Dr Ray Blanchard, who dreamt up the theory of Autogynephilia, worked in a gender clinic with transsexual people in Toronto. He theorised that the phenomenon of transition could be explained as a paraphilia or perversion: love of onesself as a woman. The narcissist is in love with himself, and imagines the woman’s physical body in himself. He may also get erotic arousal from “Women’s activities”- in a passage which the Radfems would find particularly rebarbative, Dr Blanchard theorised about autogynephiliacs getting aroused by doing knitting.
I came across the theory in “Transsexual Women’s Resources”, owned by Dr Anne Lawrence, who at the time had particularly useful web pages, including pictures of the results of various surgeons, so one could make an informed choice. She seems to have taken the pages down now, all that remains is her robust defence of AGP theory and attack on the brain-sex theory which I consider more persuasive. Dr Lawrence is a male to female transsexual, who self identifies as autogynephiliac.
Sick with shame, and quite happy to believe that my desires were twisted and wrong, I devoured all this. It did not help that I saw a psychiatrist in 1998 who said “Mr Languish is not transsexual” and found I had narcissistic personality traits. I imagined myself on the “slippery slope”, that I would disappear into a madness of perverted fantasy: but I could not bear not transitioning. So I did. Now, I understand that other women also find their bodies, and even some clothes, give sensual pleasure- women are autogynephiliac- and it feels like I have connected with reality and spiritual maturity. But if I am autogynephiliac, I get to do my sex thing all the time! How cool is that?
I think AGP theory comes from an attempt to control us, and an emotional revulsion in Blanchard, suppressed from consciousness because he imagines himself to be a scientist and a doctor. It confuses cause and effect. I think TS folk like Anne Lawrence who embraced it have not conquered their own feelings of self-disgust, and are Uncle-Tom figures who attempt to have what they want on the Oppressors’ terms- and now, when we are far less oppressed, cannot bear to think they were wrong. I find it comprehensively refuted by the brain observations of Zhou and others. I resent how difficult Blanchard and others have made my search for self-acceptance, and am so pleased that I have achieved honest self-acceptance now. Part of that is being open to hear the acceptance of others, and giving others’ rejection only its proper weight.
I write a few days before I post, and a few days after writing that, I read this. It puts a completely different perspective on the matter. It fails, I think, to explain away the brain sex issues- there is more than one study, and more than one area of the brain implicated- but it shows Ray Blanchard as permitting rather than preventing GRS, and identifying two syndromes rather than one, through analysis. Unfortunately, it says things about myself which I do not like.
First, I am a pervert (or “paraphiliac”). Well, I find sex embarrassing and compulsive, just like most of the population. Second, I rewrite my history to make it more palatable. Here am I taking pride that I am completely committed to The Truth, and this says I am in denial. I think that is fairly common, but I had hoped…
But- I have what I wanted; and it is what I still want, or I would do something else. I really do not want to think of myself as a pervert. I do not want others to think of me as a pervert…
I suppose I just have to live with not knowing.