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more AGP critique

Kelley Winters, Ph.D. is a writer on issues of transgender medical policy, founder of GID Reform Advocates and an Advisory Board Member for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and TransYouth Family Advocates. She has presented papers on the psychiatric classification of gender diversity at the annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association of Women in Psychology.

Back in 2008 in her GID Reform weblog, she wrote a piece critical of Autogynephilia that bears reading and to which I will add a link at the end of this post.

In the comments section after her article, someone posed the following statement and what follows is Ms. Winters’s reply. I add my own commentary after the italic portion:

Q: "As a gender variant male without GID. I would like to stress that Autogynephilia is much less stigmatizing than Transvestic Fetishism, because it recognizes that we are Gender Variant. The definition totally describes me

“Adult males who are sexually attracted to females, to both males and females, or to neither sex usually report a history of erotic arousal associated with the thought or image of oneself as a woman”

Sure the paraphilia argument should be depathologized, and sure Blanchard’s theories are ideology, but the backlash against AGP makes life hard for those who have it"


A: Thank you for your question, Jasper. Through a linguistic sleight of hand, Dr. Blanchard has defined dual meanings of the word, “autogynephilia,” and it is important to make a distinction between them. He does not use the term just to describe the sexual phenomena of autoerotic crossdressing and autoerotic transition fantasy, which, as you point out, should not be classified as mental illness. Blanchard most notably defined “autogynephilia” to describe his hypothesis that “all,” not some but “all,” transwomen, who are not exclusively attracted to males, transition to satisfy a sexual fetish rather than attain harmony with their experienced gender identity. In 1989, he introduced the term with this statement:

“All gender dysphoric males who are not sexually oriented toward men are instead sexually oriented toward the thought or image of themselves as women.”

He and some of his supporters later expanded this definition to include TS women who disagree with his theories, regardless of their actual sexual orientation– a travesty that Dr. Dan Karasic of UCSF has called “the medicalization of dissent.” The concerns raised by many in the trans community are about the defamatory AGP hypothesis and its consequential stereotypes that harm all TS women, not about those people in our community who fit the other definition of sexual phenomena.

For this reason, I try to clarify my language by using the AGP term only in the context of Blanchard’s theory about TS women. I use the terms autoerotic crossdressing and autoerotic transition fantasy to describe those sexual phenomena. I urge everyone to make a similar distinction between the two definitions of the A-word when discussing these important issues"

Kelly has made a very important observation. There are non-dysphoric people out there who get turned on by imagining themselves as women. Blanchard has lumped everyone together including gender dysphorics and essentially accused them of pure fetishism dismissing any claims they might make to the contrary.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"Dr. Blanchard’s certainty of mutually exclusive transsexual types based on sexual orientation seems peculiar within sexology, where both gender identity [34] and sexual orientation [11] have long been viewed as continuous rather than dichotomous. He based this assumption on differences in “a history of erotic arousal in association with cross-dressing,” in ages of presentation for “professional help,” and in “degrees of childhood femininity” within clinical populations. Correlating these attributes to the lack or presence of attraction to males, Blanchard concluded that “the main varieties of nonhomosexual gender dysphoria are more similar to each other than any of them is to the homosexual type.” [35] However, a recent study of gender-dysphoric MTF subjects reported no significant difference in scores on a gender identity/gender dysphoria questionnaire with regard to sexual orientation. [36] This result is not explained by Blanchard’s assumption of fundamentally different gender identities"

For those interested, this very insightful read can be found here.


Kelley

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