Real self, female self

In 1998/99, I became aware of something in me, which I called at first the “vulnerable bit”- I am the effective, sane, normal human being and inside there is this hurting and easily hurt part of me which I do not understand. In February 1999 I understood it was the Real me, me behind my mask: I had lived with my pretense so long I had thought the mask was who I am, and now I found who I really was. I had to let the real me out. Shortly after, I identified that Real me as female.

We make stories about ourselves. This is the story I wrote in my diary at the time. By then I had been cross-dressing for twenty years, had been to the Sibyls and associated with other trans women, and seen a consultant psychotherapist claiming to be transsexual- he said I was not. But then a psychiatrist had said I had transsexual tendencies eight years before. I was aware of the concepts of TS, seen as a person with a medical condition, and TV, what I had thought I was and saw as a disgusting pervert, and might blame myself less if I were TS, but would have life harder as transition is difficult. It took me another 21 months to decide to transition. I had written fantasies about being physically turned into a woman by strong, controlling women following their own desires in my teens, and as that psychotherapist, Graeme McGrath, said, if you fantasise about being dominated, you are still in complete control of your fantasy but have fantasised another character who liberates you from guilt and responsibility.

I was aroused by cross-dressing, I masturbated while cross-dressed and initially took the clothes off immediately afterwards, and I had erotic dreams about cross-dressing. I found that completely shameful. I did not have erotic dreams about sex with others.

I don’t feel sexual arousal by itself would make anyone transition. Fiona spent a week cross-dressed and at the end was sick of it. I consider all these stories, all these ideas, put the pieces together in order to understand and underneath it all is what I do and what I desire…

McGrath asked what I wanted. I said I wanted to be a housewife, and my memory is that just by snorting and facial expression he indicated dismissive contempt of this impossible fantasy.

Anne Lawrence suggests that autogynephilia, love of onesself as a woman, is a sexual orientation, and that after a phase of lust it settles into romantic love. Just as people who love other people form a partnership sustained by affection and attachment, so we transition and our state of being our female selves involves, as well as arousal, the other elements, such as admiration, affection, beneficence, and desire for closeness, that are usually associated with the word love, broadly construed, and that are considered to be expressive of a person’s sexual orientation.

I have rejected this idea, and I have stories of the rejection. It does not fit the facts. Or, perhaps, thinking autogynephilia is stigmatising and wanting to avoid stigma and wanting to involve judging myself, I can’t accept that. Those who insist I am autogynephiliac would say any denial by a trans person is simply special pleading. Actually, if I say I could not avoid transition without even greater self-suppression and self-hatred than I have suffered, I might avoid the judgment and stigma at least in my own mind, if not that of the most contemptuous TERF. I could not help myself! I would still judge myself, though. I should not be like this!

The moral argument is that we should be accepted, because this is who we are, and it is not a choice, even if it is a “paraphilic sexual orientation”. We could not help ourselves. The stigma, and internalised stigma, is such that you do not do this unless you cannot resist it. Though I still feel that gender dysphoria causing arousal by female embodiment fantasies makes far more sense than autogynephilia existing separately from gender dysphoria, then causing it.

I identified my real self as female, and transitioned. If now I argue that we should identify ourselves as feminine men, I could just be creating more anguish for trans women. They will transition eventually, I will just have fuelled their internal conflict, self-stigmatisation, and suffering. In Blanchard and Lawrence’s theory, the desire for hormones and an approximation to female genitals is part of the love of onesself as a woman, so we have the operation for that, not because of social pressure. The clothes are not enough.

This would mean that rapid onset gender dysphoria, and possibly all FTM transgender, is a different phenomenon.

Miranda Yardley

How could a trans woman be transphobic? First, you have to define “trans”. My definition: a trans person is one who copes with their gender non-conformity by transgender behaviour up to and including transition. It is not something innate, but a choice we make in our particular circumstances. I feel it is a legitimate choice. We make our own lives easier. We do not harm others. This definition gives me freedom.

A transphobe, then, is one who delegitimises the choice, as Miranda Yardley does, even though she has transitioned and not reverted. For example, her insistence on the discredited autogynephilia theory, here. First, she selected the writings of four gynephile trans women, who write of being aroused by cross-gender fantasy. I don’t know whether these people have also written about being feminine, and if Yardley bothered finding out, she does not mention it, as it would refute her argument. Then she explains autogynephilia theory, that the desire to transition comes from an “erotic target location error”- you get aroused by the wrong thing, in this case fantasies of yourself as a woman. There is no explanation of what causes this error, because innate femininity (gender non-conformity) causes the error, and that refutes the theory. Yardley however wants to deal with the problem that sexual arousal is not a basis for living female continually, which she handwaves away by claiming that the erotic attachment becomes a romantic attachment.

The articles Yardley cites refute her. Why did Natalie Egan transition? Because when she was outwardly successful as a man there was always something gnawing away at me that I never understood and couldn’t explain. Only now do I understand it as a deep dissatisfaction with myself. This inner misalignment and horrific fear of expressing the person I really was inside. That’s clear enough for me, not enough for Yardley. Natalie was emotionally intuitive, yet hard to get to know. Her wife thought she was trans, at a time she herself was in deep denial.

In the New Statesman, Yardley denied being transphobic. She is a trans woman. She addresses crowds about her heavy metal magazine as “an openly trans woman”. I parse that phrase, and find it can only be a claim to be a “woman”, rather than a man. However she is “gender critical”, which means she claims to be male, and that being a woman is a matter of reproductive biology. Gender is sex-based socialisation which oppresses women. She calls a trans woman’s claim that she has always been female, “gender essentialism”, which contradicts her gender critical approach. However, I have always been feminine, and argue that women should be free not to be feminine.

Then she reaches the nub of the issue. Do the rights of a trans woman who has lived as a man for 60 years to not feel intimidated by having to use male facilities trump the rights of women to have a safe space where they do not need to be concerned about voyeurism or sexual violence? She does not give her answer here. Mine is that no woman need be concerned about voyeurism or sexual violence, if I am in a woman’s loo. I go in there to use the place in the normal way.

Here’s the transphobia. Yardley asserts that women feel threatened, and we are part of that threat, simply because of being born male. However, we are as broken by gender norms as anyone. It is a literal fear, seeing me as a threat, simply because of who I am. That negates me, and denies my right to exist.

Weaponising “autogynephilia”

“Autogynephilia” is a discredited theory. “Female embodiment fantasies” fits how people think and feel so much better. Yet the idea of autogynephilia is still used to attack trans women, sometimes by other trans women.

Go to Urban Dictionary and vote down the third definition, which imagines two kinds of trans women: homosexual transsexuals, and autogynephiliacs. “Ashley has randomly transitioned from male to female despite being age 55. I think she’s autogynephilic.” “Rose just spent her children’s university savings on sexual reassignment. She’s in the throes of autogynephilia.” “I just danced all over Ally last night, and didn’t even know she used to be male. Her movements and voice are so femme. I don’t think she’s autogynephilic.”

It creates a complete dichotomy. No homosexual transsexual transitions over age 25. All gynephile trans women are autogynephiliac. Most laughs in the Urban Dictionary are snark, but even by their standards this is a strong attack. I wonder if the statistic that 90% of trans women are gynephile has any basis in reality. Most cis people are straight, so that could just mean that the proportions of gynephile and androphile trans women are the same as in cis men.

It seems to me that more people transition without GRS, and this is out of a desire not to be mutilated. Why should you have your genitals altered? What good does it do? People talk of wanting the “poison glands” taken away, and orchiectomy means you don’t need testosterone suppressants- it is less invasive in the long run- but possibly we are altered because of social pressure. We desire a woman’s role, and everyone said that required body modification. Or, possibly we gynephiles are sexually passive, and that means we feel greater dislike for male organs. Anyway, gender dysphoria was popularly understood to mean body alteration, and now many trans folk don’t seek that.

I did not have facial feminisation surgery, but have known gynephile trans women who did. It involves grinding away the bones of the skull. I find the idea horrible, but again it could be that there is not the same social pressure. You will pass better after FFS, and that makes life easier, however much we assert that people should be treated differently according to other criteria, and not whether they pass or whether they are beautiful. Passing privilege and attractiveness privilege exist. A trans woman with a clear eye to her own interest might have FFS rather than GRS.

The writer hedges his/her bets with the words “common” and “generally”. All generalisations are wrong; but either the dichotomy is real, or it isn’t. There is no rational basis to this hostility- if it comes from anywhere, it is the idea that we make them look bad, that people would accept androphile trans women if the gynephiles weren’t messing it all up by being so revolting. But no-one who is intolerant of trans women would think the difference mattered at all.

What of this assertion? Generally, the two types of trans women don’t associate with each other in any way. If you are an androphile trans woman, please leave a comment. I find that trans women do not associate with each other generally, whatever their orientation, particularly after transition.

Female Embodiment fantasies

It is a common erotic fantasy among people with testicles to imagine themselves with women’s bodies- men, as well as M-Fs. Julia Serano calls these “Female embodiment fantasies”.

There is a huge range of sexual fantasies. In fantasy you are completely in control- if in my fantasy I am being “dominated” I still choose what the Domme will do. We fantasise about things we would never do- murder fantasies gave some relief to me, and to far more people than the number of actual murderers. So people cannot be classified by our fantasies. When I fantasise about doing something, or having something done to me, I fantasise about my body, and I fantasised about my body being female or being made to appear female from my mid teens. The fantasy aroused me sexually. Now I have attained my female body, with my breasts and vagina, expressing myself feminine, I have fewer such fantasies. Because I am attracted to women, I am more likely to fantasise about women’s bodies sexually- my own, or my fantasy partner’s- than androphilic trans women.

Cis women have this fantasy too. Serano argues this is because our culture is so male-centric: women are judged on their sexual attractiveness, and objectified. She does not comment on gay men’s fantasies.

I first read about FEFs through the site Transsexual Women’s Resources, run by Anne Lawrence. She had useful gen on various vaginoplasty surgeons, and the essay Men trapped in men’s bodies, now expanded into a book. It explained the theory of autogynephilia, the theory that lesbian trans women transitioned because of these fantasies. We fantasised so much about being women that we sought surgery to reify our fantasies. Serano says, and I agree, that we should cease to use the term “autogynephilia” because it has been associated with the theory that these fantasies cause gender dysphoria. That theory is merely silly. One fantasises about what one finds erotic, not about random things which then become erotic. Why would a man without gender dysphoria imagine himself to be a woman? Gender dysphoria causes FEFs, not the other way around. Or at least, correlation does not prove causation. Without clear evidence to the contrary, it is more likely that dysphoria causes female embodiment fantasy.

The term “autogynephilia” pathologises trans women’s experience, and conceptualises the fantasy as the cause of the dysphoria. The term FEF describes it. As the fantasy is unlikely to cause the dysphoria, the term autogynephilia should not be used. I now have a page called “autogynephilia”, which I may rewrite completely: for that page should describe what is, and spend less time describing what is not. I may rename the page, too, but right now the false term is well known and recognisable; I want the term female embodiment fantasy to eclipse it. The words we use to describe things are so powerful!

“Crossdreaming” is the other word for the fantasies. That word decouples the fantasy from the action of transition: crossdreamers may transition, or may not.

I heard of Julia‘s term from Joanna Santos through T-Central, the portal for trans blogs where you can find all kinds of trans experience.

I am grateful to Calie of T-Central for sharing this post. Her sharing gets me far more publicity than I would otherwise get. And- by eck you’re a shy lot. Comment! Like! Let us encourage each other!

Blake, Wise and foolish virgins

Peak trans

Peak trans is that moment when a trans woman does something you find unpleasant or objectionable, which is your licence to loathe, mock and berate all trans women for ever after. Because she’s always that nasty and stupid, and they’re all like that, all the time: misogynist, domineering, self-centred, masculine, and for them it’s all about them. Peak trans is hash tags and websites where women can share these stories and say, well, I was a liberal feminist and pro-trans, or at least not completely hostile until I met one and got revolted. Because they are revolting. Or until I read something on the internet.

Let’s consider some “Peak trans” claims. Google for the quotes, if you really must.

And I may not be correct here in assuming this but considering autogynephilia IS a paraphilia along with pedophilia it makes perfect sense that these MtT are attracted to underage girls. Some of them are even twisted enough to fantasize that they ARE teenage girls inside their own heads.

MtT is “Male to Trans”. She is well down the rabbit hole, perhaps never tolerant of trans women. Her “Peak trans” moment was when she first heard of the concept and was revolted- but rather than thinking, this is a human being, she sought out justification for her hostility. Considering mice are mammals along with elephants, perhaps mice can weigh several tons. Or perhaps not.

I found myself thinking that maybe I ( a socialist) will vote for Cruz because at least then he will appoint conservative judges who won’t give in to the bathroom bullshit. What the hell world am I living in that I actually have that thought???

A world where hating trans women is more important to you than not starting wars, not teaching Creationism as science, or women having access to abortion.

This woman self-identified as a trans man for a bit, but changed her mind. The final crack was seeing a trans woman I used to follow, post a photo of herself in a nice dress, for a night out. Something really irked me about it: she stood in a ridiculous little-girl pose (she’s middle aged), complete with high heel slightly raised in the air. I didn’t see an empowered woman. I saw a man in a dress, mocking women. So that trans woman should dress to please other women, not herself? She goes on, Now I read on here every day. It makes me feel confident, supported, and even loved. I LOVE feeling like I’ve found answers, but most importantly, community with like-minded women. Because when you are in a cult defined around identifying yourself as persecuted and another group as deserving to be hated simply for a single characteristic they share, your hate is addictive. Beware addictions which distract you from your real-life problems.

I have been calling this the trans-cult for a long time. I lost my partner of 5 years to it, 5 years ago and he has ruined his life as a result. Perhaps our union wasn’t going to last anyway but he actually severed it by following this cult online and eventually going behind my back to get hormones from his doctor.

People often dislike former partners, but you are claiming she should be an entirely different person because you don’t like who she actually is, and feeling betrayed when she does not obey. She’s lucky to have left. Doctors should not prescribe your partner medicine without your say-so? What?

My first peak trans moment came with the forcing of the label ‘cis woman.’ What would you prefer? “Women, and trans women”? “Cis woman” is only necessary to distinguish from trans women- normally “woman” is perfectly fine for both.

Thank God for “peak trans”- these TERFs will make women trans-friendly because of their extremism.

Caravaggio St Catherine

Reassurance II

I want to comfort you, to reassure, to give confidence, courage and hope.

Most of my audience is trans. 7% of my page views are for one post, on Tucking, which gets most searches and is probably responsible for my worldwide reach- readers in Mongolia and Greenland, Guam and Bhutan. I get more views for trans related posts: I may be fascinated by the myth of the Descent of Inanna, about the Sumerian Queen of Heaven descending into the Underworld, but my readers were not, particularly. Would it make a difference if I told you it has a detailed description of her clothes?

I want to reassure. The world can be cruel to us, but it is better not to dwell on that. I used to be in a Yahoo group called TNUK Digest, which reported news of interest to trans folk. Some idiot fundamentalist preacher in the US said Gays are BAD!!!! and TNUK would pass that on, and we would read it and think, oh, everyone’s horrible! How can I transition? Sometimes we dwell too much on the frightening stuff.

It will be alright. Stealth is very difficult to achieve. Anyone with a little practice can tell the difference between a counter-tenor and a soprano, so your voice may sound wrong. You are big, for a woman, your waist-hip ratio is too high, you may have ridges on your forehead and large, manly hands. Don’t worry. You will find people to value and celebrate you, even cherish you. Because even if you are ungainly, your personality is beautiful. We tend to be gentle and peaceful, sweet and loving. You may have little self-respect because you have never felt manly enough- but the good news is, you don’t have to be manly! You can just be your beautiful self.

You may have agonised for months or years about transition. There is a war within you: you desire the change, yet it revolts you. Of course it is worth seeing psychiatrists and counsellors to work out what is best for you- yet if transition is what you want, it is permitted. Yes, you can. You might worry about “autogynephilia”. Don’t. If you get turned on, that is perfectly natural for human beings.

Some people are hostile. They have the logical arguments: a trans woman has a Y chromosome, a fused, narrow pelvis, an upbringing as a boy and an inability to menstruate. The logical arguments don’t matter: what matters is human relationships. Most people are tolerant enough, very few are so hostile as to make a point of it, especially when they get to know you. It is a choice to be hostile, and outside narrow, bitter internet forums most people choose to be friendly enough.

Note the title of this picture. I chose it to get in the searches. I want to be read; and to be of use, to make a contribution. So do you. That is beautiful. You are good enough.

tucked penis 1

Amputees by choice

Should people who have a desire for the amputation of a healthy limb receive that treatment? In this paper Tim Bayne argues yes.

What causes the desire? Bayne distinguishes Body Dysmorphic Disorder from Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder: in BDD, the “wannabe” believes the limb is diseased or ugly, and in BIID the person’s identity does not include the limb. In both the wannabe knows the limb is part of their body, unlike in deafferentation, where people rationally recognise the limb is theirs but only know where it is from visual clues, so that learning to walk again is difficult. Some amputees have phantom limbs, even trying to use those limbs eg to answer the telephone.

A wannabe might have apotemnophilia or acrotomophilia, the sexual desire to have an amputation or attraction to amputees. The attraction may be a projection: few apotemnophiles form permanent relationships with amputees, as it is never the right amputation. There is overlap between devotees, those who pretend to have an amputation, and wannabes. In a survey of only 52 subjects, 87% admitted sexual arousal. Bayne suggests that some wannabes might have BIID, some BDD, even some both, and if there was a sexual component this does not invalidate the desire: Perhaps the sexual element is better conceived of as common, though not inevitable. Sexuality is an essential ingredient in most people’s sense of identity. Like Gender Identity Disorder, BIID might be importantly sexual without ceasing to be essentially concerned with identity.

What could justify a surgeon amputating? Harm minimisation: many will damage their limbs in a dangerous way. Autonomy: an individual’s conception of their good should be respected. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not forced to have blood transfusions. Whether it is morally relevant is that amputation is an act rather than an omission is questionable, especially where doctors have an obligation to promote health. Arguably wannabes are not competent to give informed consent, as they are deluded; but it is a specific individual delusion, they are otherwise rational, and given the delusion amputation is a rational response.

Some say an attempt to change the belief is an attempt to change their identity, who they are. Perhaps they have tried and failed: there is little evidence, but it is unclear another cure would work. There are feminist arguments against cosmetic surgery, that the desire for a different body is false consciousness, but people are allowed to seek it.

Incidentally Bayne argues that transsexual surgery is less acceptable, because trans women conform to stereotypes- weak, helpless and obsessed by appearance. Here I wonder if he is motivated by empathy or perceived kudos for putting an unattractive argument convincingly.

The operation will have a therapeutic effect if (i) wannabes endure serious suffering as a result of their condition; (ii) amputation will – or is likely to – secure relief from this suffering; (iii) this relief cannot be secured by less drastic means; (iv) securing relief from this suffering is worth the cost of amputation.

One writer claimed the desire for amputation has its origins in attention seeking sparked by the deprivation of parental love. I find I am able to appear needy, and attract those who like helping, by less drastic means; and this disbelieves the subject. Why do you want the amputation? Simply for itself. “It is who I am.”

Many will feel repugnance, as shown by my initial choice of title, a poor joke to cover my embarrassment- “Off with their Legs!” That is not a ground for refusing the operation. Disgust is no reliable indicator of moral objectionability.

Monet three trees in grey weather

Developing gender dysphoria

If transvestic fetishism develops into autogynephilia then gender dysphoria, that would only be a bad thing if being a trans woman is a bad thing. Why on Earth would one ever imagine that? It is good for me. It enables me to be, to express myself, to interact with others, more authentically as me- whether that “me” is “male” or “female”, masculine or feminine, whatever.

That the process was intensely painful does not mean that it was a bad thing. The pain came from guilt and shame, and from unknowing and feeling not in control. Not trusting. But first I like feminine clothes, then I imagine a feminine lifestyle, then I realise my feminine self. All people undergo this growth into being the mature self, a process of being and becoming, like egg, caterpillar, pupa, butterfly. All the stages are necessary, and each stage is the real me.

I recall the pain, and it has echoes now, for I am still in pain. My pain is at the strength of the cultural forces pushing me into the false path of conventional masculinity, which still enrage me, which necessitate the strength of my NO!, my refusal, leaving so little strength left for my yes, my desire.

It involved masturbation, then feeling guilty. Why should sexual release be “bad”? It is a natural physical function. I felt guilt about it, because of the guilt about cross-dressing- which was rejecting the role mapped out for me, the conventional concept of manhood which did not fit me. It seemed to me that society pushed me into the wrong shaped hole, and I felt guilt at resisting. Though I thought Oldham CAB would find a reason to dismiss me, and they supported me: society was more liberal than I had thought.

Was the desire reinforced or fomented by the masturbation? I don’t think it could be instigated by masturbation, and I think presenting female would create gender dysphoria, the intense discomfort of the male in the female role, if it was merely a sexual fantasy. But yeah, theorists disagree, and say of me, s/he would say that, wouldn’t s/he? Sod ’em.

The process involves removal of male physical sex characteristics, and as far as possible creation of female ones. My facial hair was removed, and some have FFS. Does this mean I assert that my femininity means that I am a woman, or that women ought to be “feminine”? No, just that from whatever cause which I do not know, that is what I wanted. Possibly the cause is the Patriarchy, which almost tolerates me if I pretend to be a woman. I don’t know what the world without patriarchy would be like- yet I subvert Patriarchy, by rejecting male privilege.

Oh, come on Roughseas, I know you read this! So many pageviews from Gibraltar, the simplest explanation is they’re you. This tense paradox of freedom and unfreedom, in that being free- authentic- means having no choice- here I am, I can be no other. Say you forgive me! Another paradox: I am myself, and I am in the world.

I have been back with Prof Eric Steinhart, and today learn his pages are designed to be read with die Phänomenologie des Geistes, which I may yet read, though I might prefer an internet summary to an undergraduate module. And a line from Jonathan Franzen The Corrections, that Alfred blamed Enid for his confusion, for witnessing it into existence. I wrestle with this, as I have for the last four years, and take what I may from the thought of others, to push my own forward.

life is like a roller coaster

I am still screaming; but enjoying slightly more.

Transvestic fetishism, autogynephilia, and late onset gender dysphoria

What makes transvestic fetishism a “disorder”? Distress, or harm to others. The paraphilia subworkgroup producing DSM V explain: A paraphilia by itself would not automatically justify or require psychiatric intervention. A paraphilic disorder is a paraphilia that causes distress or impairment to the individual or harm to others…This approach leaves intact the distinction between normative and non-normative sexual behavior, which could be important to researchers, but without automatically labeling non-normative sexual behavior as psychopathological.

According to the DSM, in late onset gender dysphoria the progression is: transvestic fetishism, that is, the subject is aroused by cross-dressing; autogynephilia, arousal by fantasies of self as a woman; gender dysphoria, the desire to live continually as a woman and physically alter the body.

DSM V on transvestic disorder: The presence of autogynephilia increases the likelihood of gender dysphoria in men with transvestic disorder…Some cases of transvestic disorder progress to gender dysphoria. The males in these cases, who may be indistinguishable from others with transvestic disorder in adolescence or early childhood, gradually develop desires to remain in the female role for longer periods and to feminize their anatomy. The development of gender dysphoria is usually accompanied by a (self-reported) reduction or elimination of sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing.

DSM V on gender dysphoria: Adolescents and adults with late-onset gender dysphoria frequently engage in transvestic behavior with sexual excitement. The majority of these individuals are gynephilic or sexually attracted to other posttransition natal males with late-onset gender dysphoria. A substantial percentage of adult males with late-onset gender dysphoria cohabit with or are married to natal females. After gender transition, many self-identify as lesbian…Additional predisposing factors under consideration, [that is, theories without empirical justification] especially in individuals with late-onset gender dysphoria (adolescence, adulthood), include habitual fetishistic transvestism developing into autogynephilia (i.e., sexual arousal associated with the thought or image of oneself as a woman) and other forms of more general social, psychological, or developmental problems.

This is not on line, and I got the quotes from a comment from a trans-exclusionist, here. The DSM V definition of a mental disorder, section on gender dysphoria, introductory section on paraphilic disorders and differential diagnosis on transvestic disorder/GD, are at pp 3-17 of this pdf.

It is a pity Ray Blanchard was involved in this part of DSM V. He claims transvestism develops into autogynephilia, then gender dysphoria, though not in all cases: there are cross-dressers who are quite happy with their gender and their hobby.

He overlooks distress and denial as a causal factor. Gender dysphoria plus denial manifests first as transvestism, then fantasising about being women, and finally gender dysphoria. We try to make men of ourselves. We cannot admit to ourselves that we are not men. But we cannot deny it completely, so first we compulsively cross-dress, with that extreme distress, repeatedly getting rid of the clothes; then we admit the desire to express female; and finally we cannot resist that desire any more, resisting is just too painful. I retain that distress. I want to be normal, and cannot be.

Which of these subjects may be observed? Only the ones who have developed gender dysphoria, generally: which of the fetishistic transvestites would you examine, as most of them will not develop GD. So my own evidence is of disproportionate value here. I self-identified as fetishistic transvestite, in 1992, when I sought aversion therapy. My psychiatrist Dr Yellowlees thought I showed transsexual tendencies, though I would have denied it, my distress (and so “disorder”) being so great. I am the example of the person who might give a history of developing autogynephilia after gender dysphoria was established.

Now read on: if fetishism develops into gender dysphoria, that is beautiful.

George Elgar Hicks, seated woman in white dress

Trans narratives

We create stories of our lives. What good do they do? Here are alternative narratives:

I am autogynephiliac. This means that I could have been an ordinary heterosexual male, but through a lack of self-control developed a fetishistic perversion. This means that when my sister refused to allow me to see her children, that was entirely reasonable.

I am trans. This is an innate gift: I was born this way, and transition has been my destiny. However transition remains difficult, and I have shown courage and True Strength carrying it out.

What might I get from a narrative? I might believe that I am a good person, and reasonably safe from harm.

But it becomes a burden when I need to protect it. Kay Brown is merely wrong, in an uninteresting way, but her transphobic hatred of the gynaephiles can only affect me if I need that second narrative to be true. Then any doubt of it casts me in doubt and confusion. And her caring so much, that she spews such hatred over so many years, comes from her narrative: that there are true transsexuals, that she is one, and that the fakes just make it hard for the real ones. All her suffering is my fault, for pretending to a status I do not deserve.

The narrative helps me believe I am safe, and that I am a good person deserving happiness. Threats to the narrative make me doubt my safety, goodness and desert. So I devote my energies to protecting the narrative.

In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Pilgrim is in the Slough of Despond carrying a dreadful burden, and then he realises that Jesus died for him, and his burden falls from his back. Whether or not you believe the literal truth of this central story of our civilisation, it might free me from the need for my own narrative. God Loves Me. Therefore I am good enough, safe enough, deserving enough.

Here is a better narrative: I express myself female because I want to. I have a right to, and can change if I want- I have done, before. What causes my desire does not matter. I have a right in this to do what makes me happy. Most women accept me simply as me, and that is enough.

I see the narratives for Trans issues. I am sure I have other narratives, other ways of living with myself or feeling safe; and I want rid of them. They will get in the way of my responding in the moment to the actual circumstances (as well as I can judge them).

 ♥♥♥

The narrative has another value, which is to grant us admission to women’s space. If I am a woman, then I am entitled to women’s space. Not according to this blog I came across:

Trans genderism, through intimidation, death threats and sexual bigotry, pushes one giant act of erasure: they seek to destroy all women-only spaces, which means erasing any possibility of feminist advancement.

All women are my victims. I am a monster. Nothing will persuade her otherwise.

Actually, I enter women’s space on sufferance. Any woman in a public loo could make it very embarrassing for me. There is a hard core of TERFs who will never accept me as a woman; but most women accept me as an honorary woman. They live, and let live. They accept ambiguity and anomaly. My holding the narrative or not does not mean I will not be embarrassed or excluded; only the tolerance of most women keeps me safe- enough.