II: "The Boy Is Father to the Man"
In the traits and appetencies of the individual boy, it is possible for the psychologist to read the approximate career of the future man. In the individual boy there already exist “the promise and potency” of the particular man into which he is to develop. In other words, his life is, in the main, foreordained by birth although there still remains wide scope for individual effort.
Particularly in my own case, the proverb that forms the title of the present chapter proved true. From the age of three to seven my life was a remarkably faithful prototype of my adult career, particularly from the age of nineteen to twenty-three. That is, both during my early childhood and during my “young manhood,” I manifested, as my most remarkable trait, female-impersonation.
During my early “boyhood” none of my adult associates gave any evidence of a suspicion that I was other than a normal male child. Though I was thus always treated (by my elders only) as a boy even from the age of three to seven, I refused to regard myself as one and told my playmates to call me “Jennie.” Up to the age of six I never entertained the least idea of attiring myself otherwise than in skirts all my life. And I was determined, as much as a child under seven can be, to identify myself with the female sex throughout life.
Naturally therefore, when my parents, after I had entered my seventh year, locked up the beloved petticoats and there was nothing available with which to cover my nether unmentionables excepting a pair of breeches -- at the time nauseating to me from the point of view of wearing them myself, but even then fascinating as a decoration of the legs of the true boy -- it proved a heart-breaking experience. It was indeed a most melancholy disillusionment that made me at times wish I were dead.
But for the following six years I found it feasible to don a sister’s garb occasionally in order the better to impersonate a little girl. Because of this and my girl-like predilections in general, playmates of both sexes have remarked that I was “more girl than boy.” And from the age of ten to fourteen some of the warmer-natured boys would throw their arms around me with the remark: “Kissing you is as good as kissing a girl!”
From the age of ten to fourteen I prayed a thousand times most earnestly that the Creator would turn me into a girl in the twinkling of an eye by a miracle such as the granting of sight to the blind man at the gate of Jericho. In my middle teens, when my bust began to develop along feminine lines I almost believed that my prayers were in process of being answered. But the pudenda never changed. They have, however, always remained rather infantile and not at all erectile even when, in adulthood, I was in bed with a fille de joie. On such occasions we were as two sisters reclining together. Sexually we were mutually abhorrent.
From the age of nine to sixteen my parents sent me to a fairly large boys’ prep school several miles from my hometown. But in only my senior (sixteenth) I boarded there. The students were almost exclusively high-strung, wealthy boys of the type that parents cannot manage at home and so send away to boarding school having a reputation for strict discipline. It was customary at the school for the most incorrigible boys to be taken to the attic by teachers and flogged. The boys slept generally two in a room. But the teacher in charge of the dormitory, probably because he had observed that I was a girl-boy through my having attended the school for several years as a day pupil, saw to it that I had a room to myself -- except on three nights by reason of emergency.
But the boys who had arrived at puberty were quite frank with one another in their sexual talk. I perceived that paedicatio [anal intercourse] was fairly common but fellatio [oral-genital intercourse] non-existent -- at least practically. Among the forty boys in the “grammar” department there were two [involved in fellatio]. Several times tremendously virile adolescents approached me but I always repulsed their advances simply because I was at the time a God-intoxicated youth. Both partners in paedicatio were therefore always of the tremendously virile class. They endured the passive role simply in the absence of the gentle sex. An adolescent commonly known to be addicted to occasional paedicatio was not in the least scorned.
But the school sentiment was for ostracism for any boy guilty of the more humiliating [fellator] role in fellatio. Only a congenital girl-boy could stoop to it. But the boys, like their fathers, thought it could be due only to deep-dyed moral depravity. While that humiliating role was throughout my school life my terrible temptation I realized that my yielding would be likely to drive me out of the school in such disgrace as I could shake off only by suicide. My congenital ultra-religiosity and goody-goodiness, and my keen realization of the boys’ detestation of a fellator thus enabled me to pass through my seven years at the preparatory school without seriously damaging my reputation for “sanctity.”
My nickname was “the Innocent” just as at the university it was “Anthony Comstock,” on account of my apparent prudery, my girl’s mind giving my face a very much shocked expression whenever any sex talk of the students reached my ears. And just as later in a large office where I worked for seven years, mostly with university graduates, it was “Cato the Censor,” on account of my austere morality, except along sexual lines of which latter phenomena my everyday circle even suspected nothing.
On my first night as a boarder emergency placed me in the same bed with a boy around my own age. Fortunately his looks were repulsive to me and I therefore experienced only a weak desire to touch him. But on account of the strangeness of being in bed with someone I lay awake almost the entire night. Since he was repulsive I did not wish to talk and made him think I slept. While so thinking he passed his hands over my body several times. While it became common knowledge among the boys that my breasts were abnormally full that fact was not recognized as anything particularly extraordinary. Merely, boys asked me a few times to let them see my breasts but I, always in deep shame carefully concealed my entire anatomy except when in swimming.
Only at the age of fifteen could I bring myself to go in swimming with the boys in a bathing suit whereas they were often naked. While I became an expert swimmer at eight I did not learn to take a single stroke until fifteen. My brother became an expert swimmer as early as the age of nine. From nine to fifteen I merely accompanied them to the swimming hole as a feast for my eyes! I always, out of their sight, clad myself.
Later, in my senior year at prep, emergency one night put a fairly attractive adolescent in the same room though in a separate bed. I lost my senses and requested to get into bed with him, hinting at the more humiliating role in fellatio. But he cordially loathed the idea. Always afterward he was my bitter enemy and sought to his utmost to hurt my standing among the boys. For several weeks I was almost heart-broken but the matter blew over without my suffering other than fear and remorse. My being the prize-scholar and preeminently “the Innocent” of the school caused me to “win out.”
Two years later while I was at the university I was visited by a former schoolmate with whom I unexpectedly, on this one night’s visit became extremely confidential, as described on page 55, following, of my Autobiography of an Androgyne. Only on that epochal night my guest informed me that the prude of two years before had tried to get me expelled from the preparatory school. If he had succeeded I would probably have committed suicide because my family must have learned of my dire disgrace. Six years subsequent to my adventure with the prude, when I was expelled from the university for being an androgyne, I came within an ace of suicide although believing that none of my family even suspected my expulsion; I having explained that my New York physician had ordered me to rest my brain on account of neurasthenia, which malady the expulsion had immediately occasioned as a matter of fact.
I BEG ALL ADULTS, PARTICULARLY SCHOOL OFFICIALS, TO BE EXTRAORDINARILY CHARITABLE AND SYMPATHETIC WITH GIRL-BOYS AND OTHERS SEXUALLY ABNORMAL BY BIRTH WHO MAY SEEM TO HAVE LOST THEIR SENSES. GUARD AGAINST DOING ANYTHING THAT WOULD LEAD THE DISGRACED TO COMMIT SUICIDE, WHICH EVENT IS FAIRLY COMMON AMONG THESE “STEPCHILDREN OF NATURE.”
I believe that the fairly common homosexuality in boarding schools attended by high-strung boys is without permanent effect on the sexuality of those indulging. Only such boys become adult active pederasts [inserters in anal intercourse], pathics [receivers of anal intercourse], or fellators as are sexually abnormal by birth. At the most, the boarding-school adventures throw over into inversion adolescents whom Nature placed on the very border-line between girl-boys and the weakly virile because no two adult males possess the identic degree of virility, all being theoretically arrangeable along a scale from the most tremendously virile at one pole to the ultra-androgyne at the other; the virility of the latter individual being a negative quantity.
Thus providence kindly overruled that I should graduate from the preparatory school. And Providence compensated me for my being scorned as a weak girl-boy by enabling me to obtain, in all tests without exception during the last four years of my course, the highest marks and a general average for my entire seven years’ course: the highest ever achieved in that school. My teachers told me that I was an intellectual prodigy as well as a religious prodigy. The principal, in a speech before the ninety boys of the school, named me, in my presence, as an example of a youthful scholar for their emulation (!!!).
But I had an advantage over the other boys. I possessed a girl’s ordinary brain, which becomes mature several years earlier than a boy’s. At the same age the average girl outranks in scholarship a boy of exactly the same quality of gray matter. Girl-boys are exactly like girls in respect to period of development of the various functions of the brain. Besides girl-boys, like girls, are natural “grinds.” They have no other interests than their studies while the normal boy cares more for sport and playing pranks on the teacher.
I had a craze to reside in New York City, which I had often visited since it was only an hour by express train from my native village. I therefore, at the age of sixteen, chose a college in that city. Some of my warmer-natured classmates would throw an arm around me and cry: “Child!” They had declared me “half-woman” but never indicated any suspicion that I was an invert probably because not aware of the existence of that biological sport. For my entire undergraduate course I stood fourth in my class in scholarship, notwithstanding that during the first two years I was a nervous wreck on account of acute melancholia over my being a sexual cripple, and acute spermatorrhea.
I did not arrive at a relatively full understanding of myself - - that I am a biological sport both anatomically and psychically, known to medical science as an “androgyne,” physically two-thirds man and one-third woman. And psychically only one-fifth man and four-fifths woman until at the age of eighteen, overwhelmed with remorse in the realization that I was sexually abnormal, I went successively to two New York medical professors (Dr. Prince A. Morrow and Dr. Robert. S. Newton) and pleaded that they make a genuine man out of me.
Up to the date of my “experiencing religion” or “being converted” at the age of fourteen, my ardent desire and oft-repeated earnest prayer, as already stated, were along the line of being transformed into a physical female. But at the age of fourteen I became a God-intoxicated youth. For a year or two I gave from one to two hours every day to private religious devotions. Such intensity of religiosity I have never even heard of in any other youth. From the age of fourteen to nineteen I regarded all my feminine predilections as the most heinous of sins, fought against them as earnestly as any soul ever fought against the “Mr. Hyde” in himself, and went to physician after physician to see whether medical science could transform me into a normal male. Months of treatment by all means then known proved in vain.
The alienist Dr. Robert S. Newton was the third physician whom I consulted but the first who had any inkling of the true nature of my malady. His frankness put an end to my chronic melancholia. I thenceforth merely suffered from it at rare intervals. I ceased the worse than useless longing and praying for a different nature than it had seemed good to the All Wise to predestinate. The alienist opened my eyes. He taught me that the androgyne’s proclivities are not the depth of depravity that every one, even the two preceding medical advisers, had previously given me to understand.
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For a detailed account of my childhood and youth I refer to my Autobiography of an Androgyne. Since its publication I have read that, according to the Mendelian law, an effeminate son is likely to be the offspring of a mannish woman. That is probably true. But my own mother and grandmothers were not in the least mannish. But my father, though having begotten eleven children, was naturally monogamous, only mildly virile, religiously and morally a puritan and a great “home body,” spending all his time outside of business in the bosom of his family. Even from boyhood I have been told he took no interest in sport or other manly pleasure - - only in religion and in making money. A significant fact is that my mother married him for his money. He lacked good looks and was decidedly not her choice for a husband. Repeatedly through my childhood she gave evidence of not loving him. My mother has always been an unusually beautiful woman. At the date of my birth my mother was twenty-eight and my father thirty-two. I was their fourth child. I was endowed with the best brain of their children. Only one other has been minimally successful in life and given evidence of possessing a rare variety of gray matter. At middle life I have achieved considerably the highest success of all, notwithstanding that the edge was taken off my innate keen mentality by emissions during sleep on an average of twice a week from the age of sixteen to twenty-seven, at which latter age I was driven to castration to save myself from idiocy (For details, see my Autobiography, page 196). I was never guilty of self-pollution.
- Manuscript pp. numbered 9-17, including an apparently unnumbered page after 12, and missing a page 15.
- OutHistory.org would like to include here brief biographies of Prince A. Morrow and Robert S. Newton. It may be that the published writings and/or archives of these two men will reveal further information about Lind/Werther/June.