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no knockout blow

In order to see how controversial the invented term Autogynephilia is, one need look no further than Thirdwaytrans's blog and an entry called "on AGP". There were no less than 77 responses and I admit to writing two of them.

I hardly ever visit his site anymore because it appears to be haunted by the same cast of characters but this time I felt so compelled.

In his post, Thirdwaytrans hits a key note by wisely noting that the removal of testosterone (a driver of the erotic impulse) does not diminish the dysphoric feelings and in fact they only grow with time. This is clearly counterintuitive of course but yet it fits precisely with my experience and to those of other gender dysphorics. He also mentions that the presence of AGP need not invalidate a transgender identity.

No one denies that there is an erotic component to gender dysphoria as its been observed since Benjamin was working with his first patients. He didn't need to find a name for this observation since for him the condition was existing at the time of birth. For Benjamin it was only a symptom of the dysphoria and a desire to become the opposite sex.

I only use the term AGP in this blog when I refer to Blanchard's work and, since he was more a categorizer than an explainer of origins, his writings actually shed no light on the cause of gender dysphoria. Thirdwaytrans, I think, makes the error of legitimizing the invented term by using it as if it carried weight; as if it were an explanation when it does no such thing. As an analogy, the propensity to react to the presence of pollen is called "sneezing" but the term itself does not explain WHY this reaction occurs. In this way Blanchard is a kind of charlatan.

The visceral reactions that this term illicits are fascinating to read and yet no one is able to offer a conclusive and undeniable argument as to why it holds any water at all.

The bottom line remains that some people are transitioning and not regretting it and we don't know why. If Blanchard's proposition of a sexual motivation for transition were to be correct, by removing the engine which drives the eroticism, transitioners should be wanting to revert back to male which is actually not the case. Anne Lawerence tries to help Blanchard here by referring to the development of a romantic love in lieu of a lust for transition but that proposal is, for me, wholly unconvincing.

The trauma argument espoused by some is even weaker given its absence in the personal narratives of the great majority of gender dysphorics.


Comments

  1. I wish I could understand more what implication does the erotic component have in understanding transgender or autogynephelia....Does a true transsexual feel a erotic component....? It seems there is a population of people who know very early in age...under five that they feel like they are in the wrong body....I see those people as true transsexual. Another group seems to develop later just before puberty starts and they tend to have some sort of link to an erotic component. Can they be considered transsexual...Or should they be considered transgender? And what group breaks off to be AGP and how does that develop? How successfull is SRS in these three groups of "patients"? Is one group more successful than another. If you are transgender or AGP is it a mistake to be considered for SRS? These are big questions.....

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  2. Liza I don't think the term "true transsexual" should apply here. What you are referring to are typically androphilic transsexuals who would otherwise grow up to be gay men. All dysphorics know very early that there is something wrong but how they proceed is the question. AGP is not a real scientific condition but just an invented term for sexual arousal. Fact is that the satisfaction rate for GRS among gynephilic and androphilic transsexuals is about the same so the only litmus test is your own psyche as there is no exam that makes you a "true transsexual". There simply is no such thing.

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  3. I knew I was different very early and would simply express that secretly in my room. At puberty I knew I liked girls and the conflict between the sexual draw towards women and your own desire for a female body is what causes the crossed wires. The dysphoria existed before puberty but puberty only served to confuse matters further. This is why gynephilic dysphorics (if the transition at all) do so at a later stage in life.

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  4. i don't always agree that gynephilic dysphorics transition later just because of who they are.....We are caught in a specific window of time in history. The gay battled for rights and recognition and now the transgenders do....If I had the support and knowledge I have now when I was a teenager things would be very different today. There would be a very high likelihood that I could have undergone the path of transition. I am envious of the young people who are in their teens and early twenties who have transition as a viable option. Thirty or forty years ago....omg....it was not that easy....and I am not saying it is easy today....but gosh it was super hard before.....many of us tried to live a "normal" life.....career...get married ...have kids...and then realize that there is still something missing....and what a conflict remains....It is so hard because a whole life has been created and developed. I think it is easier to transition when you still are young...when you life is a more of a blank slate.....at least those are my thoughts.....i don't know who feels the same.....

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  5. no doubt at all that it is much easier when you are young!

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