Trans women's self-awareness
Learn to know thyself!
The Third Sex Issue 3, article 7 (February 1931)
All actions that can be done only once in life require repeated, careful consideration. Many will say: “That’s obvious.” Very right! It is obvious, but unfortunately it is always ignored. It is precisely in this context that I must point out that there is a huge difference between actions that can be remedied or undone and actions that happen once and cannot be undone, that is, they retain their effect for one’s entire life.
As mentioned at the beginning, such actions require special examination and consideration in every detail.
In order to be able to carry out this test successfully, “self–awareness” is an absolute prerequisite.
Unfortunately, experience shows that “self–awareness” is missing all too often and therefore errors are recognized too late. Getting to know oneself should and must therefore be the most important task of every human being. Neither poor nor rich, neither high nor low are exempt from this necessity.
I am not being indiscrete with my remarks, but am writing at the express request of my friend, who is very interested in the fact that the incident is widely known in trans circles3 and can serve as a cautionary tale for many. —
From adolescence, my friend had the tendency to put on women’s underwear and clothing when the opportunity arose. In the first few years he was content with wearing lingerie and preferred lingerie that had already been worn by a female person.
The course of development made slow progress that even marriage could not stop. In the course of the following years this instinct developed so far that female outer garments were also worn in the house.
In the course of time, from my observations and conversations, I got the impression that the urge to put on feminine clothes was was driven purely by erotic motivatmotivations.
Therefore, I could not quite follow his often emphatic assertions: “Like the majority of trans women1, he has a female soul”. He spoke too often of physical strength and he often has a very energetic nature. Even his facial expressions show little of the softness of a woman’s soul in general.
I saw further evidence that he didn’t have an entirely feminine mentality due to the fact that he had a beard. It was only when the beard became more out of fashion for men that this masculine symbol also left him. And so I could enumerate a whole series of characteristics that strengthened my belief that here the urge to wear female clothing rested on a purely sexual basis. My friend, in his lack of self–knowledge, maintained that only feminine feelings had and still guided him in all actions.
Up until three years ago everything was still within tolerable limits, either alone in one’s own home or with friends.
Then a turning point of eminent importance occurred.
Through a newspaper advertisement, my friend met a trans woman who was very advanced in this realm. She had a large selection of elegant wardrobes and everything else a perfect lady has. This new friend was experienced in having gone out in public as a lady on several occasions.
I noticed immediately that my frugality was no longer enough.
The result was that my friend devoted himself completely to this new acquaintance and soon abandoned his previous frugality.
All of his energy was now directed toward his quest to imitate his new friend in all respects or even to surpass him.
Despite his wife’s resistance, the wardrobe was completed. An elegant hairstyle was bought. Patent leather shoes were of course a must and finally a seamstress was found to make an elegant wardrobe.
After 1½ years my friend was so advanced that he used public transportation as a lady. He showed himself in public without hesitation.
I was amazed at the energy my friend developed along the way. What many years had not been able to do, had now happened in a relatively short time.
His behavior made me waver in my earlier judgment. Should he be a real trans woman4? Could I have been mistaken in my opinion that he was only driven by a sexual instinct?
My friend’s tendency to extremes, which I often noticed, now came to a full breakthrough.
His new friend, who served as a role model at the beginning of the acquaintance, was soon surpassed. “Woman, womanhood, it sounded from his lips.” His eyes became an eerily fiery glow, and the reddening of the fever settled on the cheeks.
I feared for him; but I was unable to hold him back from the now dangerous path. Over and over again the words came from his lips: “Woman, womanhood — all male evidence must fall away.”
This wish was expressed very often and ecstatic behavior was noticeable. —
If any desire for freedom failed due to the legitimate resistance of his wife, a pathological enervation and nervous irritability ensued after the greatest rage.
In this case, unfortunately, earlier this year my friend came across writings on male and female hormonal effects and castration.
Without saying anything to a friend or acquaintance, the plan secretly matured over the course of a few months to remove all external male characteristics. Dominated by this thought, the decision to act soon matured. — —
I have heard a lot about trans women1 being happy and satisfied after this operation. Here I experienced the opposite in great effect. —
When I saw my childhood friend again after the operation, a completely different person was standing in front of me. We talked about everything that had happened and, with the deepest emotional shock, he declared that there was a deeply unhappy person standing in front of me.
After all the events of the last few years, I couldn’t understand this person’s need and I stood in front of him for a few minutes without a word.
In a soundless voice I heard the meaningful words from his mouth: “I did not know myself.”
These slowly spoken words fell on me with a terrible blow. — Now I knew what made my friend so deeply unhappy. Here it was not the female soul that allegedly resides in every trans woman1, the driving force for putting on female clothing and destroying the significant external male evidence, here the idea of ”being woman” was rooted in a sexual basis from the beginning. On this ground this thought developed into a one–sided illusion.
After the source of sexual power was removed, the illusion disappeared and the clear picture of reality emerged. Now the realization came that something had been lost that one really didn’t want to lose. One wanted to surrender outwardly and did not consider that this outwardness is inextricably linked with internal physical and mental processes.
The idea of ”being woman” dominated the human being under strong sexual pressure and completely switched off the clear, sensible thinking about the physical and mental consequences.
With sufficient “self–knowledge”, this error in one’s own “me” would have been recognized in good time and the unfortunate step avoided.
This incident is a warning to me. I am humbled about what can be achieved naturally.
May these writings be a call to contemplation for all those trans women1 who cherish the desire to be rid of all masculinity.
Here it is necessary to seriously examine and check again whether this wish is in harmony with the correct emotional feeling or whether the wish is only based on erotic excitement, i.e. is of purely sexual origin.
One thinks over and over again: “There is a bridge over, but none back.”
I was able to observe how terrible a disenchantment can be. —
At almost every meeting with my friend, I notice how deeply unhappy he is feeling now. Melancholy thoughts and a certain feeling of inferiority make life a torture for him.