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From A to Zeta (1996)

From A to Zeta (1996)

©1996 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1996). From A to Zeta: The Alpha Zeta Tri-Ess Membership Survey (Or, Why Tri-Ess is Bouncing its Reality Checks). Chrysalis: The Journal of Transgressive Gender Issues, V. 2, No. 3.




Thumbnail Illustration: Virginia Prince and Dr. Harry Benjamin as the dour farmer and his wife, from Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic. My thanks to the late JoAnn Roberts for her help with the image.


View Chrysalis Pages, Heteropocrisy (PDF)

From A to Zeta

The Alpha Zeta Tri-Ess Membership Survey

(Or, Why Tri-Ess is Bouncing its Reality Checks)


Alpha Zeta Survey Results

Percent Yes


36%   Would dress as woman all the time in an ideal environment

64%   Would take magic pill to become woman

24%   Have had electrolysis

21%   Have taken female hormones

73%   Fantasized about SRS

21%    Seriously considered SRS

9%    Presently planning SRS

In the January, 1996 issue of Renaissance News, Dina Amberle reported that Alpha Zeta, the Tempe, Arizona chapter of Tri-Ess, the Society for the Second Self (an organization which restricts its membership to heterosexual crossdressers) gave a survey to its members. Amberle writes, “The survey results were pretty interesting, and represented the answers of 70% of the Zeta-girls’ 47 members…

To the question how often would they dress as women if they lived in an ideal universe, 36% of our Tempe sun-goddesses answered ‘all the time.’ When asked if they would take a hypothetical pill that would transform them into women without surgery, a whopping 64% said, ‘Gimme that pill, girlfriend.’ On the converse, only 27% would take a hypothetical pill that would ‘cure’ them of the desire to crossdress.

On more reality-based questions, the number of members who have had some electrolysis was 24%. That’s close to one in four for your mathphobes. And 21%, or one in five, have used female hormones at some time. The survey upped the ante in a series of questions that follows…

Fantasized about having sex reassignment surgery’ got a 73% positive answer… ‘Seriously considered SRS’ got a 21% positive response… ‘Presently planning on SRS’ was answered ‘yes’ 9% of the time.

Amberle continues,

I always take survey results with a grain of salt, but I find it remarkable that a Tri-Ess chapter has 64% of its membership who would like to magically transform themselves into women; 36% who would like to live full-time if circumstances were perfect; 21-24% who have experimented with female hormones or electrolysis; and a huge 73% who have even fantasized about TS surgery. That’s a helluva lot of real and fantasized transforming going on in an organization devoted to the ideal of heterosexual crossdressing without a taint of transsexualism in its ranks. A less diplomatic person than myself might even say this particular sorority of Tri-Ess girls are a bunch of secret transsexuals.

I regret having to be that “less diplomatic” person, but someone must say something about the consensual denial in many heterosexual crossdressing groups. My best guess is the Alpha Zeta group is probably representative of heterosexual-only support groups, and not an anomaly.

Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of dissembling around this issue. I recently read a newsletter which interpreted the Alpha Zeta survey as a vindication of the hetero-only membership of such groups; after all, only one in four of the members had experimented with hormones, and only one in ten was definitely planning on SRS!

My issue with restrictive criteria of heterosexual-only groups is that they are not in fact heterosexual-only. They are filled with persons with gender identity and sexual issues who, because of peer pressure, behave surreptitiously, and are not caught by the net of support which exists for them. They cannot get the support they need in their hetero-only groups, and are afraid to go to open or transsexual groups. Consequently, they operate in the dark, frequently making bad decisions. They take hormones without having prior therapy. They are at medical risk while on hormones because they don’t have their blood chemistry monitored, and because they are at psychological risk because they secretly pursue a transsexual path recklessly, bypassing all the safeguards. This directly interferes with AEGIS’ mission, which is to provide such people with information so they can make good decisions. We cannot provide them with information if they are so afraid of not being heterosexual that they won’t contact us.

I fully understand the fear of many crossdressers and their wives, which keeps them away from open groups. I appreciate the dilemma: if the group were not heterosexual only, many of the people it was created to serve would stay away. However, the groups should be a place where those fears are shown for what they are—false. They should not be placed to nurture and harden those fears. But most importantly, the groups should serve the actual needs of their members, and not the needs of an idealized but nonexistent membership.

Survey Sez…

The Categories are Collapsing!

Things MTF transsexuals used to do (and crossdressers didn’t): Wish to become women, take hormones, have electrolysis, fantasize about SRS, seriously consider SRS; plan on having SRS.


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