Saturday, November 20, 2010

Is there really only one kind of transsexual?

I thought I was finished with my friend (sic) and her personal mission to make her point of view the only point of view because she is of course the only one that "understands" the transsexual condition because after all she is a "primary" transsexual as defined in the very limited and flawed Person-Ovesey study and she and all her minions are the only true transsexuals which quite conveniently fits her symptoms and of course she and her minions reserve the right to classify who is and who isn't and call others who oppose their myopic views transvestites frauds etc..

Of course one could say the same thing about me but the only mission I have is not my flawed opinions but the simple belief if you read Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon   you will have a better and more honest idea of what transsexualism is because Harry was and is to this day the only Physician of note in the United States that ever gave a damn about transsexuals and had absolutely no monetary interest in any area of the lucrative business of transsexualism. Harry did what he did because he cared without bias or preconceived notions of who or what we were or are.

This time it is a post called The HTS Myth and as is her normal process she manipulates the truth to fit her myopic view of the world and the paranoid beliefs of her and her minions that they as the only "true" transsexuals are under attack by gay men, transvestites, lesbians, phonies, frauds, transsexuals that are transgendered only, and all manner of other paranoid delusions too numerous and hard to remember. She has what can best be described as a personal "hate list" but of course she is not a "bigot".  Everyone else is.

The following comment stretches credulity. 
Now it’s time to deal with the other weapon the sexologists use against us; the blending of youthful “effeminate” behavior with the TS narrative in order to erase the actual TS condition from the books and finish replacing us with gay and transvestite men.
The standard TS narrative is a mantra that goes something like this:  I was a feminine child who played only with girls’ toys.  I wore my mother’s clothes when I could, until my parents came down on me and forced me to stop.  I thought I was a girl until other people told me I wasn’t.  I was often bullied for being gay as a child because I was so feminine I couldn’t control my behavior.

This is what TS clients learned to tell their doctors and psychs, because that is what they wanted to hear.  Back when this story was passed from one “TS” to another in the early days, it was recited as a litany so that a person could get treatment.  So the common feeling among psychs at the time reflected this, and clients parroted back what the psychs wanted to hear.  This led to the condition later becoming conflated with being gay.  This is the problem as it stands.  The psychs (sexologists really)  currently involved with the TS area want to mislabel us as gay or transvestite, and nobody outside that little clique in the APA seems interested in putting a stop to their shenanigans.

Unlike Aria I actually was around when most of this started and she is per usual off course. Benjamin did the first comprehensive study of transsexuals and even after his book was published in 1966 there was no TS narrative and this certainly carried through until the 70's. If Aria had ever bothered to read Harry's book with her mind in comprehension mode she would realize that few of his first 152 patients were anything like her "narrative" of what a transsexual was or the supposed plot to turn replace poor Aria with gay men and transvestites. I doubt there would be any volunteers for such a perilous thought.

The transsexual Aria describes above is what Benjamin classified as a Type VI total psycho-sexual inversion transsexual of extremely high intensity and totally driven at all costs towards surgery. Harry found very few kids like this and I believe I was the second he came into contact with personally at a young age when we met in late 1959 although the number did increase during the 60's and peaked around 1970 and Harry felt remained consistent at around 1 in 200-300,000 births in the United States based on his understanding. Type VI is very rare which does lead strong credence to the belief most feminine or effeminate boys are NOT transsexual but there just are not that many Type VI transsexuals anyway.

Of the 152 transsexuals Benjamin had met none shared a narrative just a shared experience of pain, suffering, and gender dysphoria. I had never even heard the term transsexual when I met Dr. Benjamin in 1959 so where did my narrative come from? It came from my very existence. Of the friends I had only one of them knew another transsexual until they made it to New York City and that was from a very short time in San Francisco where she met Harry and none of them had a "learned" narrative. In fact none of our stories were remotely alike other than we knew at a young age something was wrong and we either should have been girls, felt we were girls, or wanted to be girls. Some were feminine, some were anything but feminine, and one was exceedingly effeminate.

I was feminine because of very low testosterone but in no way effeminate in a "gay" way as Aria likes to put it. I had no issues and no desires to cross-dress until around 9-10 when I was sure I needed to "practice" since "god" would turn me into a girl and I needed to be ready. That was not a high percentage thought process though and I was basically clueless. This despite being tormented by Psychiatrists and being told I would "turn out" gay or worse. When I realized I liked boys as a girl when I entered High School is when it got rough.

My friend Lana didn't understand her dysphoria until she was around 8 or 9. She just felt wrong was how she put it. Her life went south when she was 13 and realized she liked boys as a girl. Another friend was so masculine yet far more effeminate than either of us and she is the girl that committed suicide off the George Washington Bridge. She was my friend and it was a terrible loss.

Other than realizing as children we were not boys or something was wrong there was never a shared narrative and I defy you to find something in Harry's book that implies there is such a shared narrative at least from the early days and that is the only place that a narrative could have come from in the "early days" as you claim. The myth you want to support and feel has harmed you as a transsexual and has resulted in gay men subverting the transsexual world you believe in is the biggest myth of all. If there was a stereotypical  concept of a transsexual it was the one Person-Ovesey proposed as the Primary Transsexual or YOU!! You belong to the largest group of transsexuals and that is the Type V Benjamin transsexual or the stereotypical "trapped in a woman's body" syndrome or did you magically awaken some day and realize you were a girl?. That is also a myth since few fit neatly into any type of transsexual mold unless of course you get to define your own mold which is quite convenient.

Do I believe certain people learned what they had to say to get help? Yes, I absolutely do because when you are desperate for help as any transsexual is  rejection is not an option regardless of the age but then of course we have to assume you know this.  I would be interested in Aria's narrative as in the Aria story but then I bet it fits neatly into the window you have defined for yourself. I would really like to know when she transitioned and how many years post she is so we have a clue how she has gained this great experience in all things transsexual.

Do I believe there are differences? Yes I do and I do not want those differences lost but only the shallow and weak of mind believe someone can steal their womanhood from them. If you are a woman how does one steal it from you?? Do they repossess your vagina? Do they reprogram your mind? I guess maybe when you are nearing 65 it looks different for the old folk like me. I lived it and had no desire to rule it like others today. I had the life I wanted and have lived it without regret. Instead of worrying about some mythical paranoid collusion to destroy the transsexual you might want to try living for a while.

There is no way to guarantee that someone cannot slip threw the cracks and get surgery that should not but the presumptuous nature of your beliefs make it seem you believe a high percentage of post operative women are transgendered and thus not transsexual and do not measure up to you because you are one of the few "true" primary transsexuals based on you obvious medical expertise as an online savant in transsexualism.If they live and function as women just what is the difference again?

Nobody knows a single thing about you yet everyone must take your word on how everyone should live their lives, decide their alliances, whom to trust, who is transsexual, who is a sock puppet, and everything else related to your paranoia.

All I see is a bunch of liberal elite know-it-all pseudo feminist fools like you and Sandeen masquerading as leaders of the transsexual or transgender  niches you seem to have carved out for yourself with both of you fools worrying about who is what and why I am right and you are wrong. You are both nuts!

Now some pertinent information and facts from Harry's book..

Dr. Benjamin put these paragraphs in his book:

The transvestitic urge (fetishistic or transsexual) contains an element of addiction. Larger "doses" may be required for certain individuals as time goes on. Therein may lie a "progressive" nature of TVism in some instances. If untreated and uncontrolled, "dressing" may be desired more and more frequently and even the idea of physical changes through hormone treatment or through an operation may be gaining ground, particularly in unfavorable - that is to say, constantly stimulating - surroundings. Here psychotherapy and proper guidance at the right time may help, provided a transsexual tendency is not too deep-seated.Such seemingly progressive aggravation of transvestism was rarely noticed under treatment, although it did apparently occur in a few cases. However, later on, these patients proved to be initially unrecognized transsexuals. The opposite was more frequently observed: under estrogen medication, the desire to "dress" became often less demanding and less sexual and the inability to indulge grew somewhat less frustrating. The explanation probably is that the libido was reduced in its intensity through estrogen and since the transvestitic urge is part of the libido, it was likewise lowered. But I am anticipating a later discussion.
The foregoing paragraphs (if repetition may be permitted) apply chiefly to that form of transvestism that is its own purpose, which is to say that it is not the chief symptom of transsexualism. As soon as physical changes are desired, it ceases to be true transvestism, and inclines toward transsexualism (Type IV of S.O.S.; table on page 22). The full and complete transsexual (S.O.S. V and VI) finds only temporary and partial relief through "dressing." I have even met transsexuals who would not "dress" at all."What good is it?" they said; "it does not make me a woman. I am not interested in her clothes; I am only interested in being a woman." That is the true transsexual sentiment.

If the transsexual does find relief in "dressing," to do so would be the first logical advice to be given therapeutically. Its permissive character can be questioned by those who may think of the law before they think of the patient, or who may have insufficient experience along these lines, or who are the type that, automatically, favors prohibition. Too many individuals are that way; what they do not like must be forbidden and punished. Then they are satisfied. I have even met transvestites who dislike (or pretend to dislike) transsexualism so much that they are against estrogen treatment and operation (for reasons of self-protection?). There are also transsexuals who dislike transvestites as well as homosexuals. Intolerance can be found in strange quarters.

I find this quite fitting today. Even in 1966 Harry Benjamin realized this is not black and white and it is not singular in definition because the human species is so diverse and no two are the same so why would some fool believe there is only one type of transsexual? Could it be a self doubt issue in the complainant?

The following is what Harry wrote about concerning motives for surgery.

Four Motives for the Conversion Operation
 My clinical impression of the more specific reasons why transsexual men want conversion surgery caused me to identify four principal, fundamental motives within the general picture of sex and gender disorientation.
The first, foremost, and most frequent is the sexual motive. It concerns particularly the younger transsexuals. Their sex drive is not that of a homosexual man but that of a woman who is strongly attracted to normal heterosexual men. In love-making, their male sex organs are in the way and must be altered so that the lover can be accommodated in as normal a manner as possible. A wellfunctioning vagina is therefore indispensable. Marriage with the adoption of children is the goal for most. But not infrequently, promiscuity, prostitutional or nonprostitutional, appears tempting for a period of time. "Let me try out my new toy for a while," one very attractive young "convert" pleaded with me when I pointed out to her the disadvantages and risks of promiscuity and prostitution.
The second motive, always present, but often overshadowed by the sexual, is the gender motive. Especially for the older transsexuals, the urgent need to relieve their gender unhappiness can be powerful and impressive. "Would you want the operation," I frequently asked, "if there could never be a chance for any sex relations with a normal man?" Some hesitated to answer, then said they would have to think it over. Those were the younger ones in whom the sex motive predominated. But others replied unhesitatingly, "Yes." They admitted they might lose something of their future happiness, but the gain would still be much greater than the loss. "I will feel free for the first time in my life," said one forty-year-old, referring to her "imprisonment" in a male body.
The third motive is even more universal. It is the legal motive. The constant fear of discovery, arrest, and prosecution when "dressing" or living as women is a nightmare for many. They want to be women legitimately and have a legal change of their sex status. Alas, red tape, if not personal antagonism of some bureaucrats, is their powerful enemy. The impossibility (in the great majority of cases) of changing name and status (on the birth certificate) while male genitalia are still present, is a strong incentive for surgery. The legal change is somewhat easier afterward, but by no means easy. Red tape is a rather enduring adversary, especially in some states of the Union. (See Chapter 9. )
The fourth motive is a social one and applies only if the transsexual patient happens to have a conspicuous feminine physique, appearance, and manners. It may constantly embarrass him through snickering, pointed remarks, and knowing looks. It has even endangered some of them through physical attacks by moronic, would-be "he-men," sometimes undoubtedly latent homosexuals who were "protesting too much." The appearance of the very feminine-looking young man could also be a serious handicap in procuring a job.
"I hated to go out with my son," a mother once remarked to me. "He embarrassed me no end by his looks. Now he made the change and lives and works as a girl (waiting and hoping for the operation). Now I am proud of my new and attractive 'daughter.' A former nasty remark from someone is now - if anything a wolf whistle. I love to be seen with her."
From personal observation, I could certainly verify the attractiveness of this otherwise completely inconspicuous "young lady."
In many patients, all four motives, especially the first three, play a part, merging and overlapping according to individual traits and circumstances.

Of the 152 patients Dr. Benjamin had actually treated in both New York and San Francisco at the publishing date 51 had surgery performed. they crossed the following age boundaries with the youngest being 20 and the oldest 58 so lets end this BULLSHIT about late transitioners spouted

23 in their 20's
14 in their 30's
11 in their 40's
3 in their 50's

In the 51 that had surgery the first evidence of transsexualism is as follows with added information:

Early childhood 43
Puberty 2
Unknown 6
Evidence of childhood conditioning was as follows:
Positive conditioning 12
No evidence 28
Doubtful evidence 10
Early history unknown 1
In perhaps twenty-three patients, the sexual motive appeared to be dominant. The gender motive seemed to prevail in twenty-eight cases. A sharp separation is not possible. As explained previously, the legal motive exists in all cases and the social motive has to be thought of in only a minority.
Of these 51 patients, twelve married as women. Also, twelve were married previously as men. Five have experienced married life from both sex angles (as a male, unsuccessful, some not even consummated); five were divorced as females and three remarried one or more times.

The following were Harry's conclusions.

My observations have forced upon me the conclusion that most patients operated upon, no matter how disturbed they still may be, are better off afterward than they were before: some subjectively, some objectively, some both ways. I have become convinced from what I have seen that a miserable, unhappy male transsexual can, with the help of surgery and endocrinology, attain a happier future as a woman. In this way, the individual as well as society can be served. The rejection of the operation and/or treatment as a matter of principle is therefore not justified.

For the losers of the world that would dismiss some because they have had surgery but do not fit the "image" or the "personal" belief of what a transsexual is because they identify transgender I give you this paragraph from Harry's book.

One thing seems certain. While great conservatism should prevail in advising, consenting to, and performing a conversion operation, all possible help should be given those who present a fait accompli by having undergone the irrevocable step of surgery. It seems to me to be the duty not only of physicians, but also of the community, to pave the way as much as possible for such persons so that they can succeed in their new pattern of life as members of the opposite sex.
Please read the last paragraph again

In other words you and I are no better nor any worse than anyone else that has had surgery. I am not better because I was the young feminine boy and neither is Aria and her self described non-feminine transsexual. We all swim in the ocean of transsexuals.

The following was part of Dr. Benjamin's conclusion in Appendix A.

 Concluding Remarks and Outlook (December 15, 1965)

The collection of statistical data in the preceding pages was closed at the end of 1964. Toward the end of 1965, a total Of 307 cases of the transvestite-transsexual phenomenon were observed. Among them were 193 males (S.O.S. IV, V, and VI); 62 of them were operated upon. Besides, there were 27 female transsexuals; 11 of them had either hysterectomies or mastectomies or both performed. The rest of the males were transvestites.
The additional number of clinical observations has not materially changed a tentative facit drawn from the clinical material presented in this book. A few definite factors seem to have emerged.
The etiology of the transsexual state is still largely obscure, but a light seems to blink here and there in publications from the laboratories of brain physiologists.
Childhood conditioning and possible imprinting undoubtedly have a connection with the development and the intensity of the transsexual phenomenon, but can only be considered as contributory or as one of several possible causes. The presence of an inborn, organic, but not necessarily hereditary origin or predisposition appears more and more probable. Further research, aside from psychological and endocrine studies, will most likely have to concern itself primarily with work in two areas: genetics and neurophysiology.

For the tools of the world  this is what scientific research entails and is about. facts, facts, facts, and more facts not the preconceived ideas of pseudo scientists like  Money, Zucker, Blanchard, and others trying to prove preconceived concepts about the relationships between gay boys and feminine transsexuals or whatever pet peeve some lay person has.

Again there is not ONE specific type of transsexual.  It would be and is convenient for some to propose such hypothesis and they do for their own myopic and prejudicial belief that it makes them better. They will tell you they are not elitists and will rail against old timer elitists because it is what they do to defer closer analysis of who is the elitist. They probably do it because they have serious inferiority complexes based on the self-belief they have been persecuted because they are transsexual.

I have yet to meet a transsexual that has not faced some issues but we survive and we carry on. At least in my time we did not try to crap on others because we thought we were better. Maybe the old days in some ways were better and maybe we should get back to basics and use the understanding Harry had for us verses the loons of today.

Aria's last paragraph is interesting.

Don’t tell your childhood experiences to these people.  Don’t speak to them of anything.  Deprive them of their research subjects.  We must maintain this information blackout until this group is gone from the scene and are replaced by people who don’t want us destroyed.  And make no mistake, if these people get their way they will do their best to wipe us from the face of the earth.

Somehow I think Harry is looking down and shaking his head at this stupidity. There are people out there that care and understand. Dr. Spack at Children's Boston is certainly one such person who deals with children. Not talking to Blanchard or someone of that ilk may delay things but the more relevant information available means there is more information available to refute the myth purveyors but then again if you are a myth purveyor I guess information is your enemy.


Zoƫ Suzanna said...

There is no "one" kind of anything. No "one" true transsexual; no "one" true Buddhist, no "one" true Christian and so on.

There is no "one" true path.

Ariel said...

Usually, I have trouble reading long posts on screen, either because reading online is difficult or because of ADD. But you had me from start to finish. This was simply an excellent post.

One thing that I love about Dr. Benjamin's observations is that even though he created categories, he realized that people don't always fit neatly into them. He would probably have called me mostly Type V but with elements of Type VI, and I recognize myself to come extent in all four reasons for reassignment surgery.

Thank you, Elizabeth.

SuzyQ said...

I saw Dr. B in 1969. I had met a few sisters but didn't become friends with any until I had been Suzy for a while.

What I discovered going through the Stanford Program was that were many different paths that brought us to that point and people tried to cope with being TS in many different ways.

But the biggest myth today was that we all had this shared narrative.

I co-ran a counseling center. Rather than telling people what to tell we told them things to sugar coat, like how they made their money when you couldn't get legal ID until after SRS and women's jobs paid next to nothing.

But the mix of people then was the same mix one sees today.

Only I met fewer of the "I'm real and no one else is" gang in those days.

But society was different in those days. Less rugged individualism and more "we are family".

Anne said...

Hmmmm....And what planet did you say you were from?

Elizabeth said...


I am not certain I understand the question.

Elizabeth said...


Harry was the only one that did not have an agenda other an objectively studying us. It is the reason everyone including Aria and her minions dismiss Harry and so don't others in this so called community.

They listen to fools and hacks because they validate their beliefs and I will take Harry's mind over any of the clowns I have read and some lay person who has her own agenda.

Harry rules and the others drool.

Elizabeth said...


You saw Harry in Frisco. There was no narrative because there was no communication capable of producing the access to make a narrative available. Harry's book was far from a best seller.

I think we were individuals back then but we cared for each other and I have never met a gay or lesbian that hates us. They might hate HBS and some of the fools and the hat coming out of there or other hate mongers.

I am still waiting for a reason and I mean a valid reason why gay men would want to subsume the transsexual condition.

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

I am sorry Elizabeth. I was addressing my comment at Mes. Cooke and her tiresome pronouncement about "how WE were all family". I for one can clearly state that her little cabal, (err, sorry,"family"), was qute happby to show me the door when it becaome obvious to them that I was quite unwilling to conform to their "narrative" of hippie beads, frizzy hair, bell bottoms and radical socialism.

Maybe if Ms. Cooke had spent some time in the Middle East or Europe, or even somewhere other than the hollowed halls of Stanford, in the late 60's she might have a different idea of family.

Elizabeth said...


I don't know anything about that hippy movement or crowd and I just wondered what the comment meant. I figured I would get a lot of crap from certain people but the one thing they were not going to do was pull the crap about being a tv or a cd. Guess it worked.

We have an honest assessment albeit 46 years old produced by a true researcher yet they consider him not relevant.

Anonymous said...

Harry Benjamin’s book “The Transsexual Phenomenon” was published around 45 years ago and up until that time had seen 152 patients and around fifty were posted through for conversion surgery. Dr Benjamin did not cease practise until around 1972 I believe it was and I don’t know how many patients consulted him after the book was published. I wonder does the ratios and type categories he presented in his book hold true since his book. I don’t know. However for the sake of argument let us conclude that they do otherwise he may have added an appendix to later editions of his book.
My point here is that much research and reporting has been placed before us since that work and the question must be asked as to wether his excellent work still stands the test of academic scrutiny. One point to hold in mind is that his numbers in statistical terms were very small. 51 conversion operations from a total of 152 patients can hardly be described as a large pool of knowledge. Though perhaps more of the 152 patients obtained surgery later. It’s a fair assumption that Suporn carries out 150 operations in one year and has been for a number of years.

Personally I really like to see Dr Benjamin’s work repeated today on a worldwide basis so that his work can be verified and taken further in light of the research Dr Benjamin urged be done. Perhaps much of the bitter conflicts between the interested writers around the internet blogs might be settled. Though given the entrenched positions, closed minds and vested interests in particular outcomes I doubt anything would be settled.

Perhaps influenced by Kinsey’s preference for scaled categories (Kinsey and Benjamin were friends) Dr Benjamin established three categories based on Kinsey’s homosexual scales, breaking down into six types, three types of transvestite and three types of transsexual not six as is often misquoted. Let me focus first on the transvestite groups. The way I read the book these types were separated in terms of intensity and the motive for cross dressing. In separating the transsexual groups Dr Benjamin also uses “intensity” to separate his groups i.e. Transsexual non surgical, transsexual medium intensity (perhaps late transitioners might arguably be placed here) and transsexual High intensity.

Elizabeth said...


By the time the book was published 62 or so patients had surgery and it must be remembered this is the only study where there was no possibility of a narrative as some say because very few people knew other transsexuals and there was no community in either NYC or Frisco where he maintained offices.

The reasons so few had surgery is simple. There were few places where you could get surgery in the US and then areas in Europe were shut off to Americans. Many waited for years to find a surgeon and they changed prices at the door sometimes.

There is little chance today of getting an objective look at the issue since there is a narrative that people can memorize which may or may not be the reason for the increase in patients. If you want to hear the narrative go to the English HBS site.

The one thing I know from my years of writing to Harry was the sexual preference percentages changed. In my time we basically mapped directly to what the normal percentages would be for women in relation to heterosexual, lesbian, or bisexual.

There seems to be a much higher percentage of lesbians among the MTF post women which is somewhat puzzling. Harry knew and accepted the fact there were lesbians among us and one of my closer friends was one and harry told her if the surgeon asked tell him what he wants to here.

I am sure if Harry was alive today he would have changed how he labeled things but the categories would be the same and the realizations that categories are not totally exclusive would remain.

His numbers were statistically valid because they were spread over a decade or more and none of the so-called studies shouted about today come close to the effectiveness and honesty he put on paper. He knew this was not black or white and he didn't know everything.

He cared and I know many a kid that never paid Harry a dime and I know this for a fact because the first kid a friend and I supported through this process went to harry and Ihlenfeld and the bill was to be sent to me because she and her mom had nothing. I never got a bill and asked why and Harry just said, paraphrasing, "she needed help and I figured I would do my part like you and Lena are doing yours".

How many today would do that?

Anonymous said...

2Elizabeth I actually wrote a lot more than that but the limitations of the blog parameters did not allow me to post the rest. I hear what you say but please read the rest of what I wrote as a continuation of the last piece.

Anonymous said...

While writing his book, Dr Benjamin was consulted by Arnold Lowman later known as Virginia Prince. Prince even in the early sixties was well established with her “Transvestia” magazines. Rumour has it that Dr Benjamin refused Prince conversion surgery but acknowledges that he learned a great deal about transvestism from Virginia Prince. Indeed they were relatively friendly. Prince described herself as “transgender” using the earlier term coined by Magnus Hirschfield. Prince was vehemently against conversion surgery publically, despite seeking it in the early sixties.

A strong case can be made to describe Dr Benjamin’s Type IV “non surgical transsexual” as transgender and not transsexual. I don’t think this would be particularly controversial. It is the next two categories and the boundaries that separate them, that seem to get the internet blogs and comment columns running hot. I believe Aria would like to describe type V medium intensity transsexuals on the Benjamin scale as transgender and reserve type VI as the only transsexual group. Of course it is this modification that raises the temperature everywhere the issue comes up because other interested parties would say “If you have surgery, you are transsexual” But then there are folks who probably fit in the type IV group who say “well I’d have surgery if I could afford it or it was available on medicare or if I didn’t have an obesity problem or if I ………….” The reasons or excuses why not are almost endless, some valid some not.

There is an argument that is often presented saying that people will handle their feelings of being in the wrong body differently and nurture during development must influence how well someone copes with their transsexuality. They argue that their feelings were strong but their circumstances prevented them from doing anything positive about transsexuality or that ignorance of available treatments were a factor, family and social pressures etc. You might say that pain is subjective and that different people will handle it differently and that transsexuality is similar. It’s persuasive isn’t it? But then you discover that the person may have married and fathered children.

Now I am making no judgements here, I’m keeping my own views out of it at this stage; but you could argue that fact is the border between type V and type VI because surely no type VI could manage the necessary to father children. Some people are persuaded by that argument some are not. It is vested interests that cause the temperatures in debates to rise and the people involved seem unable to put self interest and egos to one side and debate reasonably.

Ultimately, it is research via the sciences that is going to settle these issues. It is the type of work being done by Dr Norman Spack in Boston that will prove pivotal in the future treatment and the way transsexuality is handled in the coming years. It is the research that Dr Benjamin urged be done that so far has failed to produce definitive results that will settle these issues.

To Elizabeth I say this; I understand your natural loyalty to the physician that in all probability saved your life, I feel the same about mine. Dr Benjamin, great pioneer and caring doctor that he was did not get everything spot on correct. I don’t think that was his fault he was working with very small numbers and within a profession hostile to his subject. Unfortunately there are no Harry Benjamin’s and an awful lot of Blanchard, Baily, Zuckers, Money’s and McHughs around today. Added to which a great many “inmates” are in charge of the organisation if you know what I mean. You write well Elizabeth and we are of the same generation. I don’t like the hate stuff either but perhaps it should be remembered we are dealing with people who have been badly damaged and make allowances.

Anonymous said...

To Elizabeth I say this; I understand your natural loyalty to the physician that in all probability saved your life, I feel the same about mine. Dr Benjamin, great pioneer and caring doctor that he was did not get everything spot on correct. I don’t think that was his fault he was working with very small numbers and within a profession hostile to his subject. Unfortunately there are no Harry Benjamin’s and an awful lot of Blanchard, Baily, Zuckers, Money’s and McHughs around today. Added to which a great many “inmates” are in charge of the organisation if you know what I mean. You write well Elizabeth and we are of the same generation. I don’t like the hate stuff either but perhaps it should be remembered we are dealing with people who have been badly damaged and make allowances.

Elizabeth said...


I am glad I am still up. First off Harry never consulted with Virginia Prince. Dr. Benjamin knew Prince from his studies of transvestites and it in no way was in part or influential in his study of transsexuals that was primary for the book.

Prince first coined the term transgender in an article in a magazine in 1969 long after Harry's book was published. Your rumor is about Prince is entirely bogus.

Well you might like to use the term transgender but Type IV is transsexual just not someone Harry would at least immediately recommend for surgery. I actually knew one and Harry was correct.

First off Aria is 100% wrong. She is not Type VI she is the Type V because she was not someone suffering from complete psycho-sexual inversion which is the definitive cause for what is described as the feminine transsexual and are not asexual but very attracted to men.

Aria would not know what high intensity transsexualism was if it bit her in her freaking ass. She was not an early transitioner. She wants to remove Type VI because she knows she is not that and prefers the opinion of two shrinks called Person-Ovesey and their study of 20 transsexuals of which I was one. They defined primary as type V.

The only comprehensive study actually performed by a single physician/researcher is the Benjamin study. All the other studies are done with mostly second hand data with little interaction with patients.

I am loyal to Benjamin because quite simply he was correct and not a single researcher since Harry has proven him wrong. I know Dr. Spack in Boston personally but he deals only with kids 21 or younger which is a focused group of kids with gender issues but the majority are not transsexual.

Personally I would like to know what he got wrong but mostly I read comments or rumors without facts.

Harry treated MTF and FTM and among them were the first patients to get surgery FTM and MTF in the United States. He understood our sexual preference varied like it did in people not born transsexual. He understood this is not black and white like some want you to believe.

I respect your opinion but you are dead wrong on Benjamin. Because it was 45 years ago does not make it relevant. The only relevant data he needed was more post-op results which he recognized.

Elizabeth said...


I didn't mean to be snippy by the way if I came off that way.

The inmates only run the asylum if people let them run it. Like I tried to say above show me a single study where a doctor or researcher met with every patient and studied them with caring and kindness with out the bias of a preconceived idea and I would be happy to recognize them.

There has been no such person because it is all about money today.

Anonymous said...

@Elizabeth actually I meant Prince consulted as a patient of Benjamin's and not the other way around. Yes it did read a bit snipy but I guessed you didn't actually mean it that way. So no apology is necessary. we are not so far apart idelogically speaking Elizabeth. I was careful not to state my own opinions in this post save that I think Benjamin did not get everything perfectly correct and I'll write on that later. Mostly he was right

Anne said...

It is really nice to see a couple of us "oldsters" comparing notes and that is how I see this.

T hink that we can all recognize that this entire TV vs TG vs TS issue has become highly politicized with the very real lifes of those affected being tossed about like so many chips on a poker table by what I like to refer to as the Infamous Gang of Four BLZB, et al., including Richard Greene who was the guy that pronounced me "possibly gay, but "it", (GID), should pass with puberty".

My point is that while some would agree that I might/could be described/classified/labeled/ "TYPED" as a TYPE VI, in terms of intensity of need or drive for conversion, I was off the scale.

Whie the thought of "conversion", (Harry's term), terrified me, (I mean to a 15 y/o kid this was beyond sci-fi to the level of miraculous), I really saw no other VIABLE options. And believe me. I tried everything to dodge tis particular bullet. It just seem TOO hard...TOO out of reach of even a really smart, well educated though poor street kid from East LA.

The bottom line is I did what needed doing and things worked out splendidly. Am a type 5, 6 or 7? Who know? Who cares. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, is it not? And therein IMHO, lies the meat of the matter.

Why not start with successful, fully assimilated long term post-ops. Try to find measureable similarities. Then work back through the more recent post-ops, say 20-30 years since SRS and then the youngest group...10-20 and so on.

Of course to me this is just an exercise since the answers seem readily apparent in the |'hard science....

Kathryn Martin said...

It seems to me that what is missing from the entire transsexual discourse is a well researched phenomenology. When you create cathegories of something the moment you speak them out loud they are in some ways an untruth. I have not as of yet read Benjamins work, but from comments others have made he was very much aware of his.

In my view there the only narrative is a political one. The rest are biographies of individuals. And it is not the right of anyone to presume those.

I appreciate your post, thank you.

Anne said...

"Phenomenology" Def: a philosophical doctrine proposed by Edmund Husserl based on the study of human experience in which considerations of objective reality are not taken into account

Right...Just what we need, more TG psycho-babble.

Sorry Charlie, I'll take a pass on this one, but 'OH...THAAANNNK YOUUU SOOOOOO MUCH.' YuK!