Saturday, March 10, 2018

Autogynephilia: a theory that ignores lived experiences and basic mathematics

I have probably written more about Ray Blanchard’s autogynephilia theory than all but a small handful of people. I have done so for multiple reasons: 1) as a scientist, I am appalled by the theory’s lack of scientific rigor, 2) it denies many trans people’s lived experiences, 3) it makes far too many unnecessary (and incorrect) assumptions (i.e., it ignores Occam’s razor), 4) it is not scientifically falsifiable, as exceptions to the theory are routinely dismissed as being due to  “lying” or “misreporting” by trans subjects, 5) it needlessly sexualizes and stigmatizes people on the trans female/feminine spectrum, and 6) it does not even attempt to account for people on the trans male/masculine spectrum.

In this brief post, I will highlight several of my more thorough analyses of autogynephilia theory. Other writings related to this topic may be found on my Trans Psychology webpage.

The Case Against Autogynephilia [PDF link]
This is a peer-reviewed article that appeared in the International Journal of Transgenderism in 2010. It summarizes Blanchard's theory and the overwhelming evidence against it. I also propose simpler non-pathological alternative explanations that would explain Blanchard’s original findings better than his own theory.

Making Sense of Autogynephilia Debates
My 2019 essay in which I briefly summarize the evidence against autogynephilia theory, then explain the main reasons why many trans women so strongly object to it (besides the fact that it is incorrect), and the numerous rationales and ideologies that lead some people to continue to support and promote the theory despite its lack of scientific validity.

Reconceptualizing “Autogynephilia” as Female/Feminine Embodiment Fantasies (FEFs)
A blogpost I wrote in 2015, and which was later updated for my latest book Outspoken (you can freely download that chapter here). This extends upon what I wrote in my 2007 book Whipping Girl, offering non-pathologizing explanations for why “autogyephilic fantasies” (what I call FEFs) exist, and why they are more prevalent in some trans subpopulations than others.

The real “autogynephilia deniers”
A blogpost I wrote in 2015 in response to James Cantor (one of the few proponents of autogynephilia theory who is still actively practicing sexology) wherein I list all of the major research and review articles  that together demonstrate that the theory is incorrect. I also highlight numerous instances where anti-transgender individuals and organizations have cited autogynephilia theory in their attempts to invalidate, stigmatize, and slut-shame trans women.

Psychology, Sexualization and Trans-Invalidations [PDF link]
A speech that I gave in 2009; an updated version of the essay now appears in both my latest book Outspoken and on  An accessible analysis of why there is so much focus on trans female/feminine people’s (real or presumed) sexualities in the lay public, media, and in the fields of psychology/sexology, while their trans male/masculine counterparts remain under-theorized in these regards. I discuss Blanchard’s autogynephilia theory in the context of these more foundational stereotypes and biases.

Like I said, many other writings related to, or addressing, autogynephilia theory can be found on my Trans Psychology webpage and in my books Whipping Girl and Outspoken...

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