This brief history of transsexualism and transgenderism shows how these two different phenomena became viewed as one, in a culture that hates sex-and-gender non-binarism and avoids dealing with it. “Brief” = “stuff left out,” so these are just highlights, but hopefully enough to clarify the sex-negative reasons.
In the 20th century, trans person sex and gender concepts were more openly treated in two different ways.
TRANSSEXUALISM: People such as Lili Elbe, Christine Jorgensen, Canary Conn, Renée Richards, Jan Morris, me…several others…made it clear the need is to be the other sex, the other sex-and-gender binary.
TRANSGENDERISM: Yet at the same time, Virginia Prince, Ph.D. was a prime advocate for “…people like myself who have breasts and live full time as a woman, but who have no intention of having genital surgery…” to change gender role yet not wanting to be the other sex.
She was not an advocate of using a gender-based term as an umbrella.
“Others took [transgenderism] and it is now used, erroneously I think, as a collective term for all the various degrees and kinds of cross-dressing. This leaves no simple term for describing those who have changed gender without a change of sex.” (Gender Blending, P. 469, 1997),
In the 20th century, we transsexuals were getting most of the press. Society found titillation in superficial pretend-acceptance of transsexualism’s need to be the other binary, but society does not like sex-and-gender non-binarism, so transgenders were more openly rejected in a new gender role as they didn’t also want to be sexually of the other sex.
But I was there. Society did not really accept transsexualism; they just said so. Sometimes. I was threatened, assaulted, rejected for being a freak in housing, in school, in job applications (while putting up with slime who would secretly ask me out during a job interview or after I was hired)…
For the first 27 years of my involvement, from 1977 to about 2004-ish, it was clear to doctors, lawyers, universities, etc., that I was “transsexual.” They knew what that was, and they accepted me as such.
This is not “old fashioned.” Gender is a grouping of concepts, changes through time, and can be like a fashion, but physical sex does not change as such and is not fashion.
I began to be pressured in about 2004 to drop my need to be the other actual sex and accept myself as “transgender with a surgery,” which also says not to mention a need to be the other actual sex or needing a sexual response of the other sex.
But I cannot drop it. My need since birth, every minute of my life, has been to be biologically female. It’s my core. It is “myself.” I cannot un-be it—yet, people who do not feel this rift see people like me from the outside and think they know, asserting their values on me.
Transgenderism wanted to come out as they perceived had transsexuals—they, too, need to exist—so in the latter 20th century and early 21st century, to minimize social rejection, they organized with accepted tenets, downplayed Prince’s “ist” (I believe because Virginia popularized it to mean not wanting to also change sex), said to make it about society’s binaristic sex-and-gender conflation yet minimizing sex issues, all T variations are “transgender,” don’t say “transsexual”—don’t ask, don’t tell as it’s “offensive,” “private.” It is very sex-negative.
They, together with allies, moved into and morphed what was then the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA, some pronounce as “aych-BIG-da”), of which I was a member, and changed it into the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, some pronounce as “WOR-path”), which I believe morphed it from an organization primarily of science that included T sex issues more into one that is more the current T sex-negative focus.
The change was part of the popularity of opening transgenderism and did help in some ways to curb mental illness assertions about trans people, but it also very much asserted the transgender paradigm that says to make discourse about gender and to minimize T sex issues, using “transgender,” specifially, as an umbrella term for all trans people, then to use “transsexual” less and less until, now, it’s more often asserted as “transgender with an extra surgery,” even transphobic to ask about transsexualism.
I see this, overall, as a minority willing to suppress a smaller minority, our of fear of its own social rejection.
Part of the technique used by leaders of the transgender paradigm is to turn a deaf ear to unethical and illegal actions, cancel culturing, internet slamming, slander, etc., without usually stating that such things are wrong or disapproved-of—which has worked as a tacit approval without responsibility.
There have been a number of “dirty tricks departments,” as I tend to call them, people who do horrendous things to people and institutions who do not tow prescribed gender scripture, who openly discuss T sex topics, or who use words like “autogynephilia” or “gynandromorphophilia.”
As such, intimidated institutions responded, became T sex-negative, made it about gender and began suppressing T sex issues, like mine.
To summarize the process in a sentence:
“Okay: We are disgusted by non-binary T sexuality, anyway, which we don’t want to say outright because we’ll get slammed, are offended at losing our own identity as binary man / male, woman / female—so we’ll help you hide T sex issues out of pretend kind-hearted compassion for you, because you demand it.”
There are other reasons, variations, but largely, that’s the game that’s being played.
There have been massive behind-the-scenes battles with threats and dirty tricks, as people sought on the one hand to retain transsexual identity and goals, while others sought to suppress.