4a. The existential value of the autogynephilia theory for transsexuals

by Felix Conrad - Clinical Philosopher on June 28, 2014

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Point 4.

The fact that Blanchard’s taxonomy does not relate to some type of intrinsic, naturally occurring categorisation, does not mean it has no value. Like any other taxonomy we must now look at how it helps us… what value it adds to the study and treatment of transsexual psychology.

In other words, imagine we have various different research groups outside our office door – those who propose the taxonomy ‘green, brown, and blue eyed transsexual’ those that propose ‘late onset and early’ and those that propose ‘homosexual and non homosexual’ we are eventually going to concede they all exist, but ask the question…

“And so what? How is your categorisation going to help a transgender person understand themselves, or help a doctor treating them? Why should we care?”

In other words, when there are dozens of possible taxonomies available, we choose the one that most furthers our understanding and has the most clinical applications…ie. the one with the highest social value. This is particularly true in this case where it is a psychological taxonomy for which, ultimately, there is little physical evidence. A distinction between homosexual and non-homosexual transsexuals without social and clinical value would be just an incidental fact, or to put it in everyday language… ‘Yes, there are homo and non-homosexual transsexuals…so what?’

Point 4. The continuing validity or invalidity of Blanchard’s typology is whether it helps transsexual people understand themselves better, helps society and experts understand them better, and it has clinical value… ie. it results in better treatment of transsexual patients.

4.

So, now we must repeat the question…

Does the division of transsexuals into two types – homosexual and non homosexual – have social, clinical and existential value?

Subjective value for the transsexual.

I’m trying to be conciliatory here, but if I’m a transsexual I can see no value in being told that I’m a homosexual transsexual. I can not see that it gives me any insight into my condition, any tips as to what I should do about it, or any prognosis. Furthermore, I’m gonna want to know why you keep on referring to me as a ‘homosexual transsesxual…’ whether you’re doing it personally or in your research papers. Only last week, James Cantor himself took Felix up on the fact that he called him ‘a gay sexologist’ and said he was glad when he dropped it, which shows that he himself gets annoyed when people attach the label ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ before another noun… gay footballer, gay sexologist… etc… but for some reason he’s ok with… gay transsexual.

Furthermore, if we talk to the trans vlogger, Elena Genevinne, 16 years old, she’s gonna get extremely offended to hear herself labelled as homosexual. She loves men in all senses of the word – sexually and emotionally – but sees herself as a girl. In fact, legally, we have already established that transgender people can – in social terms – reassign their gender… so why are we taking a step back and defining their sexuality in terms of their birth assigned gender.

Try calling Elena a homosexual transsexual and you'll probably get a slap.

Try calling Elena a homosexual transsexual and you’ll probably get a slap.

So, as James Cantor proved when listening to my podcast… calling someone a homosexual this or a homosexual that… jarrs with the homosexual sensibility and outrights offend the transgender. So I see here not only a dearth of subjective value… but great offence. This is in stark contrast to other taxonomies that exist in psychology; if you tell me that I’m a depressive but then point out that my particular condition is called ‘manic depressive’ I gain understanding of my condition and how to treat it… it tells me something… telling me I’m a homosexual transsexual tells me nothing.

Point 4. The Blanchard taxonomy ‘homosexual’ and ‘non-homosexual transsexual’ brings no value to the person who experiences transsexualism. In fact, it offends them.

Part 4b. The clinical value of autogynephilia and Blanchard’s taxonomy in treating transsexuals

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