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"no sex please, we're transsexuals"

For the longest time the subject of sex was almost taboo within the transgender community. To be a true transsexual you didn’t dare talk about your sexual practices for fear of being accused of being a fetishist and so, pre-transition transsexual women would appear in front of their gatekeepers and pretend that their identity had nothing to do with sex which is patently false.

Transgender people are sexual beings as are cisgender people. But when transsexual women imagined inhabiting a female body and fantasizing as a woman, it became something not to be discussed for fear perhaps of being misunderstood by those who did not share the suffering of gender dysphoria.

I love the way Lynn Conway deals with this topic on her website:

“During the 1980's, Ray Blanchard of The Clarke Institute in Canada (now CAMH) coined the new word "autogynephilia" for transvestic fetishism, explaining it as the condition of "becoming aroused into masturbation by seeing or fantasizing oneself as a woman". He declared this to be a "sexual paraphilia" (i.e., a "perversion") on a par with pedophilia and bestiality, and began talking about this invented word as if it amounted to a major scientific discovery. He then set out to "scientifically prove" that masturbation while thinking of oneself as a woman was a basic cause of transsexualism, and in the process denied the existence of cross-gender identities.

Under Canada's medical system, most Canadian transgender people had to go through Blanchard's clinic in order to get medical help. Under his regime, transgender clients were grilled incessantly about their self-pleasuring habits, having no idea they were being exploited as research subjects to prove Blanchard's theory (perhaps Blanchard believed the myth that "masturbation makes you crazy"?). Any report of masturbation while "thinking of oneself as a woman" was considered firm evidence of "autogynephilia", even if the person wasn't masturbating in a male way and was instead thinking of herself as a woman because she simply saw herself as one. As we know, almost everyone masturbates from time to time, including natal women and transsexual women. Thus, as time went by Blanchard diagnosed "autogynephilia" in most of his transsexual clients”


Of course, Blanchard’s work rightfully went nowhere and today less and less diagnosticians and transgender people themselves buy into this drivel, but it served as a cautionary tale about the dangers of gathering information and then making rash and improper conclusions without sufficient evidence.

Today the only opinions which matter to me are those of trans people themselves who know intimately what dysphoria feels like; the rest hold no weight whatsoever.
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Lynn Conway

Comments

  1. Lynn Conway is an amazing person. She should be in our school’s history books, as the Internet, computers in general and even some of our military weaponry would not work as well as they do without her. People really should know how much this one trans woman has contributed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. probably one of the most important transwomen I can think of in terms of her contribution not only to this community but to the microelectronics industry

      Delete
    2. Yeah, our paths loosely crossed. I also worked at PARC for a time, had an association with Carver Meade. She accepted my LinkedIn request which for me was such a thrill.

      Delete
  2. Important subject, well-discussed. I remember how this stifled disclosure of our truths.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good one, Joanna. Thanks for bringing this out in the open one more time.

    Calie

    ReplyDelete

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