Rhonda Lee
Baroness - Annual
Registered On: September 29, 2021
Topics: 5
Replies: 399
Has thanked: 405 times
Been thanked: 1575 times

Fiona-Ann, You say this is an “easy one”, yet it is one of the most fundamental, important questions I have seen asked on this site. When do we become who we are and is this evidenced by our earliest encounters or is there more to it? Are we born this way? Can we alter, understand, or conrol it? Do we even know what “it” is? I have spent all day reading and pondering the responses.

I plan to attend an Eddie/Susie Izzard event soon… an opportunity to dress up AND learn from a recognized expert on the subject (if there IS such a thing). If any plan to be in Atlanta September 9, please PM me and join me for a CD holiday.

Izzard (who believes she is “gender fluid) believes the day will come when we have scientific proof that this is genetic. While I believe there is an element of both nature and nurture, there is a lot of evidence pointing toward the conclusion that we indeed ARE born this way, and there is only so much we can change. I believe nurture plays a role in helping us become who we are.. the stories told in this amplify this belief.. acceptance of family and peers, for instance, can greatly influence our paths. Still, who we are seems largely outside our control. I have yet to meet a crossdresser who can successfully repress their femininity any more than Aladdin could put the genie back in the bottle.

Tangentially, I believe there is a difference between someone who is a “woman” vs. one who merely has a need to express innate feminine characteristics. I think such characteristics exist in everyone… there is just a difference in degree. The great majority of those in the former group have a strong awareness of being a woman from their earliest memories and are more apt to transition. The great majority of the latter become aware of this in their early teens, although in a significant number of cases they may not be presented with the circumstances that lead them to this discovery until much later on. In my case it does not mean it did not exist from youth or even birth… I knew from the time I first pulled Mom’s bra from the hamper circa age 13 that I could not resist its allure, but refused to believe that was permanent. Until age 60 I did not know I was not alone, as I had never known or met another crossdresser so incorrectly thought I could change or control what I could not.

These are just my observations. They lack the level of scientific proof that would convince most researchers.I hope to change this. I have reviewed and conducted demographic surveys and a significant amount of literature on the subject and served as an outreach director for nearly a decade, having opportunity to interview hundreds of crossdressers, becoming convinced that this is far more than a hunch. Going further, I have compiled statistics and used these in classroom presentations, outreach to diversity directors, students, educators, and the transgender community, discovering that what most believe true frequently contradicts the underlying data I have gathered from crossdressers themselves who seek support and knowledge.

I constructed a simple multiple choice test based upon data gathered from hundreds of crossdressers I have interviewed, all seeking to join a support group of their peers.. 11 questions for which I believed answers to be objective and not difficult. I have given this to hundreds, if not thousands of students, educators and transgender individuals. I initially expected most would respond correctly to every question. The survey questions and answers closely match another survey I unearthed by a prominent crossdresser/blogger. Yet no one yet has answered all questions correctly. Even random guessing generates answers which are more accurate than many groups polled.

My original object was to educate others as to who we are in hopes of gaining broader understanding, acceptance, and advocacy. But I have concluded that this is not “an easy one”. I have modified that objective to simply help people understand that the facts are not as simple as one might think. Knowing that, we should be cautious about advocating points of view that can work their way into law and dangerous practices without making it clear that much of what we believe true is very apt to prove false. At the very least, we need to recognize that there are fundamental differences between subsets of people. This is evident from responses to this very revealing question.

This is a long way of saying I agree with Katie that there are elements of both nature and nurture and I think this question, far from being an “easy one”, is an excellent, illuminating one, well deserving of the wealth of responses received.

Pardon my long response, but you have struck gold, in my opinion. It is worth mining this one.

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