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They're not talking about surgery so much as taking hormones, which, according to this article and others, can be obtained illegally, without a doctor. So there isn't a doctor overseeing the transition, unless you start opting for surgeries. And there are different surgeries - Caitlyn had extensive facial reconstruction - re-arranging bone structure for example - besides plastic surgery.

We hear that a very high percentage of trans people attempt suicide, mostly because they have been bullied or abused. But maybe the suicide is related more to the fact that there was underlying depression, which wasn't treated when the person started transitioning, and which doesn't go away afterwards.

This is why I am concerned with children as young as 3 or 4 who insist that they want to be another gender. It's a pretty huge decision to make before you graduate from kindergarten. (I think Jazz made the decision in preschool.)

I also thought about the depression issue. One can have clinical depression regardless of what is happening in their life. Perhaps there is a greater rate of comorbidity in individuals who have gender dysphoria; however I do not think it has been established that gender dysphoria causes clinical depression. Therefore, a person may transition and be "happier" and less gender dysphoric (?) while still dealing with depression/ depressive symptoms during their lifetime.

Edited by Adiba.
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Also, I reread the article, and they do talk about surgery, not just hormones. I think that it's quite obnoxious for "de-transitioning" people to suggest that transition is not the answer for others, when evidence shows that most who make the change are much happier having done so. Surely, examining the process carefully beforehand is a good idea, as with any major life decision. But trying to take away choices from others, just because your own experience was not well-considered and successful, is not helpful to anyone.

 

I think everyone needs to examine the gender binary and sexist imperatives, and I don't only mean people who identify as trans. But to generalize from ones own experience and use it to dismiss that of others is the same oppressive BS that causes problems and has always caused problems, and it doesn't matter who is doing it, it's always a bad idea.

 

ETA: I so agree about the "freak factor"-- we need to stop fetishizing conformity and start taking more of an interest in variety. As long as there's a motive to normalize, there's going to be someone who winds up getting cast out as a freak, and so we need to make room for everyone in a way that doesn't rely on border patrol and those who are inside and those who are outside the bounds.

Edited by possibilities.
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I also thought about the depression issue. One can have clinical depression regardless of what is happening in their life. Perhaps there is a greater rate of comorbidity in individuals who have gender dysphoria; however I do not think it has been established that gender dysphoria causes clinical depression. Therefore, a person may transition and be "happier" and less gender dysphoric (?) while still dealing with depression/ depressive symptoms during their lifetime.

 

Depression is common among transgender people, and so is OCD.

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gimipizzauoldtroll, these are valid questions.  There is a great variation of experience and feelings.  There is more of an understanding now that the gender binary may be too restrictive for many people's actual experiences.  

 

While gender and sexual orientation are two separate issues, I am going to use changing thoughts about sexual orientation as an example.  In common thought and in the media, for a very long time we have been presented the idea of a man is either straight (only has sexual experiences with women) or gay (only has sexual experiences with men).  There was some acknowledgement of bisexuality.  However, there was sort of a common belief that if a man ever had sex with a man he is gay.  Now there is a better understanding that there are people who are absolutely straight - they only ever have sexual desire for members of the opposite gender (Kinsey 0).  There are also people who are absolutely gay (Kinsey 6).  However, there are many people somewhere in the middle.  That can be as little as someone who is straight but is turned on by homoerotic imagery or someone who is gay that has enjoyed sexual experiences with someone of the opposite gender to people who are sexually interested to people of all genders. 

 

If we think of how this has been presented in the media, we still tend to be shown the extremes more often than those in-between.  We are also still more likely to be shown what is considered stereotypical images of gay people along with a glamorized version of lesbians. 

 

So let's take this back to your question regarding trans persons and gender binary.  There is more and more of an understanding that people do not necessarily clearly fit into two genders.  If we think of gender as a similar continuum (this is not as valid since gender identity is more varied but we'll use it as an explanatory method), there are people who absolutely feel female.  There are people who absolutely feel male.  The gender they were assigned at birth may or may not match who they know themselves to be.  The trans persons that are most visible in common media depictions are those that fit within this structure.  There is more of a celebration of gender-normative appearing trans women.  (Please know that I am in no way criticizing the trans woman who do appear very feminine and often times glamorous.  I absolutely believe that women’s choices with their bodies and the presentations are only their own to make.)  This media presentation may lead to the understanding that trans persons are very tied to the gender binary. 

 

However, each person makes their own decision as to whether or not transitioning is of value to them.  Also, they decide what transitioning means.  That is, will they take hormones?  Will they have surgeries?  If so, what kind?  It is a very personal decision as to what feels right to them.  And it is something that no one else can rightfully decide for them.  I cannot know what you feel inside yourself.  You cannot fully know my experiences.  Sometimes the level or type of transition depends on whether or not the person feels fully male or fully female (sometimes it is limited to resources or life options). 

 

So where does genderqueer fit in?  A genderqueer person typically does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions.  They may consider themselves as neither male nor female, thereby existing as a separate gender, as a combination of male and female or as both male and female.  They may also see themselves as existing somewhere on a presumed continuum between male and female.  There are genderqueer persons who choose to undergo some of the things we think of as transitioning, whether that be hormones or surgery.  There are many who do not use any medical intervention.  The feeling of being genderqueer is a critical part of their identity and, if presented to the outside world, may show in dress.  Had the term genderqueer existed in my youth, I would have identified that way.  However, my outward presentation is cisgender female.

 

Whether or not we can say there are genderqueer trans persons depends on how we define trans.  There are people who were assigned one gender at birth and feel that they are much more another  gender and who undergo some of the medical interventions or who present outwardly more like a different gender.  They may consider themselves as trans as well as genderqueer.  They may consider themselves as genderqueer but, because of medical intervention or personal presentation others may view them as trans.  As with all things having to do with gender, the key thing is to accept the person’s choice of how they want to be considered and treated.

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gimipizzauoldtroll, these are valid questions.  There is a great variation of experience and feelings.  There is more of an understanding now that the gender binary may be too restrictive for many people's actual experiences.  

 

While gender and sexual orientation are two separate issues, I am going to use changing thoughts about sexual orientation as an example.  In common thought and in the media, for a very long time we have been presented the idea of a man is either straight (only has sexual experiences with women) or gay (only has sexual experiences with men).  There was some acknowledgement of bisexuality.  However, there was sort of a common belief that if a man ever had sex with a man he is gay.  Now there is a better understanding that there are people who are absolutely straight - they only ever have sexual desire for members of the opposite gender (Kinsey 0).  There are also people who are absolutely gay (Kinsey 6).  However, there are many people somewhere in the middle.  That can be as little as someone who is straight but is turned on by homoerotic imagery or someone who is gay that has enjoyed sexual experiences with someone of the opposite gender to people who are sexually interested to people of all genders. 

 

If we think of how this has been presented in the media, we still tend to be shown the extremes more often than those in-between.  We are also still more likely to be shown what is considered stereotypical images of gay people along with a glamorized version of lesbians. 

 

So let's take this back to your question regarding trans persons and gender binary.  There is more and more of an understanding that people do not necessarily clearly fit into two genders.  If we think of gender as a similar continuum (this is not as valid since gender identity is more varied but we'll use it as an explanatory method), there are people who absolutely feel female.  There are people who absolutely feel male.  The gender they were assigned at birth may or may not match who they know themselves to be.  The trans persons that are most visible in common media depictions are those that fit within this structure.  There is more of a celebration of gender-normative appearing trans women.  (Please know that I am in no way criticizing the trans woman who do appear very feminine and often times glamorous.  I absolutely believe that women’s choices with their bodies and the presentations are only their own to make.)  This media presentation may lead to the understanding that trans persons are very tied to the gender binary. 

 

However, each person makes their own decision as to whether or not transitioning is of value to them.  Also, they decide what transitioning means.  That is, will they take hormones?  Will they have surgeries?  If so, what kind?  It is a very personal decision as to what feels right to them.  And it is something that no one else can rightfully decide for them.  I cannot know what you feel inside yourself.  You cannot fully know my experiences.  Sometimes the level or type of transition depends on whether or not the person feels fully male or fully female (sometimes it is limited to resources or life options). 

 

So where does genderqueer fit in?  A genderqueer person typically does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions.  They may consider themselves as neither male nor female, thereby existing as a separate gender, as a combination of male and female or as both male and female.  They may also see themselves as existing somewhere on a presumed continuum between male and female.  There are genderqueer persons who choose to undergo some of the things we think of as transitioning, whether that be hormones or surgery.  There are many who do not use any medical intervention.  The feeling of being genderqueer is a critical part of their identity and, if presented to the outside world, may show in dress.  Had the term genderqueer existed in my youth, I would have identified that way.  However, my outward presentation is cisgender female.

 

Whether or not we can say there are genderqueer trans persons depends on how we define trans.  There are people who were assigned one gender at birth and feel that they are much more another  gender and who undergo some of the medical interventions or who present outwardly more like a different gender.  They may consider themselves as trans as well as genderqueer.  They may consider themselves as genderqueer but, because of medical intervention or personal presentation others may view them as trans.  As with all things having to do with gender, the key thing is to accept the person’s choice of how they want to be considered and treated.

 

re: "genderqueer," "trans," and other terminology.

 

Who decides which words are appropriate and which are offensive?   And who appointed them to do so?   I personally find "trans" to be an insulting prefix and I bristle every time I read or hear it.  

 

I explained my reasons in the Road Trip, Part 1 thread:

 

 

 

I never liked the word "transwomen" and especially dislike "trans."   You spend your life feeling like a woman on the inside; you yearn to be a woman on the outside too.  A woman.   Not a "transwoman."  Nobody I ever heard of grew up longing to be a transwoman or -man.  "Trans" feels like a disclaimer or something.

 

The word bothers me because you have a hostile world screaming at you "you're not a real woman!" and driving the point home by labeling you with slang like "trans" and "tranny" (and IMHO the two sound too close for comfort) ... why on earth would you start referring to yourself that way, too, rather than insisting "I am a woman despite what you think?"

 

Maybe it's a pipe dream to think society will one day come around to regarding transgender people as members of their desired gender.    Maybe not.   But for the time being, "trans" is now so firmly rooted in the culture (more so, thanks to this show) that no matter how you may perceive yourself or how you want the world to see you, society is going to slap a scarlet T on you whether you like it or not.

 

I know several members in this forum have a negative reaction to "cis" (and I don't blame them).    And then there's a word like "genderqueer."   I grew up in an era when "queer" was one of the worst things you could call a person.   But now it's trendy?

 

When I have objected to the use of terms like "trans" here in the forum, I have been directed to the GLAAD statement.   The thing is, I never voted for GLAAD to speak for me or to decide how people should address or describe me.    And if GLAAD is being overseen by someone like Jennifer Boylan, who in my estimation lost all credibility when she drank the Caitlyn Jenner Kool-Aid, then I am almost certain GLAAD is not the right authority to be dictating what the world should say to or about me.

Edited by millennium.
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For me, part of the problem is that people get radicalized, for all their best intentions.

 

For example, I think we've all seen the backlash against the whole ciswoman/transwoman division from both sides. People who want them to be considered exactly the same. People who want them considered like slightly different flavors of the same brand ice cream. People who resent one label or the other.  And people who get super-angry whenever their point of view is contradicted.  I mean consider the fact that for good or ill, a transwoman is never going to know what it's like to bleed out of her private parts. Never have menstrual cramps, let alone risk (or get) pregnant. But talking about that? I can almost feel the side-glares across the Internet.

 

And there's the issue of people who transition then decide they made a mistake. I don't have ANY trouble believing they get pilloried, as if they're somehow traitors. And heck, if religion has gotten involved, maybe some of them might be. But certainly not all of them.

 

And I gotta say, "genderqueer" is also an odd issue to hit on. And I'm not talking about the gender role itself, but the actual term. It's one of those terms where if you use it, you almost feel like someone is going to stare at you like you have a foul mouth. It almost feels like the "n" word in a sense--like the people who have adopted it can use it but if anyone else dares to, they're going to regret it.

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I also grew up in an era when queer was used as a slur.  At the same time, Queer Nation was an important group locally, fighting for human rights.  And I have at times described my sexuality as queer.  However, the use of these words very much depends on context and audience.  There is a tendency of young, straight people in San Francisco to say "queens" when they mean drag queens.  Dropping the word drag changes it from a description that this community usually embraces to an insult.  

 

I use the words for people that they request that I use.  If someone identifies as a woman they are a woman.  That's it.  But in the context of the discussion above, there was a reason to add the adjective trans in some cases.  The noun, woman, doesn't change.  Unless we are in this type of discussion, adjectives are not needed prior to woman.  

 

As to genderqueer, again I default to what people prefer to be called,  Language changes over time.  You will now here terms like genderqueer, genderfluiid and gender-non-conforming.  In essence, many of the language changes are used by people trying to explain how their experience or existence does not fit into what is considered or presented as the norm.  In reality, the very existence of people outside of the gender binary and of people assigned a gender at birth that does not match their gender proves the norm is a misguided concept.  We are all part of the norm though our experiences vary greatly.  

 

There is a new documentary, From Three to Infinity, that offers an introductory view to the idea of non-binary, genderqueer and gender non-conforming.   You will see a variety of different experiences in that film, including people who have undergone a medical transition and then have shifted somewhat in gender presentation later in life.  

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I use the words for people that they request that I use.  If someone identifies as a woman they are a woman.  That's it.  But in the context of the discussion above, there was a reason to add the adjective trans in some cases.  The noun, woman, doesn't change.  Unless we are in this type of discussion, adjectives are not needed prior to woman. 

 

The only word uglier than "queer" growing up was "homo," the common abbreviation for homosexual which over time became a hateful slur.   Now along comes an abbreviation for transgender -- "trans" (because apparently transgender people don't merit enough respect for people to go to the trouble of saying the full word).  

 

In the word "trans," I hear a strong echo of the word "homo."   I can't not hear it.   Given how easily the word slides from adjective to noun on the streets (where it's already used as a slur), and how much hatred for transgender individuals already exists within society and thus the potential for abuse of the word, I can't fathom why transgender people or an organization ostensibly representing our interests would perpetuate its usage.

Edited by millennium.
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I dunno millennium. I kind of use the "has someone screamed it while trying to beat that kind of person up" rule for stuff like that. While there's another shortened version of trangender (or at the time it may have even come into vogue when the now obsolete "transsexual" was still also used) that HAS been shouted by violent psychopaths (I'm talking about the word that also is short for "transmission"), I don't know if the same has happened with simply "trans".

 

Then again, as a rule I think shortened terms like that DO tend to slide towards misuse as a slur, even if in lesser ways. Remember I made that point a while back about the shortened "cis" (vs. the longer "cisgender")--where I know I've already seen it used to throw shade on people. So even though I disagree shortening "transgender" is the same as shortening "homosexual"--because it just hasn't (yet) been misused in the same way--I can see where you're coming from. If it hasn't yet been... it's eventually likely to be.

Edited by Kromm.
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If I may respond, gimipizza..., when Logo was more stricktly GLBT, and they made more of their own programs they featured some transmale artists, especially on their music video shows. I really enjoy Athens Boys Choir, or Katz, who is a transman. He was some great videos, he's very smart and funny. I especially like the music video for Fagette, a song that explains what it means to him to be a transman. He did another song, EZ Heeb. The original video shows him going on a date and showing his date a great time, and it's worth watching but there is now another video for the same song that features video from Katz's pre transition 1993 Bat Mitzvah, and it is not to be missed. It includes footage of the electric slide. Another transman artist that I became aware of because of Logo is Katastrophe. Some rummaging on Youtube and Wikipedia will give you some more information about these artists.

Edited by Cosmic Muffin.
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Muffyn, thank you for your thoughtful response. And re the point above, that is something that I have noticed. There seem to be no transmen (please correct me) in represented and celebrated the mainstream media the way transwomen have (Jen, Caitlyn, Laverne Cox, etc.). It seems kind of unfair.

What about Chaz Bono?

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What about Chaz Bono?

Yeah, I remember a documentary about Chaz and his transition-- it seemed relatively " real" as in it dealt with struggles in his relationship with his partner and his mood swings due to hormonal therapy. I found it pretty interesting. Also, wasn't he on Dancing w/ the stars?

Although he has been in the media, I don't think he has been " celebrated" to the extent that Caitlyn has? YMMV

Edited by Adiba.
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Although he has been in the media, I don't think he has been " celebrated" to the extent that Caitlyn has? YMMV

 

My mileage is the same as yours.    I can't back this up because I read this rationale years ago and wouldn't know where to begin to locate the source, but basically the thinking is this:  the public finds the male to female transition more shocking and fascinating because it cuts deeper against society's grain that a man should aspire to be a woman, freely abandoning the patriarchal role and privilege he has been born into, than it is to accept that a woman should want to become a man, which is more understandable because of the entrenched sexist subtext of our society that regards men as superior to women.   By the same token, this is why it's okay for women to emulate or adopt men's fashions, but taboo for men to adopt any characteristic that might be considered feminine.

Edited by millennium.
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My mileage is the same as yours.    I can't back this up because I read this rationale years ago and wouldn't know where to begin to locate the source, but basically the thinking is this:  the public finds the male to female transition more shocking and fascinating because it cuts deeper against society's grain that a man should aspire to be a woman, freely abandoning the patriarchal role and privilege he has been born into, than it is to accept that a woman should want to become a man, which is more understandable because of the entrenched sexist subtext of our society that regards men as superior to women.   By the same token, this is why it's okay for women to emulate or adopt men's fashions, but taboo for men to adopt any characteristic that might be considered feminine.

Also, at least in the cases where it applies, men have a horrible image of their penises being cut off. Yes, it might seem I'm lowering the conversation by saying it that bluntly, but it's true. So the shock is about even more than the loss of patriarchy.

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I think it might also be that, having lived with male privilege and not being socialized as female from birth, MTF trans people feel more comfortable advocating for themselves.

 

One aspect of this forum that I really enjoy is the way we all add different layers of understanding to the same topic.

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At the local and national levels there are many trans men actively working toward social change.  My comments were more aimed at visibility on mainstream media and the ideal of the transgender people being promoted.  More voice is given to conventionally attractive transgender women.  Many friends of mine refer to this as "trans glam".  Laverne Cox is a beautiful woman.  She speaks out to promote the acceptance of transgender people and very recently started speaking about the large number of assaults against transgender people, especially transgender women of color.  Janet Mock has also been visible on TV as a spokesperson and activist.  But a lot of modern media follows celebrity.  Cait is thereby given access to a greater platform.  

 

Chaz Bono's appearance on Dancing With the Stars was a boost toward visibility for transgender men.  He is also very active in his local community, helping to create safe spaces for and provide support to other transgender people.  His opportunity to be on DWTS did not just happen because he is transgender; it was due to his gender status and that he is the child of Sonny and Cher.  Add in people's memories of him as a child dressed in dresses with ribbons and bows and he was a draw for viewership.  

 

With more visibility of transgender people, there are other shows reaching out to try to include them.  For example, American Idol requested that a transgender man apply.  He chose not to.  If you look back to early seasons of AI, it was common for them to mock non-gender conforming contestants.  The Voice did a much better job of inclusion, especially of lesbians in their first season (go team bald!).  The key change will take place when inclusion becomes normalized and when the idea of a man dressed as a woman or a woman with facial hair or a more masculine appearance is not used for a cheap laugh, when a man being attracted to a transgender woman, regardless of her physical form, is not followed by him vomiting or resorting to violence.  If shows like I Am Cait and Cait's visibility in mainstream media help us move toward more acceptance and more of the types of discussions we are having on this board, then it's great.  I just hope this is followed with more inclusion overall and not just a trend or an inclusion of only certain types of transgender women while we further marginalize other transgender and non-gender-conforming people.  

 

As always keep the questions coming because "the more you know!"

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Ok, question. Why would anyone feel there is suspense as to which sex Caitlyn is attracted? She was married three times to women. My guess is she is attracted to women. Why would that change? If she was truly a woman trapped in a man's body all these years, then she was a woman trapped in a man's body who is attracted to women. Right? Unless, she was a woman, trapped in a man's body, but was attracted to men and was faking her attraction to woman.......... It is quite exhausting! To quote Bert Cooper "Mr. Campbell, who cares?"..........

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In one of her books, Jenifer Boylan says that about 75% of the time when someone transitions their orientation changes as well, so Cait might genuinely have been attracted to women, but might now be attracted to men. Or she could be one of the 25% who didn't change. So, there is some mystery, some variation, some question. But I'm not especially interested in who she's attracted to, and I think it's possibly too soon to tell. Unless the show is forcing some attraction between Cait and Candys.

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In one of her books, Jenifer Boylan says that about 75% of the time when someone transitions their orientation changes as well, so Cait might genuinely have been attracted to women, but might now be attracted to men. Or she could be one of the 25% who didn't change. So, there is some mystery, some variation, some question. But I'm not especially interested in who she's attracted to, and I think it's possibly too soon to tell. Unless the show is forcing some attraction between Cait and Candys.

But......... how does that work with the claims, and claims I believe are true of "I am as god made me"?  There has been much discussion about nature versus nurture and I firmly believe, as do many, that who you are attracted to is determined before you are born.  I'm attracted to men.  Others are attracted to women.  Why would adding some tits and taking hormones cause someone who was attracted to women to now be attracted to men?   

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Because taking hormones changes the brain's chemistry, and because if someone was heterosexual or homosexual in their previous biological gender, changing that gender as much as is possible also then changes the gender they are oriented to post transition? I don't really know why the orientation can or does change for so many, but apparently it does, hence, who Cait is attracted to might have changed, or if it hasn't, is she willing to consider herself a lesbian, if she is now a woman attracted to women? I think this is one more thing that she somehow didn't consider for decades. Both Bruce and Cait are not deep or introspective, I think, regardless of their overall intelligence. Sorry if this is abrupt or sloppy, I have to run off to work.

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While I could not care less with whom Caitlyn Jenner wants to have sex with, I do find the concept of sexuality fluidity interesting. I guess one should not have to label themselves if they do not want to-- and I sense thatin Caitlyn now. Before transitioning, she stated that she was unequivocally straight, however. Now if one is a woman in mind and spirit from the time she was born, or childhood-- would she then in actuality been a lesbian? Or, because she was a male physically having sex and babies with physical females, was she straight? Does it matter? I don't know.

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So if someone is gay, just taking hormones can switch their brain to desire a different gender?  I don't think that is how it works.....................................................

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So if someone is gay, just taking hormones can switch their brain to desire a different gender?  I don't think that is how it works.....................................................

Yeah, I thought about that, too. If that were the case, wouldn't shots of testosterone " cure" a gay man--estrogen to " cure" lesbians? It was tried in the past, with terrible results.

I remember reading the book by Christine Jorgenson , an early transgender woman. She said that she never felt that she was gay because before she transitioned and had surgery, she never felt comfortable having sex with a man as a man--she wanted to be a woman having sex with a man.

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I've read a lot of stories of people transitioning from female to male who said that when they started taking testosterone they started feeling attracted to men. Some went from being women who were attracted primarily to women to being men who were primarily attracted to men.

 

I have no idea why this happens (in general we still don't really understand what determines someone's sexual orientation), but it seems to be pretty common.

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I have not done reading on this topic in particular so I can only address the orientations of the people that I know.  Most of the transgender people I know I met through the lesbian or leather communities.  So, the majority of the transgender men that I know were actively involved in the lesbian or gay community prior to their decision to transition.  So this is obviously a specialized grouping. Of the ones that previously presented as lesbian women, some are now attracted to women; some are attracted to men.  For those attracted to women, in essence, their attraction did not change.  For those attracted to men, they have often said that they felt most comfortable in gay male culture.  However, when they were female appearing (though often gender non-forming), they were less likely to be able to be in a relationship with a man.  Basically, it was hard to find a man that was interested in a long term relationship. 

 

For the transgender women I know, there is also mixed experience.  I met most of the women after their transition, so I know much less about their prior relationships.  Again, since many of them had presented as gay men prior to their transition, some still are attracted to gay men.  However, at least locally, there is not a good acceptance of transgender women in the gay male community.   The local gay male community is much more accepting of transgender men.  (Yes, I understand that men among gay men makes sense). 

 

I think the example of Christine Jorgenson is quite interesting.  I have heard similar things from friends that their comfort with having sex with a person of either their same or the opposite gender is related to how they view their body and role in that situation.  So, for example, the presumed lesbian who re-presents as a transgender man who then has sex with men; when assumed female, their role in sex with a man was not one with which they felt comfortable; after transition, they felt they could act on their desires toward men.  

 

Among younger transgender and non-binary persons, I have noticed a great trend toward disregarding gender and genitalia as the key to attraction.  Many people who identify their sexual orientation as queer will state that they have sex with other queers.  (I am using this word as it is used by this group of people.  I do understand it’s usage as an epithet; I do not mean to offend anyone.).   This is similar to non-binary people saying they tend to be attracted to other non-binary or transgender people.  Part of this is physical sexual attraction and part of it is a sense of comfort with the person you are with, a commonality of experience. 

 

As we better understand that gender is more complex than it was once thought to be, so is sexuality and sexual attraction.  For example, even an absolutely straight woman is not attracted to all men; straight men are not attracted to all women; etc. Why?  Because we are human and we are complex beings. 

Millenium, I have tried to start using transgender rather than trans in my posts because of your feelings that the shortened version.  What’s six characters being board mates?

Edited by Muffyn.
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They are finding that gender is really a function of the brain more than anything.  Somewhere upthread I posted a link to  the Charlie Rose series on the brain that talks about gender identity and the brain.  I found  the experts  answered alot of the questions I'm reading here.

 

ETA: Here's the link: 

 

http://www.feelguide.com/2015/06/21/watch-charlie-roses-fascinating-roundtable-on-gender-identity-the-brain-led-by-nobel-prize-winner/

 

 

And here is short PBS piece on gender identity being hard-wired:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/biology-gender-identity-children/

Edited by Cosmocrush.
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Hard-wired would tend to say that the "will change with hormones" point of view is bunk. Unless the argument is that "same sex" is what's hardwired vs. the actual gender of that sex.

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She’s been married 3 times.  To women.  It is conceivable that she’s always been attracted to men and bowed to the social mores and married women.  She would not be the first gay man to do that.  But the implication is that the hormones could cause her to be attracted to men.  If hormones could do that parents of gay children would be buying them in bulk!  I feel that this is a dangerous assumption that is being played out simply as an attempt at ratings.  “Will she go for the women or the men? Tune in next week”.  This could foster the very misguided belief that homosexuality is a “choice”.  (“Our Billy was getting a woody looking at men, so we got him some of them there hormones, and now he’s right as rain”)
I don’t claim to know how this works.  I think a lot of us are getting an education.  I think this forum and others like it will be an important counter to the misinformation that the E! Network is putting out there for the entertainment of those who don’t (or don’t want to), know any better.

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She’s been married 3 times.  To women.  It is conceivable that she’s always been attracted to men and bowed to the social mores and married women.  She would not be the first gay man to do that.  But the implication is that the hormones could cause her to be attracted to men.  If hormones could do that parents of gay children would be buying them in bulk!  I feel that this is a dangerous assumption that is being played out simply as an attempt at ratings.  “Will she go for the women or the men? Tune in next week”.  This could foster the very misguided belief that homosexuality is a “choice”.  (“Our Billy was getting a woody looking at men, so we got him some of them there hormones, and now he’s right as rain”)

I don’t claim to know how this works.  I think a lot of us are getting an education.  I think this forum and others like it will be an important counter to the misinformation that the E! Network is putting out there for the entertainment of those who don’t (or don’t want to), know any better.

I don't claim to know, either-- getting an education as well. I agree that the idea or theory that hormones alone can change sexual orientation is a dangerous one. Perhaps it has more to do with, as Muffyn stated above, transgender individuals feeling more comfortable with themselves after transitioning, allowing them to act on previously suppressed feelings of attraction? Also, the idea of commonality of experience with regard to transgender people sometimes being attracted to other transgender people seems to make sense. Who knows? We humans are a complex bunch.
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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this link, but I found this story in the New York Times as informative as anything I've read.  It's a parallel story to Cait's story of a trans woman ]not in show business] about Caitlyn's age who transitioned the same year Caitlyn skyrocketed to international fame as an Olympian.   There is history and it explains the divide between Transgender and Gay rights movements, although that seems to be closing.  

 

It was the summer of 1976. As Bruce Jenner, 26, was celebrating his decathlon victory at the Montreal Olympics, Phillip Frye, 28, was admitting defeat in suppressing his gender identity. He, becoming she, had already lost a lot: He had been forced to resign from the military for “sexual deviation.” He had been disowned by his parents, divorced by his first wife and separated from his son. He had been dismissed from several engineering jobs.

 

And
 

She does not miss the intensity of the struggle, she said. “I’ve enjoyed my 60s. I haven’t had to fight.”

 

Though she watches the movement’s building momentum with occasional incredulity — “Even the military!” she exclaimed, referring to the announcement in July that the Pentagon plans to lift its ban on service by openly transgender people — she has been waiting with impatience for society to catch up with her.

 

“I keep wondering what took her so long,” she said about Caitlyn Jenner’s introduction to the world. “She could have done a lot of good

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/for-transgender-judge-an-early-and-transformative-journey/ar-BBmfpmd?li=AA54ur

Edited by Cosmocrush.
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Caitlyn, as an Olympic champion, made a lot of money from her endorsements back then. I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to give then up. As much grief that Phyllis in the article received, it would have been much, much worse for a world famous person, since the reverberations would be world wide. There would have been no place to hide from probing reporters, and making a decent incime would have been out of the question.

Also, it doesn't seem like she wants to struggle. I think it takes a highly-motivated person who is willing to.

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Caitlyn, as an Olympic champion, made a lot of money from her endorsements back then. I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to give then up. As much grief that Phyllis in the article received, it would have been much, much worse for a world famous person, since the reverberations would be world wide. There would have been no place to hide from probing reporters, and making a decent incime would have been out of the question.

Also, it doesn't seem like she wants to struggle. I think it takes a highly-motivated person who is willing to.

 

Renee Richards did what Jenner couldn't just one year later.   Not as famous as Jenner, but she still made a splash in the sports world and national news, exhibiting greater nerve and courage than Jenner ever possessed.   When she came out, she did it all on her own and fought her way through the bias that tried to prevent her from playing on the women's tennis circuit.    No Vanity Fair.  No Diane Sawyer.  No E! network.  No hair and makeup staff.   No hired friends.   No protection from the media.

Edited by millennium.
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Renee Richards did what Jenner couldn't just one year later.   Not as famous as Jenner, but she still made a splash in the sports world and national news, exhibiting greater nerve and courage than Jenner ever possessed.   When she came out, she did it all on her own and fought her way through the bias that tried to prevent her from playing on the women's tennis circuit.    No Vanity Fair.  No Diane Sawyer.  No E! network.  No hair and makeup staff.   No hired friends.   No protection from the media.

You know, in all this mess it does seem like Renee Richards has been forgotten.  What a shame. 

 

To be honest, I was always on the fence about the fairness of her playing on the women's circuit (although as I recall, the way the USTA framed it's objections was somewhat embarrassing for them), but that doesn't change the guts involved with the rest of her story--especially back in the mid 70s. 

 

Here's an interesting piece--in People Magazine of all places--from 2007 about Richards:  http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20062902,00.html

 

Take, for example, Richards' attitude about being a "leader" of the trans movement and advisor of youth, vs. Jenner's insta-assumptions that she's fated to be:

 

At her home in Carmel, N.Y., a cozily appointed cottage she shares with her friend Arleen Larzelere, the self-described "most famous transsexual in the world" doesn't need to ponder the question. "Never," she says. "Arleen refers them to Web sites. It would be presumptuous of me to try to advise people."

One could spin this as Richards not doing enough from the platform she has, but perhaps instead it's just humility. Being famous doesn't mean being an expert, and recognizing that is humble.

 

About her regrets: note that the sex change per se isn't one of them--just things that were side-effects of it:

 

Yet it's not the romantic challenges she has found toughest. "Everybody wants to know, 'Did Renée Richards make a mistake?' It wasn't that I regretted my sex change," she says. "I regretted pursuing the right to play tennis instead of just going back to medicine. I would have had a semblance of a private life."

 

No matter what, her son would have suffered. It's the pain she caused Nick, she says, that is her other big regret: "He still suffers from the loss of his father as he knew him. The confusion and shame I put him through have been awful. He will carry those scars for a lifetime."

This bit is interesting.

A New Yorker who has been a nightclub promoter, karate champion and real-estate broker, Nick has never stopped calling Richards "Dad."

And yes (as I just noticed) that as recently as 2007 a major publication like People was comfortable using "Transsexual" in a headline. So, wow, that changed fast.

Edited by Kromm.
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And yes (as I just noticed) that as recently as 2007 a major publication like People was comfortable using "Transsexual" in a headline. So, wow, that changed fast.

 

In this piece, published just this year, Renee Richards discusses Jenner and her own dislike of the word "transgender," preferring the traditional "transsexual."  

 

http://www.thewrap.com/transgender-trailblazer-ren%C3%A9e-richards-talks-bruce-jenner-preference-for-transsexual-label/

 

(Is it just me, or does she look like she could be Leonard Nimoy's sister?)

 

Here's another article from 2011, in which she defends her place in history:

 

 

 

“I was the first one who stood up for the rights of transsexuals,” she says. “I was the first one who came out in the public as a defender, or a pioneer for their rights. Because I insisted on my rights as a woman to do something that was so momentous.”

 

The silence about Renee Richards during Jennerpalooza 2015 has been deafening.   You would think comparisons would naturally be drawn between her and Jenner due to their shared background in sports.    But then, if you mention Renee Richards, you undermine Jenner's claim to being THE transgender pioneer.

 

In this article, Richards clarifies the statements she made about regret in the People article:

 

 

 

In her book, Dr. Richards never writes that she regrets having had her surgery, yet she lists so many regrets relating to her sex change that it is like someone who returns again and again to the edge of a great pit, but refuses to leap in. Those feelings were also evident in past interviews.

 

“In 1999, you told People—” the reporter begins.

 

Dr. Richards interrupts.

 

“—I told People what I was feeling, which I still feel: Better to be an intact man functioning with 100 percent capacity for everything than to be a transsexual woman who is an imperfect woman.”

 

In the same interview, Dr. Richards talked about wishing for something that could have prevented the surgery.

“What I said was if there were a drug, some voodoo, any kind of mind-altering magic remedy to keep the man intact, that would have been preferable, but there wasn’t,” Dr. Richards says. “The pressure to change into a woman was so strong that if I had not been able to do it, I might have been a suicide.”

 

Does she regret having the surgery?

 

“The answer is no.”

Edited by millennium.
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Caitlyn, as an Olympic champion, made a lot of money from her endorsements back then. I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to give then up. As much grief that Phyllis in the article received, it would have been much, much worse for a world famous person, since the reverberations would be world wide. There would have been no place to hide from probing reporters, and making a decent icime would have been out of the question.

Also, it doesn't seem like she wants to struggle. I think it takes a highly-motivated person who is willing to.

True, but I think being a woman but living your life as a man would be it's own great struggle.  I don't fault Jenner for waiting until now to transition.    In one of the articles about Renee Richards she is quoted as saying when she transitioned she had no choice - it was almost that or suicide, something I've heard from many trans people's stories.     But I always had the feeling Jenner did have a choice; not between suicide and transitioning but between money, fame, family, and living in her truth.  She chose the former for a long long time.  I don't believe that she spent the last 60 years miserable and suicidal and I don't think she's ever claimed she had either.  In other words, it's different in degrees. 

 

I wonder if Jenner never really considered this was a possibility for her after she stopped and started in the 1980s.  But then one day her kids were grown, her marriage was over, and she had a pile of money with probably a good 20 years left on her life and decided to finally live her truth.  And to that I say, "Good for her!" the same way I would say it for anyone that decided to live a more authentic life for whatever reason. 

Edited by Cosmocrush.
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But I always had the feeling Jenner did have a choice; not between suicide and transitioning but between money, fame, family, and living in her truth.  She chose the former for a long long time.  I don't believe that she spent the last 60 years miserable and suicidal and I don't think she's ever claimed she had either.  In other words, it's different in degrees. 

 

Very insightful.   I believe you are correct.  

 

I have always been uncomfortable with the media's automatic pairing of gender dysphoria with suicide, as if gender dysphoria is an automatic death sentence if left untreated.   The fact is, there are hundreds of thousands of people living with gender dysphoria as we speak, who never transition, who live their lives under the radar, and who do NOT commit suicide.   But we never hear about them because they are the silent majority. 

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In the space of only 2 minutes and 38 seconds, this trailer for The Danish Girl conveys more about the human component of the transgender experience than a full season of I Am Cait could ever hope to accomplish.  This movie has Oscar written all over it.

 

Edited by millennium.
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The Carmichael Show aired an episode tonight, where the family meets a transgender kid. It was able somehow to be funny while also being supportive. I think the world is changing, with or without Cait, and it's kind of amazing to me how recently she was heralded as this huge breakthrough person in the media, but already seems way behind the times.

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The author of the column, Karla Miller, advises the person who submitted the question:

 

 

 

Barbara is just seeking what women have been fighting for forever: the right to be known for what’s between her ears, not her legs. So I doubt she’s eager to flaunt her anatomical noncomformity.

 

And yet the letter-writer describes a situation that might suggest something different:

 

 

 

I realize her transition has been difficult, but others are antagonistic toward what she’s doing. I understand that her gender identity is unrelated to whether she’s had medical or surgical intervention. But how does her identity trump our right not to see penises in the locker room? We are still not comfortable with her standing facing the toilet in the next stall.

 

She's urinating from a standing position in the ladies' room?   Alongside other women?   Sorry, but that just doesn't fly (no pun intended!).   Okay, so the transgender woman has not had surgery but to pee standing up shows either complete unawareness of her surroundings (which is hard to believe) or utter disrespect.   I don't blame the other women for being annoyed.

 

Guess I'm old school, but I hold to the gender binary.   The whole point of transitioning is to conform to the appearance, manners and customs of your desired gender.   I don't think there's any place for someone to be urinating from a standing position in the ladies' room.   Just because you can doesn't mean you should.   When in Rome, you know?   This person has to know the other women are already uncomfortable.   To make them even more so, for one's own convenience (or other reason) seems an awful lot like the transgender person is indeed "flaunting her anatomical nonconformity."

Edited by millennium.
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As long as she puts the seat down!  

 

Presuming she lifts it in the first place.   

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Never understood the angst about sharing a bathroom with the transgendered. It is a bathroom. All humans need to void. Standing up, sitting down. Who cares? It's not like transgendered women are going in and banging their penises against the sink. Just what is everyone so afraid will happen? I am seriously asking.

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We had a recent series of posts in the Media thread about a media outlet that (seemingly on their own) decided to use mother to identify the relationship between Caitlyn and the Jenner kids. I'm wondering (assuming the mods just aren't going to zap it) if it might not be more appropriate moved here.
 

I seriously was asking there what the guidelines would be with it.  While GLAAD seems to warn against passive-aggressive context, like using quotes around words like mother or father, they don't seem to have an opinion on media outlets (and one would assume forum posters) preemptively reassigning a parental designation (vs. a gender--and they are vastly different things).  Especially (in this case) since Ms. Jenner has gone out of her way to state that she wants to continue to be identified as their father, even if her pronouns and name have altered.

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Never understood the angst about sharing a bathroom with the transgendered. It is a bathroom. All humans need to void. Standing up, sitting down. Who cares? It's not like transgendered women are going in and banging their penises against the sink. Just what is everyone so afraid will happen? I am seriously asking.

 

Totally agree. I went to a very progressive college and we had gender-neutral bathrooms before gender-neutral bathrooms were "cool," (also a hipster college), and I was totally unconcerned about transgender people in the bathroom. The worst part was sharing a bathroom with straight cisgender men. They pee on EVERYTHING, and lots of them were creepy and trying to peek through the stall doors and into the shower stalls. Although I wouldn't object to sharing a locker room with transgender women either, and I know a lot of people clutch their pearls about that. It's kind of like breastfeeding: it happens, it's perfectly healthy and great, and if you don't want to see it, DON'T LOOK. 

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Totally agree. I went to a very progressive college and we had gender-neutral bathrooms before gender-neutral bathrooms were "cool," (also a hipster college), and I was totally unconcerned about transgender people in the bathroom. The worst part was sharing a bathroom with straight cisgender men. They pee on EVERYTHING, and lots of them were creepy and trying to peek through the stall doors and into the shower stalls. Although I wouldn't object to sharing a locker room with transgender women either, and I know a lot of people clutch their pearls about that. It's kind of like breastfeeding: it happens, it's perfectly healthy and great, and if you don't want to see it, DON'T LOOK.

Reminds me of something my very prim and proper Mother once said. We were discussing how guys seemed to struggle with "aiming" in the bathroom. Mommie looked up under a haze of her cigarette smoke and growled "they can aim it when they want to!" We just about died laughing!

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Totally agree. I went to a very progressive college and we had gender-neutral bathrooms before gender-neutral bathrooms were "cool," (also a hipster college), and I was totally unconcerned about transgender people in the bathroom. The worst part was sharing a bathroom with straight cisgender men. They pee on EVERYTHING, and lots of them were creepy and trying to peek through the stall doors and into the shower stalls. 

The last thing (the icky peeping tom bit) sounds like more of a sexuality thing than a cisgendered one (them being hetrosexual, I mean rather than them being okay with their birth gender). And also them being young and therefore somewhat highly disrespectful of women. I won't deny it's creepy or say it's right, but I'm just pointing out that if we have to assign a determinant, it's more likely that they're interested in women than it is that they're okay with their own assigned bodies.

 

The peeing on everything also I doubt has to do with them being cisgendered. It has to do with them being slobs. I know we hate to admit gender roles follow certain kind of behavior, but it's true that heterosexual men more often than not tend to be slobs. But it's also interesting that it's young men, newly away from an environment where someone else cleaned up their random mis-aimed piss. They're used to that. It's no excuse, but I think it has more to do with Mamas boys being used to something, rather than either (in this case) gender roles or even sexuality (although again, it does seem to be another of those self-fulfilling cliches that gay men TEND to be more fastidious--but I have no real knowledge if transgender men, or women, follow those tendencies). 

 

Also, honestly, a penis is sometimes a bit... hard to steer. It's gross to discuss, but it's true.  Especially when you're college aged and drunk half the time.

Edited by Kromm.
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All valid points, Kromm...I guess what I meant is, I'd rather not have "gender neutral" bathrooms in that sense, because then I'd have to share with "icky icky boys." I'd rather have had a bathroom for all those female-identified, and let the male-identified folks pee all over their OWN bathroom ;-) Of course, that complicates things for those along the spectrum of gender. So that's not a solution either. 

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She's urinating from a standing position in the ladies' room?   Alongside other women?   Sorry, but that just doesn't fly (no pun intended!).   Okay, so the transgender woman has not had surgery but to pee standing up shows either complete unawareness of her surroundings (which is hard to believe) or utter disrespect.   I don't blame the other women for being annoyed.

 

Guess I'm old school, but I hold to the gender binary.   The whole point of transitioning is to conform to the appearance, manners and customs of your desired gender.   I don't think there's any place for someone to be urinating from a standing position in the ladies' room.   Just because you can doesn't mean you should.   When in Rome, you know?   This person has to know the other women are already uncomfortable.   To make them even more so, for one's own convenience (or other reason) seems an awful lot like the transgender person is indeed "flaunting her anatomical nonconformity."

I have a cisgender woman family member who can only pee with self catherization (botoxed bladder)   She said it took some getting used to but laughed about having to face the toilet in a public stall and thought other women probably wondered about it.  I said, I doubt anyone is checking out the feet of the neighboring stall; I never have anyway.   I guess I was wrong.     Anyway, my point is no one knows for sure what's going on in the next stall and really unless it's hampering your ability to go then what does it matter? 

Edited by Cosmocrush.
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