November 15, 2013

Autogynephilia: Bad Science Revisited

Part 3 of the "Gay" vs. "Straight" Crossdreamers Series.

In my two previous blog post I have documented that gay men and lesbian women may indeed crossdream (that is: get aroused by the idea of being the the opposite sex).

I have also  pointed out that there are trans women attracted to men out there who -- like XX women -- get excited by exploring their female sexuality.

Fixing the numbers

But if there are androphilic (man-loving) transsexual women out there who experience crossdreamer fantasies, should not researchers like Blanchard have found them?  According to his autogynephilia theory, men or trans women who love men cannot have crossdreamer fantasies.

I see diversity. Others feel an incessant need to sort people into neat piles.
Photo: Jacob Wackerhausen

Well, I have already told you about how Blanchard is capable of denying the existence of female to male crossdreamers, even if he has witnessed one first hand. 

Frans de Waal puts it this way in his fascinating book The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates.

"Scientists are human, and humans are driven what by psychologists call 'confirmation biases' (we love evidence that supports our view) and 'disconfirmation biases' (we disparage evidence that undermines our view)."

"Dogmatists have one advantage," de Waal concludes: "they are poor listeners". Blanchard does not listen at all, not even to his own research.

Blanchard has documented the existence of androphilic MTF crossdreamers

It turns out Blanchard's own studies, based on questionnaires given to patients at his clinic, does document that MTF androphilic trans women crossdream.

Indeed, many studies based on the typology of Blanchard reports that between 15 and 23 percent of the so-called "homosexual transsexuals" (a misleading term for heterosexual transsexual women) do report crossdreaming.

The number for Blanchard's 1985 study was 15 percent. The similar number for Blanchard-supporter Anne Lawrence's 2005 study was 18 percent.

The corresponding number for gynephilic and bisexual male to female trans people in these studies varies between 56 and 75 percent.

The difference between gynephilic and androphilic trans women is more than significant, and requires an explanation.  (More about that in my next post.)

The problem is, however,  that researchers like Blanchard and Lawrence are not really looking for an explanation. They already have one, and that explanations requires that androphilic crossdreamers do not crossdream.

Because of this they try to reclassify all crossdreaming trans women attracted to men as gynephilic. These trans women are not really attracted to men, Blanchard and Lawrence say; they are lying to themselves and/or the researcher.

Bad science

An neat trick is to redefine any MTF trans woman who reports attraction to men as "autogynephilic" if she has experienced crossdreaming fantasies and she has had sex with a woman, while living as a man. Implicitly this means that any male bodied person who has ever had sex with a woman is gynephilic ("non-homosexual" in their parlance).
"Hey you, sexy autogynephile!" Photo: Stockbyte

You would expect that they, in accordance with this principle, would count all male bodied persons who have ever had sex with men as androphilic. They do not, of course, as this would make mockery of  their theory.

Lawrence does not even check whether some of the presumably non-crossdreaming androphilic trans women have had sex with women, again because it would undermine her research.

It is quite common for both homosexual men and androphilic trans women to have had sex with women, as many of them go through phases were they try to adapt to the requirements of a homophobic society. Some also do this out of curiosity.

This makes the sex partner history of a person a completely unreliable indicator for sexual orientation. But Lawrence and Blanchard ignore this, as they need this dichotomy to "prove" their theory.

Blanchard-supporter Cloudy has made some amazing attempts at fixing the numbers which are well worth reading, but even she does not manage to eradicate the unpleasant fact that some androphilic trans women do indeed report sexual arousal while crossdressed.

And yes, that means that Blanchard's theory has been falsified -- by himself! If you stick to a theory that requires sexual orientation to be a strict binary, any examples of the opposite falsifies that theory.

Gay men and androphilic trans women may crossdream. As may lesbians and gynephilic trans women.

Disregarding age

Madeline Wydzen has pointed out another interesting flaw in Blanchard's argument. He does not take age into consideration when interpreting his data.

In Blanchard's database gynephilic transwomen are -- on average -- older than the androphilic when they seek surgery. His does, after all, follow in the footsteps of many others who have pointed out that "late onset" transsexual women are more likely to be predominantly attracted to women.

Older people have, well, lived longer, which means that their chances of having experienced "autogynephilic" fantasies in one time in their lives is much larger. Because in Blanchard's universe one such fantasy is all it takes for you to become labelled  a perverted "autogynephile." Really! This is the same as saying that any man who has ever felt some attraction to another man is gay, and believe me: Most men have.

I would argue that the age of the gynephilic respondents makes it more likely that they understand the question correctly. They have had time reflecting on their identity and sexuality and have heard it all before. They understand what Blanchard is aiming for and does nothing to hide the truth.

That is the problem: Not that they are lying, but that they tell the truth to people who want to harm them.

But why do not more androphilic trans women report arousal from imagining themselves as women before transitioning, and from being women after?

Ah, that is the topic of the final post in this series. Don't go away!

See also my post on Moser's critique of Blanchard and his autogynephilia theory.

This blog post is part of the following series:
  1. When men loving men crossdream
  2. On crossdreaming lesbians and sexy trans women
  3. Autogynephilia: Bad Science Revisited
  4. What explains the difference between the two types of MTF transgender?


  1. Actually Jack I have read Anne Lawrence's essays and she does not deny the existence of eroticism in androphilic transsexuals at all and in fact uses the data to show that it is quite normal and expected. The problem is that even with this evidence she continues to buy into Blanchard's idea that the heterosexual crossdreamer (or autogynephile if you will) is experiencing a paraphilia.

    She makes it also clear that, even if she buys into Blanchard's work, the true litmus test of a transition (no matter what the basis) is proven by whether a person is happier or not and the statistics overwhelmingly prove that even autogynephilic transsexuals are just as happy post operatively as their androphilic cousins. She also states clearly that there is no pecking order for how genuine a transsexual is ie you are either a transsexual or you are not and the fact that the operation improves your life afterwards is the most valid indicator.

    Since young people today don't read or have never heard of Blanchard or Bailey and have never experienced the same levels of guilt and shame regarding their feelings they are more likely to transition sooner and, in some cases, even have accepting female partners. Therefore we are seeing a societal shift in which autogynephilic transsexuals are not necessarity waiting until their forties and fifties to transition anymore.

    So yes there is a disconnect that I don't understand in the work of Anne Lawrence and my correspondence with her has not shed further light.

    To me it is clear then that the presence or absence of eroticism is not much of an indicator at all but instead the level of dysphoria that one experiences will be the driver for a transition. I shared this thinking with my gender therapist at the hospital and she agreed with this assessment based on her experience with a large number of transiting transsexuals.

    Crossdreamers would do themselves a great favor by eliminating all guilt from their menu and simply examining their internal feelings. If transition is not for you then fine; simply continue to live your life and manage your feelings with whatever method works for you!

  2. Could you tell me where you have found her saying this? I am aware of her writings on "autoandrophilia" among homosexual men (which in itself would sink Blanchard's theory), but I have not seen her write about autogynephilia in gay men or MTF trans women.

  3. "Since young people today don't read or have never heard of Blanchard or Bailey and have never experienced the same levels of guilt and shame regarding their feelings they are more likely to transition sooner and, in some cases, even have accepting female partners. Therefore we are seeing a societal shift in which autogynephilic transsexuals are not necessarity waiting until their forties and fifties to transition anymore. "

    This is a very important point. This fact will also completely undermine the idea that MTF crossdreamers are less feminine because they look more masculine than the man-loving trans women. If there is any difference in looks, this is only the long term effects of age and testosterone.

    (This is actually an argument that has been made to stigmatize gynephilic trans women, in spit of it being completely unreasonable.)

  4. @Jack

    Here is what she rights back in 1998...

    "First of all, they should make us aware that paraphilic eroticism is widespread in male-to-female transsexuals. Furthermore, in many individuals, autogynephilic eroticism is not just an incidental finding, but is rather the central motivation for the transsexual journey. However, our clients are not likely to reveal their autogynephilic desires unless we convey our understanding, and our acceptance.

    If we make it clear that we regard paraphilic arousal to feminization as consistent with genuine transsexualism, then our clients will probably tell us the truth. But if we cling to the outmoded idea that transsexualism is simply about gender, and that it has nothing to do with sex, then our clients will simply tell us precisely what we want to hear -- just as they have done for decades.

    We must let our clients know that we understand that sex reassignment can be a logical and effective treatment for autogynephilic transsexuality. Sex reassignment can help autogynephilic transsexuals simultaneously express and control their paraphilia, by creating desired feminization, and by moderating ego-dystonic paraphilic arousal. If we can look at sex reassignment as a form of sex therapy for the sexual problem posed by autogynephilic eroticism, then we can treat our clients with greater empathy, and with greater effectiveness

    Even if she buys into the model of paraphilia she nevertheless very clearly expresses no doubts as to the validity of the transition even on only those grounds...

  5. There are other texts she has written that I have quoted on my blog which even more explicitly explains her views on this idea. Even if the only motivator were exclusively due to gynephilic arousal the transition for some would be worthwhile.

    However as well all know, the human enitity is a far complex soul than just a sex drive and typically the motivator would be a combination of identity and sexual feelings. I suspect this combination applies to the vast majority of transsexuals, whether androphilic or autogynephilic

  6. Another important point in all this is that nowhere in the writings of Blanchard, Bailey or even Benjamin will you find the HBS notion that you are actually dealing with women. The motivation (or dysphoria) driving the transition is still unexplained to this day.

    What matters in the end is that individual feels happier in their new gender role and is a more productive citizen.

    The HBS idea mantra that "you are either a woman or you're not" was not invented by Benjamin but you read it so much among HBS'ers that you might be forgiven for thinking that he himself proposed it and believed it.

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  8. AQV,

    hurtful is all relative is it not?

    Apparently I have once again hit a nerve.

    You want to come here and put people in their place then you'll get back what you deliver.

    You are neither particularly intelligent nor particularly civil and your attempts at taunting and intimidation will be met with equal measures of the same.

    I'm way back to full strength so you can either discuss things civilly or we'll play it your way.

    Jack has banned you from this site for the obvious reason that you taunt and bait and make fun of a serious issue.

    Posting drivel like "read em and weep" is a sign of a feeble mind or of immaturity or both.

    You are woman? fine then behave like a civil one and either contribute fruitfully and earnestly to this site or troll elsewhere....your choice

  9. As far as mental imbalances go you have sufficiently proved your capabilities there on a myriad of occasions which is what got you banned in the first place.

    Trolling here obsessively only proves my point.

    I am trying to help my here and not taunt nor destroy.

    There's no such thing as transgender or crossdreamers? oh but then what are you? oh yes I forgot a woman.

    Don't disparage my life experience nor the experiences of others by using trite references to articles as if by reading them we'll all see the light. You must be a little brighter than that.

  10. AQV

    "He rationalizes his cross-dressing as a form of "therapy", while at the same time pretending to "know-it-all" about everything and everybody"

    is a statement bordering on sheer stupidity and demonstrates a total lack of disrespect for what the people who come here experience and have experienced over their lives.

    When you read the transsexual phenomenon did you pay attention to the text or just looked at the pictures.

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  12. @Mitchell

    AQV is an unbalanced individual to a degree that is almost astonishing. Do you see many transsexuals coming here to post rhetoric and drivel? Not a one. In fact the ones that do come (the most recent her name escapes me) was respectful and we had some nice exchanges.

    AQV's frustration is coming from much of the discussion going on here hitting paydirt. She reads what is being posted here, is perturbed and feels compelled to send links to a myriad of wacky sites offering snake oil cures or simply wacky views.

    If this person were secure, she would'nt be coming here. Genetic women don't come here and , as I pointed out, neither do transsexuals. They are busy living.

    The pretense of wanting to help out and give advice ran its expiration date when she started ranting to the point where Jack had little choice but to delete the comments.

    Anyone, who after supposedly reading all of the literature out there sends us links to websites about how tranagenders don't exist or to websites that simply tell you to fix yourself and be normal, is not only not brilliant but incredibly disingenuous and even mean spirited.

    The fact is that crossdreaming or dysphoria or transexxualism (I don't care what term you use) are incureable. Benjamin knew it and so does every other researcher worth his salt. So the key question that remains is then how do you deal with that reality? I think that everyone has to find their own but it cannot be centered around shame because that will consume you. You have to find an answer for you.

    Crackpots like AQV have some frustrations likely embedded in their past and that's not really my problem nor yours.

    I'm just here to say that the answer should very rarely be transition and if its crossdressing or crossdreaming that helps get you through life then that's what you need to do.

    Jack has the most interesting site on the web dealing with issues of orientation, gender identity and sexuality and I'm just happy to contribute to the discussion.

  13. @Joanna Santos

    "First of all, they should make us aware that paraphilic eroticism is widespread in male-to-female transsexuals. " (ref. Anne Lawrence)

    Yes, she definitely argue that this is the case. But has she ever said that MTF androphilic transsexual women ("homosexual transsexual" in her offensive terminology) can be autogynephilic?

    And yes, Blanchard does not consider "homosexual transsexuals" real women either. He actually thinks of homosexuality as yet another mental disorder and would like to see it back in the DSM.

  14. So just for interests and understanding sake I have this question, what if an androphilic woman with a transsexual history has never crossdressed or crossdreamed at all? The fallacy of Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence is simply that whomever does not fill the hypothesis (pre survey) cannot even take the survey because the survey is constructed to lead to inevitable conclusions no matter what the answers are. How can you answer a multiple choice survey in which your choices (mind you this is not a right or wrong kind of survey) don't even exist. The entire "research" was conducted to occasion a result.

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  16. , what if an androphilic woman with a transsexual history has never crossdressed or crossdreamed at all?

    According to Blanchard & Co androphilic (man-loving) trans women never crossdream. Gynephlic and bisexual trans women always do. The androphilic transwomen who report no crossdreaming will be classified as homosexual men.


    I use gynehilic and androphilic to avoid the confusion that follows from using the terms homosexual and heterosexual (heterosexual in relation to assigned birth sex or target sex?). In ths debate sexual orientation is taken for given, and being attracted to feminine vs masculine males is not an issue.

    The standard of masculinity in this kind of research is normally lmited to the visual cues of a male body.

    I suspect things are much more complicated than this, but there are limits to how many arguments you can put into one blog post.

  17. @Jack,
    "In the debate sexual orientation is taken for given, and being attracted to feminine vs masculine males is not an issue. "

    This one is definitely a myopic view. Attraction to masculine male is not same as that to a feminine male.And people are not merely attracted to the physiques, they are attracted to the inner gender and personality too! So that makes a big difference.

  18. When it is images of men I am very attracted to the outer appearances. I have been reading and thinking bunches about this series of posts. Now when I am in a chat where I am interacting with someone it is about the inner person. One man online that I could fall for easily has always treated me as my true self and when he has for lack of a better term, seduced me it has been heavenly. I feel very safe with him and I think that makes my attraction skyrocket. Sorry if I got off topic. Being a virgin IRL I wonder where I fit on the sexuality and TG scale of all these people you mention?

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  20. @Mitchel and abhirup,

    It is not that I do not want to look into the complexity of sexual orientation and attraction. I definitely do. But that needs to be in a separate blog post.

    Note for instance that many trans women do admit an attraction to men post transitioning, Julia Serano, which is one of them, argues that this is because they now may allow themselves to feel these feelings.

    As for being attracted to feminine men: Many female to male crossdreamers report that they fall for feminine and gay men. There are also guydykes who love lesbians.

  21. @Alexia

    I think your story is a good example of how this might work. In a safe surrounding you allow yourself to feel this feelings, and since your inner self is met with respect, you can also respond in a natural way to this man's approaches.

    Most MTF crossdreamers live in a situation where it is imperative for them to present as the 'straight man'. That stop them from even considering such feelings.

    It is fascinating to see how sexist researchers, Blanchard included, is willing to accept such sexual orientation fluidity among women, but not in men. If he had been willing to consider MTF crossdreaming as expression of some kind of a female sexuality, all of this would have made sense.

  22. @Jack,
    Not just that. There are non-transgender men too who might be attracted to feminine males and not other masculine men. I am not sure if I am trans or not but I do feel attracted to femme males which I am sure is not the same as my attraction to a masculine man- both feel and look different. Also, there are feminine women who love masculine females.So, it is indeed more complex and I agree this is a different thing that needs a separate post.

  23. @jack

    Lawrence never says much about androphilic transsexuals which is why her logic is dodgy. She argues that autogynephilic transsexualism is every bit as valid as the abdrophilic type but that's it.

    Therefore neither she nor blanchard develop a unfifying theory. I have been terming all transsexualism as extreme gender dysphoria regardless of orientation and in fact only Benjsmin really has it right when he categorizes based on dysphoria intensity and ignores orientation. This is why his work makes the most sense to date..


    I found a womsn who loves me as I am and you can too. Absolute honesty with her and with yourself is the only way. Come to complete terms with yourself and be happy as you are. This formula has made me extremely content while acknowledging that thia is not an easy thing to live with...

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  25. @mitchell

    This is an interesting way of viewing it and indeed many people on this planet identify strongly as the opposite gender and don't cosmetically alter themselves in any way. We must remember that GRS and HRT are relatively modern inventions and people a hundred years ago or more would simply to their best to grapple with their feelings. Some would try to live full time as the other gender but others weren't as fortunate. Did that make those people any less transsexual?

    Today there are undoubtedly people who for a myriad of reasons choose not to transition and that is entirely their business. So I am left with the idea once again that it is a highly personal decision which only the individual can asses.

    Benjamin saw patients like this in his practice and some are chronicled in his book.

  26. @Mitchell

    "It is not a huge shock to me that "HBSers" have picked up on this idea, and thus conclude that someone that doesn't express as fully, or are convincingly as the average woman isn't really transsexual, or even transgendered as completely, or totally as they are. Or aren't "really" real women like them"

    This is pivotally important but you need to remember that HBSers aren't really women from birth. There is NO genetic abnormality (found to date) that makes them any different than any other biological male other than their own insistence before their medical caregiver. This does not invalidate their transition at all but merely their right to give themselves "womanhood" status due to a pre-existing "medical condition" which is a falsehood. You will find no such pronouncement in the writings of Harry Benjamin or anywhere else.

    transition is a response to an illness and once you transition I believe you should have every right to be treated and addressed as a female.

    I don't identify as a female but as a dysphoric male but that does not give an HBSer the right to invalidate my feelings in order to distinguish and validate their own status. This is sheer nonsense and I will continue to fight against this fallacy.

  27. @joannaS

    "This is pivotally important but you need to remember that HBSers aren't really women from birth. There is NO genetic abnormality (found to date) that makes them any different than any other biological male other than their own insistence before their medical caregiver. "

    If gender dysphoria was caused by ONE genetic abnormality this would make sense, but very few traits are based on such a simple causality.

    There may perfectly well be a biological component to theirs, yours an my dysphoria, even if science have not found it.

    I find myself more in alignment with Julia Serano here. In Excluded she writes:

    "If one more person tells me that 'all gender is performance', i think I am going to strangle them. What's most annoying about that soundbite is how it is often recited in a somewhat snooty 'I-took-gender-studies-class-and-you-didn't" sort of way, which is ironic given the way that phrase dumbs down gender. It is a crass oversimplification that is as ridiculous as saying all gender is genitals, all gender is chromosomes, or all gender is socialization. In reality, gender is all of these things and more. In fact, if there's one thing that all of us should be able to agree on, it's that gender is a confusing and complicated mess." (p. 105)

    "So to clarify, I am not suggesting that biology is the only, or even primary, factor that shapes gender and sexuality. I am simply saying that biology and biological variation do, on some level, influence our gender and sexuality" (p. 113)

    In other words: The HSB gospel of there being a woman "chip" hidden somewhere in the brain is too simplistic. But their feeling of being women trapped in a male body is no less real if their identity is caused by an interaction between many genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, psychological social and cultural factors.

    AQV may be a nuisance, but I will never invalidate her female identity.

  28. @Jack

    "AQV may be a nuisance, but I will never invalidate her female identity"

    and neither am I but that does not give her the right to come here and give the rest of us grief. The fact is that she does not give you the same benefit of the doubt that you give her.

    Besides I am not so certain that, what we now in the clinical field call gender dysphoria, does not have a common root. Whether HBSers want to hear it or not there is no such thing as Harry Benjamin syndrome. That is something coined by them after his death and the science (at least thus far) does not support their claim of a pre-existing medical condition.

    I admit I may be wrong, but the idea that dysphoria is a scaled phenomenon with a common root makes more sense than having disconnected phenomena going on here. If you have studies I have not seen I will gladly read them.

    Fact is that AQV and others like her see no validity in your condition or mine and use this certainty of theirs to bolster the conviction that their own transition was justified and based on a real genetic difference or abnormality.

    I have never said she is not a woman and never will but that does not mean she has the right to come and post her nonsense or use other people's websites as fodder for her tactics.

    Respect work both ways and as you well know, allowing her to post here once again will erode the discussion here to a sticks and stones level of stupidity on the level of and I quote...

    "don't lie Jack it will make your nose grow bigger"

  29. and I completely agree with Serano's assertion that gender has a more complex composition than a hard wired chip. This is something I have felt and known all along as part of my own life experience..

  30. "I admit I may be wrong, but the idea that dysphoria is a scaled phenomenon with a common root makes more sense than having disconnected phenomena going on here. "

    Absolutely! To me that is the only map that fits the puzzle right now.

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  32. What is even more amusing is that her repeated use of aliases fools no one here and yet she keeps on trying LOL...

    Got to give her credit.

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  34. Neither Serano nor I are reducing sex identity to biology. We are simply saying that biology plays a role, as does personal history and culture.

    I have read all the books of Butler. I am still unable to wrap my mind around the fact that she is able to ignore biology completely when trying to explain sex and gender. Homo sapiens is definitely a special animal, with its compex language and symbolic structures, but it is still an animal, with all the instincts and drives found in other mammals.

    It seems to me that the social contructivists have fallen into the most basic trap in philosophy: Since they have a method that works well when analyzing text and language, they now believe that the whole world is nothing but text and language. If all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

    Butler´s anaylisis of John Money and the Joan/John case is the extreme example of how damaging this can become. She is able to see through Money´s sexist attitudes and how they made him turn intersexed boys into girls, but she has no understanding for the gender dysphoria "John" went trhough. Since "gender" is a social construct, she has to invalidate "John" AKA David Reimer´s intense conviction of being a man.

    This means that Butler commits the same crime as Money: She does not have the humility and decency to withhold judgment when all the signs tells you that your basic theory is wrong.

    Now Butler has become one of the most important weapons in the arsenal of transphobic radical feminists.

    I strongly recommend that you read Serano. She is even, unlike Butler, able to write coherent English.

  35. @Mitchell

    "The greatest misunderstanding that you have, is that you must understand that concepts, ideas, thought itself is historical, a priori, and we use it to interpret, and render coherent and expressible our experiences. "

    Hm. It seems you have misunderstood both me and Ms Serano. What you say here is given. Indeed, you will find that much of what is written here is based on an analysis of belief systems, mentalities, life worlds, all of them grown out of historical trajectories. My basis is philosophical hermeneutics and the ideas of Foucault.

    There is nothing wrong in using post-structuralism to interpret texts. I do that all the time.
    Indeed, my criticism of Butler is based on the exact same method. Her inablility to understand the importance of biology is due to an intellectual lock-in caused by philosophy´s split from science after Kant. Post-structuralism is a retreat into your own mind, and they have given up trying to find a way out. Now, they mistakenly believe that their interpretations of language and semiotics are sufficient tools for understanding sex and gender.

    You imply that Serano and I insist on a biological component because we are reductionist. We are the exact opposite of reductionists. Reducing life to language. That is reductionism. Reducing sex and gender to a handful of genes. That is reductionism. Beliving, as Blanchard does, that naming a parahilia tells you all there is to know about this facet of human sexuality. That is reductionism.

    You and me are complex biological, mental and spiritual systems based on everything from gut bacteria to a yearning for eternity. There is nothing simple about any of this.

  36. "That both you and Serano respond with incredulity, because you find your own interpretations of what's going on just so obvious, and undeniable, in my view, is just a point in favor of Butler, further demonstrating her thesis."

    You are taking a short cut now, projecting ideas about what Serano and I ought to mean, given the fact that we believe in a biological component in sex identity and gender formation. You are way off target. Read Serano´s book, and you will find nothing of the naivite you describe.

    I started out believing that my sex identity was "socially constructed". However, my gender dysphoria cured me for that belief. There is nothing in my life, my surroundings, my culture or my language that should lead to this feeling of misalignment. Indeed, all the social conditioning and the very structure of Norwegian language leads in the exact opposite direction: People like me are an impossibility.

  37. Now, Butler and her friends try to solve this problem by using Freud of all people, as he seems to give them the driving force their own model lacks: Libido.

    I have learned much from Freud and find his concept of the unconscious very useful (as does Serano), but the simple truth is that you can use Freud to construct any explanation you like for why people become gay or trans or fetishists:

    My mother was too strict, my father was too strict, my mother was too weak, my father was too weak. I wanted to have sex with my mother, I wanted to be my mother, I wanted to have sex with my father; there is castration anxiety among MTFs and penis envy among FTMs and so on and so forth ad nauseam.

    The fact is, however, that there is far too much diversity in the trans community for any of these explanations to stick. Butler´s approach to gender has merit. Her approach to sex is useless.

    For me it is not naive to suppose that we have an inborn drive towards becoming men or women, identifying as men or women, finding affirmation as men and women. The fact that our gender expressions are cultural does not mean that there is no instinctual drive towards finding such a sex identity.

    Is such a drive absolute? Again, no. Nothing is. In both animals and men you will find a mix of sex traits, gender traits, sexual orientation and sexual practice. That is to be expected in a messy world like this one. But that does not mean that there is no drive towards such a realization. For the gender dysphoric this becomes very clear. There is no escape from this language game, for the simple reason that this is much more than a language game.

    And yes. Pleas do not call Serano a nobody before you have read her! That is just arrogant. Statements like these remind me of the kind of powerplay insiders use to belittle those that disagree. We have had more than enough of that in the trans debate as it is.

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