“Part of the problem with distinguishing autogynephilia-as-phenomenon and autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct has been the word "autogynephilia" itself. This is because the word has the theory embedded into it. Consider how the Greek suffix "philia", meaning "affectionate regard for", has been used in the past within the fields of Psychology and Psychiatry: as a direction of sexual arousal. A "paraphilia" is a direction of sexual arousal to an "other" target. Consider how paraphilia are named. "Necrophilia" uses the Greek prefix "nekro" which means "dead"; consequently necrophilia means a sexual arousal directed at death. Now take the term "autogynephilia": "auto" means "self" and the root "gune" means "female." From its very structure, "autogynephilia" means a sexual arousal directed toward the self as a woman. If transsexuality is not a paraphilia and, for example, those fantasies are a compensation-mechanism for dealing with gender dysphoria, then the term "autogynephilia" is misleading. The word's structure makes it more than a phenomenon. The term is theoretical because it conveys Ray Blanchard's theoretical claim that "autogynephilia" is a mis-directed sex-drive.
Most often, J. Michael Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a theoretical construct. He endorses the theoretical meaning when he, for example: (a) discusses types of transsexuals, (b) treats transsexuality as a sexual deviance, and (c) characterizes autogynephilia as underlying transsexuality rather than as a consequence of gender dysphoria. There is one notable occasion when Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a phenomenon: when asked for evidence. Consider the following example from his web page about the controversy:
Even if autogynephilic transsexuals exist, aren't they rare?
No. Every indication is that autogynephilia is a common motivation for male-to-female transsexualism.
In a recent review by Anne Lawrence of 11 studies with requisite data, the median percentage of transsexuals who acknowledged a history of sexual arousal to cross-dressing (a hallmark sign of autogynephilia) was 37%. In her large survey of SRS patients of Dr. Toby Meltzer, Lawrence found that 86% of respondents had had at least occasional autogynephilic arousal ...
The question in Bailey's FAQ is about a type of transsexual rather than a type of fantasy, so he is answering a question about autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct. He begins his answer by discussing autogynephilia as a motivator of transexuality. That is, he summarizes his answer while using the theoretical construct, but also note how he simplifies Blanchard's model. More importantly, look at what evidence he gives as "every indication" for the truth of his belief. It's all about the occurrence of a type of fantasy, it's autogynephilia-as-phenomenon. In short, though Bailey cites extensive evidence that transsexual women have fantasies about the women they hope to become, he does not provide any evidence for the existence of autogynephilic transsexuals.
Scientific writing can be very dull. One reason for this is that we always try to be as precise as we can in our use of words. There are two reason for this. First, the way we define our terms can often have consequences for the results of our studies. Second, making good scientific theories requires solid logical thinking. Ambiguous definitions are an easy way to make logical fallacies. One of the more common informal logical fallacies of ambiguity is called, "equivocation." It's when you flip back-and-forth between different meanings of a word using whichever happens to be best for your overarching argument at the time (e.g., Copi, 1972). Michael Bailey equivocates on his definition of autogynephilia. It's unlikely that he is purposely trying to mislead you. Logical fallacies are, by their nature, things we can very easily find ourselves making. It takes effort not to make fallacious arguments. This is precisely why good science requires we precisely use language. Most scientists write precisely because we feel advancing our understanding is more important than writing in a provocative way".
Bravo I say!