What follows is a discussion that followed after I received an e-mail from another crossdresser called Alice Jayne. In it, she advanced some thoughts concerning transvestism that seemed to be an extension or a discussion of things I had written on here. We exchanged a few letters and she gave me permission to put it up on the site. (The editing is minimal – personal comments have been deleted and a few grammatical changes to make it flow a little better and spelling errors, but that is it.)
FROM: Alice Jayne
I have just read your bit about dressing as the way you do and your trying to come to terms with it. Well being in the same boat myself so to speak I have thought about it long and hard over the years and the answer is simple: you have a womans brain. Your sexuality and body may be male but the software is female and that is why you try to copy what women dress and act like. It’s also why you like trying to have the feeling of having breasts and a hairless body, ie you are trying to be your real self.
Anyway it was an interesting read.
SUBJECT: RE: Dressing
You make a very interesting point although I’m not sure if you are correct. I am assuming that when you refer to the ‘software’ you mean the mind? If this is the case, then I am led to wonder how the sexuality part fits in, as this seems to me to be, largely, a function of mind rather body. Are you saying I am really (as Eddie Izzard put it) a ‘lesbian in a man’s body’? I am not necessarily disagreeing with you, I am just not sure how much I agree with you either.
‘Trying to be your real self’ sounds to me as though you are suggesting the possibility that I may be someway down the road towards Transsexualism. Am I reading too much into that phrase? I think I might be (reading too much, not transsexual), but, again, I’m not certain. I admit, I have occasionally had a wish for ‘real’ breasts of my own, but it has only ever been a passing whimsy and never more than that.
Thanks for your comments, they were interesting and insightful. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
FROM: Alice Jayne
SUBJECT: RE: Dressing
To return to the TV/TG question I don’t think that it is a question of black and white rather more shades of grey. But if you enjoy wearing ladies clothes and want breasts then you definately have a female component in your gender. How far you take things will depend on how far female your gender is.
I certainly do feel like Eddy Izzard, ie a lesbian in a male body, but my gender is not sufficiently far female to make me want to alter my body as I also like my male side as well. I suppose I am truly an inbetweenie.
I think that to most people the idea that gender and sexuality are not the same is difficult to grasp, but this seems to be the case as I am certain that my brain is largely that of a woman (borne out by my traits, ie I have no interest in sport, I was never good at maths, and, of course, I enjoy wearing womens clothes and make up) however the idea of having sex with a man makes me want to throw up, so my sexuality is definately normal male.
It also explains the different types of person
gender = what your brain sex is ie male or female
sexuality = what you prefer as sexual partners ie ladies or men
female sexuality = likes men
male sexuality = likes women
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxso homosexual male = male gender + female sexuality
lesbian = female gender + male sexuality
1/ transexual M to F = female gender + male sexuality and a bio mans body (most common)
1/a transexual M to F = female gender + female sexuality and a mans bio body.
2/ transexual F to M = male gender with female sexuality and a bio womans body
2/a transsexual F to M = male gender with male sexuality and a bio womans body
If what I read on the subject is true then 1/a is fairly rare as its no more statistically possible for a T/G person than a straight person to be homosexual, as for 2 this is probably more common than thought as women can get away with a wider style of dressing than men.
OK, Ellen, I hope that has not bored you, but that’s my thoughts on the issue.
And to answer your question then, yes, I think you are someway down the road towards transexualism, as I think transexualism is just an extension of tranvestism. I am sure no red blooded (for want of a better word) male would want breasts at any time but that does not mean you have to go all the way – just enjoy being yourself.
SUBJECT: RE: Dressing
I do agree with you about the idea that ‘TG-ness’ is a scale rather than fixed points and there is no single definition of a transgendered person. Indeed, there should be as many different meanings for TG as there are TG people. In fact, this all ties in to my belief that the various labels that are attached to people (not just TG but everyone) are basically useless. I’ve written a piece about it on the site, but basically, I think that a label puts more problems in the way of getting to know someone else than if we just approached them as a tabula rasa, allowing who they are to fill in the blanks rather than having to overcome preset ideas about a ‘transvestite’ or a ‘lesbian’ or even a ‘coloured’ person. Although, I do admit this is an ideal situation and not one I have ever been able to manage totally successfully. Although I do try.
I also agree with you that there is a ‘female’ component in my make-up, as I do identify with female-ness and femininity rather more than I do with male-ness and masculinity, although I have to admit (even to myself) that there are still some very male components in my psyche. I think I have to disagree with you about what makes female traits however – I know a lot of men who are not interested in sport and are no good at maths. I know a lot of women who love sport (especially at the moment, with the growth of the ‘laddette’) and who are good at maths. I know women who do not like women’s clothes and make up. I think that they are all somewhere on the male-female line, which is I think what you are talking about when you refer to ‘shades of grey’. There is no specific and separate section of the human experience that deals with men who want to dress like or become woman (and vice versa), instead we are just farther along the line towards the female part of the line. Everyone has certain aspects of the opposite gender embedded within them. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I may have just argued myself around to saying what you said, but using more words. What do you think?
However, I think that your splitting up of the various types into 6 different types (obviously there are actually 8 and you just didn’t bother putting in the female/male gender & sexuality parts) is rather simplistic, I’m afraid. As far as it goes, I think you are about right, I just don’t think you go far enough. Once again, however, I think it is to do with the limitations of the labels rather than any actually faulty reasoning. But identifying a person purely by a mixture of gender and sexuality is not enough. I don’t know if you are saying that is all there is to a person and I’m assuming that you aren’t and I am sure that you would agree that there is a lot more to people than just those aspects. I know women who are ‘lesbian’ because their partner is another woman, however, they do not identify themselves as such. Instead, they are in love with another person who just happens to be a woman. There is a great quote which is in the essay about labels and I can’t actually remember at the moment, but it’s especially apt. To paraphrase: lesbian should not be a noun, it should be a verb; i.e. it’s not an name, it’s an action.
Whether or not I am going down the road toward transexualism is a moot point. If I am, I don’t think I’m going to be going any further down it. However, I have to take exception to your definition of transexualism as an extension of transvestism. I think I disagree with you entirely on this point. I have spoken quite a bit to TS women and TV women on MIRC and I have to say that the two seem completely different. For a TV, it seems that the clothing and appearance are an end in and of themselves (by appearance, I mean the make up, hairstyle or wig, false breasts and hiding the male genitalia). Whereas for a TS, these are only a means to an end, which is to be as close as possible to a genetic female as it is possible. The vast majority of TV’s (myself included) wouldn’t go anywhere near hormones, never mind an operating table.
One final point – you talk about ‘ladies clothes’. Was this a slip? I’m not entirely sure what ladies clothes consist of (once again, it’s a label thing) but I wear feminine or female clothing. To quote Eddie Izzard again: “They aren’t women’s clothes. They’re mine.”
Anyway, I hope that you found this as interesting as I found your letter and I would like to keep corresponding with you. Please tell me a little more about yourself, I feel a bit like I’m writing into a void here – a void filled with an interesting intellect, but I would like to see some of the person behind the intellect as well, if you don’t mind…
Happy New Year and Best Wishes,