I was amazed to find a thread on the crossdreamer forum yesterday (best forum on the net to discuss crossgender sexuality!) about autogynephilia. For two years I’ve been a member of this forum and discovered they were still having the same argument as the day when I arrived.
Obviously, I understand why this happens, and considering I’ve penned so many articles on the damned topic myself…I’m hardly one to talk. However, I did get a profound sense that I was in different place from my friends, and today I’d like to explain that place and my belief that if autogynephilia gets you into a trans-rage then you’re missing something.
1) It’s not worth spending energy on….
Trans people take the theory of autogynephilia more seriously than it deserves. They don’t understand that the more they talk about it and try to disprove it (as if it was a real scientific theory) the more they raise the profile of Blanchard’s work and give it an importance out of proportion to its merits.
Autogynephilia is not a scientific theory but a proposal for a theory. It’s like when entrepreneurs have lunch and sketch the outline of a business-plan on a napkin. The business idea might be brilliant idea…but at that point it’s just an outline.
Consider this: in order for the taxonomy of depressives (bi-polar, manic, clinical etc) to gain acceptance, there had to be decades of research by thousands of researchers and multiple peer review studies and entire libraries full of books written. Autogynephilia has been researched by a handful of people and all of them were desperate to either prove or disprove the theory and their objectivity is compromised.
The theory is, therefore – until rigorously tested – just a series of ideas based on common observations of trans people and the onus is not on you to disprove it. The onus is on the person who believes it to provide hard evidence.
ADVICE: Don’t get sucked into an argument where the tables turn and you have to argue why you don’t believe in autogynephilia.
You don’t need to argue shit! They need to cite scientific studies and when they cite the measly amount of experiments done, you simply have to repeat that it’s a measly amount and not sufficient to establish a theory in psychology. For fucks sake…we’re still arguing about ADHD and autism and there’s been thousands of studies…why the fuck is a theory about transgender psychology going to become accepted after three experiments?!
2) Autogynephilia can’t be proven or disproven anyway…
The other reason you shouldn’t get sucked into arguing against autogynephilia is that it’s one of those tricky bastards that can’t be disproven.
If it turns me on to be a woman – i.e. I have a crossdreamer sexuality – and then I transition, you can never definitively prove my motive was sexual. However: YOU CAN’T DISPROVE IT! The problem is that what we’re dealing with here is human motive. There is no transcript of my thoughts which can prove my motive…and even if there was we could argue that my subconscious motive was different.
This means that a key part of Blanchard’s theory – the motive for transition – can never be proven or disproven, meaning you are completely wasting your time arguing about it.
There is also a similar duality with the taxonomy of transsexuals. To understand this, think about the following taxonomy of men…
- There are two types of men: lovers and fighters.
This taxonomy of men can not be disproven, just as you can’t argue against the fact that there are three types of transsexual: homosexual, non-homosexual and bisexual. It is indeed true that the majority of transsexuals are either homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. But that doesn’t mean shit! You see, taxonomies in psychology are not like types of insects or types of cars…
…They are debatable and you can invent as many as you want.
3) Trans-rage = successfully trolled
Autogynephilia is not a scientific theory…but it is a masterpiece of trolling. And that’s why I feel sorry for all those trans bloggers expending so much energy in refuting it: they’ve fallen for the trap, and the more energy they expend and the more angry they get – the more they are being mercilessly trolled…and the more blog space they devote to it the more they do Blanchard’s work for him and spread the virus.
In other words…there are some attempts to spread autogynephilia which need to be rebutted…but many times trans people are just being trolled and should ignore the troll.
4) Autogynephilia is not completely invalid and isn’t going away anytime soon.
This part is going to be hard to swallow but you need to understand it. When I see trans people completely dismiss autogynephilia I feel they lack perspective. Yes, it’s couched in offensive language and stigmatizes older transwomen and it’s an all round shit-sandwich…but for some people it is the most accurate and helpful theory about their sexuality and gender variance.
For someone who can’t or won’t transition it’s comforting for them to think that their desire to transition comes from their sexuality. This makes it less valid. We only need to look at the Emasculation Fetishists to see how some people are desperately afraid of their inner female and if they can put it all down to ‘sex’… they will.
And this is where we get to the heart of the matter. Psychology – especially in the field of gender and sexology – is not a science. All we have are a number of narratives that can neither be proven or disproven. So how do we choose which theory we follow?
ANSWER: Whichever narrative is the most useful and meaningful for the relationship we have with our gender variance.
That’s why you can’t ultimately say that ‘autogynephilia is wrong’…you can only say that it doesn’t work for you. Similarly, no one can say that feminine essence is wrong or right. They are just different narratives that work for some and not for others.
Firstly, let’s stop spending so much time on autogynephilia…it’s not worth it. Better you think: how can we improve LGBT rights in this country?
Secondly, let’s stop thinking of transgender psychology as a science with right and wrong theories. No one knows shit about why people are transgender or why they transition or why it turns me on to be a girl. All we have are ideas that each transperson finds helpful, slightly helpful, not helpful at all, or…toxic.
The particular narrative you choose is not, therefore, something scientific, but a story that is deeply personal and expressive of how you see yourself and your gender variance. Your theory about your gender variance is as personal as a tattoo or your female name.
The crime of the autogynephiliac troll is, therefore, not that they are promoting an idea that is scientifically wrong, but that they are framing something as science that is not science. It’s just a narrative.
Furthermore, this narrative – while useful to a non-transitioner or a fetishist – is utterly useless to a transwoman because it poisons a deeply held view of her gender identity. Telling a transwoman to adopt the autogynephilia narrative is like telling her to change her football team or family or religion. Nobody has the right to argue with her about the narrative she has constructed about her life and her motive to transition.
Your theory about your gender is, therefore, your choice and part of your own quest to find meaning in your life. Don’t let anyone fuck with it!
I am recommending to everyone still fretting about AGP to read this! Very well explained and with appropriate exlicatives. I have spent far too much time arguing with trolls over this issue and it does seem that they protest too much. There is some repressed feelings there that they are refusing to deal with, but that is their stuff. I hope the fetishists do come out and honestly start dealing with their feelings, but I have my own stuff to deal with and they need to simply get over it. Move on FFS.
If we all had a dollar for every argument we had about autog we’d all be living in Malibu (sorry, don’t know why I chose Malibu!)
Absolutely right Felix and I am beginning to wonder myself whether people really understand what Blanchard was trying to prove with his half baked theory. Everyone knows cross gender arousal exists period. We know it is likely a result of overlap between dysphoria and orientation period. That is all we need to know period.
Thanks, Guapisima… hey, did you read my article about the bible? What did you think? (cos I know you’re religious.)
no but I will!
Non uncommon for people who have developed strong ‘coping’ mechanisms to deal with their gender dysphoria (of some type and level) for their thoughts to ‘leak’ through their sexual fantasies, as they are often a weak point.
For many that is all that will ever happen, for others it can be a sign that their ‘coping’ mechanisms are breaking down, or lead to insights about themselves and their gender issues.
From the start of puberty onwards my sexual fantasies involved me being a woman and having sex with others. As I developed my personal ‘coping’ metal tricks I even carefully policed my sexual fantasies and stopped them. As time went on and they started to break down, they would ‘leak’ through. By that time I was starting to understand and come to terms with myself and lots of other non-sexual ‘leaking’ was coming through my defences as well.
So these things can essentially be nothing meaningful for some, but can be a sign for others.
Usually if your coping mechanisms are starting to break down other non-sexual feelings and thoughts start to bubble up as well. Over time they will become dominant over any sexual feelings you might have (and many don’t have such feelings), by that time you should be seeing someone.
Of course some people do things in the opposite order, non sexual gender feelings are first then later sexual ones.
Some trans people have so suppressed their sexuality that they don’t really have one UNTIL they transition and be themselves, some like this apparently change their sexual orientation after transition, but my take on that is they have just stopped suppressing themselves.
Some people are also asexual (I have friend like that) and have never had any sexual feelings related to gender and never will.
I personally found any sexual feelings and fantasies were far easier to police and manage, compared to more general gender feelings, they were sort of ‘safe’ and could be dismissed. After all I had already (largely) managed to do that late puberty when I started, for sheer survival, to go ‘into the cis closet’.
But when my defences (and they were good ones too) started to break down I started to think far more about bring a woman and acting as a man became ever harder, that’s when it all changed for me. I could no longer dismiss it as inconsequential. And about that time memories of when I was a kid, that I had long suppressed, started to pop out.
So nothing surprising about this, quite a normal development pattern for some ….but I emphasise ‘some’…trans people.
Many other trans people go through quite different development trajectories. In my case if everything had stayed at the sexual fantasy level it would have been fine and I could have easily handled that and stayed in the cis world, I had developed some very clever mental tricks to deal with it.
It was all the other gender feelings that (finally) led me to transition as, once the barriers had crumbled, they became ever more dominant as my male ‘act’ started to die.
And then you hit that critical point of ‘I can’t keep living a lie any longer’, yet you are terrified of transitioning, which is an incredibly dangerous period for trans people and a common time for suicide unless you can work through it ..that’s when therapy is essential.
But it has to be remembered that even those trans people that had a period of thinking themselves as cis ( or more accurately, trying to) while having cross gender sexual fantasies, never transitioned because of that. Even a short period on HRT will sort that ‘confusion’ out.
Sex is a powerful drive and motivator, but it is not that powerful and a testosterone blocker will reduce it greatly as well.
In fact for some it is relief, because their sexual thoughts are confusing them and getting in the road of working out their gender issues and what is best for them, such as transition or going non-binary, etc.
One of the (many) reasons why I support the ‘informed consent’ model because frankly even a short period on HRT will pretty much determine things. If all you cross gender feelings go away when your libido drops then transitioning is not for you. If your gender feelings stay the same (or very often increase) and your dysphoria drops, well you are now on the right track.
So for all those (endlessly) beating themselves up over their sexual feelings, at least try a T blocker, you will know one way or another within a couple of months.
And if your cross gender feelings disappear totally then you can at least get into a more healthy head space. If it is a sexual kink, fine enjoy, lots of people in the various kink scenes. Maybe you are suppressing gay or bisexual feelings (which I suspect is more common than many think). The reasons don’t matter, just as long as you can come to terms with them and work out something healthy for yourself instead of living in angst and guilt all the time.
And remember your experiences are ONLY yours, every trans person has a very different story to tell.
From the very beginning ‘autogynephilia’ (AGP) is not and never has been a scientific theory, just read Blanchard’s 1989 paper to see that. Anything that needs to invent ‘pseudo homosexuality’ and ‘pseudo bisexuality’ to justify it is not a theory by any definition (let alone the circular logic).
A political/social ideology, theology or dogma yes, but not a theory.
A monster that grew out of a need to force female attracted or bisexual trans women into a narrow model of gender and sexuality.
To explain homosexuality it was thought that gender = sexuality, in that if you are ‘feminine’ you want to have penetrative sex with a man and lust after a penis (yes Blanchard actually said that), if you are ‘masculine’ you want to have penetrative sex with a woman.
So male attracted trans women were easy to explain, simply extremely ‘feminine’ gay men. But female attracted ones did not fit the mould. Just as the totally ignored male attracted trans men do today.
As for the bisexuals…they were dropped into the ‘heterosexual’ group to make the numbers look better (I can prove that). contradicting the dogma of the time (and for much later) that all bisexual men were really gay.
After that development it was found to be such a perfect tool to demonise and stigmatise trans women as ‘perverts’ that it grew and grew. Re-defined over and over to include more and more trans women. Now nearly all trans women are supposedly ‘autogynephiliacs’ (AGP), even trans adolescents.
The Man Who Would Be Queen was a classic in pushing that dogma, even adding in that AGP trans women were physically different (uglier) to the ‘attractive extreme gay men’ (who were all prostitutes and shop lifters).
Written by a man who admits he wants to make the world a worse place for trans women (and I can prove that too).
Since then it has been used to justify bathroom laws, stopping trans women getting medical/legal support and all the rest.
There is no escape from its stigmatising dogma, you are either a sex mad deceptive gay man or a male pervert. There are no other options.
In this dogma trans women are just sexually obsessed men, everything they do is determined by their sex drives. Go into a toilet it is because it turns them on. Come out in public, it is because it turns them on (yes really, read Bailey on Jenner). Everything is just sex. Be an activist, because it tunes them on sexually. A Toronto school acolyte (Brown) even pushes the idea that AGP trans women are turned on by trans kids and want to sexually abuse them,
Note also the many attempts to link paedophilia to AGP in the past, even if just by association.
So who pushes it? Well obviously trans hating people and organisations, the TERFs, the religious right, the Toronto school of sexologists and so on. All dedicated to eliminating trans women from society.
Tragically two groups of transgender people also push this dogma to the detriment of all trans women (and trans kids).
The so called ‘true transsexuals’ (like Kay Brown) use it to attack other trans women. Plus some (always part time, seem to be all from the US and rather obviously have fairly low gender dysphoria) ones who find it weirdly easier to think of themselves as ‘really’ cis heterosexual men with a ‘kink’, rather than face their more psychologically threatening gender issues.
It gives them an ‘escape’ route to keep on living as straight seeming men, with all the privileges that they accrue by doing so, rather than explore and find some sort of transgender identity (such as being non binary) that might suit them better.
You can add in another bunch of people (who I suspect is fairly large), those men with internalised homophobia but have gay attractions, where it is easier psychologically for them to imagine themselves being ‘forced to be a women’ to have sex with men.
A lot of the trans women sexual fiction is actually about closeted gay male’s fantasies and has nothing to do with gender identity at all.
That group also seem to like the idea of AGP. because it lets them off the hook about their gay desires and they can keep pretending to be heterosexual men, rather than the bisexuals (at least) they really are.
So AGP dogma is going to be around for a long time because too many groups of people find it useful, ether to attack trans women and deny their very existence or as individual psychological props for people to avoid their sexuality and/or gender issues.
And trans women will keep suffering the abuse, stigma, prejudice and even violence and murder that it adds to.
Plus some will fall to its horrible dogma and kill themselves due to self hatred by believing its core message: ‘you are not a woman you are a filthy pervert’.
And right on cue trans hating, TERF loving ‘true transsexual’ (sort of) Miranda Yardley hits the AGP button to attack nearly all trans women:
– 1st the usual ‘AGP inflation’ where it gets ever more re-defined to add ever more trans women:
“Transvestic autogynephilia: arousal to the act or fantasy of wearing typically feminine clothing (this is what people often mean when they talk about autogynephilia, but it is much more nuanced);
Behavioral autogynephilia: arousal to the act or fantasy of doing something regarded as feminine, also covers ‘interpersonal autogynephilia’;
Physiologic autogynephilia: arousal to fantasies of body functions specific to people regarded as female (there’s some way-out stuff on the Internet of males getting a kick from pretending to be pregnant); and
Anatomic autogynephilia: arousal to the fantasy of having a normative woman’s body, or parts of one (breasts are a common fantasy, often the autogynephile will want breasts but to keep his penis and testicles, this is an instance of ‘partial autogynephilia’).”
To them it is all sexual perversions by men, there is no such thing as gender dysphoria, in fact there is no such thing as internal gender identity.
2nd, ‘it is all caused by porn’
“we need to be honest about the influence of pornography on young boys and the influence this may have on the sexual identity of young male”
– 3rd, keep the ‘perverts’ away from trans kid …who don’t actually exist anyway as they are all ‘really’ gays or lesbians being forcibly ‘transed’:
“We need also to question the motivations, indeed be suspicious, of male transsexuals who are advocating for and supporting the transition of young children. These individuals clearly do not share a common narrative with the young boys they advocate transitioning to girls, and I would go as far as to suggest that word of these campaigners should have absolutely no credibility when considering the transition of young girls into boys.”
This is all standard TERF rubbish, note how Blanchard supports such people (but banned me from his FB and twittter pages):
“To my knowledge, there has been no formal academic work to connect pornography to autogynephilic transsexualism, this was confirmed by Dr Ray Blanchard in a private conversation with me last year.”
**** Trigger warning for the whole horrible article. Yardley hates themself and all trans women.
Lisa I think its best to let Blanchard, Brown and other AGP supporters go their own way. You have spent (as I have) a lot of energy and timed dispelling something that cannot be completely dismantled because we are missing data. They cannot prove but we cannot disprove. In that case what remains is your continued balanced existence as a trans woman to prove that you made the correct choice for yourself and are happier than you were before which is more than sufficient justification for your transition in my book..