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This post is a person– who may believe either a gender identity or a Blanchard-Bailey theory of transness– doing their best to write what a Blanchardian believes. Confused about what an Intellectual Turing Test is or what “gender identity” and “Blanchard-Bailey” mean? Click here! Please read, then vote at the end of the post.

How do you define woman/man?

Biologically. Most animals are described accurately by saying that an individual is genetically and in terms of primary and secondary sexual characteristics either biologically male or biologically female. Intersex individuals definitely exist and may be neither precisely biologically women or men.

There is no gender identity, there is only biological sex and gender role performance. Stating that gender identity exists and is separate from biological sex requires accepting a mind-body duality; I do not accept this. People sometimes discuss the inner sense of oneself as belonging to a particular gender and claim that this is entirely separate from either the body or performative gender roles. I have always found this unconvincing; discussion of transgender life focuses almost entirely on the individual wanting to perform the gender role of the target sex and have this performance socially accepted. Indeed if the issue were an issue of inner and inherent “identity” then the social performance would be at most peripheral, since an inherent sense of oneself as fundamentally female or male or neuter cannot be changed by the perceptions of others, any more than an inherent sense of oneself as any other kind of person can be changed by the perceptions of others.

Because there is no gender identity inherent to a person (rather a series of variously preferred actions that together are gender role performance), gender identity, gender dysphoria, and related hypothesis about the underlying cause of transsexualism are also rejected.

*None of the above (or the following) addresses or is intended to address cases of body dysmorphia or other disorders on the OCD spectrum, which can cause presentations that look similar to being trans but which resolve with appropriate treatment for the OCD spectrum disorder.*

What are your opinions on the cotton ceiling?

I didn’t know what this was, I had to look it up. I hope I found the definition in the sense that you mean, which is that although assigned-female-at-birth homosexual women may be friendly and socially accepting towards trans women, they will not necessarily desire or be willing to have sex with trans women.

I do not belong to either category, so my opinion here is basically not important. But because you asked for my opinion, it seems to me that assigned-female-at-birth homosexual women have every right to pursue or refuse sex with other people according to their desires (but not to be mean about it), and trans women have every right to feel sad about that to the extent that they are excluded from sex they would theoretically like to have (but not to pressure anyone to change their minds about having sex).

Why are trans women disproportionately likely to be programmers?

This is a really interesting question and I don’t know the answer. The following is a guess:

I think the most likely answer is that programmers as a group are likelier to not care at all what their coworkers are like. That sounds like I’m saying they’re not judgmental, but what I’m actually trying to say is that in my experience programmers in general (with plenty of exceptions, but still) don’t notice the people around them because they’re not interested in people. There are also proportionally many fewer assigned-female-at-birth programmers around to either police the femininity of the trans women or to be a source of sad self-comparison. This is probably a more restful environment overall for not only trans women but also a variety of other people who prefer not to perform expected social norms for whatever reason.

Explain trans people assigned female at birth.

Although this hasn’t to my knowledge been described in the literature, I think that the phenomena of trans men and also people who choose nonbinary presentations are explicable using the same model, which also may explain why there are proportionally fewer of these than of trans women.

People-assigned-female-at-birth have an easier time in modern western society with nontraditional gender role performance than people-assigned-male-at-birth. It is inarguably true that it is far more socially acceptable for a woman to act in performatively masculine ways (employment in traditionally male sector; “butch” presentation; interest in performatively masculine subjects like sports, hunting, cars; etc.) than it is for a man to act in performatively feminine ways (staying home with children; employment in traditionally female sector; “femme” presentation; interest in performatively feminine subjects like fashion, scrapbooking, flower gardening, romantic comedies; etc.). This being the case, it makes sense that there would be relatively fewer of the “homosexual transsexual” category among people-assigned-female-at-birth than among people-assigned-male-at-birth, since in most cases transitioning to living as a man would not be expected to make it much easier to find romantic partners, desired employment/career, or social acceptance.

The other category would be autoandrophilic or …autoudéterophilic? rather than autogynephilic. This means affectionally attached to the idea of oneself as a man or as nonbinary. I prefer to use the construction “affectionally attached” rather than something like sexually attracted because I think it is both more correct and less restrictive. “Affectional” includes not just sexual or erotic but also romantic orientation. An under-appreciated and under-discussed part of relational orientation is the self. When a person conceptualizes their own erotic/romantic activity, it’s not just the other person’s role that is important but also their own role in the relationship – defining oneself as a lesbian is not just about accepting that the other person in the relationship is female, but also about imagining oneself as a woman who is romantically involved with women. So we can hypothesize that there exist people-assigned-female-at-birth who are erotically and/or affectionally oriented in a way that includes imagining themselves either as a man or as a nonbinary person.

(It is almost never the case that transitioning to living as a nonbinary person would be logistically easier in any way, so I would expect to find the category of “assigned-either-sex-at-birth but transitioned to nonbinary, and not autoudéterophilic” almost entirely unpopulated.)

The first item on the poll refers to what side you think the author of this post really believes, while the second item refers to what side you believe. When taking the poll, if you can POSSIBLY round yourself off to Blanchard-Bailey or gender identity, please do so. Please do this even if you have major disagreements with the side you are leaning towards. Only use “neither” if you really really really cannot in good conscience round yourself to either.

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