Saturday, December 6, 2008

Call Me Transgenderist?

Thank you all for all your thoughtful comments and e-mails regarding my "heavy" post here on Thursday. You gave me a lot of ideas to consider, but I think my friend Diana hit the nail on the head, i.e., I am a transgenderist.

While I was composing my heavy post (it took me two days to write it), the word "transgenderist" floated in and out of my conscious a couple of times, but I paid no attention to what my subconscious was floating by me. I knew I had encountered that term in the past, but as it floated by, I did not recall its meaning, so I let it go.

But I should have paid attention to my subsconscious because as Diana's comment revealed, my subconscious had something for me. (It is the first time I ever really noticed my subconscious thinking behind the scenes.)


Whereas the terms "crossdresser," "transvestite," "transsexual," etc., are a good fit for me only after some alterations, the term "transgenderist" fits me like a glove.

Don't confuse "transgenderist" with "transgender." Like crossdresser, transvestite, transsexual, etc., transgenderist falls under the umbrella of transgender, but is not the same as transgender.

Repeating Diana's comment, "Transgenderists are persons who consistently live as members of the opposite gender either on a part or full-time basis. Some maintain their original identity in the work place or during formal occasions. Others appear in their new identity during all aspects of daily life. Transgenderists are unique because maintaining both masculine and feminine characteristics is integral to having a sense of balance. However, the outward presentation of these characteristics varies subtly depending on the individual's needs and sense of connection to each gender. Like transsexuals, many are interested in obtaining electrolysis, hormones and even cosmetic surgery to bring their outward presentation in line with their inner sense of self. However, like crossdressers, transgenderists are not interested in Genital Reassignment Surgery."

Adding to Diana's comment, "To elaborate on this distinction, even if a transgenderists lives "in role" as a member of the opposite gender on a full-time basis, what separates them from transsexuals, is that they derive pleasure from and value their genitals as originally developed. However, in most circumstances, it is unlikely that a transgenderist who lives in role full-time will disclose such private information without good reason. Because transgenderists are not interested in genital reassignment, they should not be confused with "non-operative" transsexuals or persons who are unable to have surgery due to financial or medical hardship. Although the majority of non-operative transsexuals live "in role" permanently, most need to adjust to a period of internalized incongruency during the time they are unable to have genital reassignment, if at all. Transgenderists do not go through this period of adjustment, because they are not interested in altering their genitals.

"Like transsexuals who are at the very beginning of transition, transgenderists frequently experience incongruent feelings regarding their gender identity. Unlike crossdressers these feelings persist "after the clothes come off" and the person dresses in their original gender. These incongruent feelings typically can be continuous, lasting for days and even weeks, until the individual recognizes a pattern in his or her needs. Transgenderists stop feeling incongruent when their needs are consistently met by maintaining characteristics from both genders."

Those words come from Gianna E. Israel's excellent article "Transgenderists: When Self-Identification Challenges Transgender Stereotypes," which I urge you to read in its entirety if you are interested.


  1. Yes, Staci -- "transgenderist: seems to fit you. You have a female identity, yet are OK with your physicalia. Vigrinia Pince was a transgenderist also, although she used hormones to develope a large set of breasts -- and coined the term.
    It's good thing to discover yourself... and to courageously accept where this takes you. But being grounded in your self, and who you are, is always important.

  2. That is so poignant and well conceived. It's exactly how I feel. I've really been struggling lately to find the balance. Keep thinking out loud :)

  3. Anonymous --- All the public and private comments I received responding to this post has made me reconsider what I wrote and I may rewrite "my theory of operation" soon.

  4. Jess --- I will keep thinking out loud, but with a soft voice!

  5. This is a dated post from almost 10 years ago but still resonates with me. Is the term transgenderist still in vogue? This is the first time I have come across it.