What Am I; TV, CD, TG or TS?
This is a question asked almost every day in one form or another. It is unquestionably the source of a great deal of confusion among the trans community as we all struggle at one point or another to figure it out. First of all, it is crucial to separate your sexual orientation from your gender identity. Most in the transgender community are heterosexual but often for those who are gay it presents an added twist that must be dealt with.
Let's start by saying that no one fits neatly into a little box. I identify as a transsexual but I cannot deny there is a little of the TV, CD and TG in me as well. I also believe that many CD's try to align themselves with the transsexual population; almost as if it is a badge of honour. It isn't. The fact is that living as a TS can be hell. So, let's start with the transsexual.
The Transsexual Identity
If you have read the article "How Do We Feel" in the Partners section it should give you a bit of an idea. All of those quotes are from transsexuals who HAVE figured it out. That should put a bit of a touch of reality to it.
First, let's figure out what being transsexual is not. It is not; dressing up pretty, putting on makeup and going shopping. The dressing is really a very secondary issue. Yes, it is a part of our lives but it is more likely to be jeans and a tee than a skirt and blouse, and makeup will usually take about 5 to 10 minutes tops; if at all. Being TS means we are going to be clocked, every single day until we are fully transitioned with facial feminization surgery among other cosmetic procedures. It means that we are putting ourselves out there as targets for ridicule and prejudice. It means we are risking our lives and health to transition. It means we are living constantly with anxiety that can border on depression and often it is debilitating. It means we are willing to risk our families and careers so we can be ourselves. It means we welcome the surgeon with open arms. It means that nothing else in the world matters as much as aligning our gender identity with our gender role and eventually our sexual identification.
Being transsexual also means living in poverty for many. Some of these women have to turn to the sex trade to survive. As I mentioned earlier, careers often disappear when the TS comes out, so ensuring a continuous financial support is as critical as having an emotional and social support system. The TS needs all three and in massive doses.
The transgenderist often identifies as a transsexual but for any number of reasons opts to not go through transition. This is a very personal choice and the reasons are as varied as there are people. Most try to live as "normally" as possible while still satisfying their core gender. This often can result in presenting as an androgyne or "metrosexual" if you will. Their dress may appear as "pop culture" or slightly femme. Their lives are no less driven for the need to transition but their resolve is not to do so; at least for that day.
"You can always tell the crossdresser by their ever present digital camera pointed back at themselves."
The crossdresser is driven to emulate their opposite to natal sex but what they have no desire for is to transition. The crossdresser accounts for approximately 95% of the trans population. Obviously they are also the ones who most question their gender.
This is good of course but what sets them apart from the TS or TG is that the TS knows their gender and sex are at odds. They know their true gender is not their birth gender. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, often with a therapist to figure this out, but it is truly something we know deep down. There is no question. The CD however questions this to death. This continual questioning often leads them toward anxiety creating other social problems that on the surface can make them think they might be transsexual. As I said, the TS knows and there is little or no question in their soul.
This doesn't mean that the latent transsexual is a myth. It is very much a reality and for those who do discover their true identity in later life, that realization can be earth shattering. Of course these people came from the CD part of the trans community. This only adds to the questions the CD will ask. I can only address this question like this; The latent TS will "hit the wall" and go crazy in the process. They dont understand what has happened or where they are going. This is a time of high risk for them on multiple fronts; social, familial, career, and last but not least, mental/psychological. The anxiety and depression that result from this awakening can be debilitating and often is. Frequently they end up in the mental health system where the first "working diagnosis" is that they are Bi Polar. Then the diagnosis will change to perhaps PTSD. This can go on ad nauseum until the sufferer finally admits to himself or herself that they are trans and then they have to come out to their doctor. Suddenly the whole picture changes as does the treatment protocols. Several years could have passed during this time. Coming out at the beginning could save a lot of anguish.
The Transvestic Fetishist
The TV has a different perspective on crossdressing. Here it is for sexual pleasure or gratification. For this reason, they are not generally considered a part of the transgender population, BUT they could also fall into the crossdresser category.
As I said at the beginning, there is probably a little of each of these archetypes in all of us, but the trick is to sit down and seriously and honestly look at yourself to see where you best fit into the spectrum. As you can see from the picture at the top, there is an overlap everywhere to varying degrees.
This site was last updated 08/11/10