. My pre-corrected self lobbied Congress and state legislatures repeatedly.....and my pre-corrected self did not have the whole picture.

This has NEVER been about alliances. This always has been us trying to defend our right to speak our truths about our lives against out and out erasure of our voices, our needs, our very selves. I am living proof of the violence that has been used to enforce the erasure of our existence in the name of "inclusion" that is more like the borg....inclusion that comes at the cost of civil rights already won, education done long ago. Almost to the minute I even suggested that the needs of people with transsexed histories or suffering from transsexuality weren't being addressed the attacks on every aspect of my life, my reputation, my ability to even live began from transgender identified people Nothing in a long life of activism from civil rights in the 60's, women's rights and Pagan religious freedom rights in the seventies and other activism prepared me for what I experienced at the hands of these people......and clearly you do not believe me.

As a feminist I am livid you too presume to speak to a woman's truth.

Oh, one more important one. As a post corrected woman I experience almost zero discrimination in my day to day life except from transgenders...... That is other than discrimination as a woman (no modifiers) or as a leader of a minority religion. This discrimination because of my medical history simply is an occasional annoyance, not discrimination remotely similar to the other aspects of my life.


"not every disagreement is an attack"

Don, this is my last response.

When I started talking about the differences between those born with transsexuality and transgenders this is what I experienced:

I lost my first post-transitional job due to two crossdressers calling my supervisor and outing me. It took me six months to get that job.
I started receiving credible death threats from TGs that had me sleeping with a loaded pistol under my pillow for years.
I was, for a period of two years, subscribed in my name to over two hundred different magazines I had to cancel.
I was called every name imaginable in every trans venue possible. My sanity was questioned constantly for more than ten years running..constantly, in almost every trans venue.
For more than five years, every time I addressed the differences between transsexualism and transgenders within a hour I received dozens of virus ladened emails.
I was turned in to Homeland Security as a terrorist and was actively watched and followed by the FBI.....they parked in the lot across the street for two weeks running and followed me everywhere I went. A friend with FBI connections confirmed this was what happened and why.
I was physically assaulted in my own home and subjected to a level of abuse that bordered on life threatening for three solid months without let up, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, drove me out of my own home (which I was maintaining for newly transitioned people) Consider it, while trying to address homelessness of trans people the response was to try to leave me homeless! After driving me out, these TG people tried to actually steal the title to the property and take over the religious movement I founded to destroy it "from within".
I was called a racist on one of the primary LGBt oriented a TG.
I had attempts made to disrupt my mail service, my internet service, my telephone service, even the ownership of my internet domains.

All of this by transgender identified people..

You probably don't know that many of the most vocal TG activists often make crude insulting comments about post surgical genitals of post corrected women? In venues such as this one? That other than objections from post corrected women they are never called on it? I even coined a word for this, neo-gynophobia. Even the worst of the right wing doesn't do this...transgenders do.

From the time even before I first transitioned I have had only two people question my use of the ladies room......both crossdressers. when I had been outed on the job. TGs cannot take pee without causing an incident.

I went to the "wrong" therapist when I transitioned and was shunned by the local trans community after briefly being a leader of it. Lesbians took me in to their community without any of the discrimination you hear about from TGs.. Those horrid rad-fem lesbians accepted me. I had zero problem with acceptance by other women as a woman.

Don, whenever I mention the actual, real, life threatening abuse I have experienced from transgender people it is ignored just as you have ignored it. I never received any such abuse from any other group......and you talk to me about extending the umbrella? You tell me this is a simple failure to have a meeting of the mind? That it is a simple disagreement? It is not. These are NOT my people, they are vicious monsters. I am a woman, my issues are women's issues, my communities are women's communities. I will never stop opposing them claiming the right to speak for me especially after all they have done. I will not be silenced. They are not allies, they are the worst enemies I have ever encountered in sixty years on the planet.

Had any of the thing that have been done to me by any other group the outrage would be staggering.....and yet it is never believed because of the source.

let me try to get at all of this at once.

while you report that the only problems that threaten you today are from those who are not corrected, i'm going to assume, based on what i read around the web, that before you were able to complete the correction you were subject to abuse from a lot of people...and that a lot of those people were not in the trans community.

organizations such as vancouver's lu's pharmacy apparently choose to discriminate against transgender and transsexual persons with equal aplomb, saying that they only serve those who were "born women" (and i'm pretty sure that doesn't mean "corrected to match the gender of birth").

like it or not, those who are on their way to becoming who you are today are experiencing the same kinds of oppression--and violence--that you once did and many transgendered individuals do today.

now i get that no one can speak for you, and no one understands you like you...but is there no way that people who are today sharing your experience--or some portion of it--have no way to speak with you on matters of common cause?

is there no place in your background as a religious leader for those seeking common spaces with grace?

i don't want to ignore the fact that you have had threats from those who define as transgendered...but there are people right here who aren't threatening you, or even harassing you (except, apparently, for wanting to identify with you), and would be willing to work with you to do things you would probably support...but you dismiss this concept out of hand with a statement that seems to be on the order of "all transgendered people are alike".

have you ever considered the possibility that this form of dismissal might have as much to do with what's happening here as any inherent bias from transgendered folks toward transsexual women?

Your assumptions are wrong...I told you straight out. I never experienced pre transition, during transition, post transition, post correction a fraction of the discrimination from the outside world I did from transgnedered people even as I was working for their rights..........conversation over

Two individuals who commented in this thread are among those who subjected me to abuse....for the record.

Dear Don,

Thanks for being an ally! Thanks for putting great information out there, even if people do not agree with it 100%. That, my friend, is an impossible feat--as the community itself will never agree. The generation gaps alone (new school and old school gender-variant philosophies) will have us fighting against ourselves for years.

I just want to say thanks for even caring--that's awesome. I'm a believer in choosing battles--and getting "up in the face" of someone who is an ally and friend is never a good idea. It just means there is more to learn--about EACH OTHER! :)

I'm beginning to feel like a broken record on Bilerico...but I will never understand why so many people here are SO FREAKIN' ANGRY. Life is beautiful--you just have to remember to look around you sometimes. Not every single thing in the entire world has to be awful. Really.

Thanks for your words Don. I appreciate the effort--greatly.

Kitt (the transsexual optimist :)

p.s. - Yay for "genderqueer". I have many friends that identify that way and go on all of the spectrum of gender. They end up on either binary role and everywhere in between. Depends on the day really. :) The other term I like to use is "Two-Spirit". I am Hopi indian and believe being gender-variant is not any sort of defect or mistake, but a gift from the Divine. :)

it took me a long time to finally get to this comment, and i do appreciate your patience.

it seems to me that we could all use a bit more time in the company of raven. you so correctly note the pleasure to be found in learning and understanding, and sometimes we do require a guide to remind us of that in our daily lives.

i could not be happier to raise my voice in solidarity with voices here..and if we can have some fun in the process--more's the better.

living in the northwest gives you an appreciation of the fleeting--where i live, a long summer might last three months--and there are far too few summer days to be too unhappy for too long.

inevitably, it will start to rain again, and the nine or ten month cycle until the rain stops will begin anew...and then you'll wish you had taken advantage of every sunny day that was there to be had...and all of that is a pretty good analogy for how life works.

speaking of things tribal, monday the 3rd is the arrival of the canoes marking the end of the 2009 canoe journey from british columbia to washington. the suquamish tribe is hosting this year. (each year a different tribe from the salish tribal culture hosts the event.)

there will be 100 family and tribal canoes participting this year...and you may want to check out this video of the arrival ceremony from 2005.

Transsexual chippewa atheist here.

i have a birth defect. It needs corrected.

@Don: You're a patient man! Thanks for being such a good ally. Didn't like the "cutting off penis" remark but everything else shows a heartfelt desire towards support and getting it right.

I'm going to disagree with Ms. Brightfeather's comments concerning the acceptability of using "tranny." When you say a "tranny can call another tranny a tranny" that's entirely too vague. One problem is, some people who fall under the 'transgender umbrella' (an artificially created alliance, anyway) are throwing around the word 'tranny' in a lot of mixed company. To whit: as a post-op woman who is trans, I will not allow ftms, transmasculine peeps, butches, cds, drag queens, genderqueers nor cis-people to call me a tranny. Media doesn't get to use the word, period. No matter what anyone wants to claim to the contrary, a tranny isn't a woman and it's a flip denial of my womanhood. Moreever, I have an issue with people who are part-time or have an 'alternative' cis-identity using such speech about people who live 24/7. Nope, you don't get to go there. FTM-spectrum people were traditionally not insulted using the term 'tranny' you don't, therefore, get to reclaim it.

Recently, at the (boring) pre-program for the Transmarch in SF, I saw a band fronted by a transwoman sing a song about how much she hated the term "tranny". A few minutes later, one of the MCs (a transmasculine person) proceeded to use "tranny" repeatedly. I've heard from a number of transwomen I know how offensive they found that to be. Enough with the privilege of throwing tranny around. To me, when I hear it pop out of someone's mouth they either sound like an uninformed fool trying to sound hip or someone rolling in their own self-loathing. Enough already. If you don't know how the recipient of that word feels about it, how about having the respect for them to not use it.

bad don!

i knew it was the wrong thing to say, and i had thought about it first, which shows just how smart i am.

it is a bit frustrating to see how such hard feelings can develop between the groups represented here--and let's hope that violence and shutting down websites and going after people's jobs has no place in that dynamic--when the entire point of this discussion was to find ways to express a bit more respect for all.

ah, well.

i will watch and learn as regards the use of the "t-word" within the community.

I have a question and I know that it may sound lame but have wondered about this for a long time. Crossdressing seems like it's a male thing to do. Crossdressers dress up to be females. Now, you say that women do it all the time. Well, they do dress in mens clothes but most don't try to be male unless they are transexuals who are transitioning and then they bind and do whatever they need to do to pass as male. These people are not crossdressers so I'm back to, crossdressers are mainly male. Are there any crossdressing females?
I'm sorry if I wrote this all wrong and offend anyone, it is not my intention to do that. I'm not a writer like most here.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 2, 2009 11:12 PM

Yes, there are Female-to-male crossdressers. One is a very good friend of mine who actively dresses to appear male at times but who also at other times dresses very femininely, they are also a Goth too.

And not every MtF crossdresser dresses to appear entirely female either.

the crossdressing community has also been rife with binary-bias and less-binary CDs have been marginalised in many groups as well as Bi and same-sex attracted CDs and those that trnasition have been in some groups. As usual this marginalisation is about maintaining an image that conforms to what is believed will be more acceptable, usually especially to spouses.

I'm not sure that female-bodied can be crossdressers, in the sense that male-bodied persons are listed in the DSM--but female-bodied are not.

This is one of the pieces of evidence that society views male-bodied and female-bodied persons quite differently.

From this, and other evidence, Julia Serano has argued that, as I have used in these comments, that transsexual men are viewed differently by society that transsexual women--they are/have been almost invisible.

Not because there were once women, but because they are now men. The opposite of the treatment of transsexual women.

In fact, society's attitude is almost the reverse of the attitude we see within LGBt communities.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 1:13 AM

Being a crossdresser has nothing to do with the DSM. The DSM does not create reality, merely accurately or inaccurately defines existing phenomena. In fact the DSM is an unscientiffic heap of proper-methodology-absent excrement constructed by a torture-assisting organisation bereft of any ethical integrity whatsoever of a field swiftly losing any credibility and ground to the growing field of measurable neuroscience.

If a female-bodied person dresses in a way in order to pass as closely as possible as a male (whether in 17th century fashion or not) and yet who seeks no surgery then that is definately crossdressing.

Yes (western) society is more accepting of SOME degree of crossdressing amongst women. This is not universal, an african woman is to suffer 40 lashes for the act of wearing pants. It's also recent, pioneered by brave pants and tie wearing women defying gender-dress standards and often the law in order to win those freedoms. Some crossdressed a little and some a lot, just like MtF CDs do today.

In Goth culture you can find near the same level of gender non-conformity accepted for men, make-up and man-skirts and painted nails etc. But in mainstream society if a woman looks too male they still face stigma. My butch lesbian friends still get problems fro some people if their haircut is too male etc. Now indeed in some places things may be better for FtMs but they do still face discrimination as FtM people I know have had problems.

Self-identified female crossdressers are pretty rare (although I've run across several and they also show up trans research). That said, since the numbers of MTF and FTM transsexuals seems to be evening out (based on those getting surgery), and since I believe trans-ness is spectrum (similar to how there's a spectrum between autism and various shades of Asperberger's), I think it's reasonable to assume there's a number of women who under different social conditions might have turned out to be the equivalent of MTF crossdressers. (In fact, historically, accounts of women passing as men are not uncommon -- although we can't really say whether they did so for gender-related reasons, greater freedom and opportunities, the ability to have a female partner, all of the above, etc.)

Probably the biggest reason for this is that it's far more acceptable for women to wear men's clothing and to express masculinity than the reverse. So crossdressers are usually acutely aware that they're crossing gender lines when they want to put on a skirt, wear make-up, act femmy, etc. Whereas, I suspect women who feel a need to express masculinity are probably far less likely see themselves as "crossdressers" or that they're doing so for gender-related reasons. I've heard from a number trans men -- particular those who are attracted to men -- that it took them awhile to recognize themselves as such precisely because of this difference. Consequently, female-bodied people who are self-aware of wanting to dress as "men," and to been seen as men, tend to be exclusively trans men.

(FWIW, my own rule of thumb is that when someone wear clothing of a different gender for symbolic reasons, it's probably crossdressing. I.e. a someone who's female bodied who wear's men's boxers precisely because they're men's boxers, or someone who's male-bodied who wears a skirt precisely because it's an item of women's clothing. In contrast to guy who wear women's skinny jeans because they fit better, or a women who wear men's t-shirt because they think they're better quality.)

There's also definite blindspots when it comes to crossdressing by female-bodied people, especially when there's a sexual aspect involved. As trans man Raven Kaldera notes:

The background for this argument is fifty years of assumptions by sexual researchers that women don't have the kind of nasty, humiliating, ridiculous-looking sexual fetishes that men do....This myth has been swallowed whole not only by men but by many lesbians as well; thus the famed debate over the existence of leatherdykes. And if women don't have paraphilias, then they certainly don't cross-dress, or at least not for sexual purposes. If a woman puts on a suit and tie, she's doing it to break gender stereotypes, to take on butch masculine power, to perform drag....not to get herself hot and wet. And what goes for women, this argument continues, goes for people who started out women as well.

Kaldera talks about how he considers some of the daddy-boy play in the leatherdyke community to be unacknowledged (and at times overly-denied) crossdressing. other words, when Daddy wears a fake moustache, has bound breasts and refers to his boy's tits as "pecs"....or when the boy shaves male pattern baldness "points" into his hairline and gets wet over wearing a baseball cap......or when the hottest part of the scene for both is when the boy is on his knees sucking his daddy's huge realistic strap-on cock while rapidly jerking his own......I'm sorry, guys, but it's fetishistic cross-dressing.
Another factor is that because gender-crossing is policed much more strictly for men (who are perceived to be "stepping down" in status), male-bodied people who feel a need to express a side of themselves that society deems "feminine" are far less likely to express themselves in some sort of "in-between" fashion. Consequently, from what I've seen, those who identified as "gender queer" usually are people who were assigned female birth -- and therefore their expressions of masculinity as part of that are far more acceptable. It's similar to how bois are often seen as intriguingly edgy within lesbian circles, while femmy gay men are too-often encounter sissyphobia from other gay men.

This is good presentation of much of the evidence for Serano's argument--though I think we draw different conclusions from it.

It is less what LGBt communities think about female-bodied people who wear men's clothes or transition, or male-bodied people wearing women's clothes or transition, than about how society in general thinks and treats us.

The DSM, for all that I believe you and Raven would criticize it, it is a very good indicator of what society in general thinks.

The high value given to transgressive presentation and behaviour within LGBt communities is precisely the opposite to the attitude in society at large--no doubt an attitude you object to.

Most transsexual people, particularly transsexual women seek not to be transgressive but to be part of the society that all other members of the LGBt people seek to escape.

Some of these populations, using their own perspective, attack us for precisely this.

There is also the sexism that is rampant in society at large that contributes to the repudiation not only of transsexual women, but of all those who present in any manner as feminine--as you point out.

There is absolutely no good reason to criticize transsexual women for not living up to your standards of transgressive behaviour and presentation anymore than there is good reason to impose either identity or terminology upon us.

There is reason to see this perspective has provided the context within which we have these discussions.

I, for one, would hope to be able to modulate this so the damage we have seen witnessed in this thread will not happen in the future.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 2:13 AM

Being a Goth, being disabled with a villified illness (chronic fatigue syndrome, maligned for years as 'yuppie flu' and 'malingerers disease' well the mitochondrial epigenetic changes sure proved that a load of crap but I sure suffered abuse because of the belief it was 'all in my head') as well as being transgender I know all about the pressure to conformity.

It's one of the greatest evils that exists. It is a primary contributer to every bigotry. Racism, sexism, homophobia.. on and on. People in their desire to be loved and accepted and liked being willing to scapegoat others or participate in the villifying and even physical assault of others in order to maintain their acceptance.

Many will colloborate or participate in the human rights abuses of others in order to get acceptance. This is a general truth about humans pertaining to all groups and bigotries.

Some Goths make nasty comments about Emo style even while being angry about the jocks comments about their own.

Many people don't sit back and review their double-standards! Some of us do.

And it is not for fitting in that some are criticised but for the perception of, and in many cases clear cases of, participating in the abuse of others.

Those of us who back in highschool watched others conform to fit in, stabbing their fellow geeks/nerds/goths/hippies/gamers etc in the back metaphorically or participating in their physical assaults in order to move into a more acceptable set know well how this works.

I'm not a Goth to shock people or rebel, i liked this style as a toddler before the word Goth was being applied to it. I have friends from all walks of life, mainstream and non. I don't care how people view themselves, i care about how they treat others.

This is a basic human-rights issue. People have a right to self-identity. So ABSOLUTELY those transsexuals who don't see themselves as transgender don't have to. But they don't speak for all transsexuals and many TS do accept and use the term and so the term is valid to use for those who accept it. S&GD is better and I hope it's usage replaces transgender as the main human-rights umbrella term for the community.

Folk really ought to take a gander at the Yogyakarta Principles

Human rights don't exist just for those who 'fit in' and suit whatever is the fashion for the day. There is no moral or ethical superiority for those who are more easilly accepted nor those who are part of alternative culture. Human Rights Principles apply to everyone here equally.

@Lena: I agree with your comment about female crossdressing. The standards of judgment in this regard towards male-bodied and female-bodied are so different that we don't even recognize female crossdressing when we encounter it. Moreover, we're far more likely to call women crossdressers 'genderfluid' while genderfluid is, for some bizarre reason, never applied to to male bodied crossdressers. Moreover, female-bodied crossdressing is tagged as a kind of political act whereas male-bodied crossdressing is mostly viewed by the wider population as a reactionary fetish even though, as you say, women in the dyke community very much sexually objectify female-bodied crossdressers. Little wonder why some of the terminology is so fought over.

The standards of judgment in this regard towards male-bodied and female-bodied are so different that we don't even recognize female crossdressing when we encounter it.

The "standards of judgment" are simply the sexist nature of society.

The "political act" is the transgression of the gender binary--which male-bodied persons seem not to be permitted to do. It is as if any gender conforming presentation of femininity is a violation of the transgressive expectations of LGBt community(ies).

So, male-bodied persons start out at a disadvantage when it comes to transgressive acts--unless, I suppose, they do not seek surgery and correction.

In particular, LGBt community(ies) value these 'acts,' whereas for male-bodied persons, whether transgender or transsexual, there is significantly less appreciation.

This is quite the opposite of the attitude of society.

Serano argues the opportunity for common cause presented here is precisely along the lines alluded to in these comments, i.e., that those oppressed in similar manner be allies.

However, this runs at right angles to that advocated by the transgender writers in these comments.

It is that those on the MTF spectrum, whether feminine gay men, MTF crossdressers, transsexual women and cissexual women ally together against male violence, perpetuated by men, regardless of sexual orientation.

This would run up against the usual acceptance of FTM spectrum people in many women's spaces, such as the Michigan Women's Music Festival, and the more than occasional transphobia on the part of, in many cases, the same feminists.

The argument made is that the overwhelming numbers of MTF spectrum killings, and extreme violence, the attack upon those who are female and who present as feminine is the commonality.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 3:32 AM

Ah but what about the domestic violence issues of female-partnered MtF's and cis-lesbians?

Male-originated-violence is the bigger problem yes, but not the whole of the problem.

this is a great string of comments, and i hope it gets noticed by other readers.

constructive, friendly,'s all here, and if you keep it up i suspect the next step will be...i don't know, coffee and pie, all at the same table?

thanks to each of you for adding to my understanding with this string.

Angela Brightfeather | August 2, 2009 3:20 PM

"When you say a "tranny can call another tranny a tranny" that's entirely too vague."

Allow me to clarify that then.

As in many minorities that suffer from illegitimate or insulting names being called them, Tranny seems to be the word that turns many of us of with He/She following a close second. In the Black Community it's the "n" word. In the Native American world it is the word "skin".

There are two schools of thought about this that seem be centered on the fact that if you object to such labels, you either correct the user or you own the word and turn it into something that is more acceptable and less of an insult in the process.

We as Transgender people, will always have two schools of thought on this just as the Black Community and other communities do. The conservative view of "please don't say that it hurts me" or the activist view of "say it loud and say it proud".

You have made it very clear with your statement that you prefer the conservative view, along with other conservative thoughts about putting people in boxes based upon how they live (24/7) or what their sexual status is. That is fine for yourself. Now extend that curtosy to those who may be less conservative and want to do it their way.

In the end, we still need to support each other and what bothers me is that when TS's distance themselves from CD's and visa versa, they distance themselves from the only other people on the face of the earth that can even remotely understand and support the objectives of equality for all Transgender people and/or why a person whould want to change their sex and gender. In other words, there are more than just penises gettting cut of around here, there is an entire poulation of supporters also on both sides of the scaple. That does not make sense to me. We need everyone to achieve any equality and just because a few people are able to hide what they are after changing their lives, that does not hold the door open for others who may be less fortunate or resourceful and still need help and acceptance.

I see no moral interity and no political or common sense in any gender diverse person demeaning or distancing anyone in the Transgender community for any reason. Tranny is just a word that some will use to make a point or to simplify something they don't understand and some don't want to use. It has never been a good reason isolate each other.

TSs isolate themselves from TGs because, other than gay men, no other group on the planet including the religious right is less respectful of our identities, our wishes, our womanhood and our civil rights a nutshell.

We have met the enemy and they are you.

And you know I spent over a decade trying to work with TGs only to receive credible death threats, have my life work demeaned, get outed, magazine bombed, turned in to Homeland Security as a terrorist and finally, when I had sunk everything I had in the world after becoming disabled physically myself, to provide a place for new transitioners to bootstrap themselves, steal my home, leave me homeless and attempt to disrupt every single aspect of my life.

Why? because I wanted the simple respect of identity in the form of the use of transgender AND Transsexual...and that was way too much and not one TG ever agreed to it.

Spare me your "unity" and yours are abusers, not allies.

i can't speak to the propriety of "tranny" beyond what is in my original post, but i would definitely encourage all involved to consider the practical advantages of finding ways to unite, the concerns of some here notwithstanding.

Marja Erwin | August 3, 2009 12:34 PM

"the only other people on the face of the earth that can even remotely understand and support the objectives of equality for all Transgender people and/or why a person whould want to change their sex and gender."

Actually, that may be one of the best reasons for TS folks and CD folks to split. CD folks think they understand, when they don't. Some TS folks have some similar experiences to CD folks, so many CD folks assume all TS folks have the same experiences.

Transsexualism occurs in all societies, in both men and womyn, in similar numbers. Transsexual people often have body maps corresponding with our identified sex, not our assigned sex. We often, if not always, have mid-brain structures corresponding to out identified sex, not our assigned sex. People with [other] intersex conditions are far more likely to be transsexual than people without [other] intersex conditions.

So there's good reason to believe that transsexualism is or includes some neurological intersex conditions. It's possible that some genderqueer, bigender, and neutrois people, among others, have the same neurological intersex conditions, albeit sometimes with intermediate brain sex.

Cross-dressing, however, relates to specific culturally-defined gender roles, including gendered clothing. One culture might consider, for example, tight jeans to be men's clothing, and another culture might consider them to be womyn's clothing. AFAIK, it's not about the clothes, it's about what they signify, but they can signify several different things at once. Different cross-dressers, of course, can have different reasons.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 3:02 AM

CDing exists everywhere too.

Many TSs assume all CDs have the same experiences... not as themselves though but according to common negative false stereotypes. A number of these myths have been mentioned so far in this discussion.

And CD communities themselves are rife with false myths about themselves too. Going by most CD groups and forums you'd think 99.9.% of cDs are female-attracted. Thats so not true, just bi and male-attracted CDing has been driven out and the myth of the 'straight hetero CD' is trotted out constantly to placate the wives of married CDs. And a significant number of CDs transition, a minority definately but again in many places they are shood out of the community so as not to scare the wives.

Everyone needs to step out of the ideological falsehoods and start learning about each other.

And when we look at the reality: that many CDs start before puberty, that many of the self-proclaimed 'fetishists' genuinely have non-sexual gender-identity issues that they hide with the sexual excuse, that there is a large GLB CD population, that some self-identified CDs do go on to determine themselves to be TS and transition.

Dismantling the false negative stereotypes and vilification is important.

67 comments and I haven't said a word . . . until now. It's interesting to see those who support Don and his article dance around those who only come out to hijack yet another discussion on trans issues. I'm sure it amuses some people to watch this new round of Trans WWF, a fight to the death, which always seems one-sided around here. Personally, I got better things to do with my time.

I do not hijack yet another discussion on trans issues.

What I do is quite simple: give voice to that which is silenced.

Maybe free discussion is not appropriate for those who have established themselves.

Maybe the only thing those who are established can do is denigrate what is, in favour of what they wish were.

You responded, therefore you validate.

Thank you.

i'm ok on not using the word "tranny" if it offends, but some people seem to think that there ARE no ftm transexuals...i beg to differ.
also noticing alot of ftm o' phobia,
what gives?
not all are "enemies" as some of you seem to think...i don't believe that this is just about the VERY OFTEN privileged way ftm's are seen in lesbian communities, either.
seems more like "othering".

not all people in a group are a "hivemind",
you know.hello we're not the borg.
also i'm fine myself with ANYONE in the tg world, but wish we could stop calling ourselves ANYTHING, except "people"

labels are for politics, not friends.

amen to that, javier.

there is too much that friends can accomplish together to be isolating each other this way, and i wish there was a way that this disagreement could be resolved amicably.

perhaps everyone involved needs to climb on the same roller coaster, take a few rides together...and then maybe everyone involved might feel a bit better for the experience.


No Angela... there are, in fact, other schools of thought. There are women who are proud to be transwomen, who are activists and who still find the word "tranny" being thrown about by whoever to be demeaning and insulting. There is also a school which thinks anyone who would honestly consider themselves a progressive because of their identification of the word "tranny" is deluding themselves.

Use of the word Tranny makes no point other words couldn't make with more specificity and sensitivity. I'm not going to get into the 'transgender vs. transsexual' sniping here but, truly, if your condescending attitudes are supposed to somehow represent me and the rest of the umbrella as an activist, then no thank you. Represent yourself, not I.

"...because the comment seems to demean anybody whose journey to transition doesn't involve getting their penis cut off.

Right off the bat, for someone who claims to be straight while obviously up on FTM GRS, it appears suspect when you make such a crude remark, Don. But more to the point, exactly what journey to transition are you referring to? Transitioning from a male with a penis to a male who dresses like a female, identifies as female, yet still has a penis? That transition, Don? I didn't demean is not better than the other, but there is a huge difference between classic transsexuals who are, by definition, female, and a crossdresser who decides they not only want to simply present that way, but demand that society accepts them as such. They have a very hard row to hoe. No one on the planet - no one - buys into the gender libertine philosopy that a female has a penis' except the gender libertines themselves...certainly the mainstream doesnt'. And, further, the mainstream never matter what the TG activists achieve, no matter what GLADD says, no matter what. Classic transsexuals are different from crossdressers and the rest of the conceiveable forms of gender variance...period.

Yes, 'classic transsexual' and the other oft-used 'true transsexual' are very demeaning and invalidating of many other transsexuals.

Not to any post op female I've ever met. It's only demeaning to crossdressers and other forms of gender variance who hold the mindset that because they present as female, they are female. The transgender meme (GLBT word of the year), if there is one, is that genitals don't define gender...which is simply absurd. It may not define gender to the transgender and some, though obviously only a very few, of the GLB, but it certainly does to the societal mainstream and always will. Tolerance is not acceptance, and acceptance can not and never has been able to be legislated.

"But if Transgender must be redefined to take into account the feellings and issues and self-identity of others then so must 'classic' transsexual."

Why? No transsexual I know wants the transgender to do anything other than drop it colonization of classic transsexuality. The transgender can and do change their umbrella coverage, definition, and politics of late even pulling the intersex, against their will, under it. This is in spite of the fact that the overwhelming number of intersex have no problem with either their gender identity or sexual orientation.

More power to the transgender and other forms of gender variance, but this thread is supposed to be a primer on sexual identity. One can identify as anything they want, including female. But there is a major difference between identiying as female, and being one.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 1:31 AM

Tell all the Intersex folk that their genitals define their womanhood or manhood! (and isn't the stat like 1 in 3 of those suffering surgery as an infant are forced into the wrong anatomy?)

For goodness sake! Talk about a failure to be sensitive to the interactions between parts of the rest of the community!

Maybe you need to find some friends outside your current social set. I know several transsexuals that are happy to be part of the transgender umbrella. Including ones in my own rural town. I know intersex people who absolutely do not define themselves by the nature of their genitals.

You'll find people in every group that hate and despise people from other groups and other parts of their own group. Its a standard part of internalised oppression for crying out loud!

Try meeting people from the intersections of groups. Try looking at the paterns of bias found in all these groups. Read this: and apply it to everyone.

that was indeed an excellent article...this comment being my favortite:

"We care about our friends, family members, co-workers, or other community members. It is painful to watch them treating themselves badly or failing to live up to their capabilities. We can help our friends out when we see them acting self-destructively or being passive about conditions that negatively affect them."
battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 11:18 PM


When I found that article and began to understand properly the nature of internalised oppression it really opened my eyes to my own situation and feellings, the problems in my own communties and much of the world at large.

In all the back and forth, I had forgotten I have written a Commentary on Gender Identity.

For those interested, it can be found here:
Angela Brightfeather | August 3, 2009 9:35 AM

"No Angela... there are, in fact, other schools of thought. There are women who are proud to be transwomen, who are activists and who still find the word "tranny" being thrown about by whoever to be demeaning and insulting. There is also a school which thinks anyone who would honestly consider themselves a progressive because of their identification of the word "tranny" is deluding themselves."

I agree. I just mentioned the two that came to my mind. Yours are no less relevant

Progressive is a relative term, based on many conditions.

I am an activist and I don't find the word insulting since I have lived long enough to see it go through some kind of metamorphosis, from being an outright insult, to something that is generally laughed at. I do look at it as an opportunity to make a point about who I am and who you are to the person saying it and to help them understand that some people are hurt by the use of that word.
After that, it's a freedom of speech issue anyway.

And by the way, when it comes to being proud of being a transwoman, I helped to invent that attitude when you were trying to make up your mind what you are.

As for transheretic.....well you said it all. After all that abuse at the so called hand of others, you might think that when you put yourself up to be such a separatist, that people who are interested in unity and working together might be a bit afraid of you. In a world where fear equals respect, I'm sure you will do very well.


(Only speaking for myself) I have no problem riding the roller coaster with people from other parts of the gender spectrum, because I do believe we share commonality in terms of discrimination, dealing with the incorrect assumptions of the mainstream society and certain political goals. However, a pre-condition of that roller coaster ride is we respect each other's self-definitions and IDs. That we not co-opt or lump people together, nor feel entitlement to comment on one another's identities and lives beyond what's required in our goals being attained.

I identify with many different groups within society... woman, transwoman, parent, teacher, progressive, Jewish/atheist, San Franciscan (and other groups I belong to but, perhaps, am not as proud of such as middle class, white, college educated... all badges of privilege). Inherent in all these groups are profound hierarchies of race, power, status and money. That the trans community shouldn't follow this pattern is, at best, wishful thinking.

What I feel it does boil down to is mutual respect/empathy (not necessarily love, kinship nor friendship), self-awareness of how our differences affect the alliance in both positive and negative ways and a continued acknowledgment that our wider goals need to take a certain practical precedence over the specifics of each group but not at the expense of further marginalizing that subgroup or minimizing their unique issues. That's a roller coaster I can ride.

and that will never happen as has been amply demonstrated on this thread....

TGs do not and apparently are incapable of respect of other identities, have zero concept of where their rights end and other's begin and that defining others against their will is an act of violence.
Change that......or repudiate those who do this and we can talk....until then I will continue to confront this open transbigotry, this neo-gynophobia that makes it ok to talk about correct genitals as faux vaginas, manginas, mutilated crotches, inverted penises, aftermarket fake vaginas ad nauseum. When so called trans spoke persons can no longer say these things without anyone calling them on it besides the victims and they are renounced and acknowledged as the open bigots they are, maybe, just maybe a coalition might one day be possible, until's bigotry pure and simple and just as disgusting as any other form of bigotry There are ample examples of just this behaviour in the archives of this blog alone where the objections were erased but the insults remain.

Shifting your gynophobia to corrected women does not lessen the fact it's still gynophobia and mysogynistic.......if anything it's worse.

These penised bigots claim to be women themselves and yet say these things about those who are physically female they claim as their own but deny womanhood to....does it get more insane than that?

Wow. What a mess this has turned into. i hope some good can come out of it. Good luck.

Actually, this discussion is par for the course when transgender/transsexual/gender identity is the topic of an article. What surprised me is that it took so long to degenerate into nastiness.

exactly WHY should society NOT begin to accept genderqueer, bigendered,transgender,cd,etc?
especially if they "have" supposedly accepted transsexuality(uh,not REALLY too sure on that one, ladies!)

who are THEY(society),
who once said african americans could not attend "white" schools?
could not intermarry with white persons?
that at one point, as you will remember:
"women shouldn't have the vote"
gay people, though tax paying citizens
(or not citizens, 'nother story)
don't "get" to get married?!

so,screw "them".
they would burn you, me, and probably everyone on this blog including Don as "witches"
in some version of their(think john ashcroft) "ideal" society.
you would be just as condemmed, because to alot of "them", we're ALL "faggots"
(ie gay)
wake up.
the bigots DON"T get to control us.

african americans would largely STILL probably
be waiting on education if we all "waited" on their"acceptance".
who ARE "they"?

there is NOTHING wrong with anyone on this blog,we all have rights!
if someone tells you that your genitals
(whatever they are or were) are "not good enough",what the hell does it matter?
screw they control you? no.
live your life.

and,no way are all TG women "non surgical"
some are , some aren' your huge energy towards the institutions that are in POWER over glbt lives, medical, social and political!

THEN maybe things will change,
not constantly fighting re intergroup personal differances , online.

why do you CARE if someone is "non op"?
you're a woman, so live your life.if someone has issues with me, and they have no power over me, big deal.why the hell should i care?
don't feed the trolls as the saying goes.
pick your battles.

if we'd ALL mind our own BUSINESS more,
maybe the world wouldn't be so screwed up.
christian right, hbser's, gay men(some not ALL!) rad fem seperatists, tg "warriers",
conservative cis gendered, ad infinitum!

if someone insults your body,
tell them to F*off and walk away.
no one controls you.
but "defining" onself via the group
("you are so i must be, too") is assinine.
your therapist was going by standards created by a MAN , not god or someone.he knew no BETTER then anyone else.he would have defined you and me and all of us as "crazy" remember.("mental illness")
bulls**t on THAT!

everyone is differant...
personally, tho ts, i love the spectrum
of human diversity, of ALL types...
that's what makes civilization.

i admit that the tg community may need to do more work on it's OWN behalf etc,
(but we are ALL people.)

and i'm sure, though i have defended you before on this very blog, and got wrath rained on me by certain bloggers (and NOT bil,he's cool...)
you will probably *bleep* right over me, ftm ts tho i am, because i'm not "you",
and that is bigotry also, amigo....
so i expect no answer.

but as to don(our ally) and the society at large, why not build bridges, if only for "yourself"?
stop worrying about what's behind you and look to your future, and move to control THAT.
good advice, i think.

haven't you figured out yet after being "alive so long" as you say,that INDIVIDUALS do things to people?

if a spanish person is a d*ck to you, that is the INDIVIDUAL. not the group.
BIGOTRY is blaming the group for the actions of a few a**holes.if some people who WERE ALSO tg were criminal to you, that does not condemn the entire millions of tg variety people on the ENTIRE earth.

the (terrorizing)persons do not represent ME, or anyone i know.they are criminals.i am not a criminal.
(also not tg, i guess, whatever diff. THAT MAKES, lol)

but,again,i assume if people harrassed you, they are criminals.that does NOT condemn everyone tg!terrorist tactics are always wrong.
but to say that transgender people are vicious monsters for a few individual bad people is bigotry, just as it would be for people of color to hate YOU(simply as white) if you were not doing anything to oppress them.
as you are an individual not an institution.

as am is everyone here.
bad people are bad people.
but blame THEM, not these individuals, you don't even know them.
i'm pretty sure there are no "vicious monsters" here.
don't paint all with the same brush, that is bigotry, and you know that, obviously.

...if someone hurts you THEY are wrong. but you continue to blame the group."bigotry" again...
i'm a lefty, and that's a potentially big "sin".

also,no one is saying you don't have rights.
but why does it MATTER about all of the science?
if you are living as a women you don't have to explain yourself anymore might still help me and others, however....

and no one has to prove ANYTHING to get civil rights, also,by the way.
for the medical community(insurence purposes) it's another story ,however, then the science may help us.

once again...groups are all made up of...individuals.
even the nazi's were alot of BAD individuals.
not "Germans", hello.....
why not fight for political issues, not social?
why bother?
why fight at all?
direct your energy at the RIGHT WING or towards education, if you are so well versed. that would be truely worthwile.

respectfully,...and maybe YOU are silencing? possibly?
(ps if you call a group "vicious monsters"
they will become defesive,by the way)

The things done to me in part by self proclaimed "trans activists", and the rest by those who followed them fall squarely in the province of terrorism as defined by law.

Never have these acts been denounced nor those who did them denounced by the so called "trans" communities.....thus, again, under law, associating with those who commit acts of terrorism leads to culpibility in that short monsters.

Up to now I've held this back but yes, as far as I'm concerned these people are terrorists in every meaning of the word and those who fail to denounce them and their agendas also terrorists, or at least monsters with at least a degree of guilt in their actions. It's called enabling in the shrink business.

Just as those who encourage acts of violence against abortion providers are guilty of some degree in the actions of those who do the murders, so I find the "trans communities" who endorse the verbal violence to the lives of women who corrected their birth condition by willfully defining us as something other than the women we legally, physically and neurological are share the guilt of those who made actual terrorist assaults on my life, my reputation, my ability to survive. They did so to intimidate, they continue so as to further intimidate other corrected women from stepping forward in unity. More are doing so now in courage as we continue to watch ourselves and place in society reduced to an assumption when exposed, that we are "chicks with dicks" thanks to the "education" done by the last generation of trans-activists that imply surgically corrected women are exactly the same as crossdressers. A mere fifteen years ago, due to the work of the pioneering women of transsexual and intersexed history it was exactly the opposite. When exposed the public assumption was we were post corrected or heading there. Despite the delusions of TGs, that makes a huge difference in how you are treated.

And to be perfectly clear......
The decision to "educate" that they were women with penises was considered much more important than the actual gaining of civil rights at the time. Those who did this "education" were well aware they could use the then public impression that classic transsexuality was the norm in transness to gain universal civil rights for all trans people but deemed justifying their penises as more important.

They just had to flash their dicks.......and I consider that I clear indication of mental illness.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 1:24 PM

My denouncing such actions in the past as clearly unethical and unjustifiable doesn't count? Admittefly in the many pages of discussion accrued such a remark may be easilly lost.

So I'm saying it again.

I regularly disagree with you on many levels.

But despite all these things violence, intimidation, abuse of law-enforcement services, harassment etc are all absolutely unethical unjustifiable and clear human rights abuses.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I decry and oppose all such human rights abuses absolutely and without exception. Whether targeted at you, the dalai lama, the pope, the kkk, or any other human being for any reason. Your human rights are as valid as my own and every single other persons. No more and no less.

There is one kind of transsexual, and that person is born with the condition. There is no relationship whatsoever between dudes who get off on dressing up (in whatever way) and people who are born with the transsexual condition. One is behavior, and one is a state of being bequeathed by nature, fate, chemicals, whatever you want to call it.

Don seems to think the only difference between a crossdresser (man) and a transsexual (woman) is surgery. Or as he so revealingly puts it "getting their penis cut off". That speaks volumes, lol. Good thing to have a straight blogger though, eh?

TG's can have their chasers, but they'd be well advised to curb their urge to own transsexual women. It's not something that is going to last in any case. And while you're at it, why don't you TG's leave the gays and lesbians alone? It's really odd that they tolerate being hitched up with you.

don apologizes for what was an extremely importune comment.

as i noted above, i found the comment to which i was responding to be highly inflammatory in comparison to the tone of the rest of the evening's comments, and i reacted inappropriately.

i also noted at the time that the feelings of hurt that were brought on by the comment could serve as a useful object lesson as to how disregarding the feelings of other groups creates impacts that we all end up regretting--and i hope that lesson is one well applied by the rest of us, even as i make it a point to relearn the lesson for myself.

anyone else you forgot to malign?
don't be shy....

I suppose that the reflective people here relise that the quickest way to end the "Trans-war" is to recognise Transsexualism and Transgenderism as two separate entities and communities, with different political and personal objectives and differing characteristics.

This is disquietingly similiar to the struggle for Lesbians to attain a separate identity from 'homosexual'gay' in the 1970's.

The community survived the developement of a separate Lesbian identity.

Why can we not "let the (transsexual) people go" and end this interminable divisive political and intellectual brawl? I cannot see any compelling reason for forcing them under an umbrella that they do not wish to be under and which they quite studies to say that they do not belong under.

I cannot see any other possible resolution.

This is foundation of my own advocacy and the terminology in the Canadian federal jurisdiction.

I certainly like to consider myself one of the reflective persons in these comments and I came to this conclusion before I posted here.

However, I found this discussion useful.

It may well be liberal of me, but without any discussion there will never be the coalition we all need to achieve our divergent goals.

We cannot have a coalition that is essentially a co-opting of an entire definable population that does not want to be part of said coalition and whose objectives and needs get lost, subordinated to the numerical majority.

That happened to the Lesbian community in the past, and to a degree continues to happen, healthcare issues being the most glaring example of that.

The Transsexuals make a strong and ceaseless argument for separation from the Transgender umbrella, and perhaps from the LGBT as a whole. If nothing else, it simplifies the agenda as far as gender issues in the LGBT community and would bring about an armistice in this otherwise insoluable dispute amongst the T's.

What you are describing is not a coalition, certainly not something I would recognize as a coalition, nor something I would be part of.

A coalition has never been seen in any part of the LGBt community(ies)--and may well never. (Though there was a time, when Reed Erickson provided the money, that something like working side by side seemed to be.)

What we have alway seen is a single policed identity movement, a corporation (this is Prosser's term).

I suspect a coalition is not a realistic option and is not something I'm anymore actively pursuing--though it would make things easier.

But then, do you believe a trans-inclusive (transsexual and transgender) ENDA will happen? Or a trans-inclusive (transsexual and transgender) Matthew Shepherd law will happen?

Are these laws supported only by transsexual people?

The thing is Mara, that while the HBS crowd here is extremely vocal they represent a tiny, tiny number of people. How tiny? In over a year, their "don't call us transgenders" petition has garnered only 125 signatures. Not exactly a vast majority.

In fact there's plenty of people who self-identify as transsexual who are quite comfortable being under the transgender umbrella. However, the HBSer seem bent on denying these people the right to their self-identification by asserting no transsexual in the world should ever be called transgender. What gives them sole ownership over the word? It would be like lesbian separatists arguing any woman-attracted-to-women who didn't meet their purity test couldn't call herself a lesbian.

FWIW, I have no problem referring to individuals as non-transgender transsexuals if that's how they self-identify -- and that's what I do. But these same people invariably seem to feel free to disrespect my identity (complete with intentionally wrong pronouns, scare quotes around my name, etc.) But hey, I'm the one who's supposedly being abusive...

and naturally might (and numbers) make right and justify everything......

Civil rights as a numbers game, how fu**ing special!

Do you ever think before writing?

battybattybats battybattybats | August 5, 2009 11:10 PM

Human Rights don't rely on numbers.

You indeed have the right to self-identify as not transgender, despite the fact that i keep getting argued at as if I hold a contrary view to that I've said it plenty.

But all transsexuals have the right to choose for themselves to accept or reject the term transgender. Human rights involve individual choices. A minority of one single individual is still valid enough to claim a right, but they cannot take away the equal rights of others.

Simple enough no?

And I don't have a problem with referring to crossdressers as non-transsexual males who like to dress up, but up to this point it hadn't come to that yet. But men have a way of butting in where they aren't wanted don't they?

Apparantly, things are going to have to get nastier before men stop speaking for women.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 5, 2009 11:46 PM

I can't speak for Lena but I can say that in my experience the greater proportion of crossdressers at least are bi-gender in their gender-identity, often at least partially repressed or supressed as most are still fighting with the most basic of self-acceptance.

So if your going to demand respect for your identity as a woman and of your not identifying as transgender then reciprocal ethics and human rights principles require that you respect the bi-gender identities of me and others.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 3:28 AM

Cause the fact is the 'transgender movement' is not a crossdresser movement as the seperatists are always painting it.

It IS a transsexual movement!

Because the majority of out folk are TSs.

The majority of politically active folk are TSs!

Thats the worst part of their whole framing of this.

CDs are almost totally closetted fighting with their own selves. They are like the G and L folk were back in the 50's and 60's.

But the TG groups include them partly because one day when enough do come out they will be a large population. And this inclusion of Cds and other non-binary folk is framed as if the CDs were running the whole thing.

Well how many CDs are there openly running organisations with Transgender in the name? How many openly CD people are there in office?

It's not a CD movement.

Bats you are once again using semantic slight of hand to make a pointless point.

Those "transsexuals" are those who redefined the medical condition of neurological intersexuality we now call "classic" transsexuality precisely because these individuals redefined "transsexual" to mean anyone who thinks putting a pink ribbon on their dick makes them a woman.

Those "transsexuals" (never never ops and not ready for full time players) are exactly the ones who used intimidation and classic mysogynistic male techniques to silence those who suffered classic transsexuality, had it treated and go on as regular garden variety women and men only to be dragged out of that by the forced labeling as "transgender" trying to make them a third category at the cost of all they went through to correct themselves. It is these falseflag "transsexuals" who comprise the abusers of women such as myself, the ones who have dedicated more than a decade to destroying my reputation and life because I called them on it.

Spare me your crap....I was born intersexed (beyond neurologically) and you do NOT speak for me as a woman, as someone born intersexed or as someone who suffered and treated classic transsexuality and I object strongly to you doing so since you clearly have a very very limited idea of our issues.

The same applies to Don......

TGs will never let go, but we will keep fighting the defamation...perhaps in the courts in the future?

They don't live in the real world so are probably unware that three names and images spring up in the average person's mind hearing the word "transgender"

Stu Rassmusen, the openly "transgender" major who has enormous implants, deep deep voice and insists he's a man in a dress.
Thomas Beatty, the pregnant man
Ru Paul

It ain't Donna Rose.....these three are the most visible connections to the identity transgender and if that isn't defamation, what is?

Classic transsexuality is a birth condition, a medical is NOT an "identity"

As a medical condition is has no place at all being grouped with identity driven groups like the LGBs. Post corrected women and men only belong with the LGB if they are lesbian, gay male or bisexual themselves and participate on that level.

Transgender is an go join the LGB movement but leave us out, stop defining and misrepresenting us and leave us the hell alone.


You are absolutly correct and I will remember your words here today. There is no other solution and it is the only solution that women of operative history will accept!

Thank you!

A small number, Lena, because classic transsexuality is quite rare. Couple that with the fact that most of us transition, have surgery, and then disappear and the number of outspoken classic transsexuals decreases even further. There are an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 post operative in the United States alone. You don't see them at the Pride parades with the drag queens, you don't see them post on the GLB blogs, you don't see them out and loud protesting, and for damn sure don't see them waving the transgender flag...but they are there.

It appears that BBB has finally succumbed to meltdown.

"Calgon...take me away..."

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 2:26 AM

Surely we can have a civil discussion without resorting to ad hominems.

If you think there is an error in my reasoning be specific to that. If you think there is data i haven't considered in my reasoning point it out.

But resorting to personal attacks? If my argument is flawed thats not needed as pointing out the flaw works far better. And if my argument cannot be shown to be wrong then persoanl attacks state more about the attacker than the attacked.

i recieved an email today that made various points regading this conversation.

for reasons of privacy i have not included it here, but i am posting my response, and i suspect you will be able to gather the context of the thing as you go along.

there are as few comments I'll offer here...and let's get right to it:

--i still remain confused as to exactly what disabling condition exists after correction has been completed. i do well understand that there is an issue related to those who have not yet corrected and are seeking insurance coverage for physical and mental support, as well as employment and other protections during that time; for them, the protections of the ada seem consistent with the intent of the law.

--i'm not yet through with an analysis of law and politics prior to the "revolution", instead, let's consider the contention that courts have ruled transsexual persons "have no sex".

with all respect, this does not appear to be the case.

this seems to be a line of legal analysis that is derived from the opinion in ulane v eastern airlines, but the opinion actually reads that, in the opinion of the court, congress did not intend for title VII to apply to transsexuals and transvestites (their term).

the appeals court overruled the trial court by further ruling that although ulane had plead that discrimination also occurred to a female, there was no basis upon to support that pleading; this because the fact-finding of the trial judge had only been directed to the claim of discrimination based on membership in the protected class of transsexual persons. here's how it reads in "ulane":

"The trial judge originally found only that Eastern had discriminated against Ulane under Count II as a transsexual. The judge subsequently amended his findings to hold that Ulane is also female and has been discriminated against on this basis. Even if we accept the district judge's holding that Ulane is female, he made no factual findings necessary to support his conclusion that Eastern discriminated against her on this basis. All the district judge said was that his previous "findings and conclusions concerning sexual discrimination against the plaintiff by Eastern Airlines, Inc. apply with equal force whether plaintiff be regarded as a transsexual or a female." This is insufficient to support a finding that Ulane was discriminated against because she is female since the district judge's previous findings all centered around his conclusion that Eastern did not want "[a] transsexual in the cockpit" (emphasis added).

Ulane is entitled to any personal belief about her sexual identity she desires. After the surgery, hormones, appearance changes, and a new Illinois birth certificate and FAA pilot's certificate, it may be that society, as the trial judge found, considers Ulane to be female. But even if one believes that a woman can be so easily created from what remains of a man, that does not decide this case. If Eastern had considered Ulane to be female and had discriminated against her because she was female (i.e., Eastern treated females less favorably than males), then the argument might be made that Title VII applied, cf. Holloway v. Arthur Andersen, 566 F.2d at 664 (although Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transsexuals, "transsexuals claiming discrimination because of their sex, male or female, would clearly state a cause of action under Title VII") (dicta), but that is not this case. It is clear from the evidence that if Eastern did discriminate against Ulane, it was not because she is female, but because Ulane is a transsexual--a biological male who takes female hormones, cross-dresses, and has surgically altered parts of her body to make it appear to be female.

Since Ulane was not discriminated against as a female, and since Title VII is not so expansive in scope as to prohibit discrimination against transsexuals, we reverse the order of the trial court and remand for entry of judgment in favor of Eastern on Count I and dismissal of Count II."

as you are no doubt aware, there is an additional line of legal analysis that suggests that dress codes that place an equal burden upon men and women are not discriminatory (and they all stem from harrah's, a case in which the plaintiff is neither a transsexual or transgender person); this analysis seems to conflict with price waterhouse v hopkins...and some of the most recent cases are starting to return to the reasoning of price waterhouse.

from these developments we can conclude that transsexual and transgender persons are equally impacted by the various series of cases that derive from ulane, et al. and also the line of "dress code" cases...and also, that, on the federal level, title VII litigation is the place where relief is to be found.

now, a few words about the ada.

when you refer to rights given and then taken away, and how transgender people screwed all that up, i'm going to assume that you are referring to the changes that occurred with the passage of the ada and the concurrent amendment of the federal rehabilitation act in 1990.

if i understand what you're saying, the source of your animus toward the "umbrella" stems from the fact that efforts to extend protections to transgender persons at that time caused the exclusions to be added that infuriate you today.

in what appears to be an effort to explain why transgendered persons should not be protected by the ada, you refer to 300 studies that prove transsexuality has a physical basis, while transgender persons have no physical condition upon to claim a disability...that, basically, it's all mental.

my response?

my understanding of "disability" is that the term can be used to describe conditions that lack a physical "nexus" whether transgender individuals experience physical or mental conditions, they can still be disabilities.

further, my interpretation of the logic behind your animus is something like: "how dare they try to claim rights for themselves that i have now...this is going to screw up my good thing!".

frankly, that is no way to decide whether to support or oppose the efforts of others who were...and still are...seeking the same civil rights as you enjoyed at the time...and honestly, if that's how you really feel about all this...shame on you.

blame congress, or blame pat robertson...but if you think that other people who also needed and sought protection are the ones to be blamed're dead wrong, and as a religious leader, you should know better.

and while we're at it: the courts--and congress--have, since 1990, treated transsexual and transgender persons exactly the same...which means that in every forum where you might prevail with either legislation or litigation (except, of course, each of the 50 states, one at a time), you're already under the same umbrella, like it or not.

you have also reported that the real problems with abuse and harassment and mistreatment that you have experienced--which have included death threats--have come since your correction at the hands of transgendered persons.

might i suggest that there are many other transsexual persons who have experienced much worse...and that transsexuals, who in the bay area in 1999 were 16 times more likely to be murdered then the general population (the usual suspect: transphobia...), have a lot more to fear from "cis-world" than y'all do from "transgender world".

all of this argues for the very thing i've been trying to say from the beginning: the abuse and discrimination that transsexual and transgender persons experience--the snubs and insults, the lack of protection in law...and the murders--do not belong to one group or the other...and the resolutions for the same problems will be applied to both groups equally should litigation or efforts to amend legislation be successful.

despite your personal experience, statistics prove that the larger transsexual community--and the transgendered community as well--have a lot more to fear from my world than either of you do from each other.

and finally...i hope that the basis of all this animus is not derived from your resentment because someone else sought the same protections...because if it is, that line of thought just doesn't pass the smell test.

as i'm rereading this, i realize i should have used "transgendered persons" rather than "transgender persons".

sorry about that.

The ADA coverage is because of the loophole created by the prejudicial intent of Jessie Helms. In the civil rights game one uses what one cans so the whole "actual disabled" line of reasoning is a red herring and I suspect you are well aware of that.

Additionally you have insulted me, my past and my past work on behalf of oppressed people and I believe deliberately since I have several times corrected you.

The extreme abuse I suffered at the hands of a specific group of transgenders who consisted primarily of the self proclaimed new generation of trans activists began and continued while I was an active advocate of all trans identified people. You have painted me as a bigot in the classic blame the victim fashion.....

I refuse to lift a finger now for trans civil rights not just because of the abuse, but also because the refusal of those who weren't active participants in it to denounce it and those who did so but rather joined in afterwards.

As I stated clearly once before in this discussion, shifting gynophobia to corrected women makes it no less gynophobic and mysogynistic.

So your saying the transgender can be defined as having a disability ?

.. will they be able to park in the handicapped spots ? Maybe a blue placard hanging from the mirror, skirt on bottom and bearded head on top ?

"So your saying the transgender can be defined as having a disability ?
.. will they be able to park in the handicapped spots ? Maybe a blue placard hanging from the mirror, skirt on bottom and bearded head on top?"

Please stop. This (in addition to many other comments, but this takes the cake) is just so completely offensive and unnecessary and not ok. On so many levels.

Don, as an engineer, those statistics make no sense...there was nowhere near 119 murders of transsexuals in the US last year, and there are at least 120,000 post ops alone here...add the preops and the number goes up a wee bit...there were not even 119 murders if the entire TG spectrum is included. And your source that you linked to says that murder rate is higher than that of African-Americans...when the vast majority of those who are assaulted/killed, according to the Transgender Day of Remembrance site which keeps track of that, are African Americans. Sorry, but that doesn't pass the "smell test" you refer to either.

As a side note, no transsexual I know, or have ever met, wakes up in the morning routinely wondering who is going to come up to them with a gun, brick, knife, or weapon of any kind and assault them...any more than any other natal male or female...we lead exceedingly normal lives.

I could take on much of the rest of your post as well, but as you are a straight natal male, I fully realize you are in no position, nor have any unusual insight that would qualify you, to speak to the gender debate...except in the peripheral and abstract...or perhaps maybe your general attraction to the transgender in the first place.

it appears that you may have misread the statistic.

what was reported is that the rate of murders is 119 per 100,000 transsexual persons, which was the basis for the claim that the murder rate is 16 times higher than for the general population.

one other note: i have just become aware, from checking my email...and for reasons that i cannot explain...that i needed to approve some of your comments.

that has now occurred, and you'll see several of your comments appearing all at once.

a final comment:

do i have any particular insight as to the nature of the hate and predjudice and mistreatment that is experienced by your two communities?

you bet i do.

as you note, i'm a straight natal male...and that means i get to see a whole lot of it right from the source.

and i don't like it a bit.

i also don't like racial predjudice...a subject about which i also write.

are either of those two facts effective predictors of my attractions?

not really.

BBB, I was just making a lighthearted comment based on the fact that you appear to be getting more and more upset that no one is buying your position but those who buy into the TG perspective no matter how absurd it is. A third party noticing someone is getting upset is not argumentum ad hominem.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 3:11 AM

I'm angry at once again having the NARTH tactic thrown up again, an abuse of missrepresenting science used specifically to invalidate people like myself. Standard hate-speech tactics.

Why wouldn't I be angry at that?

As for no-one buying my position lol, there isn't a poll to see whose position is more supported.

And as for the 'lighthearted' excuse, in my experience mockery is rarely lighthearted and in a discussion is always a personal attack.

Bats, it is you who routinely uses some twisted form of logic to make outrageous, unsupportable claims loosely tied to actual science.

You claim that your transvestism (transgenderedness?) is from biologic causes because there is an absence of evidence to the contrary and there is scientific evidence for classic transsexuality being a neurological intersexed condition. In fact this is just about your whole message over and over and over.

Consider: I can claim, with the exact same level of authority, that transgenderism is caused by pubescent sexual encounters with goats because there is no evidence to the contrary

Will you give it a rest now?

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 12:05 PM

"Bats, it is you who routinely uses some twisted form of logic"

What? Proper Scientific Method?

"to make outrageous, unsupportable claims"

What? That something you say is a fact has not yet actually been tested? The same tests that found the TS/IS evidence haven't been done on a representative sample of CDs. Either thats a fact or you could cite them! How is that unsupportable?

"You claim that your transvestism (transgenderedness?) is from biologic causes"

I state that it is possible, even probable. I state that the same kind of anecdotal evidence that lead to theories of genetic causation of gay and lesbian sexuality is also found in CDs but I do state it's anecdotal. I don't state that it has been tested and proven so. Unlike your claims about transgender!

"because there is an absence of evidence to the contrary"

Are you getting your claims mixed up here? You say that it's NOT biological and say it's PROVEN so by lack of the same evidence as is found for TS EVEN THOUGH THE NECCESSARY BIOLOGICAL TESTS HAVE NOT BEEN DONE! Your the one using absence of evidence WHEN THE TESTS HAVE NOT BEEN DONE as if it were fact.

"and there is scientific evidence for classic transsexuality being a neurological intersexed condition."

Wasn't one of the test subjects in one of those studies an Non-Op? Not so classic if thats the case. And i don't dispute the biological TS evidence. BUT THE SAME TESTS HAVENT YET BEEN DONE ON CD'S!

See what we both have are called 'falsifiable hypothesis' in science. thats where you can do a test to see which is true by trying to disprove them with data. I simply say something is possible, even likely. That's testable. You claim it's proven WHEN THE TESTS HAVEN'T BEEN DONE. All thats needed is to test CDs for the same evidence found in TSs and we'd know if they both have the same or similar biological causation. That wouldn't even totally rule out another biological causation as possible but it would rule out the same cause as TS.

Thats how science works. You propose something, then test it, and only after getting the results can you say it's so or not so or needs more testing.

To claim something as a proven fact when the proper tests haven't been done is scientiffic fraud and a lie.

"Consider: I can claim, with the exact same level of authority, that transgenderism is caused by pubescent sexual encounters with goats because there is no evidence to the contrary"

Analogy of your argument not mine! Your the one saying somethings definately not so even though THE TESTS HAVEN'T BEEN DONE YET. Your making a 'creation science' argument. Go read some Dembski on evolution, then read the dover trial transcripts and the discoveries on flagella since his spurious 'disproven by absence of evidence' claims, you'll see the same arguments you make used to claim a whole heap of now disproven nonsense.

Your the one making a claim that something has been tested for just like the other and not found when its not been tested for the same way at all. Your the one making a claim as fact something which is not yet been tested. Your the one saying 'no evidence exists (ignore please that it's cause we havent checked yet) so it cannot be possible so we dont have to bother looking'.

And of course trying to get in an offensive remark slipping it through as an 'example' too.

"Will you give it a rest now?"

Will I allow you to continue to make false claims about proof when the tests havent been done, let your NARTH-style missrepresentations of science to remain unrefuted so you can use it as hate speech? To heap hate on me and people like me?

Not so long as I live. So till those tests are done, methodologically sound at that, then no, I won't let you keep lying about it.

I was reading a theorist named Blanchard on the subject and he identifies a subset Transsexuality as separate from Transgender, with a pseudo-transsexual category called Autogynophilia related to transgender, though he terms it differently.

He seems to have done a lot of work on this.

FYI, Blanchard's "autogynephilia" theories are widely considered by working professionals in the field to be not supported by evidence, and are seen as fringe theories.

Plus any theory that can't be disproven -- in Blanchard's world denial of being autogynephilic is evidence that you are (akin to the Freudian Catch-22 around repression) -- fails basic scientific method.

Yes, Blanchard is part of the panel working on the next DSM -- but so is Ken Zucker, whose work focuses on what he calls preventive treatment of children for “transvestism, transsexualism, and some forms of homosexuality" (i.e. what's known as the notorious "conversion therapy" when done to adults). Which among other things tries to enforce extremely stereotypical gender behavior.

Blanchard has also been affiliated with private cyber-discussion group of a neo-eugenics think tank, the Human Biodiversity Institute (HBI).

Not exactly someone I'd consider a credible source...

The mental health profession would appear to disagree. I am not endorsing Mr Blancahrd's work but it exists and appears to have gained credibility from the American Paychiatric Association.

The same APA that for years classified homosexuality as a mental illness. Just saying...

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 10:35 PM

The APA also thought it ok for members to be involved in developing and administering torture!

This DSM and the APA currently are being condemned roundly for far more than just the GID and paraphila groups!

Noted members of groups have quit denouncing the process. Authors of past DSMs have condemned the curent process with its secrecy rules and utter lack of transparency.

The APA's credibility is under serious question by the rest of the international mental health community.

i thank you for writing the article and sticking with the followup, but i'd just like to not get any more of these replies to this article in my email inbox. Too much. Will posting this now and not ticking off the little "receive email notifications of further comments" make it stop, or do i need to do something else?

first...thanks very much for the kind eords.

as to your queston: i honestly cannot say for certain, but if it does not work you might use the "contact us" link and get a better answer from the ed team.

Being from Atlanta, I have to ask this off-topic question, seeing how most of the comments are already off-topic. Is the drink of choice for classic transsexuals Classic Coke? Personally, I like drinking Classic Coke while listening to classical music. It's very relaxing.

you have earned 10 laugh points.

go see this three-minute movie.

ROLFL!!! We're in trouble if we start trying to define "Classic Rock"

I forgot about "Classic Rock." There's also classic cars, which have to be at least 25 years old to qualify. Wow, I just realized that the word "classic" is another word for "old." So, the next question is, "How many years do you have to be a transsexual to be labeled 'classic'?"

Way far too many comments to catch up on--working full time, going back to school, doing advocacy and even managing something of a social life really does not allow for sustained intensity in something like this, though I have really tried.

There is something I have wondered about and maybe I have misread the commentary, but, for all there has been extensive contributions regarding those transsexual people who identify as transgender(ed) I am unable to ascertain if those who make this claim are transsexual people who identify as transgender(ed).

I have exchanged posts with such on a email list elsewhere and know they do exist--as admonished here I have gotten to know others, and continue to do so.

But I am unable to evade the conclusion the preponderant part of this commentary consists of naming others--i.e. transsexuals--as something other than this by those who are not transsexuals.

This same perspective claims great pain from the insistence of transsexual people that transsexual people are not like the ones doing the naming.

This is, sadly, not the basis for the sort of coalition I continue to believe would be of benefit to us all, but until we work through our own pain and put ourselves on our own healing path this evident need to dominate, as it has always done, will simply bring us all down.

It has been a long time since I really needed the assurance of this sort of confirmation--my life, as I am building it, takes much too much time for this.

This seems to be the attitude of most corrected women, and I assume corrected men.

Though I accept the need to witness the evil done to all.

I'm always grateful for the opportunity to learn through dialogue and I have certainly learned thought this one.

Thank you, all!

And thank you, Don, for doing the good job you have throughout.

There exists considerable difference from someone labeling you against your will and labeling yourself.

A difference that is lost on those who are totally "me" directed to the point they are more than willing to willfully harm others to defend their own right to dominate them.

There's nothing wrong with labeling oneself. I encourage it. What I don't encourage is harassing others for decades for the labels they choose. Also, if one wants to justify their existence, they don't need to write extensive articles on that justification, then using them as proof positive that one's justification is valid.

It's as if I wrote an article saying I am the Emperor of the World, then whenever someone challenged me, I would point to that article as my proof that I'm right. If I did that, I would be labeled a narcissist, and no one would want that label.

"Classic transsexual" was created by transsexuals who wanted to be separate from trans men, pre-op and non-op transsexuals, lesbian post-op trans women and crossdressers. There's nothing wrong with that need to be separate.

However, no non-classic-transsexual scientist, doctor or biologist has validated their claims and no real scientific proof exists that it is a biological condition, no matter how people tend to stretch other studies to fit their beliefs. It's only a label and a mindset. Nothing more. Viva la labels!

Can you say Luddite? I knew you could.

Oh trumps stupidity every single time.
Just sayin'

i appreciate the kind words greatly--and i agree with you that while we don't want to diminish anyone's experience, there are a lot of common interests here...and speaking with someone else is an achievable goal, as opposed to speaking for someone, which, in fairness to all the commenters here, should be avoided.

Throughout these comments here and elsewhere, there is constant reference to the notion that somehow the idea of seperation of the transgender and the GLBT from classic transsexuals will


Those who say this do not understand that classic transsexuals have no interest in "US". There is no "US" in this debate.

Some elude to the fact that Cathryn's "Let our people go" campaign has garnered little support. They hold that as evidence that the classic transsexuals have no support, so I ask you how if that is true does this "Bring us all down" ?

Transgenders and the GLB know the answer to that don't you....

Transgenders and the GLB know that just as those in the LGB that post here on bilerico and elsewhere are just the tip of the larger LGBT voice.

Transgenders and the GLB also know that the classic transsexuals that post here are a very tiny portion of the greater iceberg that lies beneath, silent and waiting for a voice.

Transgenders and the GLB know that if this battle for independence between us shifts to the larger media stage, the transgender will loose, and loose bigtime.

Those silent voices that make up the larger portion of the classic transsexuals that are currently post op and never heard from, will become heard and this whole idea that transgenders and transsexuals are one and the same, tied to the LGB through their own will, will split this debate wide open.

That is what is eluded to by the term ..

"Bring us ALL down"

I look forward to the day ..

BBB says:

"Tell all the Intersex folk that their genitals define their womanhood or manhood! (and isn't the stat like 1 in 3 of those suffering surgery as an infant are forced into the wrong anatomy?)

For goodness sake! Talk about a failure to be sensitive to the interactions between parts of the rest of the community!"

Have you ever noted how almost no intersex ever comment here. There's a very good reason for that. Let me give you a few facts, BBB.

1. The vast majority of those who are intersexed have no issues with their gender.

2. Those who are intersexed have no more propensity to be homosexual than anyone else...most are heterosexual.

3. The intersex have no problem speaking for themselves.

4. Most of the medical establishment doesn't even consider chromosomal abnormalities in and of itself an intersex condition...the majority of those people are not even aware of their condition, only becoming aware should some secondary illness percipitate their testing.

In spite of those four facts, the GLBT - and you - are doing their dead level best to colonize the intersexed just as they did transsexuality. I don't even know why you would bring up the intersexed...most have no gender issues...most are not gay or lesbian...and the intersexed have done an excellent job of speaking for themselves.

I'm sensitive to the facts, BBB...but just the facts.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 4, 2009 11:03 PM

So despite the thanks of some IS people for raising their issues about infant mutilation in the national human rights community consultation I and everyone else should ignore that 1 in 3 of these unethical surgeries results in gender issues?

Because most IS is mild and unrecognised we should ignore those who do have issues? By that logic we should deny 'classic' transsexuals their surgery and needs too. That's not how human rights work!

And as there are many intersections of human rights issues: somatic sovereignty, right to appropriate medical care, right to protection from medical abuse, right to give and to withdraw consent for medical treatments, rights of children, rights to and right to not have to be held to religion and culture and their practices... every one of those human rights issues effects IS and TG people. They need to be consistent and fair and valid to all parties.

Where human rights are involved EVERY group is involved! Thats the thing, your assuming i'm part of rediculous identity politics based on old flawed ideological paradigms full of more holes than my antique collender. I'm not. I'm approaching this from a Human Rights perspective.

"Classic" Transsexual ... The "Classic" part is NOT a label.

It means those which have "Classically" been considered a Transsexual visa vie that which Benjamine and others termed a transsexual as opposed to a transvestite or other.

Similar to "Classic" car .. No auto maker ever labeled a car such but all car buffs know what the term means.

You don't want to .. obviously, and with good reason!

Alright ladies, we've let this thread go on and on and it's devolving into the typical insult-fest between the two camps. Since things were going along swimmingly to begin with, we've allowed most comments to stand. Sadly, that spirit hasn't continued.

I'll be going through the comments to check for TOS violations after several complaints. While we've allowed some of the previously banned commenters to participate since their comments started out civilly, if you've been banned before and have left a comment in the thread that violates TOS, we won't be publishing anything else by you.

If ya cant beat em ... ban em or censor em!

Nothing new here ... :)

Or you could follow the rules like most people do - especially since you're a guest. Seems simple.

If you (or any other commenter) can't manage to make a point without attacking someone personally, then, yeah, there's the door. Don't let it hit you in the ass on your way out.

I've supported, as recently as today, the right of the transsexuals to separate from the transgender people. I did so because it seems the only way to end the hatred and acrimony bewteen the two groups, the interminable splitting of hairs, the feuding over the number of angels dancing upon the head of a pin.

I am tired of anger. I am ashamed of what attack and anger bring out from within the dark places inside of me, places whose very darkness was produced by the anger and hatred of others towards me. When I give in to it, they win, those who wished harm to me continue to do so.

We have common enemies, vile, cold, destructive and careless of the carnage that they inspire. Do we really need to turn upon our own?

I truly hope that the transsexuals and transgender people reach an accomondation, a separation cordiale followed by an entente cordiale when tempers cool and wounds heal.

Moreover, I hope that the rest of us can look beyond ourselves to the divine feminine within others.

No, BBB, what I'm saying is that a goth crossdresser has no right to try to colonize the intersex, as a whole, as you have done into the gender debate.

They, as a group, don't want that, and have said so. The intersex have done quite well in raising the awareness of their issues without the help of the GLB.

You jump from topic to topic and from point to point. Don't put words in my mouth, stick to the subject at hand. You have the position that if you can't prevail on one point, you will insert another point that has no bearing. Give it up.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 5, 2009 2:25 AM

The ENTIRE point of the AHRC using the term Sex and Gender Diversity was because the human rights issues it was covering included Intersex issues. And as Intersex advocates had valid problems with being classed as Transgender this term was deemed more inclusive.

When umbrella terms are under discussion that makes the discussions of their respectful inclusion under one term and issues with the other very much part of the discussion of nomenclature.

Several IS advocates were involved in the S&GD report. And a group of TS, IS and me fought as hard as we could against the focusing of the report on legal identification issues when the subject of Intersex Infant Surgical Mutilation was clearly on a human-rights-principle basis a far more urgent and important priority issue. With hormone-blocker access, srs coverage, the listing on sex-offender lists of some TSs simply as ameasure to enable them to legally access some hormones when they'd committed no crime and much more also raised as far more important issues than the ident ones but less than the IS ones.

I've been thanked for the work I've done on IS issues by IS people, and i was asked to continue by IS people. I was also asked to raise in the national human rights community consultation the issues of women who'd had children taken from them by coercion in past decades because they were unmarried at the time of birth, several dissability issues, issues of indiginous cultural rights and the rights of Athiests amongst others.

Thats a common trend in human rights work.

Which of the views raised here by me are in contradiction to the Yogyakarta Principles and other Human Rights Principles?

I also find it highly insulting that men are speaking for women, no matter what clothes these people wear. Is this the direction the gay movement wants to take?

Don Davis:

"to extend the metaphor, had you, in your pre-corrected state, sought to group yourself together with those who are post-corrected, would that have been assaultive behavior?"

i communicate with Transheretic. i am pre-corrected. She has never made me feel that my presence has been assaultive behavior on her.

Extended metaphor invalid.

"Yes, 'classic transsexual' and the other oft-used 'true transsexual' are very demeaning and invalidating of many other transsexuals."

Not to any i know. Is 'other' transsexuals code for self-declared pre-operative transsexuals? If that's the case, it isn't demeaning or invalidating to me. Or did you think there could never be such a thing as a pre-op that agreed with these post-ops?

Define 'many'. You've already given your definition of transsexual. Do the 'many' you speak of share the same definition?

Monica Helms:

"You responded, therefore you validate."

i wasn't going to respond to you, because i don't have the time to pretend like you're relevant to me.

The last time we spoke, you tried to insist that you were. You tried to assert your identity and needs on top of mine. And you have the gall to portray yourself a champion activist.

You were baffled that i would spend time and energy getting my birth certificate changed. Just because you didn't care about yours. And you all but tried to dismiss my desire for self-identification with it.

You didn't want surgery in the past. For all i know, maybe you've decided now that you do. Frankly, i don't care. Let me make it clear for you again. i'm not you.

"How many years do you have to be a transsexual to be labeled 'classic'?"

i consider myself such, and i'm half your age. i know a couple of other women my age that feel the same.

Does that answer your question?

Don Davis stated it perfectly. 'Penis cut off'. He doesn't get it. Transgender people don't get it. It's 'strange' and 'extreme'.

And from my point of view, post-operative women are treated by transgendered at best with a curious scratch of the head, and at worst, ridicule and suspicion.

'Penis cut off'. Sums up the ongoing attitude perfectly. Thank you, Don.

Lena Dahlstrom:

"The thing is Mara, that while the HBS crowd here is extremely vocal they represent a tiny, tiny number of people. How tiny? In over a year, their "don't call us transgenders" petition has garnered only 125 signatures. Not exactly a vast majority."

You have made two critical-thinking errors here.

Not all transsexual women here (post-operative or otherwise) are 'HBSrs'. But then, it is easy to make sweeping assumptions to dismiss people, isn't it?

125 is considerable. Especially for the relatively short time the petition has been online. Here's why.

i have worked extensively in surveys and polls, both legitimate and push-pull (it was my last job). It is accepted reality both in politics and the private sector that for every one person that complains, between 50 to 100 will remain silent.

In order to stay conservative with numbers, research studies will pull that ratio back to 1 in 20. Which means that the 125 that bothered to say anything represent 2,500. There are just over 40,000 confirmed post-operative women in the U.S. Recent numbers show that they could be as high as 150,000, but the numbers are difficult due to their nature of living in stealth.

When 6% of a population agrees with something, you better sit up and listen.

Or don't, and dismiss it like i know you will.


"Because the majority of out folk are TSs."

Wrong. The vast majority of transgender people do not desire SRS, which is the definition of transsexual.

It's one of those bothersome technical things. Not subject to mood or identity.

As it turns out, things aren't quite so simple, and in today's conversation we'll consider this issue in a larger way. By the time we're done, not only will we learn a thing or two about sex and gender and sexuality, we'll also learn how to offer a community of people a level of respect that they often find difficult to obtain.

Can you say Epic Fail?

This entire thread is yet another reallife example of why speaking for groups you are not a member of is not the greatest idea, especially when coupled with a basic inability to listen to members of that group or only a single segment of that group.

Transsexual is a birth condition. Do we have any transgender supporters here who will stand up and say that it is not?

Transexualism is indeed a birth condition. Most all of us knew we were "built wrong" when we were little. For me, 1955 (age 4.) Did I know in 1955 that I would also accept the word "transgender" in 1995? However, "classic" transsexualism is not a different and separate birth condition. It's the same condition with a different label.

'Knowing you were built wrong' since age 4?

It's hell, isn't it? We've all been there, right?

It has been for me. Getting beaten on a daily basis at school for being feminine. Getting beaten at home until you learn to fake masculine behavior. Spontaneous crying fits and random panic attacks whenever you have to physically touch yourself. Uncontrollable anger and depression into adulthood. Multiple suicide attempts.

Then discovery of what you are, followed by a pounding, desperate effort to make yourself physically whole as soon as possible. Haunted day and night over how to make it happen.

You say you're transsexual, though. So you know how all this feels. All the post-ops and a few pre-ops i've talked to do.

Most transgendered people i talk to look at me as if i'm from Mars, then happily go shopping. 'Oh, surgery? i guess...maybe someday'.

i don't know how you've managed to survive, apparently healthy and whole, for 58 years.

Frankly your 'transsexuality' amazes me.

It just means you have a lot to learn about human nature. We don't all fit in neat little boxes. If you wish to live in a box, I won't stop you.

You're right.

The little empty box next to 'Transsexual' on an identity form might not fit you.

The box next to 'Transgender' on that same form is much, much larger. Put your check-mark there, be happy with who you are, and stop claiming our identity and speaking for us.

As for human nature, my stomach is so full of it i'm ready to choke.

Thanks for trying to assert ageist control over me, though.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 8, 2009 1:13 AM

Seriously no-one speaks for everyone.

Marilyn Manson doesn't speak for me as a Goth, nor does animator/artist/musician Voltaire even though I have often agreed with many things they have said about Goth.

There is no singular experience of any group. Not Goths, Not Women, Not Men, Not Crossdressers, Not Bi-Gender, Not Intersex and Transsexual.

This is the great flaw in 'Identity politics' old and trired dinosaur paradigm. Because everyone has a complec experience filled with diversity, random happenstance and intersections.

So discussion of issues may accurately refer to commonalities and frequencies but when a singular set of universal criteria is looked for it is found desperatly wanting.

Thats an essential problem with these squabbles, arguing over being connected to a stereotype or not is nonsensical when the stereotype is wrong and people exist in degrees and complexities.

The genuine enemy is the stereotype, all stereotypes.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 6, 2009 9:07 AM

I do not deny that the current scientific evidence based on a series of small-sample-sized studies distinctly supports (but is not neccessarily conclusive of yet) the hypothesis of there being one or more biological causations for transsexual phenomena.

That the evidence differs in some cases between FtM and MtF is significant as it means these could well be entirely different phenomena with just similar symptoms and treatment. That the studies made no distinction between 'classic' transsexuals is also significant as it means no claims that these studies only support 'classic' claims can be honestly made. That comparative studies of the same FMRI brain-dissection and genetic tests have not yet been done on crossdressers and genderqueer is significant as again it cannot honestly be ruled out that there is no biological causation for those either!

In fact some predict the latter as there are variations of other neurological phenomena like the Autism Spectrum making a Transsexual Spectrum the more likely prediction.

Quoting a comment from here:

'I interviewed Dick Swaab, whose lab produced the BSTc research that is the strongest evidence for a neurological correlate for trans. It should be noted that one of the six MTF transsexual people in the original 1995 Zhou study had never transitioned, but insisted that they had a female gender identity. It sould also be noted that the 2002 Chung study found that the difference between males and females in the BSTc does not occur until after puberty, which poses some problems for a pre or early post natal hormonal causation theory.
Swaab thinks the BSTc is probably a part of a network in the brain involving the hypothalaumus and cortical areas.
"We only, by accident, hit on a little bit of it"

He also explicitly supported the idea that there is a biological causation for the whole range of gender identity variations:

"I think we talked about a scale like the Kinsey scale for sexual orientation – we should also have a gender identity scale. It is not either this or that; there is also something in between. The distribution will not be simple, but here will be people somewhere in the middle."

"So it is not the entire brain that is switching, it is some systems, and that may also be the explanation for the [gender identity] scale. Some systems do switch and others don’t and it depends on which systems have switched where you enter on the scale."'

So there we go :)
And untill the requisite studies are done we wont know for sure that all TS is biological, all starts at birth in some form or that CDs aren't also born that way or the contrary either.

Someone has already stated here that Science trumps every time. So then, lets deal with what the science says! :)

Then the problem is that you fail to allow other people to reject your personal political decisions. The people who support a transgender agenda need to stop telling 3rd parties that they speak for all transsexual men and women by divine right. If this political strongarm tactic does not stop, the people who subscribe to transgender theory are going to find themselves out in the cold.

Remember, transgender is a post-modern theory. It is not truth, and it is not a weapon to use against people who were born differently. I find the very idea of men speaking on women's issues, as has been the case in the article here, to be outrageous and unacceptable.

Men cannot speak for women. Gay men cannot speak for transsexual women. Crossdressers have no relation to transsexual women whatsoever. Transgender theory is not the equivalent of a transsexual birth condition.

Transsexual is NOT a subset of transgender. Men need to back off the women, or Bilerico has labeled itself as anti-feminist, and anti-woman.

What is it going to be?

actually i now wish that hbser's and "classics"
(not medical terms)would go live THEIR lives,as their seperatism creates problems for those of us who are ts and pre-transition, with our allies in the glb and straight communities.
people we will probably NEED politically, to get health care, etc.

i do agree the T community(ALL of it) needs to be much more involved and responsible for it's OWN issues and politics
and legislations, etc!more like NAACP then democrats.

but as we will still NEED alliances in the world, maybe you should either build bridges, or let others alone, to do it.

maybe YOU should let pre-transition TS ALONE.
YOU are not helping US.

i guess i still can't figure out why transitioned post op women are here.this IS a GLBT website.
if you're not gay or bi, why are YOU here?
my orientation is in the glb community.
if you're straight women, what's your problem, exactly?

if you pass and are living your lives, who actually knows that you are "associated" with TG people unless YOU tell them, anyway?

"actually i now wish that hbser's and "classics"
(not medical terms)would go live THEIR lives,as their seperatism creates problems"

You wish they would remove themselves from you, because removing themselves from you creates problems?

Yeah, that makes sense.

Or do you wish they would remove themselves from you, so that you and the LGBT in generally can continue to insist on speaking for them?

Yeah, that seems fair.

"maybe YOU should let pre-transition TS ALONE.
YOU are not helping US."

*They* need to speak in defense on pre-corrected TS.
*They* are helping *us*.

"i guess i still can't figure out why transitioned post op women are here.this IS a GLBT website."

Because the LGBT keep presuming to speak for them, and repeatedly drag them under the transgender umbrella.

It amazes me that you still fail to grasp this basic concept.

"if you pass and are living your lives, who actually knows that you are "associated" with TG people unless YOU tell them, anyway?"

If you're from Argentina and traveling through Brazil, and are constantly mistaken for Brazilian by the locals and foreign tourists, well...

Who cares right? It's *just* your identity.

Racists might think *everyone* residing in South America are *inferior* and *the same*, but it doesn't make identity any less important.

And it doesn't justify erasing and overrunning others.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 8, 2009 11:29 PM

Curious isn't it that when TG-advocates do acknowledge the human right of the seperatists to self-define as not Transgender it goes unremarked, uncelebrated and actually totally unrecognised by the seperatists?

Interesting that isn't it. The CDs here, Lena and myself, have actually acknowledged the seperatists self-defining as not transgender... and the response is silence.

But I've seen this phenomena before... amongst some crossdresser groups and organisations. Exactly the same phenomena.

Their beef is being included under the term 'Gay'. They state it leads everyone to assume drag queens are the norm, that all CDs dress to attract men, that the public image of CDs are excessive over-the-top exaggerated drag and that this causes problems for themselves and for their wives.

So they say "Crossdressers are not Gay" and when it's pointed out "Sure you may not be and many CDs are not but actually some are" they respond "Crossdressers are NOT Gay!" and a common response is "Look, we can't get totally accurate data on proportions but clearly a lot and maybe the majority of MtF CDs are women-atrracted but theres a whole lot of Bi and Male-attracted CDs on this very forum in this discussion too, and what about the FtMs who consider themselves Gay? So isn't it important we acknowledge them too?" their response is "CROSSDRESSERS ARE NOT GAY AND GAY PEOPLE ARE THE REASON WE ARE HATED AND NO-ONE ACCEPTS US. BEING THOUGHT OF AS GAY RUINS OUR LIVES..." Blah blah Blah.

See the problem there is a societal stereotype, not the existence of or acknowledgement of male-attracted MtF CDs. Acknowledging the existence of male-attracted CDs does not really harm female-atracted CDs, the existence of the stereotype is all that does that. The fact is that despite claims of being a small minority the 'gay' CDs and Drag Queens are often the ones with the courage and conviction to be out and also to not be stealth/passing so they are the ones most in the public eye, if more of the complaining CDs were out they would get more recognition in public perception.

Basicly there are other Ethical ways of attacking the stereotype rather than the utterly unethical act of attacking the people who more closely fit the stereotype and trying to invalidate them.

But what do organisations like Tri-Ess and many CD Support Groups do? They marginalise those that transition, ban discussion of hormones and SRS and marginalise Bis and Gays/Lesbians. Some chapters/groups are better than others of course but many are utterly shocking. The reason they give? That having such topics discussed, that allowing transitioning and GLB members to be prominant in any way would scare off spouses and have them turn on their CD husbands.

Surprised about the company seperatists? Your very much alike it seems in that your using the same arguments for what seems to be the exact same reasons. The same piece of algebra but with X being 'classic' rather than 'straight' Y being 'TS' rather than 'CD' and Z being 'TG' rather than 'Gay'.

Attacking one another trying to fight the symptom not the cause, attacking people to try and effect public perception of both, and it seems that it's really fighting over which group gets to BE the stereotype rather than attacking there being a stereotype which could be accomplished by showing, and educating about, the diversity.

See our acknowledging a diversity or difference from a stereotype harms the stereotype, it doesn't acknowledge their claim that they should be the stereotype, and I say this about both 'Straight' crossdresserd and 'classic' transexuals equally. So as its not very useful in the battle to BE the template of the stereotype it seems that acknowledgement of the diversity is not acknowledged. That would reduce the power of the 'see they hate us, they claim we are just like them and hurt us'.

It's not just about the desperate phobic desire to 'not be associated with' 'icky' folk... a homophobia from the 'straight' crossdressers and a non-binary-transphobia from the 'classic' transsexuals, though that seems a big part of it. So maybe it's really a desire to fight to claim to be what the stereotype should be? An all or nothing desire to replace one narrow stereotype in the publics eye with another narrow stereotype and to hell with everyone who strays too far from either stereotype who gets trampled in the way.

There is another way though. One thats issues-based not identity-based. That acknowledges not just ideological justification of needs but a basic right to choose irrespective. One where all the needs of all people can be considered as equally valid and can be fought for not just by those stake-holders effected by it but by anyone capable of reason.

Human Rights Principles.

Self-Identification, Health-Care, Hormone and Surgery-access, Access to Hormone-Blockers for teens, Protection from IS Infant surgery and brutal reparative treatments, protection from discrimination and violence, protection of gender expression, Equal access to all Services from employment to business to bathrooms to marriage to disability to insurance etc... theres overlap between the groups that need these in GLBTIQ, S&GD, Disability, Neuro-atypical and many many more and yet all these are actually covered by the same set of reasons in favour of them ALL.

Human Rights Principles.

Seriously EVERYONE take a look at this

Our rights are NOT mutually exclusive. We DO share these rights, these issues, just on occassion they work in different directions. The right to not be permanantly surgically altered as a child so when old enough to give consent the child can make a choice is the exact same right of a child to not be forced to undergo puberty they do not wish to endure and instead be given hormone blockers till they are old enough to legally give consent to their own choice. The same right solves both a Intersex issue and a transsexual one.

THAT is the way forward, not one ideology winning over another, not one stereotype defeating another, not one group of peoples rights being trampled on in favour of another. That will be a battle that would continue for all human existence. Instead basic universal human rights applied properly solves everyones issues. And Everyone can fight for Everyone Elses Equal Rights!

Transsexual women are not "separatists" here. Outspoken crossdressers do not own us or our identities as women. I think we've had enough gatekeeping from the transgender quarter on who gets to be a woman. Who they hell do they think they are anyway?

And of course the transgender position on who is a real women excludes transsexual women, whom they label as fake women because they are "transgender" with a wink and nudge while paying lip service to our "womanhood". That's mighty white of them.

I suppose next we'll be hearing how people born with Intersex conditions are transgender too. That's going to go over great, can't wait to watch.

What is it going to take for crossdressers to stop attaching themselves to transsexual men and women?

battybattybats battybattybats | August 10, 2009 12:10 AM

Of course transsexual women are not seperatists, only SOME of them are.

I don't own anyone but myself. And thats true of you too. You don't own the transsexual women who are fine with being under the tg umbrella.

And i advocate for the S&GD term to be the umbrella term anyway.

So why do you keep arguing at me as if i held a view i have made clear THAT I DO NOT HOLD? Did you fail to notice my repeated posts acknowledging the right of people to self-define as not transgender? (a human right after all) and that S&GD is a more accurate umbrella term? Or are you deliberately ignoring my actual views?

And the science, when you catch up with it, is actually suggesting that not just TS but G and L are neurological intersex conditions with B and CD quite likely to follow. Check out the comparative FMRI scans etc.

And i do TOTALLY accept that a TS woman is a woman as legitimately a woman as a cissexual woman. Same with an IS woman, a TS man or an IS man.

One cog failing to perform it's task in an engine of identity destruction does not 'prove' the engine isn't being destructive.

Neither does trying to blame the victim who's identity is being overrun.

There are so many deep flaws in your post i don't even know where to start. Which is fine, since i don't plan to.

i don't bother debating somebody who essentially accuses me of being self-loathing and/or homophobic for not 'thinking' the way they do. That's as far as i got in your post. It's a hot button of mine.

Feel free to reply if you have to have satisfaction on 'getting' me with the final word.

Rest assured i will ignore it, and you.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 10, 2009 12:23 AM

I accussed you of self-loathing and homophobia? Where? LOL.

I reply cause sometimes people say they'll ignore me but then don't, so just in case i reccomend re-reading and see that i used the EXAMPLE of homophobia amongst SOME CROSSDRESSERS (Such as parts of Tri-Ess, so unless your a CROSSDRESSER the homophobia bit couldn't apply to you!) to critique the anti-non-binary transphobia (so unless your non-binary that can't be self-loathing) comments of SOME transsexuals.

And further i went on to suggest, which you apprently didnt get to, that it wasn't (just) non-binarty-transphobia/homophobia (remember the homophobia criticism was for some crossdressers not present here amongst support goups and organisations like Tri-Ess) pushing these arguments but actually a wish to be the template for the stereotype presented to the public that was the main motivation.

Maybe its time some folk actually start reading the REAL views and REAL posts and REAL comments of the people they criticise?

If you or your side are going to condemn me for my words and views perhaps try actually reading them and actually condemning what i really said rather than the arguments you might have wanted me to say so i could fit into your bugbear costume?

maybe they just want equal rights like the rest of us would like.....

to all of the women here who are t,
i am a GUY who is t, not anything else.
like you, i(and many others) feel that way... but i STILL can't see why i'm supposed to "hate" anyone else along the gender spectrum.
they are calling you "miss".(and her and she) but you can't even seem to even want them to EXIST.

cd's are NOT calling themselves "transsexuals"
...if straight society thinks YOU are a cd,
that doesn't make you one.

so you are saying if they all just "went away" society would see YOU correctly?
that sounds like the (some) gay argument re trans people and THEIR glb rights movement.:(and anyone not "straight appearing" in the glb community)
i can only say the obvious:

no one "goes away" for someone's whim, that is
bigotry.the t community needs better EDUCATION
of the public.
but start blaming the PUBLIC.
not the queer community.
other people get to "exist", separate from you.
better get educating!...

(as this website is TRYING....)
the glb community half the time wants NOTHING to do with t of ANY type, if you NOTICE.
and,yeah it's gender NOT orientation.
but sometimes it's orientation TOO.

we do need to do our own thing, but not with hate.
everyone gets to "exist"

(no one WANTS your identity.)
who is saying any differantly,
except STRAIGHT society?