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Opinion - Who Are The Real Transphobes?

Digging up historical aspects indicates that Gender-non conformity is not new

George (Blyton's Famous Five) was a tomboy.  She would sadly be considered transgender today.

George (Blyton's Famous Five) was a tomboy. She would sadly be considered transgender today.

JK Rowling has been dubbed a transphobe

Transphobia is a neologism that many of us could live without1. In a stricter sense, a discomfort with men and women who violate or seem to shatter the norms of their birth gender by dressing as or transitioning into their opposite sex is not wholly unnatural. It disturbs our sense of human integrity or alternatively, cultural norms. Having said this, many children have been fine with tomboys, or boys playing girls roles while growing up, as epitomised in situations described by the world famous English writer Enid Blyton who was in her time and possibly even now, more influential that J. K. Rowling.

In Enid Blyton’s Mystery Series Books, Fatty (Frederick Trotteville) is clever at disguises and more than once disguises himself as an older woman, typically as a gypsy woman or similar. George, in the Famous Five series is a tomboy who’s actually Georgina but doesn’t wish to be referred as a girl. These books were composed in the 1940s and the experiences described are entirely innocent – in a modern take, George could be regarded as trans, but this is dross on a relatively common phenomenon with young girls, if only it was not seized on as a medical issue as would be more the case, today.

Feminists opposed to questionable transwomen claiming female identities and privileges (men who have not undergone sexual reassignment surgery) have been dubbed TERFS (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and Transphobic2. Famous UK author, JK Rowling has stepped into the firing line of trans-activists by supporting women who have questioned if self-identified sex identities by men, who claim to be women can always be justified. She has received torrents of hatred from trans-activists on the grounds that she is seeking to destroy and eliminate trans identities.

In the meantime, there is a “transphobic” dimension closer to where it can really hurt in the male to female (MTF) crossdressing spectrum, in the context of what has traditionally been recognised as transvestic fetishism, or transvestism. Transvestism referred to men who enjoy dressing up as women, often disguising themselves as completely as possible, typically as a secretive hobby and may socialise with similar men. Today the term is considered dated but is surprisingly popular among self-identified "transvestites" (such as the British potter Grayson Perry). It has however been subsumed under the more inclusive term crossdressing (slightly less specific) and also identities of being transgender. A slew of new words have cropped up to redefine this area such as non-binary, gender fluid and more scientifically autogynephiles or AGPs.

Most transvestites or crossdressers only dress up a few times a month and only do so part time, though full-time crossdressers are veering more in a transsexual (now transgender) direction by identifying as being female in a very real sense. Most crossdressers are largely heterosexual, often married with children and take their male identities and responsibilities quite seriously. They have no wish to be women and even if they fancy themselves as temporarily female, would baulk at claiming womanhood. Having said this, the transgender agenda has been moving in this direction, discussed in Douglas Murray’s recent book, The Madness of Crowds (2019) among several other objective accounts. Gender critical feminists (those opposed to a modern idea of changeable genders) and some lesbians are now engaged in a backlash against the trans-agenda. The commentary is whipping up many native women to wonder what side they belong to in the ensuing woke wars. In the emerging storms as expressed in Twitter, examples of real transphobia are emerging. Here are two examples.

(1) In July 2020, a UK twitter handle begins a thread “Autogynephiles play a long game. They act the perfect partner till they’re established under your roof then casually introduce the topic of cross-dressing like it was an occasional little harmless hobby. Like maybe knitting or growing bonsai.” This is a warning to women who may develop relationships with transvestites – that they could end up with narcissistic men who eventually spend more and more time turning into women and usurp the female partner’s financial and emotional resources in the process. The thread is reproduced below in four panels, reading left to right in sequence. It ends “We OBJECT”. (2) In a similar thread women are warned “if your [sic] with an agp man,,,pack your bags,,,book that flight, cos its game over”

There's a lot of fuss about dangers posed by crossdressing men to women

There are four panels to be read top to bottom in each, and left to right in order of a revealing Twitter thread

There are four panels to be read top to bottom in each, and left to right in order of a revealing Twitter thread

Fear and ignorance from real women need addressing - relationships are with individuals

In short, women are being warned to steer clear of gender variant men, who in any case tend to be a minority and often will express themselves to their partners before entering into a committed relationship with them. These warnings may certainly contain more than a germ of truth. Women often end up in bad relationships and receive far more warnings about entering into them than men, because they are more vulnerable, especially with bearing and raising any children they may have.

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Maybe it’s time that women were also informed that there can be benefits to starting relationships with crossdressing men, especially given that crossdressing will only constitute an aspect of such a man’s identity (identities are things that need to be treated with a measure of caution – something not considered in modern contexts where your opinion or belief is somehow seen as monumentally self-defining)? Crossdressing in all its forms is more common than is generally assumed (this doesn’t imply full cross-dressing, some men may be part crossdressers such as preferring to wear knickers over underpants). Furthermore, many women struggle to establish relationships in a world with increasing loneliness, given longer hours in employment and diminishing opportunities for social engagements, except in slightly more distant online spaces. Indeed, crossdressing will be the last thing most women have to consider about relationships, given other issues such as age or wealth differences, race, religion and approval by parents, friends or relatives.

There is circumstantial evidence3 that women cross-dress more than men (in the sense of wearing men’s clothes) though it may be less sexually driven. MTF crossdressing is implied to be sexual but this is only partially true. One reason that MTF crossdressing has remained so secretive has been cultural, legal and religious opposition. Men are expected to be assertive, dominant and violent (watch any blockbuster Hollywood or Bollywood film) and being an effeminate man may make one highly vulnerable; more to the point, even if it is a harmless hobby, it puts off women and that definitely defeats it as a hobby in a relationship capacity.

Why women are given a free-pass to adopt male clothing fashionably, whereas a man adopting female clothes is seen as regressive is an interesting topic. Things are changing now for better or for worse and it takes a smarter type of woman to keep up with trends and notice that a more metrosexual, feminine sort of man may be, just maybe more loving and faithful than an aggressive alpha male who may constitute a serial adulterer. Suffice to say that perfect relationships don’t easily exist and we may search fruitlessly for decades before never finding even an imperfect relationship.

Women’s fears of crossdressers are grounded in visceral and cultural truths – a relationship with something akin to a eunuch may not get you many babies, if any. On the other hand, most crossdressing men, are actually real men, who also have trouble finding love. This may be the reason that MTF crossdressing has remained so taboo until recently, when many of these men who think they have to be secretive, may constitute wealthy, driven, creative individuals. A woman in their lives may help moderate or re-channel any misdirected orientations or desires.

There are many examples of women who do have successful relationships with crossdressers, though you won’t hear about them much due to spousal secrecy aspects.

The real “transphobes” in the world that most crossdressers at least fear are not commentators like JK Rowling who has been explicit that she is not transphobic. They are real women who fear compromised relationships, egged on by misleading warnings, sometimes highly prejudiced or in error. The term AGP also needs to be seriously questioned – it is an over medicalised, junior synonym to perfectly decent alternatives with historical precedent that most people on a gender non-conformist spectrum prefer to use. As seen in tweet storms exemplified above, AGP is an insult used against the trans community where crossdressing actually has far more complex routes than implied in AGP theory4. Even if AGP is real, it may be seen as one form of transgenderism, where the spectrum is much wider and labels are unhelpful5. This is why it is wrong to generalise, so that heterosexual women in particular can make wise decisions that ultimately any relationships they have are with hopefully, capable individuals and not an unreal, masculine archetype, that may well be over-emphasised.


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