Stop using this word
This word hurts my feelings as a trans woman and my scientific brain way more than the t-slur, in particular because it is still used by some medical professionals who think they have a point. Being insulted with the t-slur by idiots on the street makes a very different kind of damage than having this word come out from well educated medical professionals.
Every woman, cis or trans has fantasies of herself as a woman. I don’t know of any woman who masturbates thinking of herself as a zebra or an alligator. In our dreams, we think of ourselves as who we are.
When Blanchard made his unscientific study, somehow, he did not give his questionnaire to cis woman and still made a lot of fuss about a word that says nothing about nothing:
Blanchard’s definition of this word:
a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female
This means that calling a trans woman the a-slur invalidates her by calling her “male with a fetish”.
This word received wide attention with the publication of “The Man Who Would Be Queen” (Bailey 2003), a kind of follow-up to “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male” (Raymond 1979).
This is all the same stuff created to keep seeing us a “male”: it’s a weapon that was widely promoted by transphobic people on /r/GenderCritical (a reddit sub now banned for promoting hate).
We do not need to hide
The problem is that trans people are still widely viewed as sick people with a fetish, exactly like homosexuals not so long ago (and still very present in many places). The discourse is “you can do whatever ugly fetish you want, but keep it to yourselves, don’t let me know”.
Now we have the exact same thing happening to transgender women where we are told that “you can live your fantasy of being a woman but you should keep it to yourself and just ‘pass’ so I don’t notice you”.
Being a trans woman is not a fantasy and not something we should be ashamed of and we definitely do not need words bouncing in people’s minds that trick them into thinking that the incredibly hard life of being born with gender incongruence is a “fetish”.
The a-slur adds absolutely no value to any discussion on this topic and it hurts the people involved.
People on a quest
There are much better ways to talk about people who think they need medical transitioning but might be harmed by it: they are the heroes of their quest to self-love. We should validate the courage of this incredibly courageous journey with kindness, counselling and support. Avoiding harm starts by carefully choosing the words we use.
Finding ourselves is a difficult journey and sometimes it goes through sexuality as a first step. Sometimes this is just a kink but sometimes this is the tree hiding the forest. There is no reason to belittle people for their quest by calling them slurs and we should simply accompany anyone on the safest route to self love and kindness.
The a-slur is useless, outdated and has a huge history of malevolent use.
Please, stop using it.
- Anne Lawrence and transgender people a review by Andrea James (no publication date) of on one of the rare self-proclaimed autogynephilic transgender woman.
- An investigative report into the publication of
J. Michael Bailey’s book on transsexualism
by the National Academies (on Bailey 2003) by Lynn Conway, 2003
- Autogynephilia: A scientific review, feminist analysis, and alternative ‘embodiment fantasies’ model by Julia Serano, 2020
- Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, 2007