The term Gay Transsexual has always confused me or more accurately upset me once I realized it was specifically aimed at a kid like I was. I admit I was a pretty screwed up kid because well being transsexual in the 50's was not exactly a recipe for growing old or surviving. Dr. Benjamin once told me he thought possibly 1 in 5 kids like me made it to 20 years old because without family help, basically non-existent in 50's, the only option was to run away to the streets and that usually meant the sex trades.
I saw too much of this when I moved to New York City in August of 1969. My best friend Lana was a drag star in the village and she had started on the streets after running away from an abusive father that figured beating her half to death weekly would make a boy out of her. She was only 14 when she left her upper Midwest roots and moved to the "big city" as she called New York. She got off a bus and was grabbed by a pimp and was on the streets within a week. She survived but she once reluctantly told me none of the other girls like her were "around" any longer. She made a deal with the devil to get off the streets.
In one of my mom's early letters to Benjamin she asked is my "son" gay? He tells me he is a girl and he likes boys. This was in late 1958 when I was still 12 and outside of Harry who had a clue about us. Harry had never met me so he couched his response because I believe he did not want to scare my mother away. I was of course oblivious to these written conversations and probably secretly planning my next attempt at suicide which is a sad commentary but true.
I had no idea help was available and I was a sophomore in High School and the bullying was getting worse and every single time I saw my neighbor Chuck I felt he was planning another attempt to rape me and I was on my third shrink for 1958 and my grandmother was making life hell for my mom because when I refused to dance with a girl in a dance lesson class her friends got wind of it and nobody including me wanted her any more hateful than she was towards me. Her tool of choice on me was a shillelagh or the knotty torture stick. She never dared use it when mom was around but I was chased many a time with that flailing in her hand and threatening my ass and legs. Sometimes I probably deserved it but I am not confessing too much.
The gay transsexual is what Blanchard, Ovesey-Person, and even Harry used homosexual initially, thought feminine or effeminate boy transsexuals were. I was feminine because my body produced less testosterone than most women but I was not effeminate and certainly did not initially flaunt it or demand to dress as a girl because it wasn't going to happen and I might have been nuts as I was constantly told but I was pragmatic enough not to push that boundary at least initially because the consequences could have been quite ugly. The refusal to dance with the girl was the beginning and yes I know girls dance with other girls but I was not exactly thinking straight right about then because of a vicious encounter with another in a long line of incompetent idiots in the field of Psychiatry. I attempted suicide about a week after that incident.
If someone had told me who I respected like Benjamin that I was a gay transsexual I am not sure what I would have done but I doubt if it would be constructive. I liked boys because I was a girl not because I was a boy. It would be a very long time before I understood gender identity is between the ears and not between the legs. Benjamin began to realize that early on but it was common practice to use the term "homosexual" for kids like me. Thankfully I never heard that from Harry because once I was diagnosed as Type VI with total psycho-sexual inversion things were different, He told my mother it was as natural for me to like boys as it was for any heterosexual girl.
I would have been very upset if I had been a Type V and because I liked boys they called me gay. I am unclear how they can call someone a heterosexual transsexual because they are asexual or not interested in boys because if gender is between the ears then liking boys for a MTF transsexual of any type is normal heterosexual behavior and liking girls is lesbian and liking both is bi-sexual and who cares really except many of these assholes, Blanchard and pals, still love using that term as one of the two types of transsexuals and some claiming to be "true" or "primary" like to use that term to denigrate the kids like me of my era who were labeled with it by people like Person-Ovesey and and to label the young kids today that are like we were.
Thankfully there are people like Dr. Spack at Childrens Hospital Boston Gender Clinic for kids that avoid that term and help children in a careful manner without labeling them. I remember when I first read Harry's book in 60's I asked him about the terminology and he sheepishly said you are not gay and I know he felt differently and was not pleased with the results of the Person-Ovesey study.
It is quite difficult dealing with kids defined as gay transsexuals because there are not that many around. Harry estimated maybe 1 in 200,000 to 300,000 kids are total psycho-sexual inversion transsexuals which kind of defies the odds because of what I read in the media but then I am unsure how many have been correctly diagnosed. I will leave that issue to someone more qualified than me. When I met Harry he might have dealt with one or two kids but not a lot because it required parental help and most kids on the streets would not go to a doctor out of fear of being returned home. A lot of kids were also so physically or psychologically abused at home they pushed things deep into the recesses of their minds in order to survive.
The single thing that I always come back to was how confusing it all was. I asked Harry more than once why did I think I was a girl? To be honest I don't even think he knew why other than psycho-sexual inversion but how does that happen? Before my first meeting with Harry mom asked Harry many times why does he insist he is a girl? Initially because it was around September of 1958 when they started communicating I don't think even Harry knew why. It was part of what drove me emotionally because it seemed logical if I was a girl people should just let me be a girl but as we all know it just does not work that way. Therefore the multiple suicide attempts because as a girl how could I possibly live as a boy?
My older brother Ray was my best friend and still is. Until I got upset at some things when I entered High School I never pushed boundaries between boy-girl but Ray has always told me it was just so obvious but that was just who I was and how I looked and how I moved and how I spoke. I guess you are what you are whether you try to be or not. I certainly couldn't have changed because I didn't know I was acting like a girl if that makes sense. I thought I was bullied and bloodied because physically I did look female because of the low testosterone levels but Ray says it was not that but everything sort of "said" girl and that caused the confusion. I guess I can believe that but I am certainly no expert.
If you haven't figured it out by now I am still searching for answers. One of my best friends in NYC was an Italian girl and I hope I am half the girl she was. She always thought she was a girl and I loved her to death as a friend but she looked like Dick Butkus, her words not mine, and it broke my heart because she will always be beautiful to me. She had total psych-sexual inversion and was another Type VI but why did she look like she did and not like me. Everything she did was feminine and she killed herself because she felt doomed and that was a week worth of crying for all of us. I just don't understand the vagaries of this transsexual crap sometimes. It just seems so freaking unfair to so many.
If I could snap my fingers and there would never be another transsexual brought into this world I would do it in a heartbeat.