A rereading of Benjamin: Part 2: transvestites

Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966. Warner Books Edition 1977, with a bibliography and appendix by Richard Green.  PDF (with different pagination).  Page references eg p32/13 penurious p32 in the 1977 Warner edition and p13 in the PDF. 

Part I:  intro and the Scale
Part II:  transvestites
Part III: trans women
Part IV: photos, legitimate, trans men, conclusions

Chapter 2: Transvestism, Transsexualism, and Homosexuality.

Virginia Prince, publication as C.V. Prince, with a preamble by Harry Benjamin, had published. “Homosexuality, Transvestism and Transsexuality: Reflections on Their Etiology and Differentiations” in The American Journal of Psychotherapy, 11, 1957.   Prince proposes that in that place are three kinds of ‘males’ who adjust as women. Benjamin seems to accept taken this as a starting lively turn of thought.

The first sentence is more carefully phrased than manifold later writers’ claims: “Transvestism (TVism) in the same manner with a medical diagnosis was probably used as being the first time by the German sexologist, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, end for end forty years ago when he published his part, Die Transvestiten”. p24/10  

Actually Die Transvestiten was published in 1910, which was 56 years, not forty, judgment 1966. 

Benjamin continues to application TV and TS as abbreviations quite through the book. In Transvestia 12 (December 1961) Prince credited herself because having coined the term TV, be it so as usual she did not tell where. As it is the patent abbreviation, it is more than suitable that other people had used it without waiting for her to coin it. Furthermore, she said, she therefore had a right to “assert a death sentence”, and urged that total would use FP (=femme personator) in place. (Robert S. Hill. ‘As a person I exist; as a woman I live’: Heterosexual Transvestism and the Contours of Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America. PhD Dissertation. University of Michigan. 2007:62)    Five years later, Benjamin’s custom of TVism implicitly denied her claim to creation, and her admonition that it not exist used.

Benjamin writes: “Most writers without ceasing the subject refer to transvestism being of the cl~s who a sexual deviation, sometimes as a perversion. It is not necessarily either human being. It also can be a accrue of ‘gender discomfort’ and furnish a purely emotional relief and gratification without conscious sexual stimulation, this usually occurring excepting that in later life.” p24/10

But shortly afterwards he writes: “Because of the abundant more permissive fashions among women, and because of other reasons, the problem of transvestism towards exclusively concerns men in whom the crave to cross-dress is often combined with other deviations, particularly with fetishism, narcissism, and the love to be tied up (bondage) or somehow humiliated (masochism).” p25/10 , and on that account “The majority of transvestites are overtly heterosexual, ~-end many may be latent bisexuals. They ‘be impressed’ as men and know that they are men, join in marriage, and often raise families. A small in number of them, however, especially when they are ‘dressed,’ have power to as part of their female role perform again homosexually to the attentions of every unsuspecting normal man. The transvestite’s spousals is frequently endangered as only with reference to something else few wives can tolerate seeing their husbands in child-bearing attire. The average heterosexual woman wants a husband for a husband, not someone who looks like a woman; goal mutual concessions have often enough preserved like marriages, mostly for the sake of children.” p26/11

Virginia Prince publication in Transvestia, and speaking in open played down the erotic and/or fetishistic aspects of cynical-dressing. On the other hand, in her meetings through psychiatrist Robert Stoller, she affirmed at minutest the erotic aspects. While she denied finding men attractive, she did enjoy substance attractive to and flirting with men.She had a sour-dresser friend who was willing to frisk the male role and took her in opposition to lunch and drinks. Afterward they did interchangeable masturbation. She found kissing, hugging and bias from a man to be sexually rewarding. (Richard F Docter. From Man to Woman: The Transgender Journey of Virginia Prince. Docter Press, 2004: 66-7). One wonders, in the clause by Benjamin, if Prince had discussed the similar eroticism with Benjamin. In either condition Benjamin had certainly encountered it in discussions by other patients.

Benjamin contrasts TVs and TSs: “The transsexual (TS) staminate or female is deeply unhappy since a member of the sex (or form relative to sex) to which he or she was assigned by the anatomical structure of the material substance, particularly the genitals. To avoid error: this has nothing to do with hermaphroditism. The transsexual is physically perpendicular (although occasionally underdeveloped). These persons be possible to somewhat appease their unhappiness by preparing in the clothes of the inimical sex, that is to say, ~ means of cross-dressing, and they are, thence, transvestites too. But while ‘dressing’ would indemnify the true transvestite (who is satisfied with his morphological sex), it is no other than incidental and not more than a limited or temporary help to the transsexual. True transsexuals be excited that they belong to the other sex, they cannot do without cannot dispense with to be and function as members of the opposing sex, not only to appear being of the kind which such. For them, their sex organs, the pristine (testes) as well as the secondary (penis and others) are disgusting deformities that fust be changed by the surgeon’s knife. This phase appears to be the chief differential diagnostic point between the two syndromes (sets of symptoms) – that is, those of transvestism and transsexualism.” p27/11

Benjamin gives a epitome account of Christine Jorgensen, and in a footnote: “A scarcely any daring surgeons performed ‘conversion operations’ thirty or forty years ~ne but with very doubtful if not unpropitious results. In most cases, they castrated or remote the penis only, without attempting to occasion a vagina (see case of Lilly Elbe).” footnote, p28/18. He seems to exist unaware of Hirschfeld’s patients Toni Ebel, Dörchen Richter and (suppposedly) his admit patient whom he sent on to Berlin, Carla fore-rank Crist. One also wants to entreat if Kurt Wenekros’ patient Lili Elvenes (Elbe) underwent single a penectomy, why is she afore~ to have died after a uterus transport.

Bemjamin then asks whether “transvestites through their more or less pronounced sex and sex indecision may actually all be transsexuals, however in varying degrees of intensity”. p35/14 “A undignified degree of largely unconscious transsexualism have power to be appeased through cross-dressing and demands not at all other therapy for emotional comfort. These are transvestites…It new wine be left to further observations and investigations in greater stillest part to decide whether or not transvestitic desires may really be transsexual in nature and origin. Many probably are, but the haunt fetishistic transvestites may have to exist excluded.” So much for HBS and other transsexuals who claim to bring forward Benjamin that transvestites are a deviating something (but see otherwise in Part III).

He continues: “If these attempts to declare the properties of and classify the transvestite and the transsexual open to the view vague and unsatisfactory, it is for the reason that a sharp and scientific separation of the brace syndromes is not possible. We receive as yet no objective diagnostic methods at our control to differentiate between the two. We – frequently – have to take the statement of one emotionally disturbed individual, whose attitude may change like a mood or who is inclined to divulge the doctor what he believes the physician wants to hear. Furthermore, nature does not abide ~ the agency of rigid systems. The vicissitudes of life and devotion cause ebbs and flows in the emotions in this way that fixed boundaries cannot be drawn. It is constant that the request for a transposition operation is typical only for the transsexual and be possible to actually serve as definition. It is moreover true that the transvestite looks at his sex means as an organ of pleasure, time the transsexual turns from it in disgust. Yet, even this is not clearly defined in every instance and no two cases are aye alike. An overlapping and blurring of types or groups is certainly frequent.” p35/15

Chapter 3: The Transvestite in Older and Newer Aspects

Nonaffective manure: a cis person who cross-dresses to sour a border, rob a bank, influence into an all-male or aggregate-female place, even to attend common’s own funeral. Those female impersonators who are not transvestites or transsexuals. Gay men in draw for a competition, to seduce unswerving men. This is covered in pair short paragraphs, and certainly does not mark such gays as then progress up~ the body the road the womanhood. This is Type 0 (the kind of today we might call Cis Cross-compost). There are of course thousands of books and films that practice these events as plot devices – a what is seen of both high culture (Benjamin the opera buff-skin would have been very aware of Marriage of Figaro and Der Rosenkavalier) and the cinema (Some Like it Hot and Thunderball are conspicuous examples from the early to intervening 1960s).

“Their actions usually require nothing to do with transvestism any one , the female attire being incidental, nonaffective, and free from eroticism. … In transvestism proper, the emotions are perpetually involved, tinged more or less by eroticism, sexual stimulation, – and often masturbatory payment.” p46/20. In Chapter 2, Benjamin had argued that transvestism was not a sexual iniquity. Now he seems to be backtracking.

Type I Pseudo Transvestite. Again a exceedingly short section. His main example, p46/21, is a strengthen, 60, previously a Kinsey 3 and conjugal to a woman, who when younger had often cross-dressed. Now, after his wife’s death, he is a Kinsey 5 and in no degree cross-dresses. I have a Label Youthful Phase in my encyclopedia. Are persons who ill-tempered-dress when young, but then leave off not to be regarded as transvestites? This would product in us losing Kim Christy, John Herbert, Herbert Beeson, Boy George from our recital. But more importantly I have never regarded ‘lifelong’ as an indispensable word in the definition of ‘tranvestism’, nor be obliged I seen other definitions include it.

Then in that place is a throwaway paragraph at the expiration of the section. “Another, to all appearance very small group of men may belong to the sort category. They do not ever “dress” overtly, out of fear or reproach, but greatly enjoy transvestitic fantasies and erudition. It is probably immaterial whether to group them as pseudo or not at aggregate.” p47/21 It would not exist until over 45 years later that the concept of Cross Dreamer would be articulated.

Pseudo-Transvestite is distinguished Kinsey 0-6 in Benjamin’s Scale. This is totality sexual orientations. The next two Transvestite types are conspicuous 0-2 only. And thus light-hearted transvestites are erased, unlike in Benjamin’s previous book Prostitution and Morality. Let us mention Patricia Morgan who was a resigned of Benjamin in the late 1950s. She started being of the kind which a male prostitute, became a transvestite make a bad use of, had surgery from Elmer Belt in 1961, and continued being of the kind which a female prostitute. Perhaps Benjamin should receive listened more attentively to what Morgan had to tell. In her very being she refutes the note between the homosexual, presumed to exist a pseudo transvestite who will interrupt, and the transsexual.

Type III True Transvestite.

“A generous group of male transvestites (TVs) have power to be called “true” because cross-fertilizer is the principal if not the solely symptom of their deviation. They adjust out of a strong, sometimes overwhelming, emotional implore that – to say the in the smallest degree – contains unmistakable sexual overtones. Some of them be possible to resemble addicts, the need for ‘dressing’ increasing by increasing indulgences.“ p47/21 and continues: “Sexual reasons in the place of male transvestism are especially evident in the in good season stages of a transvestitic career. No accomplished clinician can doubt the sexual roots in the capacious majority of transvestites. In most of the of medicine literature it is, therefore, perhaps not moreover fortunately, referred to as a sexual change or perversion. The often admitted masturbatory activities during or after a transvestite spree corroborate this view. The frequently reported guilt feelings and disgust that are followed, through purges, that is to say, acquirement rid of all female attire, besides point to the, – basically – sexual sort of transvestism (‘Post coitum omne living being triste?’).” p48/22 Then Benjamin talks not far from the ‘transvestite with a occult transsexual trend’: “The sexual component part in transvestism seemed to me ever more manifest in the fetishistic than in the abeyant transsexual type where (as in stanch TSism) a low sex drive and form relative to sex dissatisfaction frequently predominated.“ p53/24

What approximately female transvestites? “The facts may put to the female as well considered in the state of to the male, but this chapter choose be devoted to the male alone. Female transvestism seems to be infrequent and of somewhat doubtful reality. Women’s fashions are in the same state as to allow a female transvestite to indulge her wish to diminish male attire without being too perceptible. Her deviation has been considered simply arrogant while male transvestism is to various objectionable because, in their opinion, it humiliates.” p47/21 This again is a pleonasm of what Virginia Prince said. And the claim is displeasing in that many female cross-dressers were in certainty arrested – especially if they were anywhere forthcoming a lesbian bar. The Los Angeles police in fact had a special section, the Daddy Tank, to incarcerate female cross-dressers. Louis Sullivan and Patrick Califia would later set at nought this attempted erasure of female crabbed-dressers, but that was still in the coming. Here is a quote from Califia. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism  Cleis Press, 1997: 201.  “A sum book could probably be written surrounding the misogyny and homophobia that has led sexologists and other ‘experts’ to many times state, as Prince does, that women be able to wear men’s clothes without centre of life punished, so they have no necessity to become transvestites. This is patently lying. … As any stone butch or transient woman can tell you, the ecumenical public continues to be deeply disturbed by a biological female who appears in persons in men’s clothing. There is nay difference between the discrimination, condemnation, and rage that is routinely inflected upon staminate and female cross-dressers, if they are exposed considered in the state of such.”

On p49/22 we are formally introduced to “Charles Prince, Ph.D., who himself is a transvestite” and “Emphatic in the midst of present-day writers as to a supposedly nonsexual active principle of the universe of transvestism”. Note the ‘supposedly’. Charles is of succession Virginia. The PhD was earned through Virginia’s male persona Arnold Lowman in pharmacology, what one. led to his two successful books Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop, 1955 and Survey of Chemistry for Cosmetologists, 1959 – none of this mentioned. There has obviously been more sort of dialectic between Prince and Benjamin, who had known reaped ground other at least ten years ~ dint of. this time. Prince seems to possess pushed Benjamin further in erasing light-hearted transvestites and female transvestites, but Benjamin has resisted Prince’s relation that transvestism is non-sexual. It is a dishonor that this was not documented.

Benjamin does not present us to Taylor Buckner, a coming sociologist at Sir George Williams University, Montréal (and in performance mispells his name as Buchner), but that does cite his master’s proposition on subscribers to Prince’s Transvestia storehouse several times.

Type II Fetishistic Transsexual. Benjamin gives two examples p51/23.
 a) “a attendant in his late sixties, was every-day to this form of transvestism when he went out. Only at home did he “align” completely. Once he was in a way accident and was taken unconscious to a hospital. When the child-bearing undergarments were discovered, the examining physician, completely unacquainted with transvestism, wrote the performance into the hospital record (where I proverb it), together with the diagnosis of ‘concussion’ and ‘invalid evidently a degenerate’.” p51/29 Footnote 7 tells us that his state was fully described by Dr Talmey, and in this manner we identify Otto Spengler.
b) “a well-nigh sixty-year-old, largely heterosexual pharmacist, who looks little more than forty, combines his fetishistic ‘dressing’ by a strong fetish for youthful garb (civistism). He gets an even greater ‘sexual glow’ (because he describes it) from dressing like a actual young boy than as a woman”.

There is in like manner a short section at the extreme point of the chapter, Concomitant deviations, where Benjamin mentions bondage, flagellation, and auto-asphyxiation through its risk of suicide. However he goes on: “Fetishism (S.O.S. II) complicates other TVs’ sex lives. At the corresponding; of like kind time, it puts an additional inborn disposition on married life. There are those who like furs or leather. They purchase jackets, coats, and entire outfits at not little expense so that the wife has a suitable grievance, if she cannot afford anything like it beneficial to her own wardrobe.”p63/28

Now this was 1966, seven years in front of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show; four years under the jurisdiction Jayne County incorporated fetish themes into her act; 10 years in the van of Punk, and well before the fetish aggregate scene. Psycho-analysts had been ignorantly book for decades that transvestism was a image of fetish. On the other artificer there was a publisher in New York, Leonard Burtman  who had been putting out real fetish titles since the sometime 1950s, and around this time became a adviser of Kim Christy. It is self-same difficult from our 21st century view to give any credence to that which either the psychoanalysts or Benjamin wrote relating to fetishism. They just don’t be sure what they are talking about.  A shallow number of transvestites were and are fetishists, end the examples cited by Benjamin hardly count.  ‘Fetish’, much like the word ‘autogynephile’ in later years became a vague insult term to throw at a trans individual whom you dislike. The HBS lower classes put down Prince’s femmiphilics for example fetishists, while FPE was actually obsessed by not being fetishistic. Two years later Benjamin’s book, Transvestia columnist Sheila Niles popularized the general ‘whole girl fetishist (WGF)’ concerning FPE members who did not defile well enough, particularly if it were toward lack of trying. Over the next few years it came to have ~ing that those who failed or didn’t disturb to fashion themselves as truly tender were “fetishistic”.Susanna Valenti even estimated that the manhood of members were WGFs.

What on the point real fetishistic transvestites? One was certainly known to Benjamin. Two years earlier in 1964, Leonard Wheeler had published Sex Life of a Transvestite. He revealed Connie, his conceiving self as an erotic transvestite who was besides into bondage, with cruel sadistic fantasies on the eve women. His book contained an exordium by Benjamin’s colleague Albert Ellis, and was featured in Taylor Buckner’s 1969 journal “The Transvestic Career Path” – in incident it was the only autobiography that Buckner referred to. However there is no mention of Leonard Wheeler in Benjamin’s volume.

Transvestite Publications.  Again Virginia Prince is mentioned, and her receptacle Transvestia and her denial of a sexual constituting. And then: “The de-sexing attempt is merely one example of the of ~ occurrence lack of realism among transvestites and their for~-present capacity for illusion and self-imposture. The inability of many of them to air at themselves objectively is their ample handicap. It explains that all in addition often they do not look like women at wholly when ‘dressed,’ but like men dressed up being of the kind which women. They do not see it and that is why some of them are arrested. One and nothing else has to look at some of the photos published in Transvestia and Turnabout to recognize the truth of this observation. While unlucky, the self-deception is understandable allowing that we think of the wish heart the ever-present motivating force.” p54/24

Benjamin is in greater numbers positive about Turnabout: “A in semblance more objective approach to the problem can be found in the pages of Turnabout, a different more recent magazine of transvestism. Its sufficient editor, Fred Shaw [Siobhan Fredericks], literary production under different pseudonyms, with several competent collaborators, likewise provides self-expression in opposition to their readers through letters and photographs, only they provide, at the same time, development and information through scientific debates, giving pressing out to diversified views. They disagree with ‘Virginia Prince’ and her employer theory that ‘the girl within’ prompts transvestites to have existence what they are and to act taken in the character of they do. Yet – as we be seized of seen – such theory does contain a scrap of truth, namely, the biological actuality that in every male there is each element of the female, and corruption versa. Our culture and upbringing, yet, lead to the practical demands (in the place of males and females), for masculinity and femininity while such, and allow no ‘girls within’ men. It does exist only under just such abnormal conditions as transvestism, transsexualism and certain cases of homosexuality by effeminacy. All this, however, permits ~t one generalization.” p55/25

Benjamin says no degree about Female Mimics, which had been serviceable since 1963. While it was added oriented to female impersonation, many of the corresponding; of like kind people read both Turnabout and Female Mimics.

Transvestites’ wives. Prince had published The Transvestite and His Wife in 1962, which Benjamin does not mention. He does assume: “The wives of transvestites set up a psychological problem by themselves. I take spoken to at least a twelve. Most of them put up a spartan front, claiming to be unaffected in their the tender passion for their husbands, but admitting they are certainly not adroit about the TVism, even suffering acutely at times. Few, but very few, say they take pleasure in helping their husbands to “dress” and “constrain up” and actually like him in his pistillate as much as his male role.” p61/27

The veritable cause of migraines is unknown, and is likely to be different for any individual.

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