Discover more from Maiden Mother Matriarch
The Truth About Autogynephilia: Your Thoughts
Feedback on my interview with Professor Michael Bailey
My interview with Professor Michael Bailey generated a lot of thoughtful and interesting discussion. I’ve collated some of the best comments from listeners below (some of them edited for length), and will continue to do so for future episodes. Later today I’ll also be releasing a short bonus episode for founding subscribers in which I reflect on this week’s episode and respond to AMA questions. Keep the feedback coming!
Martin was among those who wondered if talking about autogynephilia publicly might prove to be an own-goal for the gender critical ‘side’….
I worry that this narrative is counterproductive for those of us who are sceptical about trans activism. The metaphysical truth-claim that some males are actually women is self-evidently fanciful, or at least an extraordinary claim that hasn’t been proved. If we combine our objections with an insistence that many such people are just covering up for an onanistic fetish, we move the burden of proof unhelpfully back in our own direction, while causing gratuitous offence... don’t we?
I don't think the offense is at all gratuitous is the thing. It is important to understand what is causing both men and women to claim to identify as the opposite sex, and it is manifestly the case that the reasons are quite different for each sex. If people were having their healthy limbs amputated (which is a real phenomenon that is often rooted in a paraphilia), it would be important to understand this fact rather than to accept an alternative story about how these individuals identify as amputees (or are such in some spiritual way). In terms of public policy advocacy, it is probably a mixed bag to emphasize it even though I think most people know intuitively that autogynephilia is a common cause of men wanting to be women, if only in a vague way. I am not certain that I support the right of adults to undergo sex reassignment procedures or of doctors to perform them, though, so I'm much less moderate than most. But a big part of why I have started to question the wisdom of allowing adults to be willingly mutilated is because the reasons for it reflect profound societal pathologies rather than individual quirks.
H G made an interesting point about the public response to Grayson Perry – a rare (perhaps increasingly rare?) example of a classic cross-dresser, who has been quite open about the fact that he is sexually motivated, but has shown no signs of actually transitioning in any way….
Grayson Perry could be described as an old school agp who does not claim to be a trapped woman, and in interviews has explicitly said that wearing dresses turns him on. He wanted to be one, but wasn’t. In his words, he is a ‘bloke in a dress’. No doubt many would find this terrible and inappropriate - but he is widely beloved and accepted - and I think a big reason is that he is candid about his motives and calls a spade a spade. And I think that this honesty goes a long way. Compare Perry’s attitude to Izzard, who we can maybe speculate has similar root desires, who went from being loved and accepted to being widely mocked. The switch (I think) was the demand that we stop calling things what they are.
In the extended part of the episode, Michael and I spoke about his views on paedophilia, partly summarised in this clip…
Put simply, Michael believes that paedophilia is an innate sexual orientation, and that we would do well to destigmatise the desires (crucially, not the acts) in order to encourage ‘virtuous paedophiles’ (i.e. paedophiles who have never molested children) to seek help.
He’s well aware that this is a controversial position to take, as demonstrated by the discussion in the comments and on the chat.
Vega expressed an objection that I’m very sympathetic to…
I don’t entirely buy the “born that way” idea, or that modern porn is not a factor that increases paraphilia. Our sexuality is maleable. Audio/visual digital stimulation is a powerful technology which seems to me and to many people I’ve spoken with- break down strong social and moral barriers in their mind against entertaining certain thoughts and fantasies.
It also strikes me as intuitively plausible that porn would have some role to play in triggering and/or exaggerating these desires.
Kathryn was critical of the idea of the ‘virtuous paedophile’, and to Michael’s claim that most men with paedophilic desires do not act on them and therefore do not cause harm…
If you define pedophiles to exclude people who molest and abuse children then I suppose you would find that only 20% abuse children. Of course that 20% is then dependent on them self reporting or in the rare case having a police record against them. As someone who was sexually abused for the majority of my childhood (age 6-11 as I aged out) by a step father I always find these types of researchers to be deeply harmful.
I understand that to work with such a dark subject matter they have to define terms in a way that makes them feel distanced from abuse and harm. They end up therefore not studying the actual subject. It’s as if you are defining another mental illness in a ways so that the behaviors it manifests as are excluded from consideration. It’s actually missing the mark. But again it must be so they can preserve themselves against the disgust factor it should arouse.
Interestingly the pedophile from my childhood made many of the same claims especially around the argument that it could not harm me, they did and it did in many ways, though I am highly resilient.
HP objected to the idea of incentivising ‘virtuous paedophiles’ to pursue chemical castration, a policy option that many in the chat were in favour of….
I’m probably going to make myself massively unpopular but I find this fixation on paedophilia incredibly hypocritical… The left and the right can agree about nothing but when it’s about paedophilia suddenly everybody is united in the most abhorrent illiberalism. It’s acceptable to suggest mutilation, to refuse the possibility of rehabilitation (“throw them in jail for the rest of their lives”) and to suggest to limit innocent people’s rights just because one day they might step over the line… This is the basest level of morality, this is looking for a scapegoat to detract attention from our own immorality and buy ourselves a conscience on the cheap. We do not need to “find a solution” for paedophilia, it’s already there; is someone commits a crime they will receive a punishment commensurate with the crime. Full stop.
Thanks everyone for your comments. You can join the MMM chat here…