From the Mailbag

Dear Helen,
First, let me say that i thought your book < My Husband, Betty > was excellent. I’m not a crossdresser myself and had figured that out before i read your book, but since a friend of mine’s picture was featured in it, i simply had to buy the book. It turned out to be a pretty fair description of the crossdressing world that i had seen in my brief and peripheral experience of it. At least, that’s my opinion.

You wrote: “it always struck me as ironic that VP, who put these standards & membership rules in place, prefers she-male porn and is living full-time as a woman – and has been for many years.”

Meanwhile….. On doing some internet research on crossdressers who use non-over-the-counter hormones (the rationale of this puzzled me) i came across the above quotation. Who is the VP you are referring to? I know Virginia Prince is a “transgenderist”, but i always assumed her tastes were of a rather vanilla variety. Do you know if she also uses hormones? If not, does she have a position on their use by crossdressers. She has a rather perscriptive personality on most such issues, so I’m just curious.
Best Regards,

Yes, I was referring to Virginia Prince with that shorthand of VP.
From what I know – Virginia used hormones for herself until she got the breasts she wanted. Then, because estrogen disrupted her sex drive and/or functionality, she quit taking them. That said, she does live full-time as a woman and has for many, many years now – more than she lived presenting as a man at this point. In some ways, she’s like a transsexual who didn’t have bottom surgery.
If you want to know the whole scoop, you need to get Richard Docter’s book about her, From Man to Woman. That’s where I got the information about her liking she-male porn; she even admitted that if she were young now, that’s probably what she’d be doing. She was infamously oversexed.
I don’t know if she ever had a “position” on crossdressers using hormones, but I’ve met quite a few now who simply want breasts. Some of them use hormones to get them – and then “bind” for their male lives. In some cases, that kind of “treatment” is even recommended, to relieve body dsyphoria and gender role dysphoria by enabling the CDs to pass more easily when they do dress.
Like I said in the book, the definitive line between crossdressers and transsexuals is not so definitive. Often the distinction made is whether the person presents as female part of the time (= crossdresser) or all the time (=transsexual). Others make the distinction with body modifications – ie, hormone use and/or surgery. But there are plenty of transsexuals who opt not to have surgery, or who maintain male identities for their professonal life, & all sorts of other combinations. Still another distinction that’s been made (& one that I think is the least valid, to be honest) is that for crossdresser’s it’s sexual, and for transsexuals it isn’t.
This stuff is getting murkier & murkier every day, what with the internet & hormones being easily gotten, and according to some researchers, the largest category of people have always been the ones who don’t fit the “classic transsexual” or “classic crossdresser” definition.
Thanks for writing, and for the praise.