Dear Felix,

Please help me.

I’m trans and I want to transition. No, I don’t want to – I need to – because if I have to carry on living a lie I don’t want to live.

My family is Muslim and I know my parents will suffer when they find out, but I am prepared to inflict this because it is not my fault that God made part of me that is woman. But that’s the problem, I can’t stop thinking that this is not about being a woman but some fetish. I’ve read all your stuff on why autogynephilia is wrong and why it’s natural to fantasise like that if you’re trapped in the wrong body, but I’m not convinced. I want to be but I’m not, and if I’m not convinced then I cannot honestly tell my parents I am a woman, and I will not transition. This is sending me into a clinical depression.

The moment I get things clear that I am a woman I see this recurring image. It is a picture I have of a celebrity in a black satin blouse, leather skirt and boots. Why does this image haunt me? Because it is the image that proves I have a fetish, because it makes me so incredibly horny to think of myself dressed like that. There’s no one in the fantasy – I don’t need anyone – just being dressed like that makes me hard. I’m sure it’s sexy for a girl too, but she wouldn’t masturbate about it like I do. Why don’t I need another human being in the fantasy? That is what kills me. It means, just like Blanchard said – I am getting horny simply at the idea of being female. This is a fetish, and now I finally admit this, I’m devastated. I know the whole trans thing is a lie, but I don’t want it to be.

Felix, please please explain to me how I can ever claim to be a woman if there lies such fetishistic desire in my heart? Early onset transgender people don’t have this desire and that is surely because they are authentic and we are not. Tell me – because I really can’t go on, knowing that this is nothing more than ‘an outgrowth’ of my fetish to be a woman. But I beg you – don’t just repeat the trans dogma that it’s not all a fetish and this is just a normal fantasy, when it’s clearly not. Please please help me.

After two sleepless nights I reply.

August 30th 2015

Dear Anna,

This may come as a big surprise to both you and my readers but despite launching a very public campaign against the theory of autogynephilia, I secretly have doubts. None of these theories can be empirically verified so we can only say which theory has a higher probability of being true, but sometimes (usually when I’m depressed) I find autogynephilia more convincing than other explanations for late onset transsexualism. I do so, for the same reason as you: the clear evidence that at the centre of most male to female fantasies is simply being a woman – not being a woman having sex with other human beings.

Straight off, I should tell you that I do not see differing public and private views on autogynephilia as a challenge to my integrity. ‘Intellectual integrity’ is overrated in my opinion. Sexologists like Blanchard think it means ‘knowledge first – consequences second…it doesn’t matter if we discover something that’s not to the liking of a particular community, it’s our job as researchers to discover the truth.’ I do not agree with that.

Imagine the following scenario: a researcher discovers that one ethnic group has a lower IQ than another and that the cause is genetic – not educational. In my opinion that research is as dangerous as a toxic virus and I’d wipe any hard drive that contained such research. That is intellectual integrity in my opinion. Therefore, despite the fact I occasionally lean towards autogynephilia, I find it framed in such stigmatising language, and the public so unenlightened in its attitude to sex that, as a trans advocate, I don’t see any integrity at all in telling everyone that late onset transsexualism might grow out of a paraphilic desire to be a woman. The metaphor of trapped in the wrong body is a much more useful narrative clinically, existentially and culturally, and therefore, makes sense for transgender people to promote.

So why am I telling you all this, if I’m committed to keeping it a secret?

Because unfortunately, there is a high personal cost in investing my energy in ‘trans dogma’. The cost being – two years into my own gender crisis and I still don’t understand why I am the way I am, and that makes me feel not only lost and confused but stupid – because I’m going around proclaiming myself as someone who knows stuff but I don’t know shit. While I may have achieved something for other people with my writings, all I’ve achieved for myself is a slow, slide into chronic alcoholism.

What happened is that when my gender issues started I made contact with the transgender community, and it was clear to me that the people who were promoting autogynephilia and other fetish based arguments were not doing so out of any genuine search for the truth – or more importantly to help transgender people – but to hurt them and trivialise their feelings. I believe in fighting for your community, and I wasn’t going to sit by and let a bunch of trans-haters slur that community. So I got sucked into the fight.

But this has led to a farcical position where I spend my time thinking about extremely complex issues related to biology, psychology, trans-politics and philosophy, while another part of my brain is still at square 1 trying to work out the question all of us with cross gender arousal want to know…

…is this a fetish or am I really transgender?

You may be shouting, “but Felix, this is impossible…you’ve answered the question loads of times.” And all I can say is… “No I haven’t.”

I know I haven’t because, as a philosopher, I recognise the inherent flaw in my work: the trans-advocate always begins their analysis with an a priori belief that autogynephilia and all other fetish explanations are wrong, and that they must do everything they can to prove they’re wrong. Even if they’re right. That is a political methodology, and that’s good…because I’m a political animal. But I’m also a human animal…and I need to know the real answer. Being agnostic has to end. I can’t continue ‘suspecting’ it’s autogynephilia from time to time, and then bouncing back to feminine essence theories. I need to fucking know if this is a fetish or not! Not for the community, not for science, but for me.

I have written at length about how – even if it was discovered that late onset transsexualism grew out of a fetish – it wouldn’t matter. And I stick to that. The force of gender dysphoria is so destructive that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a fetish or an alien conspiracy – if you have to transition to save yourself, you have to do it. In terms of transgender health care, therefore, it’s irrelevant if it has origins in a fetish. For me personally, though, it is relevant. That’s why no matter how hard I try to put autogynephilia to bed, it has a nasty habit of waking up again. I find myself returning to the debate when I’m supposed to be thinking of other trans issues. I find myself, like you Anna, contemplating certain fantasies and noting points of fetishism.

The truth is that If I discover that I’m 100% male and the only thing female about me is that at 3 or 4 I developed a fetish for behaving like a woman, it would seriously damage my female side – a part of me that I value intensely. Why would it bother me so much? Is it because I have hang-ups about sex, is it some form of snobbery against fetish people, is it a fundamentalist belief in feminine essence theory? I don’t know. All I do know is that if my female side is an outgrowth of a paraphilia, then personally, the whole transgender thing for me would be Game Over.

Would I still support the transgender community? Of course. Would I still support transition as a treatment for gender identity problems? Of course. But would I go round saying there was a part of me that was intrinsically female? Definitely not!

Naturally, I wouldn’t suddenly announce my departure to join the foreign legion and renounce my interest in all things female. I would still have my female side, whatever that is, but it would just be a communal garden female side given extra force by paraphilic desire. And I guess that’s why I’d be so disappointed: there’s nothing wrong with having a fetish, but there’s nothing right about it either. It’s just an anti-climax.
Either way, I want to know. I want to bloody know.

So, Anna, I’m going to go right back to the beginning. I am going to return to that moment when the sperm fertilises the egg and examine all the available human knowledge that exists on sexual development from conception to adolescence. And quite frankly, I don’t know how long it’s going to take…but I do know that in the end you will have your answer. There will be no sugar-coating fantasies, no sitting on the fence, no trying to please trans people or anyone else: there will just be a sincere answer to the question that lies at the heart of autogynephilia:

…Is cross gender arousal the source from which transgender identity emerges, or is cross gender arousal a by-product of being transgender?

See you on the other side.

Felix Conrad’s new e-book is the world’s first objective study of cross gender arousal. You can buy it below by clicking on the cover, or you can get it from Amazon Kindle.

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  1. We just posted regarding autogyne and “pathology/fetish” —

    I wish I could fly like an eagle. Object of my desire. Probably NOT a “fetish.”

    I wonder what being female is all about, would very much like to give it a go. This is a fundamental inquisitive state of human existence. If I am one of two sexes, what is it to be the other? Structurally, clinically, diagnostically, this paradigm might fit into the definition of “fetish” — with all its inherent pathological baggage.

    Or maybe it’s just part of being a sexual being. One of two sexes and curious as to what the other state of being is all about.

    That’s not pathological. That’s real healthy ontological inquiry.

    Allison Wunderland —

    • Transcend Everything Reply

      Hi Alison… I find your comment a little hard to understand. If you could write it in simpler language I will reply. But, anyway, thanks for taking the time to opine… probably others will understand it.

      • Re- Alias WunderDirt

        Perhaps it’s referring to our existence and the pondering of it all. Why was I born a woman and I wonder what it’s like as a man or what would it be like to see through another beings eyes?
        Some take it to a higher level and we call them odd. We are boxed from birth to fit what is expected of us, in whichever the societal norms to which we are born, so is there a part of us that is not expressed because it is taboo or perhaps it’s just natural curiosity that we usually leave behind us as we mature. That’s what I got out of it.

  2. Miz Know It All Reply

    Here’s the thing… the longer you are around “the community” the clearer the differences between early and late transitioners become. There are clearly two different etiologies, and two very different outcomes. Yet the community, pushed almost entirely by late transitioners is insistent there can be no difference. It’s like they’re arguing up is down and black is white. So the question becomes. Not are there two different groups because there are. Rather, why are the late transitioned so invested in erasing that difference?
    Answer? Patriarchal Shame!
    Having “feminine interests” or “wanting to break free from masculine roles is so frowned upon in most cultures that the men with these desires must have “a reason” and the only acceptable reason is to borrow the transsexual narrative and rewrite it so their shame is mitigated as something organic and immutable!
    Pity is, that in doing so, late transitioners are not breaking down gender roles. They are not making it easier for the next generation. They’re actually reinforcing gender constraints and deeply harming women. They’re writing institutional misogyny into stone and they’re doing nothing to actually address their internal and external shame.
    There’s no earthly reason that a female cannot adopt the masculine gender, nor a male the feminine gender… While still owning the sex they actually are. (And leaving the sex changes to those with actual sex dysphoria, ie. The early transitioners)
    And the supreme irony, is that if you uncouple the two. The late transitioning are actually freed to expand gender roles and actually gain social acceptance… it’s the conflation that is damaging because it makes a complete hash of things and it’s equally damaging to both early and late!

    • Transcend Everything Reply

      First of all, I thank you for taking the time to comment (Felix here)… I wish more people would air their views on this site.

      I have no personal investment in this debate as I have no plans to transition nor take female hormones… also, I am not a fetishist determined to trivialise transgenderism to a sexual phenomenon. Therefore, I think I have a much more objective approach to the issue of ‘two types of transsexual’.

      I thoroughly and utterly and completely disagree there are two types of transsexual. It is certainly true that on a superficial level (femininity, age of onset, cross gender arousal etc) there are differences between straight and gay transsexuals but these are because gay and straight groups of people will always show differences in mannerisms, lifestyle, attitudes – even brain types. The fact is, however, they exhibit and present at clinics with the same symptoms and the same dysphoria and the same condition – transsexualism. Whether we talk of depressives, alcoholics, or anything else psychological – we create typologies on symptoms not on orientation or other random, cinically irrelevant factors. Please read my essay on the subject…

      again, thanks for commenting xxx

    • This is both a TERF and ‘true transsexual’ style of argument: “Pity is, that in doing so, late transitioners are not breaking down gender roles. ……”.

      Why should we carry the burden of ‘brealing down gender roles’ , ‘early transtoners’ don’t either, 99% of cis people don’t….
      Very few gays or lesbians do either.
      So why are we supposed to be the ‘special snowflakes’?
      You want to do it, go ahead by all means, me I’m just trying to live my life as a woman.

      Look I was born in 1957 in the UK and grew up in the 60s and had my adolescence in the late 60s to early 1970s.
      If anyone had found out about my (very strong) gender feelings I would have been compulsarily put into a mental institution and ‘treated’ with things like drugs and ECT…. I would not have been let out until they were sure I was ‘cured’.

      So I hid and suppressed my feelings, just as did nearly all gays and lesbains of that era did too (they faced similar things).

      So lets not have this ‘early transitioner’ ‘late transitioner’ stuff, because times (and places) were very different back then. I don’t notice people making a song and dance about those gays and lesbians comng out late in life, because they hid all those years as well.

      I reject yourarguments, as I said it is a combinaton of the worst of what the TERFs say, as well as the so called ‘true transsexuals’.

      If you are actually trans yourself (and you don’t spund like it), you need to have a long hard think about things and where your prejudices are coming from, because it just comes across as ‘lateral hostility’.
      I mean you are actually saying to me that I should not have my SRS? What makes you such a judge? What makes you so qualified to tell trans people what to do? Got a copy of your psychiatric qualifications handy? Because the experts like WPATH don’t agree with you.

      if you are actually trans and an ‘early transitioner’ how do you know my childhood gender feelings were not just as strong as yours, maybe even stronger?
      And if you grew up where and when I did, would you have done anything differently (if you are actually trans that is)? I doubt it very much.

      • Transcend Everything Reply

        Lisa… ‘early onset’ refers to onset of realisation… not transition. Therefore, if you identified as or felt female when young, you are early onset.

        Not that it matters.


        • And have never met anyone, full timer or part timer, that did not have gender issues as a kid. Not one.The latest age I have had someone tell me was early (13/14/15) adolescence.

          My friend, a part timer (now at least) is a cassic example, caught with their mothers clothes as a kid on and sent off to the doctor to get ‘treated’……in the 80s/90s. Took them nearly 20 years to get over that, during which time they suppressed it all..

          So I do not believe there is anything called ‘late onset’, yes there are later transitioners, but just because of the era and circumstances they grew up in.

          ‘Miz Know It All’ points were all about the so called ‘difference’ between Late Transtioners and Early Transtoners, not onset.
          And it is nonsense, I know quite a few later transitioners that are very attractive and/or totally passable, quite happily living their lives as women in ‘stealth’ or in a few cases (such a Cate McGregor) in public.

          They stated: “And leaving the sex changes to those with actual sex dysphoria, ie. The early transitioners”.
          Well I had gender dysphoria, diagnosed too….by an actual psychiatrist.

          Note: that is why I suspect they are not trans, none of us would say ‘sex dysphoria’, it is ‘gender dysphoria’ as per the DSM V.

          And “They’re writing institutional misogyny into stone and they’re doing nothing to actually address their internal and external shame.”
          That is a TERF statement, conflating internal gender identity with a discredited political theory (discredited by feminists by the way, and yes I can provide all the links to back that up with).

          “Yet the community, pushed almost entirely by late transitioners is insistent there can be no difference.”
          Another TERF statement basically having a go at trans academics, writers and activists like Lynn Conway, Andrea James, Julia Serano, Cristin Williams, Byrnn Tannehill and all the rest (all must reads).

          Better to ignore all that and read trans feminst activist Juilas Serano’s book ‘Whipping Girl” and check out her blog . She does a superb disproving of ‘autogynephilia’ amongst many other things.

    • Miz Know It All,
      Things have changed a great deal in the year and a half when you wrote, “the only acceptable reason is to borrow the transsexual narrative and rewrite it so their shame is mitigated as something organic and immutable!”

      What is happening is the word transsexual is being all but expunged as the transgender narrative becomes the coin of the realm. Moreover, it is no longer ok to mention, let alone ask, about indelicate things like SRS. If I put myself forward as an expert why should I listen to a spokesperson who is cagy about her own level of experience. And everybody is transgender now! Heterosexual cross dressers who are in the LGBTQ+ initialism, gay drag performers who are already covered under G. Despite all the publicity, if you actually cunt up the number of surgery suits and ask the surgeons how man SRS have they done, the number is quite small. People are living in role but not taking it to the point of actually crossing over and when you are young it can work pretty well, but as folks get older it can be problematic.

      In the next 20 years it will be interesting to learn how many went further with SRS, how many stayed as non-ops, and how many people gave up on the venture.

  3. Stop beating yourself up about imagined ‘Auogynephila’, it has been disproven and debunked many times.

    As I always answer, I had strong gender feelings as a child, cross dressed when I could from 8 onwards. Now when I hit puberty what do you think my sexual fantasies were going to be about? Being a big hairy man rogering a sweet little woman? Nope. Of course my fantasies revolved around me being a woman…duh.

    “All I do know is that if my female side is an outgrowth of a paraphilia,”. Nope, you don’t get paraphilia at 4 years of age…. You can be transgender at that age though.

    Look this whole Blanchard thing is just sophisticated ‘slut shaming’, to make you feel ashamed of being transgender. Of course sex and sexual fantasies are involved…we are human after all. But all this is just to feed your own hangups, internalised transphobia and even (as was in my case) homophobia, to make you feel bad.
    These people’s primary drive was to “stop transsexualism” and they used every trick, up to and including reparative therapy, to do so.

    Just to prove how totally ridiculous it all is in just two examples: asexuals. Now Blanchard lumped in heterosexuals, bisexuals and asexuals into the ‘autogynephila’ group…How can an asexual have a paraphilia?
    And everyone that is on HRT takes both oestrogen and a T blocker..libido collapses yet how many stop transitioning at that point..sod all.

    If you want to really prove it to yourself, take a T blocker for a few months (short term use will not permanently harm you), your libido will collapse, if you still want to be a female at times then…guess what… you’re transgender.

    .Read Julia Serano debunking of all this nonsense (and get her book Whipping Girl)

  4. I agree with Miz Know It All.
    ” Pity is, that in doing so, late transitioners are not breaking down gender roles. They are not making it easier for the next generation. They’re actually reinforcing gender constraints and deeply harming women.’
    Having lived with a late transitioning partner for 7 yrs It became a competition as to who had better legs. He did. It ended due to my not wanting to participate as the ‘male’ , I am straight. I was of the opinion he was ashamed to admit that he wanted to have both sexes at once. His need to have muscular arms, abs etc whilst having breasts was confusing. I can deal with some feminine traits or dressing in heels and so on but he thought it was all or nothing.

    The hormones changed his personality and so he is now a she but keeping the bottom half although that was a problem as she wanted to orgasm as a woman does so there was some fantasy issues between us . I wanted him to be present with me but the flipping in and out of gender in the bedroom gave me no where to go to be myself. Hope that helps.

    Oh, I was bitter for the first year after the break up and really did my homework on it. I cannot believe that children as young as 3 are being feted as trans or that they are in the same box as late trans. Children, ( I have 4 ) are not sexual at 3/4/5 yrs old so it’s a perplexing situation.
    My son wore his sisters clothes , wanted to be a girl etc and I did not think anything of it . He is a straight 22 yo now. I would have fought tooth and nail to stop some doctor saying my son had to choose at that age. I worry the older Trans are pushing the younger kids to where they are mentally, rather than let them just be who they are.

    • Transcend Everything Reply

      I’m so sorry your marriage broke up. I hope you could remain friends.

      I always try to remind trans husbands/wives to work hard at ensuring sex is great for both parties… it is a fundamental sin of marriage to monopolize sex. If both have completely different pleasures then you have to have a system for sometimes doing it their way and sometimes your way.

      As for the various statements you make about transgender development / psychology etc… there are so may things you say… it would take me years to reply to them all.

      Well,I hope everything works out. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Miz Know It All Reply

    I think the problem might be that I was replying using your terminology.

    First of all, I too have issues with Blanchard’s taxonomy. Like almost everyone who isn’t transsexual, and even some who are. He is pulling a blind man and the elephant. His description of what he sees may be accurate. Where it falls apart is the same as the blind man touching the elephant and extrapolating that if what he feels is like a rope. Then the entirety of an elephant must also be like a rope.

    As one who has lived this and because of it, tangentially been part of “the community” for the better part of 4 decades. There are two entirely different creatures that are both being equated as same, when they’re anything but.

    For ease of discussion. I usually break it down as transsexual and transgender. But even this is problematic as both terms have been used so indiscriminately as to render them useless. Therfore, let’s accurately define them. One group has a dysphoria caused by the sex of their body. There’s a mismatch between the body they have and their sense of self. Even the neural body map we all have is wrong for them. Those born female can feel a phantom penis just as much as an amputee can feel the limb that is lost. For those born male, the situation is the same. Their genitals feel as if they’re a foreign body and yes, there’s actually a phantom vulva.

    Thing is… as the issue is body in conflict with mind, you don’t really care which way it’s resolved. Just that it is! It’s this feeling of being astride the fence that drives one to madness.

    That the mind can’t be rewritten leaves correcting the body as the only other alternative. This is why for them surgery isn’t optional, and why after it, assimilation is so easy. These poor unfortunates have been living with one foot firmly in the world of women since the moment they figured out there were two sexes. Post op? It’s a matter of simply getting balance, then moving onwards as a female. (None of the men I’ve dated or married has ever known)

    The other and vastly larger group has varying degrees of gender dysphoria. Not sex! Gender! For them it can be a matter of anything from clothing to behavior to expected roles or all of them!

    That their issues are real is beyond doubt! That they cause distress is equally beyond doubt. The only thing that is up for contention is when the narrative of those who have a sex dysphoria is stretched to try and cover gender dysphoria. Mind you, I’m not saying that surgery shouldn’t be available for them. Rather it’s that unlike with the first group it’s more often than not, not wanted or sought! The body isn’t the issue. It’s how it’s moving through society that is!

    Again, the only reason clarifing the difference is important is that they require different treatment and for the most part, they have different outcomes. And no, one isn’t ” better than the other. They’re just different is all.

    (And for the record? Those with a sex dysphoria can also be homosexual following surgery. Though it’s occurance lines up almost exactly the same as it does in the general population! )

    • It is ‘Gender Dysphoria’ as per the DSM V (and earlier ones too).

      You speculations are incorrect, to get access to hormones (HRT) and surgery, if desired, requires a psychiatrist following the WPATH guidelines.
      Everyone that goes down that route is a’ transsexual’ whatever age they are are formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

      Now there are people with (a) sub-critical gender dysphoria and/or (b) good psychological ‘coping’ mechanisms (how they hide/deny/suppress/etc their gender feelings). These are the ‘part timers’ (or in complete denial), though quite a few later transition.

      A more recent option is the ‘gender queer’, ‘gender variant’, etc communities where people switch gender presentation, or are some combination, as they feel at a particular time. Mostly younger people without all the societal baggage that we older people have.

      For trans men the ‘butch lesbian community was for many their equivalent of the part timer ‘crossdressing clubs’, where they could, for periods of time, express and explore their inner gender identity.

      Transitioning is not easy for anyone and if there are partners, family, children, finances, etc involved those decisions can be agonising.
      I personally know several part timers that admit they want to transition but won’t because of those factors.

      The evidence shows that part timers, gender variant and those who transition all have gender identity issues and to a greater or lesser degree gender dysphoria.

      Hence why we group them all under the umbrella term ‘Transgender’.

      How they cope with it is also dynamic. Julia Serano is her book tells how she started out as a part timer (crossdresser) , then became gender variant before finally transitioning. That was for her a voyage of self discovery.

      Everyone that transitions starts out being part time at one point. This is self discovery and an ‘apprenticeship’.
      It can and often does take time to work yourself out and what you want to do.
      One woman I know was a serious part timer for 30 years before she transitioned. She always wanted to but felt she couldn’t until one day she got the confidence to do it (I might have had a part in that).

      The choice about ‘bottom surgery’ (SRS) is a tough one, but never forget there are many who cannot do it because of medical conditions or more commonly financial reasons (it is damn expensive). There is a long list of common medical conditions that will disallow you.

      You are arguing artificial and divisive distinctions where there are none.

      Here is a piece I wrote to address this ages ago:

      I thought this ‘elitist’ TG stuff about ‘real’ and ‘non real’ trans people had gone away ages ago.

      Here is how the argument goes:
      Crossdressers ‘are not trans’ and just into it for the fetish/sex, really?
      Drag performers are ‘not trans’, really?
      There are just these ‘real’ trans people and anyone (because of mind reading obviously) can tell them apart from the ‘freaks’.

      This is judgemental and childish nonsense that I thought the community had grown out of.

      Firstly everyone who transitions starts out as a part time ‘crossdresser’ at one point or another. For many this is a period of self discovery, building confidence, an apprenticeship in a sense.

      Secondly a heck of a lot of part time girls (CDs) are as trans as I am but cannot go full time at this exact time because of work, financial, relationship. family, fear, lack of confidence, etc reasons. I was like that myself for years. HRT & GRS is not possible for many people because of health and financial issues, I am very aware of the fact that I am just one medical condition away from not being able to continue HRT.

      Thirdly, drag performers come in all types, shapes and sizes. What matters is not their public performance but what they do on their own time. I know of one performer who is a ‘part time’ (and married) trans. Another lives full time as a female outside their act but I don’t think has had surgery yet (though I might be wrong about that, being polite I haven’t asked them), another is a full surgery transitioned person. So some are as ‘trans’ as I am.

      Fourthly, lets not alienate our closest supporters please? At the Melbourne Pride March Seahorse (initially in its earlier days a largely CD organisation) has been marching in support for the TG community for years and does a tremendous job in educating the community, providing support to TG people and lobbying Govts.
      When sadly far too many so called ‘real trans’ people go stealth, hide away and leave the community, there is Seahorse (and like organisations) supporting and fighting for our rights.

      So these ‘mythical’ ‘trans’, ‘not trans’, ‘not trans enough’ divisions are silly and actually dangerous to us as a whole.

      And then there is the ‘trans fashion police’ stuff.
      Quote from one: “… a man but dresses as a hyper-feminine stereotype..”

      So there are appropriate clothes for ‘genuine trans’ people to wear? Who decides that? Next time I want to glamour up for a night out do I have to run my clothing choice past these ‘police’ to see if it is ‘trans enough’, in case it is, shudder, ‘too feminine’? Or, even more shudder, if I am in daggy clothes to take my dog to the park I might be too …’masculine’?

      This is childish and bigoted finger pointing. I expect this from the transphobics and TERFs, but not from within the community itself.

      United we are strong, divided we are weak and people like this are just lead weights to us all.

      Personally I love my CD/drag/etc sisters, they are my friends and allies and always will be.

  6. This article is absolutely fascinating! I’m a researcher looking into unusual sexual interests and fetishes and one thing I find really interesting is that there doesn’t seem to be much denial about the existence of Autoandrophilia- I know it hasn’t been used as an explanation for transitioning in the same way as Blanchard uses AGP but I wondered if you had a view on this?

    Also I have on going research related to this in the form of a 5 minute survey here (Warning Adult Content):

  7. I actually agree with Lisa in that the divisions we make are actually not constructive but even more importantly the narrative that each of us has built around our individual situations is just that: a narrative. There is absolutely no conclusive proof for any of it. Whatever science exists is very preliminary and inconclusive at best. This is why I chuckle when I see androphilic transsexuals get very hot and bothered that they are exceptional when they are not. They have an advanced level of dysphoria and they have transitioned but we don’t actually know why. There is no definitive marker anywhere to prove it. Blanchard thinks all transgender and transsexuals are mentally ill so whether you are late transitioner or late transitioner it doesn’t matter to him. He is sexologist with nothing more than some data in front of him that he doesn’t know what do with so he invents ludicrous theories to match the data but has absolutely no proof. In this way he is a charlatan.

    The best thing we can do is stop arguing amongst ourselves and trying to make distinctions and try and help all gender variant people whether they transition or not be happy and well adjusted in this life.

    Now that would be something!

  8. Felix, thank you for the article. It gave me a lot to think about.

    But… to be honest, some of these comments have me seriously confused. Let me get this straight. We want unity among transgender experiences, right? Fewer divisions within the community. Yet we’re willing to abide by possibly outmoded DMV understandings of gender dysphoria. As in, “oh, ALL trans women started off as crossdressers” or “ALL trans women had early childhood gender dysphoria”.

    We are literally arguing -against- division by arguing -for- division.

    And by ‘we’ I mean Lisa.

  9. This entire line of discussion hinges on two falsehoods from the very begining. First is that of the question of whether autogynephilia exists (yes, yes it does…) and then does it motivate some people to transition. (again, yes it does)….

    But the second very false statement it that those of us who are exploring the scientific evidence and writing about it are NOT, as this author says, trying to hurt our community. Far from it. I for one am not. I spent four decades, since my transition as a teenager, as a transsexual rights activist, including being a founding member of the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee in 1980… as the youngest, and only exclusively androphilic member (and thus the ‘token’ transkid).

    The scientific evidence for the two type taxonomy is overwhelming. Studies spanning decades, collectively involving over a thousand transwomen, begining BEFORE Blanchard came to the scene, and most recently with the Nuttbrock study in 2009, involving nearly six hundred transwomen in that study alone, ALL show that autogynephilia exists, is nearly universally acknowledged by “older” transitioners / gynephilic transwomen, while nearly non-existent in those transwomen who transitioned as teenagers… who were also the group with the fewist gynephilic or bisexuals.

    I’ve spent the past decade reviewing all of the papers, and the past six years writing on the subject. Saying that autogynephilia does does not exist is beyond silly… and saying that it isn’t reponsible for “late”/gynephilic transwomen’s gender dysphoria is just not supportable based on the evidence.

    But to say that those of us who are doing the work of popularizing this science trying to hurt our community is simply lying. As to it’s “hurting” the community to talk about this… rather than denying it or shushing up any who do talk about it… is to fail to realize the harm that that denial has to members of the community, of both types. First, it ERASES transkids and our experiences. This is a political and cultural crime. Second, it ERASES and devalues late transitioners real experience, also a political and cultural crime… and furthers internalized shame in autogynephilic transwomen. For the record, there is nothing “wrong” about being autogynephilic… its just one’s sexuality… and all sexuality that is consentual, is to be embraced and celebrated, not hidden away in shame.

    I have over a hundred essays on my blog, many of which explore the scientific evidence supporting the two type taxonomy and of the role of autogynephilia in the etiology of late transitioning transsexuality.

    -Learning an uncomfortable truth is better than believing a comforting lie — Kay Brown

    • Marriedtoacrossdresser Reply

      It is hugely unfair to the women, and I am one of them, who are living with late AGP cross dressing men. We are there, we can see for ourselves that the sexual experience is central to their dressing.

      I am witness to this self pleasuring role play, in essence about the idea of what a woman is, (and in my experience this idea isn’t about childcare and doing the washing up) but about being a female sex object, wearing makeup, slutty knickers etc. About perceived status and responsibility/power.

      Why is there so much denial about this? There is way weirder stuff out there. Google Abe Lincoln/ET porn, I dare you.

      We are being called liars and bigots for witnessing this. It is abusive, gaslighting to say we are wrong, or that we don’t understand, because it makes for a more wholesome trans narrative.

      I have no judgement to make as to whether pleasuring yourself this way is “wrong” or not. But it is a bit rude to reduce my sex to a stereotype or sartorial choice, and get off on this. And even more rude to expect me to be either an unwitting or unwilling participant in this.

  10. As someone who transitioned 40 years ago, I would like to add a variable to this equation. After all is said and done, we continue to live. We live women’s lives, not autogyn lives. We can’t be hot babes forever. Along the way we blend into the world of women and are presented with women’s choices.

    The so-called early on-set (starting at 2 year old) transtioner likely has no idea about sex and turn-ons. For the M2F it’s about being a girl and living a girl’s life. A friend commented that the brain “knows” the self is female (or male) in the same the way a bird “knows” to fly south in when the season changes and how to get there. The fetish explanation is a red herring in some cases. Perhaps some people might have a fetish, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  11. First off, the term “fetish” is already the start of the problem. Like “paraphilia” or the older “perversion” (there’s really yet another euphemism threadmill at work here), it pathologizes sexual preferences that are in itself harmless, but viewed as unusual by society and marginalized for this reason. “Kink” is the least alarming sounding term, so I prefer it. And kink-shaming should definitely be avoided.

    Another point: People who have kinks are generally not particularly ashamed or embarrassed by them, in itself. They may hide them from society for fear of repercussions, but, in my experience, and that of others I’ve talked to about this, kinksters tend not to have all these huge issues crossdreamers have, and tend in fact to be quite forthright and bold, even aggressive, at least when they feel safe. That’s a world of difference from the way I feel about my trans feelings, and feels positively alien, even off-putting. That’s not the way I am, not the way I feel, nor the way I behave. I’m ridiculously embarrassed about it all, even in the midst of other trans people, and constantly suffer from impostor syndrome. That’s why the whole autogynephilia crap is so dangerous for us – because it feeds into the anxieties and doubts we’re already tortured by.

    And finally, I’d like to point out that a comment over at Jack Molay’s blog made me realize that being turned on by merely being female, or feminisation, per se, doesn’t mean it’s a fetish. The most obvious explanation is that you are asexual, or have asexual leanings of some kind. That’s why your fantasies tend not to involve other people, and in particular generally don’t involve sex (although in my case, an old and beloved fantasy of mine, with me as a boy, involves a somewhat obscured analog or substitute for sex – obscured by the nature of the anatomical differences –, although I only realised that recently).

  12. A couple points:

    #1 I am inclined to believe Miz-Know-It-All that there are late transitioners who, willingly or unwillingly, are put forward as spokespeople for the community.

    #2 There has been an erasure of the word “transsexual.” Some say it is an “old” word. English has LOTS of old words. They say it suggest pornography, but that doesn’t hold water because transgender has taken the place of the word. By dubbing everyone “transgender” accomplishes the conflating of which Miz-Know-It-All speaks..

    #3 I am not sure I agree with the diagnosis of “autogynephilia.” It sounds like a diagnosis looking for a disease. There are people who embrace this label, but that does not mean it is accurate. At one time when people had seizures it was believed they were possessed by demons and might even have admitted to that. It’s how shrinks sometimes think, “Why would a man find being acknowledged as a woman and being treated as a woman to be very satisfying ?” Just change the four word from “man” to “woman” and read the sentence again and the diagnosis becomes a non-diagnosis. The diagnosis is circular and assumes the conclusion.

    “Believing an uncomfortable lie is not the truth.” Virginia Hall.

    Lisa makes some good point. However, the de-medicalization of being trannsexual has led to a sort of “Dodge City” out there. I won’t repeat my comments as they are posted elsewhere on my blog,

    Wanting to look feminine is not a crime, that’s the truth that such be comfortable. Hari Nef, in my view, hits this right on the head in her Ted Talk, FreeTheFemme and again I will not use up pixels here and link to it,

    Transsexuals are the rorschach test, the ink blots, which cis society uses to diagnose its own views about gender. They aren’t listening to transsexuals who have transition and are stealth to get any insight. What would successful transitioners know anyway? Blech!

    Cis society is schitz about what they want transsexuals to do. On the one hand they turn beat red and angry saying transsexing is impossible. It won’t work, blah-blah-blah, yet as Nef points out, cis society demands it. The cis juggernaut moves crush all that stand in it’s way, and transsexuals are bright people. We know what the cis message is, “Do as we want, not as we say,” and so all their theories and ideas and such are for their own comfort.

    One day they may actually ask someone who is living stealth and is married to a cishet man and has not disclosed to him and get the low-down on what IS it like to live female.

    But they aren’t ready for that at the moment and well may never be.

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