Not long after I began researching the trans subject I came across a term I hadn’t seen before. The word is autogynephilia and it basically describes a man who gets off sexually on imagining himself as a woman. Ray Blanchard, a sexologist, coined the term and wrote about the idea there are two distinctly different groups of trans-identified males. Those two groups are crudely separated into homosexual transsexual and heterosexual fetishistic transvestites, although there are exceptions to every rule.
Homosexual transsexuals will often display stereotypically feminine behaviour from a young age. There are considerably fewer of them who are autogynephilic – but they do exist. I’ve seen people throw stats around such as 80/20 for gay trans people not experiencing/experiencing autogynephilia and 20/80 for the straight ones. Those stats are unlikely to be accurate but they are in the sense of the majority of gay trans do not experience whereas the heterosexual ones do.
Heterosexual fetishistic transvestites are the ones I’ll be concentrating on today – they usually begin having fantasies during the teenage years. Imagining themselves as female provokes a sexual response. There is often little to no feminisation during childhood – they climb trees and do whatever else boys are supposed to do, interestingly, many of them end up in typically masculine professions. They don’t show a preference for pink and they don’t want to play with dolls. Autogynephilic males may, or may not, go through a medical transition. Research has shown that up until now, most autogynephilic males do not have surgery. Suggestions for early conditioning have been put forward as to the origins of autogynephilia; I’ll be staying away from those for the sake of simplicity, although I have included links at the end of the post if you would like more detail.
For the record: Research has found that preferences for pink, playing with dolls, being gentle – more likely to be gay than trans. In fact, and I’ll repeat this often, when a child experiences gender confusion, they are statistically more likely to grow out of it and simply be gay (male or female). Most kids with dysphoria don’t end up going through transition.
Denial from the men themselves
I soon learned not everyone agrees with Blanchard. He has received extreme criticism, as have others, for suggesting some males are wanting to be women to simply get off on it. I realise this is a simplified attitude to take but the distinction needs to be clear. Very few trans-identified males want to be seen as autogynephilic, although I have come across a handful of men who are happy to admit they’re AGP (admittedly many hide their public identity) and will talk openly about their desires and motivations with regards to wearing the female form (whether clothes or surgery). These particular men do not feel the need to lie and say they are real women. I’d suggest the reason most won’t admit to their proclivities is that they feel ashamed.
From the crow’s nest
Yeah, I’ve seen it. There are two distinctly different groups operating under what is now one umbrella. Actually, with the recent explosion with ‘trans-identifying’, you could probably add a third group to the pot – the rapid-onset types with no real previous history of identifying as trans The latter are, more often than not, teenage girls. I’ve watched many back and forth arguments between people who are on one side or the other and unfortunately, the ones being the most demanding and unreasonable are people who would fall into the heterosexual fetishistic transvestite category.
Fake versus real?
Some people do require extensive (surgical) treatment for autogynephilia and it’s exactly the same for gender dysphoria. I’ve seen accusations of ‘not true trans’ and similar thrown about and the more balanced from both sides wouldn’t stoop so low as to say anything like that. It is similar to – not a real Christian unless, not a real witch unless, not a real man if you do/don’t do and so on. It follows the assumption that criteria to the ‘in group’ has to be restrictive (and inadvertently(?) repressive) and is usually enforced by those who are dealing with a deep split in the personality and have an immature defence mechanism. The point is trans/transition is what a person goes through to alleviate suffering, the reasons for transition among individuals within each group will be highly nuanced. I suppose if there had to be a fake trans – those would be the men demanding other people use female pronouns and see them as a real woman whilst still having a penis…and sometimes even a beard. I do wonder if it’s important to be able to distinguish between the fetishists and those who have dysphoria. I’ve certainly witnessed homosexual transsexuals attempt to distance themselves from the more aggressive representatives of the AGP’s.
But I’m not like the others…
Not everyone makes it clear whether they’re gay or straight, gender dysphoric or autogynephilic. We, as people in general, cannot be expected to know what type of tranny we are dealing with and it is both unreasonable and unacceptable to ask someone which type they are unless they’re a close personal friend or we’re getting to know them with the hope of becoming friends (or more). Being specific, the trans people causing problems are human, we cannot know what type of human we are dealing with. Some humans are complete shits – we know this. Clothes and surgery can’t change someone’s personality but there are plenty of shits who will take advantage of political correctness, social graces, and anything else they can think to take advantage of.
All normal enough…
The problem I see is we have a whole heap of people who are basically too ashamed to admit to having a sexual fetish – and that is a problem which needs addressing. The thing is, it is NEVER appropriate to expect another human to personally accommodate your sexual desire/inclination/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Plenty of us have a fetish whether it’s for feet, other body parts, shoes, rubber, the list is endless, it truly is endless. Numbers are said to be over 70%; that’s adults who have a fetish. All of it is perfectly fine between consenting adults. But it’s the consenting part which is key. No one is compelled by law to give validation to another person’s sexual inclinations. When people force their need for gratification on another person it’s usually classed as sexual assault or rape. Not sure how it’s not classed as emotional or psychological abuse for an autogynephile to demand validation from an individual if the primary motivation is sexual gratification.
After a while, we end up developing stereotypes which are supposed to be the dominant characteristics of a whole group of people. They may be accurate – as in, a group of blind people are all going to have problems with their sight to various degrees. A group of lesbians are all going to be attracted to other women. But, then you get ones which stray away from the absolutes – gay men are promiscuous, lesbians hate all men, muslims are terrorists, black men are criminals, single parents are scroungers who give birth to criminals, and so on. I can perfectly understand the stress of having to explain how you’re not a stereotypical representation of a group you’re associated with. I’ve had six kids and done a hefty stint as a single parent – too often I chose to do battle with people’s misconceptions about what I was like as a person. It’s exhausting and adds way too much pressure to what is already a heavily stressful and emotionally demanding lifestyle, and yeah, I’m gonna call it (being trans) a lifestyle for now (it’s definitely not a sexuality). The less desirable a lifestyle, the more negative stereotypes are going to be central to the social conversation. Any group can attract negative stereotypes and we need to understand that anything which relates to a sexual fetish is more likely to be weighted towards the negative. It has been suggested, wisely, the more recent push to allow the medical transition of children is an attempt to distract public attention away from the adult men who use dressing as a woman to gain sexual gratification. If we accept the narrative of being born in the wrong body it means less questioning of the reasons and intentions of the person presenting as trans.
So why the issue?
I happen to identify with people who have issues with their own identity. I would rather be able to give open support to anyone wishing to live life on their own terms, but then I’d be falling into the trap of acceptance without exception – and that is dangerous and stupid. Much depends on the individual concerned, but the bottom line has to be safety, not fairness. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that a significant number of men with autogynephilia also have other fetishes which don’t respect the boundaries of women or children. The safeguarding of women and children has to be acknowledged as THE priority here. I probably won’t be writing about that next but it does need to be mentioned now because it’s one of those bottom-line considerations. There’s a noisy group of trans-rights activists currently pushing for self-id and most, if not all of them, are classic AGP types. Again, AGP in and of itself does not correlate to an abusive personality. But, unfortunately, the ones pushing for access to female-only spaces, which are protected by law I might add, have an over-representation of AGP types. This isn’t just about changing rooms in Top Shop, it’s long-standing institutions like Girl Guides. Can you imagine the safeguarding nightmare this becomes if a sexual fetishist is allowed free access to girls under the age of fifteen? This isn’t about gender-confused children, and let’s be honest here, any parent worth their salt would NOT be so cruel to lie to their child by saying they were a ‘real’ girl or boy just because they felt they were. This issue is being pushed under the guise of saving the feelings of the children when in actual fact, it’s manipulative adults who want access to women and children to gain sexual gratification. Do I need to say it again? AGP in and of itself does not dictate the personality of the person and the good ones will most likely tell you it isn’t safe to let any old trans into female spaces…they’ll also tell you they know they’re not real women, won’t demand you use female pronouns, and they sure as fuck won’t call you names if you point out the obvious a.k.a men can’t become women, men can’t have periods, men can’t know what it feels like to be a woman, and so on.
Criticism of the establishment
There needs to be some accountability on the part of the psychologists and psychiatrists working in the field of all that is transgender. I haven’t seen many who have openly spoken about the need for caution nor the acknowledgement that AGP is even a thing… I’ve already mentioned my own angst in regards to demonising a fetish which doesn’t seek to impose itself on the general population – and I probably can’t stress that enough. Humans are, for the most part, simple creatures – and to assume most people will be able to distinguish a predator from a regular person is short-sighted, narrow-minded, just plain-old unrealistic. You can’t put that shit on the general population and expect it to end well. Do we really think the political parties supporting self-id have safeguarding at the heart of their policies?
You have no idea who you’re dealing with. As humans, we have a tendency to think everyone thinks the same way, and is motivated by the same things we are ourselves – this can’t be helped. Even with training, most people will still fall into the trap of projecting their stuff onto others. If you’re not a predator, or if you’re lacking a decent dangerous person radar, you’re going to be an easy target. The people who tend to be good at spotting predators have usually suffered abuse in the past – it’s a skill that only some former victims acquire and not exactly a trophy to be proud of…especially when warnings tend to fall on deaf ears.
Full list of posts on AGP by Miranda Yardley http://mirandayardley.com/en/category/autogynephilia/