“Transgender” Origins

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As many of you know by now, I’ve recently been interested in uncovering never before considered historical records relating to how the term “transgender” evolved over the years.

One often-cited source, claims:

As far as we can see, Virginia first used the term ‘transgenderal’ in print in 1969. She does not seem to have used the term in print again. In 1978 she changed the term to ‘transgenderist’ and this then became her preferred lexical compound of the ‘trans- ‘ + ‘gend-‘ type.

Now it is important to grasp that Virginia is a forthright lady. She considers her usage to be consistent, clear and necessary. Those of us who don’t agree with her have ‘got it wrong’! Theoretically, she is convinced that her sharp distinction between sex and gender is correct. She considers any other use of the term ‘transgender’ to be confused, confusing or wrong.

We agree that her usage is consistent, although on a personal level she seems to have found it difficult to maintain the strict separation between sex and gender – notably in regard to her female hormone intake and breast development. However, to us, the significance and importance of her position lie in its consequences.

- Dr. Richard Elkins, 2004

As a recent article I wrote for the Bilerico Project demonstrably proves, multiple sources were using derivations (or perhaps independently constructed? – could someone research please?) of the term Virginia is credited for creating. Dr. Elkins states that “transgenderal” evolved into “transgenderist” in 1978.

As I’ve shown, the term “trans-gender” was used in the following ways:

  • 1975, the term is used to refer to rock star Alice Cooper (1)
  • 1979, Christine Jorgensen, rejects “transsexual” for the term “trans-gender” (2, 3, 4)
  • 1988, the term is used to refer to transsexual people (5, 6)

Additionally, the term “transgender” was used in the following ways:

  • 1971, the term is used in theatrical circles (7)
  • 1974, the term is used to refer to transsexual surgery (8)
  • 1975,  linguist uses the term in reference to non-gender specific pronouns (9)
  • 1982, author of scientific paper assumes reader to be familiar with term (10)
  • 1984, term is used to refer to fashion (11, 12, 13)
  • 1985, Christine Jorgensen, rejects “transsexual” for the term “transgender” (14, 15, 16)

Lastly, the term “transgendered” was used in the following way:

  • 1970, in reference to the movie “Myra Breckinridge” (17, 18)

Until recently, those engaging in the debates about the term “transgender” have never had the opportunity to consider the above historical records or their implications.

Today while rooting around in the Transgender Archive, I found a new source that is germane to the generally accepted narrative of the term’s etiology.

Consider the following:

1984.Tapestry.Is42.Cover.sm

The TV-TS Tapestry, 1984

Consider the context with which the terms “transgender” and “transgender community” are used in this 1984 trans community article:

1984.Tapestry.Is42.TransgenderBehavior.2sm

The ‘Origins’ and ‘Cures’ for Transgender Behavior

by Roger E. Peo, PhD

Just about every transgendered person I have ever talked to or heard about had at some time or or another been very concerned about how s/he ‘got that way’. For some it is an obsession – to find out at all cost – why they feel the way they do. Others have an equally strong drive to ‘cure’ their behavior and stop the feelings of wanting, sometimes, to be the ‘other’ sex. The  reasons for these driven searches are many fold. In some cases it is to ‘please’ a partner who is unable to deal with a behavior that seems so at odds with what society considers ‘normal’. Others find the dichotomy between their physical being and their mental/emotional state is so painful that relief, in any form seems better than existing  in some never-never world. Most transgender situations where there is pain seem to be ones in which the person has not been able to resolve the ‘split’ in their existence.

Almost any book one chooses to read on the subject offers some explanation on the origin of transgender feelings. One theory says that prenatal hormonal effects sanitize the individual so that a later environmental situation will trigger the latent transgender feelings. Another theory says that early environmental and/or social situations ‘force’ the individual into the behavior. There is no evidence that any of there theories explain ALL the various types of transgender behavior that have been observed. It is not even clear whether transvestism and transsexualism are different aspects of the same phenomenon or completely different phenomena. A new book, Sex and the Brain by Durden-Smith and Desimone does not deal…

1984.Tapestry.Is42.TransgenderBehavior.3sm

… directly with transgender behaviors, but the authors do offer same interesting speculation on human sexuality. The main theme of the book is that male and female brains are structurally and functionally different. These differences seem broader and more deeply ingrained in humans than had been suspected. It is hypothesized that these dissimilarities were, and still are, necessary for the two different reproductive functions that males and females perform. If evolution and research are any indicators, these disparate functions have been enhanced as humans evolved to their present state of development. It can be shown (in lower mammals) that these different brain structures can be achieved by altering hormone levels in critical periods during gestation. As a result, genetic males can be given varying degrees of female brain structure and genetic females can be given varying degrees of male brain structure. Either will then function in a manner more like the other sex.

From there research results on could draw the conclusion that transgender feelings are a result of prenatal alteration of an individual’s brain toward the other sex’s structure even though the obvious biological characteristics of the individual do appear to be different from people who do not have transgender feelings rather than an environmental/social one.

Suppose all of the foregoing assumptions/theories are correct? – SO WHAT? How does that help the adult (or even teenage) transgender person? It is far too late to change (physically) the brain structures  that ‘cause’ the ‘problem’, even if we had the slightest idea of how to go about it. The real problem, as I see it,  is our society’s unwillingness to accept forms of behavior that fall outside of the stereotypical ‘normal’ male and female models. Not all societies on this earth are so rigid – but again, that doesn’t help the person with transgender feelings. To change our society requires broad and in-depth general education on human sexuality that begins with our children and teaches more than reproductive facts. Until this happens, the transgender person will still be ostracized and misunderstood. They will perceive themselves as misfits and heap upon themselves much guilt and rejection. Is there a realistic solution given the the above situations? Yes! Most of what has to be done has to be done by the transgendered person with help from others in the transgender community. First, such a person has to stop looking for a scapegoat – whether that scapegoat is a biological structure or a societal structure. If her/his biology really causes the ‘problem’, short of reassignment surgery, there is not much that can be done. If society is the issue, then choices are few and most will opt to stay in the society they know, even if it rejects them. As a result, one has to ‘pick themselves up by their bootstraps’ and see themselves as worthy, responsible and lovable human beings. This can not be accomplished alone and that is where the community comes in. Through organizations such as the Tiffany Club and concerned professionals, the person who is struggling with transgender feelings can begin to put aside the guilt and fear, then go on to find the unique solution for their own life that provides them relief from the pain while not hurting those around them.

The above sounds simplistic – but it isn’t. Coming to terms with yourself and seeing yourself as a person of worth is probably the most difficult ‘birth’ that any human being ever makes. In the end, it is the cure that is truly possible, for the only person we can really change is ourself.

Questions:

  • Note the way in which the author assumes that the reader understands the term; is it significant that in 1984 the author assumes that the definition of “transgender’” is already fully formed the the reader’s mind?
  • How do the ideas of this 1984 article mirror ideas found within the “transgender community” today?
  • In what way does this historical record fit the historical narratives favored by some in the TS separatist movement?
  • Might one consider this article representative of one branch in the term’s evolutionary process?

Note the variant uses of the term:

    • Transgender community
    • Transgender  feelings
    • Transgendered person
    • Transgender behavior

Note that the author seems to be using the term in a way that is generally thought to exist only in the post-1990s era:

There is no evidence that any of there theories explain ALL the various types of transgender behavior that have been observed. It is not even clear whether transvestism and transsexualism are different aspects of the same phenomenon or completely different phenomena.

The author seems to be using the term “transgender” to refer to all the constituent groupings captured under the “transvestism and transsexualism” taxonomy. Is this particular context from 1984 represented in the way the term is generally used today?

Chronological and Etiological Considerations

From whence comes the word “transgender”?

How do these official reference points reflect the historical record? My research shows that as early as the year 1970 the term was used by non-trans news media to describe a movie about a supposed transsexual. Knowing this, is it still appropriate to claim that Virginia Prince coined the term?

Consider the following from an article in which Prince is interviewed:

In her view, if you’re not a transsexual, you’re a transgenderist – a term she coined and uses to identify herself. In fact, she considers sexual reassignment surgery a mistake for anyone, and doesn’t really understand one’s identification with transsexuality.

Additionally, the incredibly informative website “A Gender Variance Who’s Who” states:

It is sometimes said that Prince coined the term ‘transgender’. What she actually coined was ‘transgenderist’ for a heterosexual transvestite who goes full time. This is by structure and by meaning significantly different from the word ‘transgender’ which we now use.

It is obvious that Prince’s use of her 1978 (Can anyone corroborate/disprove Dr. Elkins’ date through another source please?) word is not consistent with the way the media used the term in 1970, how it was used by in theatrical circles in 1971, how it was used by the medical community (to refer to transsexual surgery) in 1974, the way linguists used it to reference non-gender specific pronouns or the way it was used to describe a gender-atypical rock star in 1975, or the way a post-op transsexual woman used it in 1979. Did the term truly originate with Prince or is it more accurate to state that Prince’s word “transgenderist” was perhaps only one evolutionary branch of the term’s actual etiology?


Historical Document Disclaimer:

As I continue to publish historical documents relevant to the debates going on around the term transgender, I will include this disclaimer in hopes that it will cut down on having my position strawmaned to death.

The ideas found within the transgender community came from somewhere; they didn’t magically pop into existence on January 1, 1990. My intent in making these historical records accessible is to dispel some historical inaccuracies some within the TS-not-TG group popularize. I continuously find ideas that are purported to have originated within the so-called “transgender Borg”/“slave master” community sometime in the early 1990s and which was then supposedly thrust upon an unsuspecting transsexual community were in fact, championed by transsexuals and others prior to 1990.

I find that I agree with practically everything those in the moderate TS-not-TG group assert with only one major exception: Many assert that the “transgender umbrella” idea doesn’t refer to a group of unique allies who find unity in a common cause. In fact, most transsexuals do not feel that the we should be segregated away from all of our allies in our continued fight for equality and, as these historical record continue to reveal, transsexual people of history did not seem to have a need to rip the transsexual community away from other communities to go it alone.

For a view that very closely resembles my own views on this issue, check out The Death of the “Transgender Umbrella” by Mercedes Allen. My reservations about this article are summed up nicely within the comment section by Dr. Jillian Weiss:

Great article, but you can’t create a movement to “not be transgender.” Critique is valuable, but by itself, it can only alter an existing movement, not build one of its own. Movements have to be for something. If we could create a viable “transsexual movement,” I’m for it. But it is unlikely that such a movement can occur at this point in time. Very unlikely. Although I agree with the idea on a theoretical basis, I don’t think it will ever go beyond talk.

So, if you take Allen’s article and combine it with what Weiss had to add, you’d have a near perfect representation of my views about the TS-not-TG debate.

22 thoughts on ““Transgender” Origins

  1. Cristan in your disclaimer you state" I find that I agree with practically everything those in the moderate TS-not-TG group assert with only one major exception: Many assert that the “transgender umbrella” idea doesn’t refer to a group of unique allies who find unity in a common cause. In fact, most transsexuals do not feel that the we should be segregated away from all of our allies in our continued fight for equality and, as these historical record continue to reveal, transsexual people of history did not seem to have a need to rip the transsexual community away from other communities to go it alone"
    I'm wondering what your source is that most Transsexuals don't want to go it alone and please do not use the "Injustice at every turn" survey as that survey was specifically targeted to those who identify as Transgender and are connected in some way to the LGBT and Transgender community. Despite being posted for one year online through probably every Transgender and LGBT site plus distributed through land based sources it only received just over 6400 responses out of an estimated 700,000 people who would fall into the groups dragged into the umbrella. Then also consider that the number of post-op transsexuals in the USA by Lynn Conway is easily in excess of 30,000. Please change your wording to reflect that fact otherwise you may find yourself facing a legal challenge do to your false claims. You do not have any legitimate claim to the assertion that the majority of Transsexuals support the use of the word Transgender.

    1. Why not use "Injustice at every turn"? When it asked how you identify, it allowed the survey taker to make multiple choices based solely upon their own personal self identification. In the survey most transsexuals also self-identified as being transgender – exactly the same way that I do. I am a post-op transsexual woman who is part of the Houston transgender community. It seems as though you are setting up a dichotomy in which one cannot be a real transsexual if they claim to self-identify as being transgender. If that is so then you are setting up a taxonomy that is simply not used by the majority of people – transsexuals included.

      If you need a citation for that assertion, please reference an English language dictionary by looking up the word "transgender". Additionally, if you'd like to get a feel for the use of transgender vs. transsexual, you can use Google Trends: http://www.google.com/trends?q=transgender%2C+tra….

      The above but two objective (ie, non-subjective) sources.

      You assert that "Injustice at every turn" was exclusively for individuals who only "identify as Transgender and are connected in some way to the LGBT and Transgender community" — would you please cite your source for that? You assert-as-fact the following:

      "…despite being posted for one year online through probably every Transgender and LGBT site plus distributed through land based sources it only received just over 6400 responses out of an estimated 700,000 people who would fall into the groups dragged into the umbrella."

      Really? Again, please cite your source.

      I mean, I have to question the accuracy of your assertion when the survey itself explicitly disproves your statement:

      Over four months, our research team fielded its 70-question online survey through direct contacts with more than 800 transgender-led or transgender-serving communitybased organizations in the U.S. We also contacted possible participants through 150 active online community listserves. The vast majority of respondents took the survey online, through a URL established at Pennsylvania State University.

      Additionally, we distributed 2,000 paper surveys to organizations serving hard-to-reach populations — including rural, homeless, and low-income transgender and gender non-conforming people, conducting phone follow-up for three months. With only $3,000 in funding for outreach provided by the Network for LGBT Health Equity, formerly the Network for LGBT Tobacco Control, we decided to pay stipends to workers in homeless shelters, legal aid clinics, mobile health clinics and other service settings to host “survey parties” to encourage respondents whose economic vulnerability, housing insecurity, or literacy level might pose particular barriers to participation. This effort resulted in the inclusion of approximately 500 paper surveys in the final sample.

      When I compare your statement with fact, what I find is that you seem to be coming from a place grounded more in belief rather than fact. You are mistaken in practically everything you asserted as being fact concerning this survey. I have to say, I find that most in the extreme separatist movement share that common quality: a belief system not supported by the factual record.

      You then go on to make laughably stupid appeal to emotion (fear):

      "Please change your wording to reflect that fact otherwise you may find yourself facing a legal challenge do to your false claims."

      I have to say that this is probably one of the stupidest things I've yet heard an extremist say. It certainly seems as if you are the village idiot in a village of extremist idiots.

      1. Talk about being an extremist calling people village idiots when you put one of the answers in your own reply oh well some people. But anyways since you asked for it I'm more than happy to disprove you it does seem rather easy though when looking at the lies you are spewing. Here's your first source complete with a statement from one of the lead authors of the survey. “Dr. GRANT: Surveys on family life do not ask questions on sexual orientation or gender identity. So community advocacy groups have to do that work that the government and the general population does not do, which is just sort of track what goes on in our communities so that we can look at what our needs are. We spent a year calling transgender-led and transgender-serving organizations all over the country and asking them to provide a contact person who would disseminate this survey in the communities they were working in. So our sample is a bunch of folks who are connected in some way to transgender LGBT communities through organizations, some of them social, cultural, family oriented, anything that you can imagine.”Just in case you missed the key comment here it is again “We spent a year calling transgender-led and transgender-serving organizations all over the country and asking them to provide a contact person who would disseminate this survey in the communities they were working in”Did you read that one year calling Transgender-led and transgender serving organizations. Wouldn't that be liking calling Republican led and Republican serving organizations and asking them if they like being called Republicans? But wait there's moreIn Mara Kiesling's own words “There was a series of four questions that had to be answered in logical ways for the responses to be accepted and used. First, you were asked “Do you consider yourself to be transgender/gender non-conforming in any way?” Only people like you who said “yes” were allowed to continue.” So the only way someone was allowed to take the survey was if they identified as Transgender or gender non conforming. Just so you know I refused to take the survey because I don't identify as Transgender or gender non-conforming.In that same link someone who refers to themselves as a “Gay Community Hostage” left this interesting fact filled comment”Mara you say this study represents the demographics of the USA.But it only represents a very small percentage of the TS/TG population.Lynn Conway who by the way uses both Transsexual and Transgender in a way that lumps neither together did her own research in 2001 states that there is 30,000 to 40,000 post op transsexual women living in the USA.Add to them pre-op Transsexual women,Post-op Transmen and pre-op transmen and all those who identify as Transgender and your survey seems less impressive.I would love to see a survey of just those who have a verified clinical diagnoses of Gid and have been legally prescribed hormones and or had surgery or both.They could be either TS or TG identified but would be given the freedom to identify as the one they prefer exclusive of the other without pressure.Here's the link http://www.bilerico.com/2011/02/injustice_at_every_turn_study_of_trans_discriminat.phpJust so you can see it you answered your own question with inaccurate information that still proves me right “Over four months, our research team fielded its 70-question online survey through direct contacts with more than 800 transgender-led or transgender-serving communitybased organizations in the U.S. We also contacted possible participants through 150 active online community listserves. The vast majority of respondents took the survey online, through a URL established at Pennsylvania State University.”Something else for you to consider they mention that there are 800 Transgender groups in the USA yet they were only able to get just over 6400 responses to the survey. That means with all that exposure to the word they still could only get a small fraction of the estimated 700,000 population to take there Transgender survey. That means only one out of every possible 109 respondents took the survey that is less than one percent of the total estimated population of 700,000 and your claiming that the majority approves of the word Transgender yeah right whatever.Notice what it says in your reply Transgender led or transgender serving community based organizations. Again considering the estimated number of people that fall into groups that would be considered as under the umbrella is 700,000 Lynn Conway who is very respected in the community estimated the number of post-op's in the USA at between 30,000 and 40,000 in 2001 it is now ten years later care to guess how many there are now? despite how high those numbers are and the fact the survey was pushed out to every corner of the Transgender community for one year only a small fraction of the potential respondents answered it. Now consider this if your precious word transgender was so widely accepted why didn't more people take the survey considering how hard it was pushed and for how long? Also consider that even though the specific target was Transgender identified people over 300 still responded they weren't comfortable with the word transgender. Believe it or not I respect the fact that your scared of what life will be like for you now that the word Transgender is dead. Let me give you some friendly advice quit telling lies and apologize for the ones you've told. Work towards building alliances with people on the things that are universally agreeable.Except that not all Transsexuals wish to be part of the LGBT community and realize that even though they don't wish to be part of that community it doesn't mean that they don't support you it means that you must respect their rights to not be part of that community.Think of it this way we may all be Transsexual but the only separatist are those who are moving away from that identity instead of embracing it. Also understand this Cristan I don't have to give you or anyone else a reason why I don't want to be called Transgender or part of the LGBT. I don't answer to you or any Transgender led organization nor do you or they have the right to speak for me or accuse me of things I haven't stated. So in effect what I am telling you is to quit telling lies and get over yourself because you have no power and the word Transgender can and never did apply to everyone but only the smallest group less than one percent of the larger population that doesn't identify with either it or the LGBT or any Transgender organization.

        1. Yes, apparently they spent a year preparing for the survey and executing the survey. You claimed:

          Despite being posted for one year online through probably every Transgender and LGBT site plus distributed through land based sources…

          Do yo understand that your citation does not support your assertion? The survey itself states that the sample was gathered over a 4-month period.

          Also, are you able to grasp the equivocation you’re engaging in here? You seem to be pretending that the survey team is using YOUR definition of the word transgender and not the definition found in English language dictionaries. If the survey excluded transsexuals, how is it that so many (~half) were able to identify being “transsexual” as being their strong self-identity. Almost 3/4 claimed “transgender” as being their strong self-identity. Obviously there is some overlap and unless you are prepared to conclude that unlike Christine Jorgensen (who self-identified as being transgender), no transsexual would primarily identify with the word transgender as a more agreeable synonym for transsexual, a majority of those surveyed were transsexuals.

          I know you feel the idea that they contacted 800 groups is significant, but in Houston we have well over 25 various TG groups alone:

          We have a Christian TG Group, Buddhist TG Group, TG Yoga Group, Fitness TG Group, Social TG Group, FTM-only Social TG Group, TG motorcycle group, TS group, Post-op group, Crossdresser group, activity group, FTM support group & a FTM social group, SO groups, TG AA group, TG history group, activism group, POC TG group, a TG group for promoting unity in the TG community, TG youth group, parents of TGs group… and doesn’t even include the College and University groups or the non-community based groups like those through the Montrose Counseling Center, HACS, MCCR Church, etc.

          I agree that the survey represents only a small portion of what is the trans community; I never said it didn’t. However, just because this represents a survey sample of the overall population, you can’t then conclude that there is no correlation to the overall population. At the same time, we can’t conclude that this is this survey – or ANY survey – perfectly correlates to the overall community. ALL surveys like this are samples and just because they are samples doesn’t mean that they are worthless or that they are priceless; they are only indicators.

          Now consider this if your precious word transgender was so widely accepted why didn’t more people take the survey considering how hard it was pushed and for how long?

          This is an argument from ignorance; a lack of evidence isn’t evidence of lack.

          I noticed that you chose to focus on this sample survey and not consider the possible implications of the google metrics or the problem that the English language currently defines transgender as being someone who may be transsexual. Isn’t it interesting that from the google metrics that the context in which the term “transgender” is mostly used refers to transsexual people? Look to the right side of the metric table.

        2. For someone that claims such a high knowledge of the community one of two things are missing either you have little or no support group experience or your looking at this through rose tinted glasses. In any support group I've ever sat in the majority self identified as transsexual. But then as you got to watch them enter into hormones and transition you could could then get to see them reach the conclusion that they never were really transsexual to begin with. In the last group I was in the majority of it were crossdressers who tried transitioning. One of those who detransitioned has been trying to warn an obvious fellow crossdresser against taking hormones because he regrets how they effected how he thinks.Then there are those crossdressers who go all the way through it and become men with Vagina's I'm sure that if you were at least truthful with yourself you'd acknowledge their existence. I stand by what I said and the only value that I'll give the Injustice at Every Turn Survey is the fact it proves the Transgender Label and forced LGBT inclusion has deadly consequences and has little support. I am in constant contact with a local transgender support group members and I believe they are on the verge of throwing in the towel on the word Transgender and of LGB affiliation. They've come to realize that by having the group located in an LGBT building and using the LGBT affiliated word Transgender it is costing them members. The group did much better when it was outside LGBT space and had three times the regular attendees. They all know that if they drop the word Transgender and move the group out of LGBT space that I'll return. You can continue to support your false belief that the word Transgender is a great thing or you can open up your eyes and realize that the Transgender and LGBT communities are nothing more than an insignificant part of the big picture.

        3. For someone that claims such a high knowledge of the community one of two things are missing either you have little or no support group experience or your looking at this through rose tinted glasses.

          Please paste into a reply where I claim to "high knowledge of the community".

          In any support group I've ever sat in the majority self identified as transsexual. But then as you got to watch them enter into hormones and transition you could could then get to see them reach the conclusion that they never were really transsexual to begin with.

          Wow! I've not observed that phenomena in the Houston community.

          Then there are those crossdressers who go all the way through it and become men with Vagina's I'm sure that if you were at least truthful with yourself you'd acknowledge their existence.

          Of course! Out of the last 15 years, I've known one person who did this. They didn't get HRT from a doc, wouldn't go to the transsexual group because we had a rule that you needed to dress at the meetings, wouldn't go to therapy and went to some unknown doc in Thailand. I never claimed that stuff like this doesn't happen. I don't know that it is statistically significant though.

          I am in constant contact with a local transgender support group members and I believe they are on the verge of throwing in the towel on the word Transgender and of LGB affiliation.

          Local? Local to you? Are you saying that you have some friends who think like you and are in a group that you frequent?

          BTW: Is this your comment or another amym440? http://www.bilerico.com/2010/12/comment_of_the_we

          They've come to realize that by having the group located in an LGBT building and using the LGBT affiliated word Transgender it is costing them members.

          Wow! How strange. We have a huge transsexual membership.

          They all know that if they drop the word Transgender and move the group out of LGBT space that I'll return.

          Really? How did they arrive at the conclusion that the only single varible that's changed since then was a word and a location? How do they know that it isn't just the location? Or meeting time? Or maybe leadership? Is their a funky smell in the building? Is the decor drab? Hows the parking? Hows the neighborhood? Did any of these variables change as well when the group moved? Does the meeting recharge the "batteries" of your membership or is it just a lame bitch session where people whine about how everything sux?

          You can continue to support your false belief that the word Transgender is a great thing or you can open up your eyes and realize that the Transgender and LGBT communities are nothing more than an insignificant part of the big picture.

          Why in the world would I take up your position? You've not been able to support any of your assertions, have resorted to logical fallacies time and again and are a member of a group that is dying. I'm a member of a large and thriving community and I've provided objective evidence to support my assertions. As they say, "the proof is in the pudding" — how many trans clinics have you set up? How many groups did your separatist group set up? How many policies have you changed? Do you have your own center? Do you own and run your own social services? How many transsexual surgeries has your separatist group funded? Did your group make it safe of trans youth in your public schools? What – if anything – has your group done?

          On your extremest side I see a lot unsubstantiated assertions and that's it. I've not seen your side do anything but beat their spoon on their highchair. What substantive thing have you got to offer other than a lot of hot air?

          I don't mind moderate TS-not-TG people. In fact, I agree with most everything they assert because many of their assertions are backed up with relevant and mutually supportive evidence from multiple sources.

        4. I can play lets compare notes I live in a State that has Gay Marriage and I have sat in this states Capitol supporting it you don't. I don't have to enter into a gay marriage in my state because it respects a persons change of sex yours doesn't so it would seem to me those sex changes you were bragging about paying for don't amount to shit. I have personally spent money out of my own pocket advertising against the first gay marriage amendment that was defeated in Arizona I also lobbied hard with people within the county I lived in at that time in Arizona which was 70% Republican. I also listed my name and personal address in the ad because they wouldn't print it without it even though there was an obvious risk to my and my properties safety by doing so. I was the first and quite possibly the only pre-op moderator of an over seven hundred member Transsexual women's group. I belong to at least ten different groups none of them Transgender identified groups and maybe half of them would allow a non transgender member. Not counting overlap the groups have a combined membership total of around 1500 members easily over a thousand removing overlap. I would think it is safe to say I am very well known in the community probably much more so than you are and on a personal level in many states. I also have been in or around the community before the word Transgender replaced Transsexual as the T at the end of the LGBT and can prove it. I have also always supported gay rights the only thing I have ever asked for is to be excluded from the word Transgender and the LGBT community and to be viewed as an allie only. If your looking to paint me as an extremist good luck I have far more history to back up the fact that I am very LGBT community friendly and that I have taken the time to prove it then you will ever be able to look up or find. If you want a good allie respect the fact that I am not to ever be labeled Transgender or part of the LGBT or don't and find yourself facing off against someone who will think nothing against using everything you've written so far to show just how full of shit you are. I don't have time for the know it all assholes in Texas like Monica Roberts and your fast joining the list. Get some real progress done in your state then come talk shit to me about how great you are. As far as the separatist crap goes I've never attempted to separate myself from the word Transsexual but it would seem to me you and others like you are trying awfully hard sorry that your so ashamed about it.

        5. Seriously? Did you not notice that I was asking what YOUR SEPARATIST GROUP HAS DONE?

          I can play lets compare notes I live in a State that has Gay Marriage and I have sat in this states Capitol supporting it you don't.

          And did your separatist group do this or did the GLBT community do this?

          I don't have to enter into a gay marriage in my state because it respects a persons change of sex…

          Again, DID YOUR SEPARATIST GROUP do this or did the GLBT community do this?

          … so it would seem to me those sex changes you were bragging about paying for don't amount to shit.

          So now your position as a transsexual separatist is that "sex changes… don't amount to shit"?

          I have personally spent money out of my own pocket advertising against the first gay marriage amendment that was defeated in Arizona I also lobbied hard with people within the county I lived in at that time in Arizona which was 70% Republican.

          So, you're saying that you made a donation and became part of what is known as the GLBT community? But I thought you just wrote:

          … forced LGBT inclusion has deadly consequences and has little support. I am in constant contact with a local transgender support group members and I believe they are on the verge of throwing in the towel on the word Transgender and of LGB affiliation.

          Not only do you think "sex changes" for transsexuals doesn't mean "shit", you've just outed yourself as a financial backer of the GLBT community. What kind of separatist did you say you were again?

          I belong to at least ten different groups none of them Transgender identified groups and maybe half of them would allow a non transgender member. Not counting overlap the groups have a combined membership total of around 1500 members easily over a thousand removing overlap

          So, you're saying that you sit at home on a computer and talk to people online? This is what you mean when you say "group"? Don't at least around 100 of you regularly get together in the same place – face-to-face – at least once a month? I can't imagine not getting to see gobs of my own community face-to-face on a weekly basis.

          I also have been in or around the community before the word Transgender replaced Transsexual as the T at the end of the LGBT and can prove it.

          Really? You were out before 1970? That's cool! If you have time, would you ever consider posting your pre-1970s writings, photos, etc? I'd love to hear about the transsexuals you knew in the 60s! Were you marching in the streets as an out trans woman back in the 70s like we were? I'd love to hear your stories. I mean, at the time cops were killing us and getting away with it and we were out and proud anyway. I'm sure you have all kinds of stories to tell about your 1970s-era activism… right?

          Now, just to be clear, here is what YOU have done:
          – wrote a check
          – got online
          – added your name to a petition

          To be clear, here's what the Houston transgender community has done:
          – overturned the crossdressing ordinance
          – began what it now known as "transgender law" – google the "Transgender Law Conference"
          – opened 3 low-cost/free transgender clinics
          – runs the only federally funded homeless program exclusively for transgender people only
          – put together our own HIV prevention, treatment and care programs
          – payed for numerous transsexual surgeries
          – set up and runs our own transgender archive that is open to the public each weekday
          – run our own transgender employment program
          – got the Mayor of Houston into politics
          – got trans-protections for the largest school district in the state for students AND teachers.
          – got trans-protections passed for the City of Houston
          – opened and operate our own transgender center (open and staffed every weekday)
          – operate our own free mental health services
          – operate our own addiction recovery services
          – forced all Covenant House youth shelters in Latin America, the US and in Canada to house trans youth and treat them with dignity.
          – have the 2nd out trans judge in the nation

          Lest see… what else did we do down here in this neck of the woods? Hrm… Oh yah… we invented transsexual health care. Down here we formed HBIGDA which is now WPATH. Walter, Paul and Alice were all part of our community. While Walter was (and still is) a great advocate, Paul was gay and active (but sadly died of AIDS) and our community even took care of Alice when she was dying.

          I would say that we overturned all sodomy laws in the US, but that was the Houston queer community. We (the transgender community) can't claim that one.

          What else… Oh yah… we published all of those public educational information booklets about transsexualism in the 70s and 80s.

          And remember that we did all of this in one of the most inhospitable social climates in the nation.

          So, yah… If you don't consider any of that then I guess our little community is fairly ineffective.

          Just to be clear, you're saying that your separatist community has done the following:
          – wrote a check
          – got online
          – added your personal name to a petition

          Right? That's what your separatist community has done, right?
          Right?

        6. First off Cristan let's get something straight first I'm not the separatist you are as someone who supports the word transgender.Just so you know I'll be writing a piece about that this weekend good luck trying to spin it. Secondly separatist like you fail to take into account all the legal battles that individual Transsexuals won long before the Transgender crap began. Like I said you can talk shit about all you've done but you live in one of the worst states for a transsexual. Like I said talk shit after you fix it so that a heterosexually identified post-op woman can marry without gay marriage like they can in all the other states. I didn't say sex changes don't amount to shit except for in Texas where thanks to the word Transgender Transsexuals are paying for it. You better wake up the way enda is currently written it refers all post-op transsexuals back to their birth sex that's the work of transgender separatist not transsexuals.I bet you support that don't ya? I promise you that very shortly you will began seeing the formation of a transsexual movement one that you won't be able to deny or easily discredit the days of transgender are over get used to it and while your at it fix your embarrassment to the United States place you call home Texas then maybe when you start bragging it will be worth my time to listen about it.

        7. I'm not the separatist you are as someone who supports the word transgender…

          So now the transgender community are separatists? Did you just now think up that quaint bit of burbeling after watching Fox News? If I asked you to look up, would you look at the sky or at the ground? So now you're claiming that transgender people are claiming that they need to divorce themselves from the transsexual community? I actually got a belly laugh when I read this. Thanks!

          Just so you know I'll be writing a piece about that this weekend good luck trying to spin it.

          Have fun quotemining me. If you want to waste your time misrepresenting what I say to whatever trolls you hang around with, be my guest. I'm sure you will curl your own toes imagining you're giving me one zinger after another.

          Secondly separatist like you fail to take into account all the legal battles that individual Transsexuals won long before the Transgender crap began.

          Let me guess… You heard this somewhere and instead of checking the historical record and you just… believed it. Amirite?

          Q: Can you name the transgender person (he was an out crossdresser) who invented SRS, personally advocated for it to be preformed here in the US and who ran the first gender treatment clinic? I should also mention that he is the father of the queer rights movement. Do you even know his name?

          I didn't say sex changes don't amount to shit except for in Texas where thanks to the word Transgender Transsexuals are paying for it.

          *facepalm* Do you even consider how inane you make your position sound when you write stuff like this?

          I promise you that very shortly you will began seeing the formation of a transsexual movement one that you won't be able to deny or easily discredit the days of transgender are over get used to it and while your at it fix your embarrassment to the United States place you call home Texas then maybe when you start bragging it will be worth my time to listen about it.

          Again, I'm guessing that you've never bothered to check the historical record of the trans community before. I bet you think you're part of something special; something new and interesting? Maybe something that will be meaningful? If you bothered to look at the historical record of our trans lexicon, it is full of blowhards like yourself making all sorts of decorations about language. What is going on right now tends to happen in the community about every 10 – 15 years.

          I was actually thinking about posting an article that's almost 30 years old where a trans woman is voicing her frustration over blowhards who are making many of the same points you think are so special and unique.

  2. Cristan I enjoyed your article. I look forward to more on how the use of the terms transgender and transsexual have morphed over time in the larger public arena.

    I have friends all across the "spectrum" including many in that great vast population of "hetero-normative" or whatever term you would apply to "non-variant" people. It has been my observation that no 2 people actually agree 100% on definitions. I think the reality everyone needs to face goes beyond terms definitions into civility and the functioning of prejudice within our culture (including law). I know that is way beyond the focus of your current article.

    In the meantime I look forward to any additional historic references and if I stumble on any I'll forward you the link or information.

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