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doing what works for you

If my blog has a running theme these days it’s that you should do whatever works for you. Your brain has been wired a certain way from birth and for whatever reason you have an attraction to explore the other gender role that you cannot adequately explain. In the not too distant past, society would have profusely frowned on this contravention despite the fact it may have worked for you.

But the barriers are starting to lift on our old and very rigid binary model.

As you can see by all of my recent blog posts on the wonderful work of Harry Benjamin, he went to his death bed after a lifetime of treating close to a thousand patients knowing just as much scientifically about this condition/desire as we do today; which is to say not very much. What I have learnt in my reading about him and his published work is that he was empathetic and respectful of his patients and saw in them a bravery and dignity for dealing with this anomaly in the best way they could. He was a believer in a biological explanation that we have yet to find. He also recognized that gender dysphoria is different for each person and thus required a unique response.

There is no conclusive diagnostic exam for what some people like to call “true transsexualism” simply because there are currently no identifiable biological markers to speak of - zero. The only thing we have to rely on is the insistence on the part of the person themselves. If anyone tells you different they are misleading you.

Conversely transvestism is not as disassociated from transsexualism as some people would like to believe and is certainly more than about men wearing dresses for the sole purposes of fulfilling erotic fantasies.

I go out every evening dressed as a woman and encounter all kinds of people including gaggles of teenage girls; nothing ever happens. The other night, however two playful and slightly rude teenage girls were standing close to me in a store and one asked me loud enough for everyone nearby to hear: “Hey are you a man or a woman?”

My immediate instinct was to be miffed but then I thought the better of it and turned to them and smiled. I then continued about my business.


  1. Ah, yes, the quest for the ultimate differential diagnosis to determine who is a true tranny and who is just a fetishist.

    For me, the question is about symbol and meaning. Does cloaking yourself in the symbols of transgender have a meaning, showing something about who you are, or is it meaningless, just a kind of a hobby, an erotic diversion, a bit of fol-de-rol?

    Some want to have their gender fixed so they minimize the meaning in trans expression -- "I'm just doing it as a kick!" -- but for me, where there is smoke, there is fire.

    Jim Bridges jokes: What's the difference between a straight transvestite and a gay transvestite? Three drinks. What's the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual? Three years.

    Symbols reveal meaning, and the symbols of femaling ourselves reveal the meaning of trans in our heart, even if we don't want it to. The way that nature emerges in the world depends on many, many factors, but when we do any trans expression seriously, we mean it.

  2. Callan I stick to using the term gender dysphoria on my blog to denote any gender expression that is not for acting but part of a prepubescent need that has always existed in an individual and that they have always sought to rationalize and understand, Other labels are for people who want to get caught up in them which I don't. I no longer have such a need and only need to accept that this aspect is a part of me. I make no apologies for it nor does it any longer cause me any grief. I have a male body which I have no intention of modifying but choose to express gender in a way I feel comfortable with.

    The reason I deal with whatever science exists is to help us understand ourselves and to put forth arguments against aggressive labellers who want to denigrate my experience as a human being in order to elevate themselves.

    There is a lot of misinformation out there but ultimately its up to you to define yourself and what makes you happy. We shouldn't let others do that to us.

    1. I have found that the medical model of trans behaviour has severe limits in making clear the power of trans.

      In the end, transgender always comes down to the call of the heart, the powerful desire, the Eros.

      You believe that "gender dysphoria" was coined to indicate those who expressed that call when they were prepubescent. It's the same call.

      I long ago decided that trying to find scientific or medical language to justify the call of my heart was much more limiting and stigmatizing than it was liberating.

      The science just doesn't exist to make trans clear. To me that means any attempt to use it for explanations just creates am odd pseudo-science language that seems to cede power to "experts" but really is just rationalization.

      The power of trans is in the narratives of transpeople, especially when we put them together and reveal the commonalities and connections, or at least that is what I believe.

    2. Callan I like how you are framing your language and you are speaking in terms of feelings which is so important and relevant. I wanted to wade into the whatever science existed to be able to say I had looked in every cranny. Having satisfied that need and finding nothing conclusive I now can concentrate on being happy with who I am which is far more relevant and useful to my every day experience

  3. From this post; There is a lot of misinformation out there but ultimately its up to you to define yourself and what makes you happy.

    I no longer "listen" or "subscribe" to labels because they are merely labels. I'm just happy to be me!

    Thank you for all you do for us.

  4. happy to contribute in any way I can Billie!


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