FAQ about the Autogynephilia Controversy

Do you accept the autogynephilia theory?

Some aspects make sense. Some do not. The theory leaves stuff out.

It undisputed that many MtF trans people have what Julia Serano calls “Feminine Embodiment Fantasies” that eroticize their predicament. Any “unified theory” needs to explain those.

Where is the autogynephilia theory wrong?

Most trans-people think there is more going on inside them then just sexual desire.

The experience of gender dysphoria that FtM trans people have is quite similar to that of MtF trans people, even those who have FEFs. Autogynephilia theory does not account for this.

The symmetry of experience between MtF and FtM is strong evidence that something more than eroticism is involved.

Back in 2004 you published a list of “flawed criticisms of the autogynephilia theory”. Doesn’t that make you a supporter of it?

It means that that I thought the critics were making flawed arguments. I made a similar list of flawed arguments for the autogynephilia theory.

One of the life-lessons I learned is that logic and nuance get you nowhere in politics.

In 2005, you announced you were the Poster Girl of the Bailey International Autogynephilia Society. Doesn’t that make you a supporter?

BIAS announced their Poster Girl selection on the first of April. A surprising number of people fell for it. The pro-Bailey faction was not as amused.

What model for transgender etiology do you think is right?

Eventually we will develop a theory of genetic/memetic interplay that explains it all. Its a way off, and the journey will be perilous as there are many sacred cows standing in the road.

As for why trans people have FEFs, as Joan Roughgarden put it: “the male to female body must survive testosterone”.

What should happen with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the APA?

I would drop the concept of paraphilia entirely. Ray Blanchard’s definition of paraphilia is in contrast to “heteronormative” sex. I feel its absurd because everybody has unusual sexual interests they would rather not explain.

What to do about pedophilia, necrophilia, sexual homicide, etc., then?

Create a category for problematic sex. Don’t include stuff that is only problematic because you don’t enjoy it.

It is revealing to look at books about sexuality that are 100 years old. Everything beyond the missionary position for procreation had a creepy latin name.

What do you think of Alice Dreger?

Alice Dreger is spot-on. Nobody has disputed the facticity of any of her writings. The criticisms are all about her point-of-view. Essentially: “Since you won’t join our lynch mob, you are one of THEM!”.

What do you think of Lynn Conway, Deirdre McCloskey , Joan Roughgarden, and Andrea James?

I get along with Lynn, Deirdre, and Joan just fine. It took some of them a few years to get over my dissent over their methods. We don’t agree on every thing.

Andrea James, whom I consider to be the main author of the “bat shit crazy” aspects of this affair, is a self serving bully.

What about Kenneth Zucker?

Dr. Zucker is the leading authority on caring for transgender children in the world. It is a shame to run him off.

That said, I agree that his methods are out of date. So are everyone else’s. We need to create an “extended liminality” for gender-variant children that gives them time and space to make their own choices. The “well worn path” of what I call the “transitional narrative” is not the only way.

Much of Dr. Zucker’s recent troubles are a consequence of his having published Alice Dreger’s take-down of Conway and James in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which he edits.

What recommendations do you have for more information?

Julia Serano is a thoughtful critic you can find at: http://www.juliaserano.com/TSetiology.html

Madeline Wyndzen, whom I met on the autogynephilia Yahoo group, has a great web site at http://www.genderpsychology.org/.

Alice Dreger has http://alicedreger.com/. She tweets often as @AliceDreger too.

Lynn Conway and Andrea James each have an extensive web presence.

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