The Love that Can’t Pronounce Its Name
One day, back in the spring of ’77, as I sat at my desk as a 19 year old secretary, between answering the phone and typing memos, I purused a local weekly arts and entertainment rag, looking for something fun to do the coming weekend, I saw a personals ad from a “drag queen” looking to make friends with transsexuals. The ad intrigued me, so on a lark, I answered it.
The man who placed that ad was probably the most interesting man I had ever met. But he was most definately NOT a “drag queen”.
Paul was in his mid-30s, divorced, urbane, educated middle-class man, of average height and build. Earlier, at around age 28, he would have been thought to be an average heterosexual married man with no unusual sexual interests. One day while masturbating in the bathroom of the service station he managed, with the aid of a chance found adult magazine, he discovered in turning the page that the young woman, about whom he had been fantasizing, was a pre-op transsexual, a “she-male” in porn cant. The discovery, rather than repulsing him, overwhelmingly aroused him. He began seeking out other “she-male” pornography. He also began experimenting with cross-dressing, discovering it to be intensely arousing, accompanied by fantasies of himself as a “she-male”. The activity became his only sexual outlet, leading to divorce.
Freed from marital limits, his activity became obsessive. He sought out actual pre-op transsexuals as lovers and friends. He began impersonating pre-op transsexuals (“early transitioners”/transkids) at gay/tranny clubs using the name Debbie Cummings. In order to improve his feminine persona’s appearance, he began taking low doses of feminizing hormones. Dressed as Paul, he presented as quite masculine and attractive, with the air of appearing a decade younger than his actual age, partially due to the use of feminizing hormones. Paul had no desire to further alter his body. He enjoyed being male.
Paul was intelligent and observant. He noticed and could explain many facets of the MTF transkid psyche, where they were emotionally vulnerable, where their strengths lay. He truly loved transkids. He had a picture in his den of a stunningly beautiful transkid, for whom he clearly was still smitten. However, I understood why that relationship hadn’t worked out. It’s hard to have a lasting romance with a man who doesn’t know if he wants to do you, or be you.
Compare the above description to that found in Blanchard’s paper entitled, “The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia”. The abstract could have been written to describe Paul to a “T”:
The term autogynephilia denotes a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself with female attributes. Some autogynephiles imagine themselves, in their sexual fantasies, as complete women. Others, here called partial autogynephiles, imagine themselves with a mixture of male and female anatomic features, usually women’s breasts and men’s genitals. Partial autogynephiles evince a particular sexual interest in those individuals known in the vernacular as she-males. These are men, often involved in prostitution or pornography, who have undergone breast augmentation while maintaining their male genitals. Partial autogynephiles appear less likely to pursue surgical sex reassignment than gender-dysphoric men whose erotic self-image includes a vagina. Some patients with a persistent desire for women’s breasts but no or conflicted desires to live as women full-time or undergo vaginoplasty may be pacified with mildly feminizing doses of estrogenic hormones.
Transfan, Tranny Chaser, T-Bird, TrannyHawk
As a young pre-op, I became very aware of the men who specifically sought those like me. You couldn’t go to a party or a night club where there weren’t several of them present. I held no particular malice towards them. But something about most of them turned me off. Over the years, that something became more clear, it was their autogynephilia. Even when they didn’t tell me directly about it, I could often tell. Sometimes it was obvious, sometimes it was not.
But it was not just occasional cross-dressers, Blanchard’s “partial autogynephile”, but autogynephilic transsexuals that are also seriously gynandromorphophilic. I’ve already detailed my unfortunate experience with my short-time roommate, Karen in my essay, “Do as I say, Not as I Do”. Again, when I was 19, another TS woman, Rachel, in her mid-20s, befriended me, inviting me to meet a circle of young TS women living in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. I was intrigued to meet so many “transies” living in one building, on Eddy Street… but I was getting odd vibes from them. It finally came out, during the course of a conversation with one of them, that they had all been puzzled by why, “…Rachel was so interested in a GG…” (For those not from the TS world, “GG” means “Girl Girl” or “Genetic Girl”, a non-transsexual woman.) I was also surprised and astonished in turn, “You mean you think I’m GG?” It soon came tumbling out and word spread through the building, that I wasn’t GG after all… these street transies hadn’t clocked me! And now it made sense to them… and then they warned me. “Rachel’s a trannyhawk. She only likes transies. She’s got the hots for you!”
This phenomena about AGP TS women being interested in other transsexuals is reasonably well known now, but wasn’t back then.
In the ’90s I tried using the personals in another local arts and entertainment rag to meet single men, as my professional and social circles includes so very few. I met very few men that were worth meeting. At one point, I got curious about what would be the response if I wrote my own, specifically stating that I was a post-op TS.
One of the men that responded turned out to have once been emotionally attached to a college dorm-mate who was just beginning to transition. They had had a brief affair, which was broken up by an unsympathetic school official who objected to the young transkid transitioning, and to what he perceived as a homosexual relationship. The now middle-aged man, a recent widower, was looking back at that relationship and realized that that transwoman had actually been the love of his life, but he had let her slip away. In answering my ad, he was hoping to find that love again. But of course, I was not his lost love, and could never replace her. Simply speaking, this man was completely straight, and had no real interest in transwomen per se, but rather, had fallen in love with a woman who just happened to be transsexual. I was very touched by this man’s story… and I looked back at my own life… and wondered; Were there any men from my past that now realized that they too had let the love of their life, me, slip away because they weren’t ready to deal with a woman with my medical history?
Of the rest of the respondents? Quite a different story!
(Addendum 7/12/2015: I think it is worth reading Blanchard’s other paper on the subject, at least the abstract,
This study was a preliminary exploration of gynandromorphophilia, that is, sexual interest in cross-dressed or anatomically feminized men. Subjects were male subscribers to a voice mail system devoted to personal advertisements for sexual or romantic partners. These comprised 51 gynandromorphophiles who sought cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals, or she-males for such relationships, 37 gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers who identified themselves as cross-dressers and sought similar men, and 31 residual cross-dressers who sought masculine or unspecified male partners. Analysis of advertisement content suggested that gynandromorphophilia constitutes a distinct erotic interest.
Note the numbers, at least “37 gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers” had self-identified compared to 51 that did not identify themselves as cross-dressers. In my experience, many who do not identify themselves as cross-dressers are closeted cross-dressers, having learned that transkids won’t respond if they identify themselves as such. Also, erotic cross-dressing is NOT the only form of autogynephilia, many are cross-dreamers instead. In any case, in this study, at least 42% of the gynandromorphophilic men identified themselves as cross-dressers, i.e. autogynephilic.
Essay on the high correlation between Autogynephilia and Gynandromorphophilia
I have more commentary on the mutual gynandrophmorphophilic relationships between autogynephiles in my essay on transsexual marriages.)
Blanchard R, Collins PI., “Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males”
Blanchard R., “The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia”
Jaimie F. Veale, Dave E. Clarke and Terri C. Lomax, “Sexuality of Male-to-Female Transsexuals”
K. J. Hsu, A. M. Rosenthal, D. I. Miller and J. M. Bailey, “Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women”