Ray Blanchard’s taxonomy of transsexualism is sometimes criticised for the emphasis it places on the human sex drive as a motivating force behind gender, especially gender transition. This criticism comes mainly from one section of the transsexual and transgender community, a section Blanchard defined as ‘autogynephilic’.
So I want to look a bit harder at gender and sex and the relationship between the two.
In the West, 200 years ago, it would have been easy for an outside observer to assume that gender had a huge influence on all areas of life, from child-raising through the kind of jobs people did, to social roles.
In the 21st century, however, things look very differently. Gender, we find, is not a determinant of what we do in our lives. People of feminine gender are engineers, lawyers, astronauts, doctors, chemists, politicians, teachers, welders, plumbers…and people of masculine gender, equally, are stay-home dads who take care of the house and children, nurses, kindergarten teachers, shop assistants and so on.
Gender is related to status
When we look more closely, what we actually find is that the division of social role was not caused by gender, but was a reaction by one gender against another, in a struggle about status. Men made women do the menial, low-status, low-paid things, while they kept all the sweet stuff for themselves. So what appeared to be about gender was not at all.
Before we could really decide whether gender and sex-drive were related, we would have to isolate what gender itself was, and the above shows that it is actually extremely limited. History has done the job for us. Why did men go to the lengths they did in order to make women do all the stuff men did not want to do? Because men are, generally, bigger and stronger and most importantly, sexually dominant. Therefore their appropriation of certain social roles is a function of their sex drive.
Leaving that aside for the moment, what is left of gender if most of the social functions are removed? Only the direct, non-professional (except in certain cases) interactions between people. In other words, if you strip out all of the non-sexual elements of gender, you’re left only with the sexual ones, and since that is exactly what has happened in the last 50 years in the West, we can say that gender and sex drive are intimately related. Gender is about how people relate sexually.
So gender is derived from sex drive, which is not only innate, but one of the most powerful instincts humans, indeed all living things, have. It is not to be ignored or diminished because it offends some people’s sensibilities; it is what makes us what we are in every area of our lives. To deny sex drive is to deny humanity, and part of that is gender. It therefore makes no sense at all for some transgender and transsex activists to try to minimise its importance.
HSTS and homosexual men
Blanchard divided transwomen into two groups along lines defined by sex drive. The first, the classic Type One, or as Blanchard called them, HomoSexual TransSexuals or HSTS for short, as easy to define and in many ways, to deal with. These are people who were born as boys but who very early deviated from the standard male development pattern. They played girls’ games, liked dolls, wore girls’ clothes and make-up, got crushes on boys, that sort of thing. Some time around the age of 8 up till their late teens, they realise that they are in fact girls and transition. They do this in order to have a life that conforms with their understanding of themselves in sexual terms, that is, to meet a man and become his sexual partner and wife. Blanchard did not coin the term ‘HSTS’ in order to suggest these were men, but transsexuals who were attracted to men.
In fact the life-curve of HSTS and effeminate homosexual men are very closely paralleled up to the point of transition, and the move to actually do so seems to be dependent on perceived social expectations: some seek to be more ‘manly’ in order to satisfy parents and teachers. Indeed, some people have used this to try to steer young people out of being transsexual and into being homosexual males instead, usually in order to satisfy parental ambition. I believe that this approach is completely wrong and should be stopped at once.
I have observed elsewhere that the contemporary Western notion of a ‘gay male’ is a fabrication thrown together since World War Two. As a transsexual correspondent of mine said, ‘Contemporary Western gay culture is a sham, with 90% percent or more women pretending to be men to attract other women pretending to be men. It is indeed hilarious.’
In Asia, where these Western ideas have not taken root, the idea of a ‘macho’ gay man is regarded as a joke. Gay men are by definition, effeminate, sexy, girly people who may inhabit more-or-less male bodies but who are in fact completely feminine in their sex drives and thus their gender. So rather than trying to encourage young transsexuals to become effeminate gay boys, a more intelligent approach might be to help them to become successful transsexual women.
What gay boys, whether they eventually transition or not, want is what any straight girl wants—sex with a hunky straight guy. HSTS, according to their own narratives, want to be sexually attractive women in order to have straight male sexual partners.
(This probably explains, by the way, why so many older gay male couples claim to have given up sex; after all, since they are both actually girls, their relationship is lesbian, which they themselves are not. It’s akin to two ageing spinsters setting up together for companionship.)
Whether or not HSTS do transition is conditional upon how successful they think they will be. Transitioning is difficult, expensive, often dangerous and may involve the loss of friends, family and home. If they do not succeed fully, then they run the risk of being identified as transsexual, and having to suffer discrimination, prejudice and violence.
So, usually, they seek to do it before they fully masculinise and, if they are delayed, for whatever reason, may then decide they have to live as gay males, a role in which they will never be fulfilled, since they are not males, but in which they can at least be less obvious.
The above is one reason why, typically, HSTS transition very young. The other is that they have a particularly powerful sex drive motivating them to get on with it. Having a strong sex drive is a positive, healthy thing, especially in a teenager and it is very hard to see why it should be regarded negatively in this context.
Modern medicine makes it entirely possible for an HSTS who transitions young to be fully integrated into society as a girl, if the intervention is early enough.
As a girl, albeit unable to conceive, she may have all the benefits and privilege that natal women have, may marry, and have a full and successful life. As a gay man she would, for her whole life, be marginalised and restricted to a pool of potential partners to whom she is not actually attracted.
The exact clinical approach must depend on the individual and be determined by qualified professionals familiar with each case. Notwithstanding the above, while previously, I would have advocated the early use of testosterone-blockers to delay puberty, these can have adverse effects like a tendency towards tallness. This of course would not help an HSTS to blend in, as an adult.
In addition, there have been a number of cases recently in the media where very young children have reported as claiming to ‘be transgender’. We do not know how much of this is due to their being seized upon by autogynephilic activists. They do this to try to provide justification for their own narrative — ‘I was always a woman’.
Many children experiment with gender as they are growing and the vast majority grow out of it. Vulnerable children should not be used as pawns in somebody’s political strategy and it is becoming increasingly clear that autogynephiles habitually abuse others in furtherance of their own agenda.
So, while appropriate hormonal and., if necessary, surgical treatment should be available to young HSTS, caution must be taken to avoid catastrophic mistakes being made and certainly, no irreversible intervention should ever occur prior to the subject’s age of consent.
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Copyright 2013 Rod Fleming’s World