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We like our certainty

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of labeling of late. We all seem very interested in understanding ourselves as people so by knowing what category we belong to we are somehow comforted.

However labeling is a double edged sword and things are not always as clear cut as they seem.

For example, when Ray Blanchard was doing his work with pre-op transsexuals he found that roughly 15% of his androphilic (man loving) group was experiencing what he was terming autogynephilia. Anne Lawrence (one of his principal acolytes) confirmed this herself in a series of interviews conducted in the early 2000’s with a significant group of pre-op and post op transsexuals. You can find segments of these interviews and emails on her website.

But why did this occur and why was there no definitive pattern to Blanchard’s typologies? Because real life does not work like that and the theories postulated to explain certain behaviours in transsexuals were in the end too simplistic.

I found it odd when reading the writings of Anne Lawrence that she was a keen adopter of Blanchard’s work and gleefully self identified as an AGPer but then successfully transitioned and continues to live life happily as a woman. Does that even make sense?

If, as Blanchard postulated, Lawrence was a fetishist male who was in love with her own image as a woman why was her surgery even approved? Was she not more like the regret filled Renee Richards who now calls herself an intense CD who would have benefited from better drugs and psychoanalysis?

For Blanchard, Anne Lawrence is actually a man who fantasized and masturbated about becoming a female; however the end result was a happier Anne Lawrence after surgery. This does not make sense to me at all because if you are actually a man then you should not desire to have the surgery in the first place and this is all fetish based then why not just simply dress up as a woman to your heart’s content?

As I quoted Lynn Conway saying a few posts ago, all of this is more complicated than meets the eye.

Then we have de transitioners like Philip Porter who lived successfully for 26 years as a female only to go off female hormones and then realize he wanted to be a man again. Porter fit the perfect profile of a very feminine and early transitioning androphilic and yet he is happily (in his fifties) living life as a gay man.

Things are indeed not that simple and there are always exceptions to what we think should be the rules. But people want explanations and they want certainty. It’s more comforting to know that you are a normal male or female and not something in between so we look for definitive answers where none actually exist.

Human sexuality and gender expression are exceedingly complex concepts.

I have been trying to find answers to my own behaviour my entire life with no success but I carry on with a lack of certainty regarding an origin which no longer really matters to me.

Life is what it is and, more often than not, it defies definition or explanation.
Anne Lawrence

Comments

  1. Definitions provide certainty and thee is a level of comfort that one can find in the certainty of a definition but trying to force a label onto something that does not fit exactly is like trying to force a size 10 foot into a siz3 8 shoe only more difficult because both definitions and people change.
    In some ways society is coming to understand that having the gray areas between hard catagories is a good thing but in other ways we seek hard definitions.
    People change their desires and inclinations as well as their positions all the time and in many ways. As I kid I would not eat fish or veggies. That is not the same today. People even change their politics.
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
  2. In human affairs (unlike the sciences) life is a series of greys instead of absolutes and every time you think you have found perfect consistency to some element of human behaviour you soon find evidence that your theory was wrong.

    ReplyDelete

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