Let’s give Anne Lawrence the praise – and the slap – she deserves…

by Felix Conrad - Clinical Philosopher on December 20, 2015

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anne lawrenceThis morning I was chastised by Fiona for subscribing to the views of Anne Lawrence. In my opinion, the subject of Anne Lawrence raises an important point for the philosophy of our community.

Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies should not have been published in its current form. The editor should have insisted the author add appropriate qualifiers to her endless formulation of speculation…as fact. Again and again, Lawrence declares that late-onset transsexualism is an outgrowth of autogynephiliac sexuality when – not only has this not been proven – but it is impossible to prove or disprove.

Furthermore, as someone on the front line of the Blanchard wars, Miss Lawrence has clearly been affected emotionally by the attacks of the transgender community on her colleagues. This led her to intentionally troll said community with the book’s provocative title and constant, repeated insinuations that older transwomen are men with a fetish (said in a more sophisticated way than that…but basically what she’s saying.) It’s obvious this’s coloured her narrative and not only does it damage her credibility but it adds a nasty undercurrent to the book.

However, while it’s right to criticize her tone and terminology, we can not fault her source material! Men trapped in Men’s Bodies is the most important collection of case-studies we have on crossdreaming.

This book meticulously catalogues the sexual inclinations and sexual development of people with our sexuality…and any attempt to discredit that aspect of the book is on weak ground. I understand completely why it’s not pleasant for transwomen to read about what turns us on in such a brazen narrative…and they’re right to be angry…but we can’t deny our behavioural tendencies.

The whole world is full of echo chambers right now, and anyone with a love of knowledge needs to leave those echo chambers. For me, reading Lawrence’s work was like a slap to the face and a welcome antidote to all the trans propaganda. Discovering that some of us can get turned on by putting on sanitary towels (or knitting – when that was considered feminine) or female urination…was radical.

I also found it important to discover that the equivalent of crossdreamers exist within other sexual preferences (pedophiles that want to be kids, guys that want to be plush toys, people that want to have amputations.) That shit blew my mind.

so, Ladies and gentleman, you can do what you want (it’s a free country) but a crossdreamer who seeks self knowledge IGNORE’S ANNE LAWRENCE’S WORK AT THEIR PERIL.

So…

…is her work transphobic?

Yes! And we should give her a metaphorical slap and point out to people that it’s a defective work.

But does it contain vital source material for crossdreamers? Yes…and I believe we should recommend her work – with the appropriate caveats – to other members of the community. We can not start having banned texts on our blogs or forums or we’ll end up in Mao Tse Tung land.

So if you haven’t read it, then read it and assimilate the information…but don’t fall for the unverifiable assertion that transgender desire comes from sexuality…and don’t take on the transphobic terminology.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona Levinson December 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Anne Lawrence deserves credit for collating so many interesting case studies of cross-gender erotic fantasy. Blanchard’s main contribution was the insight that some gender dysphoric males fantasise about sex with men not because they really want a male partner, but to validate their subjective sense of femininity. To me this was a very important and original insight.

However, I am opposed to Lawrence because she consistently mis-represents Blanchard’s theory as the mainstream, accepted academic view on transexuality, which it isn’t. I don’t waste time on academics who knowingly propagate falsehoods.

I’m against Blanchard because his binary model of transexuality is logically incoherent and empirically weak, failing as it does to account for the wide range of cross-gender behaviour we observe.

I’m not in favour of academic repression or political correctness. I am in favour of debunking flawed theories through open debate.

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Transcend Everything December 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Yes, sorry Fiona, my comments weren’t just directed at you… I’ve been meaning to mention this for some time. It seems like we pretty much agree: Anne constantly presents speculation as fact… which is what Blanchard does also.

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Fiona Levinson December 21, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I also find it interesting that debate in the TG online community constantly gravitates toward the BBL controversy. Sure, it’s a touchy subject and feelings run strong on both sides. But there are other good academic studies of transexuality out there that can help people yet always seem to be overlooked. Harry Benjamin’s original ground breaking work, for example. Mildred Brown’s True Selves is another. And more recently Anne Vitale’s The Gendered Self, a superb book which is based on extensive clinical practice and sets out a comprehensive account of gender dysphoria in all its various manifestations.

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Joanna December 22, 2017 at 12:39 am

Its pretty hard not to read Lawrence and avoid that immediate tone that says “everything I am telling you is true” and by pandering to Blanchard’s all gynephilic transgender feelings are sourced in perversion she is not beloved by the trans community. This is too much to bear for me which is why I no longer read her writing but for case studies I agree it can be useful.

However comparing the fictitious disease of AGP with people who want to cut limbs off really takes the cake!

Read at your own peril

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Laura Petrarch December 22, 2017 at 2:45 am

Anne Lawrence addresses many of the criticisms of Blanchard’s ideas in the latter part of this article:
http://www.annelawrence.com/autogynephilia_&_MtF_typology.html

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Joanna December 24, 2017 at 10:01 am

of course she would…lol

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Emma Gray December 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I will not be reading her book because I don’t want to be triggered emotionally. Yes, I’d like to read the case studies. But how sure can anyone be that she (he?) didn’t edit them – even unintentionally – in ways that skew the stories toward her (his?) conclusions?

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Transcend Everything December 25, 2017 at 5:27 am

It’s an interesting question which, despite the many criticisms of her work, has never been asked. I suspect the reason is that crossdreamers recognise the described behaviour as undeniably authentic… because it matches their own. Thanks for the comment. Xx

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Laura Petrarch December 25, 2017 at 11:26 pm

Emma Gray asked how readers can be sure that Anne Lawrence didn’t edit the narratives she collected to make them seem to support her own conclusions.

First, it’s important to remember that Lawrence only solicited narratives from persons who said that they recognized autogynephilic feelings within themselves. So, just being a contributor meant acknowledging that one accepted at least some of Lawrence’s and Blanchard’s ideas, if only about the existence of autogynephilia as a phenomenon.

Second, Lawrence described her methodology, the editing and analysis of the narratives, and associated validity issues on pp. 40-46 of the book. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

Finally, Lawrence devoted an entire chapter (pp. 161-178) to the comments of dissenting contributors, those “who acknowledged that they had experienced autogynephilic arousal but rejected Blanchard’s explanation of its meaning and significance” (p. 161). These counter-narratives are fascinating to read. Lawrence naturally expressed some skepticism, but she let the dissenters speak for themselves. She wouldn’t have done that if she had been trying to suppress disagreement.

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