Autobiography of an Androgyne/Preface
From childhood I have been unusually introspective. I began to keep a diary at the age of fourteen, and have continued it up to past the age of forty almost without intermission. Even my earliest diaries dealt with the phenomena of my sexual life, so that in general I have had to keep them under lock and key.
The third physician from whom I sought a cure for my sexual abnormality gave me to understand as early as 1892 that my case was a remarkable one. This pronouncement incited me still further to keep a record of what life brought me with a view to writing an autobiography some day.
In 1899, at the age of twenty-five, I wrote the accompanying account of my life down to that age, and subsequently added accounts of significant events as they occurred. I also from time to time edited and made inserts in what I had already written. As a result, parts of some pages were written in different years. The book has been fated to wait eighteen years for publication, primarily because American medical publishers—on the basis of the attitude of the profession—have had an antipathy against books dealing with abnormal sexual phenomena.
I wish to impress upon the reader that I have not let the sexual appetite possess first place in my life. It had to have its place, but the appetite itself, exclusive of its effects, occupied only a small place. From this autobiography a hasty reader might obtain the impression that I was completely absorbed in the line of life and thought here presented, that it was all I lived for. But it is to be remembered that the object of the book is to delineate the phenomena of androgynism, passive sexual inversion, and psychical infantilism as they manifested themselves in the life of its writer, and to give only such part of his life as was out of the ordinary. My nonsexual life has been along the same lines as that of all other intellectual workers, and is barely touched upon in this autobiography, that is, only where it has a bearing on the phenomena to be delineated. Taking my adulthood as a whole, the sexual side of life has probably occupied my attention only to the same extent as in the case of the average virile man, although much more than in the case of the average woman.
I am uncertain whether the writing out of my experiences has tended to mitigate my sexual instincts. If it has had any influence in this direction, nearly a score of years has been requisite to make perceptible its curative quality.
My own is not an isolated case. Among most races and in all ages of the world, one individual out of about every three hundred physical males—on a conservative estimate—is by birth predominantly female psychically. I merely furnish an extreme case of passive inversion, and my life experience has simply been unusually varied and noteworthy.
The author trusts that every medical man, every lawyer, and every other friend of science who reads this autobiography will thereby be moved to say a kind word for any of the despised and oppressed step-children of Nature—the sexually abnormal by birth—who may happen to be within his field of activity.