I remember vividly the moment I knew I was me, that my sense of gender was not aligned to the body I was born with. I was eight, walking to school, just passed a red post box, and I simply accepted that I was going to become a woman when I was old enough. For all exclusionary feminists who claim that autogynaphilia (AGP) is at the root of trans identities then answer me this: what part of being an eight-year-old child involved a sexual identity? I am not alone in understanding an innate gender identity at a young age, and for all those who hawk AGP as the totality of trans experiences I say you are the ones sexualising our bodies and making trans kids objects of your baseless assumptions.
AGP is the invention of Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence, a mode of thinking rooting all trans identities in men’s fetishization of the female experience. From clothes to shoes to the very act of walking down the street en femme it is all rooted in the sexualisation of womanhood. None of their work has been systematically peer reviewed. While some trans women buy into this personal narrative, the truth is that unless any (cis or trans) woman is able to complete switch off her sexuality she will always find some aspects of her existence as a woman sexual. This is a normal part of womanhood, yet for those who back AGP as a diagnosis they reject these notions of female sexuality.
One of the common retorts to trans activists is to show pictures of purported trans women dressed in next to nothing walking down the street in daylight or wearing a tight dress revealing a bulge. Spend any time on X defending trans rights and AGP is weaponised against you. My response is always that I cannot gender someone from an image alone, and without personal context it is impossible to pass comment. They seek to goad me into denouncing people for their clothing, much like they denounce cis female sex workers for plying their trade on the socials. I have none of it, because bullying is bullying regardless of whether the victim is present or not.
As someone who found it hard to fully tuck pre-op to demonise trans women if a slip happens is both cruel and victimises someone who might not even realise it has happened. I am not naive to think that everything within the trans community is kid safe and a bed of roses. There a plenty of crossdressers and trans women who…