Reading Mike: The Annotated Bailey: Chapter 8, page 144

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Bailey Commentary

[144] 8 Terese and Cher

Terminology is an important source of confusion. "Transsexualism" has many connotations, including "sex change," "trapped in the wrong body," "femininity" (in genetic males) or "masculinity" (in genetic females), and "cross-dressing." Try to forget the connotations. All I mean by "transsexualism" is the desire to become a member of the opposite sex. An adult with transsexualism is a "transsexual." These definitions say nothing about the motivation, appearance, or subsequent actions of the transsexual. They do not imply that the transsexual feels trapped in the wrong body, or that the transsexual even ultimately seeks sex reassignment.

The definitions also allow different degrees of transsexualism. I have no desire of which I am aware to become a woman, and so I am not at all transsexual. But there is a range of transsexualism among people who do have such desire. There are people who would like to change sex if they could try it out for a while and change back if they chose. (I do not mean to include men and women who have whimsical thoughts about this. Only serious thoughts.) Some would change sex permanently if they did not have to give up important aspects of their lives (for example, their children) to do so. Others have no ambivalence, and may dedicate their lives to changing their sex to the point of apparent obsession, losing families, friends, and jobs in the process. All of these people I have described are at least a little transsexual, but the latter are more transsexual than the former. "Transsexual" is not an either-or label. Even if we were to restrict the use of that word to those who take medical steps to change their sex, there would still be considerable variability. Some transsexuals merely undergo electrolysis; others take hormones; others get breast implants; and of course, others get an operation to simulate the genitalia of the other sex. Although there are genetic women who become men, their story must await another



Despite this variability, it is possible to get a handle on the psychology of male-to-female transsexualism. You just have to meet the right people--starting with some transsexuals, themselves.

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