From issue #6 of FI News:
Recently, a new term has arisen to classify a type of crossdresser who until recently has been lumped into the general category of transvestite or even transexual. The term is transgenderist, and it came into popular usage only quite recently.
What, then, is a transgenderist? For a fuller understanding of the subject, it is easiest to begin by pointing out the differences between the transgenderist, the transvestite and the transexual. Hopefully, by explaining what the transgenderist isn’t, a clearer understanding of the transgenderist will result.
The main difference between the TG (transgenderist) and the classical TV is that whereas the transvestite is attracted mainly to women’s clothing, the transgenderist goes beyond this. Usually, a TV will be content in simply donning women’s clothing -‘ he may make no pains to perfect the impersonation — in fact, he may not even go into the use of wigs, cosmetics, or jewelry to complete his transformation to a female. For him, the chief aim is merely to wear the female clothing.
Thus, the classical transvestite may dress in women’s clothing, but he may not shave his legs, chest, or do any of the finer things that would complete his impersonation. His attention may be drawn only to women’s underclothes, in which case, he may not even own a dress or one stitch of female outerwear. Instead, he will wear the lingerie in the privacy of his home, or on the streets under his normal male attire. He has no desire to pass completely as a female in public.
Of course, not al! transvestites are like this. Others may dress all the way, utilizing all the makeup and accessories that are necessary to build the illusion. They may dress only in the privacy of their own home, or they may go to TV gatherings, which are public exposure on a limited basis.
However, even in public, the transvestite usually makes no great effort to act like a female. He may talk in a normal male voice and act in a rather masculine manner, even though he is crossdressed. There is no second personality; although he may adopt a feminine name for purposes of crossdressing, he is always aware that he is a male.
Of course, such behavior would not be readily accepted in public and until the advent of TV parties and meetings, such an individual had to confine his activity to the privacy of his own home. At times, this depressed such a person, but very seldom would such a Person risk public exposure anyway.
The transgenderist, on the other hand, is concerned with achieving as compete an impersonation of the female as possible. Wearing female clothing is still the main focus, but the person generally desires to go beyond this point.
Therefore, the transgenderist will spend hours on dressing, applying makeup, combing wigs, and making sure that every aspect of the impersonation is complete. Often, the TG will adopt very feminine mannerisms when dressed; walking, talking, and carrying himself like a bona-fide female. Whereas the transvestite may have a feminine name for his other self, the transgenderist may regard this aspect of his personality as an entirely different person, almost to the point of complete schizophrenia, in the classical sense. Not only will his feminine self have “her” own clothes, she will have another set of values, friends, experiences and mannerisms.
The transgenderist makes every effort to be passable in public and, because of the many laborious hours spent on achieving this goal, many do pass quite successfully. Some may go so far as to live as women completely, almost like a pre-operative transexual.
However, in most cases, the TG maintains two separate identities and personalities and, as the say ing goes, “never the twain shall meet.” Many such people maintain, however, that their happiest moments are spent when they are playing the female role, much as the transvestite will admit that he is most happy when crossdressed.
Harry Benjamin, in his pioneer book, THE TRANSEXUAL PHENOMENON, touched on the subject of transgenderism without giving it a name. He referred to it as a non operative transexual condition, and went on to describe such a person. He concluded that such people strongly identified as females, had strong feminine components in their personalities, but did not particularly want the surgical procedure that would make the physical transformation to female.
Occasional, the transgenderist will commence hormone therapy to accentuate his femininity and develop a more feminine body, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
He more often may use electrolysis to remove the beard when he is able to afford doing so, since the absence of a beard is not hindering in the male role, unlike the presence of feminine breasts.
Basically, the TG differs from the transexual in that he does not desire a sex change, where this is the entire focus of a transexual’s life. At times, a TG may waver, not knowing whether to take such a step, but more often than not, the male component of his personality will override such desires. Whereas living as a woman part of the time is all right, living as a full-time woman would be out of the question to the TGist.
It seems clear that the transgenderist straddles the already unclear line between the transvestite and the transexual. He shows characteristics of both, but yet manifests differences which set him apart from either group. Clear lines of demarcation simply do not exist when dealing with the human being.
It may be interesting to explore the motivations of crossdressing to gain an insight into TGism. First of all, as has already been mentioned, the motivation for the classical transvestite to dress is his erotic attachment to female clothing. He may be attached to just one item of clothing, such as in the case of the fetishist, or he may be attracted to most female clothing, including the outer clothes. Either way, his thrill usually comes from the feeling of the feminine clothing as well as its appearance.
The same is true with the transgenderist to a certain degree. He does enjoy the feeling and look of female clothing, but in going beyond this, his motivation for doing so is shown to be different. Instead of dressing for the mere sake of wearing female clothes, the transgenderist seeks to emulate the TOTAL female.
While dressed, the TG does not regard himself as a male in female clothing. He IS a female, even though this may be only while the clothes are being worn. At other times, he is a male, as “normal” and as “typical” as any other male.
Psychologists believe that such behavior may stem from the fact that the TG has a close identification with the female. The transvestite identifies himself as a male and the TS identifies himself as a female. The TG straddles this line, accepting both the feminine as well as the masculine identity at different times.
Much of the joy in crossdressing for the transgenderist comes from a sense of relaxation in the feminine role as well as a good feeling about the clothing. Most TGs admit that they need this to keep their mental balance.
Sexually, the transgenderist may be any of a wide spectrum of things: homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual. There seems to be a greater trend toward homosexuality in the TG than in the TV, but this is by no means an empirical statement. This cannot be verified by hard statistics at this time — it is merely a conclusion drawn by the author from personal experiences.
However, even this homosexuality is confined to periods when the TG is living in the female role. When back in the male mode, this would not appeal to the TG. Some may look on this as an attempt to reconcile one’s homosexual behavior by donning female clothes, thereby making it all right — or acceptable as a heterosexual relationship.
Most TGs would deny this, stating that their de sires for men when dressed are normal for any woman. Putting the hard biological facts aside, the TG when dressed as a woman is a female for all intents and purposes. Naturally, such sexual activity usually puts the TG in a passive (traditionally feminine) role, as a receptor in anal or oral intercourse. Here again, there are many exceptions.
However, some TGs are exclusively heterosexual, no matter what role they may be playing; that is, they are attracted to women as sexual partners all the time. When they are dressed as men, they see their relationship with women as a heterosexual one. In fact, the TG may be very aggressive and domineering in such a relationship.
When crossdressed, however, such a sexual liaison becomes a “lesbian” affair, even though heterosexual intercourse may still be employed. In such sexual relations, the TG tends to be more gentle and passive, fulfilling his idea of what the feminine role is in a lesbian relationship.
Therefore, there is no distinct sexual behavior that might set the TG apart from the other types of crossdresser. The difference lies mainly in the motivation of the person to crossdress and his behavior while doing so. Research in the early childhood backgrounds of transgenderists may shed some light on the subject, but the category is far too new for any appreciable exploration of the subject.
Perhaps researchers will find transgenderists to have a very strong early identification with the mother figure, but while growing, they acquire an equally strong identification with the male role without actually shifting the earlier identification. In other words, the TG may identify with both males and females equally. The cross-dressing then becomes of secondary importance, the real emphasis being on becoming as much of a female as possible.
It is interesting to note how strongly the TG will try to adhere to stereotypic sex roles. This is similar to the transexual, who emulates the stereotypic woman, as well as the transvestite, who tries to “be as much of a man as possible” to compensate for his liking of women’s cloth. ing. In the TG’s case, the identification is strongly female when he is dressed as a woman, and equally as strong in the male direction when he is dressed as a man.
As in the previous case, these are only sweeping generalizations and there is no research to deny or confirm any of this. Very little information is available about this phaiomenon, al. thought it has existed as long as transvestism or transexualism.
A greater understanding of transgenderism will not only foster a better understanding of TGs themselves, but will shed more light on TV and TSism as well. It might make it easier to predict ahead of time those individuals who would not benefit from sex change surgery and identify other people who wonder why they cannot gain satisfaction from merely putting on a pair of panties.
Dale can recall dressing as a girl as long as she can remember, although he never understood why. As a male, he had made a very successful adjustment. He played sports in high school and did rather well, although he didn’t make any of the varsity teams at college. He was a slightly better than average student and graduated with a degree in engineering.
For hours, “Mary Ann” would practice walking, posturing and talking in front of his mirror, trying to be as womanly as possible. His parents must have been aware of his activities because “they found my secret hiding place for the clothes a couple of times and threw all of the stuff out. I’d get some more and hide it somewhere else … but they never mentioned anything to me……
When Dale graduated from college, he settled into an apartment and began to dress even more often, since there were no deterrents. Before long, he was able to go out dressed, to movies, shopping, restaurants. His impersonation was so good that no one seemed to suspect his true identity and this delighted him no end. “It felt so good to go out and be accepted by everyone as a girl — I was nervous at first, but the more I did it, the better I got — there’s no place I wouldn’t go dressed now — my confidence in my femme self is immense.”
Mary Ann, as Dale, gave no indication of his feminine alter-ego. He made a point of being rugged and took delight in hunting, fishing and bowling. It was only in his outings as a female that he acted the least bit feminine.
After several brief “they weren’t really that good” love affairs, Dale met a girl who became very special to him. This was the first time that he ever admitted his desires to another person.
“She was really shook-up about it. All the months we were dating, I never gave any indication that I liked to be a woman at times. Now all of a sudden, I tell her all about it, and even showed her my wardrobe.”
All this time, he would episodically dress as a woman, having acquired a small wardrobe first from mail order, and then stores, when he got older and braver. He usually got quite a charge out of these dressing sessions, a thrill that he could best describe as sexual. He became aroused when he donned the clothing, but the thrill not only seemed to come from this, it came from acting like a woman.
“She couldn’t believe it, but she was willing to try — she asked me to dress for her, and believe it or not, that really scared me. I did my best, and she was genuinely impressed when she saw me. I don’t know what she expected, but she said that, if she hadn’t known me, she would never guess that I was really a man.”
“The compliment made me feel good,but the relationship was still on shaky ground. I knew that if things were ever going to work out for us, she had to be able to accept my feminine self. I must have told her that about a hundred times.”
“Eventually, things did work out — I think it was because I gave her time to come to know and accept me as a woman as well as a man. It took a lot of work, and there are still some bad times,but I think we’ll make it.”
Dale went on to confide that previous to his marriage he had tried sex with a man,but only when he was Mary Ann. He explained that these liaisons were not permanent, and that most gay men didn’t want “queens,” they wanted other masculine men. However. Dale admitted that as Mary Ann, he did enjoy playing the female role in bed with a man.
He also said that on many occasions, he goes out with his wife as Mary Ann. Also, he occasionally carries the role to bed with him, even to the point of making love to his wife while he is dressed as a woman. He admitted that when he is dressed, his lovemaking technique is a lot different — slower, more gentle, with an emphasis on oral sex. He mentioned that his wife doesn’t seem to mind, and that she comes to orgasm in either case.
Dale-Mary Ann seems to be a very clear cut case of transgenderism, if there indeed is such a thing. He toyed with the idea of going the TS route when he first came out of college, but admitted that he simply couldn’t cope with being a woman 24 hours a day.
He is perfectly happy playing his dual role, and is involved in an equally satisfying relationship — what more could a boy or girl want?