Monday, July 13, 2015

The real "autogynephilia deniers"

Note: updated links and additional entries were added to this post in October, 2019. A more thorough review of autogynephilia theory and the many lines of evidence against it can be found in my peer-reviewed article Autogynephilia: A scientific review, feminist analysis, and alternative ‘embodiment fantasies’ model [PDF link]. The underlying rationales that lead some people to still support the theory despite its lack of scientific validity are explored in Making Sense of Autogynephilia Debates. Finally, toward the end of this essay, I provide examples of how the theory is routinely cited by those who wish to undermine transgender people, rights, and/or healthcare—many more recent examples of this are discussed in my 2021 piece Autogynephilia and Anti-Transgender Activism

A little over a week ago, James Cantor (a sexologist who works at CAMH) published the following provocative tweet:

Of course, the trope of "autogynephilia deniers" has existed for about as long as the theory itself has.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cisgender and dictionary definitions

This is happened two weeks ago, so some of you may have already heard the news. But for those who didn't, cisgender was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

I first started using cisgender and cissexual almost ten years ago, while I was working on Whipping Girl. At the time, few people (even within trans communities) were aware of these words, so it has been amazing to see them garner acceptance over time, even within certain mainstream settings.

It has also been interesting to watch these terms (and the ways people use them) evolve and diverge over time. For those who are interested, last year I wrote two essays on this very subject: Cissexism and Cis Privilege Revisited - Part 1: Who Exactly Does “Cis” Refer To? and Cissexism and Cis Privilege Revisited - Part 2: Reconciling Disparate Uses of the Cis/Trans Distinction. Both essays explain the usefulness of these concepts, while also addressing some of the negative aspects or unintended consequences of cis terminology.

Both posts are significantly longer than a dictionary entry. But sometimes words are more complicated than a straightforward definition would have you believe.