All transgendered people come to a dilemma at some point in their lives — they ask themselves, why do they feel that way? Where do their urges and needs come from? Is it something genetic? A mental disturbance? Rebelling against established norm? Or something entirely different?
In any case, what comes first to our minds is the question “why”. Why do we feel differently? What is wrong with us? Why don’t others feel the same?
The second question is normally: “is it wrong to feel that way?”
In my mind, my answer to the second question was always “yes” up to 1995. If it weren’t “wrong”, people would naturally dress up like they wished, every day of their lives. But even genetic females don’t do that; they dress for casual looks, most of their time, and with their hectic lives, have no time any more to “dress up”. All they care is about a clean top and a pair of jeans that fit well. Genetic males, on the other hand, totally reject the notion anyway — in their minds, a clear boundary is defined for you at birth: you are born as male or female, and thinking otherwise is either being mentally ill, or a genetic misprint somewhere.
This was rather hard to explain. Since I was born, I was naturally conditioned by our society that males dress as males, and females have the choice of what they dress. Things were simply like that; thinking otherwise was deviant behaviour.
So, in my mind, if I imagined that I’d like to “go against the rules” in such a radical way, I needed therapy and adjustment. Clearly this wasn’t something that one consults with one’s parents or close friends. They would just stare at me with a shocked expression in their faces — and recommed therapy. As quickly as possible.
Luckily for me, in 1995 the Internet already had quite a lot of information on transgenderism. It patiently explained, to anyone that might care to read it, how blurred these traditional definitions are. Physical sexual attributes do not correspond to mental gender. Oriental philosophies always recognised that, and they recommend a balance between both (yin and yang) — even Classical philosophy has the concept of dual gender, anime and anima, both present in our minds, and a balance between those is to be sought. Statistically, however, the vast majority of people will have their gender aligned to their physical sex. In most cases, this comes from the education you get as a child — boys are treated like boys, girls like girls — and, to a degree, behaviour is also determined by hormonal stimuli. Thus, inbalances of hormones can indeed shatter the balance, but these cases are also a minority. Just because most genetic males have much higher levels of testosterone than genetic females, this doesn’t mean that they have to be aggressive all the time (which, of course, they aren’t). We certainly are influenced by our physical bodies — that is not deniable — but we human beings have a mind that allows us to override our physical urges.
Thus, unlike most animals, we can starve to death with hunger — even if we have a plate in front of us. We are the only species on Earth that can do that. Similarly, we can postpone most of our bodily functions — not tremble when we’re cold, not sleep when we’re tired, not rush to the toilet when we really really need to go, or not take our hand away from the fire when it starts to burn the flesh. The human mind is amazing, or even scary to a degree, but it certainly allows quite a lot of overriding of our bodily functions, even if they lead us to injury or even death.
What this means is that we can indeed have different mental genders than the ones exhibited by our physical bodies. This was most astounding to learn, back in 1995. Naturally, there is a very vast array of possible definitions. On the very extreme we have gender dysphoria — literally, people having been born with the wrong sex, and they will need surgery to correct that. Then we have people who will live as a mix of both — the public has been aware of she-males, transgendered individuals with all physical attributes of genetic females — undistinguishable to most, even if most of those attributes are the result of plastic surgery — but they would never consider changing their penises into vaginas. Next would come transvestites — usually labeled as crossdressers who desire sexual pleasure while crossdressing (either in a heterosexual or homosexual way, or sometimes even bisexual). And finally, heterosexual males without any attachment to sexual fetishism or homosexuality were simply labeled cross-dressers.
All those “labels” are often a source of confusion, and not all sources describe them consistently. Still, it was clear that they were blurred and not so clear. Up until the 1960s, for instance, all issues regarding cross-dressing were attributed to homosexual behaviour — there was simply no other explanation available. However, the mental processes and motives are not so clear behind cross-dressing. On individuals with gender dysphoria, true transsexuals, they will certainly want to become the sex they are in their minds — there is no “homosexuality” here, they were simply born with the wrong sex. Some, however, only “feel” they belong to a different sex that the one they were born with when they cross-dress — in a way, they are heterosexual when dressing according to their genetic gender, but while cross-dressing, they feel attracted to individuals of the same genetic gender. Hard to explain, and even harder to understand. Others are sexual fetishists — they’re fully heterosexual, but enjoy additional pleasure with their partners when cross-dressing (and one would assume their partners enjoy it as well!). Other types of sexual fetishists, while cross-dressing, engage in homosexual behaviour — also not so easy to understand, since most homosexuals will feel attracted to good-looking partners of their own sex, and not persons of their own sex dressing as the opposite one! (But there are tastes for everybody!)
In my case, it’s far more simple! I don’t dress for fetishism; in fact, the whole idea is disgusting for me. I dress, mostly, for myself — a very egotistical point of view. In a sense, you can imagine it as a form of a masturbation aid — I arouse myself because I’m seeing, in the mirror, a woman looking at me. A woman that dresses just like I love women to dress! Also, I get a much stronger urge to make love with my partner, who is a heterosexual genetic female — I have absolutely no drive to engage in sex with a male. In a way, I would even describe myself as slightly homophobic — I usually feel uncomfortable around male homosexuals, although I do my best efforts to hide that. Still, it’s ironic that the best way to drive most of them off would be to dress up as a woman, since that would turn them off very efficiently 🙂
Now this was a whole new concept for me at the time. Sure, it was obviously a pretty good explanation of what I feel. I was clearly neither homosexual, not gender dysphoric. I love women to the point I would like to dress as one — but that doesn’t mean I have any interest in males (even when dressed as a female), or that the thought of changing my sex crossed my mind. Well, of course it crossed my mind, but I know my limits — specially after reading so much on the subject! — and it’s not something so lightly done — it’s not like dying your hair or painting your nails. If you’re transgendered and wish to change your sex permanently, you should better know very well what you’re doing — there is no going back. Definitely that was not “me” — I don’t particularly like to be male, in the sense that I don’t think that “being male” is such a big advantage in today’s egalitarian society, but I don’t loathe being male to the point that I wish to do something about it! The only thing I know is that I love women — so much, in fact, as to want to look like one.
For a heterosexual without any cross-dressing urges, this simply doesn’t make sense — if you like women, just take them 🙂 For me things are not so simple. For instance, I was never an adept of video pornography. As a heterosexual male, I don’t get aroused by seeing other guys having sex with women I can’t have. A movie with lesbian females, or just having a woman “showing off” what she’s got, is far more exciting to me. After all, I’m not in the least interested in seeing well-endowed, naked guys running around and showing their “instruments” to girls — there is absolutely no appeal to me to see that kind of thing. I usually fast-forward to the scenes that really interest me: a stripping scene, a woman having an orgasm, or just posing erotically. That is what excites me, and it always will! Thus, mainstream pornography simply doesn’t appeal to me…
While reading so much about all types of “transgenderism”, it became slowly clear what I was. Just a male heterosexual with the urge to dress as a female. The whole sexual fetishism attached to it was plainly not what excited me — just the drive to feel female clothes on top of my body. And that, in turn, was very exciting, as I soon found out.