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.
I don’t know, something feels a bit off on this one.
I’m going to skip voting on this one.
Could be a GI person pulling the bluff of pretending to be a very mild BBist (when you would expect someone arguing for the other side to argue for an exaggerated version). But I think genuine BB is more likely. There were similar cases in the last ITT; I’m not sure which they ended up being.
I think the cotton ceiling question might actually provide useful information: do they realize that AGP trans women are also often (always?) MtF chasers? This is an obvious thing to mention in that section, though on the other hand ITT #3 BB didn’t mention this.
I guess we’ll see if anybody mentions this eventually.
If I’m accurately translating your claim as “lesbian trans women are often or always more attracted to trans women than to cis women”, I’m certain that the “always” claim is false. I would also be surprised if this were overwhelmingly the case, since like, otherwise this “cotton ceiling” thing wouldn’t even be an issue?
note: ‘gynemimetophilic’ is the more common term than ‘gynandromorphophilic’ inasmuch as any technical terms for ‘chasing’ are commonly used, because it’s marginally less of a mouthfull
It is well within the bounds of reality that someone who is at least equally and probably preferentially attracted to trans women over cis women will still be disappointed if she is rejected by gynephilic cis women for ‘not being female enough’.
Thanks for the link. I still cannot possibly believe that all lesbian trans women are more attracted to trans women than to cis women, and though I may be overweighting personal experiences I’m familiar with this makes me also really skeptical that this is true of most lesbian trans women.
I may be misreading the post since I don’t normally read this type of research, but am I understanding correctly that the study was conducted on cross-dressers rather than necessarily trans women, or at least that a distinction between those groups wasn’t made? I would be pretty unsurprised if people who cross-dress for sexual reasons (like, reasons that they actually feel and notice as their primary motivation) also found trans women most attractive, but this need not generalize to trans women who are not routinely aroused by presenting feminine. (I understand in your theory these are the same group, but given that I do not agree with your theory, this doesn’t tell me that much.)
Your last point does make sense, though.
The study is indeed one on MTF crossdressers living in their natal sex. I should note here that MTF crossdressers, especially older ones, are not necessarily any better at observing the sexual aspect of their crossdressing than transitioned women are; the article Conservative Men in Conservative Dresses is strongly recommended reading (though the tone of it is not unconditionally endorsed). As is discussed in it, a lot of crossdressers identify autogynephilic attraction (‘attraction’ rather than ‘arousal’ because I think this is somewhere where the romance hypothesis is relevant) as being ‘comfort’ or ‘inner peace’ rather than sexual or romantic.
But Veale et al, a study that ironically was brought up a lot by GI #8 as evidence against the Blanchardian typology (taken at face value its conclusions diverge at points from Blanchard’s, but Bailey and Lawrence wrote a critique explaining that in fact the overwhelming majority of both their groups were AGP and they had been separated amongst dimensional rather than taxonomic lines), shows that at least some substantial proportion of AGP women who have transitioned are indeed strongly gynemimetophilic.
Ok, “some substantial proportion” I can definitely buy.
As for cross-dressers, one thing I’ve heard from a trans woman who used to consider herself a cross-dresser and hang out with cross-dressers is that even before she considered transition, she and the other cross-dressers fundamentally did not understand each other’s motivations, in a way that to me sounds very much like the distinction between sexual motivation and identity motivation. I would also not be too surprised if some cross-dressers were sexually motivated and others identity-motivated, though I would also expect the latter to be more likely to want to transition.
The writer is relatively preoccupied with nonbinary people relative to the average BBan but doesn’t actually have a robust response, which leads me to strongly believe that this is a GI person who refuses to erase nonbinary people.
This is…an interesting one. I think ‘androphilic transsexuals’ may be the failed shibboleth.
I do not like ‘homosexual transsexual’ as a spelled-out phrase much either and do not denote myself or any of the other people it covers as ‘homosexual’, and flinch at all the arguments made to erase my reality that have similar tones (e.g. “you’re just a lesbian who fell for the patriarchy’s conversion therapy”), but you cannot substitute ‘homosexual transsexual’ for ‘androphilic/gynephilic transsexual’ and say the same thing. ‘Homosexual transsexual’ specifically refers to the fact that HSTSes are an alternate morph of cissexual gay people. You can be trans, non-HSTS, and attracted to people of your natal sex by way of meta-attraction, which is especially common for AGP women, and someone who had a formed Blanchardian perspective instead of one put on pretty quickly would probably recognize that.
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But this is a really good one! I’m low-confidence on that vote.
On further assessment, probably closer to mid-confidence than low confidence.
To me, this sounds like a GI writer who’s trying to put together a maximally trans-affirming Blanchardian viewpoint because they believe that Ozy’s readers won’t believe that Blanchardians like #5 don’t actually hang out here.
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…nix the last “don’t”. whoops.
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