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From where we've come....

When Magnus Hirschfeld was treating his first patients, he started noticing the same thing that Harry Benjamin eventually saw years later; namely that these gender variant people were sometimes blurring a line between what he was then coining as transvestism and the later identified transsexualism.

Today we understand gender dysphoria to be a kind of continuum and don’t make the clear cut distinctions because we can’t. Part of the reason the hard line existed was because advocates like Virginia Prince who insisted that crossdressing was a heterosexual practice of men who had no intention of transitioning. Ironically, she pursued full time living later in life as did some other members of her entourage. Prince also liked to think that all crossdressers were heterosexual but clearly some were homosexual, bisexual or asexual and some were clearly transsexual.

Over the last third of the twentieth century, we began to develop a better understanding of how gender identity and sexual orientation varies in individuals and what resulted was less than a uniform portrait. This is how today’s concept of the transgender spectrum came about and why we don’t place people into categories. We just don’t know what they will end up doing.

For example, the current version of the DSM (which I referenced a few posts ago) now states that only when cross-dressing occurs for erotic purposes over a period of at least six months and it causes significant distress or impairment, is the behavior considered a mental disorder and the term "transvestic fetishism" is applied. This is a change that slowly took place as an understanding was developed which removed the assumed connection between abnormal sexual practice and gender variance. In other words, we began to separate gender identity from sexual identity.

This process took longer than the removal of homosexuality as a mental illness but eventually we got there.

The challenge now will be to have a public policy that defends the rights of people who exhibit gender variance and allows them to be who they are provided they don’t break the same laws that apply to the cis-gendered. However there are still people who see this as a lifestyle choice rather than as an inherent difference which is hard wired in an individual. Until that misconception is put to rest, there will still be pockets of resistance among the population at large.

Mike Huckabee was only one example of the kind of inconsiderate comments that can come from the mouth of the uneducated, misinformed or the ideologically driven. The problem is that he panders to a base that agrees with him and votes along those lines. For some people being gay or transgender is tantamount to being an abomination. Even if these people may not represent a majority but they are sizeable nonetheless and among this group there are more extreme fringes who might attack or murder young transgender women.

We can at least take solace in the fact that there’s never been a better time in history to be transgender.


  1. I think that everyone's sexuality and gender is individual to that person. Growing up we heard phrases like "Whatever floats your boat", "Whatever turns you on", etc. While there are some things that a majority understand as pleasing their taste or proclivities there will always be issues where one person may not be able to grasp the joys and pleasures of another. You may like meat and potatoes...I may not like peas and peppers. There is little accounting for taste and it is hard to explain one's taste to others. That is an essential issue that folks in the gender community have in relating their situations and proclivities to civilians. It almost becomes a issue of "if you have to explain it to can't." How were you able to explain your gender issues to your ex. It was not made easy by your own inabilty to fully understand them at the time. That these issues evolve and mutate also makes explanation difficult.

    We almost have to first come to some understanding about ourselves and then over time explain our issues to others.

    Can you understand why an ordained minister who never had gender issues himself and may not be one of the 5-8% of people who have known a "T" person may not grasp our issues. The Huckabee commets were from many months ago and they were run out by the media as if these were recent comments about Jenner. Those on the left then extrapolate the misplaced statements into hatred on abominations leading to unstable fringe types and murder. You make it seem like religious people want others murdered. It is a typical Alinsky tactic to demonize others.

    I am not a fan of Huckabee but it seems a very un-Christian stretch to start a paragraph with an inaccurate attribution and then end it with potential murder.


  2. I am not accusing Huckabee of being a murderer Pat. Far from it. And yes I can understand why some people wouldn't relate to a T person but the best that person can do when facing an issue they do not comorehend is defintely not to haste to judgement and offer an opinion. He was chosen as an example and yes by now you have gathered that my politics do not lean right.

    Live and let live is more a trite saying than a reality in this world and it might be nice to see people who suscribe to religious principles to not cast the fitst stone. When you are a public figure you must weigh your words very carefully and he clearly did not.

    While many people may have brushed off his comments in the liberal media others would find them to be spot on.

  3. This is not a "whatever floats your boat" issue for people who are visibly transgender and living with the scrutiny that it entails....

  4. Case in point.....

  5. We live in a society where people are allowed to denigrate us because of their own lack of education and beliefs in the unproven. Transsexualism is as real as any other medical condition such as cancer but the media still allows these idiots a forum as though they have something worth hearing! They are the cause of the suffering and should be dealt with as such.

    joanna's link above and especially the large section hidden under "more" is really well worth a read.


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