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.

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 gender dysphoria is here.

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 female embodiment fantasies, which Blanchard calls “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.

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

Trans privilege

Do trans women have privilege?

At first you will think, all the privilege is on the cis side, but we should check our privilege. I have found arguable trans privilege. But first, a question: When did my country get so nasty? she asked.

It’s been going that way for a long time- since about 1979. That got a laugh of assent. How much we hate hearing about “Hard working families”: it is corralling the wagons, in defence against the Bad People outside. That UKIP poster is horrible, and the Tory one just as bad- vote for us, and you can drug yourself into apathy tuppence cheaper.

The woman at the bus stop was desperate to chat. As I sat on the perch, it creaked and rocked forward, and she said they should make those things safe, you know. That was enough, as I am keen to chat too. She told me of going to the convent in Lucknow, when her mother was a sergeant-cook in the Army (just before India awoke to life and freedom). Her brother was at St Joseph’s. It is still going, but it is all Indian now. She knows because it is a small world: she had been in Oxford having her brain tumour removed- she turned her head, I gently felt the scar- and she got chatting to an Indian from Lucknow. He said he had been to St Joseph’s. She would not have believed him, as it is the sort of thing they would say, but he gave sufficient detail. Then they came to Swanston, and where they lived everyone was Indian. They’re all Polish now, she said, disappointedly. Though she is a foreigner, too. Her mother was Greek. “She tried to speak English as much as possible.” All this racial stereotyping- “These people” are individuals, who react in an idiosyncratic not a monolithic way- gets to me a bit, but I forebear from challenging. I am female now. I account it privilege that she wants to start a conversation with me.

On the bus a big bloke sat beside me, and told me how cold the weather was. And it was so beautiful last week. What work do I do? Feeling no obligation to tell him the truth, I say I am an adviser. He used to drive a crane, but has not done that for years. He plays in a six piece steel band, for weddings and all occasions. He gives me a card. He would play for my wedding. Are you married? Good looking woman like you should have a fine choice of men. Do you often come into Swanston? Where do you live? He got off “to go and see a friend”, he explained, and kissed my hand.

There you go. Trans privilege. I did not feel threatened- more surprised than anything, though not particularly flattered. Perhaps, rather, it is size privilege, as any woman my height and weight would feel less bothered than someone petite. Don’t tell the TERFs I said so.


A feminist’s perspective

Then I made friends with a feminist academic, and had friendly, careful discussions about radical feminist theory. Do trans folk subvert patriarchal gender norms, or support them? In one case, she may be an ally. She believes there is trans privilege, and at first convinced me.

H was at a formal dinner, the guest of a trans woman. The trans woman was particularly glamorous, in pink silk dress, hair, makeup, nails all beautiful, performing Femininity squared. H is vegetarian, and the staff repeatedly brought her meat. The trans woman perhaps should have taken this up with the staff, as the hostess, but H felt she was behaving in a somewhat masculine manner, in care-taking. As perhaps I was, when I insisted on paying for the wine.

Then the trans woman stood to address the assembled multitude, giving a loud, extrovert, girlipink performance, like a drag queen. You may have done this yourself. It is risqué, but only to an extent. It is a queer performance of gender which the culture has just about accepted.

Trans-women, on the whole, do not get slut-shamed. H admits that I will have had shame and restrictions as a child, but we do not have the experience aged 12 or 13 of burgeoning sexual feelings along with strong social messages that they must not be acted upon.

Oh you can’t lie back
You must stay cold at heart
You must never let your feelings show
For the moment you feel it might start
Why then the only answer’s No.

Girls must be modest. The man who sleeps around is Jack the Lad. Do not disclose Lord Palmerston’s philandering, or everyone will vote for him. The woman who sleeps around is a slut. H was with Green Party activists, who referred to a Conservative candidate as “the town bike”. That shocked me, too. I would expect Greens to be sensitive to such things.

We are careful and courteous. I said I did not object to the word “transsexual” used as a noun, though some of us do. H was surprised that I was so revolted by the expression “biological woman” to mean cis-woman. It says I am not a woman. Well, maybe I am not, but the implication still hurts. In an ideal world, would people have The Operations? I explained how delighted I was to have my op, how horrified I am at the thought of losing my toe, and how I don’t think social pressures alone, strong as they are, would convince me to be castrated against the most basic survival instinct. I am not sure she accepted this. Well, I grew this breast, and the thought of losing it horrifies me as much as you- but top surgery is right for trans men.

She was an ally on the matter of autogynephilia. I explained James Cantor‘s concept of euphilia, and the thought that M-F transsexualism in gynephiles is perversion, and she said that she found that meaningless. The thought that there could be a “perversion” would mean that there was a “normal” to be perverted from. It has no relation to reality.

I loved the conversation, all four hours of it. I find her fascinating.

Boldini, Alice RegnaultA week later, I have very different views. First, she complained of that trans woman making a performance like a drag queen. It is an OTT performance of gender which is accepted from trans women but not real women. To show how objectionable this is: no-one would think of saying “She did that thing you black people do” so why would anyone imagine that referring to cliché trans behaviour was OK?

And it is an Uncle Tom act. We behave in a way the cis straights expect, understand, and laugh at. I want to keep my options open, to do that, as more choices mean more freedom, but am unclear how to do it in power.

And, yes, we don’t get slut-shamed, but I was shamed out of my sexuality, seeing it as disgusting, and not having words for it: so I had four girlfriends between 18 and 30, none at school, none lasting more than two months because I could not be myself with them. Worse, not within the protection of Feminine Virtue and Honour, we are seen as available. Steve, who has some charm and intelligence but has gone to seed, old and fat, drove me home from J’s U3A games morning. He said he found me attractive and asked if I would go to bed with him. At Oldham CAB, a dirty old man, poor, a miserable specimen, propositioned our work-experience Asian girls. They had rebelled against Asian modest dress, head-scarves and all that, but had no idea how to dress as Westerners so came to work dressed to party. He said their fathers in shame should throw them out, but he would take them in; and when he saw me about his income support, he touched up my bottom. Low status as he is, he imagines me as immediately sexually available to a path…

Do you see me at all? Here am I, without a house, partner, children, savings, job, pension fund, anything, completely vulnerable,

and you call me Privileged???

J’s joky tales of Steve’s misadventures on the dating scene, which he tells her to relieve his feelings and she tells me and her husband Pete for a laugh, rub it in. He takes women for coffee, because why take them for dinner when there will be only one fuck and who wants to be stuck with someone the whole evening? One said to him she would like him as a friend, and he expostulated that he has enough friends.

-He wants a fuck-buddy. Why not advertise for that?

Some people do. One woman basically said “Here I am- Take me.” Steve has a particularly unsuitable woman, Andrea, she’s alcoholic…


Privilege I clearly have

With a shock, I realised. She’s- working class!

I had not noticed until sitting with J and another friend of hers in her kitchen. I found their conversation of little interest. Then J complained that some people resent her large house, thinking she had “got above herself”. She often comments that she and her husband have done so much of the work on the house themselves, that she has got furniture second-hand, that her (beautiful) clothes are from charity shops. Clearly some friends do not object; but the stifling pressure of fearing being judged as “getting above yourself” might prevent a person reaching her potential, or traumatise her as she left behind her social group.

I have one particular privilege: it was expected that I would go to University, and my sister did not, initially; as our teacher my father saw that our IQ scores were similar, though I have the edge; she wanted to be a nurse, not then a degree profession, and got her nursing degree in her 40s while holding down a job and caring for a family. Though she was in rebellion against our parents in her teens, and peer pressure rather than parental expectation would have been more important. I remember writing “It is time to rebel against my parents” in my diary. I was in my thirties, or at least late twenties.Boldini- Madame Doyen

And working class boys were not expected to go to university, generally, by parents or peers, though an inspiring teacher might drive them on, and one trans friend was, from her grammar school.

It is not as simple as “male privilege” that boys have more education than girls, and in any case I have squandered any advantage from my degree, and always earned less than my sister, whether because of a miasma of cis-sexism, or other psychological difficulties.

Indeed I won’t get slut-shamed, but my sexuality still frightens and confuses me, and is arguably immature as I have had little experience of adult sexual relationships.

As this trans man says, male privilege exists. Checklists from cis men usually include I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege, but I don’t think the ones relating to ones current position apply. I get read. If I am not seen as a weirdo, my fear of that is as restricting as the reality. I doubt being trans is ever an advantage in a job interview.

“If I complain to the person in charge, the person I see will be of my sex.” No. I am considering visiting my new Tory MP, to confront him about some of his attitudes. I will have power as my authentic feminine self and not otherwise. The problem here is the woman feeling powerless. She has power if she only realised it.

To me, the greatest trans privilege is my weirdness. Other people may muddle along, more or less, in conventional or fashionable ways of being, because they fit well enough. I have had the great blessing of completely not fitting, so being forced to find my True Self. (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

My emotions overwhelm me- the analogy I use, with bitter irony, is being pre-menstrual. It may be down to the hormones. I started them to feminize my appearance, not thinking they would so intensify my anger, fear and misery. But at the time, I was beginning to get in touch with my feelings, and perhaps suppressing then finding is the cause. So “We get medical treatment with unknown side-effects”. Not a privilege.



Kaisersesch_PilgerbrunnenWhat blocks loos? Women do. Well, obviously. They flush away baby wipes and sanitary towels- “women’s things” is the formulation the theory uses- which do not break down, unlike loo roll and faeces. I heard this from Mick, and Steph heard it from Dyno-Rod. Steph got very angry, as the high pressure hose which went down the man-hole cover, forced away the blockage, and sprayed a little water on my loo seat and the floor before it, sprayed faeces on her bath, tiles and shower screen. We don’t know who called them out. It wasn’t Primal Scream, the landlord’s agents. I had called the landlord, and heard at 9pm that something had been done when I heard Steph expressing herself forcefully at two men with rubber hoses, who beat a quick retreat.

Here is a clear male v female divide, with me on the female side in loyalty and interest.

I read Miriam, assigned male at birth, using a female name, who is attracted to men. One often reads such people claiming they are real transsexuals, and we gynephiles are sex perverts- “autogynephilia” is the jargon. However Miriam claims to be autogynephiliac, though she has not been aroused by the thought of herself as female, and regurgitates trans-exclusionist propaganda. In fact she claims to be male, and imagines all trans women are autogynephiliac.

Here is her TERF argument why I should not use women’s loos and changing rooms. She claims the word “TERF” is a slur, but trans-exclusionist, or even trans-erasing, is a literal description. Trans women are not women, they are males. Women are not responsible for protecting males from other males. If trans women (males) are allowed into women’s safe spaces, such as loos and changing rooms, this is a safety issue for the cis-women (Miriam the TERF uses the term “female”). Trans women are male, therefore dangerous.

Well, cis women are a threat in women’s toilets. Trans women generally aren’t. While Miriam’s argument has an appearance of rationality, and will no doubt please transphobes and trans-exclusionists, it does not relate to the real world. Making rules against trans women protects no-one. Why would a sex-offender dress female and lurk around toilets in town centres during the day, when he could dress male and prey on drunken women at night?

“Women are not responsible for protecting males” but women in my experience are generally very happy to accept me in women’s spaces, even lesbian or political women’s spaces. My genuine sympathy with Steph, and scepticism of that male argument, does not by itself prove that I am on the women’s side, but is one small piece of the overwhelming evidence that it is right to treat us as women. Picture from Wikimedia.


Wxhluyp commented on my Autogynephilia page to say there is no such thing as autogynephilia. AGP is the theory that gynephile transwomen are aroused by the suggestion that we are female, and that creates dysphoria. I disagree, but Wyxlhup disagrees for a different reason. S/he says that the fantasy is not of becoming women, but of being emasculated. Being “feminized” is only the symbol of being emasculated.

Well. Whuxlyp has a wonderful-sounding phrase, “masochistic emasculation fetish”, but a quick Google shows that only Wuxlyph uses it.

Were it believed that this was a cause of transition, Trans-exclusionary feminists could argue that we should certainly not be admitted to women’s spaces, as we did not even really want to be women; and trans women, who judge ourselves harshly before transitioning, might worry that there was a possibility that this was their condition, and they should therefore resist transitioning.

Fortunately there is no research to back Wux- wxyu- wotsisname’s conjecture. All there is, is one person on a number of forums banging on about how any sort of pre-existing femininity or transgender psychology is etiologically adjunct to whatever he calls his fetish; and being told to shut up, and go away. No, that is not the primary fantasy of those of us who transition.

I am, actually, hard-wired to find ways in which I am bad. A friend said how talented I was, and I heard a judgment that I was not using my gifts well- then realised how silly that is. I am where I am.

Disclosure. I went to Wxhluyp’s site, and found an erotic picture by Prissy. I made a page, Prissie’s Sissies, (now deleted) not accessible from my home page but accessible from here, and from Tucking and Autogynephilia. I only included one involving penetration, but most had the cartoonist’s trademark erection inside panties.

I have never been tempted to “little girl” costumes like the ones in Prissy’s cartoons, but I was aroused, and that is the main motivation for collecting the pictures (through a Google image search). While searching, I found a picture of a transvestite I used to know, who is the only person who has admitted to me doing such role-play. Grayson Perry, who sometimes appears in “little-girl” dresses like no little girl ever wore is reducing shame- because of course I am tempted to the old line I may be a pervert but at least I am not as bad as him, which divides people and empowers kyriarchy.

I find the dominant women in the pictures arousing. There.  I have submissive fantasies– though as a psychiatrist told me, in fantasy I am in complete control, manipulating the dominant as well as the submissive with whom I identify. Pictures are safe, too. I tend to feel that there are no rigid boundaries between Prissy’s fantasies and mine, but they shade into each other.

I am posting here because I am ashamed of it, and I am working my shame out. But- this is now one of my most popular posts, getting views most days since it was published. Tell me: what did you want from this post? Has it given you what you want? Please leave a comment. What do you think of the women with strap-ons pictures in the comments?

Strap-on Femdom pictures

There are femdom pictures in the comments, which I hope please you.

Erotic structuralism

390px-Falero_Luis_Ricardo_Lily_Fairy_1888 Erotic structuralism is almost a Googlewhack: five hits all referring to whenselves, which I found here. It claims to reject the “controversial notion of autogynephilia”.

Scientists make observations, but it is useful for philosophers trained to find relations, distinctions and implications to elucidate them.

In this article, Bettcher argues that sexual attraction must be re-conceptualized in light of transgender experience. In particular, Bettcher defends the theory of “erotic structuralism,” which replaces an exclusively other-directed account of gendered attraction with one that includes a gendered eroticization of self as an essential component. This erotic experience of self is necessary for other-directed gendered desire, where the two are bound together and mutually informing. One consequence of the theory is that the controversial notion of “autogynephilia” is rejected. Another consequence is that the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is softened.

To Dr Blanchard, who proposed the theory of autogynephilia, I am attracted to the thought of myself as a woman, and this motivates me to approximate myself to the appearance of a woman. For Dr Bettcher, my own physical body is necessarily part of the erotic content of a relationship. We make love with our bodies, and for a trans man, his penis substitute is part of his interaction with the other person. He is not attracted to his penis any more than a man born with a penis is.

461px-Egyptian_Woman_With_Harp,_by_Luis_Ricardo_FaleroUnfortunately, this may merely be semantic. I was aroused by the thought of myself as female. Fantasising about this aroused me, though the fantasy did not necessarily involve another person or any sort of lovemaking. Sometimes it involved being dominated, “forced” to present female.

So it depends how important “attraction” is to the theory. If mere “arousal” is possible then arousal fits the theory. The suffix -philia would have moved a little further from its etymology.

I am happy that autogynephilia is a trivial observation, rather than an explanation of gynephilic trans women. We are at some point in the transition process aroused by fantasising that we are physically female, and expressing ourselves female. Why would such a fantasy be pleasant, rather than ghastly and horrible? Because it is real, because it is what I want separate from the arousal. That is the challenge for Blanchard.

Consider “normal” heterosexual cis men. Could they ever find the thought of being women arousing? If not, then there has to be some propensity towards expressing ourselves female before we trans women start having those fantasies.

I am not certain I understand all the subtleties of Dr Bettcher’s argument. Do read her article if you want more.

Destructive addiction

The youngest old man I ever met was in his twenties. He was looked after by relatives, and he said things to me like, “I can remember school like it was yesterday, but I can’t remember yesterday”. He had been sniffing glue since age 14. He managed to give up twice, but when his grandmother died he was upset, and he went back on it. He is probably dead by now.

Autogynephilia is a false theory. We try so desperately to make men of ourselves, running from our femininity; and we are living in role as female, long after we cease to be aroused by it. So, if “gender dysphoria” had any meaning, and we were “really” men, we would be feeling terrible gender dysphoria.

But- what if there were something in the development of autogynephilia that prevented us from feeling that dysphoria? The dysphoria goes the other way- we can’t stand presenting male- what if that developed through erotic reinforcement? Those who advocate the idea are always making ad hoc amendments to it to fit uncomfortable facts, and trans people ashamed of being trans are on the lookout for a cause.

Being transsexual is a difficult thing to cope with, sometimes. I might resent that I have this difficulty. And- Peter was killed in a motorbike accident, affecting all his family. Bad things happen to good people.

What if I had caused it? I should have treated it like an addiction, and found ways of avoiding it- I did for a year, once, I would have claimed to have “given up”- so it is my failure that leaves me where I am now. Other people kick addictions, lots of teenagers sniff glue, then stop, and I am too weak. I coulda been a contender! Still, human beings are a mix of good qualities and bad qualities. Where I am, now, is happy expressing myself female and revolted at the idea of presenting male. It is no more shameful than falling from a cliff because I could not hold on any longer, or a motorcyclist skidding in a patch of oil, and a lot less unpleasant than those things.

What difference would that make for changing rooms and loos? None. If I want to try on clothes or go swimming, I use the women’s changing room, I have a cubicle, and I behave normally, like everyone else in there.

What about the lesbian bar? Well, most people there are tolerant enough, and really don’t mind. You could get all political, and say I am a man, and men should not be in there, but such rigid categories are so last century.  Some lesbians have trans girlfriends- should they be ejected too? Tolerate me!

You might notice this is not a particularly rigorous analysis, certainly not enough to satisfy a TERF. It does not have to be, for the reason that we are mostly harmless, far more murdered than assaulting others. If any woman is upset at my presence because I make her think of male violence against her, and she wants me out, let us talk about it. If any woman is concerned someone else might be upset, there is no problem, because it is so unlikely.

Tolerance of others is a good thing. As society gets more racially and culturally mixed, we meet people who don’t grow up in the same culture and see things the same way, and on the whole it is better if we can get on with them. Racism is bad. But humans are also sexual beings, with a strong sex drive, who have to find some way of not acting on it in order to function in society. Some homophobes do not like gay people because we make them think of sex. But that is not us, that is the homophobe. You still have to find a way of not acting on sexual thoughts, bracketing them for particular places. Homophobia is bad.

Female embodiment fantasies are a symptom, and not a cause, of being trans. But even if they were not, so what?