This week the infamous wxhluyp informed me that crossdreaming was the ‘politically motivated reduction of a fetish to transexualism.’ Wow… I have to say I’m impressed… I thought it was just another word for cross gender arousal.
Anyway, it did get me thinking about the nature of crossdreaming, and I decided that rather than being something which involved the avoidance of reality… crossdreaming is often about accepting it. Many visitors who interact with the crossdreamer forum (please correct me, Jack, if I’m wrong) seem to be individuals with some level of gender dysphoria, but who choose to live as their assigned gender. In some cases, this takes just as much strength as it takes the transsexual to opt for transition.
The strength comes in facing up to the harsh realities of biology. The strength comes in sacrificing what you want for your children. The strength comes in denying a powerful drive within and understanding that you can’t always get what you want. The strength is accepting the fact that crossing gender can only ever be, for you,… a dream.
However, it’s not just a question of strength… but one of prudence. It is my considered opinion that the best treatment for mild gender dysphoria (age 30 upwards) in many cases is not transition and surgery… but acceptance and fusion (read more here if you are interested) and this is why I’ve been following the Caitlyn Jenner story with some degree of scepticism. Caitlyn Jenner is not a good role model for that species of crossdreamer who suffers from gender dysphoria but chooses not to ‘transition.’
Now I will explain why…
Every trans crossdreamer asks themselves at some point or another if they should transition. For some, it is really a frivolous question… because they know deep down they never will, but for others it is one of the biggest questions of their lives, and not to be taken lightly. When a crossdreamer with gender dysphoria decides not to transition it is usually the result of a long process of evaluation in which he carefully weighs up the pros and cons and the viability of the whole thing. When he does this it is vital he has a clear, realistic grasp of the facts and the likely outcome of such a transition. And that’s where Caitlyn Jenner could really start fucking with your ‘realistic’ grasp of the ‘facts’ and make you think “if she can do it at 65 I can do it at 45.”
Unfortunately, comparing your position with Jenners is completely erroneous. For the following reasons…
CJ has unlimited resources and access to the best plastic surgeons in the world. She has had multiple – and I mean MULTIPLE – surgeries and will continue to have more and more to make herself look feminine. You on the other hand have limited resources.
Every time you see CJ she has had, as well as multiple surgeries, profesional make up artists and hair stylists work on her. You will have to rely on yourself; no offence, sugar, but I’m guessing you might be closer to amateur than profesional.
CJ – as someone who was famous – knew when deciding to transition or not – that she would become even more famous and courted by the media. You, on the other hand are not famous at all… you are the youtube channel with 25 views and the only contact you’ll have with Vanity Fair is eye contact on the magazine shelf of the bookstore.
CJ knew, therefore, that as a professional celebrity her career was actually going to be massively boosted by transition. Yours will probably take a dive.
CJ knew, given the high profile of her family, that none of them could afford to criticise or disapprove of her transition because it would be politically incorrect and perceived as transphobic. No Kardashian could be seen as anti LGBT. You have no idea who will accept you or not or how it will affect your family.
CJ was further inspired to transition because she knew – as a famous person – she would be doing something valuable for the LGBT community. The only thing you’ll be doing for the LGBT community is adding to it numbers.
To conclude, when you think about yourself and transition don’t even think for one millisecond about Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn Jenner is from that most bizzarre, surreal place called ‘Famous land.’ You are from the real world and you’ve got to keep your shit real, little brother!
I am glad you discuss the needs of non-transitioning crossdressers and crossdreamers, and I think your realistic approach to what transitioning might mean is something we need more of.
We all have a personal history, it is real, and there is no way we can just skip our years living as men and pretend they never happened.
This is why I also appreciate the way you present alternative ways of coping for those who do not transition in your book. I strongly recommend it to MTF crossdreamers who have been around for a while.
You are also right when you argue that Caitlyn Jenner cannot be a model for how crossdressers and crossdreamers transition, if they choose to do so.
That being said, I think you are a bit too pessimistic as regards the possibilities for late transitioniners living good lives as women. Much of the feedback I get is that even late transitioners feel that doing so was worth it, even if they do not pass perfectly.
Many of them also find the money needed, even if they are not millionaires. In some countries you may even get the state to pay the expenses, at least if you get past the gatekeepers.
And some of them do pass. Years on testosterone have left their mark on their bodies, but older non-transgender women do not look like fashion models either (unless they belong to “Famous Land”). The main challenge facing late transitioners is often how friends and colleagues treat them, and these are also getting increasingly tolerant, at lelast in some parts of the world.
So given the right support, transitioning may actually be feasible.
Younger MTF crossdreamers find it even easier to adapt to a life as a woman, as younger male bodied people in general look more feminine than the older ones.
If your dysphoria is at the most intense end of the spectrum, transitioning may make sense even if you do not pass. Living with dysphoria can be much, much worse than handling whatever scorn you might face as a transgender woman.
By the way, have you read the book by Alex Drummond? http://amzn.to/1OSVbA3 My wife put up a post on her over here: http://bit.ly/1McAr90
Alex admits openly that she cannot pass as a non-transgender woman. Instead she chooses to express her feminity in a way that makes sense to her. Since I am not a crossdresser, I find that this is not an option for me, but for crossdressers she does at least present an alternative.
Hers is also a journey that requires much courage, and it is therefore not for everyone: But as you point: Staying as you are also requires strength and perseverance.
(I am not making this any easier, am I….?)
No haha, you’re not making this any easier on me. That’s okay though because I do like hearing all sides of the story. I 100 percent agree that if a person truly feels transition is a NEED, even if just to be released from the “shameful” sexual urge of this “illness”, than so be it, that’s probably the best choice they could’ve made.
I also think that doctors are much too lenient in suggesting that the person transition into a whole new life. I think that people should thoroughly be evaluated, every method of therapy tried, hell, maybe even some kind of “coping” therapy to not associate those sexual thoughts with trauma and Anxiety(like I do).
Personally, my mind allows me to visualize what would happen if I were to change my body so drastically. I realize that whether I like it or not i’d be fighting for acceptance on a daily basis, the very acceptance that SOME transitioners feel so entitled to. You said it in your article. Realistically, someone like me couldn’t make an impact on the public opinion of sex changes. It’d be almost like I was somebody’s test Monkey…. like the first generation MP3 players, the ipod shuffle, etc.
As for myself though. I can’t deny the fact that I have never really felt uncomfortable in my own skin, never felt as though I wanted to be called anything other than sir, mister, etc. I actually hate being called those names for a whole different reason entirely though because it seems like the person calling me that is trying to make themselves seem better than me(that’s another story entirely). So yeah, I CAN see how after a long period of sexualizing crossdressing can make you believe you were supposed to be a woman all along, even after living your whole life as a man and not questioning your sexual stimulation until later in life, like me in my 20s.
My main motivation really though is to try to help people like myself come to terms with who they are. First I must TRY to do this myself, my main target being transgender people… I love to see people like myself talk about their issues and maybe try to find some better, not known ways of coping with themselves… this method would be unique from person to person… for me, I tell myself that I’m just a really kinky, weird dude, it helps me to sift through all of the “confusion” my brain is going through and just relax…
If there’s anything that being a transgender person embodies, it’s that not everyone is the same. Not everyone comes from the same background, has the same morals, same mindset, etc. The mind is just this insane thing and society is an ignorant thing…. these two just don’t mix together. I really hope that more and more cases of transgenderism are documented in the future so we can REALLY start to see some trends and find some sort of unique therapeutic method of putting people’s minds at ease.
As I see changing your gender now, it’s like playing the lottery. If you care about being attractive, you probably won’t be. You will likely lose the ability to reproduce, which is a traumatic realization in itself, you will have to face MANY stereotypes, on the rare occasion, violence. Regret is a possibility, although most people don’t SAY that they feel any(I suspect in around 20 years we’ll be hearing from SOME of those people, sure, some are happy, great for them). Unless you have a VERY supportive family, you might not be able to have the same relationship with them ever again, you risk chances of being alone, humans are social creatures, we WANT to feel loved, we WANT to feel needed. Basically, in most areas of the United states, you’re going to be treated as a second class citizen that will likely need the “support” of other transgenders to make it through a dark time. Being married already is a whole nother demon, can’t even imagine. If the need to change your appearance to fit your brain(or whatever they say now) trumps all of this, you’re fine go for it. Lastly, you might not even address any of the other myriad of mental issues you had in the first place, this is perhaps the scariest part of everything.
Personally, I have OCD, depersonlization, depression, likely narcissistic in some ways… on top of everything, shame turns me on, which in turn brings more self doubt and shameful thoughts about my identity. I’ve been through walking around as my “female” self in my head SO many times, it just doesn’t feel right. Whether my mind is trying to defend me or what have you, is another story. Like my view on plastic surgery, it just doesn’t seem genuine to me. I’m a short guy too and for a long time contemplated getting surgery to make myself taller and possibly get facial hair surgery to fill in my bald patches…. it just wouldn’t feel real to me, as if I’d be acting out some elaborate fantasy.
As we all know though, again, the mind is an incredibly powerful tool. If you truly feel as though you’re a woman after hormones/surgery, do it. One of my biggest fears in life is making an irreversible change, it always has been… but then I’ve also feared that I would accidentally kill myself or hurt someoneone I love, become a pedophile, forget how to breathe, lose my mind, never lose consciousness to go to sleep and much more…. call me crazy I guess but all of these themes seem to have to deal with life ending themes… end point- death. Why I’ve fixated on these things for almost all hours a day in the past is anyone’s guess… but all I know is that I get off to shame, cool, there are likely guys like this out there that don’t put any thought at all into this, whatever you want to define it as.
I suspect the shame comes from a high sense of self awareness, probably undiagnosed adult Asperger syndrome in some cases and like that guy with the tumblr blog said, xx(whatever it is) PROBABLY something in your childhood caused you trauma, the wiring went “wrong” somewhere and now you think of women’s clothing, belittling, shame= sexual. Clearly, MOST transgenders I see that post online at least do suffer from mental issues, while being transgender isn’t an issue in itself, I just don’t think here is enough medical support out there to help people like myself out right now. I would say that we were born in the wrong time period but then if we were anyone else, we could have had some sort of other “negative” issue.
Anyway, that felt good, sorry for my rambling and probably shitty writing skills, as I don’t really write often… I just observe, a testament to my jumbled up mind. They say knowing is half the battle and the more I see written on the subject, the better I seem to feel, if that makes sense. Again though, I really enjoy reading your point of view on this topic and the tumblr guy as well… it seems as if things are coming together, which is the right direction to go in. Forgive me if I came off as ignorant as well, it’s just fun to try to rationalize things, as you yourself know.
I’m with Joe.
Incredible article Jack. I haven’t gotten to read many of your posts but this really hit home for me. The more I come to an acceptance of who I am and my morals, the easier this whole thing becomes for me. To me, it’s the shame involved in being dressed by attractive women and treated a certain way that arouses me. The more anxious I am about what I am about to do, the more powerful the orgasm. I think my mind associates the thought of “If you’re wearing a dress and heels, you should probably be screwing guys too.”. My fantasies aren’t so much about having the body of a female per say, but of feeling small and fragile, like a female. Breasts and vaginas just don’t do it for me.
While I’m only 21 years old I deeply stand by the fact that I don’t wan to transition and realize the constant fight that will be going inside of my head on a daily basis…. for me specifically the thought of crossdressing in public is only erotic if I’m also surrounded by girls who will re affirm my feminine sexual role. Clearly to me indicating that this is purely sexual and bar chemical castration or bedroom roleplay.. will only ever be a fantasy to me. I hope that information on this subject becomes more available and “treatment” options with conclusive evidence, soon become more known.
My dreams of becoming a father someday(which I’ve always had) will not be compromised by some fantasy that I have of myself. I look at it this way though. For the people that do feel the need to transition, they are doing society a favor and soon maybe it will be okay for a little boy to wear a dress to school. Maybe someday society’s view that every male MUST be emotionless, cold and dominant will be a thing of the past. I sure hope I live to see that day. I firmly believe that the only cure to this is destroying your testosterone… but I’m only 21, so what do I know?
We do not disagree on the basics here, and you make a lot of very valid points in your new comment. Transitioning is not a decision to be taken lightly, and as you know, I have come to the conclusion that, all things considered, transitioning is not the right thing to do for me, either. Although, I must say that I find it hard to explain why in a simple sentence.
What worries me about this fully understandable pragmatic approach to transitioning is that we may reinforce the very attitudes that forced us into the closet in the first place. I have many gay friends who made similar pragmatic arguments, and who suffered greatly because of it. It was the gay activists that came out of the closed that managed to change society.
You have linked to representatives of the young generation of gender variant people, who find new ways of transitioning, without living up to the stereotypes. The new consensus seems to be that bottom surgery is no longer obligatory for you to live as your target sex. Alex Drummon explores the possibility of a third way, where you do express your cross-gender self, while not even trying to pass in the traditional sense.
But all these efforts may crash, if we do not see a similar movement towards greater tolerance in the population as a whole (as we have seen as regards gay and lesbians in the democratic parts of the world).
You write: “Maybe someday society’s view that every male MUST be emotionless, cold and dominant will be a thing of the past. I sure hope I live to see that day.”
We are slowly getting there, and as regards the mindset of the modern, open-minded man, many have already arrived at this position (Putin, Tea Party activists and ISIS excluded). In Scandinavia I see much tolerance of the sensitive man, and they do find love as easily as the hyper-masculine brutes. I would say that as life long marriage goes, the sensitive ones are the winners in an egalitarian society.
They need to find other ways of getting their male identity reaffirmed, though. I see a lot of black, off-road, baby-strollers with fat tires these days 😉
As for your fantasy of being the submissive female: I had one sexologist tell me that most people, male or female, are submissive bottoms. Felix has indicated that this may have a deep, natural, basis in our psyche, the end product of evolution.
Others have argued that sissy fantasies of this kind will disappear in an egalitarian society,as the shame attached to it is removed. What is your take on this?
I agree with you…was already on the case… and will be changing my position a little about transition. It is all a personal thing… I realised I am too obsessed with appearance.
For me, this whole discussion seems to be happening in the wrong dimension. But that is no knock against anybody here. I tend to think that most of what gets discussed in the trans world happens in the wrong dimension. In the end, it’s all about people finding their comfort zone, and really nothing else. Too many in the MtF trans world are trying to shoehorn themselves into a cookie cutter version of womanhood. Instead, they need to find who they really are, and just focus on being that person. They shouldn’t worry about how that looks to the rest of the world. This concept has been the guiding force of my transition. The one comment I get over and over again from people who meet me is that I absolutely “own my own space”. That is simply because it is really easy for me to be who I really am.
Of course, you’re absoloutely right… but keeping an eye on what people are saying and thinking is what keeps us from going totally off on a crazy one. So, I get what you’re… saying… fuck what people think… but you need some kind of objective voice to tell you when you’ve lost the plot a little. If you know what I mean.
This is a brilliant perspective and presented in the best possible way. As an advocate for the CD community, I found this to be so refreshing. Check out my site http://www.chicagonow.com/shades-gender