Suicide prevalence among transsexuals and crossdressers

A while back someone shared this report/research study (pdf) with me and I finally got some time to read it – Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults.

It’s an interesting and important read.  The study was not perfect nor were its research methodologies (as noted even in the report itself).  But really, what study is perfect?  None, to my knowledge.  And I think this one is pretty good.  My main fault with it is that those surveyed were people who were reporting to be gender non-conforming or transsexual.  But I think this would exclude large groups of people, people like me for example.  I might respond to such a survey today, but I would not have done so 5, 10, or 20 years ago.  There are a lot of men out there like I was.  Men who are married but actively crossdressing, and men who are married but with transgender feelings and just trying to make the best of a hard situation.  Many of these men would not respond to a survey like this out of fear of someone in their family finding out somehow.  It wouldn’t be worth the risk at all.  But many of these men, like myself, have never attempted to commit suicide either.  I have a hunch that the people responding to the survey are people who had already felt extreme pain and rejection in their life related to these issues and so responded to the survey.  Even the report says – “Further, the survey’s focus on discrimination may have resulted in wider participation by persons who had suffered negative life experiences due to anti transgender bias.”

But that aside, it’s still a good report bringing to light this very important issue of suicide among the transgendered and crossdressing population.  It’s worth a read so we can be aware of this issue and help those who are struggling.

I’m not surprised at the pain transgender people or crossdressers go through.  I can say this because I’ve had significant pain in my own life because of these issues.  The gender confusion and desires for what seem so illogical can make you feel crazy.  It’s pain beyond what most people realize, pain concerning our very identity.

I’m also not surprised by the horrible consequences and heartache people have felt because of these issues.  I’m not surprised that they have experienced lost jobs, broken relationships, and family relationships torn apart.  It’s a severe shock when someone finds out you’ve been secretly pretending you are a woman, or when someone finds out you are going to the doctor to have surgical operations to change what is a natural and healthy body.  When people find out, especially a wife or a loved one, they feel betrayed.  They feel like you aren’t the person you said you were.  They feel as if you’ve been hiding a deep dark secret from them for years (and often that is truly the case).  And in some cases, if you go off and start living as a woman, or refuse to quit crossdressing, they feel you are not the person you were, but are confused and trying to become someone else.  A woman who married a man is certainly not going to be okay being married to another woman (albeit a fake one), and having another mommy for her kids.  So again, I’m not surprised by the rejection people like us go through.  If we refuse to give in to our desires, we might feel unfulfilled or unhappy or untrue to ourselves.  But if we give in, we can totally ruin our lives and relationships.  It puts us in a pretty horrible fix.

But beyond these issues, the research study makes abundantly clear that much of the stress causing suicide attempts goes beyond these natural feelings and consequences, and is the result of bullying, harassment, and even violence.   It is partially because of this that the numbers of transgendered people attempting suicide are shocking – “In looking at the percentages reporting a lifetime attempt within various subgroups of the overall sample, we repeatedly found “lows” in the range of 30 to 40 percent, while the “highs” exceeded 50 or even 60 percent.”

This makes me sad.  I hate crossdressing and transgenderism.  But when I see people struggling with crossdressing or transgender feelings, I try to react with love, sensitivity, and compassion.  I’m not perfect, and don’t love these people perfectly, but I try.  I am strongly against harassment of these people or violence towards them, even verbal violence.   When I’ve counseled such people in person, I always try to be loving, I shut up and listen well, and I even give them a hug.

If we don’t respond in love to such hurting people, we will indeed drive them closer to suicide.  That’s why when I hear from wives of crossdressers through this blog, I always counsel them to first listen to their husbands and try to understand.  I counsel them to try to be forgiving and loving even if they hate what their husbands have been doing.  And I remind them that their husbands took great courage to even be able to share with their wives their secrets and they have been through much pain already.  They did not choose to have these feelings.

It is because I am well aware of this pain out there that I still have this blog.  I want to reach out and help others.  I have found freedom and change and contentment.  I am no longer so confused in my gender.  I am no longer trapped in addiction.  I am no longer unhappy.  Now I feel so happy and so free, and I want to help others find this freedom as well.

Friends, we need to reach out with love to these people, whether they be strangers, brothers, sisters, children, or husbands.  We need to act towards them as Jesus did.  No, Jesus would not accept foolish ideology, or encourage them to alter their bodies.  He would not help them put on a dress to pretend they are women.  But he would most certainly sit with them, talk with them, love them, forgive them, and serve them.

The Porn Pandemic

Here is a helpful video about sexual addiction, particularly pornography.  For those of us who struggle with addictive masturbation connected to crossdressing fiction or crossdressing, I think the same principles apply.  We need to understand the brain chemistry to these addictions.  And the issue of novelty is so huge.   I found myself looking for new things as my addiction continued.  My addiction did not stay just basic crossdressing.  It got progressively worse and went into other more perverse areas.

These addictions are not things to mess around with.  They can easily destroy our lives, marriages, and relationships.  Recently I just had a friend lose his job because of his crossdressing addiction.  Brothers, let us step up the fight and take this seriously!

OCD connection to crossdressing

By OCD, I am of course referring to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  I’ve been looking at a number of websites and articles online that talk about a connection between OCD and crossdressing.  It’s very interesting and important for me to think about because 1.  I am mildly OCD and 2. There are reports of crossdressers finding relief of their symptoms by taking medication used to treat OCD.

Firstly, how many of you readers are OCD?  I took an online test that seems fairly legit.  Click here for the test.  For me personally, I scored a 16, and the test says a score of 12 and up means it is very likely I have some sort of OCD.  Obviously it is not a foolproof test, but my friends and family members have made fun of my obsessive nature many times, calling me OCD.  Watching movies of people with severe OCD people, I can see myself in them, having their same tendencies but not to such an extreme, so that I can still live a healthy life.  I do count things, have strange thoughts pop into my head repeatedly, I do have extreme obsessions about organizing and cleanliness, and of course crossdressing compulsions.  However none of these things really affect my life very much in a negative way.  They are all controllable and I do not think I need any medication.  The only one that affected me much in the past was of course crossdressing and that one is under control even without medication.  But that is just me.  Perhaps for some of you counseling regarding OCD, or medication for OCD, could be helpful in treating your crossdressing?  That is, if there is truly a connection.

 

Here are some articles and excerpts from books that talk about the possible connection.  See what you think.

1.   Abstract – Paraphilic disorders among patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: case series by Manuela Borges.

2.   Abstract – OCD and transvestism: is there a relationship?

3.   Pdf – Treatment of Transvestic Fetishism With Fluoxetine: A Case Report

This is about a patient who was strictly interested in crossdressing, and did not have gender dysphoria.  Different medications are discussed.

4.   Google Book Excerpt – Today’s Transgender Realities: Crossdressing in Context, Volume 2 by Bolich.

Hopefully the link works.  Go to page 149 in the book.  You can see that this author thinks the connection between crossdressing and OCD is uncertain.

5.    Google Book Excerpt – Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender by Bullough.

For this book, go to page 352-358.  There are some possible medications discussed with reported successful treatment.

 

I also found this personal website in which the author discusses the relationship between crossdressing and OCD.

Here the author discusses the connection – The OCD/Depression GID Connection

And here – Practical Suggestions for those seeking Alternatives – the author discusses medication and claims to know more than one person who found help from such medications regarding their compulsive crossdressing.

 
 
For me I have found great change throughout my life in being less obsessive and compulsive than I used to be.  The symptoms I described about myself, I have been able to change and force myself to adapt and be less OCD.  And I’ve been able to overcome crossdressing.  There is hope for all of us.  But if you think it would be helpful for you to take medication, I suggest trying it, and don’t feel any shame any doing so.  If crossdressing is ruining your life, and you have been mostly unsuccessful stopping the behavior through the other ways I have suggested, it seems like it doesn’t hurt to try medication to see if that helps.

Any comments?

Disturbing Quote

I came across this quote from another blog.  I found it quite interesting, so I read the whole original article.

Amy Bloom, in her article from 2002, Conservative Men in Conservative Dresses, wrote :

“The greatest difficulty people have with cross-dressers, I think, is that cross-dressers wear their fetish, and the gleam in their eyes, however muted by time or habit, the unmistakable presence of a lust being satisfied or a desire being fulfilled in that moment, in your presence, even by your presence, is unnerving.  The combination of the cross-dressers’ own arousal and anxiety and our responsive anxiety and discomfort is more than most of us can bear. We may not mind foot fetishists, but we may not wish to watch them either. ”

From my experience, and from talking to others, this quote speaks the truth.  People are disturbed by our behavior and we need to understand that and accept it.  And of course I would add, they should be disturbed by our behavior.  Come on men, let’s stop giving in to this messed up behavior.

Also interesting was how the author detected that the men who are crossdressing are men with very firm gender stereotypes about women, stereotypes that I find too traditional, too focused on superficial appearances, and disturbing.  Understand this!  Part of my healing from crossdressing has also been a healing in my marriage, not viewing women and my wife in such a stereotypical way, no longer gently pressuring her to wear high heels and makeup, not being bothered that she is a very strong person, emotionally and physically.

Helpful Bible Verses 13

In my struggle with crossdressing over my whole life, many Bible verses have been helpful to me.  I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures.  In addition to the ones I’ve already written about, I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to my crossdressing struggle.  For those of you who are still struggling, it would surely help you to write some of these down and read them daily, or in times of temptation, or after a failure when you need to be built back up by God’s Word.

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

It’s easy to think that crossdressing obsession is harmless, especially when you compare male crossdressers to real women.  “They can wear a dress, why not I?”  But it is not just that crossdressing is sinful, going against God’s design for men and women.  It also easily becomes infatuation with the desires of the flesh, and the love of the world.  Being overly infatuated with clothes and appearance and makeup is not only a problem for male to female crossdressers, but also for some women and some men.  If any of us are too focused on the things of this world, too infatuated with fashion and appearance, too obsessed with clothing, then this is sinful love of the world.

It is not that these things are bad in essence.  Clothing is okay.  God even gave clothing to Adam and Eve after they sinned.   It is not that the clothing is bad, but I think John here means an inordinate love of the things in the world.  It’s one thing to appreciate things in the world that God has made.  It’s quite another thing to have an inordinate love of them.  A normal healthy person, with a healthy view of things in the world that God has made, I believe they would put on their pants and shirt and acknowledge that they look nice, and then move on to live their life and begin their day.  They might go shopping once in a while and enjoy picking out some new clothes to wear.  But when I look at how I was when crossdressing, this did not describe me at all.  I was obsessed.  I could look at fashion magazines for hours.  I could try on new outfits of female clothing for hours nonstop, every possible combination of clothing you can think of.  And when I was not crossdressing, I felt deprived, and stopped caring about anything else I was doing, just rushing through all else in life waiting for that opportunity to dress again.  And if I had been ready to out myself, I would have spent all of my money and extra time shopping for new clothes that I did not need.  This is excessive love for things in the world.

I know John probably did not have crossdressing in mind when he wrote this.  But it always hits my heart relating to crossdressing when I read it.  Back when I was crossdressing, I was not focused on God’s kingdom and the things of Heaven.  I was not focused on praising God and having him using me for his work.  I was focused on the things of this world.  I had taken something that was meant to be a good gift from God – that is, female clothing that adds beauty to this world and adorns real women.  I took that good gift and focused on it to the exclusion of God, my family, my work, and everything else.  I focused on it so much that I perverted it and diverted it from its true purpose and uglified myself through it.

I think we tend to do this with many of the gifts that God has given us.  We take alcohol, a good gift, and pervert it into harmful addiction.  We take work, meant as a gift from God, and use it only to make money or make ourselves feel powerful.  We take family, meant as a gift from God, and we idolize it and put all of our hopes on our family rather than God until we have suffocated our family members by putting them in the place of God.  We take many of God’s good gifts in the world, and because we love them more than we ought to, we pervert them, hurt our relationship with God, and ourselves.

How Sexual Addictions Destroy Our Lives

This is a great video.  A good thing to watch each time you feel tempted.  It’s about pornography, but I think it could easily apply to any kind of sexual addiction, whether masturbation, crossdressing with masturbation, arousal from crossdressing fiction or photos, or something else.

In the time of my crossdressing addiction, this video described my behavior very well, though thankfully I did not go to the extent of the person she describes who destroyed his life in every way.  But I could see myself going in that direction in years to come if I had not gotten help to stop my addiction.  As I’ve described in my post on crossdressing fiction, I kept looking for more and more until I was reading about other sexual perversities besides crossdressing.  And in crossdressing, there is an escalation as well, going from simple crossdressing, to elaborate crossdressing, to crossdressing in public, to being with men while crossdressed, etc.

Men let us wake up and get help if we need it!  These addictions are not a joke!  Put these addictions to death.

Crossdressing and female sexual objectification

I have looked at a lot (thousands and thousands) crossdressing photos on the internet over my life (and I deeply regret it).  One thing I have noticed from pictures of active crossdressers as well as pictures of one-time crossdressers, is the number of sexual poses.  Even the boys that crossdress one time on a dare or for Halloween, the first thing they do is to go to sexual poses.  They twist their hips, or thrust out their fake boobs, and make kissy faces.  They walk like female supermodels.  Clearly, their view of women is that they are sexual objects, so if they are pretending to be one, that’s where their mind immediately goes.

And the vast majority of crossdressers’ photos are sexual poses.  Even if you don’t count the plethora of crossdressers who have all of their photos only of them in female underwear or lingerie (not the type of photos I used to look at), even the crossdressers who are fully clothed have photos of mostly sexual poses.  Why don’t they try to pose and look like the real women that they see all around them every day?  Why the overly sexual poses?  What does this tell us?  I’m not sure.  What do you think?

Perhaps it shows us how readily all men objectify women and their bodies.  This objectification comes out for most men in the form of pornography.  But then for crossdressers, maybe it comes out in our crossdressing.  Instead of lusting after the objectified woman’s body in a photo, we can make a real life 3-D version of a woman’s body, one that we can move and make do whatever we want, and make wear whatever we want.  We then masturbate to the image of ourselves.

I think crossdressers are naive if they think their addiction is somehow more honorable than pornography.  I think crossdressing is just a stronger, more addictive, more pleasurable form of pornography.  It still objectifies women.  At least with pornography there is another living breathing person, a real female involved, even if only there in a photo.  With crossdressing it is entirely focused on self.  Women have been reduced to a sexual object so very far, that a real woman is not even needed in the process at all.

In fact, a woman is objectified so much that the sexual objects of a woman are all that is needed.  A whole counterfeit woman is not needed.  One object alone (nail polish, lipstick, or high heels) can be enough to bring the crossdresser to ejaculation.

This is my hypothesis.  I guess if you don’t crossdress for sexual pleasure, then maybe you do not share this type of sexual objectification in your crossdressing.  But I think even for those crossdressers, it would be good for them to analyze this topic to see how much it affects what they do as well.