There was a time when I, as so many now seem to profess to do, accepted that sexuality and sex were distinct from each other. Time and examination have since led me to a different understanding.
In general terms, when we are dealing with a natal sex binary (male/female) and without the influence of transsexualism, that premise is true. The fact that one is male or female is no determinant of a person’s sexuality. There are no shortages of homosexual and bisexual males and females and there seems to be no physical determining factor in either biological sex as to what makes someone gay or bi.
The introduction of transsexualism, though, brings a new dynamic into play when considering the sexuality of both of the transsexual themselves and their partner in relation to their natal sexes.
Social division into ‘men’ and ‘not men’ groups, together with a domestic matriarchy, explains why transsexual expressions in SE Asia differ from the West.
Male to Female transsexuals are normally scientifically categorised as homosexual or nonhomosexual with regard to their birth sex. I use the term HSTS for the former. Blanchard explained the latter in terms of autogynephilia, love of oneself as a woman. These we term autogynephiles or AGPs. There is a discrepancy, between the West and Asia, however. Whereas in the West, most AGPs are older and about 60% seek relationships with women, most AGPs in Asia transition much younger and are almost exclusively attracted to men. Why is this happening?
When I was at Art School in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, there was only one place to be: the Hoochie-Koochie Club. Why? Because it was the only gay nightclub. Straight women liked it because there was an unspoken rule: straights were welcome, but no hitting on the women. Straight men liked it because we were much less likely to get battered in the face there than in any of the regular meat-markets in the city. There was no pressure; you could just chill, dance, have a drink. And although the hetero was low-key, one could still get lucky.
But more than that, it was culturally cool. The gays always had the best music. They were the best-dressed cats in town and if somebody said ‘you’re looking a bit gay today’ you knew you had your fashion statement bang on. It was the era of the New Romantics and everybody was wearing eye-liner and bleaching their hair. Gender signals were profoundly mixed. Straight women wore sports jackets and top hats over jeans and men wore earrings and chiffon. The gay zeitgeist was as hip as it could be.
Much has made about the differences between autogynephilic transvestites (AGP) and homosexual transsexuals (HSTS). However, most of this work remains largely clinical and as such, it fails to connect to the sympathies of the public. An exception to this of course being J. Michael Bailey’s The Man who would be Queen, an almost pop-science interpretation of the data on transsexualism. Even this, despite being a nice read, is written from the perspective of a researcher. What I am getting at, if not already obvious, is that not much is written from the perspective of HSTS women.
I am an HSTS woman, and was invited by Rod to write a piece or two based on my experiences. I don’t usually get to share these with other people, and I thought this a good opportunity. I won’t get into much about my childhood — after you’ve heard a couple of HSTS’ childhood remembrances, you’ve pretty much heard them all — but I will give some basics.
All male-to-feminine (MtF) trans are EITHER homosexual (exclusively attracted to men from childhood) or non-homosexual (not exclusively attracted to men from childhood.) The latter are commonly known as autogynephilic. This distinction is obvious and has been observed since the 19th century. It is recognised as fundamental by all serious scientists working in the field.
Homosexual Transsexuals (HSTS) exhibit a cluster of trait characteristics in addition to their sexual desire for men. They tend to be small, delicately built, light for their height, naturally feminine and neotenous. They have intense difficulty learning to be masculine, if they ever do. Non-homosexual trans exhibit no such clustering; in fact they conform to the averages for men of their ethnicity and are attracted to women.
The explanation for HSTS is easy and has never been disputed: they desire men and are feminine, so to attract men, whom they know to be attracted to femininity, they make themselves more feminine. Again none of this is true of non-homosexuals; so why on earth might it be that a man, who is not attracted to or seeking to attract men, would want to appear to be feminine?
So you’re planning to meet some ladyboys in Pattaya? Read this.
The whole of south-east Asia is remarkable for its highly visible populations of transsexual women. These are not at all the same as you may be used to thinking of, if you are a Westerner. They’re not like Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. (See my discussions on Ray Blanchard for more details.)
Ladyboys in Thailand and across Asia are not like that at all. They are
beautiful and very sexy. They are extremely feminine in appearance and manners. From their early teens they use female hormones, often birth control pills which are freely available without prescription. These can turn them into staggeringly beautiful women. And the fact is that many men are powerfully attracted to them.
Plenty of men find transwomen attractive and will seek them out and even pay in order to have sex with them. Why? The travestis of Brazil and South America might show us.
Brazilian natal women are unquestionably amongst the most beautiful in the world, but South American women, including Brazilians, tend to be rather short in stature, at least on average. However, many South American men are very attracted to the classic Anglo-Saxon standards of beauty—tall, slender, blonde, blue eyes, pale skin and so on. Enter the travesti, as transsex women are often known in Latin America and parts of Europe. With her naturally greater height she has an immediate advantage in this marketplace. If she began taking hormones young, as manydo, there is every chance that she will be naturally pretty, and she will certainly do everything she can to maximise her assets.
My plan had originally been to make my trip to Asia after Christmas, but Crissy had told me that she was unlikely to be available then. I was in contact with a number of girls, but only she had that spark, and I knew I wanted to meet her. She was lively and enthusiastic, but had an edge about her and a depth too, that I liked. She had a way of just knowing what I was thinking, even before I said it, that always bodes well for a new relationship.
So I rearranged my schedule. In fact, November is the best time to go to southeast Asia in any case. The typhoon season should have come to an end, and the temperatures are relatively low, with lots of sunshine. In addition, flight prices are twenty per cent or so cheaper then, than in March or April. I readily persuaded myself that making the trip sooner was justified on a whole raft of counts; other, of course, than my interest in getting to know Crissy a whole lot better…
Guest Author Amanda Grimes discusses trans activism and the risks it may present for young people.
This article is a collection of my own thoughts and opinions, formed from my experience as a transsexual woman who transitioned over 30 years ago. In that time I have experienced life, as a woman, with few, if any, knowing about my past. I am married to a man and have had a long and very successful professional career. I transitioned at a time when the world was not quite the fluffy accepting place it appears to be today and in reality while laws have changed, society, especially the behaviours of the genders within it is not really that different now than it was then.
There currently is what seems to be an inexorable move towards the acceptance of “Transgender” people within Western societies. So much so that there is almost an air of hysteria around the condition, which seems almost cult like in some quarters, and has led to the blind acceptance of anyone who presents the slightest non-conformity with their traditional gender role as being transgender. Continue reading Trans activism can be harmful→
‘It’s as if a couple of jumbo-jets of Western culture crashed into a container-ship of Asia and the wreckage is still settling.’ These words jump out at me as I read over my notes. And it’s true; the Philippines is a cultural conundrum, a Rubik’s Cube of interlaced and interlocked themes, memes, images and sensations.
It’s not like India, where the veneer of Westernism added by a couple of hundred years of British domination is so thin it seems as flimsy as a bride’s veil, yet definitely attached, as if the bride herself is shy about lifting it, nor Thailand, where Western cultural influences seem grafted on, bizarrely co-exiting with something older and fundamentally opposed. Instead, the Philippines is a genuine melting-pot, a sculptor’s crucible where metallic elements are alloyed to make something completely new. The roots of European culture here go deep, deep into the fertile soil of Asia, and the resulting foliage is strange, at once familiar yet surprising.