Hi from Greece.

Share the story of your experience with crossdreaming

Hi from Greece.

Postby irini » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:59 pm

Hi there. I'm Irini, I am from Greece and I identify as an mtf trans and queer person.
The main reason I am here is because I am interested in this new concept of "crossdreaming". I think it is great that some people have come up with such a positive and respectful definition, in order to ditch the insulting "autogynephilia" of the transphobe Blanchard (It's not the word itself that's insulting. It's the whole discourse he "built" around it).
I am not sure I want to identify as a "crossdreamer" myself (even though I do, of course, crossdream).
However I would like to learn more about the way you people look at things.

I wish the best for the forum :)
irini
 
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby jackmolay » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:50 am

It is great to have you here!

It would be interesting to hear your perspective as well. In what way do you, as a trans and queer person, differ from most of the crossdreamers here? Is it about sexual orientation? The understanding of what this is all about?
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"You are not a pervert, so do not call yourself one! Autogynephilia does not exist."
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby irini » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:07 pm

Hello Jack. Pleased to “meet” you :)

In an “objective” way, do not think I differ at all, from most crossdreamers here. Especially when it comes to sexual orientation. And that’s why I find this concept of crosdreaming interesting, in the first place. But identity, I believe, is much more of a “subjective” thing. Sometimes it is another thing to say you crossdream and another to identify as crossdreamer. Or not;

Anyway, I’ll try to describe my perspective. Starting with the “objective” stuff.

I’m an mtf trans person, in my mid-thirties. I am almost in every (biological and observable from the outside) way, pre-transition. Up until about three or four years ago, I lived in denial of my trans condition. Well, yes, I knew it was there, but up to some years ago, I always thought I could find a way to go on (as a cis straight man, that is), without really addressing my gender issues.

Romantically and sexually, I was always attracted to women. I adored them would be the more precise word for it (although, I find that, since I’ve started to address my gender issues, I’ve grown a bit less fanatical in that respect / still like them though :)).
Well, yes, there also is the “having sex with the non-faced male, while having a female body”, fantasy, but it is nothing more than fantasy… In order to be actually acted out, it seams to -strictly- require the having the female body thing…

So, I would say, that in most ways, I am the typical study case for the transphobe Blanchard’s AG nonsense (it really is outrageous, the way he, without any proof, presumes that our wanting to have a female body is some sort of misdirected attraction to women, when it is common sense that strong social motivation exists for things to be quite the other way around: that, say, our adoration of women is –partly- fuelled by our craving to have a female body)


So, coming now to the more “subjective” stuff.

I like women, but since I now identify as some sort of woman myself (or, at least, as a non-man), I find that this is kind of queer.
OK, I do in general have what would be described as a man’s appearance. And I am not saying that appearances are not important. They are. But they certainly are not the only thing that is important. That’s why I identify, at least, as a non-man.
In any case, I admit that my queer identity is, at least for the time being, far more, say, political, than it is social.
It would be social if and when I’ll be able to pass as a woman.

I am a member of a, Greek language, trans an queer forum, which also acts like a kind of a local activist group. We mostly identify as trans (socially) and queer and transfeminist (politically). It is not a very strict identification (we try to be open to other perspectives too), but –still- we do tend to favor a way of thinking that goes like: “if she thinks she’s a woman, then she is one (no matter how much she has transitioned), and bash back the phobic fool that says she is not”. Well that is a way of thinking that might work a lot for some and less for others. It is not for everyone and it certainly is not fit for every phase and instance. It does make sense when one participates in radical queer “circles” of people, but makes far less sense when one has to interact with the wider society. It is nice radical thought I reckon, but nice radical thought, at many instances, has to be put down to earth, in order to serve realistic goals.

My general opinion on collective identities is that they are (or should be perceived as) fluid and “subjective”. They are there to serve social and political goals of groups of people who are in some way deprived of privilege. They have a reason to exist, as long as they serve such goals well. They are not God or Nature sent. And what’s more, they are totally on the wrong side if they are there not to fight privilege but to, in any way, retain it. I know it’s a bit of a romantic notion (since the fight of privilege, rarely comes without the building of some new privilege). But it is what it is.


Anyway, as far as s my personal perspective on crossdreaming goes, here’s how it is. I do crossdream. And as the years go by, more and more, so. It is I suppose a way of keeping sane, for me. But it also is tiresome in some ways. I do not think it is wrong, or perverse, or shamefull in any way, or degrading for women, or degrading for us as women (or any of the other bullshit that have at times been said about AG). But I do think it gets tiresome, at times. I mean, I wish I soon find a way (whether it is through actually transitioning or some other path) in which I will need to crossdream less. Fantasizing about leading a life as a woman is fine. But is fantasizing enough?


And coming now to crossdreamer as a potential collectrive identity. My concern is this. Could this lead to making an identity that could be described as such: “we are –probably- transsexual people, who, however, just can’t find a way to transition in a satisfactory for us way, so, let’s, at least, embrace our crossdreaming, by identifying as crossdreamers” ?
I mean, yes, let’s embrace our crossdreaming I am totally for that. But is that enough?
I am not saying that this is the case here. It is just a concern.
But even if it is the case, I still can respect it and I still want to understand it.

So this is my perspective, as honestly as I could put it. I sure hope I haven’t insulted anybody for that was not my intention. I just want to understand people -with whom I seem to have many things in common- and interact with them.

Thanks again.
irini
 
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby jackmolay » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:11 am

Thank you for a very interesting answer. No offense taken!

The crossdreamer concept was originally meant to make crossdreaming visible, not to establish a new tribe so to speak. Given that anyone speaking about feminization fantasies were frowned upon, by the medical society and parts of the transsexual community, and labelled as fetishists or paraphiliacs, the stigmatization alone caused a lot of suffering and loneliness. By making crossdreaming visible, this part of the transgender community can see that they are not alone and that there a perfectly natural reasons for them reacting as they do.

However, like you I do not think this is a clearly defined group of people and a condition that can be used to permanently create a community. If I am right in my hunch, crossdreaming is an expression of some kind of innate "womanness", and if that womanness is allowed to be expressed, crossdreaming disappears as crossdreaming and become sexual fantasies, pure and simple. In other words: In a tolerant future crossdreaming may disappear.

Then there is the fact that crossdreamers are a diverse bunch. Some are clearly transsexual; other seem to be able to turn this into a side of their masculine self. And you are right, for many of us accepting our inner crossdreamer may not be enough. We must also accept our inner woman, and for many: become her.

“if she thinks she’s a woman, then she is one (no matter how much she has transitioned), and bash back the phobic fool that says she is not”. This is the kind of tolerance I am looking for. It is amazing how much time we spend on putting people in boxes just to feel safe.

Another question, if you have the time:

Over at my blog I have had a long and fruitful discussion with a sexologist from Thailand called Natalie. We are preparing a series of blog posts on different historical and cultural paradigms for understanding sexuality - and through that crossdreaming. One argument is that sexuality is understood different in countries around the Mediterranean compared to Northern Europe and North America.

To give one example: It seems that homosexuality is understood as sexual attraction towards the same sex (or body form) in Northern Europe and North America, while it is understood as an expression of active vs. passice in Southern Europe, North Africa and Latin America. In other words: You are not a gay man as long as you are the active part when having sex (cf. Ancient Athens).

Does this make sense to you, and if it does, how does this affect your alternative community?
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Visit my blogs over at www.crossdreamers.com and tumblr!

"You are not a pervert, so do not call yourself one! Autogynephilia does not exist."
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby irini » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:24 pm

Hi there again Jack.

Well, for a start, I am glad that I seem to be on a similar line with you, in most respects, when it comes to the understanding of this crossdreaming concept.


A concern has come up however about this particular point:

“We must also accept our inner woman, and for many: become her.”

People in our Greek language forum, have dug up this comment by you in order to interpret the above:

"The figure below shows a a male with both feminine and masculine traits, but where the feminine side is dominating. He might not be a "pure blooded woman" in a wolf's clothing, but he is definitely much more of a woman than a man, mentally speaking. His/her degree of femininity has reached a critical mass, so to speak.

There are probably a large number of natural born women out there that are more masculine than he is. If he undergoes sex reassignment surgery he has the same right to be considered a woman as a natural born one as they do."


Does this mean you believe that only someone who has gone through SRS can be considered a woman?


“This is the kind of tolerance I am looking for. It is amazing how much time we spend on putting people in boxes just to feel safe.”

Let’s leave aside the “bash back” part. I think I didn’t use it in a very appropriate context, since “bash back” refers to responding to hostile actions of openly phobic people (not towards words of people who just don’t get it). I just used it to give emphasis (and perhaps even to throw in some political hint).
Well, leaving that aside, I think my view on tolerance adds down to respecting other people’s self-identification and self-expression. As long, of course, as they -equally- respect your own self –identification and self-expression.
To give a relevant example:
If someone here says he’s an mtf crossdreamer but still identifies as a man, and I start going on about him being a chauvinist clinged to male privelage or that he has internalized homophobia, then I would be on the wrong side.
If, on the other hand, I say that I am a woman (even though I still have a pheanotypically male body) and someone here starts going on about me being a “travesty of a woman” or “a sexist highjacker of women’s identity” etc etc, then he/she would be on the wrong side.

So to state what I said earlier in more complete way: “If she thinks she is a woman, then she is one and if he thinks he is a man then he is one and no strings attached”
If someone is sexist or phobic or not, is a different matter. It is not dependent on how he self-identifies.


And now, to the matter of your question.

I am acquainted to gay people, through he lgbtq movement, but that in no way matches a “first hand” experience. That’s why I thought it wise to re-post your question in a couple of local LGB forums. I got some responses from gay people I know.
Their answers (plus the few things I know) add up to this:
The way homosexuality is perceived in Greece (an -probably- in most southern Europe) is “mixed” and “in transition”:
There is, on the one hand, the old and traditional perception of homosexuality, which is very similar in context to the “expression of active vs. passive” you mentioned. That perception makes a sharp distinction between the active …man, who is usually married or in an relationship with a woman and who in our language used to be called “kolobaras” and, on the other hand, the passive effeminate …sissy, who was respectively called “pustis” (I must note, none of these words are very polite, but, surprise surprise… “pustis” is worse…). In this old context sexual orientation was defined by social gender (masculine=active, feminine=passive).
However, a much more modern perception of homosexuality also exists. This, more modern perception is very similar to the one you have in Northern Europe. According to that perception all male gay people (active or passive or whatever) strongly identify as (gay) men.
These two perceptions, the traditional and the modern, are now mixing up or battling each other or just going on in each own parallel way.
Generally saying, in big cities and in progressive environments you will most probably encounter the modern perception, while you will see more of the traditional one in smaller places. Also bi people today seem to favour the traditional perception more than people who only like men ( since it is more well suited for bi people).

As for the alternative community (my own two cents here), if you are referring to the local lgbtq movement, then it’s the modern perception all the way… “Traditionals” generally wouldn’t care less about getting mixed up with movements, activism and the such… However, that does make the community much weaker, in respect to number, visibility etc.

Oh, and another thing that has been pointed out to me: Southern Europe does share a lot of culture and history with Latin America and North Africa (and the Near and Middle East, too). However the gay culture is not the same in all these regions. Our Muslim neighbors -especially- are way more traditional in these matters.
Last edited by irini on Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
irini
 
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby jackmolay » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:06 pm

Thank you! This is exactly the kind of feedback we need. Your discussion on a gradual change in Greek attitudes to homosexuality due to urbanization and "Westernization" is very interesting, indeed. I am not sure it is for the good or the bad. It seems to me both models are unnecessary restrictive and lead to a lot of suffering.

I will take the liberty of quoting this discussion in the article.

Now to your question:

"Does this mean you believe that only someone who has gone through SRS can be considered a woman?"

Absolutely not!

The idea that only transwomen undergoing SRS can be considered real women is caused by a cause of hyper correction among so called "classical transsexuals". The infamous crossdresser guru (and most likely crossdreamer) Virginia Prince argued that it was wrong for crossdressers to undergo SRS at the same time as she made a lot of derogatory remarks about transsexuals.

It probably made sense for some more militant transwomen to turn this ideology upside down and demand SRS as a sign of non-compromised femininity. "If she [or rather HE, as is their way of referring to Prince] says surgery is bad, it must be good!"

I do not believe your female identity is found between your legs. It is found between your ears.

Besides: Since I wrote that post I have come to the conclusion that the "critical mass" model cannot be used to explain crossdreaming. See my post on an alternative explanation for crossdreaming.

But there is one thing that makes this even more complex: We have to distinguish between how a person identifies gender wise, and his/her subconscious gender identity. After all the realization that the they are women often comes gradually, after a long and hard processes whereby the transgendered person digs through one layer of fear and conditioned stereotypes after the other. Only a minority has had that constant conviction that they truly are women throughout their whole life.

Like you I respect the self-identification of the people I meet. But that does not mean that the man I am facing cannot -- deep down -- be a woman. I live as a man, present as a man and identify as a man. But that does not stop my inner woman from being one very strong girl, indeed.

And then there are those that truly transcends the gender boundary, identifying as both man and woman or none of the above. I refuse to reduce this diversity to the dichotomies of people like Blanchard.
................................
Visit my blogs over at www.crossdreamers.com and tumblr!

"You are not a pervert, so do not call yourself one! Autogynephilia does not exist."
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Re: Hi from Greece.

Postby irini » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:00 pm

I am glad to have been of some help, Jack :)
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