Transsexual Road Map > Films and Books > BBL Clearinghouse > "Autogynephilia" > Support group

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Putting the tiny “autogynephilia” movement in perspective

A few dozen people worldwide have expressed public support for, or identification with, a sex-fueled mental illness called "autogynephilia." Ray Blanchard invented this disease, which suggests that gender variance is the expression of a paraphilia. He says someone with "autogynephilia" seeks vaginoplasty, but is then nothing more than "a man without a penis." The obscure and largely ignored diagnosis was rescued from oblivion in 1998 by Anne Lawrence, who appropriated it as a political identity. Blanchard's proteges J. Michael Bailey and Anne Lawrence claimed that a “handful” or “subgroup” of "misguided" transsexuals have concerns about this diagnosis and about Bailey's book The Man Who Would Be Queen. This is clearly a blatant distortion on the part of Bailey, Blanchard, and Lawrence.

From 2003 to 2005, proponents of Bailey's book attempted to cobble together an online "support group" on Yahoo, but the group quickly devolved into a rickety soapbox where list founder and prodigious kook Willow Arune was merely pasting copyrighted materials and making libelous statements about people Arune didn't like.

In March 2005, Yahoo abruptly pulled the plug on the group for multiple violations of Terms of Service, after Arune started a second group solely designed for harassing and cyberstalking me. Arune and others have stated they hope to revive the group elsewhere. I will leave the information on this page up as a historical record of this abortive attempt at creating a community around a sex-fueled mental illness.


Analysis

Christine Burns’ analysis of the global petition she initiated in response to Bailey’s book prompted me to do a topline on those who participate in the “autogynephilia” support group. The petition garnered over 1,400 signatures in a few weeks. That is about ten times the number of people subscribed to the “autogynephilia” support group.

As of 24 March 2004, there were 34 unique posters on the “autogynephilia” support group in 2004, half of whom posted six or fewer times. Only about one in five of the subscribers post. Many probably subscribe to monitor the ten main posters. During that time, ten contributors were responsible for nine out of ten posts. In other words, that tiny band of dark blue represents the people responsible for 87% of the "autogynephilia" content.

Another view

If you get really close to your screen, you will see a tiny red sliver on the last bar, which represents the number of people making the vast majority of posts in support of this bogus diagnosis. When compared to a few other yahoo newsgroups on trans issues, it's pretty clear this is an insignificant number of people within a much larger community.

The ever-shrinking "support" group

Since the first survey, the number of unique contributors dropped from 34 to just 22 in October 2004. The top ten contributors in any month comprise about 95% of all the "autogynephilia" content. This is probably because several contributors are beginning to grasp the parameters of the debate, or they have concerns with list owner Willow Arune. As expected based on Arune's long online history, this list has devolved into cut and paste jobs from other sources and personal attacks. Though it was clear to most from the begining that this "movement" is led by a handful of well-known internet kooks and crackpots, even some who identify as having this disease are expressing their concerns about the group's waning interest in support and growing interest in trolling and in baiting.

Arune and Anderson contribute about half of all posts in any given time period, with most others losing interest after an initial burst of activity. Below are the posters who contributed 20 or more times in the selected time periods. Note that half of them were no longer posting by October 2004.

Contributor

1 Jan to 24 Mar

1 March to 10 May

October 2004

Willow Arune 287 (29%) 215 (44%) 96
Lisanne Anderson 116 (12%) 70 (14%) 19
Jennifer Ann Lemon * 126 (13%)

54 (11%)

0
Margaret McGhee 103 (10%) 0 17
Stacey Harris ** 0 42 (9%) 39
janeblanche ** 73 (7%) 0 0
Fran Koether 50 ( 5%) 18 (4%) 1
Jamie Faye Fenton * 42 (4%) 15 (3%) 0
weirdoid_x2 33 ( 3%) 8 (2%) 0
J. Michael Bailey 13 (1%) 16 (3%) 0
Kendra Blewitt 23 (2%) 2 (1%) 3
picard1965 13 (1%) 10 (2%) 2
BernadetteTS 22 (2%) 0 0
S. Alejandra Velasquez 4 (1%) 16 (3%) 0

Other members supporting the concept include Susan Ann Robins.

* have made up their own definitions that claim "autogynephilia" is not a paraphilia.

** expressed skepticism/concern about the term.

Please note that several of the people listed above have expressed concern about the term, and do not necessarily agree it is a legitimate diagnosis.

So to summarize, the small number of people who identify as "autogynephilic" would would be even smaller if they used Blanchard's clinical criteria of "a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman." It would probably be smaller still if they used Blanchard's assessment that each of them is "a man without a penis."

This would indicate that the number of people who consider this a valid diagnosis is even smaller than the minuscule number of people who do most of the posting in support of the "autogynephilia" diagnosis and in support of Bailey and his book.

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This page last updated October 14, 2005