Skip to main content

Benjamin's legacy

As a teen I combed the library and found books on the subject of transvestism and transsexualism that were well written and some that weren't. Some were seedy exposes on transvestism but it wasn't until I found Harry Benjamin's book that I realized I had found a profound investigation of the subject matter. However I was not able to understand or appreciate it as much as I do now because I was mired in my own self denial.

What made his work stand out was not only the sheer number of patients he saw but that he was able to treat an entire slice of the transgender spectrum instead of just people lined up for transitions at a clinic. Many of his patients did not seek his aid as a way to access surgery but were instead looking for cures so that they could be made normal. This is what I would have asked Benjamin to do for me: cure me. Of course there is no such thing unless one fully transitions and that is not an option that everyone should exercise.

A couple of years ago I wrote about Benjamin's first 10 patients. One of them named Doris ended up being an enormous source of information for Benjamin in that she was deeply dysphoric and yet resisted transition until she was absolutely forced to and even then did not opt for surgery. Doris corresponded with Benjamin over many years and saw her condition as an abnormality to be managed. Of course not everyone agrees with this viewpoint.

In reading some of her writing I found a highly intelligent individual who struggled all of her life to find self understanding and I greatly comiserated with her quest for it has essentially been my own. I now have perfect peace and yet the inquisitiveness does not dissipate. This topic is like trying to hold water in your hands and not have it run past your fingers; it is that elusive.

But what made Benjamin's work so special is that he refrained from jumping to unproveable assertions and stuck to facts which is the mark of a smart researcher. He wrote his observations with manners that now seem lost to a bygone era and treated his patients with dignity by giving them the benefit of the doubt until he had conclusive proof to state otherwise. He did his utmost to help them while still being a scientist in the best sense of the term.

There are some highly intelligent people who are transgender and transsexual and none to my knowledge suffer from mental illness. If anything they have suffered and tolerated dysphoria to a degree many people would find unbearable. We don't need to fix them we need to fix society which is something Benjamin repeated several times in his landmark book.

We should not be fighting amongst ourselves but instead focus on letting all people live with a degree of dignity and respect that all humans deserve regardless of their gender identification.

This is a basic requirement that this brilliant endocrinologist understood way back in 1966 and undoubtedly even before.



Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

looking past cross gender arousal

Jack’s latest Crossdreamers post got me thinking about cross gender arousal and how it could be avoided; also whether it even matters. This with particular focus on the inability to relate of someone on the outside looking in.

You see, sexuality is a very complicated thing to begin with and when you then add gender identity ambiguity it becomes a recipe to really confuse someone.

So imagine that you are a little boy who identifies as a girl but then along comes puberty and short circuits everything by having the sex you identify with also be the sex you are attracted to. For in essence this is what happens to all all male to female gender dysphoric trans persons who are attracted to women.

So I ask myself: can I imagine a scenario where this inherent contradiction would not produce sexual confusion? The answer is that I cannot.

I am in the unique position, like many of you, to have experienced an early identification with the feminine become sexualized later on. This brought confusion…

understanding the erotic component

I have written about crossed wires before in two separate posts. The idea is that one cannot pass through puberty and the development of sexual feelings for females and not have your pre-existing gender dysphoria be impacted through your psychosexual development. The hormone responsible for your libido is testosterone which is present in much stronger concentration in males and is why gynephilics are most likely to experience erotic overtones as the conflict between romantic external feelings and their pull towards the feminine become permanently intertwined.

Because I came from a deeply religious family where sex was not discussed much at all, I grew up with little access to information and was very much ignorant of matters relating to the subject. With no firsthand experience in intercourse until I married I was then faced with the reality that my ability to perform sexually had been deeply impacted by my dysphoric feelings. This began years of turmoil and self-deprecating thoughts …

a blending

An interesting thing is happening to me: as I have fully embraced being transgender my male and female anima are becoming blended. The female side is no longer an unwelcome appendage which, as a result, has allowed me to craft a more genuine and happier male image.

I dress when I want to and sometimes I cut outings shorter than before. I am my own master in this regard and feel in control.

Don't get me wrong in that the dysphoria is not going away and is sometimes like a wild stallion that threatens to jump the fence but I have learnt to understand it’s demands after all these years hence a transition for me is definitely not in the cards. At this point I am not even foreseeing a social one.

The two sides are no longer in conflict and they are now intertwined to create a fusion that is unique to me. That answer finally came when I reached a full level of self assurance about who I am and learned to embrace that I am trans and yes, that includes my dysphoria's erotic undertones…