Skip to main content

who was Kurt Freund?

To understand how the research on transgender identities went astray, you first need to know who Kurt Freund was.

Kurt Freund was a Czech-Canadian physician and sexologist best known for developing penile phallometry which is measurement of sexual arousal in males using a device. His area of work was in sexual disorders such as pedophilia and exhibitionism and in the late 1960’s he ended up at the now named CAMH (the center for addiction and mental health) in Toronto.

In his native Czechoslovakia, Freund was tasked with using penile plethysmography to detect recruits attempting to avoid serving in the military by falsely claiming to be homosexual since this was grounds for being dismissed from service at that time. However, the main focus of his work was detecting and diagnosing sex offenders with the aim of establishing appropriate treatment guidelines. Freund was also involved in administering aversion therapy to homosexuals which, to no one’s surprise this day and age, proved to be futile.

Freund’s work influenced Ray Blanchard who has dismissively said of him:

“he was not my academic advisor, and I have nowhere described him as such. He was an (informal) mentor, and he was responsible for my becoming interested in research on paraphilias, gender identity disorders, and sexual orientation”
(note the use of the outdated term gender identity disorder)

It was in fact Kurt Freund who first distinguished between two proposed types of transsexuals in a 1982 research article, theorizing that the "homosexual" type was qualitatively different from the so-called "heterosexual males" with gender dysphoria. Later, Ray Blanchard invented the term "autogynephilia" in 1989 to describe this latter proposed type and theorize their disorder was rooted in sexual deviance and a love of their own image as women.

Where this whole concept has gotten into trouble is the lack of an understanding of where the arousal originates and the inability to prove that AGP is correct. This has been a sore point for Blanchard whose remaining career has been relegated to Twitter.

Could the arousal be a symptom of gender dysphoria? Of course it could which is why this line of theorizing proved to be a dead end in terms of having hard science to back it up. An explanation for the origins of transsexualism still awaits but this serves as a cautionary tale of how we can misfire and even, for a time, fool other experts into thinking that there is an answer despite the lack of definitive science.

Verifying that there is arousal is hardly a challenge and is its own reward (we don't need a pseudo term for that). Understanding its origins is where the true science lies n'est-ce pas?

Image result for kurt freund
Kurt Freund

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

One transgender woman's take on AGP

This entry from the transhealth website dates back to 2001 and it offers a very nice dissection of the now mostly debunked but still controversial AGP theory and how this transgender woman could care two cents about it. People who have been trying to marginalize the experience of gynephilic transwomen have pushed for the stigmatizing idea that they are actually perverted men. Well this soul, who couldn't give a hoot either way, isn't buying any of it and her frankness at times had me chuckling to myself as I read her posting. If we ever met I would give her a hug for seeing through the BS but mostly for being herself: "About a year ago I was reading on Dr. Anne Lawrence’s site about a new theory of the origin of trans called “autogynephilia.” This theory asserts that many trans women—and transsexual women in particular—desire reassignment surgery because they are eroticizing the feminization of their bodies. The first thing that struck me about it, of course, was t

my last post

This will be my last blog post. When I wrote recently that this blog had another seven years of life in it I was trying to convince myself that it was true. It was in fact a little bit of self delusion. With almost 3,000 posts to date I have accomplished what I set out to do which was to heal myself and in the process share some of the struggle I had been through with others on the chance they might find some value in my words. After seven years of writing, my life still isn't perfect; no one's is. But I have discovered a path forward completely free of the trappings which society would have had me adopt so I could fit in. Over the last 25 years of my life I have turned over every stone I could find while exploring this topic and in the process realized that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this deeply complex subject. What I have ultimately learned is that my instincts have more value than what someone who isn't gender dysphoric writes about me. We

Never Say Never....

 I was certain that I would never post here again and yet, here I am. It’s been several years, and life has changed me yet again. I have burrowed further into my psyche to discover more internal truths about myself all in the silence of a life lived with more periods of reflective solitude than ever before. After attempting for many years to be a problem solver for others, I needed to dig deeply to discover who I was, which should be a necessity for all people and an absolute imperative for those of us who dare rub against the grain of conventional society. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is honor the internal voice which has driven us since childhood. That whisper which we were compelled to ignore through our initial indoctrination must be listened to again for guidance. I knew I had spent too long heeding messaging that wasn’t working for me as a trans person, and it was time to stop. For the world gleefully basks in a level ignorance and hypocrisy we are not abl