"One day, around 1987 or 1988, I spent the afternoon in a reference room of the Robarts
Library of the University of Toronto. I was trying to find a word—or failing that, to
invent one—to denote a phenomenon I had gradually apprehended during clinical
interviews with many biologically male patients interested in sex reassignment surgery.
That phenomenon was the tendency of certain males to become erotically aroused by
the thought or image of themselves as females. The word I finally invented, after fruitless
searching through various kinds of dictionaries, was autogynephilia . I could
scarcely have imagined, on that long-ago day in that quiet room, that I would be writing
the Foreword to a complete book on the subject 25 years later.
My early writings on autogynephilia were published in specialty journals with
limited circulations. They were intended for a small readership of clinicians who
specialized in th…