Community Conversations > General Topics

Etymology

(1/3) > >>

zirconia:
So... since Linde kindly told me I could republish my own work, and I thought it a pity to just throw away research I did spend a few evenings on, I decided to dig through my browser caches and post the following disappeared article after cleaning it up and ridding it of references to the forum I originally wrote it for...


My activities at times require a lot of interaction with people of different backgrounds, and language and the reasons why and how it has evolved becomes important more often than one would think.

After once discussing the difference between the words transsexual and transgender with someone somewhere else far, far away I realized my own knowledge was actually a bit vague, and I was mostly just regurgitating bits of what I'd heard from others. That really bugged me, and since I had a bit of free time I spent some evenings doing a bit more research. Here's a summary that I hope may be of help or interest to others interested in the subject.

So... the first part was no surprise. While variations of "transsexual" were in use much earlier, it is Harry Benjamin who popularized the word in 1966. He'd already published articles on the subject much earlier, though. E.g. in 1954 he stated:

“Similarly the term “transsexualism” answers a practical purpose and is appropriate in our present state of knowledge. If future research should show that male sex organs are compatible with (genetic) female sex or female sex organs with (genetic) male sex the term would be wrong because the male “transsexualist” is actually female and merely requires a transformation of genitals.”

...suggesting that he even then felt those who suffered from being transsexual could be helped by simply modifying their genitals. (Although, as an endocrinologist he also did offer his patients hormone treatment.)


The emergence of term gender as an adjunct to sex was needed before the term transgender could be born. That seems to have happened largely thanks to John Money, who used it when expounding the idea that despite their biological differences all human children are malleable enough at birth to be successfully brought up as either boys or girls.

While his work was proven to be fallacious by the John/Joan debacle it did (and still does) affect a huge part of later work in the field—and was influential in popularizing the word. (Until he appropriated it, gender actually was almost exclusively a grammatical term used in the field of linguistics.)


As for the use of transgender to refer to people rather than something to do with grammar or the two sexes, its popularization has been attributed to Virginia Prince (who herself also claimed the same.)

Even a cursory examination of the other examples of the term's use in the wild  reveals the focus to be different.  E.g. a 1975 article in the Chicago tribune used transgender to refer to terminology that could be used to simultaneously address both sexes... humorously:

"FOR EXAMPLE, a speaker might use these new transgender pronouns when ey addresses an audience of both men and women. Eir sentences would sound smoother since ey wouldn’t clutter them with the old sexist pronouns. And if ey should trip up in the new usage, ey would have only emself to blame."


Prince was prolific—a well-studied, proud and out transgender who lived full-time in her later years. She knew from early on how she felt and what she wanted. In her article from 1957 in The American Journal of Psychotherapy she already ..."distinguishes the homosexual and the transsexual from what she calls the 'true transvestite.' True transvestites are exclusively heterosexual. They value their male organs, enjoy using them and do not want them removed."

In 1960 she began to publish the magazine Transvestia. Its purpose was

"To provide expression for those interested in the subjects of unusual dress and fashion… to provide information to those who, through ignorance, condemn that which they don't understand… [and] to provide education for those who see evil when none exists." These three objectives—education, entertainment, and expression—were promoted in order to "...help… readers achieve understanding, self-acceptance, [and] peace of mind".

In it she "repeatedly claimed that gender is between the ears, not the legs."

Even as Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon made the word transsexual known to the general public in 1966, Prince continued her mission to distinguish even full-time cross dressers (or femmephilics, as she now called them) from transsexuals, using various permutations of transgender (e.g. transgenderal, transgenderism and transgenderist) to clearly differentiate between them.

Her efforts gradually bore fruit. Around 1976 e.g. transgendrous was used by people who wished to assume a female role without undergoing surgery, and who wanted to differentiate themselves from transsexuals...

"Phyllis Frye prefers to be called transgenderous rather than transsexual. Frye points out that most of the things we consider to be characteristics of sexuality are really characteristics of gender. Such things as speech, gestures and clothing determine the sex of a person as it appear to most of the people that person comes into contact with. Frye plans no operation but wishes to assume a female gender identity."

However, despite Prince's efforts to maintain purity the public still began to use words like transgendered interchangeably with transsexual as early as the 1970s, and the confusion increased further in the 1980s. In 1991 Prince lambasted this kind of "incorrect" usage in a letter to the editors of Gender EUPHORIA magazine. They, however, felt that it was useful because it didn't "elicit the negative response typical of transvestite, transsexual, or even cross-dresser."

Since the circulation of transvestite publications like Gender Euphoria and Transvestia was limited, however, the first true large scale mass exposure the general public got to the term transgender was after 1992, when Leslie Feinberg wrote a pamphlet called Transgender Liberation: A Movement whose time has come to promote alliance between the gay community and everyone whom she defined as "gender variant." In it and her later books Transgender Warriors (1997) and Trans Liberation Beyond Pink and Blue(1999) she used transgender to refer to just about anyone and anyone who fit her definition of the term. Including Albanian sworn virgins, transsexuals, acault and other groups that did not necessarily have any wish to join—or even knowledge of—the alliance she wished to form...

... and it looks like that's how, despite Virginia Prince's wishes and efforts, the term she intended to specifically mean out and proud full-time male cross dressers was largely through the efforts of a lesbian activist transformed into the vast umbrella that now encompasses just about everyone who for any reason wants to take shelter under it. And many who've never even heard the term who probably wouldn't wish to be associated with it if they had...

That really blew my mind.
(*⁰▿⁰*) \\\\٩( 'ω' )و ////

There's a lot more fascinating information out there, e.g. regarding groups that resisted getting included under transgender, and the reasons why it happened anyway. It's all quite intriguing... and perhaps when I have time I may add some other tidbits I may find.

Anyway, I'm not a pro and this is just what I could find in the time I had at hand. If anyone else is interested, it’s best to read the sources directly since a large part is publicly available on the web. Above I've only linked to sources that I felt even the most sensitive readers shouldn't find disturbing—but if you're interested in perusing truly raw first-hand information entirely at your own risk, the way I went about it was by first finding the oldest (mostly defunct) blogs I could, reading not only the articles but also the comments, and then following all the links. Some commenters even recounted personal interactions with Harry Benjamin, Prince and other key people. Over half of the links are dead now, but I still found enough treasures among the cobwebs to excite at least this budding amateur anthropologist...

Edit: Grammar, clarity

zirconia:

--- Quote from: Katie on February 03, 2020, 09:25:03 AM --- ...But after having read your post, I am reconsidering my relationship with that word. I am surely not on HRT for any social construct! And reading about how Prince really meant the word to be associated with cisgender male cross dressers alienates me from it even more.

--- End quote ---

I'm glad you found it useful... ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶


--- Quote from: OzGirl on February 03, 2020, 02:28:02 PM ---The problem with Trans terms is that our knowledge is ever evolving. In recent times the division between medical and psychological causes has meant our definitions needed to change, and in the near future the evolving knowledge of different parts of a gender spectrum will cause many more changes.

--- End quote ---

I'm glad if scientists are getting closer to understanding what's going on. I guess any new terminology won't matter to me personally, though. The transsexualism diagnosis is enough to get me the treatment I need, annihilate the records of me having been male, and give me a new name and a female social security number.

Complete:

--- Quote ---The problem with Trans terms is that our knowledge is ever evolving
--- End quote ---

Allie, l strongly disagree.
The way l see this is the intentional hijacking of language by self appointed "experts", who are in my view, little more than political activists, (trans-activists).
The stated intent has been, and continues to be, to inextricably gaslight the Transsexual condition with cross dressing and full time or, lifestyle cross dressers.
This is the key advantage of the intentional conflation of the two distinct terms.
By hiding behind the skirts of post corrected women, cross dressers find shelter and a claim to legitimacy.

Complete:
There is a discernable difference between the etiology and the behavioural patterns. It has been noted and documented in countless studies.
Unfortunately this fact is in direct conflict with the TG narrative that we are all the same. That is why it is <not allowed> on most forums.

Complete:

--- Quote from: Linde on February 03, 2020, 05:16:51 PM ---But it is allowed here!  Cause we are not most forum, but the new transrefuge!
Linde

--- End quote ---

Yes! That is GREAT!
We will see how long that remains the case.🤔

This...
--- Quote --- "I don't really like the term transexual much, because the general public sees the term SEX, and thinks mostly that we are perverts!"
--- End quote ---

Perhaps you are referring to that portion of the general public into tranny porn. That industry was quick to co-opt the term.
IMHO, I could easily be mistaken,  the general public could not care less about that distinction.
For the most part, the distinction has been successfully erased, which is why women like myself have essentially disappeared, along with our historical existance.
We are all now, "all the same"🤕🥺🥺🥺☹️☹️☹️😓

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version