On the Science of Changing Sex

How to Ruin Sex Research

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on February 22, 2019

Kay Brown 2010Hot off the (virtual) presses is a new editorial in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by J. Michael Bailey that is a must read for anyone concerned with sexology research and education.  It starts with recounting a recent disturbance during a presentation by one of his graduate students, a young researcher that I personally have great expectations for,

On November 10, 2018, my graduate student, Kevin Hsu, gave an invited presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) in Montreal. The occasion was his receipt of the society’s annual “Ira and Harriet Reiss Theory Award” for “the best social science article, chapter, or book published in the previous year in which theoretical explanations of human sexual attitudes and behaviors are developed.” His paper was on gynandromorphophilic men, or men attracted to transwomen who have not had vaginoplasty but have penises.  …  However, an attendee repeatedly and aggressively interrupted the presentation. This person, the psychologist Christine Milrod … strongly objects to the scientifically well-studied idea that gender dysphoria that begins after puberty in natal males is caused by autogynephilia, or a male’s sexual arousal by the fantasy of being a woman. Milrod was asked repeatedly by the audience and the moderator to let the presenter continue.

From there, Dr. Bailey calls attention to the problem of allowing transfolk to define what is and isn’t allowable subject matter for research.  As well as recommending reading the editorial, I wish to add a few comments of my own.

First, I know from talking to many transfolk over the years, that most autogynephilic transwomen know in their heart of hearts that the science is accurate, even as they wish that the researchers and folks like me would not talk about it.  Second, we know that quite a few “early onset” transwomen wish that “late onset” transwomen “activists” would allow them to speak for ourselves and not have to pretend that there isn’t an obvious difference between them… and that society in general recognized their unique needs.

Also, to those disruptive “activists”, on behalf of those “silent” transwomen who don’t appreciate the unwarranted attempts by autogynephilic transwomen in denial to shout down sex researchers… SHAME ON YOU !

To the sex research community:  There are those who support and appreciate the work you do, even if it leads to uncomfortable knowledge.

Further Reading:

Essay on Hsu’s paper on Gynandromorphophilia in Autogynephiles

Reference:

J. Michael Bailey, “How to Ruin Sex Research”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (Feb. 2019)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-1420-y

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