No matter what you call it, transvestism, transgenderism, transsexualism, etc.; and no matter the “stage” at which / on which this sex role stereotyping is performed, this very interesting book by Richard F. Docter shows that in males it is part of a definable trajectory, a clinical course. Docter’s book was published when Blanchard’s research on autogynephilia was still in its early stages, but in my quick review it seems generally to complement his findings.
It is really quite a good analysis of “what makes these men tick.” One of the key points is that for most jocks-in-frocks, a “female gender identity” only develops after years or decades of sexualized cross-dressing. In other words, the notion of “innate gender identity” is a lie. We already knew this (because it is totally obvious) but here is some additional documentation.
The book is a bit “dated” (1988) and its several nomenclatures distinguishing various “types” of men who attempt to make people think they are women may seem old-fashioned. The tone of the research likely supports sex role stereotypes and may offend modern sensibilities.
As with Blanchard’s, Lawrence’s and Bailey’s work, Docter’s approach is more or less sympathetic to these men. Consistent with the other authors, however, he is honestly trying to understand what is going on in these men’s minds and what kinds of behaviors they manifest. He is not promoting their game-plan for a hostile take-over of women’s bodies and women’s spaces — which is what the vast majority of current researchers in male transgenderism are doing.
I haven’t fully read the book (who could possibly have the stomach for it? — I sure don’t) but I would only suggest that the clinical progression and volume of male transgenderism has accelerated very significantly in recent years.
This book shouldn’t be lost.
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- Richard F. Docter. Transvestites and Transsexuals: Toward a Theory of Cross-Gender Behavior. New York and London, Plenum Press, 1988.