Language matters

I am trying to comprehend why many in the male to female gender variant community continue to employ the term crossdresser when female to male persons who do the same thing are not so labeled. If women aren't "crossdressing" when they wear traditionally male clothing, why is a male bodied person doing so when wearing a skirt? I tend to personally see this term as slightly anachronistic and dismissive rather than helpful since there are a series of societal connotations surrounding it which aren't generally positive or helpful.

If we are going to move towards a deeper level of understanding and tolerance of all types of behaviour (no matter the percentage of the population which engages in it), we need to update the lexicon as we have done in many other areas of social science. Hence if we are going to less stigmatize a behaviour which has always existed and which occurs with much more frequency than transsexualism, a name change might be in order. Perhaps as a starting point move its use to exclusively a verb rather than a noun?

But as a noun, let's maybe try human being on for size.

Comments

  1. Right on, Sister! Never made sense to me.

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  2. I haven't been called "Lexi-Connie" for nothing, but I gave up a long time ago insisting that we be more precise in our terminology. I still hold that "transgender" is an adjective, but I know that its use as a noun has just become too popular. I've even heard the word used as a verb, as in: When did you start to transgender? (Even Oprah asked that once). I hate the term, "transgenderism" - WTF is that?

    I think that one of the reasons for the changing of terminology lies in the fact that words, sometimes, become derogatory, as they are used by others in hateful ways. "Transvestite" was actually a more precise word for cross-dresser, but it has carried a negative connotation for quite some time. After all, anyone can cross-dress, but that doesn't mean that they're necessarily a cross-dresser.

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  3. Gender variant is probably the best term if one is going to use any but yes after a while all terminology can take on negative connotations and putting so much emphasis on the aspect of dressing tends to negate that there is more to it for many although perhaps not all since some who identify that way are more advanced on the spectrum than they might even admit to themselves. In my view it's a way to pigeon hole and simplify an issue in a way that doesn't help anyone.

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  4. Good point - I suggested crossdressing be a verb several years ago as well. I never use the noun crossdresser any longer and like yourself, refer to it as an action.

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    1. I don't even use it as a verb honestly. One is just dressing as one pleases which can be reflective of a trans identity 🙂

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  5. This is because being a man, and expressing yourself as a man, is seen as a good thing, while being feminine and female is seen as being weak and inferior. So a woman dressing up as a man is doing something reasonable and good, while a man dressing up as a woman is humiliating himself. This is the end effect of misogyny, plain and simple.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed it is Jack but the male to female gender variant community doesn't help itself by adopting this terminology

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