A friend of mine in New Zealand presented a letter to the Auckland Council’s Social and Community Development Forum about transsexuals. The letter was about the plight of the trannsexuals in New Zealand, the differences between transsex and transgender people and groups and about one transgender group who really doesn’t do much for the transsexed.
This other group had a representative at the meeting. There are members of this group who actually considered the word transsexual to be antiquated and no longer used. Obviously my friend had a problem with this as do I. I had an online chat with one member of the other group and she was firmly convinced that transsexual was a word going out of use.
My friend and others will insure that doesn’t happen. She, and others, has had problems with the TG group so they formed a TS group called Transsexuals of New Zealand. So far it’s just a Facebook group but it is gathering steam and going strong. Now they want to make the group formal so they can be organized when making presentations to political organizations and other groups.
The term LGBT is now one of the older terms used. I think the Toronto Pride organizers say their events are for those LGBTTIQQ2SA which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Two Spirited and Alliies. I guess that in Toronto the term transsexual is still in use. But my point is that transsexed people are a small slice of that overall group. Gays and Lesbians make up something like 5% of our population. Transsexuals are less than one percent. The highest percentage I’ve heard is somewhere around 0.2% and is more likely much less.
At 0.2% that would make the transsexual population of New Zealand around 8800 people. That is a guess at best. My friend’s number was 5000 but she admits that’s a guess too. No one really knows so we’re relying on speculation. Granted this speculation is from sources that should have a better idea than I.
Transgender is an umbrella term to describe people who have tendencies that vary from the gender norm. The key to understanding this is the root word ‘gender.’ Gender refers to characteristics that may be considered masculine or feminine. So gender is something you can kinda put on or take off. Then there are the transsexual or transsex people. They are people who either believe they are born to the wrong sex or born with biological characteristics of the brain that are suited to the sex opposite their outward appearance.
Here’s the problem, transsexuals are a very small segment of the population. While the numbers for transgender are about as reliable as those for those transsexed it’s estimated that 20% of men find cross dressing pleasureable to some degree. However, most of these men don’t fully dress and only stick to a few items like bras or panties or gridles. How many men cross dress regularly isn’t known. Some guesses are from between 2 to 10%. That is a rather wide margin. If we take the lowest number of 2% that’s 100 times larger than the best number of 0.2% for the transsexed. That spread is most likely much larger.
This is where it gets kinda complicated. Why do cross dressers want the transsex group to be included under the trangedender umbrella? From the transsexed point of view it makes no sense as we are very different. Transsexed individuals are considered to have gender identity disorder also known as gender dysphoria. This is considered a medical condition that has recognised treatments consisting of hormones and surgery. As such there is a certain amount of credibility to this condition.
On the other hand, cross dressing, the biggest slice of the transgender umbrella, is considered a fetish and has no credibility at all. The only reason transsexed people can understand they are wanted under the umbrella is to give the fetishists some credibility. Are you following me?
Many transsexuals have no desire to be under this umbrella because the needs of those who are transsexed are completely different from those who are transgender. This is an over simplification but transsexed people need medical intervention to get what they need. The majority of transgender, male cross dressers to be specific, need a new dress once in a while for sexual excitement. Oh, did I mention that transsexed people, after their operation, run the risk of never achieving orgasm again. If that alone doesn’t show the huge difference between the two groups then nothing will.
Another reason that the transsexed don’t want to be under the transgender umbrella is public perception. The bathroom debate is one example. Whenever a government considers adding gender identity or gender expression to their human rights code the image of a man in a dress always comes up. There are these strange ideas that cross dressing men want to use these locations to get their rocks off. From there it’s not a huge leap to rape, child abuse or other forms of sexual assault. The belief transphobic groups want to foster is the additions to the human rights codes will somehow magically grant men the legal means to get away with criminal conduct. Obviously this is totally wrong and is a terrible image but it doesn’t make life any easier for transitioning transsex women who need to use the washroom.
The fight goes on. I really wish the new group luck. If I were to win the lottery I’d certainly be doing what I could to get them started but then they are my friends.
I find it humourous that a facebook friend of mine who had her operation in Montreal posted this:
I had such a wonderful time in Montreal. Even though I had just undergone major surgery, the feeling of finally being complete and in the right body, in addition to the wonderful staff and the other girls I met there easily made it one of the best experiences of my life.
I find it humourous because another blogger has made it seem that I imply that those without the operation are not women. The other blogger really needs to grow up.