Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Person Ovesey Transsexual Study

Sorry for the serious post being first but someone just really upset me on a blog.

She has a particular point of view and is one of the politicos involved in the histrionics between those transsexuals not upset with the use of the term transgender and those totally offended by the use of transgender. She quite obviously belongs to the totally offended  side which is her right.

If you disagree with her myopic view of the world or tick her off you will be moderated and your posts will be deleted.  She is decidedly biased against anyone she perceives as elitist when in reality she is the elitist.  Ask her a hard question and be banned.  Open discussion is not part of her mantra.  She is correct and anyone who even disagrees partially is the enemy.

The Transsexual Phenomenon

The above link is to The Transsexual Phenomenon written by Dr. Harry Benjamin and was the first  true study of us. I am surprised how few have read it.  I am stunned how few actually understood it. I am staggered by how many have misinterpreted it and misquoted it or twisted what was said.

I guess I will date myself right here and now. Harry Benjamin was my doctor and my friend. He saved my life and in 1970 -71 asked me to talk to a Dr. Ethel Person as part of a study and I agreed although I am inherently distrustful of shrinks but I found her pleasant and quite nice and we became friendly.

When the study was published I was stunned to be honest. I was part of the study and I knew two others who were part of it and friends of mine. We never talked about anything mentioned in the study directly. We talked about our lives as children until the current time and at the time I was 24 and had close to enough money for surgery. In point of fact Harry might have been more upset by the study than anyone.

Person-Ovesey Study Synopsis

Aria Blue uses the study to support her view of young transsexuals (children) who may or may not have been effeminate and I believe her misguided belief that she is this type of primary transsexual Person-Ovesey portrayed which is neither homosexual nor heterosexual as a child which is a baffling concept but driven to get a sex change at all cost. I believe they had a total of 20 participants in the study.  Harry had 150+ in his book. Who understands it better? Driven at all cost does not fit many older transitioners so where does the study fit them in?

I am posting this to refute what they found because as one of the participants in the study I walked into her office and asked her where I fit in late 1974 and she said Secondary because I liked boys so I was a homosexual transsexual where by Harry's definition I was a Type VI high intensity transsexual and according to Harry the study was bogus. My avatar is exactly how I appeared to her except I was better clothed.

They based the Secondary categorization on the fact I confused a lot of people over my gender beginning by age 10. I was never flamboyant or openly feminine. At the time I did not know my T level was measured as a child and never exceeded 20 which along with genetics fit my appearance. I was exceedingly shy and withdrawn because I was bullied and Dr. Person was never informed how early I started hormones which was very early. I did have a boyfriend starting at 14 but I NEVER mentioned him to her primarily because I had no memory of him. I told her I realized at around 11-12 I was very attracted to boys despite the fact they often hurt me. I told her how I just wanted to meet a nice man and get married and have lots of sex. I wanted sex badly.

She did ask me about a picture of me taken with a noted guitar player when we exited a club in 1970 when it appeared in a local New York paper after we had begun meeting and I told her he was just a friend and it was the truth at that time. She was privy to the few pictures of me as a child and based on this and a comment from Harry that Liz, my nickname, was a very intense transsexual as a child and driven almost beyond reason to changer her sex I was defined as a homosexual transsexual.

She never asked me once if I had ever had sex with a man and we met pre and post surgery. This was intended to be a very narrow focus study and both Person and Ovesey were more interested in homosexual males and their relationship to transsexuals than in a distinct definition of or categorization of transsexuals.

Aria Blue uses the definition change for primary and secondary as an example of the transgender community blurring the "true" definition of transsexuals when it was done primarily to follow the Type V and Type VI definitions clearly defined in Harry's book. Aria Blue is not afraid to hatch the chicken before it was ever an egg to fit her view of herself and the world.

In the future she might be better to choose a more relevant and accepted study and she quite nimbly avoids the simple fact the Person-Ovesey study correlates closely to Blanchard and his fellow loons beliefs in several key areas.



Karin July1992 said...


Thanks for writing this. I read a lot back in the 80s college days when I first realized that there were books about GID and transsexuality. I read Dr. Benjamin's book then and while it moved me almost to tears that there was a reason for my feelings, I couldn't at that point see myself as a TS. The era of Phil Donahue and so on, unfortunately I was too scared and bewildered. But, I at least had a mental understanding. That was huge.

I am a beneficiary of your participation in this study and of Dr. Benjamin's (and his staff's) hard work, keen insight, determination and compassion. I have not transitioned, but likely will (I am in mid-40s now and with a young family, but with a supportive wife). The fact that I can still do this if I wish, but was able to cope with being TS for so many years is because of brave women like you being the pioneers. You and others cannot be thanked enough for this as there are many lives which have been saved because of what went on in the 50s/60s/early 70s. My own among them. : )



Anne said...

Hi Liz.

I too have been directed to your blog by Melissa and find this initial post to be of extreme interest.

It seems that we are roughly the same age and transtioned at just about the same time, (very early 70's) although mine was a less than "conventional transition" and outside the auspices of the "approved" or "recognized" programs. I did not have the time nor inclination to be part of a "study" and was extremely fortunate to have survived the harrowing path that I took.

Frankly, I was quite ignorant of the choices available to me, but I did know what I needed done to get MY life in order and so I did just that. I vaguely remember Dr. Benjamin's study, but at that time, he was still on the East Coast and that might as well have been on another planet.

The good news is that tings worked out very well for me and it has only been since the Susan Stanton affair, that I have ever given any thought whatsoever to my long forgotten past.

Since then, however, I have been continually appalled by the current state of misinformation and politically motivated BS the dominates what passes as conventional wisdom.

Just so you know, I agree 110% in your assessment of Aria, who whie quite brilliant is also woefully misinformed.

While i am pretty sure that you and I do NOT have all the answers, at least we were there.

You have my thanks for popping out of the woodworks as you have. have my contact info. so please, feel free to contact me.


Elizabeth said...


I doubt there was anything that could be construed as an approved approach to transition in the 50's and 60's. Mine certainly was not. I will be 65 this December so we did come from around the same time.

The study I was part of was the Person-Ovesey study and while I still consider Dr. Person someone I like I did disagree vehemently with her definitions of primary and secondary and I made those feelings known.

Aria may be brilliant but misinformed brilliance is still ignorance or worse yet someone not willing to defend their position or views because they fear exposure.


Veronica said...

Thank you so much for the link to Dr. Benjamin's book! I did not know it was available as a PDF. I'm afraid I have not read it. I knew all my life that I wish I had been born a girl, but I was quite ignorant of the fact that I could do something about it beyond fantasizing until I was in my early 50s. I've read some books, but not very many and not older books. When I can make time, I would like to see what Dr. Benjamin himself wrote -- not what others have interpreted.