SL Letter of the Day: A Question About Caitlyn Jenner

Comments

1
Nicely done, Dan. If it were me in my current condition (a couple glasses of wine later), I would have been a lot less restrained than you were to this semi-douchebag.
2
In my more delusional moments, I like to imagine what the world would look like if everyone accepted each other "as is". If we only intervened when people were harming themselves or others. It is a lovely place to visit, but horribly depressing when I have to return to reality.

People, please quit "policing" other people's genitals. Or gender. Or sexual identity. Or style of dress. Well, unless the person is wearing high water jeans with white socks. It is ok to giggle a bit on that one.
3
Trans surgery is more analogous to breast reduction than limb amputation, anyway.
4
I wish people would stop saying that sex is assigned at birth. Sex (the anatomy and physiology that allows for human reproduction) begins to arise at week 5-6 after conception. Male and female gonads are primary sex organs. Penises and the female reproductive tract are secondary sex organs. Originally, "gender" was proposed to refer to culturally-derived features like hairstyle and dress. If "gender" is cultural and "sex" is biological, then "gender reassignment surgery" is an oxymoron.
5
I don't care what you do with your pillows in the privacy of your home, but if you hit on my pillow or try to kiss it, I'll punch you in the face!
6
From a medical perspective, put it this way:
Some people suffer from depression because the gender of their bodies doesn't match the gender their neurological architecture leads them to subconsciously expect. Doctors can't change the brain in that respect, and believe me, they've tried. Therefore, they change the body as a treatment for the depression et cetera.
7
@1, what is semi-douchbaggy about trying to understand something you don't understand? We all have judgements, predjudice and ignorance. Seems like the writer was making an effort to understand people and the world better and that should be encouraged, not shamed (no, I'm not the letter writer! )
8
LW. I'm with you, that's all I dare to say. When I have said more, my imaginary balls get cut off by the attack that has come back at me.
9
@ 7 I sensed some insincerity in the LW's attitude. A thin layer of "Please explain it to me" on top of a thick base of "I already know it's like wanting to marry a pillow, and I already know that wanting to marry a pillow is worthy of disdain".

Now, I could be wrong. This could be a very sincere request for an explanation, in which case I guess I owe the LW an apology. Doesn't smell like it, though.
10
I think Dan is feeding the trolls. I would not have bothered to answer a question that came from a place of insincerity.
11
@9 I guess sincerity is hard to gauge on the internet. I gave the LW benefit of the doubt.
12
@7, yeah because he's having a "crisis of conscience" about what trans people do to their own bodies. (eyeroll)
13
My daughter had a kindergarten classmate who was born a boy, but identified as a girl. The kids got it intuitively - my five-year old daughter explained it by saying, "Well, he's a girlboy". They swapped headbands and other hair accessories without a second thought. She's moved forward over the years to completely embody her female identity, and is a delight to be around.
14
Disagree about Dan feeding a troll. He is being gentle here for all the right reasons. LW is genuinely confused about the nature of transgender identity, and instead of spouting vitriol and bigotry about something s/he doesn't understand, s/he has respectfully consulted with Dan to become better informed. Isn't that the service SAVAGE LOVE was originally founded to provide? Please give LW (and Dan!) a break here, people. While cynics will see Caitlyn Jenner's "coming-out party" as one more shameless self-promotion by the ever-resourceful Kardashian Klan, I applaud Caitlyn's courageous decision to grow (at middle age!) into the person she was born to be. I hope she will inspire more transgender and questioning individuals to explore and accept their true identities - and also motivate more cisgender individuals to learn more about trans society, which I certainly did by reading this letter.
15
What the hell, commenters? Be nice. I totally empathize with the LW (I empathize, I don't echo his sentiment) and think Dan is missing the point. The LW states that he is open minded about a variety of lifestyles and fetishes. He is conflicted about things that are permanent, like limb removal and gender change. I believe what he's saying is not "Why should I support trans people", but rather "This is irreversible. How can we (as a society) be sure we are erring on the side of what is actually what the person wants and not a intense but temporary desire which may, in a few years, change?" After all, as all SLOG commenters know, people's sexual identity can be fluid.

If I can extrapolate from the LW's point, our justice system is ostensibly built so that we err on the side of innocence. Many people do not support the death penalty because it's permanent. You can always release a wrongly jailed man but you can't bring one back to life; even if you support the death penalty, you should save it for absolutely cut and dried, no-doubt cases. A man who wants to wear a fox suit and marry a hologram can always decide that's not what he wants. But a person starving themselves or losing a limb or sexual organs can't make such a switchback once the line has been crossed. The LW worries that some people (not all) might be making a mistake, and how do we (as doctors, as a society) make sure that this mistakes don't happen?

Again, I'm not echoing his views. But I think this is what the LW is saying, and I don't think there's anything assholish or trollish about that.
16
What a bullshit response, Dan. So everything that is none of our business, we should not comment on, not involve ourselves in a dialogue about?
Still, you've got the party line down straight.
17
I very much agree that it is no one's business what a person does with their bodies, yet I have to admit a curiosity about the actual process. But to ask seems crass and boorish and tends to lump one in with the people who really do have a problem with transpeople. I appreciated Dan's reply, because it answered a lot of questions for me.
18
Whether genuine, troll or fake this is still an opportunity to help people explore what - to me in my fifties - are still complex issues.
I have no personal experience of identifying as different from my birth assigned sex but I do have strong understanding of having a "non-conforming" sexuality. It helps me understand how those, who don't share my world-view, can't see the artificial and simplistic expectations they have set as cast-in-stone rules.

It is well established that sex isn't as simple as male and female, there is biological ambiguity and wide variation. Complex factors influence the development of the body and brain, they manifest a whole range of subtle differences which we round up/down to gay, straight, masculine, feminine, xyz ..

What NSFM needs to untangle is their distress over a perceived mutilation that gender re-assignment surgery represents to them and why it matters that some people should choose to go through such a procedure.
It is down to NSFM to answer the question as to why it bothers them so much but there is much information out there if they want to understand why other people make decisions that don't make sense to them.

Surgical intervention is commonplace; circumcision is a good example - rarely life-saving, usually for someone's personal comfort and typically not for the person being operated on.
Tattoos, piercings, nose jobs, boob jobs .... well, you get the point, these can all be argued as unnecessary most of the time but they don't seem to trigger NSFM's concern.

Making the decision to perform or undergo surgery for most people is not taken lightly. While there are exceptions, having something removed - be it a penis or a leg - is done with the patient's best interest in mind.
Marrying a pillow ... well, that hasn't killed anyone that I know of.

So the point NSFM? As Dan says more succinctly, save your concern for those matters which are yours to be concerned about.
19
We lop off perfectly healthy body parts from animals all the time. Then we eat them. Regardless of their feelings on the matter. We let Syrians lop off each other's healthy body parts. We skip preventative measures and let healthy body parts go to hell if the person they're attached to is homeless or illegal. Why are you concerned with Caitlyn Jenner's schween?
20
So Dan, if my daughter is cutting herself, I'm supposed to just let something like that pass- cause after all it's her body. And if someone casually mentions in a letter to you, they are a smoker of nicotine- I assume you won't presume to tell them how bad it is for them.
21
@16 - Lavagirl - usually your comments are more or less on target, even if clarity and/or coherence is sometimes an issue. But Dan's response here was balanced and sincere. Save your "bullshit" calls for an actual flubbed response, which does sometimes happen. Right now you're sounding unhinged and troll-like, which is unlike you. What "party-line"? Get a grip.
22
Well what about someone like me who is turned on by non-passable mostly hetero crossdressers? That's my fetish, and there are lot of them out there.

Sooner or later they ALL want to transition. Rationally they might decide against it, knowing they won't end up looking like Victoria's Secret models. But they all secretly want that fairy godmother. Which makes me into the villain.

It's like a guy who's turned on by fat women and the fat women all want to be thin. I'm the non-supportive asshole.
23
I don't think LW was being douchey. I think he was trying to understand what goes through the mind of a transperson. I think even for people who want to be accepting, it's a bit of a mindfuck. My mind was blown when Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning came out. If you knew someone before his/her transition, you have to get used to that person's new identify.

From what I understand, someone who wants to transition from male to female (or vice versa) has to go through counseling and live as the preferred (for lack of a better term) for some time before having surgery. It's not something one does on a whim.

I hope that Caitlyn Jenner finds peace and has a happy life with her new identity.
24
I have a question about M to F post-op transgendered people. Can such a person have an orgasm? Serious question. I mean, the balls have been hacked off along with the cock, right? So....
25
Most seems okay to fine; the ending seems a bit trippy-dippy. Who the flip asks to be embraced or celebrated? That sort of thing always seem to play out in favour of the kyriarchs.
26
@24 - Orgasm does not equal ejaculation. And there's no 'hacking' of any bits. In post-op MtF, the penis has essentially been turned inside out and tucked up into the body to simulate a vagina. The erectile tissue and lovely nerve-endings are still in place (provided the surgeon did a good job), so there is arousal and yeah - orgasm. Frankly, I find it a bit sad that you seem to think that your balls are the only reason you're coming.

And Lava - seriously... Every time something like this comes up you proclaim how everyone bullied you the last time you dared to speak your opinion, and that oh, you're just going to stay out of it, and yet every time you DON'T stay out of it. And then when a couple of your posts go by with no comments, you just keep ramping up on your vitriol. Here you are spewing crap about 'the party line' and then comparing a deeply personal and no doubt agonising decision to a self-harming cutter? They do not compare - not in the least. What Caitlyn has done is in fact the opposite. She is embracing her true self and thus is relieving the mental anguish that she has lived with for decades. This is not something that someone does on a whim, ffs.
27
@22 Why do you accept the role of villain? Why not reassure them that they are attractive to you, while letting them do their own research to figure out that there is no way to transform someone fifty years old into a hot twenty-year-old woman?

@23 These days doctors have compassion for people who feel they can't stand to live as a woman with a male face. So one can get facial feminization surgery without having spent much time out in public dressed as a woman: "Many transitioning MtF patients now undergo FFS just prior to the social transition into their one year Real-Life Experience (RLE). This can greatly enhance their immediate acceptance as women during the RLE, because they look ever so much more female in appearance than before FFS." [Emphasis mine.] http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/~mirror/FFS/Lyn…

@24 "Most if not all of our patients are able to have orgasm following MTF surgery/vaginoplasty." http://www.thetransgendercenter.com/inde…
28
Science:

Trans people are right about themselves, and for over a decade well respected peer reviewed journals have been publishing MRI imaging studies that back them up. What these studies have found is that there are physical differences in the brains of trans people that account for their experiences of their gender. Here are a few quotes from some of these studies and links to where you can read more:

“These data suggest a pattern (in male to female transsexuals) of activation away from the biological sex, occupying an intermediate position with predominantly female-like features”

http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content…

The white matter in the brains of female-to-male transsexuals who have not yet begun hormone therapy mirrors the white matter in male brains rather than female brains. "It's the first time it has been shown that the brains of female-to-male transsexual people are masculinised," Guillamon says.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20…

This study is particularly comprehensive:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles…

From the abstract:

”Results revealed that regional gray matter variation in MTF transsexuals is more similar to the pattern found in men than in women. However, MTF transsexuals show a significantly larger volume of regional gray matter in the right putamen compared to men. These findings provide new evidence that transsexualism is associated with distinct cerebral pattern, which supports the assumption that brain anatomy plays a role in gender identity.”

From the results:

“For each of 22 significantly different regions (twelve within the right hemisphere and ten within the left hemisphere), cluster-specific box plots were generated to illustrate the magnitude and direction of gray matter volume differences between groups (see supplement 1 and 2). Altogether, females had the largest gray matter volumes in all but two significant clusters, which were located in the left and right putamen. Here, MTF transsexuals had the largest gray matter volumes (see Fig. 1). For the remaining clusters, MTF transsexuals had the smallest gray matter volumes, but their data spectrum largely overlapped with that of males.”

~

All of these studies examined the brains of trans* people who had completed puberty and who had not yet begun hormone therapy. And all of the studies found that the brains of their participants aligned not with their sex organs but rather with their stated gender. In other words, a male-to-female trans woman’s brain is physically structured in a way that is more similar to the brain of a cis (non-trans) woman than the brain of a cis man, despite the male hormones her brain has been exposed to. A trans woman’s brain, which dictates her gender, is physically feminine.

Current best practice for treating trans* children is to suppress puberty with GnRH analogues until the child is 16. (GnRH stands for gonadotropin-releasing hormone; gonadotropins are a family of hormones that regulate puberty and some reproductive functions.) At that point it becomes appropriate to treat with cross-sex hormone therapy in conjunction with the suppression of endogenous (self-produced) sex hormones. This treatment, in conjunction with allowing a child to present outwardly in accordance with his or her neurological gender (rather than forcing the child to present in accordance with his or her sex organs), alleviates a good deal of the child's gender dysmorphia and reduces the rate of attempted suicides in trans* minors from 45% down to around 7% (which is the average rate of attempted suicide in minors). Here’s a recent write up if anyone would like to read it:

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.12…
29
I'll add my vote to those thinking this LW sounded a little concern troll-ish but I'll gladly defer to some of our regular trans commenters here if they care to weigh in.
30
Lance @21 - Jeez, relax wouldja? Your rant is really some kind of pedantic dressing-down where you seem to want to school Lavagirl about blog comment threads. You seem to be pretty contrary and negative. Get outside, get some sun. Maybe get away from us comment-thread weirdos for a while.
31
@15 Well we can't. But there's something really condescending about this line of thought. Transitioning is not like buying new shoes. You can't just walk into a doctor's office. say 'I want to be a woman/man' and have your new genitalia installed. I'm not expert but I believe there are a lot of hoops to jump through before one transitions,
32
Funny Ricardo. Though your back hand support is noted. Though I see the tinge of revenge.
Lance, where you been? Like I said, I'm not dating to air my views again, because the vitriol that comes back when I stray from the Party Line, with just the motivation for a dialogue, is not worth my effort.
I fully support people's wishes to identify with whatever gender/ sex they want. That is really none of any bodies business.
Cutting off body parts to achieve this, Is tragic to me.
33
Correction; Daring to air my views. What you mean Lance, @21, clarity is an issue? My posts make perfect sense to me.
34
LavaGirl, did you read the comment about the physical brain differences? Will you still argue that trans people should just work on their brains instead of "mutilating" themselves?
35
"I fully support people's wishes to identify with whatever gender/ sex they want. That is really none of any bodies business. " This is not what you said in the past. You said, it's all in the brain, work on the brain.
36
Lavagirl just stop okay? You get called out because your comments on this topic are transphobic and cruel and you keep promising not to engage, and yet still jumping headlong into the conversation.

Dad had it right what other people do with their bodies really isn't any our business. It doesn't really affect us. Lets give trans-people and their doctors some credit and believe that they are trying to make the right decision for them
37
@36; how are they transphobic?
Yes, of course, I'll stop. Debate not allowed on this topic, I got the memo.
38
@4: Good point. Sex is generally assigned prior to birth, after an ultrasound. Few parents opt to wait until birth these days.

@10: Regardless of whether NSFM is a troll or just a person who is ignorant but wants to be less so, well done Dan for taking the question. Lots of people could be enlightened by his answer. Lava, please print it out and tape it to your bathroom cabinet and read it thoroughly every morning and night. Just because we don't understand something doesn't mean there's something wrong with it. Lava, I have never wanted children, but I don't think there is something wrong with you because you did want children. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.

And I take my chastisement over my previous beardphobia. Dan has called me out. I will henceforth respect the right of men to wear beards, perplexing and personally unappealing as it may be. ;)
39
@22 Marrena: I am not disputing your experience, but my experience (I have an androgyny fetish as well) is not that all cross-dressing men want to transition. Men who like wearing "female" clothes but are happy to spend most of their lives as men are out there, definitely. I'm sorry you've sought cross-dressers and found MTFs when that wasn't what you were looking for, but don't stop looking. CMD, want to back me up here?
40
Fan, how is this topic anything to do with having children?
I get accused of being transphobic because I question the acception wisdom around this topic.
Any dialogue/ is just closed down. Why is that? What is this fear people have to even allow a real discussion, without anger and put downs.

41
@40: It's called an "analogy". Something I thought you might understand. I never had any desire to have children, cannot understand how anyone could have the desire to have children, and yet, I respect that other people have different desires and make different decisions to me. Can you not adopt a similar attitude towards people who are transgender? Even though you don't understand it, can you not accept that they have a different way of being, instead of "questioning the accepted wisdom"? Even you call it "wisdom". Perhaps Dan is spouting the "party line" because the "party line" is the correct one. Would we be having an argument about whether the earth was round, would you reject all the scientific evidence there and pooh-pooh someone who says the earth is round for "following the party line"?

Lava, with respect, it's time to accept that your view is wrong here. You can continue to argue the earth is flat all you want, but people will continue to point out that it's round, and your disagreement with that fact doesn't change it.
42
@30 - Aha! I thought that sounded familiar. Okay, Ricardo, you got me. Touché, sir.
43
There are women who have double mastectomies out of the fear of breast cancer, because of their family medical history, not because there's anything currently wrong with their perfectly healthy breasts
44
Ms Lava - You have been accused of being transphobic when you have posted and then doubled, quadrupled and octupled down on a view, admittedly uninformed by anything other than a believable claim of compassion and what you "know" to be "the truth", that goes against what's being established as scientific knowledge, contradicts the opinions of non-trans people who are well informed on trans issues, and, perhaps most importantly, is a view that trans people have claimed is hurtful to them. When people have addressed that view, you have interpreted their strong dissent as distress and attributed it to your viewpoint's containing some kernel of truth. As you've disclaimed interest in becoming better informed on the issue, there seems little reason for anyone to try to open a closed mind.

As I have pointed out, you have another, far more openly compassionate, way of posting about trans issues. If you stuck with that style, I doubt people would have problems with your posts. This sort of post, to be honest, reminds me of anti-gay Christianists claiming they're being persecuted.
45
@ 42 - One thing I must add: I'm sure your intentions were as good as mine when we each wrote that sort of comment to Lava. But sometimes what we write doesn't come across as we meant it.
46
@37 (and LavaGirl in general) The "I'm a victim" game you play is what shuts down conversation. If you make offensive comments you're going to get responses that you don't like. If you can't handle that, and clam up as soon as your offensiveness is called out, then you're the reason there is no dialogue. People do not owe you a polite response to everything you say. Why don't you take a moment to reflect on what it means that the majority of your comments about trans people are viewed by many as offensive? Growth opportunity - take it. Instead of blaming everyone for being "too sensitive", own up to your own attitudes and behavior.
47
@38 I think you missed the point a bit about sex assignment. Sex is a biological property. When it is identified by people and recorded is irrelevant. If you have an X and Y chromosome (let's ignore cases where people have XXY etc) then your sex is male and this distinction happens early on in fetal development. So sex is biological.

@4 I don't think the term fits either. Surgery and hormone therapy don't change the underlying genetic makeup of someone, they are phenotypic changes only, but these things don't determine our gender identity either, usually we change them because of how we gender identify. So I think the best term would be "gender alignment surgery".
48
@39 are you sure? Obviously I screen for this right at the start. And my current sub, we've been together for years before this desire came out. It's always there!

Yet he also enjoys being male, so not a trans woman. Also obviously sex-related, which I would have said also not a trans woman, but now that I am aware how much trans women get coached to jump through those hoops, to lie about their sexuality to pass the tests, I'm not so sure.
49
Agreed that this seems a bit obtuse and trollish. Glad that Dan took the high road and answered it anyway. My response would have been:

Well ...

Stabbing or starving yourself are both self-destructive behaviors that will probably kill you. On the other hand, transitioning to a gender better suited to you is a move toward self-actualization that, as Caitlyn has shown, can enable you to flourish.

So, yeah. You flourish instead of dying.

Hope that clears things up!
50
Two points.

Even if the Letter is trolling, when responding to comments or letters in a public forum of some kind, such as this, the answer isn't always for the benefit of the person asking the question. A trolling letter or question may have an answer that is of value to other people reading and so even if you know it is a fake there are often benefits to answering it anyway.

I'm not sure if this letter is a troll or a sincere person, but it doesn't matter. Even if it is a troll there are other people reading who can benefit from the answer Dan gave and so the act of answering it even if it were clearly a troll is perfectly justifiable.

Second, I am no expert on trans issues, and I fully admit to not understanding in even a minute manner the experiences of a trans person.

I do know, however, that there is a big difference between someone transitioning and someone cutting themselves or starving themselves.

The trans person transitioning is under care of professionals. They have to go through a process of evaluations and of living as the gender they identify with for a period of time. It isn't something they do on their own on a whim. The doctors and professionals involved don't allow anything to happen at an inappropriate time or in a manner that has a likelihood of causing more problems than they solve. They are experts in this and they guide the trans person through the process, checking every step of the way that this is really the correct course of action for this person.

And that makes it worlds apart from someone engaging in self harm in any way.

I don't understand trans people. I don't understand how someone can feel they are a different gender than their bodies would suggest. I don't understand how the surgery and changes can actually fix all that.

But I don't need to understand. So what if I don't understand?
The only thing I have to understand is that the individuals themselves, and the professionals who work with them, know what is best for this person and not me. My only job is to accept them for who they feel they are and not be a judgmental prick. It's OK if I don't understand. Their transition has nothing to do with me or my understanding. It's about them and even if I don't understand, if it makes them happy then I should be happy for them.
51
@50 - I understand that your understanding is that you understand that you don't understand. I think that's understanding.

Understand?

52
I don't think the question is out there or douchey. For those of us not in the position of understanding the pain of the disconnect between our brain's gender and our assigned gender, the thought of taking a knife to our genitals is alarming. I think Dan's answer was spot on.
53
@48: From experience, yes, I am sure. I also like my males as girly as possible. I have been involved with one former man who later came out as trans and is now living as female. But I have been with, and known, several more who have not.

You mention your current sub. I was going to suggest that, if you are dominant, seek someone who is into "forced feminisation" as a kink. To them, being instructed to shave their legs and wear lingerie isn't about swapping gender, it's about humiliation. That's the turn-on for them. Doesn't matter that the turn-on for you has nothing to do with humiliation, but seeing them shaved and in lingerie. Everyone's a winner.

I don't know if there's a goth scene in your area, but that's a wonderful place to find guys who wear makeup, tights and fishnet skirts, yet are comfortable with being male.

I am confused, though, when you say your current sub "secretly wants to transition" but "also enjoys being male". Which is it? I'm not sure I understand what it is you're disappointed about, in this case. You say he doesn't want to transition -- but based on your past experience, you don't believe him? Or he likes to play a female role during sex and you don't want to participate in that?
54
^ oops, "skirts and fishnet tights." Though sadly this style was more popular in the 90s...
55
And @50: Very, very well said. You win the internet today. :D
56
@28: Ooh, thanks for the citations! I didn't know there was serious literature on the brain structure of trans people out there...
57
@BiDanFan--I'm a female dominant and I definitely do forced feminisation with my partner, and pegging, and severe rope bondage, often all at the same time. And trust me, I just have to whistle to get a horde of CD's to come running.

My point is my sub (and most all CD's) want to do something stupid. If it's been a long time since their last orgasm, yes, they want to transition. And I think some do transition. And then when their testosterone is artificially lowered...it defeats the purpose.

It's like a man wanting to cheat on his wife, but not cheating on his wife. The rational mind steps in (and in the case of transitioning, also the lack of money). I deeply love my partner and want to be supportive of his kinks, and this is one of his kinks.

If he had a time machine and went back to his pre-puberty self, yes, he would have persuaded his young self to transition. And I don't know if that would be a bad choice for him or not. He has enjoyed living his life as a man and being a father. He is the manliest guy you could imagine when male.

What I'm saying is that I strongly suspect he is as much a trans woman as any lesbian trans woman. And I know that's really non-PC, and right now the trans community has to put huge distance between trans rights and kink. But on a personal level, I'm very conflicted. Sure I can talk the talk and threaten to force him to get implants when he's tied up and gagged and watch how hard he gets.

But I love watching how hard he gets--and that all goes away with hormone treatments. Where is the line with being GGG? It's not like he has a centaur fetish or something. He could theoretically fulfill his desires. And damn if he doesn't talk exactly like Caitlyn. She isn't sounding to me like a textbook trans woman. She sounds like my sub--split personality and all, Bruce talking about the Caitlyn side as "her".

And again, he was careful to not mention this part until years into our relationship, when it wouldn't be an instant breakup on my part.

Don't mind me and my venting. I'm so conflicted.
58
@Marrena,

Is it because you're the dom that you feel like the villain? Because you could order him to move forward with transition (and he'd love it), and you're not giving that order? Doms are allowed to have limits too; maybe your limit is forced transitioning.

If this is a serious issue in your relationship (and it sounds like it is), maybe you should have a serious conversation about how you are never going to push him to transition, but you will support your dear lover in doing whatever he needs to do to feel authentic and whole. And then step back from the process, except for scene-limited role-play.

59
By "step back from the process" I mean let him figure out what he needs with a therapist and support groups.
60
Yes, EricaP, you describe the situation. The main issue is that he's two people in one body. The longer he keeps the woman in him repressed, the more she wants to permanently transition and get all the power over the body--make him suffer the way he's made her suffer.

I'm the referee. I know very well he shouldn't transition. When he visits, it takes about a week of constant dressing, public outings, bondage, living as a woman, but once he's had an eye-popping number of orgasms for a man his age then he can't wait to be a man again and go back to his male life, biting his nails back down on the drive home.

I love them both. And my kink is exactly being with a two-spirit man like him.

Honestly I don't think a therapist would help much, because I think most of the science right now about lesbian trans women isn't accurate. And it's not a Three Faces of Eve situation--it's not like he blackouts when he becomes a woman. He's like Caitlyn. Maybe her choice is the right choice for him too.
61
Quoting HRC on trans issues? Hilarious
62
As a sub, I find it hard to appreciate what it's like to want complete control of someone, to the point of feeling like it might your job to assess what gender they should be. If I were you, I would step back... but I'm not a dom and I'm not you. Good luck...
63
Believe me, referee wasn't my idea. It's a pain in the ass. But at least I can achieve a detente between the two of them. Also influencing this--I'm pretty sure one the reasons I am my sub's dom is that he knows I don't want him to transition. That helps keep his female side in line.
64
Or...maybe I'm like the gay guys that Dan writes about here every so often, that put up with booty calls from deeply closeted gay guys, enabling them to stay in the closet. Those closeted gays like the one who post-coitally said he wasn't gay while his cock was still inside the guy. The similarities, now that I'm seeing them, are pretty striking.
65
So what advice does Dan give those gay guys accepting the booty calls? Not to fuck self-hating homophobes? I guess if the analogy feels useful, then use it, but I think this other line is also important:
>> one of the reasons I am my sub's dom is that he knows I don't want him to transition >>
66
@ 64 - You may be seeing too much in that analogy. As far as I know (i.e. my experience and that of many, many friends), gay guys accept booty calls from closeted homos because the guy is hot, but we won't get involved in his life whatsoever (we like sex, not drama).

We want him gone in two hours, not staying over for a week. And as soon as there's any sort of problem, we tell him it's over, because there's nothing easier to find than a supposedly straight guy who wants man-on-man action; they're a dime a dozen.

I find substantial differences between that and your situation.
67
@66 Closeted CDs wanting a domme who loves to give forced feminisation and rope bondage aren't exactly rare either. Most women with my inclinations and skills make a handsome living off it. Maybe my problem is that I fell in love.
68
Hi Marrena, sounds like you're a more experienced Dom than I am, so I may not be able to offer much support for your current situation.

I do get that he really wants what he really wants, and he's ashamed to want what he wants, and he'd rather stay closeted than have to admit what you and he know. The friend who did end up transitioning had similar struggles, so I get it. It sounds like your sub isn't willing to take that risk, though... so the self-hatred cycle perpetuates.

One thing did stand out to me:
"If it's been a long time since their last orgasm, yes, they want to transition."

If you're playing orgasm control games with him and these are obviously having effects you don't want, maybe it's time to drop that from your repertoire?

I hope you two can work things out.
69
@66 wait a minute, did you really say gay men don't like drama? I'm laughing as I think back to all the gay men I've ever known.

@68, maybe you are right.

Thank you everyone, for all your feedback. Sorry to use this comments thread as my personal therapy session.
70
Trans person, here. I think that the answer might be simplified a bit by explaining that trans people tend to have brains that more closely resemble the gender they identify than they do the brains of the gender they were assigned at birth. In that sense, I am very accurately described as "a guy brain in a girl body". I think that if it were explained a bit more widely in those terms, people would understand that it's a real physiological issue and not a psychological indulgence.

PS - As someone who is not transitioning, thanks for, as always, pointing out that many trans people choose not to transition and express their true gender in other ways. :-)
71
@ 67 - "Maybe my problem is that I fell in love"

If you manage to work through that issue, it may end up being a blessing. As BiDanFan suggest, you might want to drop the orgasm control games, though.

Also, maybe his wanting to transition is just a part of the fantasy he's acting out when he's with you. Especially If he's anxious to get back to his life as a man after he orgasms.

Here's another analogy, which you may or may not find relevant: Many, many times, when I was topping guys from very macho cultures (mostly Arabs and Latins), they would say, even sometimes shout, that they loved me. Guys I had just met. As soon as they had come, believe me, that loving feeling was gone.

I came to the conclusion that, in order to truly allow themselves to enjoy being fucked - because of their macho upbringing - that had to try and convince themselves that it was an act of love (or else it would prove that they really were despicable fags who like taking dick up their ass for the sake of it). Once the fucking was over, they would instantly go back to their standard distant, don't-talk-to-me-in-public, I'm-not-really-like-that mode.

Maybe your sub undergoes something similar, where his idea of a man is that he should be dominant, so he can only enjoy being a sub if he totally enters into that mental space where he's a woman... until it's over, that is.
72
Nah @7 is right. As is always the case, the biggest assholes are to be found passing knee-jerk rorschach-blot judgement in the comments rather than writing the letters or responding to them.
73
@71 No, he's definitely part woman. I think it's more like he enters that mental space where he's a sub so that he can be "forced" to be a woman. When he's male, his flavor is very much like Captain America, which has its own retro charm. Physically he's built along similar lines, much to his female side's dismay. His male side is a better sub than his female side. He's always quick to do anything on my honey-do list, calls me "Ma'am", defers to me in any sort of plans for the day, very obedient on-call stud in bed, has no problem doing housework and cooking, and does lots of handyman work on my place. My wish is his command.

But yes, it's definitely a case where he's saying to himself--"Oh, the only reason I'm doing this full-body waxing/mani/pedi/blonde hair dye is because the lady likes it--women and their silly ways." And then once he's all female, his alternate persona comes out and that's lovely too. Also, it's not just one orgasm--usually it's a really impressive number of orgasms over a period of four to seven days or so, before her day in the sun is over.
74
@ 73 - Well I got it wrong, then, sorry!
76
I'm torn: I want people to be free, and if possible happy, but saying that your actual bits have no bearing on your gender seems an invitation to going back to defining 'man' and 'woman' by affect, behaviour, dress, &c....and I feel very much a man but have some characteristics that (it has sounded to me) trans-men tend to eschew in search of maleness...much like stereotypical {cis-men with inadequate penes} 's guns and sports-cars..

That is to say, I find some of this actually reïnforcing of traditional gender rôles.
77
@76 I understand your view, but I think the worry is misplaced. Just because the 'bits' of trans people don't have a bearing on their gender doesn't mean that gender is all just stereotypes and traditional gender roles and affects and all. The other option is that gender is seen as more like 'brain sex' as opposed to 'rest of the body sex'.

That is, just like there are some people born with intersex conditions of their 'bits', there are others with intersex conditions in their brains. Like others have cited above, there's some stuff supporting this.
78
@76, yes, people sometimes choose to enact traditional gender roles. That's okay, because there's nothing wrong with traditional gender roles if they are voluntarily chosen by the people involved. I support the movement to fight gender policing, but I'm okay with people choosing to live out stereotypes if that's what makes them happy.
79
@76: I take your point. Ultimately, though, gender is defined by the person. A trans woman might say, "I am going to wear a dress, because dress = woman." Whereas a cis woman might wear trousers at all times, unless she absolutely has to wear a dress, like for a wedding or something, and be 100% confident of her womanhood. She can feel feminine in trousers; but if the trans woman does not feel feminine in trousers, that is just as valid from her perspective. In other words, What EricaP said. :)
80
I don't know if anyone's said this yet, but body integrity identity disorder doesn't need quotes around it. It's a real disorder, and it's rather similar to gender dysphoria in that it's caused by your brain having a different idea of what your body should be than your body does. Just like people who desperately want to cut off their arm, trans people feel uncomfortable in their own skin, which is why sex reassignment surgery and voluntary amputation exist.

Gender dysphoria isn't comparable to anorexia because anorexia is a mental illness caused by bad self esteem. Before getting gender reassignment surgery, you need to be psychologically evaluated to make sure you're not insane.
81
I dunno.
Please note that the following is not a firm opinion, just me mumbling outloud about something I am conflicted about.
A lot of the "why this is different than anorexia or self injury or people who want their limbs whacked off or any other form of battshitery" seems to come down to "but this is currently an approved medical practice, and those aren't." Which does not answer the question of whether or not current medical practice is in the best interest of the patient.
I've known several transexuals (mid and post transition), and most of them made a lot more "sense" as (in one case) a self-hating feminist man and (in two other cases) delightfully effeminate gay men. Another I didn't know well at all (cashier at a local co-op), but went from being a perfectly passable man to being a weird stepford wife caricature of a woman. I know two other men and one woman who started the process and then decided that however badly out of step they felt with the social expectations of their assigned gender, changing to the other gender didn't fix the problem, and that the "problem" was that they were square pegs that fit in neither the round nor triangular holes provided by the prevailing culture and they needed to just suck up their square peg ness.
Obviously the objections to those observations are A) Who do the hell do I think I am to tell someone that I know more than they do about what works for them than they do and B) people who decide they aren't trans are fundamentally incomparable with people who don't decide they aren't trans. Granted. But given that we all know people who are missing big clues about themselves (you are gay, your partner is abusive, you are 50 pounds too heavy for that outfit, you are in the wrong profession), I'm hesitant to just accept that all people's understandings of themselves are so correct that medical professionals should help them actualize it.
Part of this is my knee-jerk feminist distrust of people seeking self-actualization through body modification. We should be able to be happy with the breasts and genitals we have. And as many people have said, not all trans* people actually seek out body modification. And obviously it could be argued that this is my problem, not theirs.
82
Split because it was too damn long.
Another issue. The studies I've seen pointed out come in to the following categories: post-mortem analysis of brains from people who have taken hormones for years; pre-hormone MRIs comparing with people of the same biological sex who are traditionally gendered; psychological wellness of people who were told from a young age that they did not have to follow through on their biological sex. Obviously the first case is compromised by the taking of hormones. The second I'd be more interested in comparing (for example) MtF transexuals with effeminate men who are fine with their physiology. The third is compromised by upbringing. Is anyone aware of any studies done with kids who assert opposite gender identification, comparing those whose parents agree with them with parents who hold the line on sex but let the kid run their own gender (you are a boy, so you can't wear dresses, but you can wear all the pink and barrets you want and can take dance)? That would be a more interesting comparison to me. Keep the support the same, but change the message about whether to fight ones biology. All of the case histories I've read it sounded to me like the parents saying "ok then" to a kid who was just asserting a "I don't feel like a regular [boy/girl]." What would have happened if they'd said "Of course you don't, Buddy. You're not a regular boy, you're a FAIRY boy, and it's completely totally proper for fairy boys to like dance and pink. You want to meet some grown up fairy boys, so you can see how regular it is?" Would that "transsexual" kid have ended up growing up to be a perfectly happy flamer with a secure male identity if they had been loved but not told that they were girls? Would those two men I knew felt obligated to transition to being women if their cultures (urban black and Filipino) had been better places to be effeminate men? I don't know.