Similar ground is covered in this interview with Dr Oren Amitay and Dr James Cantor.
In October 2016, I had the privilege of interviewing Ray Blanchard. This is the first piece in a series of posts I am going to do around the discussion we had, which covered his research into transsexualism and the political aspects of transgender activism.
In conversation, Blanchard is friendly and chatty, and conveys the impression of being firmly grounded in reality. He is nobody’s fool. When I brought up the subject of the current focus on children, his response was brisk:
“I don’t like to talk too much about actual treatment because I’ve never work with children, but within an area where I feel competent to comment.”
A lot of transgender activism is focussed on children, ‘transkids’, and much of this activism is carried out by late-transitioning non-homosexual transgender males, men who have lived a life as a man, benefitted from this and often leave a wife and children behind as they move out and pursue their midlife crisis. I asked Blanchard whether these cheerleaders, who are generating a powerful vector to normalise the social and medical transition of children, are the same type of transsexuals as those children who would ordinarily be regarded as being ‘transkids’.
“I think that in some cases where you have a male to female transsexuals of the non-homosexual type, which is to say they were previously married. They had children. They were fathers. They were this and that and then became women. That type of transsexual who are very well represented to say the least among trans activists, when they involve themselves in treatment of children, they are really colonizing a clinical population to which they don’t belong. They are claiming the boyhoods of pre-gay males for themselves and saying: ‘I was this kind of boy.’ They weren’t.”
“I don’t doubt that a lot of autogynephiles who are not homosexual male to females may have had explicit cross-gender wishes that precede puberty (but) I don’t think they had the pervasive, conspicuous, unhideable femininity that you see in many pre-gay boys.”
The claim by many of these transsexuals is, as children, they ‘didn’t fit in’, they played with toys coded to the sex opposite their own and had feminine ideation of themselves. But there is a distinction, these boys generally grow into unremarkably masculine men who are sexually interested in women. The homosexual transsexual (until recently the popular image of what it is to be transsexual) has been mandated out of existence by opportunists using those narratives and lives as political leverage.
Why would they do this? Why would these transsexuals be going out of their way to normalize the transitioning of children when this is, to be blunt, nothing to do with them?
“I think it’s a question of just trying to expand their influence, trying to expand their dominance over how transsexualism is seen in society. Let me hasten to say, I understand the viewpoint of activists. Activists do what activists do. They have social goals and their interest is in attaining their social goals. They’re not concerned about the niceties of theory.
If the most convenient narrative is one that cuts corners on the science or is frankly at odds with the science, so be it. Social activists have goals they want to attain and they’re not going to be too fussy about theoretical purity in making their rhetorical arguments.”
Of course, at the heart of this is these activists’ own self-knowledge that Blanchard’s two-type typology, which they vehemently deny, is in fact bang on the money.
“They certainly, they are non-homosexual male to females are hardly going to underscore the differences between themselves and the homosexual type of transsexuals because they don’t want to underscore the difference of two different types. They don’t want to be the less feminine type, which to their mind would be less authentic.”
Blanchard is more charitable, although considering the activities of these transsexuals dishonest, he admits:
“I don’t know whether the dishonesty is primarily with themselves or primarily with the public and the gullible members of the media who do this, they report this. It certainly is dishonest at some point along the line.”
So, of course they could be kidding themselves, personally I doubt it. I think they know exactly what they are doing. Autumn Sandeen has stated publicly that ‘transkids’ desexualise transsexualism, and that to me appears a fair representation of their position. I wondered whether Blanchard considers there to be any benefit to transgender individuals in accepting the idea of autogynephilia, rather than the flat denialism we have at the moment.
“Well that’s a very interesting suggestion, and several people including Anne Lawrence, Alice Dreger, Mike Bailey, I think they’ve all suggested in one way or another that it would be a healthier solution for autogynephiles to just accept their feelings as they are and not try to develop unrealistic and untruthful narratives about their lives.”
“At some level I think that the trans activists who are being untruthful with the general public via the media might just have come to the conclusion that the true story is not going to be a sell in terms of obtaining civil rights and social justice for transsexuals. That the average person just is not capable of a nuanced understanding of transsexualism, which is based in eroticism, but becomes something else. That might be asking too much of the average citizen. Maybe it’s just better to skip to the ‘Cinderella’ story or the ‘Ugly Duckling’ story.