By Élise Hendrick (reprinted with permission)

Autogynaephiles, Homosexuals, and Fabricators:

The Blanchard-Bailey-Lawrence Taxonomy of Trans Women

I. A Hypothetical

Let us suppose that someone claimed to have found that rape is primarily a function of the sexuality and presentation of the victim, and proposed a binary taxonomy of rape victims:

(1) The provoker: Provoker-type rape victims are heterosexual women no older than their mid-to-late twenties at the time of the incident. They are generally sexually active, and are characterized by general attractiveness and a preference for attractive, even provocative modes of dress and behavior. In these women, the rape is the subconsciously desired result of their behavior and presentation.

(2) The confabulator: The confabulator, like the provoker, is heterosexual, but homely and unattractive, and at least in her late twenties or thirties. She is not sexually active, nor does she dress in a particularly attractive or provocative manner. She is most likely to have convinced herself that she was raped in order to deceive herself into believing that she is sexually desirable despite her age and appearance.

Let us further suppose that the person who has “discovered” these categories also claims that there are no categories outside of the two above, and that any woman who claims not to fit within these categories in any particular is either lying or delusional. In dealing with these claims, rational people will likely do as suggested by Noam Chomsky in The Case Against B.F. Skinner[1], and ask: ”What is the scientific status of the claims? What social or ideological needs do they serve? The questions are logically independent, but the second type of question naturally comes to the fore as scientific pretensions are undermined.

I’ve been over at Feministing all day, writing responses to “You learn something new every day.” The post is a response to The BBC’s recent coverage of a debate with Julie Bindel. Julie believes that sex reassignment surgery is a “mutilation.”

The debate over there is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. There’s a whole lot of cross talk and listening, and very few personal attacks. This is the first time I’ve ever posted about this in a forum where I didn’t feel like I was talking to a wall.

I’ve included some of the comments, and my responses, under the cut.