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Sunday, May 22, 2011

On words and their origens

The word Transgender was coined by Victoria (Charles) Prince. He (yes I use he, he used he) coined the term transgender to differentiate himself from transsexuals. He wanted to live the life as a woman as a man and he did not want to get any surgeries. Transgender women by this definition are men.

This definition has not had staying power.
The word has morphed over time to represent all people who go outside societies current social rules in regards to gender. Included are Transsexuals, transgender, cross dressers, androgyns, gender queer, and some others that don't come to mind right now.
The word is used as a political term that seeks to bring allot of different groups together for political purposes.
Yet many of the transsexual community object strenuously against any association with the term transgender. They hold onto the original meaning of the word transgender as Victoria Prince used it. The idea of being equated to men in dresses is abhorrent to many women of transsexual history and I can understand that very much. I am transsexual myself.

However...

Using the term transgender in a political way is not equating men in dresses with transsexuals. It is meerly an acknowledgement that we share common political goals.

Currently the idea of distancing myself from a cross dresser seems to be counter intuitive. I am not a cross dresser. But I understand that a bigot does not see any difference between me and a cross dresser. A bigot only sees someone who must be punished for transgressing social norms. That makes the cross dresser my natural ally. For the enemy of my enemy should be my friend.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

I always find it to be a shame that such people can handle the linguistic shift of "Gay", but have such a problem with "Transgender". When it was coined, it was used by a tiny number of people in its original sense so the sense into which it has evolved is by far the primary sense.

They have such a dislike for Charles Prince, yet they cling to his definition.

Moon said...

Wikipedia (yes, I understand this is not the best source, but it does provide further source material) provides information that Virginia Charles Prince was a transsexual, though she founded a society for male heterosexual cross-dressers (Society for the Second Self), stated that "transgenderist" was a word which she used to mean a person who lives full-time in a gender other than the one assigned at birth but without surgical body modification, and preferred female pronouns in her later years.

Additionally, Transgender was coined in 1965 by psychiatrist John F. Oliven, who used the term to describe transsexualism. http://research.cristanwilliams.com/2012/06/02/1965-transgenderism-transsexualism/

Sorry, your information is a tad off base.