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?
Humans are basically sexually dimorphic. There are edge cases, but there are also two mostly distinct clusters, one containing people who typically have XX chromosomes, vaginas, etc., and the other containing people who typically have XY chromosomes, penises, etc. The first cluster is “women” and the second is “men”.
Of course, all the controversy is over what to do about the edge cases. Some people are intersex – they’re naturally between the clusters, or just at the edge of one. Others are trans – they’re in one cluster but they want to be in another, or they have taken some steps to actually move to the other cluster, which might land them between the clusters or possibly within (but still towards the edge of) the other cluster. I think that the best way to categorize a particular individual is to see where they are in this hypothetical graph with the two clusters. (This does mean that for certain people, it won’t be reasonable to put them in either category.)
I do think that when one is in the midst of transitioning, or if one has completed the steps of transition without actually landing in their desired cluster, as a courtesy we can use the pronoun they want. But the categories that *matter* are mostly the physical clusters.
What are your opinions on the cotton ceiling?
I think this is an absurd term for a real struggle.
Trans people who want sexual and romantic partners really are in a difficult situation. But… this situation is sort of a natural consequence of choosing to transition.
Most people’s attraction to others is heavily gendered, and the ideal of an attractive man is very different from the ideal of an attractive woman, which makes androgynous people unattractive to many. And unfortunately current transition technology does not let all trans people look like their preferred gender. Also unfortunately, SRS is relatively expensive, so many trans people don’t get surgery – but many if not most people do in fact care about their sex partners’ genitals.
I’m not saying that trans people who don’t pass can never find love (clearly there are people who do find androgyny attractive, though this is not the norm) and I’m also not saying that transphobia plays no part in this (some people who are attracted to trans people are too ashamed to date one). But you’ll never get rid of the inherent disadvantage that trans people get in dating.
(I’ll note, btw, that though androphilic trans women have a disadvantage in dating compared to straight cis women, they’re still in a better position dating-wise than they’d be sans transition, since they tend to specifically prefer straight men.)
Also if your activism focuses on getting into someone’s pants, you’re doing activism wrong. Sexual pressure continues to be wrong if it’s perpetrated by a disadvantaged person.
Why are trans women disproportionately likely to be programmers?
Depends on who you’re comparing them with.
One reason trans women are more likely to be programmers than cis women is that the set of trans women contains the set of autogynephilic trans women, and autogynephilic trans women basically have typically male interests (and typically male socialization, which unlike androphilic trans women* they actually tend to absorb as kids).
The question of why trans women are overrepresented in programming compared to cis men is more interesting – if autogynephilic trans women had purely male-typical interests while androphilic trans women had purely female-typical interests, you would expect trans women to end up somewhere between men and women in programmeriness. I don’t think we know the full answer to this, but this too is clearly driven by the autogynephiles – androphilic trans women mostly have relatively female-typical interests and occupations. Trans people seem to be unusually likely to be autistic, so this is likely to be a factor; other than that, I don’t really understand this myself. This is definitely an area for further research.
*”homosexual transsexuals” is the technical term, but I disagree with Blanchard’s choice of terminology here – I think when you’re talking about trans people, using their own sex/gender as a reference point is going to be confusing for people who aren’t sex researchers. I also think that when we can use non-inflammatory language without sacrificing truth, there’s no reason not to do that (I’m trying to do so in this entry, for instance).
Explain trans people assigned female at birth.
This is woefully understudied, so I can’t do much more than speculate.
It seems plausible that a similar two-type situation could exist for trans men, except that there should be very few autoandrophiles because women generally have less intense sex drives than men and paraphilias in general are much less common in women. (Here Blanchard and Bailey both kind of fuck up – Blanchard says autoandrophilia doesn’t exist at all, Bailey says paraphilias are exclusively or almost exclusively experienced by men – but, well, I’ll just say that based on my observations both of these claims seem really unlikely. Women with very high sex drives & weird sexual preferences do in fact exist, they’re just rare. I think this is an excusable fuckup since they both primarily study male-sexed people.)
Gynephilic, masculine trans men should thus be the majority of trans men (and indeed Blanchard has a study that shows just that). This group would be analogous to androphilic trans women – they would naturally fit into society better as men and more easily be able to find straight, feminine female partners. (In a sense this is just a variant of butch lesbians who are into femmes – I think very butch lesbians are more common than very feminine gay men because gender-variant behavior is punished less for women than men; this would also predict fewer trans men than trans women.) Then there should be a few autoandrophiles – trans men who are into men and don’t seem that different from women, other than an unusually strong sex drive and, obviously, autoandrophilia & therefore a desire to transition.
Non-binary people don’t seem to fit neatly into either group – the first group wouldn’t fit because nobody becomes non-binary to *fit into a social role better*, and the second group would seem not to fit because, like, auto*andro*philia. But actually I do think it could be autoandrophilia. Consider that non-binary people frequently modify their bodies to become less like their birth sex and more like the other sex, and that even if they most prefer gender-neutral pronouns, they tend to prefer the pronouns of the opposite sex over the pronouns of their own sex. “Partial gynephilia” is in fact a thing – that is, some people have an attraction to themselves with some male and some female traits (e.g. breasts and also a penis). What if non-binary-ness is the same thing, conceptualized differently?
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.