My place to post research about trans culture & history

1965: Transgenderism = Transsexualism June 2, 2012

From Sexual Hygiene and Pathology, 1965 by John F. Oliven, MD:

Page 514

From the section, “Primary Transvestism,” which is part of chapter 20, Sexual Deviations:

Transsexualism. Where the compulsive urge reaches beyond female vestments, and becomes an urge for gender (“sex”) change, transvestism becomes “transsexualism.” The term is misleading; actually, “transgenderism” is what is meant, because sexuality is not a major factor in primary transvestism. Psychologically, the transsexual often differs from the simple cross-dresser; he is conscious at all times of a strong desire to be a woman, and the urge can be truly consuming. He is repelled by his own masculinity and may loathe everything that reminds him of it – his genitalia, his voice, his clothes, his work or his name. Many believe that they are women who by some incredible error were given the bodies of men; they are firmly convinced that they are the “victims of a cruel fate,” a “joke of nature.” Such patient will resits strenuously any organic or psychiatric attempt to restore his masculine identity, but he will try anything that holds out the faintest hope of producing an appearance in conformity with his “real self.” He may canvas physicians, hospitals or clinics about “conversion” operations; surgeons known to have performed “sex-changing” surgery have found their mail swelled with requests for help from many parts of the world, many, of course, by cross-dressing passive homosexuals, but a fair percentage by desperately pleading primary transvestites who may also employ pseudoscientific reasoning, or even threats of suicide. These transvestites have turned to veterinarians and to abortionists with their requests for castration and a few, to “force the surgeon’s hand,” have crudely amputated all or part of their scrotum. However, others have mutilated themselves in an extreme near-psychotic panic state.


  • Remember that this book was published BEFORE Harry Benjamin published his 1966 Transsexual Phenomena.
  • Note that this author exhibits virtually the same sentiment about the use of a trans+gender lexical compound over the trans+sex lexical compounded that Kim Elizabeth Stuart does in her 1983 book about transsexualism: “The word transsexual is somewhat misleading, because the word sexual is incorporated into the term. Perhaps the word “transgender‘ would have been a more suitable term, but I say that in hindsight. (The Uninvited Dilemma , p 25). Note also that this sentiment seems to be seems to be echoed by Christine Jorgensen in 1979, 1985 and 1982.
  • It is very important to note that this is a prior edition of THIS 1974 (3rd edition) book that expands the usage of transgender. This, the 2nd edition, seems to be where “transgender” was first used in Oliven’s books as the term does not appear in the 1955 1st edition. These 3 editions (1955, 1965 and 1974) offer a rare lexical timeline.
  • Thanks to Dr. Rawson for his assistance. He discovered the clue which led me to locating this book. Without his help, this usage may have gone undiscovered!


  1. […] Here’s the trans+gender lexical compound being used in 1965 to describe transsexuals. […]

  2. […] was used as early as 1965 to describe the transsexual experience. Within 4 years of “transsexual” entering pop […]

  3. […] was being used to describe transsexualism. Yup, “transgender” was being used to describe transsexuals in 1965 – that’s BEFORE Benjamin wrote the Transsexual Phenomenon. In 1965, transsexualism was […]

  4. […] is represented throughout the article, the usage context seems to be somewhat in line with the 1965 usage in which Primary Transvestites included transsexuals and Secondary Transvestites included those […]

  5. […] Transgenderism = Transsexual (8/31/12: link […]

  6. […] earliest know use of “transgender” was in 1965 – years before Prince ever thought of using the word. In 1965, “transgender” […]

  7. […] known appearance of the trans+gender lexical compound can be found in the second edition of Sexual Hygiene and Pathology by psychiatrist John F. Oliven, published in 1965: “Where the compulsive urge reaches beyond female vestments, and becomes an urge for gender […]

  8. […] Transgender, came into common usage during the 1970s. While, the earliest known use was in 1965 to refer to transsexuals[1] who wanted genital reconstructive surgery, the term was used as an […]

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