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Predictability

Anne Lawrence is a self diagnosed paraphilic male who lives as a transitioned woman yet does not believe that she is one. She does however freely admit that her autogynephilia has benefited from the transition process.

What is both interesting and ironic to note is that advocates of AGP theory have an ally in Anne who should represent the anti-thesis of what Ray Blanchard says this is all about; namely that it’s about men with a sexual fetish. But yet there is Anne presumably happy living as a female.

Something is definitely amiss here.

Ray Blanchard and Michael Bailey have used derogatory language in describing their patients as men and yet they concede that many have been helped by transition. But if this is only about fetish then should not the person be happy in their birth sex and should they not simply practice their paraphilic behaviour to their heart’s content?

The truth is that we don’t know why certain patients benefit from transition and some do not. We have not yet found the predicting formula that identifies the presence of gender dysphoria and the only thing the clinician has to go on is the absolute certainty of his patient that he or she can no longer continue living in a gender role aligned with their birth sex.

But as rigorous as the process is, there are still errors made and diagnoses flubbed.

Samantha Kane was a successful socialite woman (nee Sam Hashimi) who, after seven years of trying to live as a female, decided to return to living as a man. So it begs the question: why was she approved for surgery in the first place and what are the conclusive signs that we have the correct diagnosis?

We sometimes don’t get it right and people like Walt Hayer, Renee Richards and Philip Porter represent other examples of changebacks or, in the case of Richards, partial regretters who could perhaps have taken different routes.

But as we saw from the case of David Reimer, there seems to be a biological predisposition to our sense of internal gender identity. Here was a boy raised as a girl from birth who, without the presence of dysphoria, was not able to live comfortably in the world as a female.

That predisposition to feel that one’s internal gender is in opposition to their birth sex is the common thread among all dysphorics and we know it varies in intensity from person to person. This is what led Harry Benjamin to develop his disorientation scale.

How an individual deals with that disconnect is highly unpredictable and will depend on many factors which include the person’s life commitments, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and job situation.

As Lynn Conway has noted: the only certainty you have is the present and how you feel right now.
Sam Hashimi / Samantha Kane

Comments

  1. I must admit I have wondered how Anne Lawrence came to embrace a theory that invalidates her as a woman. But I have come to the conclusion that at the time, this was the only theory that actually acknowledged that pre op transwomen might get aroused by imagining themselves as women.

    Too many trans women tried to live up to the gatekeeper gospel of close to asexual, chaste, womanhood, so they wouldn't admit to what was a quite common feeling. Or at least not publicly.

    This says a lot about how important it is to have theories and narratives that reflect the real lives of transgender people, and not the stereotypes.

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  2. Jack I think that you are right in this. There was no better theory out there and better to espouse a faulty model than none at all. However a fetish or paraphilia should not lead to approval of GRS so for me this is one of the most fundamental flaws in the work of Blanchard.

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