Color Youth Interview: autogynephilia


So I got approached by an activist working for a charity in Athens. Color Youth. They’re a LGBT group and from my brief glances over their website and lil trawl through the Google they seem like good people. I was asked to give a quick email interview about my thoughts on autogynephilia, which I’ve briefly spoken about before. I consider it to be the “flat earth theory” of trans, its a totally bogus idea and I figured you’d enjoy the interview. The interviewer has a Greek name I daren’t try to pronounce, but you can check out her Twitter over here.

Anyway, here’s the interview! Hope you enjoy. Ariadne is going to be giving her presentation on July 8th. No idea if I’ve any Greek followers or not, but its worth checking out if you are! I’ll update this post with more links after the event goes down.

Introduce yourself:

Hi there, I’m Cursed. I started blogging just over a year ago, it was mostly just a space I could jot down my thoughts and ideas into. I opened a Twitter account to help advertise my blog a little, I remember for about the first 6 months I had only 30 followers and it was still so exciting. I got involved with the conversation more, and I got noticed more, apparently people really like the things I think. So that was pretty cool.

I like to talk about social issues and politics. One of the things I’ve said from the beginning is that I want to try and help further the discussion, whatever discussion that might be. Often that discussion is trans issues and what I’ve found is that there’s a lot of people working from misinformation. I also found that the discussion from within and around the “trans community” was pretty damn toxic. So it’s been a wild ride of trying to set those things straight, a little.

I’m very outspoken and hold no bars when it comes to making fun of silly ideas.  I’m also terrible at talking about myself, as you may have noticed.
When did you first hear about autogynephilia?
It was an internet meme in a small trans community I used to visit. It was slung around as an invalidation of being trans to anyone who was trans and into women at all. 
Do you recall what your initial feelings and thoughts on the theory were?
It was quite obviously a tongue-in-cheek meme so I didn’t put much stock into it. I read up on the theory, because I’m a nerd, but it wasn’t compelling. Since I was visiting a gender clinic at the time who made no mention of it, it didn’t seem like a big deal.

It was just a joke we told each other [online]

What is your current opinion on autogynephilia?
I think that there is a case to be made that AGP is a real thing, however I think that there’s a venn diagram, with AGP on one side, and trans women on the other side. There’s definite overlap between the two – though to what extent I don’t know. I can’t imagine its very large, anecdotally speaking I wouldn’t define any of the trans women I speak to regularly as AGP.

Though that’s not to say it would even invalidate the “womanhood” of a trans woman who was AGP. The same way if a cis woman is AGP she isn’t invalidated by it. You could make the same venn diagram with [cis]women and AGP in it instead and it would look basically the same.

Has autogynephilia ever been used, by yourself and/or others, to invalidate you as a trans person, a woman and/or a human being?

 

Yes, often by radical feminists and their patsies. It’s a little silly really, they cling to this theory for dear life in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. It’s the very definition of confirmation bias. “Look at these 8 picture of trans women fetishising womanhood, clearly they’re all like this”. Kinda no different to “look at these 8 black people who stole things, all black people are thieves!” in my opinion.

Obviously both are stupid as heck.

What do you consider the most memorable claim or aspect of the theory?
I think what’s interesting is that people assume the AGP are the least valid women of Blanchard’s theory. That the other group, the “homosexual transsexuals” are the most valid. I couldn’t disagree more. If you really think about it, if you’re “becoming a woman” because you’re too afraid to come out as gay, then you know you’re not a woman, just a scared gay man. Whereas “becoming a woman” because you don’t feel good about your body and feel “unsexy”? Seems a little more valid, since lots of cis women feel “unsexy” and change their bodies too.
Its all hogwash though, but fun to muse on I guess? Probably why its remained as an idea in the discussion.
Do you believe autogynephilia has a positive, negative or neutral effect on the way the public views trans people?
I’d argue negative. Fetishism as an idea is generally a negative thing. Its a lot less negative than it ever has been, people don’t tend to raise so many eye brows if you say you’re into light BDSM or whatever these days. But there’s a long way to go on the sexual liberation front before its totally not a negative thing. AGP is considered fetishism and so tends to fall into the same category of eye brow raising stuff.

It’s often used to invalidate trans women and argue that they can’t be trusted around REAL WOMEN™ because we’re all just perverts right? Its definitely not something that helps our public image either. Especially when there’s a lot of confirmation bias out there for the idea, with lots of trans women taking an over the top interaction with femininity as their gender expression. By this I mean stuff like 70 year old trans women wearing leather miniskirts and stuff like that.

From an outside perspective I can see how they could see it that way? But I guess its not something you really think about very well from that outside perspective. As a trans woman thinking about why someone would dress that way, why someone would go over the top with femininity like that, I think you see it a little different. It’s like… like dipping your toes into a really cool swimming pool on a really hot day. It feels so good just to dip at first, but its not long before you jump in all the way. Sometimes people go in a bit too deep.

Which I understand, our metaphorical hot day is dysphoria, after years of suffering with it you’re just about ready to shrug it all off. It’s an extreme reaction to finally feeling positive about your body and self. It happens, much like when poor people win the lottery and then go on a spending spree and end up in debt again. They were too used to being poor that when they finally broke free of that they went extreme on the not being poor. I don’t think it necessarily invalidates that someone is trans.
Though seriously, rainbow thigh high socks? Really? Just why. Please never buy these.
Have you ever discussed autogynephilia iwth other trans or cis people? If so what were their reactions?
Yeah, I’ve had quite a few discussions around this topic actually. I’d say that by and large most people don’t put much stock in the theory at all. There’s too much to disconfirm the idea and it feels kinda bad to think about people as “just being perverts”. I’ve met around 3? Maybe? Trans women who put stock in the theory that this explains all trans women, but they’re very ideologically driven. All being very large supporters of radical feminist ideology.
AGP is just far too convenient for radical feminist ideology to realise its stupid.
What would be your response to someone calling themselves an autogynephile?

I don’t really put much stock in labels and what people call themselves if I’m honest.  I’m more interested in the gooey insides than the packaging, you know? If that’s what someone thinks about themselves its really of no impact to me. Same way someone thinking the Earth is flat isn’t about to ruin my day either.
Do you believe sexuality and gender connect and/or interact with one another? If so why and how?
My personal thoughts on sexuality are definitely a little less… rigid… than most people’s. Though again, this is from an entirely different perspective to say, a cis heterosexual. I think this matters because it shows how the ideas differ between typical vs atypical. Cis het people would be considered typical of the species, and you could very well make an argument that sexuality and gender are linked for these people. It’s arguably very biologically driven.
However for the less than about 10% of people who aren’t cis heterosexual, the rules [might] not necessarily apply the same way. For me personally, I’ve never had a strong sense of sexuality. I’ve never really cared. I’ve been intimate with and still find sexually attractive all kinds of people. I just really don’t get how you could live in the world and shut yourself off to having a great time with a certain section of the population for basically arbitrary reasons, you know?
So its a yes and no situation for me, it is in some situations but it isn’t in others. You can’t really be absolutist with human nature, it just doesn’t work that way.

 

That’s it! I think if I was going to take away one thing from the whole discussion about trans I’ve been part of so far  its that people really seem to want rules. They want generalised, simple rules that encompass everyone and can be applied universally, right across the spectrum of people. But… that’s really not how it works from what I can see. Human nature is too messy for that, we can probably make those rules generally speaking, but they’re not going to be useful in a lot of situations. 10%~ of the population that is LGBT is about 700million people worldwide, there’s no way that generalised rules could ever fully account for everyone.

This was a lot of fun, thanks Ariadne for picking me! 🙂 If anyone else is interested in doing this kind of thing, feel free to drop me a DM on the ol’ Twitteroo or a comment down in the comment section below~~~

 

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