Transsexualism and transgenderism are sensitive subjects. This has to do at the one side with the disapproving and sometimes even hostile reactions which these may summon and on the other side with the strong protective reaction to such disapprovals and hostilities. Despite the possible sensitivity of these subjects transsexualism and transgenderism shall here be contemplated whereby nor hostility nor protection will be the case. The subjects are approached contemplatively.
Transsexualism is understood as 'the state or condition of being transsexual, manifested in an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite sex'.1 The word 'transsexualism' has been derived from the word 'transsexual', which is understood as 'the having of physical characteristics of one sex and psychological characteristics of the other'.2 Transsexualism should not be confused with transsexuality, as sexualism should not be confused with sexuality. Sexualism has to do with the having of sex characteristics3 while sexuality has to do with the experience of sex,4 whereby sex has to do with 'actions and feelings that have to do with physical excitement and lovemaking'.5 The word 'transsexualism' consists of the prefix 'trans' and the word 'sexualism'. 'Trans' means in its generality 'beyond'6 and stems through the Latin prefix 'trans'7, meaning the same,8 from the Sanskrit word 'tirah' or 'tiras',9 which carries similar meanings10 and is also the root of the German 'durch', the English 'through' and the Dutch 'door'11. The Sanskrit root of 'tiras' is supposed to be 'trī', which again carries similar meanings. The word 'sexualism', stemming from 'sex', was earlier etymosophically contemplated and stems eventually from the proto-Indo-European word 'sek', which refers to a seperation.12 Transsexualism then can be understood as the going beyond the own separated sex.
In the above considerations sexualism must not be confused with genderism. Although 'gender' is also used as a synonym for 'sex'13 does in consensus sexualism primarily refer to the physical sexes while genderism refers more to the psychosocial valuations thereof.14, 15 The word 'gender' stems through the Latin 'genus', which denotes a subdivision or species,16 from the Greek 'génos',17 meaning the same18. The eventual Greek root is found in the word 'gen' which means 'to produce'.19 Although, especially given de etymosophical kinship with the word 'gen',20 the word 'gender' originally seems to have reference to the physical difference between man and woman it is nowadays nevertheless used as reference to the psychosocial difference between those two, and this especially as differentiation from the dominant in use gotten word 'sex'. So as we came to understand transsexualism as 'the manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (physical) sex' we come now to understand transgenderism as 'the manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (psychosocial) gender'.
Now transsexualism should not be confused with androgynism. For the latter denotes in contemporary use of language only a physical bisexualism.21 It denotes an integration of the two sexes where transsexualism denotes a going beyond the separation of those two. The term 'androgynism' stems through the Latin word 'androgynus' from the Greek 'androgynos', which consists of the words 'ándro', meaning 'man', and 'gyné', meaning 'woman'.22 As a synonym for 'androgynism' is also the term 'hermaphroditism' used.23 This term finds its source though the Latin 'hermaphrodītus' in the Greek 'ermafrodītos',24 which in Greek mythology is the name of the son of Hermes and Aphrodite who grew together with the nymph Salmacis en thus became bisexualistic.25 Ermafrodītos is thus a mythological god and because mythological gods mostly represent archetypic generalities it can be stated that the term 'hermafroditisme' rather denotes a general bisexualism while 'androgynism' more concrete refers to a physical bisexualism. Thus we shall apply 'androgynism' strictly to the (physical) integration of the two sexes and 'hermaphroditism' to the physical and psychosocial integration of the two sexes and genders. Applying 'hermafroditism' only to the latter would bring too much conflict with the everyday use of that word and the word does not play a key role in this contemplation.
Where terminology is concerned academic psychology also contributes quite a bit to the confusion of terms, something which they themselves also acknowledge.26 The covering term which is used by academic psychology is 'gender dysphoria'.27 The word 'gender' is thereby also used by them as a psychosocial reference, in distinction with the physical reference of the word 'sex'.28 The word 'dysphoria' carries the meaning of 'unease' and comes from the Greek 'dysphoría',29 meaning the same.30 'Gender dysphoria' then pertains to an unease with the own gender.31 The concept 'dysphoria' may of course as well have reference to the sex when someone feels at unease with one's own sex, in which case can be spoken of 'sex dysphoria'. Also here we see a tremendous difference between the much used term 'transsexualism' and the academic psychological term 'gender dysphoria'.
Let us before continuing with this contemplation for clarification list the definitions in figure 1.
|Sex||Actions and feelings that have to do with physical excitement and lovemaking|
|Sexuality||The experience of sex|
|Sexualism||Having reference to the physical sexes|
|Genderism||Having reference to the psychosocial valuations of the physical sexes|
|Transsexualism||The manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (physical) sex|
|Transgenderism||The manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (psychosocial) gender|
|Androgynism||Integration of the two (physical) sexes|
|Hermaphroditism||Integration of the two (physical and psychosocial) sexes and genders|
|Sex dysphoria||An unease with the own (physical) sex|
|Gender dysphoria||An unease with the own (psychosocial) gender|
About the above definitions the following must be noted. In the first place it must be set clear that the unease's that happen with both gender dysphoria and sex dysphoria (or with transgenderism and transsexualism) are psychosocial unease's. Both dysphoria's regard unease's that occur with the manifesting of overwhelming desires. Sex dysphoria or transsexualism regards thus not a physical unease. Further it must be remarked that where is spoken of psychosocial unease's these can be divided in psychic unease's and social unease's. Social unease's have especially to do with valuations by society while psychic unease's have especially to do with valuations by the individual himself that experiences that unease. It can be stated that a transsexual feels a psychic unease with the own physical sex while a transgenderist feels a psychic unease with the own social gender. This gives an overview as in the figure below.
In this figure 2 we see how the unease about the sex in transsexualism stretches itself from the physical level until in the psyche and how the unease about the gender in transgenderism stretches itself from the social level until in the psyche. Transgenderism we then redefine as 'the manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (social) gender' and gender dysphoria we then redefine as 'an unease with one's own (social) gender', whereby we in both definitions only replaced the term 'psychosocial' with 'social' to mirror the term 'physical'.
Now the aforementioned psyche is thus influenceable by the physical and social domains, but it has at the same time a certain independence. The influence by the physical, or bodily, domain finds its way to the psyche through the instincts, the emotions and thought, which are the referents of the academic psychology when it speaks about 'psyche'. Influencing by the social domain takes, abstractly put, place through communication of the general psychic state of the social domain of which the regarded individual is part, or somewhat more concretely put, by communication of the psychic states of the surrounding individuals. The independence the psyche derives from the consciousness principle, which in its independence up till now has hardly been the subject of investigation of academic psychology and sociology. An individual for instance can be psychically influenced by the instinctive urge for sexual expression, which entirely in its own way influences the emotions and consequently the thoughts with regards to sexuality. And that individual may for instance also entirely in its own way be influenced by the communication of disapproval by his surroundings about his for his sex or gender deviating behavior. The level of consciousness in the psyche shall thereby be determining in how far the regarded individual lets himself be influenced by these two factors. That the psyche has a certain independence with regards to the physical body and the social environment shows very well in the here discussed transsexualism and transgenderism. For in transsexualism the psyche distances itself from the own physical sex and in transgenderism the psyche distances itself from the surrounding social gender normation.
Having considered all this it shall be clear that there are three possible levels of intervention to take away transsexualistic and stransgenderistic unease's. The first here to mention level is that of the social environment. By expanding or changing (preferably the first) social gender normations, disapproving communication by society about from the sex deviating behavior can be turned around to approving communication, which especially with the transgenderist can take away much social unease. At the moment there is much attention for expansion and change of gender normations. This stretches itself from (discussions about) stimulation of the career focus of women to sex-neutral registrations on proofs of identity.
The second to mention level is that of the psyche. By offering psychotherapies attempts are made to take away psychic unease with transsexualists and transgenderists. This does not have the most attention at the moment in the public debate, but before physically intervention takes place as a standard first psychodiagnostic talks do take place, after which in case of transsexualism the decision can be made for the path of physical intervention or that of psychotherapeutic intervention.
The third here to mention level then is that of the physical sex. By advancements of the medical sciences it is nowadays possible to undergo hormone therapies with the intake of hormones and sex changing surgeries, which is deemed to take away unease especially with the transsexualist. Because this science however is not so far advanced that the reproductive organs can be integrated fully naturally in the physical body the results are not yet a hundred percent satisfactory. Also this intervention gets plenty of attention at the moment.
It is of course of great importance that per case is chosen for the right intervention. And that choice must be based upon where the cause of the problem is found. For without the taking away of the cause this shall always bring forth again new problems. When the cause of transgenderism for instance lies in a dysfunctioning on the social level then there must be intervened. This goes in the same way for transsexualism and transgenderism when the causes lie in a psychic dysfunctioning. And when with transsexualism the causes lie in a physical dysfunctioning then on that level must be intervened. However where on a certain level there is no dysfunctioning it is not advised to intervene there. On functioning levels intervention is possible to better and elevate the functioning there, however not to solve problems of which the causes are lying on another level. Intervention on well-functioning levels to solve problems with elsewhere lying causes without having the intention to elevate the functioning itself goes together with great risks of disturbances of balance. The saying that not every change is a betterment is applicable here.
The above warning goes for all levels of intervention, however on some levels the need for such a warning is greater than on other levels. On the social level still many problems occur with reference to gender conceptions, and although not every specific intervention there is equally desirable it can be generally considered as beneficial that intervention here takes place with as goal the taking away of the causes and the solving of problems of transgenderistic unease's.
However at the moment on a physical level much intervention takes place for the solving and taking away of transsexualistic problems and unease's while there is no dysfunctioning of the organs of generation whatsoever. Then in such cases causes of unease's are not taken away and the chance is very real that at a later point in time the causes that weren't taken away will reveal themselves somewhere else in a different way. Such an intervention is also physically very drastic and it can bring about a great disturbance of the balance in that area.
The reason that nowadays so often is opted for a physical intervention with transsexualism has ironically to do with the fear for an unjust medicalization of transsexualism. One is afraid to be labeled as intolerant when transsexualism would be labeled a psychic disease. This is connected to the, just or not, relation of transsexualism with homosexuality. With reference to tolerance there is much social resistance against the labeling of homosexuality as a psychic disease. Because transsexualism as 'transgenderism' is mentioned in one breath with lesbianism, homosexuality and bisexuality (the well-known lhbt-group) one tends to apply the dominant social conceptions with regards to homosexuality also to transsexualism. This is not thought through and also undesirable because each of them needs its own approach. With transsexuality one should actually, for earlier mentioned reasons, give more attention to the psychic aspect and less to the physical.
Intervention on the psychic level can be very useful for both transsexualists and transgenderists, and often even essential. Still not much is spoken about this in the public debate on transsexualism and transgenderism due to the above mentioned fear for intolerance with medicalization of transsexualism and (in lesser degree) transgenderism, so often one remains with the thematizing of interventions on the social and physical levels. This social attention then also reflects upon the treatment of the aforementioned unease's wherein psychic intervention gets less attention than it actually deserves.
Due to its, justified or not, affiliation with homosexuality, of which a medicalization is socially usually considered as intolerant, society tends to be careful with the giving of attention to psychic intervention in cases of transsexualism and transgenderism. In many cases intervention on levels where problems really occur and where they have their cause is circumvented. Psychic intervention however also knows its own problems. The biggest limitation of contemporary psychology is its limited dimensionality. This doesn't reach beyond the instincts, emotions and thoughts, and at its widest only physicality and sociality are as relations also considered. However each thought of transcendence is avoided. This is problematic because with that causes of and solutions to problems that have to do with transcendence are not taken in consideration.
Transsexualism and transgenderism can have both transcendence related and non-transcendence related causes. Transcendence related causes have to do with the laws that are yielded at the coming to physical birth of the transcendent human given. The being physically born of the transcendent human given always has reasons that transcend the regarded physicality itself. Physical births have the expansion of the transcendent given as a theme, have expansion of consciousness as a theme. Physical birth with a specific family in a specific body, and with that also with a specific sex, have a place in that. A soul which as a transcendent human given incarnates physically in birth as a man or as a women often has a special reason for that. When for instance a series of incarnations as a women has taken place it can be of value for the balancing of the incarnating consciousness to incarnate subsequently as a man. At the same time such an incarnation then can be the reason for transsexualism and / or transgenderism. The consciousness takes along somewhere in the depth the memories and experience from the series of female incarnations and the male sex and the male gender then may feel as not suited. These memories then have found from the suprapsychic level a way to the psyche where they manifest themselves in a certain way.
Above a transcendence related cause of transsexualism and transgenderism was described. These two however may also have non-transcendence related causes. People may for instance become captivated and fascinated by matters that occur in the world. Exposure to images of and stories about transsexualism and transgenderism may influence people towards a certain copying that goes as far as identification. This is comparable with the agnostic who is captivated in such a degree by Islamic teachings and cultures that he converts himself and starts to see himself as a Muslim. In such cases the cause of transsexualism and transgenderism is psychosocial and not transcendence related.
Enriched with the above insights then again a look can be taken at the possibilities of intervention. From the perspective of the transcendence it shall be clear that intervention must always be directed to the support, or at least the non-obstruction, of incarnation transcending expansion and elevation of consciousness. The refinement and elevation of the physicality is related to that.32 Interventions on the physical level through sex organ changing operations and hormone therapies are not conductive for the refining and elevating of the body and the consciousness and may from the wide perspective even be obstructing. These are thus not adviced. Interventions in the social domain however may add to a general expansion of consciousness when they are directed at the neutralizing of the gender roles. With 'neutralizing of gender roles' here is meant the putting primary of the being human of individuals and the directing to a secondary place of the nature of their sex. It must be emphasized here that the neutralizing of gender roles is the case here, and not that of sex roles, which may be very specific and not exchangeable. Also interventions in the psyche can contribute excellently to expansion and elevation of consciousness. Also here it is important to emphasize the putting primary of the being human of the individual and the directing to a secondary place of the nature of the specific sex. For there are only a few things in life for which an individual has to be a man or a woman. For most things it is enough to be human. Bringing this given to a felt insight with transsexualists and transgenderists can be of great value in the taking away of the unease's with the own sex and / or the own gender.
The above mentioned intervention in the psyche whereby the emphasis is laid upon the primary being human and the secondary being sexual of the individual will be easier within a transcendental psychology of the new time than within the contemporary reductionist psychology. For the latter reduces being human in the end to its physicality with its brain processes. A physicality which is almost always inherently sexually differentiated (with exception of a few cases of androgynism). Transcendental psychology however also takes the transcendent part of the human constitution in consideration and is therewith more suited at the bringing about of sex-neutral insights in the being human.
It was intended to contemplate the subjects of transsexualism and transgenderism despite the possible sensitivities. A start was made with an etymosophy of the terms. Transsexualism regards the manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (physical) sex or as sex dysphoria an unease with the own (physical) sex, and transgenderism regards the manifestation of an overwhelming desire to belong to the opposite (social) gender or as gender dysphoria an unease with the own (social) gender. Subsequently the physical, the psychic and the social levels of the themes were explored. Nowadays in all three levels interventions take place to take away psychic desire and unease. Thereby however not always is intervened on the areas where the causes and the dysfunctioning are to be found. The present interventions on the physical area were disadvised, that on the social area were welcomed and for those on the psychic area more attention was asked. Thereby the preference for a new age transcendental psychology was explicated against the contemporary reductionist psychology. For a transcendental psychology will be better able to, from its vision on man as being primary sexless, bring the individual to the felt insight that in his existence things primary revolve around him being a human and only secondary around him being a man or a woman.