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the Emergence TransGender "Degree of Change" Chart

What is Really Changing Here?

A Transgender Degree of Change Chart - per Emergence Personality Theory

A TransGender Degree of Change Chart

What you see above is what we Emergence Practitioners call a TransGender Degree of Change Chart. Here, the person's Gender State is represented by three continuums: [1] a physical identity continuum, [2] a sexual identity continuum, and [3] a gender identity continuum.

What do these three continuums represent?

Each continuum simply represents the degree to which one identifies with being either male and or female, as defined by their physical, sexual, and gender identities. This means each continuum is similar to Kinsey's classic sexuality scale, only for all three personal identity states instead of just for one. In fact, the sexual identity continuum used here pretty much is Kinsey's scale.

Now if you look at the chart I've placed above, what you'll see is the chart of a person born physically male and who has transitioned from male to female. In this chart, you'll find three horizontal lines, each line a measure of one of the three identities which make up a person's Gender State.

Thus, the full left position of the upper line represent a fully physically-male identity, while the full right position represents a fully physically-female identity. Next, the full left position of the mid line represents a fully male-gendered identity, while the full right position represents a fully female-gendered identity. Finally, the full left position of the bottom line represents a fully heterosexual identity, while the full right position represents a fully homosexual identity.

So what makes this chart important?

What makes it important is, rarely are all three personal identity states described separately. Thus, people people combine gender identity and sexual preference or physical body and sexual preference into a single identity, making transgendered individuals very misunderstood. In a sense, what people do is, they perceive the sexual identity of transgendered as having changed even though their sexual identity rarely changes.

Also important is the fact that for people who actually wish to transition, picturing what they want to change during each stage of the process means they can make these transitions in less shock and with more health, as picturing increases consciousness which leads to more clearly defined choices.

Here, then, is the main purpose for TransGender Degree of Change Charts: People wishing to transition can use them as a supportive tool, one with which they can more accurately gauge how much they wish to change in each of the three named personal identity states. By doing this, they can then more clearly define and envision their overall life goals.

In other words, when people use these charts to monitor their progress, they can more readily adapt to each stage of their transition, with more consciousness and less suffering. How? By using these charts to help them to picture each of the changes they wish to make, within each stage of their transition.

What Is Gender Identity?

Of the three named personal identity states, only one; gender identity; remains difficult to define. So what exactly defines a person's "gender identity?"

To be honest, I have yet to read a single comprehensive, yet unbiased description of what gender is, including my own. I have, though, helped a number of people to sort out these identities, and in fact, have spent the past eight years helping a person through the full range of a male-to-female transition.

More over, because Emergence Therapy makes the therapist - client connection more important than the therapeutic outcomes, I've personally experienced a lot of what she's gone through, at least to the degree that one human being can experience another's life.

What specifically did I learn from this experience?

I learned that I had no real sense of gender despite thinking I did. And today?

At this point, I find myself with a profoundly altered sense of what a gender state is. And how difficult it is to define.

Obviously, these changes did not happen to me in a single experience. Rather, they occurred as the result of my having accumulating what I call, several "reference experiences."

What are "reference experiences?"

Real life exchanges in which I personally sensed this person's gender identity change.

What also made these experiences significant was that in each of these experiences, I was able to sense this person's gender very separately from my sense of both the person's physical identity and sexual identity.

What exactly happened? What I experienced went something like this.

Helping a "Man-In-A-Dress"

As I've just mentioned, my main gender defining experiences came from having worked some eight years with a young man. During this time, he and I began to explore his feelings that he was more female than male.

After working with him for some five years or so, "he" decided he would like to begin to transition in earnest.

Eventually, these transitions progressed to her living full time as a woman. In this period, "she" came out to her family and friends and began to live full time as a woman in all aspects of her everyday life.

Please know that throughout these eight years, my main focus has been on helping this person to have an authentic sense of self. Thus, more than simply addressing her gender related issues, we addressed the full range of personal issues people normally address in long term therapy.

More over, as gauged by an overall sense of her mental health, this person has remained quite mentally and emotionally healthy throughout the process, this despite the very obvious personal stressors involved.

Now remember that prior to her actual transition, I had, for years, experienced this person as being male. Clearly I can remember feeling an intuitive sense of his maleness.

Then, as she began to live full time, and probably because I myself went through what I call, a "mirrored transition" along with her, I went though a time wherein I was pretty much unable to sense her gender.

By this, I mean I went through a period in which I could neither sense her as clearly male nor as clearly female.

It was in this time then that I had what I look back on as my first authentic reference experience with regard to human gender identity as being a separate personality quality. This experience occurred about five months into her living full time as a woman.

What happened was, as she walked into my office one day, I was hit in the face by a dramatic shift in my perception of her gender, so much so that I honestly felt an actual amazement. Form what? Form the fact that on this day, with not one single effort aimed in this direction, I so clearly intuited her as being female and not male.

This was, in fact, so startling to me that I repeatedly tried to reassess my sense of her gender. Each time, I felt the same gender identity. I experienced her as clearly being a woman and not a man.

Now frame this experience with the idea that she and I had, during this period, repeatedly raised the question as to how gender could even be identified. To wit, with much gentleness but much honestly, I had repeatedly raised with her the question as to how much of what she wanted to transition more resembled a "man in a dress" than a true personal transition.

Prior to this day then, we had both lived in this question for many months.

On this day however, I saw how truly naive I had really been about gender or more accurately, how naive we both had been.

On this day, I clearly felt in her a woman's energy rather than a man's energy. How could this have actually changed? I literally felt stunned.

At this point, I began to ask myself the obvious questions. Was the change I sensed simply a function of her more accurately appearing feminine, including her more accurate feminine mannerisms?

The answer I know today is, nothing I can define accounts for the size of the difference I felt. I felt in this person a completely different gender energy, and this energy was clearly female.

Even as I write this, I realize how vague this all sounds. "Felt." "Sensed." "Intuited." "Gender energy." And yet, I know my intuition to be one of my main healing qualities.

In fact, I rely very strongly on my intuition to guide me in pretty much all I do with people. More over, I've used my intuition to guide the healing processes of literally many thousands of people, and I feel very comfortable doing this even knowing how hard to define these feelings are.

My point? I have depended on my intuition for many years now. Even so, on this day, I doubted it and felt very skeptical as to what I was feeling. That is, until my next reference experience.

What happened next?

Several months later, I again sensed a profound change in her. This time, I sensed the change even before she had walked through the door.

What felt different? I felt her energy was clearly male, this for the first time in months.

Here again, I was experiencing something which so surprised me, it literally stunned me. And to be blunt, my intuition told me that on this day, "she" was a "man in a dress."

What had changed? I soon found out.

She told me that she had had a very shocking experience only days before.

While walking in a busy part of New York City, she had passed a group of teen aged males hanging out in front of a store. As she passed by them, and before she was out of their view, one of these youths had yelled out to his friends, "Look. It's a dude!"

Of course, this had deeply shocked my client, so much so, in fact, that as she walked through my door door only a few days later, I felt stunned by how much this cruel boy's comments had affected her gender state. She in fact admitted she too felt the same; like she was "a man in a dress."

What is important here is that we both felt the very same thing; the her gender was male. Thus, the very quality Emergence Therapy embodies; making the personal connection take priority over all else; enabled us to very honestly talk about what we both felt. And what we both felt was that on this day, she was a "a man in a dress."

Now let me recant what had happened so far.

[1] I had for years sensed this person as a heterosexual "him," as being heterosexual and biological male.

[2] I then sensed this person as a biological male living full time as a woman. At this point, then, I was still sensing this person's gender identity as being male (as in being a man-in-a-dress).

[3] I then had my gender identity sense of this person change from a biological male, living full time as a woman, to a person whom was authentically female.

[4] Finally, on this day, I sensed this person as being a man-in-a-dress; as being once more male in gender identity.

To say I was confused by all these changes would be a gross understatement. I had, and still have, no clear understanding of what it was I had been sensing let alone what it was I thought had changed.

Saying it was her gender that had changed is close to saying nothing. My sense of what had changed far exceeds these simple words.

Finally, to make things even more confusing, I had a fifth experience. After working with her that day on healing her injury from this incident, within about a month or so, she reported having had an emergence regarding her gender. And in that session, I again sensed her as being clearly female.

More over, in the almost year since that time, I have felt not a single moment of shift in her gender. She has felt female in gender to me despite whatever went on in her life.

Preliminary Conclusions Regarding Gender Identity

So what conclusions do I draw from these experiences?

For one thing, that the person's own sense of gender may be the primary factor in how others sense this person's gender. If this is true, then, it implies that gender is a far variable personality quality than was previously thought possible. In fact, I'm not sure how many people actually believe gender is variable even within the transgender community, outside of the obvious, that the physical body can be altered.

Why say this?

Because I've, in a number of cases, had transgender individuals tell me they were simply "born in the wrong body."

Do I believe this?

Not really. Neither does the woman whom I've just told you about. In fact, both she and I seem to share the same belief; we both see gender as being separate from the physical body despite the obvious, that gender is influenced by a person's physical body. Thus, we see gender identity as being separate from the physical body, and see the point of physically transitioning as simply becoming more authentically in line with what the person already feels about themselves.

So does this account for peoples' desires to physically transition?

Perhaps. If so, then isn't it sad that people who transition must go though such physical pain and anguish only to find they were already the other gender inside.

Then again, perhaps there is simply no other way for them to feel truly authentic, gender wise. I suspect, this is the truth. Either way though, one thing is for sure. As a society, we seem to have a long ways to go before we truly know how to define gender.

And the man-in-a-dress experiences I and others sometimes feel?

Perhaps these experiences are to a great degree, simply reflections of the person's own varying sense of gender. Perhaps then, in times wherein the person's own internal sense of gender gets confused, perhaps the person defaults to some traditional sense of gender, as that gender is basically a reflection of one's physical birth body.

It is this confusion we hope to aid with the charts we've just introduced. Perhaps in some small way, they will help the whole world to transition, away from our gender biases, and toward us all simply being "human." One can only hope.