c) Sexuality

Finally, the supposed importance that non-homosexual transsexuals have erotic fantasies that the homosexual transsexuals don’t have, is completely unfounded… and far from being anomalous is totally logical: one group is gay… the other not. Duh! Since when were gay and hetero fantasies the same?

Now, my ear is burning of course as I hear the cries of outrage from Canada… “Yes… but they’re not just any fantasies… they’re… they’re… cross gender arousal fantasies and the fact they have them and gays don’t, means they must be different types of transsexual.”

Guys, I have a very simple question…


It seems to me there’s a universal acceptance by both the Blanchardites and the transgender community that if cross gender arousal is proven in one group and not the other then yes, the two groups are different enough to merit a separate category. Thus, one side has invested years in proving cross gender arousal exists in only one group, and the other has tried to prove it exists in both groups, and women. Guy, guys, guys… why?

The existence of cross gender arousal only proves one thing: the existence of cross gender arousal. If it exists in one group, two groups, lesser spotted chaffinches… who cares? How is cross gender arousal, or not, going to help us treat or understand transsexual patients… why include something of zero importance in the taxonomy?

Now of course, our friends are shouting across the Atlantic again… “No, no, no… it is important.”

And once again I will ask…“why?”

“Because they experience cross gender arousal… therefore that’s their motive for wanting a sex change… and that’s a different motive than the others.”

Come on guys… what is this? CSI? “Their motive?” Detective Blanchard here, I’ve uncovered evidence of a secret paraphilic motivation in non-homosexual transsexuals. I’m sorry, but that jump from … they show cross gender arousal to… therefore that’s their motivation for sex change is not science… it’s frickin cluedo.

What we have here is a Descartian style logical fallacy…

– I cross gender arouse
– therefore I change sex

Says who?

They’re not saying that. So what… you know better than them what they’re motive is?

To illustrate my point, I’d like to give you the following example…

Shakira… gives me a boner, right? When I watch that Shewolf video and watch her opening her legs… I can’t help think of her vagina… and I get hard. Ok? Not like… everytime… I mean… I don’t sit there watching the video with my friends and I get hard… but you know what I mean. Anyway, a couple of years ago… I went to see shakira in concert. By your theory… …the whole gig was motivated by my boner.

– I saw an advert for the concert… boner.
– Bought the ticket… boner.
– Went to the concert…mega boner.

The fact is, though, I liked Shakira before I even saw her because I used to have a flat mate who played her music all the time. In fact, I could write an entire essay on my life as a Shakira fan… the fact that my son is half Colombian and she’s Colombian, the fact that I was working for a Barcelona player who was friends with her husband so she was on my radar ( I didn’t get a boner.) Many things. So, although Shakira gives me a boner, and you could prove it, that doesn’t prove it was my motive for going to the concert. It’s more complicated than that.

Similarly, transexuals are complicated, and between point a – existence of cross gender arousal and point b – attempting to change sex – lie an innumerable amount of mechanisms – linguistic, genetic, sexual, cultural, neurological – that make definitive causality impossible.

And we mustn’t forget, there are many possible causes. If – as one theory suggests – the transsexual is born in the wrong body, then it is entirely logical that the transsexual’s sexual fantasy will take place in that of the gender they identify with, and thus we can say…

– All participants in group a demonstrate cross gender arousal.
– All participants in group a are transsexual.
– Transsexualism causes cross gender arousal.

And if homosexuals don’t experience cross gender arousal, again… we don’t need to make another leap to… they must be a different type of transsexual, but look at a range of possible explanations, starting with their homosexuality. It could just be that – as the target of their erotic interest is in line with heterosexual women, and according to you they’re more feminine, they don’t need to take that leap to a female body which characterises heterosexual transsexual fantasy.

Or another explanation is that they do experience cross gender arousal but it’s more subtle. According to Anne Lawrence – the homosexual transsexual tends to be penis avoidant… he doesn’t like to use it in sex or have it touched. So, how do you think he fantasises?… because his penis isn’t going to figure. Furthermore, if his main motivation for sex change in your theory is to attract heterosexual men… and he knows that to get one and keep him he must have a vagina, it’s impossible that some of his fantasies do not include having a vagina… because that is the most important variable in attaining his ultimate fantasy.

All of this is speculation, of course. And that’s the most important point to note: that in this area it’s really the best we can do… intelligent speculation. Unfortunately, though, some people are parading their intelligent speculation as science. It’s not.

We see this clearly two steps further into this debate when the transgender community puts the following argument… “If the motive for sex change is sexual… then why does the transsexual still desire that change when he has chemically castrated himself with testosterone blockers?”

It’s a very good point: the influence of sex hormones on libido is not controversial. We are in the region of science. This, however, is in stark contrast to the answer given by the Blanchardites, which though ingenious, though plausible, though having some clinical basis (the idea that the transsexual is so in love with their female self it powers them forward) is laughable from a scientific perspective.

In another sense it’s brilliant, though. What Blanchard is suggesting here – and what Anne Lawrence proposes in her excellent essay – Becoming what we love – is, in some sense, everything that good science is about: using imagination and reason to formulate hypothesis. I don’t think there is a transgender person who could not relate to this notion of total love for one’s sense of femaleness. However, that’s all it is… a good, plausible idea, a beautiful idea… a kind of transgender version of Plato’s symposium. But unfortunately, it hasn’t passed through the second part of what everything good science is about… PROVING IT. I understand that there are analogies with certain paraphilias… but analogy is not enough to declare scientific proof.

Point 3: Blanchard’s description of differences is correct and irrefutable. Again, though, this is not through any great insight, but was simply an inevitability as soon as the taxonomy ‘homosexual’ and ‘nonhomosexual’ were created. For the simple fact is… homosexuals and non homosexuals are different in a number of ways. If we had created a taxonomy of Asian, African, Latin and Nordic transsexuals – we would find also differences in height, behavior, economic status etc… More importantly, though, even the most fleeting analysis soon reveals these supposed critical differences to be insignificant.

Part 3. The schoolboy error at the heart of Blanchard’s taxonomy of transsexuals.

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  1. I would classify myself as anon-binary DMAB individual. Outwardly I’m not too different from most trans women apart from dressing in a more androgynous manner. Before I came out I dated a pretty even number of both men and women. Since beginning my transition however, I have discovered that, at least sexually speaking, I really only enjoy the company of other penis bearing people.

    If we’re going by Blanchard’s taxonomy, I’m about a 5 on the Kinsey scale. So if not homosexual, I’m close enough. When I was younger I sometimes crossdressed and imagined myself as the receptive partner with other men, sometimes also crossdressed. In my experience this isn’t *that* unusual. Perhaps it was when Blanchard was doing his research 30+ years ago.

    I’m also a sex worker (I cam and escort) and I’m pretty involved with my fans in the online space. Quite a few of my fans are crossdressers. Some are straight, but by and large I’m finding that most of them are, well, bi or gay. There are a lot of queer men who experience, if not arousal at the thought of being a woman, then definitely arousal at the thought of being feminine.

    I’ve had a number of conversations with some feminine male admirers and my impression of them is that sexual orientation isn’t a great predictor of what kind of what kind of things they enjoy sexually, because they’re kind of all into the same stuff. Excluding of course what kind of genitalia they generally prefer to interact with.

    Another thing that strikes me as strange is that Blanchard (I think) does report that there are some ‘non-homosexual transsexuals’ which didn’t recall any significant cross gender arousal in his studies. He basically dismisses them as liars, while raising absolutely zero eyebrows at their ‘homosexual’ counterparts. The straight appearing ones are never questioned. Which makes me wonder about the motives of the people writing and pushing this theory.

    The cynic in me is tempted to say it has something to do with the stigma against gender non conformity. A lot of gender therapists, especially in the past, were very much of the school that favored well assimilated and traditionally attractive trans women. A trans woman who couldn’t or didn’t want to blend in was seen as a broken individual. After all, as part of the medical / psychological establishment they had a stake in maintaining the appearance of heteronormativity. See how long it took have homosexuality removed from the DSM for christ sake.

    In Blanchard’s case I’m not so sure. I think he’s gay. And maybe that’s an insignificant fact, but like it or not, there has been at least some border wars fought since the GLF decided trannies were a political albatross hindering gay liberation (and later gay assimilation).

    There’s also the not insignificant history of hatred coming from the lesbian and lesbian feminist camp, which has arguably been much more acrimonious and persistent in it’s attempts to stamp out trans resistance. It continues to be a political wedge in leftist spaces today where these people will appropriate the words of the Blanchards and Zuckers and Cantors to push an agenda filled with outdated and heteronormative baggage.

    • Transcend Everything Reply

      Thank-you very much for your detailed and well observed comments. We really appreciate it. x

  2. Felix,

    You have a gift for pointing out the obvious gaps in logic in the Blanchardians but in such a way that never ceases to make me laugh. Well done!

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