What a shock! you have found out that he is Transgendered !
My goal is to help you the significant other to understand, us the T* individual. This is condensed form a paper given by Carl W. Bushong, Ph.D. titled The Multi-Dimensionality of Gender. You can see the full text at www.ren.org/Bushong.html
I have edited this to a more manageable length and tried to focus on the M/F. I have also commented on what he has written. My perspective is from the in side, I am T* . Dr.Bushong’s paper seems to be the best at explaining the Transgendered. I hope you find it of help. Here after my comments will be in Italic.
As a psychotherapist, I don’t presume to enter into the discussion of what develops in what order and how. I take a more pragmatic stance and seek to observe what behaviors are linked, or independent from one another. From this research and observation, I have developed a list of five semi-independent attributes of gender. Not as a fixed dogma, but as a working theory, a map if you will, to help us understand this complex often hotly emotional issue of gender. Consider sexual identity/behavior springing from five semi-independent attributes.
These five attributes are:
It is my contention that it is possible for an individual to view oneself and function as male or female to varying degrees in each of the five sub-categories independent of the others. For example, an individual may be XX female (chromosomal female), physically female, have a “female brain,” be heterosexual but see her(him)self as male—or any other combination. One can be either male or female in each of the five sub-categories independent of each other. If we use “F” for female identity/function, and “M” for male identity/function and one through five for the semi-independent attributes listed above we could describe each individual according to their particular breakdown:
Since each of these independent attributes is graded, it is easy to see the possible combinations and degrees number in the thousands. With regard to gender, we can be in a category of one—ourselves.
Perhaps only individuals who are homogeneously male or female at the highest degree in all five attributes could convincingly describe themselves as only a single gender—the rest of us are a matrix.
Like our genetic and physical gender, our gender identity, sexual orientation, and brain sex, expression usually remains constant from childhood throughout one’s life.
The Five Sub-Categories
The first sub-category, Genetics, is only beginning to be understood. What mechanism and to what degree does genetic influences effect one’s expression of gender?
Our primary and secondary sexual characteristics. To discuss this aspect of gender we need to examine hormonal involvement, in particular testosterone. All sexual differentiation, physical, mental, and emotional are produced by hormones which may be amplified and/or specified by one’s social environment During fetal life, the amount present, or the absence of testosterone determines our sexuality—physically, mentally and emotionally. There are key times or periods during development when the fetus will go towards the male or the female depending on the level of testosterone. These windows of opportunity may be only open for a few days and if the needed level of testosterone is not present, a basic female orientation develops regardless of the testosterone levels before or after this critical period, and the resulting sexual imprint.
The first critical period is at conception when the presence of the SRY gene (Sex-Determining Region of the Y chromosome) will determine our physical gender.
Dr. Simon LeVay, in his book, “The Sexual Brain,” argues that one’s brain receptors for hormones may also play a significant role in our gender development. Dr. LeVay writes, “There is much to recommend...that there are intrinsic, genetically determined differences in the brain’s hormone receptors or in the other molecular machinery that is interposed between circulating hormones and their actions on brain development. First, this would provide a mechanism that involves hormone-induced brain differentiation but does not require there to be differences in the actual levels of hormones. Second, since there are several different receptors involved (including the androgen receptor, the estrogen receptor, and at least two “ estrogen-related” receptors), there is opportunity for selective effects on different brain systems.”
Now we must leave the comfortable arena of biology and development and enter the more rocky, emotional and even political arena of psychology, anthropology, and sociology. An arena where deduction, speculation and circumstantial evidence is more evident than “hard fact.”
The third, forth and fifth attributes all reside in the brain and there is controversy on both a congenital vs. environmental level and on a developmental one. It is still argued by some that sexual orientation is a choice and there is no difference in the mental abilities of men and women. Others argue that the evidence, both direct and circumstantial, is becoming overwhelming that these stands are incorrect.
Because of the controversy over whether significant differences in brain structure do exist between the genders, I will confine my discussion of the “Brain Sex” attribute to some behavioral differences that have been noted between morphological male and female infants and children. At all times keep in mind that Physical Gender does NOT always indicate “Brain Sex” Gender. And, while these differences are the norm, they are not absolute. Individual children may differ.
Even a few hours after birth, significant behavioral differences are noted between morphologically normal boys and girls. Newborn girls are much more sensitive to touch and sound than their male counterparts. Several day old girls spend about twice as long looking back at an adult face than boys, and even longer if the adult is speaking. A girl can distinguish between the cries of another infant from other extraneous noises long before a boy. Even before they can understand language, girls do better at identifying the emotional context of speech.
Conversely, during the first few weeks of infant life, boys are inattentive to the presence of an adult, whether speaking to the infant or not. However, baby boys tend to show more activity and wakefulness. At the age of several months, girls can usually distinguish between the faces of strangers and people they know—boys usually do not demonstrate this ability.
As infants grow into children, the differences seem to intensify and polarize. Girls learn to speak earlier than boys and do a better job of it. Boys want to explore areas, spaces and things, girls like to talk and listen. Boys like vigorous play in a large space where girls like more sedentary games in smaller spaces. Boys like to build, take things apart, explore mechanical aspects of things and are interested in other children only for their “use” (playmates, teammates, allies, etc.). Girls see others more as individuals—and will likely exclude a person because they’re “not nice,” and will more readily include younger children and remember each other’s names. Girls play games involving home, friendship, and emotions. Boys like rough, competitive games full of “ëzap, pow’ and villainy.” Boys will measure success by active interference with other players, preferring games where winning and losing is clearly defined. In contrast, girl play involves taking turns, cooperation and indirect competition. Tag is a typical boy’s game, hopscotch is a girl’s game.
If “Brain Sex” is controversial, the fourth attribute of Sexual Orientation is ever more so. Although there is public and political controversy, the overwhelming majority of medical and psychological practitioners agree that sexual orientation may prove to be mainly congenital, or at least firmly established in early childhood. The term “Sexual Orientation” is a bit misleading. It is more an erotic or love orientation in that Sexual Orientation determines the physical gender we find attractive, with whom we fall in love, and have romantic as well as sexual fantasies.
From experiments with animals, “experiments of nature” in humans, and genetic and neurological studies come a consistent, though still circumstantial, stream of evidence that indicates one’s sexual orientation is largely hormonally determined by the presence or uptake of testosterone at key periods in fetal development, and possibly even beyond. Female fetuses exposed to testosterone-like agents develop a 50/50 chance of a lesbian versus heterosexual orientation if raised as girls. Studies of identical twins also indicate that when one twin shows homosexual or lesbian expression, there is a 50/50 chance of homosexual or lesbian expression in the other twin—whether raised together or apart.
The remaining 50% of determination may be continued hormonal development, environmental considerations or a combination. One interesting consideration with determination may be during our early postnatal development since the fetal stage for human babies is not completed during gestation, but continues for a year or more outside the womb. And during this critical time after birth, we have the highest level of testosterone present, excluding the onset of puberty—with many brain receptors to receive this powerful hormone. At any rate, between the ages of three and six years, one’s erotic orientation is very likely established but may not be acted upon for decades, if at all.
The last of our
five attributes, Gender Identity, is the last to be identified, and the least
understood and researched. Gender identity is one’s subjective sense of
one’s own sex. Like pain, it is unambiguously felt but one is unable to
prove or display it to others. One’s subjective gender is just as real and
immalleable as one’s physical gender but unfortunately not recognized in our
culture. When one’s Gender Identity does not match their Physical Gender,
the individual is termed Gender Dysphoric. Like minority Sexual Orientation,
Gender Dysphoria is not pathological, but a natural aberration occurring
within the population. As with minority sexual orientation, the percentage of
the population having gender dysphoria is in dispute, with estimates ranging
between one in 39,000 individuals up to three percent of the general
population. My experience leads me to feel that the higher figure (3%) is
closer to the actual prevalence.
Tri-ess a group of heterosexual CD's estimates 4 to 5%
Gender dysphoric individuals have been described, either by themselves or by others, as falling into three distinct groups: crossdressers, transgenderists and transsexuals.
with a desire to wear the clothing of the other sex but not to change their
sex are termed crossdressers. Most crossdressers view themselves as
heterosexual men who like to wear women’s clothing in private or in public,
and may even occasionally fantasize about becoming a woman. Once referred to
as a transvestite, crossdresser has become the term of choice.
Transgenderists are men and women who prefer to steer away from gender role extremes and perfect an androgynous presentation of gender. They incorporate elements of both masculinity and femininity into their appearance. Some persons may see them as male, and by others as female. They may live part of their life as a man, and part as a woman, or they may live entirely in their new gender role but without plans for genital surgery.
Men and women whose gender identity more closely matches the other physical sex are termed transsexual. These individuals desire to rid themselves of their primary and secondary sexual characteristics and live as members of the other sex.
Transsexuals are diagnostically divided into the sub-categories of Primary or Secondary. Primary transsexuals display an unrelenting and high degree of gender dysphoria, usually from an early age (four to six years of age). Secondary transsexuals usually come to a full realization of their condition in their twenties and thirties, but may not act on their feelings until they are much older. Typically, secondary transsexuals first go through phases that would be self-assessed as being a “crossdresser or transgenderist.”
A New View of Gender
While the above
categories are the generally accepted classifications both within the gender
community and among helping professionals, during my work with gender folk I
have come to the belief that there is only one cause and one conflict—but
there are many reactions and adjustments to it. I have gradually come to the
conclusion that one’s coming to terms with the conflict between one’s
subjective knowledge of their gender and one’s need to be “normal”
fosters the conflict in all gender folk. I also feel that for most physically
male gender folk, the male persona is an artificial construction produced by
the early adolescent individual (age 12 to 15) in order to fit in and be like
everybody else. I feel that the desire
is to avoid ridicule and being hurt not to be like every one.
experience is that this is not so much a need to be normal but a shell to
protect her from the world, to shield the difference that kids can not
tolerate. I also feel that this happens at an earlier age more in the 4 to 6
year old mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Physically Male/Subjective Female Individual (M/F)
Because a child’s greatest desire is to be normal (like everybody else), the great majority of M/F individuals create an artificial self which meets this goal. They are often so successful at this that they not only fool everyone else but themselves as well—at least part of the time, in some way.
Once created, M/F gender folk live in their male role—a 3-D personality with its own goals, likes and dislikes, values, hobbies, etc. Although indistinguishable from the “real thing,” it isn’t themselves. It is an artificial creation for them to be able to fit in. This is achieved at the expense of denying, locking away, their natural female subjective gender. Their desire to be “normal” has denied them their natural selves. But, as the nagging reality of the deception becomes harder and harder to suppress, one has to express their true subjective gender somehow, in some way.
For most, dressing is the obvious compromise. If one cannot be female, one can at least express femininity. But the more one expresses one’s true self, the desire for more becomes greater. Some individuals continue expressing themselves more and more, others panic and purge only to start again later.
gender identity classification (crossdresser, transgenderist, transsexual,
etc.) is due to each individual’s adjustment to first the conflict between
one’s subjective gender (Self-map) and their need to be “normal,” and
later to the conflict between one’s subjective gender and their “male
persona.” There is no objective “best solution,” only a subjective,
personal best solution.
After years or
decades of living, working and building within their male persona, it is often
too “expensive” to give up the life, perks, family, etc., one has built
up—in order to go back to basics and have an emotionally 12 year old girl
grow up—and live in a once male 40+ year old body.
Explains the rather poor taste in clothes!
However far one is able to go toward dismantling the male persona and allowing their female subjective gender to develop, one generally seems to have the following three levels of transition:
1. Recognition that one’s Self Map (subjective gender) is different from one’s Physical Gender—This can take the form of a need to express one’s “feminine side, or” seeing one’s self as a “woman trapped in a man’s body,” etc. This stage is mainly concerned with physical/surface changes such as crossdressing, passing, makeup, wigs, etc. In this first part, many gender folk don’t even venture from their own home and often have a juvenile (before age 15) and later, an adult phase. The so called “Primary Transsexual” is an individual who never constructs a male persona and therefor never accepts their male genitals or challenges their female Self Map/subjective gender.
2. Accepting one’s Self-Map (Subjective Gender)--This stage is more varied than the first and consists of changing one’s life to fit one’s Self-Map. These changes may only involve bringing one’s significant other and loved one’s into their dressing behavior and expanding their activities (“crossdressers”) or continuing to express their Self Map and dismantle their male persona by starting hormones, electrolysis and public dressing. One develops towards a “comfort level” with one’s subjective gender and its conflict with their male persona.
this does not say is that the progression is not inevitable. That the comfort
level varies and that there
should also be limits negotiated between partners.
3. Becoming one’s True Self—This is the last but unfortunately least experienced part of transitioning. This is the stage when that little child trapped inside an artificial persona in order to fit in breaks free, grows up and has their own life—often with markedly different values, temperament and interests.
It has been my observation that the female subjective self needs little help in growing up and developing if the overpowering weight of the male persona is removed from it. The M/F individual has spent years, decades developing, reinforcing and living in their male role. Dismantling the male persona takes a great deal of time, effort and outside help. In those individuals identified as “transsexual,” their subjective sense of happiness and success is directly parallel with the degree they have dismantled their male identity, not on their age, physical size, hormones, surgery, etc.
have a very different view! First the realization that this is not inherently
wrong or sinful and that it is not the dismantling of the male persona but the
integration, blending of both sides of our nature with an overall acceptance
of who we are.
this point I will diverge from Dr. Bushong and say that from an insiders view
I agree with the doctor but that I feel that he has left out the spiritual
aspect! For those of us that are Christian in virtually every case a burden of
guilt, shame and fear! This is a factor in many aspects of our perception of
ourselves and prevents us from coming to terms with our T* nature. This is due
to the feeling that being T is inherently sinful based on two mistranslated
passages in the Bible.
are Duet 22:5 and Cor.6:9
22:5 KJV. The woman shall not wear that which pertainith unto a man. Neither a
man put on a women’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the
same verse directly translated from Hebrew
cause or force a warriors weapon to be used by a woman or weak person: neither
dress a warriors armor on a woman or weak person for To YAHVEH the God of Host
disgusting is such to do. Or
the God of Host considers disgusting those that force the weak or women to
KJV. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be
not deceived neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate
nor abusers of themselves with men.
best translation of this is actually
you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male
prostitutes( gigolo) nor homosexual offenders.
suffering, fear, rejection, that is unfortunately an integral part of who most
of us are and at the beginning of our second selves. We are often cut off from
others and more specifically from God.
is the part where I will try to tie this all together You have learned the
whys and wherarfors.
Seeing one’s self as a “woman trapped in a man’s body,” a need to express one’s “feminine side,” often means that while there is a separate persona the Male construct is also there overshadowing that very immature other!
he is in tune with his fem side why does he act like a macho jerk, in
heels? That is because he is! The male persona, the shell that protects her,
is decades thick. She may never break through to acceptance and integration.
If she does start to come out she is at best very immature, and as with most
early teens has really terrible taste in clothing and makeup. He/she is
reacting to what to what she perceives is feminine, but like the artificial
nails, they are glued on but not a part. There is also the factor that since
she gets to” be”, so seldom she has to make the most of it. If she is
going to dress up why not really dress up. Her ideal of the perfect woman is
formed like everyone else's by the culture which we are a part of.
do you get out of it other than a large pain?
Hopefully increased sensitivity, more ability to share feelings,( a
very un male trait) and he/she will be very grateful.
last thought. It is impossible for us to understand what we are putting you
through and yes as usual you are the giving party.
you . Sandra
Carl W. Bushong holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, and has been in private practice since 1977. Dr. Bushong is the Director of the Tampa Gender Identity Program (
Carl W. Bushong,
Ph.D., LMFT TSC / TGIP
Sandi Stewart holds a degree in Anthropology and has been a Cross Dresser for 43 years. Only recently has my wife been told. I hope to spare other wives some of the pain that I have caused her.
the two Bible passages. I have
a letter that is intended for churches with a very detailed discussion of
these two passages which contain the original Hebrew and Greek text and was
aimed at the most conservative churches I will be happy to E-mail a copy.
Send mail to The Gender Tree with
questions or comments about this web site.