Understanding trans

When considering transition, you may come across rubbish like this: Self identified trans individuals are interested in perpetuating understandings of gender identity disorder only in so far as they affirm their transgenderism in the terms which are most comfortable to them. So claimed a transphobic commenter. He claims to be a fetishist, and to believe that we are fetishists too.

In my blog you will find the case for transition. It is not for everyone- my transvestite friend once spent a whole week in drag, and at the end was heartily sick of it- but if it is right for you, it is really, really, right. There is evidence of that everywhere: teachers, doctors, academics, writers, members of parliament– with Caitlyn Jenner it may be too early to tell, but generally transition is a good thing.

I am interested in understanding. I have no need for the autogynephilia hypothesis to be false- if I were convinced that that was what was really happening, I would not change from expressing myself female, and would not consider that a reason for anyone not to transition, if they wanted to. But I believe autogynephilia is not true, because where there is desire to express female, and arousal by that, it is more likely that the desire causes the arousal than the other way around. Blanchard’s theory fails to explain what else could cause the arousal.

No, femininity causes our desire to express ourselves female.

That transphobe commenter claims to imagine that we are fetishists, turned on by the thought of being emasculated rather than of expressing ourselves as the feminine beings we are. This is merely silly. My femininity has a positive value. It is expressed according to the terms of my culture; its attributes, such as kindness, can be a man’s as well as a woman’s; yet taken as a whole I am feminine. I do not have to justify that to anyone, and certainly not to the transphobe wxhluyp, whose response to the strongest evidence is blank denial.

He alleges we are only interested in affirming our understanding of transgenderism. Clearly not: I have wrestled with the concept of autogynephilia, at one point believing it.

Human beings lie to ourselves. We create stories to justify ourselves. When I say I am female, and feminine, nothing will stop wxhluyp the transphobe from grinding out “You would say that, wouldn’t you?” We seek out arguments to justify our gender expression. But that does not apply to the trans woman considering whether to transition. Certainly in my generation, we are terrified of it, and run as hard as we can away from it. We take up macho professions such as the armed forces.

Thirteen years after I “went full time”, the picture is more mixed. There are children who against great resistance have convinced their parents they are trans; and yet if a lesbian aged 25 can be ashamed of her sexuality, there are certainly adults who have not yet transitioned, and are terrified of doing so, or in denial.

Denying and self-loathing, we seek out arguments like autogynephilia to buttress our desperation to remain male. We are so desperate that we might even consider “masochistic emasculation fetishism” as an explanation. Even recently, I gave far more weight to arguments against transition than I need to, and considered reverting.

Against this self-loathing, I give you- common sense. You know you want to transition. You know how feminine you are: you will come to value that, in time. It is a long journey, but it is worthwhile. It will make your life better. Those trans children are not interested in the arguments about whether it is right– they know who they are, and work to realise it. That is all the understanding you need.

If you have come from Reddit, please tell me what you think, and what your interest is. There is a comment box below.

Hieronymus Bosch, The Temptation of St Anthony, detail 5

34 thoughts on “Understanding trans

  1. It seems to me that it is an extremely personal decision but perhaps too much politics and opinions and academic theories I guess surround and engulf the personal. Prejudices and discrimination are another issue to be confronted.

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    • I want to be respected as an adult, allowed to make my own decisions and live with their consequences. Various people argue for various reasons why I cannot possibly have wanted that, that it is too revolting to them so I must be mad and need protecting from myself. I deal with another one on Saturday, following a conversation with someone who thought we should be protected. This man wuxlip is unable to think about the matter at all: he has jumped to a conclusion, and nothing will sway him. I hope my friend H would be more open minded than that, but it remains to be seen.

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  2. Sadly, many wrestile with guilt and denial of their autogynephilic nature, which causes them to spend many useless hours trying to fight off its implications. Self acceptance is best. But trying to deny scientific evidence because it is uncomfortable (and discomforting) is not the best direction. Please reconsider your efforts to deny the science. Because in the end, science always wins.

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    • Oh, it’s you.

      Where do you imagine that I deny science?

      I know you are very attached to that silly theory: but your elementary error is conflating correlation and causation. Barry’s recent comments show that androphile transitioners may be less genuine as trans women than gynephiles are. Anyway, last time I checked the androphile trans women were not in need of an Imperial Grand Wizard, so why don’t you just delete your blog? Or refer people to this post, which says more of value than you have in five years.

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    • I completely agree with you… science does always win in the end. So, why are you mentioning autogynephilia? The fundamental cornerstone of science is empirical verification. Wiring up some poor transwomens’ willies to electrodes and then showing them porn… hardly constitutes empirical verification for the cases of transsexualism. There can be no scientific explanation of transsexualism until the relevant genetic, endocrinal, neurological, sexological (and other) factors are all acounted for and placed in a direct causal chain. It will be many decades before we have the abilty to do that, which is why anyone who actually knowsanything about science can only say one thing about the causes of transsexualism… “WE DON’T KNOW WHAT CAUSES IT.” Autogynephilia is an interesting theory and certainly needs to be considered when thinking about transsexualism, but any notion that it is scientific is naive and ignorant. Please, Kay… if you want to engage in discourse about gender variance with adults then please do a basic course on the philosophy of science; if you’re not willing to do that then I suggest go with a younger audience on TUMBLR where you will find others with a similar level of scientific education to your own.

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      • Autogynephilic is NOT a “theory”, nor even an hypothesis. It is a phenomena. It is VERY well documented to exist. How it relates as part of a theory is discussed on this blog entry:

        [Link deleted]

        That autogynephilia is correlated with gynephilia in transwomen is EXTREMELY well documented:

        [Link deleted]

        As to speculation as to what causes autogynephilic, you are right, we have no clue. But, we know that it exists.

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        • Why was it, silly one, that you do not allow comments on your own blog? Wasn’t it that you can’t bear to be disagreed with? I don’t allow transphobes to plug their blogs on mine- not TERFs, and not you, either.

          However, thank you for conceding that the theory of autogynephilia has no value or interest. It is noted that trans women get turned on by knowing ourselves as women. So what? If you claim that that in itself causes gender dysphoria, then you torture trans women for no useful purpose. Now you concede that the arousal does not cause the dysphoria, you admit that the observation has no particular interest. Humans are sexual beings, we get turned on by all sorts of things.

          Electra corrected your philosophy of science, I will correct your English. “Phenomena” is a plural. The singular is “phenomenon”. Now corrected, you can be on your way, to write your rubbish or desist as you choose.

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          • In no way did I “conceed” anything of the sort. [Ha! You can’t even spell concede, even when you see it in a comment!

            But you did concede. You admitted it was “correlated”, rather than a cause of gender dysphoria.]

            As to why it is important… [transphobic blah deleted].

            I don’t mind INFORMED disagreement. It’s misinformed hate spam that I [claim to] disliked and chose not to respond to [More transphobic blah deleted. And if you don’t like misinformed hate spam, don’t post it! I have already referred you to a post on the scientific evidence, and useful discussion thereof; read it, and stop wasting everyone’s time. So I have deleted the link to your blog, and replaced it with a link which is useful.]

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          • No… I’m not confused… and if the link hadn’t been deleted, you would have found my essay on the topic. Also, your snarky insinuation as to my level of science education was both uncalled for and inaccurate, a background in physics, psychology, biology, and have published over a dozen papers in symposia proceedings and a chapter in a textbook. Please don’t lecture me… It’s teaching your grandmother to suck eggs. You may not like it that there is solid evidence, replicated evidence, with well over a thousand subjects, that supports a two type taxonomy (and yes I do know what a taxonomy as opposed to a typology is) of MTF transsexual / transgender etiology.

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            • Kay, I find myself wondering why you bother. You are not getting paid for your blog; there are people who understand the issues far better than you, and write better than you, even on the side of the AGP-proselytisers; the only reason I can find for it is that you hate gynaephile trans women, and want to write a thousand words every month or so saying we are different, and implying we are less genuine, than yourself.

              I am aware that you claim to promote understanding. I don’t think you are capable of honesty about your motivation, perhaps not even to yourself.

              Therefore I am going to delete any further comment you make, unless in my judgment you actually add something to what you have said already. I don’t allow links to hate sites.

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            • I am very sorry. I understand now. I am sorry I have been such a transphobic bigot, and I promise to at least try to see the truth about those onto whom I have projected all my despair and self-hatred.

              [Clare: No, he didn’t say that, but he really should have.]

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            • Kay writes…..”You may not like it that there is solid evidence, replicated evidence, with well over a thousand subjects, that supports a two type taxonomy (and yes I do know what a taxonomy as opposed to a typology is) of MTF transsexual / transgender etiology.”

              Felix Conrad writes… http://transcendmovement.com/an-introduction-to-autogynephilia-and-blanchards-taxonomy/

              The taxonomy is obviously correct, but not through any genius of observation but because in any single group of humans, we can always divide them into homosexual and non homosexual. Invent a room full of people: bus drivers, oscar winners, deep sea divers, victims of trolling – and we can always create a category…

              Homosexual victims of trolling
              Non-homosexual victims of trolling

              We could, in fact, create dozens of taxonomies for transsexuals, ranging from the intelligible: ‘early onset’ and ‘late onset’ to the bizzarre: green eyed transsexuals, blue eyed transsexuals, and brown eyed transsexuals. Both taxonomies – and many others we could devize – would all be, in a sense, correct.

              POINT 1: Blanchard’s taxonomy is irrefutable. But so are lots of others.

              Taxonomies in certain areas of psychology (unlike ornithology, for example ) contain an infinite amount of potential categories. The validity of a taxonomy in psychology is not, therefore, established by proving your categories exist, but in proving that these categories are clinically or therapeutically important.

              This means that when Blanchardites jubilantly prove that there are Homosexual transsexuals and Non-homosexual transsexuals, they are celebrating prematurely. What they need to prove is the therapeutic or diagnostic or existential value of such a categorization. Something they have failed to do!”

              And later….

              The word ‘transsexual’ is a psychiatric term for a person who has, according to ICD-10…

              “a desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one’s anatomic sex, and a wish to have surgery and hormonal treatment to make one’s body as congruent as possible with one’s preferred sex.”

              For there to be two types of transsexual there would have to be two types of transsexualism… with varied symptoms and a clear experiential difference.

              As far as I know, transsexuals – be they gay or straight – all experience their condition in the same way – as defined by ICD10.

              Therefore, it is irrelevant whether they are early onset or late onset, tall or small, intelligent or low IQ, Latin or Asian. What unites them all is that they are all experiencing exactly the same symptoms described above. This clearly demonstrates there is only one type of transsexual.

              To understand this better, we only have to look at a taxonomy of depressives. Depressives fall into a number of categories – manic, bi-polar, vascular etc. Each category is not dictated by some inherent quality of the person who suffers it – sexuality, height, social class etc… BUT BY THE DIFFERENT SYMPTOMS THEY DISPLAY.

              The symptoms and the treatment are all the same in the case of gay and heterosexual transsexuals, so it makes absolutely no sense to divide them up on the basis of sexuality. In fact, it seems, outright weird and creepy.”

              Please, Kay… find something better to do with your time than harass transwomen. You make me sick!

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      • Gender is a construct, to which one can only be “scientific” in regards to for example, correlating biological variations (such as relative measure of aggression) with arbitrary associations of “masculinity”

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  3. There is a huge problem, at least in the US, with sexual shame… sex is not really talked about openly without feeling of embarrassment, and is only implied by euphemisms in speech of the media, behind closed doors or under sheets… so when trying to grasp the concept of transsexual, I think there is the association with this same shamefulness involved in their thinking which is why they want to see our sexual nature as human beings being the thing that’s deviant here, we have to be changing our genders because “gender IS sex”, and is must be their driving force to make this transition. They personify our desire to be our authentic selves to it being something we are only doing out of sexual gratification, therefore we should be made to feel ashamed of ourselves instead. The sexual desires the trans people I’ve known, and myself, all are EFFECTS of gynephilia, and hormones (in most cases testosterone, being something that pushes a person’s sexual drive). Don’t get me wrong, sometimes people transition out of sexual lust… but they are usually quick to de-transition, but hey, sometimes you just have to try on different suits to see which fits best.

    I cross-dressed from an early age before it was sexual in nature, puberty happened, then the clothes were more the thing that would be a turn on than the thought of me being a woman, and in all moments of my waking life the fact people perceived me as male, and I knew I was female but no one would understand me, and people like me are shamed in the media so it must me wrong… so the dressing became something I hid and repressed as a huge secret till I found resources online telling me that I may be trans, and when I hit a low point in my life it was my last resort before killing myself. All these feelings just because we are mocked in mainstream media, told we are delusional freaks, and that we need help. All this hate from people who have no idea who we are, and don’t realize we are just your average Joes and Janes, just trying to live our lives. Maybe it is misdirected anger from this factory of shame programmed socially from the mass media? We may appear to be people who shine light on their own personal embarrassments therefore they must put an end to it, be it spreading hate on YouTube comment sections, to murdering trans women out of pure hate. Also, think of all the Patriarchy’s effects that may shape the way they see things, that we must be weak creatures therefore prey, that anything feminine is “kryptonite” to their “manhood”, that being an effeminate male you are lowest on the totem pole… and if we are only seen as effeminate males, and not the feminine women we are, then we don’t deserve their respect till we “man up”.

    Just a passing thought, I would love to see your ideas on.

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    • Welcome, Phoebe. It is lovely to have you here. Thank you for your thoughts. I think you are right.

      Some probably do see me as an effeminate male; they then have me in a box, properly categorised, of no further interest and little value. Others get to know me and my unique gifts and value me as a whole person, not a series of categories. I have friends who value me. No-one is beloved by all. If I can value myself, I do not need, so much, to be valued by others.

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    • The common “not sexual before puberty” narrative is problematic, because of the false commonsensical supposition that sexuality is created in puberty. Rather we are sexual from very very early in childhood (myself from 3-6 years of age), and it is around puberty, generally with the discovery of masturbation, where the conditions generally come to be present, for sexuality to be conceptualized as such, thus itself the very condition for something sexual, to be recognised as being sexual.

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  4. Dear Clare,

    Please do not insult WXLUP… he is a leader for all of us ineveterate emasculationists. What you, Clare, must remeber, is that t is the logical semiotic condition of the fetish and its adjunct phenomonologcal basis that creates the internal circumstances through which any emotional attachment to said fetish will produce the transgender identity. Ergo, all the evidence having been careully considered – and disputing the trans essence of the ‘crossdreamer’ narrative and that of Molay’s lackey ‘Felix conrad’… we can say that a post structutalist analysis shows that you are not a woman but an emsaculated fetishistic man.

    But don’t worry, because that doesn’t invalidate yoir trans identity… honest!

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    • Actually sexuality conditioning, is simply one way which a relationship to feminine associations (let alone self-identification through them) can be developed.

      “we can say that a post structutalist analysis shows that you are not a woman but an emsaculated fetishistic man.”

      “Being a gender” (one who is of particular gender associations) is representative of the relationship one has with associations of gender. If one’s relationship comprises predominantly and meaningfully of feminine associations, then that is the being of a woman, regardless of the origin of the associations.

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  5. A failure to understand the relationship between sexual desire & emotional attachment. See ThirdWayTrans *On APG”

    [Actually, don’t. Link deleted.]

    Denial of the existence of the masochistic emasculation fetish (convenient on this website where you delete links to the very content of the fetish, & content of analysis).

    [You know, Wux, you have a trans woman’s blog fetish. You come and say your rubbish here, then wank. Why can’t you just write it in a diary and wank over that, without bothering other people?]

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    • “[Actually, don’t. Link deleted.]”

      You claim in this thread that you are interested in understanding. What do you therefore think of ThridWayTran’s understanding of the relationship between sexual desire and emotional attachments? Or are you only interested in understanding in the terms you quoting me stating?

      “[You know, Wux, you have a trans woman’s blog fetish. You come and say your rubbish here, then wank.”

      Actually I have a genuine interest in the theorising the fetish and it’s commonly affiliated issues.

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      • Third way trans, who studied psychology and detransitioned, has interesting things to say. You haven’t. For example, in your latest comment you write “the fetish”, reductively, while s/he talks of attachment. S/he is aware of complexity and willing to consider many perspectives, you just bang on about emasculation, from one tiny, closed-minded perspective.

        S/he writes, the real question is what response to gender dysphoria will lead to the most happiness and well-being. Hooray! Whereas the only happiness you value is your own, and the only happiness you imagine is asserting your idiocies against all refutation.

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        • This is interesting. You are now deleting comments. What was it that you disliked in my comment? In how I presented that myself & TWTs share the same understanding & outlook regarding the fetish & it’s commonly related issues? Or was it that I asked you to address what TWT’s has actually written?

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          • I have now spammed and deleted three of your comments.

            It’s because you bore me.

            Why should I answer your questions? I have more interesting things to do, and to write about. I may look more closely at TWT, some of the ideas seem interesting. Remember you can judge me all you like- take this, if you wish, as evidence that I can’t answer you- but I really can’t be arsed, and I do not accept your judgment, on this or any other issue.

            Once in the pub with Mensa, a very boring man told me his stories. Like one does, I started by showing interest and making prompting noises; then I stared at him without any prompts; then I started looking around for someone else to talk to, and finally turned my back on him. So he grabbed me by the arm, pulled me round, and said, I haven’t finished yet. “But I have,” I replied, and walked off.

            Yesterday I read aloud what I had written and the response was enthusiasm; and the experience was delightful for me. And we laughed together, and that was delightful. Go and find someone who likes what you write, if you can. I promise you it is far more rewarding than what you are trying here. Or try and establish some sort of relationship with me- be a blogging buddy- comment on something other than your grotesque little theory.

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            • “I have now spammed and deleted three of your comments. It’s because you bore me.”

              Rather because you adhere to a losing argument.

              “comment on something other than your grotesque little theory.” [Wuxlip busily jerking away…]

              The mere interpretation of a common masochistic fetish? The notion that transgender affiliations aren’t an intrinsic etiological component of the fetishism? The idea that sexuality is productive of emotional attachments? It is you that posits that identity only has validity if derived in a favoured origin, under the assumption that there is such a thing as “true” tranwomen, let alone a “true” women.

              [Wuxlip Spurts!!!]

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  6. Narratives are powerful things. Consider that you may well both be right in every that it matters which is applied to yourself.

    What is true for you is true for you but stop casting your narratives on others. Both of you. There are no absolutes here, just the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment– and that is an individual experience.

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    • Welcome. Thank you for that.

      However, I seek to get beyond narratives to the underlying drive, the attraction and aversion. The idea that some trans women are in some sense “true” transsexuals gets in the way, because we imagine that if we fit that “true” typology transition will be OK; whereas matters like how tall you are can affect your experience of transition.

      Then I seek facebook-Buddhist ideas to escape misery: it is all about self-acceptance. There are commonalities to the search for fulfilment.

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      • I can agree with that. It is kind of bizarre that TS have to show great suffering to transition else it is somehow they are not real. True TS/TG liberation is believing it when people say what they are and requiring no other proof to respect that. That simply choosing to be a women is as acceptable as “having no choice”.

        That said, I am afraid I interpret my experience more in the MEF camp. I just have no need to project my experience on others.

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        • Do you really think I project my experience onto others? I have been resisting Wuxlip’s projection for some time now. I am happy for others to see their experience as different, but not to project onto me, or onto other trans women.

          And for me, the problem is internal. I have residual doubts. Insofar as I am happy with my own choice I can live with the disbelief and disrespect of others.

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