Labels and desires

A search term: “Are hijra and autogynephilia the same?” Yes and no.

First, they are different because hijra is a cultural phenomenon, grown in a society, and autogynephilia is the stringing together of Greek words by a psychiatrist, to label a hypothesis. Second, they are different because hijra are generally thought of as attracted to men, and autogynephiliacs as attracted to women, though they may claim to be bisexual or attracted to men.

They are the same because they are people born with testicles who express ourselves female.

I was crossdressing, and I wanted to express myself female all the time. The label “transsexual” gave me permission to do this. I would not, perhaps, have been the pioneer, living female when no-one else had, but seeing people who did somehow made me see it was alright to do the same. I had a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, who recommended the hormones and surgery I desired, and had the treatment.

Another possibility used to be called “transgenderist”. Pip Wilson is an example: she expressed herself female all the time, but associated with “cross-dressers”. Janett Scott of the Beaumont Society is another.

The transsexual “support” groups had some members who policed membership and definitions. “Pre-op” or “Post-op” were welcome, but “Non-op”, those who had decided they would not have The Operation were dodgy, and might be attacked as Not Really Transsexual. They had some defenders, but those who identified as autogynephiliac did not: the latter were fair game.

With the Northern Concord in Manchester, some of the people seemed feminine to me, and some blokes down the pub who happened to be dressed rather strangely.

So are they the same? I don’t know. We can create words and categories which say they are, or say they are not. The word Trans* includes all of them: AMAB expressing ourselves female, AFAB expressing themselves male. The term “primary transsexual” has been used to include those who want surgical alteration, and are attracted to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Some assert that “gender identity is separate from sexuality”. This is true in that ones gender identity does not produce a particular sexuality, and trans women can be attracted to men, or attracted to women; but it is possible that there are separate phenomena, with separate causes: the trans woman attracted to women, the trans woman attracted to men, and the latter may be the same phenomenon as the trans man attracted to women, or not.

All these phenomena have this in common, that one expresses onesself in the “other” gender from that assigned at birth. Some have a sense of gender as a spectrum, and not fitting the “gender binary”. Some AMABs who assert they are “women” might also feel that they do not fit that binary, if they really thought about it.

Some assert that AMAB person’s desire to express herself female is legitimate if she is a “true transsexual”, however defined, and perverted and disgusting if she does not fit that definition.

Are autogynephilia and hijra the same? Culturally no; scientifically, yes if gender presentation is the most important thing, and no if certain other things are considered to be important.

Every human being is unique.

2 thoughts on “Labels and desires

  1. My darling, brave girl,

    What happens when all these theories go quiet? We just are as we are. The search for understanding, and the need for categories so that we can fathom and then accept…. all interesting, but how far do they really explain? In the commonwealth of peoples, many societies just smile at this, and let go.

    Because everyone is unique, explanations are useful but never definitive….

    I love you, whatever you happen to be doing today.



    • I love you, too.

      I am interested in the labels people apply to my kind, and the labels we apply to ourselves, and especially to the descriptions people apply. Someone getting to know me learns nothing from reading another’s description of trans women, and I learn little of how people see me from descriptions of trans women, but we still all read these things.


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