July 27, 2010

On Moser's critique of Blanchard's autogynephilia theory Part 2

The presentation of Charles Moser's critique of Ray Blanchard's autogynephilia theory continues.


Ray Blachard argues that there are two types of transwomen: homosexual transsexuals (androphilic transwomen) and autogynephiles (gynephilic men who erotically loves the idea of themselves being a woman). In a recent paper Charles Moser does his best to debunk the theory.

The two groups

Moser denies that the data Blanchard uses can be used to prove that there are two completely separate groups of transwomen: (1) autogynephilic "non-homosexual" MTFs and (2) androphilic "homosexual transsexuals".

"Blanchard (1989a) demonstrates that there is a statistically significant correlation between reported autogynephilic interests and a non-homosexual sexual orientation, suggesting that one can distinguish homosexual from non-homosexual MTFs on this basis. This approach is equivalent to distinguishing men from women by finding a statistically significant correlation between the presence of a Y chromosome and gynephilia (erotic attraction to women), which obscures the very real existence of gay men and lesbians."

The point here is, I believe, that although there is a statistically significant correlation between having autogynephilic fantasies and being a non-homosexual MTF, the dividing line between the two groups is not absolute. There will always be people who fall outside this binary system, in the same way there are men and women who are not heterosexual.

What is lacking in Moser's discussion is a discussion of the positive value of making such a distinction. There is a correlation between sexual orientation and reported autogynephilic fantasies. Why is that and what does it mean?

Furthermore: The fact that only a minority of transwomen are androphilic is interesting and requires an explanation. Among genetic XX women it is the other way round: the majority is androphilic. Why is that?

The love of others

If you have followed this blog, you will know that one of my deepest felt arguments against Blanchard & Co is that he denies me the ability to love another person. Autogynephiliacs are in love with themselves and cannot love others. My long time girlfriend can tell you otherwise and I get a lot of reports from crossdreamers who love their significant other deeply. The fact is that many of them give up on their dream of transitioning, because they do not want to lose the one they love.

Moser makes the same argument:

"Blanchard (...) states, 'autogynephilia is clinically significant because it interferes with normal interpersonal sexual attraction and because it is associated with gender dysphoria' (1993a, p. 301). There are no data to suggest that autogynephilia actually interferes with interpersonal sexual attraction or that homosexual MTFs do not experience problems with interpersonal sexual attraction or gender dysphoria (i.e., 'discontent with one’s biological sex, the desire to possess the body of the opposite sex and to be regarded by others as a member of the opposite sex' [Blanchard, Clemmensen, & Steiner, 1987, pp.139–140]). Most MTFs, autogynephilic or not, report both interpersonal attraction toward the partners of their choice and gender dysphoria."

My point exactly! Note that there is no data that shows that androphilic transwomen or ciswomen and cismen are more capable of developing lasting relationships.

Man as a dildo

I have mentioned the man as a masturbatory prop theory earlier. Given that crossdreamers or autogynephiliacs are considered gynephilic (they love women), the fact that they fantasize about having sex with a man becomes problematic. It threatens to destroy the neat division between heterosexual and homosexual. Blanchard does not allow for true bisexuality in his theory. The bisexuals are grouped together with the gynephiles in the "non-homosexual" category.

Blanchard suggests the male partner of a non-homosexual MTF “is usually a vague, anonymous figure rather than a real person and probably has little excitatory function beyond that of completing the fantasy of vaginal intercourse in the female role” (1989a, 1991).

Anne Lawrence suggests that the androphilic interests of “nonhomosexual” MTFs are focused upon an imagined partner who, “ is faceless or quite abstract, and seems to be present primarily to validate the femininity of the person having the fantasy, rather than as a desirable partner in his own right” (2004, 79–80).

I must admit this is one of the most puzzling parts of being a crossdreamer, and also the strongest argument for the target location error theory.

I think Blanchard's and Lawrence's observations are close to the mark. The male partners in feminization fantasies among crossdreamers are very often faceless, unlike the fantasy partners found in women and gay men's fantasies. I find this in TG erotica, I find it in the conversations I have had with fellow crossdreamers and you can see it in some of the comments made on this blog.

But you might also argue that a man masturbating to the picture of a sexy model is as far removed from real life as the fantasy of a MTF crossdreamer. Cis women also report fantasies of being taken by generic, faceless, men. Sexual fantasies are fantasies. They do not necessarily reflect what people do in real life.

Stable relationships

Moser does not go into the fantasies themselves, but puts up the following hypothesis: If M2F "non-homosexual" MTFs uses males as props in fantasies, you would see them use men in the same way after transitioning.

The Blanchard theory would imply that non-homosexual MTFs attracted to men would have multiple male partners and no stable male partnered relationships. The data given by Anne Lawrence, a strong Blanchard supporter, says otherwise, according to Moser:

Ray Blanchard

"Of the MTFs who had exclusively female partners before SRS and exclusively male partners after SRS, 71% reported at least one stable partnered relationship post-SRS in comparison to the 64% of MTFs who had exclusively male partners before and after SRS (Lawrence, 2005). The MTFs with female partners before and male partners after SRS reported a mean of 2.8 male partners after SRS, in comparison to the 8.4 male partners for MTFs with exclusively male partners before and after SRS (Lawrence, 2005). "

Moser argues that androphilic MTFs are less likely to form stable relationships than the "non-homosexual" ones -- not that this in any way implies that they are more "autoerotic" than the autogynephiliacs.

Are we wrong about sexual orientation?

The fact that "autogynephiliacs" are as likely to form stable relationships as others is a good point. But it does not answer the puzzle of seemingly gynephilic M2Fs getting male partners.

I wonder if we are barking up the wrong tree here. The word "non-homosexual"makes sense in this context, but not for the reasons Blanchard intended. The phenomenon we are describing is a journey from one form of heterosexuality to another. The biological male starts out as gynephilic (heterosexual) and ends up as an androphilic woman (heterosexual).

Given Blanchard's starting point (that there are only two types of normal sexual orientation), some explanations cannot be considered by him. The following three are, for instance, out of the question:
  1. The gynephilic crossdreamers who become androphilic were bisexual all along, but given the fact that they have tried to live as men, they have suppressed their desire for men. As women it makes much more sense for them to approach men. The gynephilic crossdreamers who were truly gynephilic only, remain gynephilic after the transition.
  2. Some gynephilic crossdreamers do indeed change their orientation from loving women to loving men, as sexual orientation is not unalterable, but is the end result of a complex set of natural and psychological factors, some of which may be changed when transitioning (for instance due to hormones or psychological realignments).
  3. Sigmund Freud was right all along: All men and women are basically bisexual. However, the surrounding culture and their basic copulation instinct (catcher/pitcher) lead them to preferring one sex and suppress the longing for the other. When they change sex, they are allowed to -- yes, even encouraged to -- turn to the other sex, which allows them to do what their natural instincts asked for all the time.
During my exploration of my own crossdreamer psyche, I have slowly come to the point where I can see that it actually might be possible for a crossdreamer to switch allegiance in this way, i.e. the point where the male body actually becomes physically attractive, but I must admit that I do not understand how this happens. I suspect there may something inherently wrong about the way we look at sexual orientation. We oversimplify a complex phenomenon. This is definitely a topic for further study.

Cohabitation and erotic-romantic identification

As for Moser dismissing the man as a prop theory using cohabitation statistics: Well, the data are interesting, but these data say nothing about how these trans women experience their sexual relationship with men. There may be friendship, there may be love, but if this is anything like the attraction a cisgendered ("normal") woman feels for a man, or a gay man feels for another is unknown.

Anne Lawrence has a highly speculative theory about the MTF crossdreamers ("autogynephiliacs") being romantically in love with the image of themselves as women. She says:

"Moreover, it seems obvious that erotic-romantic orientations involving erotic target location errors would contribute especially strongly to personal identity, because they define one’s ideal self: the person whom one wants to become or wants to change one’s body to resemble. It is easy, then, to understand why becoming what one loves would feel like an identity-driven process. It is also easy to understand how the erotic feelings that putatively contribute to the creation of identity in nonhomosexual MtF transsexuals could seem relatively unimportant, especially if they had diminished with time or were never strong to begin with." (Lawrence 2004)

The reason why autogynephiliacs imagine faceless men, according to Lawrence, is that they are not attracted to men, but to the idea of being a beautiful woman lusted for by men.

Moser's argument quite efficiently destroys Lawrence's idea that autogynephilia represents some alternative kind of erotic-romantic orientation - an alternative to heterosexual and homosexual love. Moser demonstrates that crossdreamers are perfectly capable of having long lasting relationships with real people. However, the fact that they do so, does not in itself prove that their condition cannot be caused by some kind of erotic-romantic identification with the other sex.

Personally I think there may be such a erotic-romantic identification. However, that does not in itself prove Lawrence right. If crossdreaming or autogynephilia is inborn -- i.e. these biological men have strong "inner women" -- it would only be natural for them to identify romantically with the idea of being a woman. They love women, they are partly or fully wired as women, and many of them therefore identify as women. If this is the case it would be close to impossible for them to differentiate between these types of love in their subconscious. A erotic-romantic identification with "womanhood" does not therefore stop gynephilic trans women from being "real women".

Maybe it does not matter. Maybe this is all part of the wonderful variety of life.

Androphilic with autogynephilic fantasies

Moser says that he cannot find reports of any substantial differences between the gender dysphoria (psychological discomfort) of homosexual and non-homosexual (autogynephilic) transsexuals. Nor does he find any differences in their post-op life experiences.

He also dismisses the idea that androphilic transwomen cannot have autogynephilic fantasies. Since Blanchard argues that 90 percent of the autogynephiliacs have also been aroused by the idea of wearing women's clothes, Moser makes use of research on crossdressing among androphilic MTFs:

"Blanchard (1985b) found approximately 15% of his homosexual MTFs reported a history of cross-gender fetishism. Bentler (1976) found 23% of his sample of homosexual transsexuals admitted sexual arousal by cross-dressing. Leavitt and Berger (1990) reported almost 36% of their androphilic transsexuals had a history of sexual arousal by crossdressing (using an item from Blanchard’s [1985b] inventory to measure this cross-dressing fetishism). It is hard to dismiss all these studies as systematic distortions and misrepresentations."

We know that there are androphilic crossdressers. Some of them use their crossdressing on stage, exploring their femininity as drag queens. The arguments is that a drag queen differs from autogynephiliacs in that she is (1) androphilic and (2) she "is dressing like a woman, not because it turns them on, but because it is a fun character and a form of entertainment."

But why? If we use Blanchard's methodology and allow ourselves to suspect a cover up, this might be one of them. I for one find it strange that no drag queen will get a tingling of erotic excitement performing as a sexy woman in a bar, even if her spectators are all gay men. We are definitely missing something important here. Maybe I will have to look into the sexuality of gay men as well.

Blanchard and his followers will of course argue that if a drag queen admits to getting turned on by performing as a woman, she cannot be androphilic at all. She must be a "non-homosexual" autogynephiliac, which brings us back to square one: If you don't like what they tell you, they are liars.

No feminization fantasies

A significant proportion of the non-homosexual group does not follow the rules laid down by Blanchard & Co. They do not report autogynephilic arousal, Moser says:

"There are non-homosexual MTFs who do not report any history of autogynephilic arousal. Lawrence (2005) found approximately 10% of her non-homosexual MTF sample reported that they never experienced autogynephilic arousal prior to SRS. Blanchard (1985b) reported that almost 27% of his sample of non-homosexual transsexuals did not acknowledge a history of
sexual arousal while cross-dressing.

"Blanchard et al. (1987) classified 82.2% of their heterosexual male transsexuals to be fetishistic (autogynephilic), suggesting that 17.8% were not. Bentler (1976) noted only 18% of his 'Asexual' MTF group and 50% of his 'Heterosexual' MTF group indicated that crossdressing was sexually arousing presurgery, suggesting a majority did not find it sexually arousing. Again, it is difficult to dismiss all these findings as systematic distortion and misrepresentation."

Moser makes the same point I have been making. Moreover, if this is all caused by mistaken or deceiving respondents, all the data must be disregarded. That would mean that the methodologies used are useless and will have to be abandoned. This would mean that all of Blanchard's research is bogus. It is not!

Moser does not have any good explanation for why there is a significant difference in the proportion of people having autogynephilic fantasies in the two groups, though, and he really needs such an explanation to kill the Blanchard theory once and for all. Why are gynephilic trans women more likely than the androphilic to have had feminization fantasies?

I suspect it has something to do that the androphilic  trans women may use gay male culture as a place for exploring their sexuality while the gynephilic ones cannot. But that discussion requires a separate post.

Autogynephilia as a paraphilia

Moser's paper is clearly an intervention in the DSM-V debate, which I have covered elsewhere. Moser argues that autogynephilia does not belong in the Fifth Edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, not because autogynephilic fantasies do not exist, but because they cannot be the main cause for the desire to transition.

Moser says:

"If the impetus for gender transition is a paraphilia (autogynephilia), then reduction of the sex interest should decrease the desire for the transition. Low testosterone, either due to anti-androgens or other causes, is associated with decreased sexual interest in individuals with or without a paraphilia. Estrogen acts to decrease testosterone levels, but most transsexuals are prescribed anti-androgens to reduce further their testosterone level, often to the undetectable range. The result is often decreased sexual interest, as expected, but this rarely causes any discomfort or regret. Most MTFs report their drive for gender transition is unabated; Blanchard (1991) also observed this same phenomenon."

In other words: the hormone treatment given to them to feminize their body should cure them of their autogynephilia and stop them from transitioning. It does not.

He also points out that many individuals diagnosed with a paraphilia [like pedophilia, I guess] and treated with anti-androgens [which is a form for chemical castration] report a significant decrease in their desire to act on their paraphilic interests. This is not seen with MTF transwomen. This is a strong indication for autogynephilia being a symptom of a deeper gender dysphoria and not its root cause.

A very useful contribution to the debate

Moser does not say anything new in this paper, but he makes a coherent and convincing argument for why Blanchard's theory is too simplistic and too weak to be the foundation for a classification in the DSM.

He also undermines the idea of all "non-homosexual" transgendered being motivated by sexual desire only. Instead he opens the door to an explanation where the sexual fantasies as well as other expressions of femininity among crossdreamers, is caused by an unknown underlying factor.

He does not give an alternative explanation for crossdreaming (autogynephilia), but then again, that was not the objective of his paper. What we really need now is for some researchers outside the Blanchard tradition to take a look at crossdreaming and what it means. Maybe Moser can take a shot at it?

Postscript

Moser's paper is not available for free online. I had to pay 30 USD for it, and they printed my name on every page to stop me from sharing it with you. I do understand that the publishers need to secure some revenue, but this kind of policy is stifling debate outside the scientific circles. I'll see if can be possible to find a way of making the article accessible to you. Fortunately there is a process in both the US and other countries towards open access, where publicly supported research is made available to all.

Charles Moser MDa
Journal of Homosexuality, 57: 6, 790 — 809

21 comments:

  1. For people not having access to a journal article they would especially like to read, it is considered okay to email the author asking for a copy.

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  2. "During my exploration of my own crossdreamer psyche, I have slowly come to the point where I can see that it actually might be possible for a crossdreamer to switch allegiance in this way, i.e. the point where the male body actually becomes physically attractive, but I must admit that I do not understand how this happens. I suspect there may something inherently wrong about the way we look at sexual orientation."

    I have experienced a level of shift myself. I'm not sure at this stage if it is a permanent shift or temporary. I have messed around with estrogens over time so these are a factor too. What I found was over time a new AGP fantasy was creeping in where I had to desire men. This seemed to be a self imposed brainwashing exercise generated by the push of AGP. The use of self hypnosis files also played a part too. Once a fantasy has been taken to it's extreme you find the next one to do - taking you to the next level. All very bizarre I fully admit. Paraphilia - the curse of the intelligent. But maybe it's not a paraphilia???

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  3. I guess it depends on what you believe is the starting point. If you, like for instance Ray Blanchard, believes that there is an absolute dividing line between being heterosexual and homosexual, any attraction a gynephilic crossdreamer must feel for men is a delusion. The male figure is a prop in a fantasy used to affirm the femininity of the dreamer.

    If on the other hand, you open up for the possibility of true bisexuality (and why shouldn't there be, given all the variation we see in sexuality?), another story becomes possible.

    There has been a part of you that have always been attracted to men, but which has been suppressed due to the stigma attached to homosexuality. The inner femininity will not be denied, however, and find its expression through feminization fantasies.

    The more you accept this hidden side of yourself, the more likely it is that the original bisexuality resurfaces.

    It is amazing to see how much different points of view changes the narratives.

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  4. All fascinating stuff, as usual!

    My gut reaction to it is that all of this stuff, on both sides of the issue, is repugnant and pernicious, in that it is disagreement about the exact number, size, and shape of the pigeonholes that of course everyone must be stuffed into. How about just getting rid of the pigeonholes entirely, stopping the blanket statements that imply that there are exactly two (or three, or five) kinds of MTFs (or of people), and just recognize that there is a wide and fascinating and blurry spectrum of natures and desires, and that all of them should be celebrated?

    But on the other hand I can see that by discussing these things people are at least acknowledging that natures and desires outside of the consensus norm *exist*, even if they are acknowledging them mostly for the purpose of classifying them. And that's better than the closet anyway. :)

    A couple of phrases I found telling: your "Maybe it does not matter. Maybe this is all part of the wonderful variety of life" seems right on to me. More important to embrace the variety than to decide on the right set of pigeonholes.

    And, from the tagline this this weblog: "This is a phenomenon so unusual that it is rarely talked about." I agree on the "rarely talked about". How sure are you about the "unusual"? :D

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  5. Crossdreaming is much more common than people believe. Anne Lawrence presents crossdresser numbers in the order of 2 to 3 three prosent of the male population in the US. Many crossdreamers do not crossdress. That could bring the percentage of crossdreamers up to 5 percent, which equals the percentage of male homosexuals.

    I have prepared an article on transfans, and I believe many of them are crossdreamers. You will see that there are many of them as well. So maybe it isn't that unusual, after all.

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  6. This article helped me a lot. Now I get the picture of how the term sexual orientation can be misleading.
    Personally, I love women but also love to be desirable to men though I am not attracted to male bodies physically.
    Well, one of the mistakes of the concept of sexual orientation is that it has combined physical attraction with emotional drives, both of which can trigger sexual desires in humans. But, the two are different. My feelings for men are on emotional level, and though the male body is not as beautiful to me as the female body, I enjoy thinking of sex with guys for the purely emotional bonding.
    As a bisexual guy hence I could say hence that our sexual desires are much much more complicated than simply a matter of sexual orientation and that, most people ahve an inherent tendency to love both genders.

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  7. Things Blanchard's theory ignores when applying this to transsexual people:
    -Anything other than gay or straight
    Asexuals kind of blow the theory to hell, bisexuals seem to be an annoying complication (provided you have to acknowledge the bisexuality- rather than sweeping it under a rug of "they don't REALLY like the man, they just want a more complete picture of themselves as women" :?)
    -[cis]Women finding their own body to be erotic
    -Polyamory
    Even if you love yourself- that doesn't mean you can't love others!
    -Actual trans people
    I'm sure I'm missing others.

    I kind of have to agree with Dale & your quote. Why does it matter who what how a person is attracted to people? If their body makes them miserable, let them change their body rather than demonizing them. (saying all of [group] are either gay men trying to "trap" straight men or only interested in themselves is fairly demonizing)

    I think people just want to make things taboo so they can justify attacking them. Who cares what someone gets turned on by? As long as it's fully consensual- it really doesn't matter.

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  8. Honestly, I would have to agree with Ivano and say that sexuality is complicated.

    I grew up in a world where men were turned on by pictures of women,etc and what I saw in other men was very alien to me. How I feel about something depends upon a number of emotional factors and often very little on looks. How a person feels to me is very important and how I feel about them. Seeing people show affection is a huge aphrodisiac to me. So, there are very few blacks and whites and a lot of room to get stuck in the grays especially given that I have gone through periods of my life with very weak sexual desires.

    My feeling is that, if most people are anything like me, is that most of us tend to have a partner preference but socialization does play a role (and other factors) and so to some degree, we can go either way. That said, I suspect that a very masculine person would ever be as satisfied with a masculine partner as they would with a feminine one. I think preference to some extent is about acknowledging that which complents and completes us.

    But what do I know?

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  9. I am sorry.. I am still living as a male even though I wish to experient with living as a female I still have to refer to myself in ways that are not comfortable. To be honest, it is more a vocabulary problem than anything.

    What is a nice way of saying that a person neither feels like a true member of the male gender nor knows for certain that they should have been a member of the other gender? It is often just easier to accept the labels we have given even though the word doesn't quite fit because the other term would be inaccurate.

    Most people who really knew me as I am today would consider me an androgyne. I feel that I am closer to a woman than a man but not really either. I often feel like this ugly little thing.

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  10. Z: "As long as it's fully consensual- it really doesn't matter."

    I agree, and in Scandinavia at least this is becoming the most common way of looking at it. But there are also those that believe that fighting their inner demons means projecting them upon others and the attacking them. That is all too human, I afraid.

    Amanda: " I think preference to some extent is about acknowledging that which complents and completes us."

    This is very interesting. Before we reduce the question to gender to a "we are all alike" philosophy, we must look into the biological, psychological, cultural (and probably also spiritual) dynamics of gender. This is much more than a social construct. The dreams and desires of sex and gender are living and changing processes, where opposites meet, collide, reconcile and then depart again. We grow in the meeting with "the other", whether this is a real person out there, or the other, hidden, part of ourself. Damn it! Ultimately, this is what life is about, isn't it?

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  11. "I think preference to some extent is about acknowledging that which complents and completes us.
    "

    Is this the reason why I feel I simply don't need a partner at all?
    I always feel I am sort of an androgynous guy and I am too feminine to be a real man but aso too masculine to be a real woman.
    But I see no reason why I can love someone beautiful. If I see a beautiful male, I feel like imitating him. And if I see a beautiful female, I want to be like her too on a level!!
    I simply don't think I am a narcissist to be this way, but my desires come inside me quite naturally. I simply cannot even comprehend how people can love someone else (even their complement), without wanting to be like them on a level.

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  12. That's why long time lovers become more like each other as times go by.

    But I believe it is important to keep in mind that the dynamics of opposites attract is balanced by the fact that common interests and similar personalities increases the chances of a relationship surviving. There are always enough differences to make life exciting.

    Many men and women know this. They may be very attracted to the stereotypes of the opposite gender, but when it comes to settling down they go for someone more compatible, which is why there is hope for people like us, Mosa!

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  13. Thank you for this article.

    The difficulty with Blanchard's theory is that it is simply too neat. I have not read his book/paper as of yet but it would appear that his main thrust is to create a box and neatly pack the world into it. "They lie...." is a device by which he fits that which doesn't fit so as to not jeopardize his postulate. That really is bad science because it makes it impossible for a theory to emerge. Essentially it leaves his work at the "I wish it was so!" stage.

    The other problem is that this type of science is pseudo science at best. The problem lies with the anecdotal nature of the facts collected. In the first instance it relies on the self description of the data source which is further manipulated by the structure and composition of the questionnaires which are used by the researcher. Secondly, the use of questionnaires on the data source makes an attempt to standardize, that is make measurable and comparable information that by it's very nature cannot be standardized.

    What researchers in this field fail to understand, in my view, is that their theory of knowledge expects them to be comparable to experimentation with measurable repeatable facts and by that miss the boat on how what they call data should be evaluated.

    Research in these areas must be descriptive only and not fall into the trap of presuming that any individual result is repeatable and therefore applicable to anyone. Given the enormous consequences pseudo theories such as Blanchard's can generate for the subjects of his research, i.e DSM-V classifications etc. we as society have to be suspicious, cautious and most reluctant to accept anything in this field.

    I cross-examine people for a living, Blanchard would not last 15 minutes under full and proper examination, mainly because he essentially mis-characterizes the nature of his data and uses devices to occasion a result.

    On a more personal note, I would be classified as gynephiliac. I am not "auto" because I am neither romantically involved or erotically involved with my self as a woman. When I dress I want to be attractive, not to men or women or myself but to people.

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  14. @Kathryn

    It is indeed a huge problem. Blanchard and other scientists of his kind use relatively limited data to develop extremely simplified theories.

    The number of variables in biological, psychological and social systems are mind boggling, and quite a few of them influence both sex and gender.

    On the other hand, all researchers have to simplify in order to develop a theory. You cannot say it all in one go. So for me this is not so much about Blanchard presenting simplified models, but the fact that he does not question some of the basic premises for his thinking, especially categories like heterosexual vs. homosexual and feminine vs. masculine.

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  15. You say:

    On the other hand, all researchers have to simplify in order to develop a theory. You cannot say it all in one go. So for me this is not so much about Blanchard presenting simplified models, but the fact that he does not question some of the basic premises for his thinking, especially categories like heterosexual vs. homosexual and feminine vs. masculine.

    I agree with you on your point that simplified models must be used to gain a starting position or several starting positions.

    In my view the real issue is that in this field to speak of science is really very problematic for two reasons.

    Firstly, before you can develop any methodology that appreciates the subject matter of your inquiry, you must develop a theory of knowledge in which you understand interaction between the inquiring subject and the object of the inquiry.

    Secondly you must understand that the only "scientific" aspect of your inquiry is the rigor with which you apply your methodology to your inquiry.

    If you take the conclusion "they lie..." then it simply says nothing about the veracity of this statement and therefore it's applicability, if you don't examine the assumptions on which such a statement is built.

    Allow me to say that Blanchard is too much of an "autobrilliantiphilliac" (someone who is romantically involved with his own perceived brilliance), that a critical examination of those assumptions is the point where his world is nailed shut with thick boards. The end of his world you might say.

    I guess I agree with you altogether

    Kathryn

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  16. @Kathryn

    Blanchard is very good at building typologies. He is able to see patterns in complex phenomena.

    Having done research in the social sciences myself, I know that that ability can be very useful. I have had a lot of fruitful discussions with colleagues on the development of terms describing the phenomena we observe. The discussion itself leads to the development of the explanation.

    The problem is that the phenomena we observer are at least partly shaped by our preconceptions, and if we are blind to those preconceptions we may take our observations for "objective facts".

    A lot of the research done within evolutionary psychology these days takes the feminine/masculine dichotomy for granted and therefore repeats the stereotypes of the past (see Cordelia Fine: Delusions of Gender).

    The second problem is that Blanchard isn't really that interested in explaining what he observes. He has actually never claimed that his "target location theory" is anything more than a hypothesis that requires further research. However, people read this hypothesis and believes it is proven by his findings. It isn't.

    Somehow Blanchard had never gotten around to proving his theory right. I think this is because he finds the making of typologies much more fascinating.

    Too bad.

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  17. This discussion is quite substantial in my view.

    I believe that only a phenomenological approach to developing a morphology of Crossdreamers, Transgendered people if you will, can yield a result that has any real validity. Part of this will of course be the research that has been done of the structural differences of transgendered brain compared to the general population.

    I am looking forward to some of the research being done by Miqqui Alicia/Michael Gilberts at York University.

    She says:

    I intend to focus on three groups: early-declared transsexuals (those who demonstrate and announce their transsexuality in childhood), late-declared transsexuals (those who announce their transsexuality in adulthood) and crossdressers. Within each group we will find populations that are female born [FTM], and populations that are male born [MTF].

    ....

    Goal: To what extent can a transgendered individual experience her/his personal identity as being formed by the outside world, and to what extent does changing social roles change the individual’s self-identity.

    ....

    Goal: The exploration of what we can learn about the dynamics of inter-gender commu­nication, sexism, male prerogative, and unconscious gender assumptions from a group whose members have first lived within the confines and social milieu of the “opposite” gender.


    http://www.yorku.ca/tpi/

    Miqqui intends to do a phenomenological study which will yield some answers to the questions promulgated in the goals.

    What do you think?

    Kathryn

    ReplyDelete
  18. BLOGGER STOPPED THIS COMMENT FROM BEING PUBLISHED:

    Kathryn Martin has left a new comment on your post "On Moser's critique of Blanchard's autogynephilia ...":

    This discussion is quite substantial in my view.

    I believe that only a phenomenological approach to developing a morphology of Crossdreamers, Transgendered people if you will, can yield a result that has any real validity. Part of this will of course be the research that has been done of the structural differences of transgendered brain compared to the general population.

    I am looking forward to some of the research being done by Miqqui Alicia/Michael Gilberts at York University.

    She says:

    I intend to focus on three groups: early-declared transsexuals (those who demonstrate and announce their transsexuality in childhood), late-declared transsexuals (those who announce their transsexuality in adulthood) and crossdressers. Within each group we will find populations that are female born [FTM], and populations that are male born [MTF].

    ....

    Goal: To what extent can a transgendered individual experience her/his personal identity as being formed by the outside world, and to what extent does changing social roles change the individual’s self-identity.

    ....

    Goal: The exploration of what we can learn about the dynamics of inter-gender commu­nication, sexism, male prerogative, and unconscious gender assumptions from a group whose members have first lived within the confines and social milieu of the “opposite” gender.

    http://www.yorku.ca/tpi/

    Miqqui intends to do a phenomenological study which will yield some answers to the questions promulgated in the goals.

    What do you think?

    Kathryn

    ReplyDelete
  19. I always used to consider myself as a transvestite until i heard about this term autogynephilia.Since i was 5 years old the feeling of being a woman used to give me tremendous pleasure.Other men may derive pleasure by looking at the beautiful women but for me being a beautiful women,who dresses up gorgeously,have truly soft and feminine skin,with fuller breast who could breast feed and even give birth provides immense excitement and pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @miss sudah

    I see from your blog that you live in India. Do you think it would be different to be a crossdresser in India than in -- let's say -- Europe or the US? In other words: It is hard to get acceptance for this?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think it is not accepted anywhere.But i do it for my own pleasure and satisfaction rather than caring for foolish people.But if you go out dressed up ,you will face teasing and harassment for sure.

    ReplyDelete

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