Autogynephilia

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Blanchard's transsexualism etiology (also Blanchard Autogynephilia Theory (BAT) and Blanchard's taxonomy) is an influential[citation needed] taxonomy and etiology of male-to-female transsexualism created by Ray Blanchard, building on the work of his colleague, Kurt Freund. The theory states that male-to-female transsexuals can be broken up into two groups: "homosexual transsexuals", who transition because they are attracted to men, and "non-homosexual transsexuals", who transition because they are "autogynephilic" (sexually aroused by the thought or image of themselves as a woman). Prominent supporters of the theory include J. Michael Bailey, Anne Lawrence, James Cantor, and others who argue that there are significant differences between the two groups, including sexuality, age of transition, ethnicity, IQ, fetishism, and quality of adjustment. Scientific criticism of the theory has come from John Bancroft, Jaimie Veale, Larry Nuttbrock, Charles Allen Moser, and others who argue that the theory is poorly representative of M2F transsexuals, reduces gender identity to a matter of attraction, is non-instructive, and that the research cited in support of the theory has inadequate control groups or is contradicted by other data. Many sources, including some supporters of the theory, criticize Blanchard's choice of wording as confusing or degrading. The theory has created a firestorm of protest in the transsexual community, although it has its supporters. The controversy peaked with the publication of Bailey's popular science book, The Man Who Would Be Queen in 2003. Blanchard later (2005) distanced himself from Bailey's affirmation of the scientific certainty of the etiology.[1]

Contents

Origins

The early history of the study of transsexualism is sparse; however, the concept of a categorization of transsexuals can be seen as early as 1923 with the work of Magnus Hirschfeld.[2] In 1966, Harry Benjamin wrote that researchers of his day thought that attraction to men, as a woman was the factor that distinguished a transvestite from a transsexual.[3] In 1980 in the DSM III, a new diagnosis was introduced, that of "302.5 Transsexualism" under "Other Psychosexual Disorders". This was an attempt to provide a diagnostic category for a gender identity disorders.[4] The diagnostic category, "Transsexualism", was for gender dysphoric individuals who demonstrated at least two years of continuous interest in transforming their physical and social gender status.[5] The subtypes were 1. asexual, 2. homosexual (same anatomic sex), 3. heterosexual (other anatomic sex) and 0. unspecified.[4] This was removed in the DSM IV, in which Gender Identity Disorder replaced transsexualism.

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