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.
If this is written by a Blanchardian, then it’s a “I heard about Blanchardianism and I guess that makes sense”-Blanchardian, rather than a “I thoroughly looked into Blanchardianism and know a lot about it”-Blanchardian. In particular, the FtM section is still weak, and weak enough to rule out a well-informed Blanchardian.
Just rejecting the notion of gender dysphoria because there is no gender identity sounds weird, but I can kind of see how it fits together with the rest. The definition of woman/man makes me think “TERF”, but the cotton ceiling section makes me doubt that.
I’m calling gender identity, but this could be one of the ones that I predicted I would be wrong about.
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Maybe when this is all over, some people could write up what they see as the difference between B-B and G/I from a potentially testable scientific perspective. I’d definitely be interested.
I wrote up my answers to the 5 questions plus “do you think B/B is right.” The bottom line for me is that I don’t have any idea whether B/B are correct or not, but even if the data clearly showed them to be right or wrong as I understand them, I think I’d still get the same answer for all the other questions.
Only questions 4a/4b and maybe also 3 are really relevant for Blanchard-Bailey. I’m curious, why don’t you think Blanchard-Bailey has any relevance for them? Like, my sketch of it’s relevance is:
4a-BB: Because sexual fantasies about being or becoming a woman is one of the two possible causes of gender dysphoria.
4a-GI: [well, you’ve read the GI posts on this, and they basically try to explain why you’d expect gender dysphoria to cause AGP]
4b-BB: They are HSTS-spectrum, but gender-reversed compared to the MtF case. They are etiologically similar to butch lesbians, but in some not-quite-yet-understood way more male. “Men’s brains in women’s bodies” is a reasonable approximation, which can to some degree be taken literally; research has shown that HSTS transness is a brain intersex syndrome, unlike AGP. They are naturally gender nonconforming (compared to ASAB) and fit in much better as men. Dislike female body traits, unable to adopt female personality traits, etc.. [The idea of AAP-spectrum trans men is not AFAIK standard BB, but IME it is real, at least to the degree that the HSTS/A*P-dichotomy makes sense.]
4b-GI: [Something barely even meaningful involving the terms “gender identity”, or perhaps something somewhat more meaningful involving the terms “gender dysphoria”.]
These seem different to me, though maybe it’s because they’re not fleshed out enough.
The basic problem with writing testable scientific differences is that GI is really vague. BB will give you a really detailed description of how trans people cluster and what the cause of this clustering is, and back this description up with studies on trans people, whereas GI will come with some super-mysterious talk about gender identity.
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That makes sense.
In my case, it was because my answer to 4(a) and 4(b) is “I don’t know; science required.”* My answers to 1-3 wouldn’t be affected by learning that B-B were right as I understand their contention, and since my answer to #4 is “I don’t know,” I guess the same result. 🙂
(Although it’s not super surprising that trans women attracted to women would find the female form more of a turn on than trans women not attracted to women, that doesn’t answer to what extent that is a motivating factor for the transition itself).
The erotic target location error aspect of BB seems like it should generate a bunch of predictions. Transitioned AGP people should show diminished need for external relationships. There should also be some, though perhaps not many, homosexual ETLE people who show similar patterns to transitioned A*P people without having to transition.
“Pseudoandrophilia” also should be distinguishable from true androphilia, and BB ought to be able to predict how. For instance, measuring arousal in response to various images and stories should turn something up. Also, if pseudoandrophila is about being with men making one feel like a woman, it ought to be caused by internalized heteronormativity. We’d probably expect a correlation either way, but true androphilia would mostly cause heteronormativity and not be caused by it.
I think of gender identity theory as essentially an antiprediction. Not a grand theory of gender experience, but rather the way to handle the absence of such a theory.
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The “it is more acceptable for women to do masculine things than vice versa” also suggests the author isn’t an honest TERF (or any kind of F for that matter).
I think you have an overly monolithic view of Fs. Indeed, probably of TERFs as well, though since those are an outgroup of mine I’m sufficiently susceptible to the usual biases to not be certain for them.
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That idea is in fact largely uncontroversial among Fs, and well discussed in F theory.
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Agree with you. A lot of modern terfery is about how being outright butch isn’t accepted even though a single interest like guns might go over reasonably well.
I’m pretty sure that the RF response, TE or not, is “of course it’s more acceptable for a slave to want to be free than it is for a free man to want to be a slave”.
It’s inconvenient if all the slaves try to break free and once and end slavery as an institution, but it’s even practical to occasionally free a slave – especially if it’s the Roman way where the slave has to save up enough money to buy himself in order to become free – or to occasionally allow all slaves certain freedoms, because both of these serve to obfuscate the slaves’ condition and make it more tolerable. It prevents discontent and thus perpetuates the system.
Intriguing word! (Though my observation is that a great amount of nonbinary gender identity can be straight-up explained by AAP (or I guess AGP, but the overwhelming majority of NBs I’ve met are natal female) and that the cohort with that experience generally go on to transition in a ‘binary’ way and abandon most of their NB trappings.)
I’m genuinely confused as to this one. The first section made me cringe. The rest all seemed reasonable as at least something-someone-who-agrees-with-me-on-some-things-could-think. Also, section 1 on rereading at least sounded better than it did the first time around, on the “at least they don’t seem to think bio and natal sex are 100% identical no matter what you do” level. A lot of my blatant disagreements with it are less because someone appears to be modelling an insincere belief and more because someone who may be modelling a sincere belief is doing the belief Wrong™.
I’m going to go with Blanchardian, maybe, really low confidence.
I’m not sure all nonbinary-identifying people are the same
Some seem to mostly be “I don’t really believe that a natal male can be/become a woman, or that a natal female can be/become a man, but at least I can be somewhere inbetween.”. These seem to often identify as transmasculine or transfeminine. You see this with at least one of the users on /r/GCdebatesQT, and another seems to believe something similar (“transwomen are transwomen”).
For example, in my latest gender survey, there were various people who identified as nonbinary, and when I presented my “What would you consider yourself to be if X about your body changed?” question, several people wrote answers that you could interpret as sympathetic to the above view:
* A transfeminine person said that if either her primary or secondary sex characteristics were fixed, she would consider herself female, but she would consider herself transfeminine.
* An agender person said that he would consider himself male if the secondary sex characteristics were fixed, but otherwise agender.
* A transmasculine person said that he would consider himself male if his primary sex characteristics were fixed, “intersex?” if his secondary sex characteristics were fixed, and transmasculine otherwise.
I think there’s also AUP nonbinary people. For example, I can kinda see how one could claim I’m AUP (though I could also see how one could claim that I’m ordinary AGP in denial).
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Oh, I don’t mean to imply that nonbinary people are a homogenous group. I can think of 3-4 separate nonbinary clusters off the top of my head, plus hypothetical AUP. I’m surprised to hear the /u/MadGenderScientist type are a meaningful cluster in your data, though — I have never, ever met one in my life in a context that doesn’t heavily select for that kind of thing (read: lots of TERF-aligned trans people), and I’ve met a lot of nonbinary people.
NB clusters I have observed:
A*P that hasn’t progressed to full transsexualism
A ‘pseudotranssexualism’ of sorts where separate dysphorias have multiple etiologies — being upset about having breasts having a separate cause to being upset about having genitals — and that from observation of detransitioner demographics is probably best treated by something-that-isn’t-transition
HSTS whose exposure to transsexualism is all A*P and so takes ‘gender identity’ much more seriously than they really should, and so has concluded their strong gender dysphoria + no strong gender identity = nonbinary
Person who is really, really bad at figuring out how gender and transsexualism work because neuroatypical (I’ve seen this play out in front of me as an AAP friend’s neuroatypicality progressed enough he went from identifying as male to identifying as nonbinary because the concept of gender started making a lot less sense)
I think AUP may be a meaningful concept, but when I try and think about it I just end up in some AUP of the Gaps situation. Wanting a mix of male and female sex characteristics is already covered under AGP or AAP depending on your natal sex, and as mentioned in Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies ‘partial autogynephilia’ often in the long run involves full transition to the opposite gender and often a greater number of medical interventions than originally planned.
Also, when you started commenting on /r/GCdebatesQT did all your posts get deleted at first? Because I posted a few times there an hour or so ago and they all got deleted. I’m kind of upset about it, especially because one was pretty long and I can’t think of any good faith reason for them to be missing.
I don’t think I specifically got posts deleted on /r/GCdebatesQT, but it’s often happened when I’ve posted with a new reddit account.
Reddit has an automatic spam filter, and new reddit accounts often get stuck in them. You’ll have to message the moderators on the subreddit to free your post. Eventually, reddit will learn that you are not a spambot and will let you post more freely, but that happens slowly.
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I suspect nonbinary people might not want to explain it if they are MadGenderScientist-type nonbinaries, because it could be considered transphobic. I remember seeing Ozy mention this cluster at some point, which probably contributes to me considering it an actual cluster.
As for AUP, I am really really into androgyny, so it could be a situation similar to ETLI+amputee fetish = BIID.
Could someone explain the etymology? I’ve been trying to determine the where the ‘udéter’ comes from using online translators and dictionaries, and I’m getting nowhere.
I think it comes from the word ουδέτερο, meaning ‘neuter’.
Thanks. That explains why I wasn’t finding anything: I was omitting the ‘o’ at the start.
Sebastian Conolly said:
This one seems sufficiently weird that I think it’s probably genuine. It doesn’t match they way I think most BBs think, but that means I’d be more surprised by a GI writing this than someone who genuinely believed this rounding off to BB.
Hang on, after more reading I’m at 70% confidence this was written by the writer of GI #8 (I’m also 90% confident I can place who wrote GI #8, but mostly just due to lucky timing), and I voted that identitarian with high confidence. This can’t be a Blanchardian!
…but I think using meta-level knowledge in ITTs is kinda cheating, so I’m sticking with super-low-confidence Blanchardian.
As the writer of GI #8, curious why you thought this and whether you thought this was me 🙂
I thought #8 was someone else entirely! (I had seen said someone talk about Serano, so it was pretty fresh in my mind when I was assessing both entries.)
I had actually forgotten that I thought this might be a fake, because when I checked my spreadsheet I had it marked down as real. I guess the typing styles were similar.
My thought reading question one was that this had to be a GI writer because no one in round one had so little understanding of the gender identity position.
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