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part of the historical record

I want you to do what I didn’t do for the longest time; look past your cross-gender arousal. Because if you get stuck there, like I did, you won’t be able to analyze your feelings and understand who you really are. For the longest time I thought my experiencing it meant that I wasn’t transgender which isn’t true. In fact, it turns out that I am in very good company.

Ray Blanchard used the existence of this arousal as the foundation of his theorizing which itself was based on Kurt Freund’s work in measuring sexual stimulation in pedophiles and homosexuals being screened prior to entering the Czech army. The end result of all this work was, by the late 1980's, essentially an attempt to stigmatize transsexuals by accusing them of either being perverts or, in the case of androphilics, gay men who wanted sex with straight men so badly they tried to become women.

Instead of trying to comprehend the origins of the cross-gender identification, Blanchard used the existence of the arousal as being the very cause of the feelings instead of being a symptom. Understanding this became an epiphany for me and I was finally able to break free of the trap that had haunted me for so long.

Not only was Blanchard’s work deeply flawed due to its absence of proof but it was also strangely mean-spirited. It made one suspicious due to its running counter to what most scientists would do given the same data. Instead of leaving questions open, he simply invents a condition known as “Autogynephilia” to tie up loose ends and leaves it at that without being able to dig deeper into understanding the identification. The trans person then became a paraphilic rather than someone with an identity which didn’t match their birth sex.

This is lazy science of course because the proper work requires we dig deeper and go into areas of the brain we have not yet properly mapped. The right answer would be to say we don't know rather than push ideas that don't give nearly a complete enough portrait of what is going on which is the fatal flaw here.

Today Blanchard's work has thankfully been abandoned by all serious practitioners working with trans issues, but it remains an interesting historical record of what can happen when science becomes tinged with bias and preconceived ideas steeped in social moralizing which cannot be proven but are nevertheless proliferated as being hard science.

A passing glance at Blanchard’s twitter feed will reveal a bitter individual who is frustrated his work has become irrelevant and, given his animosity tinged comportment, I am not the least bit sorry for it.

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