Autogynephilia, the Gift that Keeps on Giving


content warning: this article contains transphobic ideas and terminology


Autogynephilia is the gift that keeps on giving and by “gift” I mean “punch in the face”. Autogynephilia is the theory from hell, a literal weapon of the anti-trans brigade to delegitimize trans women and prevent them from transitioning, restrict their access to healthcare, and eradicate their existence from public life. In a nutshell, the “theory” of autogynephilia, or AGP, says that there are two essentially distinct kinds of trans women: those exclusively attracted to men and everyone else. The ones attracted to men are seen as “legit” by the AGP crowd because they are essentially just oppressed femme gay men who are struggling to survive and find men as dating partners.

But what about the trans women who are either bi/pan or exclusively into women? Those people, according to AGP, are just perverted “adult male late transitioners” living out some fetish they have where they get off to the idea of themselves being women. They’re freaks. Deviants. Confused, twisted heterosexual men who transitioned merely to get their rocks off and abdicate familial responsibility. Furthermore, according to the larger ideology of the AGP crowd, letting “autogynephiles” transition was a big mistake and has invariably started the new movement of “genderism” which says that you don’t have to pass as a cisnormative woman in order to be valid as a woman. Genderism has now led to The Modern Era of trans rights, the “tipping point” so to speak.

Really? That’s all I got to say about AGP. As someone who knows many bi/pan/gay trans women, as someone who is a “late transitioning” pan trans woman, this “theory” is totally invalid as a plausible description of the dozens of bi/pan/gay trans women I know. Most trans women I know lead boring normal lives like any other boring normal citizen in America. The idea that trans women would spend hundreds of excruciating hours and thousands of dollars getting facial hair removed as part of a “sexual kick” is the most ridiculous idea ever. The idea that trans women would voluntarily put themselves through so much shit merely in order to enhance their sex life is laughable.

Furthermore, for the way the AGP crowd talks you’d think that gay and straight trans women are from two different planets. While yes some things are statistically different, such as average transition age, with straight trans women transitioning earlier, but the way AGP folks talk you’d think that all trans kids are straight and all trans adults are gay. But the average age for straight trans women to transition is like 30 and for gay trans women it’s about 35 or 40, which isn’t really all that different. It certainly doesn’t suggest they are entirely different species just because of who they are attracted to, which is the only significant difference between the two groups. The AGP crowd likes to talk about how all gay trans women are “pigs in wigs” and all straight trans women are pretty and feminine, but besides being grossly transphobic, I know many counter-examples to that statement and you just can’t read off someone’s sexual orientation from their “passability”. That’s the whole problem with AGP “theory”: it attempts to make massive generalizations about an extremely diverse group of people all based on a simplified account of sexual orientation.

Zinnia Jones and Julia Serano have both dissected and debunked the “science” of autogynephilia in much more detail than I ever aspire to. My point in writing this article is merely to ridicule the theory, to laugh at how absurd it is to say that trans women persist in their transitions merely in order to live out some twisted fantasy. AGP ignores the large swath of trans women who are simply asexual or who have such low libidos as to be practically asexual. There is nothing sexy about being denied healthcare or being forced to go through the gatekeeping system simply to get access to hormones or life-saving surgery. There is nothing sexy about getting murdered in the street. There is nothing sexy about getting your facial hair removed. There is nothing sexy about facing laughter and ridicule by co-workers, friends, strangers, etc.

As Serano has explained, many trans women, before they transitioned, do have what she calls “female embodiment fantasies” – but if you were experiencing dysphoria about your gendered body wouldn’t you too have an active imagination that revolves around the idea of having your correct body? And as Jones points out, when you are forced by circumstance to explore your gender in secret behind locked doors there is going to be an element of novelty and excitement that goes away once you have the freedom to be yourself 24/7. Transition and hormones typically transform female embodiment fantasies into what doctors call “mundane reality”.

There is nothing especially fun or thrilling about being a bi/pan/gay trans woman in 2017. Sure, it’s better than the alternative: being forced to live as a man and suffer your gender dysphoria in silence. But that in no way makes post-transition life some kind of thrill ride of sexual adventure and arousal. The idea that people could think that about such a large and diverse group of women suggests they are not really creating their theory from the data but using propaganda to stigmatize trans women in order to further their political ideology of morally mandating trans women out of existence.

The theory of AGP actually does accurately describe a small segment of the population but it’s not gay/bi/pan trans women: it’s cis men who self-identify as autogynephiles. Such people do exist. There have been books written about them, chronicling their narratives. A very small percent of that population does go on to transition but essentially identify as AGP males. But most true AGPers identify as men but have “crossdreaming” fantasies of some kind. Whether or not they’d actually change their bodies to fulfill their fantasy if given the option is another question. And yeah, it’s great that some people positively self-identify as AGP. But don’t turn around and say it must be true of all trans women either.

AGP just makes no sense as a theory of why trans women go through all the trouble of transition. Can it really be true that out of the millions of trans women across the world they call all be strictly separated into two mutually exclusive groups with no overlap? Could it really be true that the primary reason why trans women transition is either to become “super gay” and attract men or because they want to live out a sexual fantasy? Or, maybe, just maybe, trans women transition for the same reason trans men do (who are TOTALLY left out of AGP theory building, btw) i.e. gender dysphoria, the sense of incongruity between your gender identity and your birth assignment. Furthermore, trans women have existed for thousands of years in cultures all around the world – all that culture is nothing but the product of sexually deviant minds? That would be too incredible.

AGP is the kick in the face that keeps on kicking because it can’t be falsified. Any evidence to the contrary is spun into an epicycle and explained away by the transes being “deceptive” or essentially in bad faith. The AGP crowd has never explained what exactly it would take to prove the theory wrong even though it does not sit with the available evidence. But it fits into a convenient narrative that is spread by both the gender critical crowd and fundamentalist conservatives: trans women are sexual predators and they shouldn’t be allowed in women-only spaces. This is the narrative at the heart of AGP. It’s why the theory is so pernicious. AGP and bathroom bills are two sides of the same coin. They are spun from the same fabricated cloth. The only way bathroom bills are going to die is if AGP also dies a painful death.


Filed under Gender studies, Trans studies

3 responses to “Autogynephilia, the Gift that Keeps on Giving

  1. well of course not and that is the point. Most transwomen wouldn’t go to all that trouble for just a turn on which is precisely why AGP is incorrect. Yes there are people who get turned on by the idea of being female but then they can just do that without undergoing transition. However just because female embodiment fantasies exist in transsexuals does not invalidate their dysphoria which existed before the fantasies began at puberty.


  2. EST used to be a thing–a path to live a better life. In 1980 a girlfriend defined the EST practice as: It’s where you pay $700 for a weekend where the trainers tell you you’re really an asshole, and if you believe them, then you really are.”

    Sure there may be some people who are (AG’s) and who am I to tell them they are not?

    When “T” was added to LGB initialism, I buried the hatched with all the people crowded under the umbrella. Most of you aren’t old enough to remember, but the TS and CD (called TV in those days) communities used to be at one another’s throats, each trying to out-diss the other. HUGE firefights.

    A physician friend and a totally unclockable woman of transition (we’re talking unicorn here) said of AG, “It’s an invention of doctors who ask themselves, ‘why would a man want to be a woman?'” She went on to say the proponents never consider that the person transitioning IS a woman in any way.

    Are natal women pleased with being women? Yes. Do natal women like to look hot? Yes. Do natal women sometimes feel arousal at how hot they look? Yes. Will they go so far as to stimulate themselves in conjunction with that? Yes. Well then . . . all these women fit the AG bill. Problem is they are natal women.

    The author of the book above was an anesthesiologist, and not a shrink, who lost her license after diddling a young female patient she was passing gas to in the O.R.–this is a matter of public record. After losing her license she started writing all these AG things and doing a lot of projecting.

    Much ado about nothing.


  3. P.S. All this stuff about early versus late transition being important is bunk! Affordable SRS (the old name for Gender Confirmation Surgery) was not available until 1970 when Biber perfected the modern techniques that provided vaginal depth. Even then, ten years later, world wide only 1000 people had ever had MTF surgery. Don’t believe all these statistic about there being 1000s. They do not arrive at it using sound medical methodology. There was one guy in Casablanca with would do surgeries for a princely sum. My OB-GYN lost her lover FTM when he died on the operating room table in that clinic.

    The options were so out of the question for many transitioners that they buried all these feelings. Repressed them. About 20 years ago I noticed the hockeystick uptick in interest in getting GCS and I got very active on line trying to help these people figure things out. I heard some compelling stories. We have to remember that some of these people were born in the 1940s and 1950s and you didn’t exactly get blockers in those days. You got a kick to the side of the head and got roughed up by dad.

    What happened was that there was a backlog, pent up demand is what marketers call it, and suddenly these people came forward. Some CD people and even gay people who had shame issues also signed up for GCS.

    Shame is a big issue in the transition community and we don’t need any more of it, nor should early transitioners start throwing shade to make themselves feel better at another’s expense.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s