-- Not polished, not very rigorous . . . Probably will get "worked on" down the discursive road.
Seems like the blogs linked from this forum address gender theory. Seems like this forum is younger, less theoretical, more trendy. Already I've pissed off someone in these forums, but they don't state why (the gender neutral singular "they").
Let's stir by raising the issue that maybe Blanchard is right? Autogynephilia is about "fetish" . . . Blanchard seems to have the mechanics of the paradigm accurately parsed out, but it's all part of sexual diversity --
AND IT'S NOT "PATHOLOGICAL."
Let's toss out a simple analogy. Let's assert that we as part of the human condition might wish to emulate those things we find admirable, attractive. I find eagles are pretty astonishing. I recently watched one snag a fish out of the local creek. I've watched mated pairs flying together. I very much would like to be an eagle. Simple as that.
Now . . . women . . . I'm hetero-sexual, cis-M. I find women attractive, on all sorts of planes, in all sorts of realms.
Besides the universals of the human condition, there's a distinction in the species according to "sex" -- physiological disposition with the capacity to form pair-bonds and reproduce. We have two sexes: cis-F and cis-M. Let's assert here (Michael Foucault, "History of Sexuality") for speculation and inquiry that the natural, curious human condition might fundamentally speculate what it might mean to be the other sex. (Sex, not gender.) This is not "pathological" but rather a normal dimension of human sexuality. Maybe a minority experience, but nonetheless part of human diversity in ontological expression.
Let's think about this . . . "What it might be like to be the other sex."
We find the other sex attractive, sexually attractive as a function of reproduction and perpetuation of the species. This attraction is innate, sex drive. Imagine, speculate here -- one is sexually involved with the opposite sex in one capacity or another -- relationship, courting, seeking -- and as a compassionate, empathetic human being it is altogether necessary and appropriate to consider how that other person in the relationship (pair bonding) might feel, what it might be like to be that person with that other person's sexuality, with that other person's ontological perspective.
Husserl speculates about the phenomenology of the "other" in metaphysics, that the being of the subject is determined by the phenomenological perception of the predicate "other." We are "always already" subject and predicate. Dr. Judith Butler, Ph.D. (UC, Berkeley), seemingly citing everyone, notes that our being is an historical entity, that we present our being through time. Butler further asserts that this temporal being is fluid.
Getting down to the nit and the grit -- sex is physiological. Everything else about gender differentiation is socio-cultural. Since there is a great deal of socio-cultural outcome riding on functional sexual reproduction (species perpetuation), socio-cultural constructs impose a great deal of hetero-normative regulation around the whole process of reproduction and rearing progeny. We have moral/ethical considerations about sexual behavior which become codified in law, religious doctrine, cultural convention. This conceptual paradigm is what Butler refers to as "the hetero-normative dyad." Fundamentally, the dyad is cis-F and cis-M having cis babies. Arguably, everything else is laid out on a continuum specifying things like "normative" . . . recreational, reproductive, pathological, unlawful . . .
Blanchard insists that men who want to be women are "pathological" -- in the sense, according to his argument -- that there is present in these individuals an "erotic target error."
If we view human sexual expression as infinitely diverse, varied, imaginative per Michael Foucault, then imagining oneself as being the opposite sex is all part of the infinite erotic narrative, perhaps a minority view but not pathological. "Dysphoria" is not so much an internal pathological state as it is a dissonant adaptation to the socio-cultural constraints which mediate and censure the behavioral expression of these feelings. Gender expression and the free expression of one's internalized ontological self is fundamentally suppressed, oppressed as a means of regulating sex. Sex is a passionately sensitive issue and needs some regulation -- if society is to appropriately regulate sexual predators and pre-teen pregnancy, etc. We shouldn't need to mention issues of homo and trans phobia. Sex is sensitive and highly constrained, regulated.
Currently, in this ongoing theoretical discourse, I'm finding myself seeking an authentic, integrated ID, not on the one end or other of the normative dyad. I'm cis-M. "Passing" as cis-F is an interesting idea, but then I realize that for me cis-F "femme" is as stereotypically polar as a lot of the cis-M "macho" stereotype. We have a lot of stereotype cis-M here "Cammo, Carhartts, Romeos -- and a Ford F-150 with "dualies," headache guard, and cab clearance lights. That's one pole of the normative dyad. The other pole of the dyad doesn't work for me either.
No simple solutions to all this. A personal gender ID is "historical" -- meaning it's fluid, unfixed, inchoate. Fluid and developmental, but seemingly integrated, integral, and not subject to severe swings between one gender presentation and another. The ontological question I pose every morning as I dress to present to the world, "Does this work, and is it authentically me?"