Moving Beyond Fetishism

At the RHI forum, Ari Lev asked Dr. Larry Nuttbrock to do a review of his paper on Transvestitic Fetishism.   Since it goes back and asks the questions that Blanchard wanted to answer against the data set of The Transgender Project, Nuttbrock had to go through and review Blanchard’s paper, expecially noting Blanchard’s nomenclature — autogynephilia vs transvestitic fetishism, homosexual vs androphylic (male loving), heterosexual vs gynophilic (woman loving) — and Blanchard’s lack of disclosure about race and class of the participants in his data set.

In the end, Nuttbrock revealed that Blanchard’s conclusion, that all you really needed to know about a transgender male was if they were homosexual or heterosexual to know their motivation, did not hold up under when asked against the more detailed data sex.  Specifically, there was some aging out – people got past fetishism — and bisexuals really messed with the simplicity (don’t they always!?)

It made me wonder if acceptance of bisexuality is a key in the maturation of transgender women (transgender males) who move beyond transvestitic fetishism (autogynephilia).

As long as one holds to classic patterns of desire — in my words, as long as one avoids “desire shift” — then those patterns persist.  Maybe It is only when one moves beyond binary attraction that one can move beyond the binary.

I have long asserted that all transpeople are at least politically bisexual, even if they don’t hold an equal attraction to both sexes, because we ask our partners to love all of us, beyond simple biology or history.

I know that a big marker in my emergence was when I clearly started identifying with women characters in stories, engaging their (fictional) relationships with men.

Do we have to let men into our lives in a new way to own our own womanhood?

Is it only when we get over desiring an image and move to desire on a different level that we can move beyond our initial fetishing of the feminine and into owning it?

I suspect that it is, but I don’t have the data.

One thought on “Moving Beyond Fetishism”

  1. I’m not saying that any transwoman has to desire men in order that she claim womanhood, only that she has to be willing to be in some level of sexual relationship, even if that stops at flirting.

    I was recently talking to a butch lesbian in her mid thirties. Even though she identified as lesbian, only interested in women, she was clear that being willing and able to flirt with men was an important skill, especially in the workplace.

    She worked security, all dyked out, and men hit on her.

    She worked as a waitstaff, and knew that flirting increased her tips.

    She worked in a kitchen and knew that flirting helped the work go smoothly.

    In other words, men respond to her as a woman, not a man, and she has to be able to handle that, even if she has no interest in dating them. And she found that handling that flirting pleasantly was a better solution than being brusque.

    All lesbians have some relationship with men, be it geeky cousins, the guy they went to the high school dance with, or the creep at work. They may not desire men, but they are in relationship with them.

    So yeah, be a transwoman who loves women, fine. But deal with men as a woman, and not as a man, if you want to be lesbian identified.

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