Castration On Demand, With An Apology

Pornography is one of the most down-played, and yet crucial, mistakes of our time.

As soon as I was able to gain access to it, I did, and I watched it religiously. I was addicted. It was a close companion during my growth and development as a human, and it undoubtedly had permanent biochemical and psychological effects that will be with me until the day I die. Along with many radical feminists who point this out, I fear for the future and the hordes of porn-sick men who will hold power and wield it in sado-masochistic ways learned early on from watching hardcore pornography.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might think that the patriarchal institutions deliberately encouraged the growth of these industries in order to sandbag the burgeoning feminist movement. Whether this is true or not, I do not see how a feminist movement can make much headway while it is being derailed by porn-sick men (see: Church of Trans). For that matter, I do not see how much progress in this world can be made at all without acknowledging the devastation that pornography is wreaking upon the minds and emotional landscapes of those who consume it. Any man who watches porn is porn-sick, but those who – like me – have filled our brains from childhood with toxic poison to the point that even when we stopped watching it, the pornography scrolled through our field of vision like it was right in front of us, we are damaged beyond any known semblance of repair.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am an admitted autogynephile. Paraphilias, once developed, are not known to simply go away. I fully expect to deal with autogynephilia for the rest of my life – I wish I had known all this sooner, or I would not have entered a committed relationship with a woman, and saved her and myself loads of grief.

With other paraphilias, even somewhat bizarre ones, the person can either gather certain items or certain types of people in order to complete the magic spell. There is a real-world formula for it which is attainable in a realistic fashion.

It would be easier if I was turned on by the idea of transvestism, then I would have an easy outlet. Or, any outlet. But there is no outlet for the type of autogynephilia I experience, except to transition. And there is no relief to be had without a lowering of libido, without castration – which is only medically available as a function of transition.

The male libido is not in short supply these days. Other paraphilias abound, and there are, I am sure, plenty of men whose libidos are connected to inflicting harm on other people. I guarantee that many of these men would willingly undergo castration if it was available on demand, with an apology. Why the apology? Well, it is closest we can come to a symbolic concession of male ego before getting to the Real Deal.

The male apology which is my only proposed prerequisite for castration goes something like this:

I apologize for embracing the dysfunctional socialization that turns male humans into abusers, so I could myself avoid abuse and ‘fit in.’

I apologize for the pornography I pretended was benign, because others told me it was and I wanted to believe them.

I apologize for the damage done to myself and others as I acted upon my male entitlement, over and over, in pursuit of personal lusts which I thought were my ‘right.’

I apologize to the victims of male violence and bigotry, a violence that stems not from libido, but from a refusal to comprehend the meaning of another’s boundaries.

I apologize to the male children who will follow in our footsteps unless we do something to change what is happening, change this sick socialization we continue to support.

I apologize to the libido which is not at fault in and of itself, but which has been made a catalyst of my misguided intentions, and has itself become permanently marred by the forces which I have permitted to move through it, and with such negligent passion.

Castration is both an individual act and a societal symbol. The apology is both a personal healing, and an allegorical cleansing of societal toxins.

For the sake of men, for the sake of our victims, and as a symbolic, ritual rejection of male socialization:

Castration on demand, with an apology.

One of the Lucky Ones

I am lucky.

Just a few minutes ago, I was reading an article on gendertrender, and Gallus Mag had linked to an article by naefearty, a blogger who authors a site for the support of wives, ex-wives, current partners, ex-partners, of autogynephiles. It’s been too long since I thought deeply about these things. It’s not as painful as it used to be, but it’s certainly not something I enjoy dwelling on either. A while back, I had the startling epiphany that I must be part of the category known as autogynephilic men. This was, unsurprisingly, a jolt to my ego and a deeply troubling revelation. It also was incredibly important to my development as an individual on their road to – hopefully – a life of meaning, which is not comprised of boundary violations. A life in which my own satisfaction does not come at the expense of other people.

My wife and I divorced 2-3 years before I decided to transition. This did not spare her the mind-fuck of living with an autogynephile – it simply made her experience less attributable to an obvious cause. If you’ve bothered to read the epiphany I’ve linked to above (unless you care to know more about the sickness that is AG, I suggest you avoid it) you will realize that advice such as, “why didn’t she just leave you?” or “why didn’t you just stop being so perverted?” are irrelevant to the situation and largely meaningless. She didn’t leave me because she loved me, and because she is a good person.

I always find myself wanting to talk about myself even when I try to talk about her. That’s probably due to the narcissism – oh, there I go again. Like all other autogynephiles, I love talking about myself. I don’t want to talk about myself in this post, that isn’t the cause of the emotion which brought me here. I am lucky.

I want to acknowledge the unlucky ones.

To the wives, ex-wives, partners, ex-partners of autogynephilic men: I am sorry. I am also sorry that my apology means less than nothing to you, because my apology is entirely worthless in this context. You are, or were, held prisoner by someone who cannot love the way you do, or the way you loved them. We may mimic it, if you are fortunate(?!), but it is just that – as long as we are focused upon our fantasies, everything we do is intended only for our personal validation. And don’t be mistaken – our fantasies are not limited to playing “woman” or “feeling like a woman.” We have many, many others. If you think upon it, I am sure you will realize that we have lived within dreams. This may have been what attracted you to us in the first place, our fantastical dreams which we seem always on the edge of realizing. You listening, rapt, to our odd and wondrous tales of strange things we might do and might become, until one day, we hit upon that one desire – that feeling. That feeling that overrides all other feelings, and especially overrides your feelings. So what if you are a woman, we feel like women, and isn’t this so much realer?

To us, this is logic. We are sick, we are porn-sick. We have probably watched it since we were children. Many of us may actually experience sex dysphoria, or whatever the hell that is. But who cares? We tricked you! Not on purpose, not really, because everything in our life is a trick, we trick ourselves first and we trick everyone else after, our lives are constant and never-ending deception, chasing the dragon at the end of the porn video that never ends because it just becomes another video and another and another and we possess ourselves and we possess you and we possess your possession with us and you are not permitted to escape.

We consume you. You become lost in us. I am sorry.

I am one of the lucky ones. My wife got a pretty bad case of mind-fucking, but at least she didn’t have to watch me transition. This would have killed her, I know this. Literally. She would have committed suicide if she had been forced to watch me transition.

She has moved on, thankfully. She has a husband, a child, a house, and the career she always wanted. We don’t talk. It is better that way.

My fantasies started to go dormant when I quit watching pornography. So much of my disease, the illness of autogynephilia, is directly attributable to porn-sickness. With the help of radical feminist thought, an ethic of sex-negativity, and cessation of all abusive substances, I have felt my autogynephilia begin to recede into dormancy. It is still there, I know this. It’s ugly face peeks around corners whenever something triggers that side of myself, that porn-sick side. This is one main reason I don’t watch TV – the advertisements trigger this side, because to my mind, many of these advertisements are just porn. I can control it, now.

People like me cannot be in relationships with women who want anything resembling a healthy life. I escaped, I let my wife go, she had help, she escaped as well – sigh – if it had gone on any longer I would have no choice but to live forever within my fantasies in order to unburden myself of the guilt. As it is, I feel able to explore alternatives to both appropriation and suicide.

I am one of the lucky ones. I guess.

Don’t Demean Yourself When You Pee

I had to pee.

For me, the bathroom question is one of honest assessment. “Is it unsafe in this situation, as a passing MtT, to use the men’s restroom?” This is the question I ask myself on those occasions I need to excrete waste products from my body while in a public setting, and was the question I asked myself, earlier today. Yes, it was safe.

The setting was a grocery store I worked at for over four years. Most of the people who work there are known to me, and today I enjoyed the opportunity to drink coffee and catch up with a few people I hadn’t seen in months, except in passing. Suffice to say, after a couple hours of dialogue and more than a few cups of coffee I had to pee. I really had to pee.

Coming from a childhood situation that gave my sister PTSD and probably had some similar effects on myself, I have spent the majority of my life assessing my environment for potential dangers. I knew that there was no danger in this situation. So, I steeled myself for using the men’s restroom. Now, this establishment sees a good amount of traffic, so it was highly probable there would be other men in the bathroom, other men who would be more than a little surprised at the sight of seeing a woman  (wait, that’s a man, why are they dressed like a…OH, OH, I GET IT) waiting patiently to use the one stall the tiny restroom boasts. However, this is the type of place where fairly liberal-minded people shop, so the thought of violence was the furthest thing from my mind. The only reason to not use the men’s restroom in this situation was the unwanted attention, the announcement of being trans. And if I wasn’t someone influenced by radfem politics, there would be the additional issue of validation to deal with.

I balked at the idea, and wondered if I would be able to get away with using the single restroom in the back room meant only for employees. Maybe they would make an exception for me? My old manager – a dear, dear friend of mine – was present and I lobbed my request at her.

“Oh, honey, you know you can’t go in the back since you don’t work here anymore.”

She told me to use the women’s bathroom. I told her I was going to use the men’s. She became immediately anxious and visibly upset.

“No, you don’t need to demean yourself like that! I will walk in there with you if you want!” At this point I was feeling an odd mix of emotions. Perhaps it was partially the higher dosage of estradiol I had just started on. Her crestfallen face, her aura of grandmotherly worry, her horror at seeing me demean myself…and I really had to pee.

I used the women’s restroom, knowing myself to be an outsider, albeit an invisible one. It was what I wanted to do anyway – and really, I just used her anxiety as an excuse, as a means to justify conceding my infantile and malformed attempt at radical ethics in favor of enjoying an uneventful micturation.

Concessions aside, the experience made visible something that I had not been exposed to previously, at least not in such a blatant manner. She didn’t want me to demean myself. This is important, and requires a deeper examination. What was demeaning about me using the men’s restroom? Certainly, it would attract attention. Certainly, some of that attention would be curious, some would be confused, and some would be judgmental. Interpretations of my presence would differ in extraordinary ways depending on whether someone ended up clocking me or not. The sheer fact of entering a men’s restroom would increase the chance of being clocked by a huge degree. Is that what is demeaning – being identified as trans? Is that what she meant? Maybe, but I’m not convinced that’s the answer.

To demean oneself implies that there is some party or individual that one is demeaning themselves towards – that the individual is bowing down, figuratively or literally, in homage of the greater power of some authority. But who is this authority? At this particular store, one of the employees is also a MtT – it has been made clear that I am welcome, nay, encouraged to use the women’s restroom, that the company’s policy on such things is all-inclusive, liberal, etc. It is certainly within their rights as a corporation to have whatever policy they want concerning their restrooms. By using the women’s restroom I was actually giving in to the contextual norms. So who, precisely, am I demeaning myself for? Society in general?

This would adequately reflect the liberal perspective my friend holds on such matters – in addition, the MtT employee works alongside her and has conveyed a little of some distinctly post-modern views on transgenderism (as a side note, this individual avoids me like the plague – perhaps transactivists really can smell gender-criticals?). I suspect what my friend meant was giving in to the notion that I am not a woman, despite me describing to her my politics and how the idea that one can simply identify as a woman is damaging to women’s liberation. In truth, I don’t think my friend really knew what she meant. I think she was trying to convey an emotion. She loves me, truly she does. We have been through a lot together: she has witnessed my multiple transformations over the years, seen me fall into and crawl out of the depths of depression and helped me through long months of living on the edge of suicide. I have listened to her stories of betrayal and suffering from her past, stories that close members of her family are unaware of – yeah, we have some history.

So, when she feels a desire to see me happy, to see me fit in, and then witnesses me engaging in what appears to be masochistic behavior in the service of alien politics, her emotional landscape becomes one of anxiety and fear. Understandable. She just wants me to use the restroom I feel comfortable using. But, I don’t feel comfortable using either restroom. And really, I don’t think it’s all about my ‘comfort.’

What about the comfort of those who don’t want an unexpected penis in the women’s restroom? Do they not have the right to demand a penis-free restroom in a society that not only privileges penis-holders but also teaches us a sense of entitlement because of this fact? A sense of entitlement that results in my class of people being responsible for 99% of rapes and 90% of murders? Just based on those statistics, this seems reasonable.

But this entire post is really about my friend, and the powerful emotion she felt in response to me using the men’s bathroom. I suspect that her emotion is not altogether different from the emotions felt by many other liberal-minded folks who feel an intense need to fight for us trans people – to see us fit in and be happy. To be safe. To not demean ourselves. Fitting in. That’s really it, isn’t it? I demean myself, not by being trans necessarily, but by not fitting in. By choosing not to fit in. Visually, I ‘match’ the women’s restroom.

Don’t stand out. You don’t want to demean yourself.

My body freaks me out, transition is serving its purpose, and I am finally, for the first time in maybe 15 years, able to think clearly about myself; able to critically analyze myself and the trauma I experienced growing up and the damage I’ve done to myself over the years through ritualistic, masochistic escapism. It is ironic that transition itself could be perceived as a ritualistic form of masochistic escapism. But I won’t go into that right now.

One of the many reasons I disagree with the idea of children transitioning is that in many cases, it is done with the motivation of fitting in. My transition has nothing to do with fitting in. I’ve tried to fit in my whole life. Transition is about rediscovering the creative potential, the confident voice, the sense of Self that I sacrificed repeatedly through the years in the interest of fitting in and doing what I was supposed to.

Now I am, apparently, demeaning myself by choosing not to fit in. In the interest of normalcy, in the interest of preserving the integrity of society and fitting in, I must not demean myself by using the men’s restroom. I can be my own special little snowflake. But just…don’t be that kind of different: Fit in.

Fuck that.

Geurrilla Oppression

Pronouns do not change depending upon someone’s skin color, height, physical abilities, or mental aptitude. They do, however, traditionally differ based upon sex. In the theoretical context of gender abolition, pronouns would be no different whether one was referring to a male or female of the human species. After all, why would they be? How would pronouns serve any purpose in such a social environment? In the absence of differences in socialization and privilege between males and females – because of being male or female – acknowledgement of one’s biological reality would be at best a quirky non sequiter, and at worst, a confusing boundary violation.

Thousands of years of recorded humanity have witnessed the utilization of these pronouns to refer specifically to one’s biological sex, or more accurately and in accordance with the historicity of the power structures in question, to one’s capacity to give birth, or lack thereof. Simply take a cursory glance at the social stigmas surrounding female infertility (in any society, really) and it becomes obvious how crucial is the connection between the social reality of women and the biological potential of female reproduction. In a human economy, there truly is no asset greater than other humans: control the means of human production – literally the creation of new humans – and you control the human economy.

This brings us to the current era, in which there seems to be a battle of pronouns. Who controls them? To whom do they refer?

In countless instances of ‘misgendering,’ trans persons accuse those who refuse to acknowledge their self-ascribed ‘gender identity’ with the Correct Pronoun to be committing a heinous act of violence against them. This ‘misgendering’ is given the emotional weight of death itself, and those who engage in this behavior are said to either be abstractly supporting the dehumanization of trans identities and thus contributing to a culture of violence against trans people, or more directly supporting the death of trans people by further depressing the emotional states of those individuals unable to escape suicidal ideation.

There is a huge misunderstanding here. Those engaged in the activity of ‘misgendering,’ usually radical feminists and gender-critical people, are more accurately performing ‘trusexing,’ a term I just made up. Maybe it’s been used before, I don’t know – the point being that the misunderstanding, the mis-communication, is thus: most trans persons use pronouns to refer to gender, while radfems and gendercrits use pronouns to acknowledge biological sex and its concurrent social realities. Of course, there are also the people who simply don’t have the energy or gumption to care and just ‘call it like they see it.’

A planetary-sized irony descends upon the situation. Pronouns help begin the process of socialization. Many (if not most) people will find it difficult to interact with an infant without knowing its biological sex and the socially-approved norms of treatment ascribed to handling an infant of that sex. Infants aren’t even really human until they are declared to be of one social destiny or another: “It’s a…!” As seen from scenarios of intersex children, a delay in this announcement results in a distressing dilemma for parents who live in a society of male-female discreteness. From this announcement, the new little human is given social form and fate, and its life begins. Presumably begins – in many situations where ultrasound technology meets a cultural history of sex-based infanticide, female fetuses are aborted simply for being female.

Women would benefit without gender, without pronouns, without anything in their daily life being altered or specifically oriented to their (assumed) ability to birth new humans, with the exception of medical care – which would be a private matter anyways. To reiterate: in the context of gender abolition, there would theoretically be no difference in male/female pronouns. However, I think that in order to reach a state of gender abolition, one must first cause this shift in pronoun usage to occur. Simply creating the divide between infant boys and infant girls leads them to very rapidly make assumptions about their place in the world by learning which group they ‘belong’ to. This perceptive divide must be eliminated first, otherwise children will inevitably fall victim to the dominant/submissive power structure that characterizes male/female socialization and relationships.

Here is the irony I see: the transgender movement is forcing the women’s liberation movement to use these pronouns, these master’s tools, as a means of defense; as a way of ‘calling out,’ in a sense, the socialization that men who claim to be women vehemently deny. The transgender movement – ‘The Church of Trans’ – is using these pronouns as a means to obfuscate reality and avoid responsibility for the social reality of being male in a world that teaches males, from infancy, that we are better, faster, stronger, smarter, more capable, and more entitled than the majority (52%) of our fellow humans. Radfems and gendercrits use pronouns to trusex people, to hold them accountable for the dual crime of both erasing their privileged reality and turning the tables on those who hold the least power in this gendered hierarchy.

Please allow me to reference a quote by Audre Lorde. (As a white male, I hope I am not removing it too much from its context or appropriating its meaning in an offensive way. If I am, I will gladly welcome criticism to correct my ignorance):

“Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns. Now we hear that it is the task of women of Color to educate white women—in the face of tremendous resistance—as to our existence, our differences, our relative roles in our joint survival. This is a diversion of energies and a tragic repetition of racist patriarchal thought.”
Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” 1984. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Ed. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press. 110- 114. 2007.

How much has changed since 1984? Well, quite a lot, and yet…we are in a situation where men who cannot possibly know anything about being a woman are claiming the title for themselves, as if it is a gleaming trophy to be won by trial. An inversion of the ‘damsel in distress’ story, with the male playing both parts. Armed with the shield of ‘misgendering’ and the sword of ‘cis privilege,’ the very existence of women’s oppression and women’s reality is being systematically erased.

Women are still being forced to occupy themselves with the master’s concerns. Women are coerced into using the master’s tools – the pronouns which spark the programming of gender that begins in infancy – to defend the reality of their subjugation before the Orwellian inevitability of being unable to even name the truth ascends from the depths of nightmare into our waking world. Women are being compelled to use the master’s tools to maintain the master’s house to prevent it from collapsing upon them before they can manage an escape: the only escape is women’s liberation. To be buried under the rubble of the master’s house is to be trapped in a situation I outlined in “Gender Dystopia:
“The female will have been erased, and the female will have no name for their oppression, and no name for their oppressors. They will, at this point, have no chance, no hope, and any knowledge of their position as eternal slaves to men will be obfuscated.”

Maybe it isn’t as dreadful as all that…maybe I am simply being paranoid and alarmist. I certainly hope so, but my hope is at odds with my informed suspicion.

Either way, there is an abstract war being fought over pronouns, and the victors will have won the right to name a crucial aspect of reality. For women, this is one more stepping-stone along the arduous road towards freedom from men and our violent sense of entitlement to their lives.

For the Church of Trans and the gender hierarchy to which it tithes, it means the elimination of objective reality and the progressive extinction of resistance to male forms of social sado-masochism. Or, something like this definition of ‘doublethink,’ which is:

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary.”

Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32

On Passing, and Why Transwomen need to STFU and Listen to Actual Women

So, I’m mostly passing now.

Not in all situations – I describe it as ‘circumstantially passing.’ However, it is somewhat hard to tell, isn’t it? If people don’t look at me or notice anything out of the ordinary while walking through a crowd, I suppose that is a good sign that I don’t look like an out-and-out ‘tranny.’ And if someone actually does look at me with interest, how do I know they clocked me? Based upon certain situations in the past, one in which a male person at a friend’s outdoor gathering apparently asked about me later in an interested way, assuming the entire time I am actually female, it is possible that some of the attention I am getting is precisely because I am passing. It can certainly be hard to tell. At the beginning of my transition, men would look at my legs protruding from my skirt, trying to negotiate the apparent incongruity between the obvious maleness they initially saw with the apparent femininity of my bottom half. Now, they still look (even though I always wear skirts and dresses below the knees) but in a much different way – more as if I am simply a pair of legs and the rest of me is irrelevant.

So – listening to women. As usual with my writing, this requires significant digression.

When I started my transition in November, I was still drinking. I went out frequently to a local bar within walking distance, usually going there and back alone. This was not a gay-oriented bar, it is actually a laid-back country bar with a horseshoe pit out back and it only serves beer. It had been my regular watering-hole for the past four/five years and surprisingly, people just left me alone or were at least polite enough not to say anything to my face. This initial exposure helped me overcome a great deal of the dysphoria surrounding social settings.

I quit drinking and smoking prior to starting HRT in March, and have not touched any substance save caffeine since then. Nor do I want to – all I have to do is remind myself of the inevitable down-hill progression that one mere sip of alcohol or one puff of a cigarette will incur; also, with the hormones and anti-androgens, the emotional need for such crutches is gone.

When I quit drinking, I lost a lot of ‘friends.’ The last messages from some of the people I thought were long-time buddies were texts saying things like, “you still not drinking?” Since March, I have been a hermit, going nowhere that was not work, food, or health-care related, and almost always alone, with the exception of two gatherings I attended at the house of two of my few surviving real friends, people who love me for who I am and not what substances I choose to ingest with them. Point being, no social contact that was not in a safe setting.

I was invited to a music event by a few real friends of mine yesterday, and I decided that I needed to get off my introverted, isolated ass and make an appearance. Spend some quality time with wonderful people I have been neglecting due to constant attention to transition, blogging, and feminism. I went. It was lovely, and it did not seem as if people were clocking me. When I used the men’s bathroom, I got some interesting stares from the wait-staff, but that was about it. Anyways, on to the important bit.

Afterwards, my female friend and I were walking back to my car through the city square, an open area replete with trees, strange metal sculptures and even a fountain for children to play in. In the middle of our conversation, one man in a group of men turned and accosted us with this progression of questions: “Hey, do you have a cell phone?” (said as he was looking at me, I kept walking), “hey, you from around here?” and immediately after, as if to give honest credence to what was so blatantly an attempt at a pick-up line, “do you know what time the bars close around here?”

By this point, my female friend had stopped to politely answer his question. I was somewhat baffled as to why she even bothered to stop and give them such temporally irrelevant information (last call is 2am, it was not even 11pm at this time). I got quiet and paid attention, and part of my mind invariably became anxious. Something was up. I had never been in this type of situation before. Who were these people? Why did they think it was appropriate to interrupt my friend and I with such an unintelligent attempt at conversation?

Despite their crassness, my friend told them the closing time and said goodnight without further ado. The guy kept talking as we walked away, clearly expecting us to stop and listen. When it was obvious we weren’t going to acquiesce, he shouted after us in a weird, joking-angry voice, “Oh, great conversation! Thanks a lot!”

What the fuck? What did we do wrong? We were nice, we were polite, we gave him more than he deserved, and he certainly wasn’t fooling us with his ‘honest’ intentions. The situation left me completely confused and anxious. What did we do to deserve such vehemence thrown after us like a chimpanzee throwing shit?

Oh, right: this is what I have been reading and hearing about. The feeling that we did something wrong, that somehow we weren’t nice enough to the poor man who actually put nice clothes on and shaved and doesn’t smell like absolute shit just for us, and we should be grateful. My friend knew what she was doing from a lifetime of experience – she was enacting the necessity of catering politely to male entitlement, to reduce the risk that we might encounter violence as a result of hurting male egos via rejection.

I am male-socialized, albeit gender-non-conforming in many ways growing up (other factors exacerbated this, see my post about being an expatriate). I’ve never engaged in that type of asshole-ish pick-up line bullshit, and I never hung out with the men who did (not that they would want me around anyway). I always knew there was something vaguely sick about it. Until experiencing it myself, until realizing that I am now on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I did not understand the emotional reality behind this phenomenon. Reading feminist blogs and literature, I thought I understood it intellectually.

Women deal with this on the daily. It is part and parcel of female socialization. I am not socialized in this way, and because of that, I do not understand the ‘ropes’ of dealing with male entitlement. In the past, I attempted to criticize the way other transwomen bragged about being catcalled, objectified, etc, and how such experiences were ‘positive’ affirmations of their new identity, but I criticized it from an intellectual standpoint, referencing rape culture and the sexualization of women.

Now, my understanding is starting to become emotional, experiential. To those transwomen who brag about being catcalled I now say: what the fuck do you think you’re doing? Why are you bragging about this shit? You think this a fucking game?! Women get murdered for rejecting men politely, women get raped for wearing certain types of clothing, women are violently enacted upon by sadistic male fantasies just for being women, and no matter what you do, you only lessen the risk, you never eliminate it.

After a lifetime of male socialization, transwomen who transition as adults are not prepared to deal with being on the receiving end of male entitlement. The high risk associated with being a transwoman in part stems from a homophobic society, and in part from the high suicide rate – but I think the unacknowledged lion’s share may derive from improperly acting out female socialization, and as a result, incurring the wrath of violent male entitlement.

The spurious claim by many transwomen that they were never male-socialized is one debate I won’t go into right now – but the acknowledgement that we were never female-socialized is hugely important in the discussion of trans safety issues. Ignore this fact of life at your peril, fellow transwomen.

My advice? Shut up and listen to women. Their voices are essential to our well-being.

 

 

Delineations of, and Denial Within, the Autogynephilic Community

[Trigger warnings for rape mention and autogynephilic sexuality]

As an autogynephilic male transsexual, I have noticed an assumption of homogeneity about us. Certainly, no group of individuals who share one similarity are all the same, but when it comes to a characterization of AGPs there is a tendency towards homogenization in large part because of our unwillingness to come forward and admit our human complexity. If most of us shared our stories from a standpoint of honesty with regards to our motivations, I believe we would immediately see a diverging of groups.

I think one of the most clear-cut categorizations  within our community (if there were enough of us willing to admit to AGP for there to even be a community), would be those with or without sex dysphoria. Sex, or body, dysphoria is something that is not easy to “test” for, if at all. One might say that an AGP would simply claim sex dysphoria in order to be more accepted, but is this not true of non-AGP transsexuals as well? In fact, this is a common trope that AGPs are faced with – the idea that anything we say is immediately to be doubted, that the testimony of others, especially those transsexuals who are non-AGP (and who can know if they are not actually “stealth” AGP or in severe denial?) are to be believed over us.

In many ways, this thinking is correct. We are not to be completely trusted concerning statements about our motivations to transition. However, I think this logic applies to all transsexuals.

Behaviors are more reliable methods of judgment rather than mere opinions. I use observations of my own behavior in order to more closely judge myself, which is probably one of the main reasons I am able to identify myself as AGP, despite lacking a behavior of cross-dressing as a child, or any erotic connection with women’s clothing. I judge myself to be an anatomic/physiologic AGP based upon my inability to form an erotic connection without also thinking of myself as a woman, physiologically and anatomically. Additionally, my transition was rather late, and I allowed myself to follow the path of male social patterns of development, culminating in a marriage. I am AGP because I am attracted to my own body as “female,” or at least as close as it can come to such a facsimile. People often assume that AGPs are seekers of pleasure, and in a way, we are. The sad truth is that we are desperately unhappy. Simply look at the proliferation of death threats, violent rhetoric, and active deceit in the trans community and you will see the dismal effect that unacknowledged AGP has upon its bearers. In my case, awareness of reality allows this unhappiness to be reduced to a bitter frustration. Unpleasant, but livable.

This is by no means meant to excuse the behavior listed above. No matter the origin, it is reprehensible and indefensible. However, I mention it because only by understanding the mentality behind such behavior can transsexuals attempt to oppose it and clean up our community.

Behaviors. How does one differentiate between AGPs with, and AGPs without, sex/body dysphoria? An easy way might be to see who is happy with the lessening of erections following HRT, and who is not. Masturbation habits preceding HRT/transition are not necessarily relevant, because depending upon the manner in which the act was conducted, could be simply for pleasure, or (as in my case) used as a form of ritualistic dissociation from the body itself, and from trauma attached to that body.

The lessening, followed by complete cessation, of erections has been a profound source of peace for me. I was rarely able to enjoy the act of sex with another person, because then I was forced to pay attention to my own body. Only by imagining myself “switched” with the woman during heterosexual intercourse, and always with the help of mind-altering substances, was I able to hobble my way through the experience, usually by fantasizing that I would end up pregnant. I have, for the first time, been able to reconsider the facts of my sexuality without prejudice and despair.

I am aware that for many others, the lessening of erections is a source of great frustration. I would posit that these individuals do not experience sex dysphoria. This would be a good starting point in which to begin a differentiation within the AGP community. I think most would agree that those transsexuals who are perfectly comfortable with their normal male genitalia and want to keep them are intrinsically different from those transsexuals who feel unable to engage in sexual activity without SRS (being quite terrified of SRS, I have considered just obtaining an orchiectomy, being celibate, and ignoring everything going on down there for the rest of my life as an alternative).

Another possible divergence would be the presence or absence of cross-dressing behavior. This is, supposedly, the defining characteristic of AGP. I am not so certain. If one believes the blogosphere, it is the only defining characteristic, aside from being abusive, rapey, and just plain horrible people all-around. From what I have seen of the behavior of a great many male-to-trans, this is not far from the truth.

For me, the fact that I am attracted to myself as a “woman,” that I am romantically enthralled with my “woman” self, is the defining characteristic of AGP. By this standard, many transsexuals who consider themselves non-AGP because they did not cross-dress as children or find women’s clothing to be erotically stimulating would suddenly be considered under the AGP category. This would be entirely dependent upon a vague idea of oneself as being in love with oneself as a “woman” (as the facsimile of the same). This is not limited to sexual arousal, but may simply be a romantic attraction. Certainly, this type of thinking is narcissistic.

One may have noticed that I did not mention sexuality as a defining characteristic of AGP. Blanchard originally divided AGPs from non-AGPs by presence or absence of a strict homosexuality. As a lumping technique, this may be somewhat useful. However, this ignores many factors: effect of religious upbringing, presence of ego-dystonic homosexuality, cultural environment, childhood sexual abuse, childhood trauma, substance abuse, and pornography addiction. Many or all of these factors work in tandem. The fact that some individuals do not come out as gay until late in their lives, often after having outwardly successful marriages, shows the degree to which human beings will manipulate their own needs and desires in order to fit within a social rubric. Some break out of this box early in life, and are certainly punished for this offense. The journey of the early-transitioning transsexual must be extremely difficult, and I do not envy the experience.

Some, however, take much longer to break out. I have a theory that in many cases (not all), AGP is a self-defense mechanism that reacts to the presence of sex dysphoria. Just like the narcissism that is a self-defense reaction to the isolation that defined my childhood, the effect of AGP upon the individual, and its concomitant behavioral characteristics, may fade with continued awareness of the presence of sex dysphoria and the utilization of strategies to cope (such as transition and/or cognitive behavioral therapy). The person with AGP does not “have a harder time of things” and develop AGP because of some extreme form of sex dysphoria. My explanation is somewhat counter-intuitive. I think that those with AGP actually choose what they perceive at the time to be the easy way out, and that possibly this is based upon having chosen “the easy way out” in previous circumstances.

For example, I both remember and do not remember my rape. I have had long conversations with a friend of mine, a grandmother and mother of three, who was and is my confidant in very personal matters that I have shared with no one else, not even my therapist. She also does not remember her rape. And yet she does. We don’t talk about this with other people, because it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. But it makes sense to us. You see, we know what happened. We know we know what happened. We just don’t remember it, not really. Long ago, our minds took “the easy way out” and we are paying the price for it, in ways we cannot fully understand. There was one time I “remembered” what happened, and it almost resulted in me jumping off of a bridge. I remember remembering. I remember choosing to forget. But I still do not remember what truly happened. Oh, well, I suppose I am better off. And who knows? Maybe I made it all up! I can certainly keep telling myself that – but I cannot ignore the suspicious behaviors that have resulted from this “non-existent” memory, or the years of maddening self-doubt.

I think for many AGPs there is a similarity to this phenomenon. We chose one of two paths, long ago: awareness or denial. I am an expert at denial. I started early. When I became aware of what I know now to be sex dysphoria, this experience was essentially thrown under the bus and squished into paraphilia, grotesque and mangled, in a similar fashion to what I did with my rape memory. Transsexuals without AGP are correct in asserting they are vastly different from us. They knew, early on. They chose the trajectory of awareness, complete with all of its misery and open-handed abuses. We chose the trajectory of denial, and led ourselves into a labyrinth of our own making.

Just as it is important to differentiate between the AGP and non-AGP transsexuals, it is also important to describe the varying motivations that help to categorize and delineate those of us with AGP. I am not alone when I say that, just like non-AGP transsexuals who read AGP narratives and say “this is not me,” there are a great many AGP narratives to which I also say, “this is not me.”