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our male and female identity

In his practice, Harry Benjamin noted that there was a progressive nature to the transvestism (and I use the historical term here) of many of his patients. Some were clearly transsexuals in denial but even for those who were not, many progressed over time into living and behaving in more authentically female ways.

We have examples like Katherine Cummings, Virginia Prince, Susanna Valenti and even more currently the husband (now wife) of Helen Boyd who first identified as a crossdresser. Certainly when Helen wrote her first book in 2003 that was the case but things changed slowly over time.

In all of the examples cited, the person went on to a full or partial physical transition and full time living as a female.

Is gender dysphoria rooted in an inherent and prewired full or partial female identity? I believe the answer is yes.

The burning question however is not whether such an identity exists. The more pertinent question is: understanding that there is some level of innate “femaleness” present how does one proceed to deal with this reality?

Certainly a history of crossdressing does not signify much. The vast majority of Anne Vitale’s 200+ patients for example had gone through such a phase, however brief or long, before transitioning. So that is not an indicator per se.

What I like about today however is that we are entering a phase of history where choosing to be gender variant is becoming a valid option for dysphorics. By adopting a transgender identity you can choose to remain just that – a dual gendered being. You don’t have to transition but you can choose to.

My genitals don't define me but my brain does and I can choose to refrain from adhering perfectly to the binary. After all I was born this way and and how I choose to express gender is entirely up to me.

Yesterday Josh commented on my blog that it was hard to like his male side and I would contend that the best place to start is by looking at the person you are regardless of gender. You are a person first and not a stereotype and all decisions made about your gender role I think should be made from a positive perspective; meaning that the female in you should not win out because you hate the male you but instead because you feel more inherently female to begin with.

It's so difficult to separate ourselves from the expectations of gender behaviour because we have been conditioned from earliest memory to conform to the norm. But I would propose that we need to be outside of this imposed box in order to heal ourselves and find a way that effectively deals with our dysphoria. Once in a good place internally you can go from there but I think that includes loving who you are right now.

Here is a wonderfully written article.....


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“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

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Are you surprised? I’m not because it is exactly the same list that makes transgender women feel sexy.

For a long time the idea was pandered about that transsexualism was rooted exclusively in aberrant sexuality. But of course you cannot separate the sexuality from the individual because that forms part of their overall makeup and the fact that genetic and transsexual women overlap here surprises no one.

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Pre transition transsexuals would not readily admit they found these things sexy because they were afraid to be seen as perverted men in front of gatekeepers who understood nothing about their condition.

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Kati’s comment on my post called “Doubting you are trans” got me thinking about the validity of our feelings and the importance of not downplaying them.

Make no mistake: gender dysphoria is real and you are not delusional and by trying to downplay our emotional need to express ourselves we are making a mistake.

At the same time, I am very realistic about what I am doing to treat my dysphoria and understand that I was not born physically female. However, the idea that gender identity is established exclusively through birth genitalia has been pretty convincingly debunked which means that gender and its expression should be left up to the individual and not to society. But unfortunately, we live in a world where disobeying the rules leads to suffering through persecution.

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