October 22, 2010

Autogynephilia: An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

Alice Novic has discussed autogynephilia with Dr. Ray Blanchard. Here is her report.

Jack's introduction

This a blog for and about crossdreamers, people who experience cross-gender arousal. There is not much research on the topic, and much of what there is is based on the studies done by Ray Blanchard, a highly controversial figure in transgender circles.

I am very critical of his research. Even if I find his observations very useful, his explanations of them are problematic, to say the least. Still, I believe in the development of open learning arenas where everyone has a chance to be heard. This also applies to Dr. Blanchard.

Jack


Autogynephilia: An Illuminating, Gut-Wrenching Conversation with Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

by Alice Novic, M.D.

Dear Jack,

After reading my August interview with you, a kind Canadian psychologist offered to put me in touch with Ray Blanchard. Planning to say more about this controversial scientist in part two of our interview, I seized the opportunity to become a whole lot better informed. And Blanchard was so forthcoming, in fact, that his email reached me before I could get one off to him. He was rather open and happy to talk over the phone.

I delayed, though, for a week, while asking him for some of his most important articles to read. I wanted to make my own mind up about his ideas, and I didn't want him to have to simply repeat them for me after he'd already spent years articulating them and making them public.

He let me pepper him with questions the following Sunday and handled each one head on. In the process, I was surprised to learn how his work extended beyond the parts I knew and admired.

To me, he is responsible for three major ideas. I've been well aware of one and mostly oblivious to the other two.

Idea #1: There are two types of trans women.

The one I've admired is that no matter how inconvenient it is for us, there just plain are two types of trans women, who differ in terms of arousal, orientation, effeminacy, personality styles, and career interests. He calls them androphilic and autogynephilic (or as I would say started-out-gay and started-out-straight trans women).

I asked him as a scientist whether one or another does better with transition. And he explained that the majority of both types find satisfaction with their new role in life, and perhaps autogynephiles slightly more than androphiles.

Idea #2: Crossdressers have some close relatives, and our whole family needs a name.

Perhaps because the name autogynephile had rubbed me so wrong, I never thought of the brilliance it took to come up with the concept. Before Blanchard, we only had the term transvestic fetishist (or its equivalent, crossdresser).

Through surveys and studies, he observed that there were at least three other groups of people who resembled crossdressers but weren't especially interested in dressing up: men aroused by the idea of dressing up, men vicariously aroused by men who were dressed up, and men aroused by transforming their bodies but not by dressing up.

Blanchard realized that it would be very misleading to refer to these three groups plus crossdressers all simply as crossdressers or crossdresser types, because that is not the behavior they have in common. What they share is that all of them are (or originally were) aroused by the idea of themselves as women.

Which leads us to that now-notorious name autogynephile. Phile as in aroused by. Auto as in one's self as. Gyne as in woman. Hence, autogynephile is a very sensible name for all those men (presumably) who are aroused by the idea of ourselves as women regardless of how we prefer to act that out.



And Dr. Blanchard in my opinion is a very sensible man. He even explained to me that people in his lab for a while have referred to male heterosexuality as gynephilia, so he was really just building on this term. Quite interesting, I thought, having for a while realized how all of us crossdresser types are much more closely related to sports-loving straight men than show-loving gay men.

Dr. Blanchard takes his role as a scientist seriously; he wants his terms to be as clear and precise as possible, and his conclusions to be as accurate as the evidence allows. Other than that, he seems to think, science, like justice, should be blind.

He doesn't believe that we should choose terms and dilute results based on how they might affect any particular group of people, even long-suffering minorities like us transgendered people.

And don't get me wrong, folks, the term autogynephilia does hurt us. The only philia anyone in the public ever thinks about is pedophilia, one of the most despised acts in our society. Because of that, I think "autogynephile," which Blanchard has no interest in renaming should be confined to academic circles and a positive yet-just-as-clear name like "crossdreamer" should be used in its place. (Crossdreamer is Jack Molay's term for men who dream of being women and find different ways to live that out.)

Am I angry with Ray Blanchard? A little bit, for being such an old stick in the mud, because I think he could change his term for us without compromising his principles. He is no transgender activist, not even one bit. He has not given us useful slogans stamped with seal of science that we can take to our wives and our congressmen. But he is a scientist who has devoted a large chunk of his career to the rigorous study of us, a rather small, not terribly well funded group of people. And for that I am thankful, very thankful.

Idea # 3: Autogynephilia is heterosexuality turned inward.

This is to say that crossdressing tendencies are caused when a man's regular attraction to women gets directed to himself. Blanchard thinks this is likely true, though he admits that it has not been adequately studied and established by experiments.

Nonetheless, this notion about the cause of fetishistic crossdressing (and like behaviors) is so fundamental to Blanchard's point of view that he has built it into the very name for such behavior. "Autogynephilia" literally means "directing your love of women at yourself."

He explains that crossdressing behaviors bear a close resemblance to other sex drives that occasionally become self-directed. Awkwardly for us, these are pedophilia and atemnophilia ("amputeephilia" -- yes it does exist).

Having met with thousands of patients with a tremendous variety of sexual issues, Blanchard has seen how a certain percentage of pedophiles will be just as aroused by pretending to be kids or transforming themselves to be more childlike as by kids themselves. He also knows how a percentage of amputeephiles love to pretend that they themselves have lost limbs or even pursue surgery for that purpose.

Dr. Blanchard suspects that we crossdresser types will turn out to be more like these autopedophiles or autoamputeephiles only more numerous because we are the auto version of gynephilia, i.e. heterosexuality.

You may be starting to feel a little sick to the stomach as you digest all this. I sure did as I chewed on what Blanchard was telling me: in his expert opinion, started-out-straight MTF transgendersim seems to be more of an alternative sexuality than an intersex condition. And what's worse, an alternative sexual desire along the lines of pedophilia.

"Whoa," I asked, holding on to my stomach, "what about homosexuality? That's an alternative, now perfectly dignified, sexuality?"

"Well, yeah," he replied. "You could think about it like that."

For the whole week after our conversation, I absorbed this body-blow to my self image, What if I've spent all these years adapting to a freaky sexual taste rather than to being a gender imbetweenie? before deciding that it wouldn't deep down make a difference. It would just make the whole thing more awkward to explain to myself and to others.

But then again, that's what we have simplifications for. We only need share more with people who are sincerely interested and solidly on our side. Still, Blanchard says what he says without judging and doesn't even know if he's right about this. But I had to admit it was possible and make my peace with what he was saying about me. Though I'd prefer to think of myself as intersex, I'm curious which way the evidence will point, if and when we have more.

Alice AKA Richard Novic is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and crossdresser and author of the book Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age.

18 comments:

Jack Molay said...

"Am I angry with Ray Blanchard? A little bit, for being such an old stick in the mud, because I think he could change his term for us without compromising his principles."

He could, but he won't, because deep down he consider us all perverts, crossdreamers and transsexuals. It wold not cost him anything to cnage the terms "homosexual transsexual" and "autogynephiliac" to -- let's say androphilic vs. gynephilic or "non-androphilic" transwoman. As he himself points out, he coined the term "autogynephilia" when hearing colleagues use the term gynephilia for women-lovin persons.

He didn't. He had to coin a term that not only includes his observations of there being two groups of transsexuals, but also the theory he has developed to explain it.

It is necessary to say this again: Although it may make sense to group transgendered people according to sexual orientation (at least in some contexts), Blanchard has never provided proof for his erotic target location theory or his idea that crossdreamers represents an alternative form of sexuality. He admits as much in this interview.

In spite of this total lack of proof he continues to work to get "autogynephilia" (meaning the love of one self as a woman) as a mental disease in the American DSM, and the American Psychiatric Associationlets him get away with it.

Basically this is not about science, but the prejudices of a man that desperately needs to sort humankind into the kosher and non-kosher groups, exclusively based on sexuality. How sad is that?

To those of you who read about Blanchard for the first time: The good thing about Blanchard is that he -- unlike most scientists and transgender activists alike -- does try to develop a language to describe cross-gender arousal. That has been of great help for me in my journey towards self-discovery. But remember that the fact that he is able to describe some of your feelings and desires, does not mean that he has the explanation for why you are what you are.

You are not a pervert! You are just someone with an unusual mix of natural traits. They can make you a stronger man or a woman, not the freak Blanchard wants you to be.

Kelley Winters, Ph.D. said...

Dr. Blanchard can hardly be described as an objective, unbiased scholar on topics of gender diversity. His outright contempt for transwomen is exemplified in this 2004 remark to the Canadian press, “A man without a penis has certain disadvantages in this world, and this is in reality what you’re creating.” Blanchard has defined the term "autogynephilia" (1989) not simply to describe a phenomenon of human sexuality but as a theory that gender dysphoria in transwomen (distress with current physical sex characteristics or social gender role that is imposed by others) who are not exclusively attracted to males is caused by a pathological paraphilic attraction to the image of themselves as women.

Not some, he insists, but "all."

This theory is refuted by the extremely broad diversity of gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations that exist within the trans, queer and gender variant communities. Lacking scientific rigor and representative data, Blanchard and proponents of the AGP-theory rely on suspiciously circular logic:

If “autogynephilia” is associated with all lesbian and bisexual transsexual women, then it must be the cause of gender dysphoria for them.

And—

If  “autogynephilia” is the cause of  gender dysphoria in lesbian and bisexual transsexual women, then all of them must be “autogynephilic.”

The AGP-theory has drifted far from the mainstream of the mental health professions. The DSM-5 Gender Identity Disorders Subworkgroup, of the American Psychiatric Association, rejected an "autogynephilia" specifier in 2009 and removed sexual orientation subtyping from their proposed Gender Incongruence category (formerly Gender Identity Disorder). The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) concurred in 2010, stating, "The removal of the specifier of sexual orientation is a welcome change, ... sexual orientation is of little or no consequence for making treatment decisions."

However, Dr. Blanchard, has retained sole authorship of the Transvestic Fetishism diagnosis (renamed Transvestic Disorder) in the Paraphilias section of the DSM-5. Expanded to implicate gender nonconforming people of all sexes and all sexual orientations and transsexual women and men with specifiers of "autogynephilia" and "autoandrophilia," Transvestic Disorder labels gender expression not stereotypically associated with assigned birth sex as inherently pathological and sexually deviant. The diagnosis is punitive and scientifically capricious, serving to punish social and sexual gender nonconformity and enforce binary stereotypes of assigned birth sex.

Please join me in calling upon the American Psychiatric Association leadership to reject the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis and remove nomenclature from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that casts crossdressing and gender role nonconformity in themselves as mental illness. For more information, see http://www.gidreform.org/blog2010Oct15.html.

K said...

Dr. Blanchard can hardly be described as an objective, unbiased scholar on topics of gender diversity. His outright contempt for transwomen is exemplified in this 2004 remark to the Canadian press, “A man without a penis has certain disadvantages in this world, and this is in reality what you’re creating.” Blanchard has defined the term "autogynephilia" (1989) not simply to describe a phenomenon of human sexuality but as a theory that gender dysphoria in transwomen (distress with current physical sex characteristics or social gender role that is imposed by others) who are not exclusively attracted to males is caused by a pathological paraphilic attraction to the image of themselves as women.

Not some, he insists, but "all."

This theory is refuted by the extremely broad diversity of gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations that exist within the trans, queer and gender variant communities. The DSM-5 Gender Identity Disorders Subworkgroup, of the American Psychiatric Association, rejected an "autogynephilia" specifier in 2009 and removed sexual orientation subtyping from their proposed Gender Incongruence category (formerly Gender Identity Disorder). The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) concurred in 2010.

However, Dr. Blanchard, has retained sole authorship of the Transvestic Fetishism diagnosis (renamed Transvestic Disorder) in the DSM-5. Expanded to implicate gender nonconforming people of all sexes and all sexual orientations, and with specifiers of "autogynephilia" and "autoandrophilia," it labels gender expression not conforming to assigned birth sex as inherently pathological and sexually deviant. The diagnosis is punitive and scientifically capricious, serving to punish social and sexual gender nonconformity and enforce binary stereotypes of assigned birth sex.

Please join me in calling upon the American Psychiatric Association to reject the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis and remove nomenclature from the DSM-5 that casts crossdressing and gender role nonconformity in themselves as mental illness. For more information, see http://www.gidreform.org/blog2010Oct15.html.

Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
GID Reform Advocates
www.gidreform.org

Anonymous said...

You have to help me out here Mr. Molay as I fail to see why the studies, research or attitudes expressed by Dr. Ray Blanchard or anyone else for that matter, should give rise to such a heated debate over a word; for a word is all it is and nothing else.

You of course are entitled to your opinion, but how is it that he is not entitled to his? How one chooses to expresses the findings of “their” research I should think, is a matter for them to decide just as how one chooses to express their sexuality is also a personal matter.

I admit to being na├»ve about all this. I have spent the greater part of the summer trying to figure out how a word that describes the very condition you state you have, “I am Jack Molay and I am a man dreaming about having a female body” but yet time and again see you take offence and express your outrage at the very person who invented the word in the first place.

Again, as a scientist, Blanchard’s conclusions are only his and how he chooses to name or codify his findings is a matter for him to decide and not a joint committee of transgender persons.Given the vast and sometimes very divergent opinions expressed by this group, one would have to wonder if any word would find comfortable place to rest.

I simple fail to understand how you can on one hand say “The good thing about Blanchard is that he does try to develop a language to describe cross-gender arousal,” and then turn around and take umbrage to the very word he places in the lexicon of the transgender world.

This word as I see it, does not and will not affect how you go about your daily life or engage in activities and thoughts that you and only you have control over.

I enjoy your blog immensely Mr. Molay, but do become exasperated at times with what appears to be an over-sensitivity towards someone else's work, opinions and conclusions. Life goes on Mr. Molay, with Ray Blanchard or without him so take a deep breath and enjoy it.

Isobelle Nichole said...

I never liked science. Science could never explain raw human emotions, especially those of us TG/TS people or crossdreamers. Science is rooted in factual information, things that can be proven upon repetition. Human emotions differ greatly from person to person, thus cannot be scientifically quantified.

Though I do appreciate Blanchard's attempt to understand, to put science to work. Not many out there would do what he has done. However, unfortunately, until others are willing to study the topics, he is pretty much all we have to rely on.

But like I said, I'm not much for science. I make my own definitions and reasons for why I am the way I am. Sometimes that falls in line with the science, sometimes it does not. I am who I am, I don't fall into any specific scientifically quantifiable category. But ya know what? I am perfectly fine with that and would have it no other way.

Jack Molay said...

@anonymous

The clue to the enigma lies in the difference between autogynephilia (or crossdreaming) as an observed phenomenon and the autogynephilia theory or explanation.

The fact that Blanchard describes the phenomenon is good, as there are so few others who dare to do so. Crossdreaming is real, and we have to deal with it.

What makes me angry is this old fashioned obsession to label us as perverts.

The more I learn about crossdreaming and the more crossdreamers I learn to know, the clearer it becomes that the fact that many crossdreamers suffer from psychological problems is not that crossdreaming is pathological in itself, but the fact that it is impossible for crossdreamers to live a good life as long as it is considered a perversion.

The amount of suffering that is caused by the unnecessary shame, guilt and embarrassment felt by crossdreamers is mind-boggling.

It is a disgrace that the American Psychiatric Association allows Blanchard to introduce a paraphilia into the DSM, a public manual of mental diseases, in spite of the fact that the man himself calls autogynephilia nothing but a hypothesis. He is labeling a large number of people as mentally ill without there being any proof whatsoever, just because he feels like it.

This is not just an academic exercise for the specially interested. Ask the gay community what it meant for them to get homosexuality out of the DSM.

Blanchard is another prejudiced scientist in a long line of prejudiced scientists who have this obsessive need to sort out the deviants from what he believes is "normal" behavior.

What is considered deviant varies with the time. Not long ago masturbation and anal sex was sign of illness. Now it is OK. But there is no scientific arguments for leaving these practices in or taking them out. These are ethical issue that involves a lot of people, not something that can be decided by one scientist up in Canada.

It was Blanchard that came up with the new definition of paraphilia:

"The term paraphilia denotes any intense and persistent sexual interest other than sexual interest in genital stimulation or preparatory fondling with phenotypically, consenting adult human partners. "

If you go behind this definition and see how Blanchard defines what's normal and what is not, you'll see that it is based on his personal prejudices, not on science. (see http://www.crossdreamers.com/2010/01/blanchard-and-dsm-v-redefining.html ).

The fact is that the term "phenotypically consenting partners" does not leave room for homosexuals either.

You say: "Again, as a scientist, Blanchard’s conclusions are only his and how he chooses to name or codify his findings is a matter for him to decide and not a joint committee of transgender persons."

Of course he can. But when his theory become basis for psychological and psychiatric treatment it ceases to be a purely academic issue. It becomes a human rights issue, and I am not going to stop fighting a man who continues to show no compassion and no respect for our humanity.

You say: "Life goes on Mr. Molay, with Ray Blanchard or without him so take a deep breath and enjoy it."

Yes life goes on, but not in the same way.

I have been too polite too long as regards Blanchard and his followers. After two years of blogging I have finally come to the point where I allow myself to feel the anger I should have felt all along.

And I can assure you: this is a healthy feeling I am not going to cover with some kind of shallow feel good philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Having been a member of an academic institution for some time, I must say I am disturbed by your analysis and how personally grieved you appeared to be regarding the work of Dr. Blanchard. I would be grateful if you could explain to me; the precise nature and affect Dr. Blanchard’s work has or will have on your daily experience of life. In asking this I do not want to appear to be confrontational by any means, however to advance a further understanding of why or how these findings affect you, other than being emotionally distressful, it would enlighten me and my friends in gaining an insight to the community of souls which your blog is address.

Perhaps I should tell you that I too am a crossdresser, as are friends of mine and have been for many years. Some of us are married while others are not and though we have all understood that our actions are outside the social norm, we have none the less derived great pleaser from our activities as I am sure many others do as well. However our activities as a form of personal expression are not in the least troubled by what others may think; nor do the studies, thoughts and opinions or findings of those in scientific research give us cause to be stressful.

In reading your response to the previous anonymous commentator, like him or she I fail to understand the vast amount of anguish you seem to apply to this matter, nor why it has become a personal crusade to banish scientific study simply on the grounds that you happen to take personal offence to it. Something one of my colleagues said last night could be equated to that of book burning. My contemporaries and I have all been involved in what some would call “controversial” research, but that is the nature of true science is it not?

Simply because a term has been devised as an outcome to research involving the observations of one scientist, should not be cause for such alarming or disquieting dialogue as in your invoking of this being a Human rights issue something I would submit is a ridiculous notion to say the least. No one’s human rights are being violated here nor will they be. There will be no autogynephilic police force knocking on your door on anyone's door, and as far as I am aware, no one has been placed in an institution unless they become a danger to society, which none of this implies.

Given Dr. Blanchard’s very legitimate credentials, one must assume that he above all people, would be authorized to introduce his findings to the American Psychiatric Association’s committee. This is his right as a researcher. From my own experience in such matters, he is not the one who will eventually decide what enters the manual. That is for a committee of his peers to decide and as you have already noted, autogynephilia has not been approved.

At any rate, though I cannot agree with you on this matter, I enjoy your blog none the less. I wish you well and as the previous anonymous commentator said, "life goes on with or without Dr. Blanchard."

Anger Mr. Molay, is never healthy when directed towards something one has no control over.

Anonymous said...

Having been a member of an academic institution for some time, I must say I am disturbed by your analysis and how personally grieved you appeared to be regarding the work of Dr. Blanchard. I would be grateful if you could explain to me; the precise nature and affect Dr. Blanchard’s work has or will have on your daily experience of life. In asking this I do not want to appear to be confrontational by any means, however to advance a further understanding of why or how these findings affect you, other than being emotionally distressful, it would enlighten me and my friends in gaining an insight to the community of souls which your blog is address.

Perhaps I should tell you that I too am a crossdresser, as are friends of mine and have been for many years. Some of us are married while others are not and though we have all understood that our actions are outside the social norm, we have none the less derived great pleaser from our activities as I am sure many others do as well despite what the DSM may say.

In reading your response to the previous anonymous commentator, like him or she I fail to understand the vast amount of anguish you seem to apply to this matter, nor why it has become a personal crusade to banish scientific study simply on the grounds that you happen to take personal offence to it. Something one of my colleagues said last night could be equated to that of book burning. My contemporaries and I have all been involved in what some would call “controversial” research, but that is the nature of true science is it not?

Simply because a term has been devised as an outcome to research involving the observations of one scientist, should not be cause for such alarming or disquieting dialogue as in your invoking of this being a Human rights issue something I would submit is a ridiculous notion to say the least. No one’s human rights are being violated here nor will they be. There will be no autogynephilic police force knocking on your door on anyone's door, and as far as I am aware, no one has been placed in an institution unless they become a danger to society, which none of this implies.

Given Dr. Blanchard’s very legitimate credentials, one must assume that he above all people, would be authorized to introduce his findings to the American Psychiatric Association’s committee. This is his right as a researcher. From my own experience in such matters, he is not the one who will eventually decide what enters the manual. That is for a committee of his peers to decide and as you have already noted, autogynephilia has not been approved.

At any rate, though I cannot agree with you on this matter, I enjoy your blog none the less. I wish you well and as the previous anonymous commentator said, "life goes on with or without Dr. Blanchard."

Anger Mr. Molay, is never healthy when directed towards something one has no control over.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive the many comments..... your blog told me that my comment was to long and could not be published,and thus I continued to cut and make it shorter. However looking at it now I see that it has......many times. The first one should be my comment.
Cheers

Anonymous said...

Blanchard reminds me a lot of Money. Wanting so badly to be famous and known for some huge break through, but never being able to show how he came to his conclusions(hiding his "scientific study").

Blanchard continues pushing along his theory in the hopes that he won't be challenged. And when he is he hides behind studies no one else has seen. Eventually he'll end up like Money, discredited.

I just hope by then he hasn't ruined a life in the process as well.

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that there aren't people out there that might fantasize as he claims, just that his mind is so closed to the idea that not every one else is.

To suggest that people born with transsexualism come in two type is the same as saying there are only two types of women or men in the world. There are many with many differing personalities/lives etc.


Keep in mind that he works at a place where people had to say certain things in order to get the medical support they needed. This means he hears what people think he needs to hear.

Even his thoughts about those with BIID are being shown less then correct.

Jack Molay said...

Anonymoyus 2 says: "... nor why it has become a personal crusade to banish scientific study simply on the grounds that you happen to take personal offence to it."

I think I have given a lot of reasons for why this is more than a crusade based on the grounds that "I take personal offense to it".

I have seen too many blogs and sites labeling Blanchard's research for bad science, without saying why this is so.

I, on the other hand, have systematically deconstructed the arguments given by Blanchard, showing how his "target location error theory" is nothing more than a unproven hypothesis. Blanchard admits as much, so it seems to me that that should not be a controversial conclusion.

There is nothing wrong in having an unproven hypothesis, or a controversial theory. In fact, I welcome the discussion started by Blanchard. But when you turn unfinished work into a publicly defined mental illness you are crossing the line.

"Given Dr. Blanchard’s very legitimate credentials, one must assume that he above all people, would be authorized to introduce his findings to the American Psychiatric Association’s committee. "

I believe researchers should be judged by their research, and not their credential. There have been professors that have proved that women were less intelligent than men, that the Poles were less worth than Anglo-Saxons, that crossdressers should be treated with electroshocks, that gays are perverts, that anyone not sharing the current view of society should be lobotomized and that gypsies should be sterilized. And no, I am not talking about the Nazis. These are renowed researchers found in the US and my own country, Norway.

Blanchard should know better than presenting an hypothesis as a scientific result as a basis for a DSM diagnosis, and the APA should know better than accepting it. So far, they have not rejected it.

"Anger Mr. Molay, is never healthy when directed towards something one has no control over."

What kind of argument is this? Really?

Does this mean that anyone who is stigmatized by someone you have no control over should lie down and just accept the abuse? What would such an attitude leave the homosexuals that fought against their inclusion in the DSM, or all the women facing sexist researchers? And where would this leave any academic discussion involving others than the insider experts?

Of course we have to fight injustice of this kind. And I am not alone. Many "legitimate" scientists share my feelings, so I guess we have a fair chance of doing something about this, even if it may take time.

Again, this is not an academic exercise. Scientists are not standing outside society. They are an integrated part of it and what they do have direct effect on the lives of others. It pains me, for instance, to see how many of the crossdreamers who write to me, calls themselves narcissist, just because they are desperately lonely, and all the young crossdreamers who consider suicide because some researcher tells them that they are perverts for life. If you live happily as a fetishistic crossdresser, good for you! But others do not.

Jack Molay said...

This post is discussed over at reddit: http://bit.ly/8YaEWD

Jack Molay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn Martin said...

"You have to help me out here Mr. Molay as I fail to see why the studies, research or attitudes expressed by Dr. Ray Blanchard or anyone else for that matter, should give rise to such a heated debate over a word; for a word is all it is and nothing else."

The "word" is really a tool in the arsenal to fight otherness. Based on the most sloppy science (I have read the article that established the hypothesis) it dresses itself up as a hypothesis only, but is sneaked into the DSM B to form the basis of psychiatric diagnoses that will impact the general public. It will hurt us, and will lead everyone else (including forensic investigators) down the garden path.

Anonymous said...

@Isobelle, that aint quite right. Emotions are just chemical processes and reactions in the body, and due to the sheer number of humans we are definitely quantifiable. Anything which is empirically observable is scientifically quantifiable. You may not like what it is, but it's better to know than making your own fake truth in place of that.

Dewey Houck said...

"...in his expert opinion, started-out-straight MTF transgendersim seems to be more of an alternative sexuality than an intersex condition. And what's worse, an alternative sexual desire along the lines of pedophilia."

This comparison only really bothers me because it is being made. I understand where the initial association comes from, however, there are extreme moral and legal differences between these two "conditions". If I thought putting on a dress and a wig would hurt ANYBODY, I would find an acceptable alternative. Being in an AGP mind and experiencing the inner conflict makes me feel a small shred of compassion for somebody suffering from pedophilia, and surely they are suffering in ways I don't care to imagine. My outlet involves feminizing myself and pretending and I need only stay in relatively safe environments where I don't expect to shock anybody. I can't imagine a safe nor acceptable outlet for a pedophile unless they get extremely lucky and find a very petite and understanding partner. While they may have a similar structure and appearance from afar, these two things are as different as a dolphin and a shark. I don't need scientific research to know what is right and wrong, and I don't believe I'm a monster just because monsters like sex too. Of course the real concern is that others with less invested in the philias will automatically group them all together just like researchers do. Luckily, there are many rational people in the world who are more interested in loving and accepting people than in judging and persecuting them. I try to be around those people. If I am going to the local sports bar, I leave the wig at home. If I want to dress up, I go to an alternative club. Still there are those who will judge me, but just as many accept me when I accept myself. Ultimately nobody knows you better than you know yourself, there are just very cunning people who convince you that they do. Know thyself first. When I think of the history of mankind and the perversion of humans that is accepted as the norm, and my "disorder" seems to be quite a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

The idea that there is only two types of transexual is absurd and as real as saying there are only two types of sexuality - straight and gay.

I have elements of both types of transexualism (and others).

When I first cross dressed at 12 I became arduous aroused but only to the addition of imagining some boy from school on top of me.

By sixteen I wanted to be a girl and would cross dress without arousal. For the rest of my life I was straight acting homosexual but always aware that a 'magic' pill that could change me to female would be my dream come true. I did not consider surgery as I did not think I would 'pass'.

I would occasionally cross dress, including sleeping in a night dress, without erotic arousal but would wake up and masturbate to a fantansy of being penetrated in my (imaginary) vagina.

All my sex life imaging being so penetrated was my preferred sexual act.

I have now got to the stage where what other people think is less important than my having a body that is closer to what I have always wanted.
As I have a poor finger ratio and born with only a partly formed penis (and therefore had surgery as a baby) , I beleive my desire to be female is genectic but may well include some 'fetish' for women's clothing. But what's the percentage and does it matter?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

I hear you and agree with you. The autogynephilia theory is reductionistic into the absurd.

A male to female transgender person who is attracted to men and at the same time gets aroused by the idea of being a woman does not exist according to the theory. In other words: You do not exist or you are lying.

So much for the disinterested and objective scientific observation of the universe!

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