Inside the Mind of a Trans(cendent) Artist

{Parents of minors, this is a candid, albeit brief review of sex and gender differentiation, solely intended for educational purposes. If this subject is uncomfortable for you, please read through this blog post; perhaps it will alleviate much of that discomfort and enable you to be better prepared to answer your kid’s questions about this area of life, if and when they arise.}

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      This is not meant to be an all inclusive discourse on gender and sex identity. It is simply meant to address the rising questions among the general population, (more than ever before), about what is and what is not represented by such terms as “tranny,” “transgender,” and “transsexual.” Essentially, this is a string of clarifying statements relative to the “rainbow within the rainbow.” More in depth information can be found readily on the ‘Net using either of the subject line terms as keywords to search for it.


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      Firstly, a word about gender and sexual identity/orientation. Gender is between the ears; sex is primarily between the legs, with secondary characteristics in many places elsewhere in the body, predominantly in the hips, breasts and neck+face. Gender is “boy” or “girl”, “man” or “woman”; sex is “female” or “male.” Gender is understood to be hard wired and fixed; sex is malleable – you can change the latter, but the former is what it is. Sexual identity is about who you’re having any kind of sexual intercourse with; gender identity is about how you see yourself having it with them, as well as all other activities you may have or envision having with them, from just passing by on the street to building a castle or any normal, human activity. The predominant psychological profiles relative to gender identity evidence most people whose bodies were born with penises naturally, comfortably and preferably gravitate toward behaviors that are clearly consistent with and representative of manhood. Therefore, based on this prevalence, society automatically regards babies with penises as “boys” and later “men.” Likewise, most persons born with vaginas naturally, comfortably and preferably gravitate toward behaviors that are clearly consistent with and representative of womanhood, hence the stereotypical designation of them as “girls” and “women.” In other words, their sex is “congruent” with their gender. However, some people with vaginas between their legs are wired like men between their ears; their femaleness is inconsistent or “incongruent” with their hard wired, gender identity. Likewise, the inverse, for some persons born male; male sex characteristics and male behavior are just incongruent with their gender identity. This is a case of nature, not nurture, the result of recombinant DNA; it is not the rebellious or deviant choice of the individual, nor a product of faulty upbringing and no amount of nurturing and behavioral modification can resolve the incongruity between their sex and gender, (“gender incongruity.”) Between those who live in gender congruity and gender incongruity is a very broad spectrum compromising a very small percentage of the general population. That group consists of androgynes and persons who qualify as members of the LGBT community’s “T” or “transgender” contingent.



      Androgynes [man+woman] are persons who have an innate self identification with being both genders, masculine and feminine, man and woman, simultaneously and continually; regardless of their sex. Many indigenous peoples and even some great civilizations, including the Greeks, have understood androgynes as members of an inherent “3rd gender” in their communities. Typically, such persons are regarded as bringers of Light and higher consciousness into their communities. Most are completely straight, preferring heterosexual partners; however, they may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or perhaps even transsexual. None are happy being forced to present only half of their psyches as the norm. More on that in my article, “Androgyne: The Union of Opposites Within”:



      This is an umbrella term referring to all variations of human behavior involving a deep seated need to overtly express the sex characteristics and/or behaviors of the gender opposite that traditionally associated with one’s biological sex. Thus, persons born female have an overriding need to present themselves as men, (more than the female masculinity of dykes), emphazing character traits and behavior most commonly associated with manhood. Likewise vice verse, male-born persons who have an overriding need to present themselves in ways consistent with womanhood. Such persons may or may not wish to change their bodies’ sexual characterstics. Those who do not, and pointedly dress and present themselves as the opposite sex, typically fall into categories such as “tranny” or “genderqueer.” Those who do seek to change their bodies’ sex characteristics are “transsexual.”

(Most transgender persons are not transsexual. All transsexuals are transgender.)

      Apparently, as with androgynes, the vast majority of all gender variances represented by the T group are hard wired in the brain. (There are persons who explore their T potential and conclude that their gender variances are not consistent with the “trans community”, eventually not defining themselves as transgender.)


Tranny (Transvestites)

      This group consists of male or female born persons who have no wish to change their body’s sex characteristics and are compelled to dress and present themselves in the clothing, form and behavior of the opposite sex and gender. For them, there is an overriding psychological and emotional satisfaction in dressing up as and presenting themselves in ways that are overtly representative of the opposite sex – they get off on it and gotta do it, whether they “pass” or not. When you hear terms such as “tranny”, “t-girls/t-gurls/t-grrrls”, “drag king”, “CD” or “drag queen,” you’re hearing about members of this end of the “trans spectrum”. However, other than the dressing up and related play, they primarily identify with being and live fairly normal lives as men and women, according to their traditionally associated gender roles. This is the near end of the trans spectrum.



      I think this is a Generation X term for persons who are neither tranny nor transsexual, per se, and who do not squarely identify with either pole of the trans spectrum, regarding themselves as varying degrees of blends of the two poles and needing to express a relative balance of the two, in dress and behavior, according to the blend that best represents their self identities. Socially and psychologically, they are the most fluid of all T members. Many of these persons are actually androgynes, on the path to establishing a consistently comfortable gender balance and harmony.



      This group represents the far (and least understood) end of the trans spectrum. All transsexuals have a physical self identification as being a member of the sex that’s opposite to what’s between their legs at birth. (In other words, internally, transsexual persons who are societally classified as boys at birth see their bodies with female sex characteristics and vice verse.) Transsexuals are born transsexuals; environment does not change this neurological encoding – our DNA recombines to invest this self perception and perspective and it cannot be behaviorly modified out of us. As far as the numerous clinical studies indicate to date, little “boys” brains who are truly transsexual are wired as girls and, vice verse, little “girls” are wired as boys and, whether they overtly show it or not, this is irrevocable. For transsexuals, they must change their bodies to conform to their brains, to enable them to be uniformly regarded and interacted with in a manner consistent with their true gender, the one opposite what’s commonly associated with their biological sex. (They are not necessarily trannies, although some initially identify as being such; in the long run, cross dressing gives transsexuals very little satisfaction – when they remove the clothes, the incongruity of their physical bodies with their true gender is still the big ass elephant in the broom closet. Certainly, most transsexuals I’ve spoken with do not identify with nor really understand the motivations of trannies and card carrying trannies would never think of actually going to the extent that mtf and ftm persons do to establish gender congruity. In many ways, being at either end of the trans spectrum, they generally don’t mingle. And, no self respecting transsexual who is aware of the community specific connotations of tranny would appreciate being labeled as one.) Transsexuals first learn and master the traditional gender roles assigned to them, then, finding it impossible to maintain the psychological stresses and distress entailed in doing so, they either enter a transgender process, shifting from one gender to the other, or they cascade into profound mental and/or emotional illness, perhaps accompanied by alarming self destructive behavior. This shift is known as “transition.” The purpose of transition is to reach “gender congruity,” that state where their socially perceived gender is in harmony or congruent with their hard wired, true gender. Typically, the transition period is underscored by the use of sex hormones, altering their bodies’ secondary sex characteristics to conform to their encoded gender identity.

     Typically, transsexuals use hormones to physically transition from male to female, “MTF”, or female to male, “FTM,” many without seeking surgery of any kind. Surgery or not, this process is regarded as “gender reassignment.” Those who elect surgery may do so minorly or majorly. Some FTMs eventually undergo “top surgery,” entailing radical mastectomy and find personal balance and satisfaction with that degree of surgical intervention. Some eventually have phalloplasty, or “bottom surgery”, ergo the surgical creation of a penis and all related parts. Likewise, some MTFs undergo top surgery, having breast implants (and, perhaps, facial surgery) and some undergo bottom surgery, ergo vaginoplasty, the surgical creation of a vagina, labia and cervix. Bottom surgery for both genders is known as “sex reassignment surgery” or “srs.” All transsexuals undergo gender reassignment. Not all transsexuals undergo srs. Those who do not have srs are called “pre-op” or “non-op” and those who do are called “post-op.”

      The range of gender expressions and sexual identities among transsexuals is as wide as that of all persons identifying with traditional gender roles. Many ftm men are straight, many are gay, some are bi. Likewise for mtf women; some only date men, some only date women and some date both. FTMs range from [what my state’s governor has coined as] “girlie men” to burly men. MTF women range from “girlie girl” to “hard butch”. Many straight girls who like boys and then transition to become men identify as gay men. Likewise, many straight boys who like girls and then transition to womanhood identify as lesbians. But, nothing about transsexual sexual identity can be taken for granted, just as you can’t pick someone at random, with no foreknowledge of them and be certain that they are straight, gay, bi, bestial or whatever, just by looking at them or talking with them.


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      We are on the verge of a major rise in the media’s representations of persons within the trans community. This document is presented as a primer, to help people to be clear about what the terms soon to be most commonly bandied about in reference to us actually mean. It is not a clinical lexicon, just an attempt to allay the distortions and exaggerations of the truth and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes projected upon this overall group of persons by the media, the Church, the ignorant and the detractors. As I said, it’s a very generalized view, but one that is also appropriately foundational.

      There are more transsexuals on earth than there are persons with Multiple Sclerosis and more are born [of traditional, straight parents] every day. I write this out of the belief that, if we don’t tell you the basic truth about who we are, you’re gonna just get more of the same ol’, same ol’ myopic and prejudicial perspectives perpetuated about us, furthering ignorance generated fear of us – the fear that results in transgender youth making up 30-40% of all homeless [family rejected] youth and an extremely high youth suicide statistic. We’re all more alike than we are different. This info is a drop in the bucket of Light illuminating the Truth of the above differences in ways that will enable others to a) more easily understand and, hopefully, to be remarkably less prejudicial about and discriminatory against transgender persons in all communities and b) find common ground between us to develop new and healthy relationships, regardless of sex and gender orientation.





Written by Rev. Michaele Alyras de Cygne.
Copyright by de Cygne. All rights reserved.
This article may not be reprinted or reposted
without the express written consent of the author.
However, anyone may post a link hereto, as desired.


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