It is time to bury the transphobic “autogynephilia” theory once and for all

Jack Molay
2 min readFeb 19, 2023

If you are trans and have heard about the “autogynephilia” theory already, you know that it is transphobic pseudo-science. There is no need for you to read this post.

But if you are trans, or a friend of transgender people, and have never heard about it, some knowledge of the theory may be helpful, since TERFs and other transphobes are using the term to invalidate trans women.

The theory of Dr. Ray Blanchard states that all gynephilic (woman-loving) trans women or MTF gender variant people get aroused by the idea of being a woman. This is called “autogynephilia”. It is defined as a “paraphilia” (sexual perversion).

On the other hand trans women who love men do not have such fantasies, the theory claims. The origin of their gender incongruence is something else entirely. It is simply a reflection of them being gay men who want to attract straight men. (Yepp, Ray Blanchard and his friends are extremely transphobic).

Cis women never have such fantasies, Blanchard says, so trans women have nothing in common with cis women as far as sexuality goes.

Now, here’s what you need to know:

The theory has no factual basis.

Yes, some trans women and some MTF gender variant people do experience what I have called “erotic crossdreaming fantasies” and what trans activist and thinker Julia Serano has called “feminine embodiment fantasies”. But these fantasies are just variations of fantasies found in all types of people.

  • Many gay cis men report embodiment fantasies.
  • Many lesbian cis women report similar fantasies.
  • Cis straight women may get turned on by “feeling sexy”. They may also dream about being a man.
  • Cis straight men may fantasize about being a sexy woman or a sexy man.
  • Gay trans men, before transitioning, may fantasize about having a male body.
  • Nonbinary people may dream of having a different body.

In other words: Imagining oneself as sexy is a common fantasy. Given the role sex and sexuality has in our societies, this should come as no surprise. And the idea of being “the other” gender is much more common than people believe. The gender binary is not as strict as traditionalists and transphobes would like us to believe.

Since the “autogynephilia” theory requires that such embodiment fantasies are only found among those Blanchard calls “heterosexual men”, the theory has been falsified.

But you do not have to take my word of it. I have written a new blog post documenting:

  • The transphobic history of the “autogynephilia” theory.
  • Peer reviewed research that debunks the theory.
  • Online surveys that find erotic embodiment fantasies in all types of people.

You can read it here: Blanchard debunked: Surveys show that all kinds of people experience “autogynephilia”

Illustration: Midjourney

Originally published at https://trans-express.lgbt on February 19, 2023.

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Jack Molay

Writer and news curator looking at everything transgender, nonbinary and queer.