Why did I want to be a girl? Gender Identity and Transgenderism

In the past I was what is sometimes called ‘an occasional TV’. I have gone for months and even years without cross-dressing, but lately I have got back into it again in a fairly frequent (and joyful!) way. I have been taking female hormones for about 8 months, and am starting to grow fairly obvious boobs. 

This is the second time I have taken female hormones; I took them for about six months a couple of years ago, then stopped, which I regretted.

This time I am carrying on with the hormones indefinitely. I don’t know where it’s going to lead or how far I’m going along the transgender path…we shall see. My partner (my wife of 31 years, Rosie) is enjoying the fact that I now have boobs, but also prefers to make love to someone with the requisite male parts below. Her ideal sex partner is perhaps a she-male, which is pretty much what I am becoming. How did this come about?

My attitudes to gender, feminine clothing, cross-dressing, sexual orientation, and to terms like ‘transvestite’, transsexual’, transgendered’, ‘she-male’, ‘drag queen’, etc. have changed and evolved over the years. I’ll get to that presently, because delineating the evolution of my own understanding of these subjects is partly tied up with the development, over the last 40 years or so, of social, psychological and genetic theories and explanations of transgenderism, ‘gender dysphoria’, or whatever you want to call it. 

According to developmental child psychologists, gender identity is established sometime between the ages of 1-2; at 18 months, most babies already have a notion of it, and where they fit in. The prevailing orthodoxy used to be to emphasize the importance of nurture over nature in gender identity development – the idea that one is mainly conditioned into one’s gender (pink for girls, blue for boys, etc.) I could quote the relevant academic references for this, but you’ll have to take my word for it, as this is a blog, not an academic treatise.

In the late 1980’s I did a dissertation for my Masters degree on the development of gender identity. There is still a copy of it in the University of Nottingham library, under my male name – and if you are interested in reading it, you’ll have to contact me through my FFG website (http://www.tgfiction.co.uk/ or YouTube channel (http://uk.youtube.com/user/ambergoth), so I could quote chapter and verse if I wanted to.

But suffice to say that social conditioning was considered to be crucial in developing a sense of gender, conditioning by parents and the wider society from birth onwards, being dressed as a girl or as a boy, and trained in the corresponding gender role, etc. This was very much in line with feminist thinking of the 60’s and 70’s. Girls and boys were conditioned into the acceptable norms of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ social gender roles. Women are ‘made’, not born.

More recent theories on the development of gender identity and sexual orientation have tended by contrast to emphasize the importance of ‘nature’ over ‘nurture’ – it is suggested that much in the way of social bahaviour and psychological traits is genetically predetermined. There have been attempts to identify genetic factors leading to differences in brain chemistry and brain anatomy to explain transsexualism – is the brain of the male to female transsexual more like tha the brain of a woman? Likewise, can a ‘gay gene’ be identified which ‘explains’ homosexuality? Again, I could quote the recent research on one side or on the other – it’s out there if you want to find it – but it’s not within the scope of what I am trying to do now. 

I will just note in passing that I am firmly of the opinion that transgenderism and homosexuality are not just ‘life-style choices’ or ‘sicknesses’ that can be ‘cured’ or overcome with will power or the power of prayer. 

Fundamentalists of any of the three great monotheistic faiths who think otherwise are as bonkers as their religions. Yeah, that’s where I’m coming from, I’m an agnostic (sometimes verging on atheistic) secular liberal humanist and I have little time for god-botherers or creationists, the people of ‘faith’ who try to force their bigoted and intolerant views on the rest of us.

For me then, how did it all start? When did I first have feelings of wanting to be a girl and/or wear female clothing? 

Well. I’ll tell you that next time…

2 responses to “Why did I want to be a girl? Gender Identity and Transgenderism”

  1. Fascinating stuff, Amber. Hanging on for the next installment…..

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