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Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.; J. Michael Bailey, Ph.D.; Anne Lawrence, MD, Ph.D.

Autogynephilia refers to a male sexually aroused at the thought of being female. It’s a highly controversial issue that most trans people say has been discredited, but I think that’s because of trans person fear of rejection, fear of shaming if open about this aspect of their sexuality. More times than I can count, I’ve had this disclosed to me by trans people, even bragged about when trying to seduce me.

Yet, for what it’s worth, I disagree with some of it as presented.

Per definition, I am not autogynephilic, falling into the category of transsexual referenced as “homosexual” (Blanchard, Bailey, Lawrence). My sexuality is female; I’m aroused by / respond to men/males. I believe my need to be female is likely because of a congenital neurological feature in the brain as yet not identified, possibly a non-differentiation in the brain in utero (and, no, “congenital” does not mean genitalia). I’ve needed to be female every minute of my life, from my first awareness. I was able to switch with SRS at 23 while a sophomore in college.

Autogynephilia is sold as a paraphilia and has resulted in some heated discussion and internet slamming  (Alice Dreger, Ph.D.). I believe it’s a real phenomenon, but—to reference respectfully in discussion for the evolution of ideas, not discredited radical internet slamming—I don’t look at it as a paraphilia. Paraphilia, from the Greek (philos) to “love” something (para) beside or aside, is meant to refer in English to loving something different or “abnormal,” a sexual “deviance.”

I look at autogynephilia differently—not as a paraphilia but as fantasy that is common (just kept in the shadows to avoid rejection, so it seems rare).

I think it’s common in cross-dressers, transvestism. I have tended to find gender conferences or T bars dripping with arousal.

I think it’s there but less common among transgenderism.

And I find it rare among transsexualism.

People need to calm down about this concept.

Remember masturbation decades ago before you were allowed to touch yourself? You’ll go to hell if you do it? Grow hair on your palm? Sounds crazy, but people were ridiculed for it.

Remember Woody Allen’s famous comic line from the movie “Annie Hall” (1977)? Arguing as Alvy Singer with Annie, Woody exclaimed,

“Hey, don’t knock masturbation; it’s sex with someone I love.”

I urge people to quit worrying about autogynephilia. It doesn’t hurt anything; we have enough to deal with. Our demeanor will sell our nature. Radial fighting with the concept or with people who promote it can harm us all more than any perceived notion of the concept, itself.