June 16, 2014

A Transgender Novel Discussing "Autogynephilia" - Imogen Binnie's Nevada

Imogen Binnie has written a novel about the lives of two male to female crossdreamers. And yes, you should read it!
Photo of Imogen Binnie byJulie Blair 


There have been novels about crossdreaming before (Ernest Hemingway's Garden of Eden comes to mind), but I have never seen one who includes a discussion of the concept of "autogynephilia" (defined as men who get aroused by the idea of being women).

Imogen Binnie's Nevada does. And it does so because it is about two male to female crossdreamers: one lesbian punk trans woman, Maria Griffith, and one MTF crossdreamer living as a  heterosexual man: James.

Raw

It is a roller-coaster ride of a book, completely unlike any trans autobiography you might have read.

The language is colorful and explicit, and Binnie does not sugarcoat the lives of transgender people. Both James and Maria are suffering from the kind of traumatic stress disorder that gender confusion can bring. They are struggling with self acceptance, and find it hard to believe and embrace the love of others.

Maria is definitely intellectualizing  in an attempt to avoid feeling the hurt.

Crossdreaming unfiltered

Unlike many trans authors Binnie does not hide the crossdreaming -- i.e. the fact that trans people, being those crossdressers, transsexuals or other gender variant persons, may get aroused by the idea of being their target sex. She faces it head on, bringing it out into the open.


This is of great help, because crossdreamers -- whether they think of themselves as trans or not -- need to see that others have had dreams like theirs, felt like them, suffered like them, without buying into that "I am a poor, lonely, fetishist" kind of crap.

Becoming your own prison guard
From book cover.

Traditionally, both crossdressers and trans women have avoided talking about crossdreaming, fearing that it would make them perverts in the eyes of others.

As Maria points out in Nevada, "we often, as individuals, internalize these things, and then we, as a community, often reinforce them."

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know that the most aggressive gender police can be trans themselves.

I now have over 100 likes and reblogs of a Nevada quote I put up over at tumblr. Many of the likes come from young trans women who are sick and tired of having to live up to the old fashioned standards of gatekeepers and trans fundamentalists, people who do not understand how sexuality may express a repressed identity.

Autogynephilia discussed

James has a girlfriend, but knows perfectly well he is not your regular guy. He often ends up surfing the net for TG transformation stories and captions. It is James who brings up "autogynephilia":

"This shit isn't really funny, so he's like, I don't know, I'm like, into girls and stuff, but I guess like, mostly what I'm... turned on by... is being a girl?"

Maria does not hesitate, and tells him about her own life before transitioning.

"I was thinking about being a girl while I jacked off, she says, Like, as soon as I started jacking off. For years I thought it was because I was a pervert, that I had this kink I must never, ever tell anyone about, right? Which was sad. There weren't really any misogynist or otherwise fucked up connotations to the specifics of what I was thinking about -- I just wanted to be a woman, which gets framed as a priori quote unquote perverted. Right?"

And then she presents Blanchard and Bailey, the amazing autogynephilia twins of transexual studies, and their two categories of trans women: "homosexual transsexuals" and "autogynephilic transsexuals".

According to this theory Maria is an "autogynephiliac" or -- as she herself so ironically puts it -- one of the men who "just have such a big hot boner for being women that they decide to become women even though they are ugly and unlovable".

Oh yes, Maria has a knack for irony. It's acid!

Autogynephilia as a mental lock-in

Maria points out that since the whole autogynephilia framework is based on sexuality and sexual orientation, you have no choice but to accept that the defining characteristic of trans women is their sexuality. If you put yourself into the restrictive boxes of Blanchard and Bailey, you have no room left for figuring out who you are or what you want.

Maria adds that:

"The alleged 'science' of autogynephilia is about making up categories to understand why J Michael Bailey wants to bone some trans women but not others."

Ouch!

"It is about framing trans women as men in order to understand deviant male sexuality, without ever looking at female sexuality."

Maria sums it all up very clearly:

"So like, autogynephilia theory just is basically designed to reinforce the idea that trans women are men, and that women don't have sexualities, and that straight dudes are good people to talk about queer women's sexualitites."

Indeed! And the book illustrates clearly how the autogynephilia theory is causing the pain it uses to "prove" that crossdreamers are perverts.

The emotional isolation of Maria and James is caused by the sexist bigotry of society. If you are told that your feelings are unnatural and perverted, you stop talking about them. You internalize your norms and condemnation of your oppressors. And it is this isolation people like Blanchard use to "prove" that crossdreamers and trans people are mentally ill. This is a vicious circle!

Here is Binnie talking about her book:

 
Imogen's blog
ImogenBinnie.com
Essay by Imogen Binnie on the causes of transgender conditions
The Rejectionist: A Conversation With Imogen Binnie

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find your repeated use of the term "pervert" or "perverted" very offensive.
You keep asserting that Blanchard and Bailey created the idea of an autogynephiliac pervert but honestly it seems you're the one stoking the fire these days.
Why can't you just accept that people, like myself, get sexually aroused from the idea of being a woman?
Why does it have to be justified by some bs rationale of "occult identity"?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous,

If you feel comfortable with being categorized as a a paraphiliac (sexual pervert) in the world's most important psychiatric journal, the DSM-5, I guess that is good for you.

I hope this means that your crossdreaming is less severe than for others of us, and that you are not suffering from gender dysphoria.

But this blog post was not about people like you. Imogen Binnie writes about gender dysphoric crossdreamers and trans women, for whom this is very much a questions of identity. For these people the invalidation caused by people like Blanchard is life threatening.

I know one thing, though: If the gay and lesbian movement had not managed to get homosexuality out of the DSM, we would not have seen the current LGBT victories in America. And more gay and lesbians would have stayed in their closets, hiding in fear and shame.

Moreover, I doubt very much that any of them feel that their identify is "occult".

As Laverne Cox puts it: "The Shame is What Kills You"

Anonymous said...

Once again, Jack, it's YOU bandying about the term "pervert". No one else.

As for "occult identity", did you not write:

"people who do not understand how sexuality may express a repressed identity."

You keep tap dancing shifting between one label and another, trying to ally with whatever transgender "identity" is the flavour du jour but it doesn't change who you and I are.

Anonymous said...

And BTW, I don't crossdress. I'm not a transvestic fetishist.

It's funny how you try to marginalise me in your response in exactly the same way you accuse others of doing to transgender people

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

I have said nothing about you being a crossdresser or a transvestic fetishist.

This blog post was clearly not written about you. I don't know who you are.

It is true that I believe crossdreaming to be an expression of some kind of repressed identity. So do Imogen Binnie, Julia Serano and a large number of other trans people.

That does not mean that we are marginalising crossdreamers, crossdressers or transgender people who have another opinion.

The system of sex, gender and sexual attraction is mind-bogglingly complex. There are a lot of theories out there, and we will be discussing this for years and years to come -- which is good.

If you have found another explanation that makes sense to you, that's good too.

If you are at peace with your crossdreaming; you are not bothered by the fact that some think of you as a sexual pervert, and you have not internalized the shame and guilt normally associated with such fantasies -- well, then you are a stronger and less inhibited person than I am. And nothing of what I write here should be a threat to you.

Jack Molay said...

By the way, Imogen Binnie actually does say something about crossdressers and crossdreamers.

She seems to imply (and I may be misinterpreting her here) that the fact that James is not a crossdresser, makes it more likely that he is a transsexual.

The book presents James as a failed crossdresser, in the sense that he has tried it, but found it very unsatisfying.

Since I am not a crossdresser myself, I obviously made a note of this. Blanchard also argues that non-crossdressing "autogynephiliacs" are more likely to end up transitioning than the crossdressers.

If this is what Binnie actually means, I am not convinced that she is right.

I have learned to know many crossdressers when writing this blog, and I see no significant differences between them and the non-crossdressing crossdreamers.

They are as likely as non-crossdressing crossdreamers to suffer from dysphoria. Non-crossdressing crossdreamers do not find crossdressing fiction much of a turn on, but beyond that they read the same stories.

It could be that crossdressing allows crossdreamers to express themselves, and that this outlet makes it easier for them to handle their feelings, living as men. Maybe. I have not enough data to propose a meaningful conclusion.

joanna Santos said...

Jack

Speaking as a cross dressing gender dysphoric I can tell you that this outlet valve works for me. I do not read TG fiction of any sort but I can understand why non cross dressing dysphorics might.

Joanna

Anonymous said...

@Jack

If you've found that your crossdreaming relates to a heretofore suppressed female identity, then I applaud you for having the courage to accept, or begin the process of accepting, your personal truth. But I don't think you should be extrapolating your experiences to apply to all men who experience this sort of arousal.

This isn't a "one size fits all" situation, and those of us who have this fetish, indulge in it regularly, and don't experience any dysphoria, are not always trans women in denial, as you seem to think. Some of us are men with fetishes.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be saying that you believe all crossdreaming is the result of a repressed identity. That's invalidating my identity as a man for whom this is a fetish that I have, like all fetishists, had to learn to accept and integrate. A sex therapist friend of mine once mentioned to me that he was treating a client who could only get aroused at the idea of being transformed into a puppy. I'm fairly certain this wasn't the result of his or her repressing latent puppyhood.

In your particular case, you've found your crossdreaming to be indicative of a repressed identity. I respect that completely and hope this is a step towards you finding more happiness and inner peace. But it's hard for me not to find it offensive when you're implying that I'm something that I am not. There are as many truths as there are people in the world. Even if experiences are shared, they do not need to emanate from the same source and lead towards the same conclusion.

PS: I'm not the same person as the above anon poster.

Koloa said...

@anon (both)

I don't believe that Jack's identity based view of the spectrum is complete but I understand where and how he gets to that and most of those reasons are found in other posts. From what I have observed it seems to apply to most people who feel the need to reach out and find community or discourse online over their cross dreaming and certainly is the center of Jack's blog.

Jack knows where our disagreement is and we have touched on it in respectful ways. I don't feel threatened by his views nor am I offended by them. I just don't think they fit me.

I think that this stuff sets you off says more about you than about Jack. Not that you are TS but perhaps you have anxiety over the fear that might be. If I am perfectly honest I do have some anxiety over the idea that this thing might come back on me later in life very strong. That I could wake up one day with dysphoria and conclude that every glitch in my mental health comes back to this. This is not a rationale or likely, but it is one I have for the havoc it would reek in my life.

Anonymous said...

@Klonoa

2nd Anon responding again. I don't feel threatened by Jack's theory as it applies to myself at all, because his theory does not describe my self as I experience it.

I only take occasion with his attempting to formulate a master theory about "crossdreaming" that he feels can be applied to everyone experiencing this phenomenon. I think the more reasonable conclusion is a lack of definitive conclusion. And this is because his conclusion seeks to invalidate my lived experience.

This has nothing to do with him stoking anxiety within me that I may be trans. It has to do with him implying that my identity doesn't exist which, you know, ain't exactly cool.

This phenomenon that we experience clearly doesn't come in one flavor. Insisting it does, however indirectly Jack does this, brings the conversation to a halt, insofar as a conversation exists between male-identifying individuals who experience this and female-identifying individuals who experience this. Both parties deserve to be at least recognized, no matter how comforting it is to believe that one's own experiences are indicative of everyone's experiences.

Anonymous said...

Koloa*! Sorry about that :)

Jack Molay said...

Thank you all for interesting and useful comments!

Just to make one thing very clear: I do not think all MTF crossdreamers are transsexual women. In fact, I believe only a small minority are.

What I have argued is that since many transsexual women have been crossdreamers, it is reasonable to assume that they all have something in common.

Since I am convinced that transsexuality is not caused by fetishistic processes alone, it seems reasonable to me that other forms of crossdreaming are not purely fetishistic either (although fetishes clearly play an important role in how these various conditions play out.)

Could I be wrong about this? Absolutely! I am applying a kind of Occam's Razor kind of logic to extremely complex phenomena here, and sometimes that can turn out wrong.

If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck, it might actually be a goose -- especially if you look at it from a distance.

Still, in this case I don't believe so (no disrespect intended!). I have seen too many crossdreamers move from one position to another. I am completely unable to define a clear and distinct barrier between the dysphoric and non-dysphoric for this to make sense to me.

This is where I stand right now. Feel free to disagree with me!

[Continues...]

Jack Molay said...

[...]
But let me stress this again: This does not mean that I believe all crossdreamers are transsexual women:

Dysphoria varies in intensity, from zero to full blown psychological breakdown.

In some MTF crossdreamers the sense of being female is strong and persistent. In others it is, at most, only present in the sexual fantasies.

Others do not feel female at all, they just enjoy presenting as one. Some identifies with stereotypical female interests and temperaments, others believe being male or female has nothing to do with stereotypes.

For some recognizing the crossdreaming for themselves, and expressing it through crossdressing or by reading, fiction is enough. Their male identity remains stable and secure. For others their male body is their enemy, and they get no closure before it has been changed.

But all of these expressions of MTF crossdreaming have one thing in common: A need to express some kind of "femaleness". This "femaleness" does not have to be a full blown female identity. It can be an aspect of one, strong or weak.

Repressing or expressing this kind of alternate identity does not necessarily mean that their male identities have to be false. Gender identity is not an either/or proposition.

Please also note that I have nothing against people enjoying their fetishes, whether these are a fascination for female lingerie or BDSM role playing.

My rule is simple: People should be allow to do whatever they want with other consenting adults.

joanna Santos said...

Very well stated jack and I could not agree more....

Sam Z said...

You know, one thing i noticed is that these fantasies are so insignificant to my whole personality that it feels like a threat to my identity as a guy to even be considered female in any way.. don't take this the wrong way i definitely am one for the LGBT community and liberalism.. but still i would call that i feel male pride just like you feel pride being whom you are.. so i understand if people, not just me, have an urge to try to define this thing universally for everybody..

Then again, i know everybody has more or less feminine and masculine aspects in themselves.. and its useless to try proving something when its very individual.

joanna Santos said...

Sam Z,

I think you are right. This is all highly individual and each person is a unique cocktail of nurture and nature which inherently includes a particular combination of male and female.

Certainly not everyone who comes here is dysphoric and many I suspect strongly identify with their birth gender. Those of us who grapple with dysphoria walk a tightrope between the two genders and sometimes the gender we were not born as dominates.

Anonymous said...

[2nd Anon again]

Thanks for clarifying your theories, Jack! Your stance is a lot clearer to me and, even if I disagree on some key points, not at all offensive.

Koloa said...

Jack,

Since we are on the subject of literature, are you aware of any studies or observations on people in the spectrum that are visually triggered versus those that are triggered by a story/text. I find visual TF material in general to be very compelling but Fictionmania is so boring to me, I can't even bring myself to finish reading one story. Thanks.

Jack Molay said...

@Koala,

I have tried to retrace a research article that made use of transgender fiction I read a few years ago, but I have failed so far. As far as I remember it did not look into the differences between visual and textual erotica.

Jaimie Veale's recent study does take TG fiction into consideration, but she does not distinguish between the two types either.

The current paradigm is that men are more stimulated by images and women by words, which I guess someone could try to use to determine whether MTF crossdreamers are "real men" or "real women".

That wouldn't work, however, as MTF crossdreamers and crossdreamers seem to like both stories and novels on the one hand and captions, comics and movies on the other.

This may vary according to cultural context, though. It seems to me that Japanese crossdreamer erotica is dominated by comics and movies. Fictionmania's text approach may be more of an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon.

On the FTM side there is a huge market for slash fiction and M/M steamy romance (text), but also for yaoi comics (images).

Individual preferences will vary, but the overall impression is of diversity as regards type of art.

On the MTF side I do see another divide, however, between those who find stories about crossdressing stimulating and those who look for stories about physical changes. That may be an indication of different types of crossdreamers.

Anonymous said...

So fetishists are fetishists, unless they experience dysphoric feelings, therefore they are automatically expressing their female identity through sexuality?

How do we know when the fetish produces dysphoric feelings? And when can we say that the dysphoria and gender identity is real, regardless of it's origin?

Sam Z said...

I can relate to Koloa...
I never find stories enough appealing, sure they can arouse me but i just want to get on with it and porn provides a very good quick arousal while you get to look at hot girls.. i bet both sexes enjoy both more or less, my gf admit watching a certain type of porn but still overall she rather prefers typical girl-stimulation and such...

To anon,
I think the difference is that a fetish usually dont cause emotional discomfort except maybe if your overusing porn, then your life can become all about the kink.. still it doesnt change your sense of self whether you feel like a guy, M2F or genderqueer.. i was addicted to transporn and AG fantasies and sure i wanted to get off alot to it making me confuses at first whether i was trans.. off porn this changed radically towards whom i really was sexually....
And despite my AG, i've always had this male sense of self.. its just there everytime i visualize myself or daydream.. and no natural feminine drive. Thats why i think AG might be a thing some cismales can have and call a fetish and since sexuality really cant change your sense of self, i doubt transgendered people are fetishists..

Christina From India said...

Hi Jack,

This is Tina from India after a long time. I could not be in touch because I was having a few life issues. But I read most of your posts.
I have moved on and accepted more of me compared to the days when I just started reading your blog. My wife too is feeling happy with the way things are going. Infact she was the one who told me to be comfortable in my skin :).
I still don't understand the terms used in your blog posts completely as this is not my area of expertise and I do not know if I have an opinion on your posts ( that is why I never commented on them).
Sometimes though I have deep desire for changing my sex and most of the times I am 100% males shutting away feminity. Sometimes she comes back and I do dress up. How do I handle this high and low? It does take me away from my work as I get distracted with you know what.
I am quite happy to be back and read all the stuff that you have been posting. Maybe I will also restart my blog that has been dull since long.
Thanks again.. :)

Anonymous said...

Sam Z, in the case of porn addiction it is easy to recognise the effect, but this does not grasp the more subtle and deep emotional attachment produced by sexuality of all kinds.

Sam Z said...

Anon,

If it's more subtle and deep, how's it a fetish then? ex. I'm into womens legs they are perfect and slim and arousing to me i cant imagine myself not having this kind of attachment to them, but i wouldnt call it a fetish.. being straight is not a fetish either.. it defines my sexuality..

The reason i call AG a fetish for ME is because a. i can manage life well without it and i have b. it doesnt define me or my sexuality - i'm not attached to it except when i was on porn, then it became an obsession.. but it made me anxious and emotionally devastated i was feeling loss of my straight fantasies.. now, off porn, i feel much better and i love being whom i am..

I don't want to hijack this thread so i'll let this be for now..

Anonymous said...

Sam Z, the fetish is of course fetish, but this does not touch on the psychological context of the individual. An object of sexual desire in one person may be just something they masturbate over and for another, it may be a passion, a deepseated emotional attachment, even a love or dysphoria.

joanna Santos said...

I agree with you anonymous. Something that you are so deeply attached to csn have sexual overtones which is why some dysphorics dismiss their behaviour as just fetish alone especially if one is trying hard to be normal. Yes for some its just a fetish but for many of us there is an underlying identity present. Whether we choose to embrace it or not is another matter.

I have chosen to embrace mine but the only important issue at hand is that, regardless what the person thinks they have, they need to be happy in their skin. That is the only thing that matters.

koloa said...

@Sam Z,

Your story is considerably like mine. It never even occurred to me that my once and a while 'kink' had anything to do with gender until I spun up a serious obsession over porn.

Post a 90 reboot, things are back to they where most of my life. I am sure mild crossdreaming will come and go in my life, as it has in the past, but its not center stage anymore.

Sam Z said...

Heya,

Interesting thing is that on porn theres some sub-inclination going on and my fantasies become more about being sub but off porn for a while or no PMOing makes my basic male drive and vanilla fantasies flourish!
I used to like gay porn, then AG (which also caused gender confusion i never had before) and now AG is much less compelling somehow...
One theory is that when vanilla fantasies becomd boring we kindof become accustomed to that we cant be dominant or enjoy topping so we start assuming the other part feel better.. we kindof live through them or smth.. self image plays a role too.. but i think thats just me or us two..?

Jack Molay said...

@Tina

Welcome back, Tina!

I do hope you follow up your idea about making a new blog. I have found that the more people take actively part in the crossdreamer discussions, the more we learn what this really is.

I am glad your wife is helping you. As you might have noticed, my wife recently found out about my crossdreaming, and her acceptance and understanding have turned my life upside down -- for the better, of course.

"I still don't understand the terms used in your blog posts completely as this is not my area of expertise..."

I have put up a glossary, but I realize that might not be enough either. The problem with writing a blog is that you get new readers for every new blog post.

I try to explain the terms in the blog posts, but there are obviously limits to how much I can repeat every time.

Which is why I am planning an ebook, collecting some of the most important blog posts, explaining terms and theories in a more coherent fashion. My wife is going to help me with this.

I would love for the input from you all, as regards what kind of content you would like me to prioritize.

Koloa said...

Sam Z. Yes, we appear to be pretty much identical. I never escalated to gay erotica, but that might just have been a matter of time. While i was overusing porn, I followed a number of escalations led by the material I was using, especially the TF stuff. It freaked me out because it really did make it difficult to have sex with my wife and the usual cis fantasies where far and few between. Off porn the CD sort of goes dormant on its own. I have always had the CD/AGN so porn did not cause it.

I did exchange some mails with Gary Wilson and he said that they had theorized and believe they have seen some cases where someones decision to transition was excessively influenced by the use of porn escalation but he did not elaborate.

I have discussed my experience extensively at www.crossdreamlife.com but , just fyi, the site is having login problems for about a day now.

Sam Z said...

Koloa,

Yeah it might sound like those who decided to transition for sexual reasons are trans but them regretting it and once turning back (or stopping porn) they stop crossdreaming.
I've talked with some people too who know they are men and masculine but have this sexual kink.. of course a small minority want to even try transitioning.
Samantha Kane is one example if im not mistaken..

Anonymous said...

joanna, usually for a person with this fetish, if they develop dysphoria, it will be a result of the fetish, like the emotional attachment of any fetish. It is speculative whether there was anything feminine before the fetish.

Lindsay said...

" Anonymous said...
joanna, usually for a person with this fetish, if they develop dysphoria, it will be a result of the fetish, like the emotional attachment of any fetish. It is speculative whether there was anything feminine before the fetish."

Why the fixation with it being a fetish? For me and many others it has nothing to do with a fetish. My transsexualism existed long before I was ever "sexual". Crossdreaming is just one of the many underlying symptoms of being TS. wxhluyp, I agree with you that for some it is a fetish and that it is probably influenced by psychological influences, but to keep on blindly insisting that everyone here has one is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why Jack thinks paraphilia and pervert are synonymous.
What I've read of Blanchard is neither offensive nor "life threatening" as Jack so dramatically puts it.

I think the "cross dreamer" doth protest too much.

Anonymous said...

Oh I should say that I'm not either of the two anonymous posters above.

==T

Sam Z said...

Anon,

To be honest, i've never found the term Autogynephilia offensive but i get why others might.. i do concider myself a guy with a fetish (rather than a paraphilia), who has occasionally gotten aroused by the thought of being the opposite sex of whom i feel myself to be..

koloa said...

Fetish smetish, who cares. If it is not causing unhealthy behaviors or emotional distress, loosely speaking, you won't even find it catalogued in the DSM as I understand it. If your condition is not causing you distress, chances are it would not have interested Blanchard or even seem like the same thing to him. If you are comfortable in your skin, happy, and well adjusted, all this stuff is just academic and irrelevant. At some point there is really nothing more to understand about it of any personal value.

Jack Molay said...

I see that one of the anonymous commenters find it hard to understand why I believe the words paraphilia and perversion are synonymous.

That is because they are.

The term paraphilia was coined in the early 20th century. It was used to cover the same ground as other terms used at the time, "sodomy" and "perversion" being the most common.

Within American psychiatric manual the term "sexual deviation" was replaced by paraphilia in the 1980s -- probably in an attempt to make the concept sound more scientific and less toxic.

But the underlying paradigm is the same. There is some kind of expected set of sexual behaviors and desires that are considered normal and natural, and any deviation therefrom is considered a mental illness.

The recent edition of the American psychiatric manual, the DSM-5 adopted Ray Blanchard's definition of paraphilia:

"“Any intense and persistent sexual interest other than sexual interest in genital stimulation or preparatory fondling with phenotypically normal, consenting human partners between the ages of physical maturity and physical decline.”

(Read it carefully and consider its implications!)

For Blanchard this definition is grounded in an evolutionary understanding of sexuality: behavior that does not contribute to the dissemination of genes is a paraphilia, including homosexuality.

The recent Ray Blanchard interview with Motherboard clearly shows that this classification is not based on a disinterested examination of sexual diversity. This is bigotry and contempt, plain and simple.

Admittedly, the new edition of the DSM does distinguish between paraphilias that cause distress and those that do not. Only the ones causing distress are formally considered a mental illness.

But given that all crossdreamers suffering from dysphoria feel distress, they are all considered mentally ill.

I fail to see how this can be anything but another attempt of traditional sexual mores and values to suppress sexual diversity and stigmatize those that do not live up to the ideals of old white men.

Jack Molay said...

Again: I am not saying that crossdreamers are perverts. The so-called "experts" are, as well as others who want us harm.

Religious conservatives, transsexual separatists, radical feminists, and sexist traditionalists are now all using the term "paraphilia" to belittle and mock us.

(The American anti-gay pastor Scott Lively has included the DSM list of sexual orientations and paraphilias as an appendix to one of his books to prove that homosexuals are perverts and sinners.)

And the reason they do so, is because they understand that under that pseudo-greek surface you find the old term "pervert".

Crossdreamers may still use some kind of fetish theory to explain crossdreaming. I disagree with this approach for a wide variety of reasons, but I do not think it is wrong for crossdreamers to explore that model. I have learned a lot from the fetish debate, and believe there are strong fetishistic aspects to how crossdreaming plays out.

But please be careful when you communicate such theories, and make sure that those listening does not read you as supporting those who persecute us!

If you call yourself an "autogynephiliac" or "paraphiliac" anyone who knows anything about sexology will read you as a pervert, because that is what those terms mean.

And yes, "autogynephilia" is included in the current edition of the DSM. However, the chapter on gender dysphoria was out of Blanchard's control, and that chapter opens the door to crossdreamers in a non-toxic way.

Jack Molay said...

Hm, some of my links went missing.

For an example of Christian fundamentalists using "paraphila" to attack homosexuals, see this book

Here is a post on how radical feminists are using the autogynephilia theory to invalidate transgender.

Here is Scott Lively's attempt at taking the rainbow back from the LGBT movement, using the paraphilia concept as a weapon.

See also: Patrick Singy: "How to Be a Pervert: A Modest Philosophical Critique of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

By the way, The Concise Medical Dictionary gives the following synonyms for "paraphilia": Parasexuality, [perverted sex disorder] perverted sexual behavior, perverted sexuality, sex deviance, sex deviancy, sex deviant behavior, sex perversion, sex perversion disorder, sexual deviance, sexual deviancy, sexual deviant behavior, sexual perversion, sexual perversion disorder, sexually deviant, sexually deviant behaviour, sexually perverted behavior.

Enough said!

Anonymous said...

Not all paraphilias are perversions and not all perversions are paraphilias.
The two are not synonymous anymore than Austrians and nazis.

Christina From India said...

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the reply. I am excited and thrilled about the ebook. I think that is a remarkable thing that would help clear out so many things that make people uncomfortable about the idea of crossdreaming. I would be very glad to help you. I have written three books on Kindle in my male form ;) so I can also help you out in that.
Yes I did read about that blog post too and I am happy to know that the stage of hiding the real self is now almost over :). My Kudos to Mrs Molay for being so great and generous.
Though I am thinking of starting a support group in my city but I don't know what it would really entail. Maybe a local crossdreamers group :).
Have a great day

Anonymous said...

Where Sam's and the general fetishist's fetishism is caused by anxieties common to very average boys (see link below), Sam speculates whether the same fetishism in his/her case, is caused by something additional (pre-existing trans feelings), as opposed to the idea that his/emotional attachment is a result of the fetishism. Correct?

http://youtu.be/hc45-ptHMxo

Sam Z said...

Anon,

Oh sry i typoed my last comment... nope, im not rly attached to my kink and i think its most likely a result of porn addiction if it becomes an addiction.. im not a woman tho.. but i know some here with similar fantasies might be.. but it doesnt have to be the same outcome or pre existing condition even tho it might be a form of fluidity, who knows..

Anonymous said...

Sam Z, rather it is Lindsay (not you) that speculates whether the same fetishism in his/her case, is caused by something additional (pre-existing trans feelings), as opposed to the idea that his/emotional attachment is a result of the fetishism.

joanna Santos said...

The argument that a fetish spawns dysphoria is hogwash. This site has cross dreamers who are non dysphoric and happy with their fetish but also people who have transgender identities from their fitst memories and subsequently at puberty discovered there was a sensual element to their attachment to the feminine. This eroticism also shows up in androphilic transsexusls by the way.

we are comparing apples with oranges I'm afraid.

Sam Z said...

Yeah the thing is... how can somebody be emotionally attached to a fetish, when the feelings of wanting to be the opposite sex for many trans-individuals is there before it even becomes in any way fetishtic?

Anonymous said...

Sam & Joanna, my fetish began years before puberty, as is well documented in studies and the sexuality of children is often referred to by Mr Molay.

Hogwash? Is Interbingung lying?

"The source of my trans feeling is the fetish, Most of the time there are erotic component of my transness, the only time its not is when the testosterone repressed by hormone. Fetish/kink has potential to become identity." -Interbingung

http://www.reddit.com/user/interbingung

Of course Interbingung isn't lying. It is easy to see the link between sexuality and emotional attachment.

http://vimeo.com/19783541

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

I am sure both you and Interbingung believe what you say.

There are simply those of us who do not believe that gender dysphoria can be caused by a fetish. If you cannot respect that, this is not the place for you.

Anyone who reduces the identity of trans men and women to fetishes and fetishes only, are not welcome at this site.

Anonymous said...

Are you attempting to brush off Interbingung's personal narrative? Utterly disrespectful conduct. Tell use why you think Interbingung is wrong about his/her identity?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Molay said...

Comment #2 by Anonymous has been deleted as it is in violation of this site's code of conduct. Verbal abuse is not accepted.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

You write:

"Are you attempting to brush off Interbingung's personal narrative? Utterly disrespectful conduct. Tell use why you think Interbingung is wrong about his/her identity?"

What kind of intellectual game are you playing now, I wonder.

You point to the story of a transitioning crossdreamer who has had regrets. That has happened. It will most likely happen again.

Still, all the research I have seen documents that the great majority of trans women, including the gynephilic ones (i.e. the AGP ones, according to Blanchard), do not regret transitioning.

I am actually amazed that there aren't more trans women who report regret.

After all, if you have been raised as a man, and live in an environment that scorn and mock trans women, adapting must be hard. Very hard.

But in spite of this, a large number of MTF transgender, crossdreamers included, take the chance, and most of them report that they are much happier post-transitioning.

But maybe you are trying to reestablish the boundary between the fetishistic trans woman and the "classic one", arguing that the crossdreaming trans women are the unhappy ones.

Again: There is nothing in the real world that supports such a theory. It is not much of a secret that most lesbian trans women have been crossdressers and crossdreamers, and that a majority of trans women are lesbian or bisexual.

It makes no difference. The research tells the same story: The great majority does not regret transitioning. This even applies to the late transitioners, for whom adapting to the new life as a woman must be much harder than for the younger ones.

Accepting Interbingung's story without believing that it proves that all MTF crossdreaming women are fetishistic men or autogynephiliacs, is not being disrespectful.

Is the fact that I disagree with Interbingung's, Koloa's, Sam Z's and others explanation for crossdreaming a sign of disrespect?

If that was the case, their disagreement with me would be a sign of disrespect. Indeed, anyone disagreeing with anyone would be disrespectful. I cannot see how it would be even possible to have open and fruitful discussions in such a world.

I believe the discussions on this site proves that I have been, and continue to be, willing to listen to the arguments of others.

To explain your own crossdreaming as AGP or a fetish is OK with me. To explore the role of fetishes in how crossdreaming plays out is fine with me. Indeed, I have myself repeatedly discussed possible origins of the sexual fantasies of both male to female and female to male crossdreamers, as many of these fantasies have strong fetishistic elements.

But here is where I draw the line:

If you start calling other trans men and women autogynephiliacs and/or fetishists, implying that this is all there is to their identities, I will kindly ask you to find another place to preach your gospel. There is plenty of room on the Internet.

I am not going to allow this place to be used as a tool for the oppression of transgender people.

Because this is where the intellectual games end: I have seen what the autogynephilia theory can do to trans men and women. It is toxic and destructive and based on a view of sex and gender that belongs to another and darker time.

For relevant documentation, see this post!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Molay said...

Comment deleted due to verbal abuse.

Anonymous said...

Interbingung recognises his/her dysphoria and desire to transition as deriving from his/her fetishism.

As is the same with thirdwaytrans

http://thirdwaytrans.com/2014/06/26/how-i-returned-to-myself/

The question is whether you think their dysphoria was/is real and their desire to transition was justified? Or are you saying they were/are delusional perverts?

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. Sadly IMHO, it high lights the dire consequences of an ill considered SRS. I think the huge red flag can be seen in the admission that just prior to SRS there were serious doubts but that feeling of inevitability and irresistible momentum that seemed to just carry on of its own volition despite the identifiable evidence of serious second thoughts.

koloa said...

From many stories that I have read, a lot of therapists seem to have a novelty level understanding of gender issues and are very eager to support someone to transition. Like they get a badge or something in the therapist club to have supported someone through this. I just don't get the impression that there is a lot of discipline around the protocols and given that, it is sort of amazing that there are not a lot more stories like thirdway's and Interbingung's

Anonymous said...

I found *some* of the comments on this thread to be quite interesting: http://www.crossdreamlife.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=378

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I am in agreement with you. My guess would be that the shame and utter despair of a failed transition is so great that there are few who are willing to admit their tragic mistake publically.

The problem with the "therapy" is that much like B & B, they have little real understanding of the dynamics involved and rely heavily on "existing protocols", based on the false assumption of B&B and so many others who sorely lack that basic understanding of the many different, (yet seductively similar), symptomologies and paradyms.

End result...disaster.

koloa said...

"I found *some* of the comments on this thread to be quite interesting: http://www.crossdreamlife.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=378"

itsnotfair is not me if that is what you are implying, though we seem to have a similar view of it all...I wonder how he is doing with it...

Anonymous said...

"itsnotfair is not me if that is what you are implying..."

Again...Not in the least. What I found interesting was that many of the commentators preferred to NOT be cured, and chose/preferred to embrace their AGP.

Anonymous said...

Still awaiting a response from Jack

http://www.crossdreamers.com/2014/06/a-transgender-novel-discussing.html?showComment=1404754875654#c3879094952176236

thirdwaytrans said...

@Anonymous

I certainly don't believe that "my fetish propelled my transition" you are misreading me if that is the case. Rather, a combination of trauma and biological factors caused both the transgender identity and the erotic imprinting. They are independent but linked. My transgender identity persisted for an additional 15 years after the elimination of testosterone where I had almost no sex drive.

Now that I have worked through the trauma the erotic fantasy exists where the female identity does not.

Jack Molay said...

Anonymous asks:

"Interbingung recognises his/her dysphoria and desire to transition as deriving from his/her fetishism. As is the same with thirdwaytrans....

The question is whether you think their dysphoria was/is real and their desire to transition was justified? Or are you saying they were/are delusional perverts?"

I do not think of any crossdreamers as delusional perverts. None. Zero. Nobody. This also applies to the very few trans people who for various reasons decide to transition back to their originally assigned sex.

I do not think of sex, gender and sex identity as clear, clean and distinct categories. Nor do I think there is one "perfect" type of crossdreamer. And because of this I do not think all crossdreamers should transition.

I do, in fact, believe that only a minority of male to female crossdreamers are transsexual, in the sense that their female identity is so dominant that transitioning is the only sensible option. I have, for instance, not transitioned, and do not plan to do so. That a few crossdreamers transition by mistake should therefore not come as a surprise.

There is also another dimension that is far to easily forgotten: To become a woman socially and in the flesh is not a simple matter for someone who has been raised as boy and a man.

If your transgender nature (however you define the origins of this nature) is primarily expressed through sexual fantasies, the adaptation to a life as a woman may be particularly hard.

Remember that women in general get their gender identity affirmed in many ways, throughout their whole loves, and not only through their sexuality.

MTF crossdreaming transsexuals may also find it hard to find a lover that can give them the confirmation they need as gendered human beings. This especially applies to the lesbian trans women looking for someone to be "the top" to their "bottom". In other words, they may find themselves lonely, and with no way to express their sexuality with another human being.

That must be hell.

Anonymous said...

You are not answering the question Jack. Interbingung states he/she recognises explicitly that a real transgenderism derived from the internalization of his/her fetishism. Do you recognise the legitimacy of his/her fetishism despite it's origin exclusively from his/her fetishism?

joanna Santos said...

@Anon:

"Again...Not in the least. What I found interesting was that many of the commentators preferred to NOT be cured, and chose/preferred to embrace their AGP"

This assumes that people here accept that there is such a thing as AGP. This is a term invented by Blanchard which does not explain a behaviour but merely puts a name to it.

The fact that there is absolutely no scientific explanation makes it a descriptor only.

People can argue here all day chicken and the egg style (fetish breeds dysphoria or dysphoria breeds fetish) and get absolutely nowhere.

I do not accept pseudo science and the notion that prepubescent children develop fetishes which then grow into identities makes less sense than the reverse.

Please remember that Blanchard developed his theory while working with pre-op transsexuals at his clinic. A lot of these people were approved for surgery and yet he thought them to be fetishistic men. Why approve surgery instead of seeking psychological remedies if we are dealing with a paraphilia?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

" Do you recognize the legitimacy of his/her fetishism despite it's origin exclusively from his/her fetishism?"

I am a bit surprised at this question. You have followed this discussion for a while now and you have at least read my two latest blog posts, so you must know that I do not agree with the idea that crossdreaming is caused by fetishsim.

In this we disagree. It is as simple as that.

However, I am more than comfortable with the fact that Interbingung believes this to be true for him. I respect that, in the same way I believe that Interbingung will respect the fact that I have other beliefs.

In general I would say that as a theory helps a crossdreamer to move on and get a better life, at any particular stage of his or her life, that is a good thing.

You see, I have no problem with other people having different opinions from mine.

My own ideas about what causes crossdreaming have been evolving for the last seven to eight years and will probably continue to change. So I cannot and will not attack people simply because they disagree with me.

(I have probably learned more from people who disagree with me, than those who accept my own views. Constructive debate is of great help to me.)

But you have to keep in mind is that there are two interacting, but different, factors at play here:

(1) An explanation for what causes the crossdressing on the one hand and (2) a deep felt sense of identity at the other.

I respect Interbingung's gender identity, in the same way I respect the gender identity of all people I meet. My view of crossdreaming allows for MTF crossdreaming men, MTF crossdreaming genderqueer and MTF crossdreaming trans women. I am not disrespecting any of them.

But if you tell a trans woman that her gender identity is nothing but a fetish (regardless of how that fetish is born), you are, in fact, telling her that she is a man with a kink. You will be doing the exact same thing as Blanchard and his friends.

Very few trans women are willing to accept a reduction of their identities to a random sexual preference, and for good reason. For the great majority of them there is much, much, more to their sense of self than a sexual turn on.

This also applies to my own life and my own sense of self. I know that in my case, this is something much broader and deeper than a fetish. Which I believe I have explained in detail both here and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Jack again you have deliberately misinterpreted Blanchard.
Blanchard did NOT in fact reduce transsexualism to a fetish (as you keep insisting) but he WAS trying to determine the underlying SEXUALITY of SOME transsexuals.

Anonymous said...

It begs the question, Jack, whether in fact it's YOU who sees sexuality as the be-all, end-all of your latent female identity.

==T

joanna Santos said...

"Jack again you have deliberately misinterpreted Blanchard.
Blanchard did NOT in fact reduce transsexualism to a fetish (as you keep insisting) but he WAS trying to determine the underlying SEXUALITY of SOME transsexuals"

This is completely untrue and all you need to do is read the original 1991 work by Blanchard and subsequent follow ups by Anne Lawrence.

Transsexuals have a sexual preference which is why they partner with other people. AGP presumes that they are somehow autosexual.

You cannot reduce transsexualism to a sexual orientation. That is completely absurd

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

You write: "Jack again you have deliberately misinterpreted Blanchard. Blanchard did NOT in fact reduce transsexualism to a fetish (as you keep insisting) but he WAS trying to determine the underlying SEXUALITY of SOME transsexuals."

I have presented Blanchard's, Lawrence's and Bailey's work repeatedly since 2008, and I think you will find that I have given a pretty fair description of their thinking. (See for instance this post on the fetish and AGP concepts from 2010).

Blanchard argued early on that the term "transvestic fetishism" was misleading, as there were people like me, who shared many of the same sexual fantasies of male to female crossdressers, but who did not crossdress.

Blanchard argued (correctly as I see it) that there has to be some kind of external eroticized object or body part to call something a proper fetish. You cannot fetishize the body of an "inner woman".

For him "autogynephilia" was the large set, while crossdresser was the subset.

He managed to get autogynephilia into the DSM-IV, but then as a subcategory under "transvestic fetishism".

This is why people like Joanna and I will talk about autogynephilia and fetishism as two aspects of the same cultural and political phenomena. They are overlapping attempts at getting crossdreaming accepted as a psychiatric mental illness (a paraphilia).

Note also that Blanchard often uses his mentor Kurt Freund's term "cross-gender fetishism". Everyday language isn't always clinically precise.

Joanna goes right to the core of this when she points out that Blanchard & Co try to reduce this phenomena to "autoeroticism" and a "target location error".

This is exactly the same approach as the one taken by those who for the last 100 years or so have described crossdreaming as a fetish. Words like "autoerotic" and "narcissistic" are thrown around a lot.

Jack Molay said...


I should add that Blanchard expands on the original fetish approach in another way -- that is beyond pointing out that it makes no sense to call non-crossdressing "autogynephiles" fetishists.

Although there has been a lot of confusion as to what causes fetishes, the main explanation has been psychological.

Sigmund Freud took a pretty open approach to fetishes, arguing that all human sexuality is fetishistic. This means that a man who loves tits is as fetishistic as a man who loves silk stockings. I guess this openness could have been caused by Freud being a fetishist himself.

His followers abandoned this more tolerant approach and concluded that fetishes were abnormal aberrations from a natural sexual development, caused by a bad upbringing. In other words, the diagnosis became a tool for pathologizing and policing sexuality.

Blanchard sticks to this pathologizing narrative (crossdreaming as a mental disease), but he is not convinced that "autogynephilia" is the effect of nurture or trauma.

Blanchard may be influenced by the psychoanalytic tradition, but he is a social biologist at heart. You can see this in his attempts at explaining homosexuality as a hereditary trait. He therefore speculates that the condition may be hereditary, but has no way of proving it.

Again, his position is not that different from mine. I also believe there is a biological component to crossdreaming. The differences are found elsewhere:

1. I do not believe the complex cultural, social, psychological, and biological system that defines a human being can be reduced to one and only one factor.

2. I do not accept that natural variation in traits, abilities, sexualities and identities should be categorised as paraphilias.

3. I do not believe male to female crossdreaming is an expression of a stereotypical masculine sexuality.

(By the way: The autogyenphilia theory was not invented by Blanchard, but by a German doctor called Hermann Rohleder in 1907. He called the phenomena "auto-monosexualism". Rohleder was of the opinion that masturbation was also a kind of erotic target location error and had to be stopped. Blanchard never refers to Rohleder.)



Anonymous said...

"But if you tell a trans woman that her gender identity is nothing but a fetish (regardless of how that fetish is born), you are, in fact, telling her that she is a man with a kink."

It is you who is manipulating that a dysphoria that has derived from fetishism, is actually a "man with a kink". It is you who is saying that "gender identity is nothing but a fetish"

What Interbingung is actually stating is that his/her fetishism itself influenced a REAL dysphoria, and it was that dysphoria which was the condition for his/her transition.

So do you

1. Acknowledge Interbingung's distinction?

2.Acknowledge the legitimacy of Interbingung's dysphoria and his/her desire to transition?

"I am more than comfortable with the fact that Interbingung believes this to be true for him."

So this is your answer? You have avoided explicitly reconciling Interbingung's narrative with your understanding, yet in YOUR terms you ARE saying that Interbingung transitioned because he is a "man with a kink". And you are saying this because you are avoiding the key distinction he/she made.

"I do not believe the complex cultural, social, psychological, and biological system that defines a human being can be reduced to one and only one factor."

Unless you are talking about crossdreaming, where for you, dysphoria is only legitimate when it is an expression of an innate underlying identity. Not acknowledging to this double standard, means that you will always be labelling Interbingung as a "man with a fetish".

joanna Santos said...

this is the wonderful thing about a subject with no conclusive proof: people can think what they wish.

A fetish that is powerful enough to cause a person to modify their body physically can exist I suppose but if you read the life narratives of many transsexuals you will see stories about identity and not fetish. Fantasizing about being a woman while still possessing a man's body does not negate the identity narrative.

Anne Lawrence has a past as a fetishist and that is why the Blanchard narrative struck a chord with her but her story does not fit the pattern of most.

Can fetish and identity both exist and drive the desire to surgically modify your body? probably. They need not be mutually exclusive.

It is no secret that I a am believer in a biological contributor to gender dysphoria because the fetish narrative does not strike a chord with me in the least. My own life speaks more of identity and that will not be invalidated either.

Sam Z said...

It's useless for you to try and convince these people, who identify as TS, that they are fetishists.. whether or not that is true is irrelevant.. but you kindof come here and force your beliefs upon these people, who kindof know better themselves..
I'm not TS, quite the contrary.. and even i dont identify with this being an emasculation fetish solely so it cant be the ultimate truth in any way..

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous,

1. I do not -- i repeat NOT -- think crossdreaming is caused by a sexual kink, a target location error, a fetish or that it is a paraphilia. This applies to me, to you as well as Interbingung.

2. In the same way I do not think gender dysphoria is caused by a sexual kink, a target location error, a fetish or that it is a paraphilia.

Can I prove this? No. But I do think you will find that I during the last six years have made a large number of pretty serious arguments for why this must be so.

That being said, so far no one, neither researchers, trans philosophers, therapists or crossdreamers have been able to find one simple factor that can explain these phenomena.

The ones who believe they have, are reductionists. That is: they try to shoehorn the heterogeneity we see into categories that cannot possibly hold that diversity. Blanchard's model is one such theory.

I am not a reductionist. My fundamental view of the world is holistic and anti-reductionistic. I believe that as far as crossdreaming is concerned what we see is the end result of an interaction between many variables: biological, psychological and cultural.

I also believe that many of these factors vary in intensity. This is why some male to female crossdreamers feel strongly that they are women, and why others are securely anchored in their male identity for all their lives.

Due to the cultural stigmal attached to crossdreaming, there are also those who suppress what is basically a female identity, and who later in life come to realise that their discomfort is a sign of gender dysphoria as well as a female identity. But this does in no way apply to all.

I see that you want me to accept that gender dysphoria is caused by sexuality and sexuality only. That is not going to happen.

I believe that the distinction between sex (as in sexuality) and sex (as in identity) is a false one. They are two sides of the same coin. This is why I find the tale of the classical transsexual so bogus: They think that if you take away sexuality, you will be left with the true core of a persons identity. I don't buy it. My sexuality is an integrated part of my identity.

This is why it makes little sense for me to force Interbingung into one of these two categories (sex type 1 or sex type 2). If s/he believe that her/his crossdreaming and gender dysphoria are nothing but the end effect of sexually driven psychological processes, that's fine with me. But given what I have said already, I think this is too simplistic.

Again: We disagree. But that should not be much of a problem, if we treat each other with respect. And I must certainly feel the deepest respect for Interbingung and his/her life journey.

And, just to stop you from asking the same question yet again: I do not think Interbingung's identity can be reduced to a fetish, as sexual kink or a paraphilia.


Jack Molay said...

Just one more thing:

It struck me that you, Anonymous, might believe that if the crossdreaming of someone really was caused by a fetish and a fetish only, then I would consider that person a pervert.

That is not the case. i have friends with the most wonderful fetishes (in the sense of unusual personal sexual preferences), and none of those "kinks" (in the positive sense) make them less worth loving.

I would say that the opposite is the case. What makes me love most men and women is the fact that they have all these wonderful character traits and inclinations, making each and one of them a unique and special individual.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Molay said...

Comments from "T" and "Ill" deleted due to harassment of trans women.

HBS hate speech is banned from this blog.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It is you who is saying that the emotional attachment is only legitimate if it is an expression of an underlying identity, so it is you who is being reductionist and not wholistic. It is you who is designating the label of perverts for those who fully that recognise real feelings that have emerged exclusively from their fetishism.

"Can I prove this? No. But I do think you will find that I during the last six years have made a large number of pretty serious arguments for why this must be so."

You have always avoided what Interbingung is proposing, when something sexual can become a real emotional attachment like a life long love for another human being. Are you going to be wholistic, or are you going to maintain your reductionism in that his examples are of deluded perverts?

http://www.reddit.com/r/crossdreaming/comments/2a3bmk/thirdwaytrans_blog_by_an_intelligent_agpmef/city7i4

http://www.reddit.com/r/asktransgender/comments/25epj2/is_this_normal_or_is_it_just_a_fetish/chgrnce

"I see that you want me to accept that gender dysphoria is caused by sexuality and sexuality only. That is not going to happen."

No, for you to admit that the emotional attachment of Interbingung doesn't have to be based in a reductionist underlying identity at all. For you to admit to the wholism that you claim to, that anything can potentially give rise to the attachment. In Interbingung's case, as he/she says.

"If s/he believe that her/his crossdreaming and gender dysphoria are nothing but the end effect of sexually driven psychological processes, that's fine with me. But given what I have said already, I think this is too simplistic."

For you it is simplistic that that which sexualally arouses Interbingung, became a deep emotional attachment. Actually it makes perfect sense.

"Again: We disagree. But that should not be much of a problem, if we treat each other with respect. And I must certainly feel the deepest respect for Interbingung and his/her life journey."

I look forward to Interbingung's guest post on this blog, it is right to get his her story out there. It is about time that the denial of the existence and the stigmatization of people like Interbingung ceased. His/her feelings are real and just because his/her feelings derive from fetishism, it doesn't make him/her a pervert.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous,

I don't think I can be much clearer than I have been so far.

You say:

"It is you who is designating the label of perverts for those who fully that recognise real feelings that have emerged exclusively from their fetishism."

No, I am not calling any crossdreamer a pervert. This also applies to those who believe that their crossdreaming has emerged exclusively from their fetishism.

I don't feel any need to repeat this for the seventh or eight time, so I am ending this conversation with you now.

However, asking Interbingung for a guest post is a good idea. I will do that!


Jack Molay said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Molay said...

@Anonymouse

Would you please contact me at jack.molay@gmail.com ? Use an anonymous email account if necessary.

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

"No, I am not calling any crossdreamer a pervert. This also applies to those who believe that their crossdreaming has emerged exclusively from their fetishism."

Then you recognise the legitimacy of the emotional attachment, deriving in people like Interbingung, from their fetishism. And that you will no longer stigmatize & marginalize him/her as delusional and invalidating the identities of the pure.

Anonymous said...

Actually I believe that Jack is bound and determined to stigmatize, marginalize and erase those very individuals that did in fact know that there was something wrong with their physical body.

Perhaps because his experience is that of a man with gender dysphoria which in his case manifests as "cross dreaming" or cross gender fantasy. A different experience of this same psychological, emotional discomfort, (dysphoria), can be seen in the cross dressing exhibited by Johanna.

I see no connection between there two distinct reactions/conditions to those who cross dress for erotic/sexual pleasure. I just don't.

I cannot help but wonder why it is that Jack keeps deleting my comments, when he claims that he is open to the discussion of a wide diversity of ideas and POV's.

Anon. III

Jack Molay said...

@Anon. III

"Actually I believe that Jack is bound and determined to stigmatize, marginalize and erase those very individuals that did in fact know that there was something wrong with their physical body."

No, I have consistently supported and defended the identity of body dysphoric trans women.

Your comments were deleted because they were in conflict with this site's Code of Conduct.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jack,

I'm transgender and am seeking hrt to begin transitioning, but the biggest mental roadblock has always been my "autogynephelia."

The biggest problem I've always had with this theory was the assumption i was only transitioning for a bigger sexual thrill, but i know it's actually the opposite: I consider the crossdreaming a negative symptom of my transgender feelings that hopefully will diminish once the estrogen and spironolactone begin to work.

I don't fit into Blanchard's narrow typology. I started out liking girls when I was younger, but my sexuality started changing around 14 towards boys, and it is pretty much now exclusively men who interest me. And yet, when I was young, dressing in female clothes did give me erections, and I liked those feelings then, but now, the autogynephilia feelings fill me with unspeakable dysphoria. The sexual feelings now repulse me beyond words, and only add fuel to the gender dysphoria nightmare. It's the greatest ironic tragedy: the more you affirm your female identity, the more your male body ramps up the sexual feelings. It's almost like the male body's way of mocking your real identity. I'm a woman, despite my male body's protest.

Blanchard would probably say I'm lying somehow. I am sexually interested in men. In my crossdreaming fantasies, the men are not faceless manikins. They are real men(actors, guys I know in real life etc.) Maybe Blanchard would try to fit me into the the homosexual transsexuals side of the coin. But then he would hear I sometimes have feelings for women, but never sexual, and then, ah hah, you're bisexual: Autogynephilia!

Jack, I have to say that this blog of yours has been such a relief to me. If it wasn't for you, I probably would've never even considered transitioning, because I would've just thought I was some pervert. Also, I hope no one objects to me hating my crossdreaming; some people enjoy it very much and don't have gender dysphoria; some enjoy it and do have gender dysphoria; for some, it really is just a fetish, and they totally love being men.

I can't wait until the day this stupid sex-focused typology will be totally and utterly laughed at and we can move on.

---Anonymouse

Jack Molay said...

For your information:

Interbingung has respectfully declined to write a guest post for this blog.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymouse,

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us!

It seems to me that your story just confirms that there is much variation both as regards crossdreaming in particular and the transgender condition in general.

You are not the first gender dysphoric MTF crossdreamer who feels discomfort with sexual fantasies of this kind -- especially when the dreaming becomes obsessive.

Actually, this gives me a good opportunity to bring the discussion back to the book by Imogen Binnie.

Like you, she has this down to earth approach to being transgender. She does not try to present as the "perfect transsexual". She writes about how hard it is, also psychologically, for someone raised a man to adapt to the life of a woman.

There is particularly one quote I like very much:

She writes (in the voice of the protagonist, Maria):

"There is this dumb thing where trans women feel like we all have to prove that we’re totally trans as fuck and there is no doubt in our minds that we’re Really Truly Trans. It comes from the fact that you have to prove that you’re trans to psychologists and doctors…

"…and there are these…boxes you need to check: I have only ever been attracted to men, I have never fetishized women’s clothes or done anything remotely kinky, I have never been sexual with the junk I was born with.

"Pretty much you have to prove that you’re totally normal and straight and not queer at all, so that if they let you transition you will be a normal het woman who doesn’t freak anybody out, and so we often, as individuals, internalize these things, and then we, as a community, often reinforce them.
All of which is relevant specifically because you are supposed to have known you were trans since you were a tiny little baby.

"Maria didn’t though."

You write:

"I can't wait until the day this stupid sex-focused typology will be totally and utterly laughed at and we can move on."

Amen to that, sister!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack,

The pain of being gender dysphoric and wanting to transition, but also having the crossdreaming, is horrible. I would cry so many times thinking the crossdreaming invalidated my feelings, and I wasn't a "True Transsexual", because "True Transsexuals" never feel sexual excitement when they fantasize about making their dream come true:becoming the woman they really are.

And then I thought, wait, maybe I'm not a crossdreamer, because most of them were straight men who wanted a relationship with women but struggled with any intimacy because they had to imagine themselves as women. I want a boyfriend, but not as a man: sounds like a homosexual transsexual, right? God, what a stupid sounding term.

It's so bizarre, this crossdreaming. Just practicing my feminine voice and hearing it played back, arouses me, even though I don't want it to. Just thinking about men finally coming on to me as a woman, and asking for my phone number, arouses me. Sharing my en femme photos with others, and having them tell me how cute I am, arouses me. I don't want it to! I mean, "real women" are never aroused by these things, right?

That passage by Imogen Binnie hits so close to home. I'm seeing a therapist, and I'm not saying jack squat about these feelings because she may put up roadblocks if I shared them. I too, didn't always know I was trans. I just figured I was either some weird bi dude with a strange fetish, or just gay in denial. I no longer have any doubts. I'm trans, and no therapist can just call me a MAN. Trans women are not men, Mr Blanchard and Bailey.

---Anonymouse

carolyn valentine said...

speaking as a non-dysphoric, biological female:

MAYBE IT'S HOLISTIC

- i'm sometimes turned on by the thought or sight of my own body. i identify as pansexual and genderqueer, but it's common among straight females too. that's because it's not about stimulus-response (i.e., getting turned on by a female body because i find them attractive). rather, it's a full-body expression of self-love, of being comfortable in my own skin, and that itself being a turn-on. (ergo, if i feel out of whack, or poorly groomed, or unstylish, i'm far less likely to get turned on.)

- in a similar vein: a few male friends tell me that they sometimes get hard-ons while eating something delicious, or even imagining doing so. these aren't guys who like eating in bed, or otherwise fetishize food. rather, the experience of one form of pleasure (taste) triggers the experience of another form of pleasure (arousal). simply put: feeling good leads to feeling good.

OR MAYBE NOT

- sometimes i fantasize about having a penis. once again, it's irrelevant to my identity; it's a common experience among straight females, and lesbians too. that's because it's not about feeling that i should have a penis, nor is it about finding them attractive; it's a distinct phenomenon from gender, or sexuality. put another way: many different kinds of people get turned on by the thought of themselves in bodies other than the one in which they were born. but that doesn't make them transgender. identifying as transgender makes them transgender. smoke ≠ fire.

- through a different lens: many people fantasize about being raped. this is a distinct phenomenon from actually wanting to be raped. some of these people might have been raped, but most of them haven't. some of those people might enjoy being raped, but most of them wouldn't. in a nutshell: fantasy ≠ reality.

OR MAYBE... WHO GIVES A FUCK?

- in the words of the DSM-V: "paraphilias are not ipso facto psychiatric disorders . . . [unless they cause] distress or impairment to the individual or harm to others." the word 'pervert' is a slur, not a psychiatric term. there's no such thing as 'perverted sexuality'. statistical deviation doesn't make you a 'deviant'. normative ≠ 'normal'.

- so: what if i, as a biological female, identify as a straight transman, but i choose not to alter my body because the thought of being a man in a female body turns me on? what if i, as a physically confident gay cis-man, don't get hard when i look in the mirror? what if i, as a body-positive cis-lesbian, sometimes bind my breasts or pack, because it makes me feel sexy? what if i, as a biological male, identify as a transwoman, and i choose hormones and surgery, and i just adore my post-op body, but sometimes, just for kicks, i fantasize that i have a penis? so what? so fucking what? if that's not your style, or your scene, then that's about you, not me. don't confuse your feelings with my rights, or your journey with my identity. don't pretend you know me better than i know myself.

no one understands precisely why trans identities happen. or kinks. or cancer, for that matter. in each regard, the best current research suggests a complex mix of genes and environment, biology and culture, psychology and circumstance. if there's no one cause, why should there be just one narrative? minorities have minorities too. fewer ≠ 'less than'.

Jack Molay said...

Carolyn Valentine says: "the best current research suggests a complex mix of genes and environment, biology and culture, psychology and circumstance. if there's no one cause, why should there be just one narrative?"

That is more or less what I am saying too. The number of variables that determine our sexuality and identity is very large, and the number of possible combinations mindboggling.

What some so-called experts label sexual deviations are often just different permutations of these factors. Some of these combinations may be relatively rare, but not in any way unnatural or harmful.

And like you, I believe the "offense" of getting aroused by your own body is quite common, also among non-transgender gay and heterosexual people. More about that here.

One point of clarification: When I use the word transgender it is as an umbrella term covering all types of gender variance, crossdressers, crossdreamers, girlfags, drag queens and genderqueer included. This has been the dominant usage since the early 1990s. I think it is a useful term, also for the reasons you have mentioned here. (More about the term here.)

I suspect that when you are referring to a transgender narrative, you have, in fact, the traditional transsexual narrative in mind ("Man trapped in a woman's body"). That narrative most certainly does not fit all transgender or genderqueer people.

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