I’d forgotten how good and thought-provoking a blog called Culturally Bound Gender is. This post discusses autogynephilia from the point of view of an ex-phone sex operator. I can relate to this; I used to be a hotline counsellor, and we got our fair share of men phoning in to masturbate, including many who wanted validation of their femininity. (That there were rapes, DV cases and other traumas in the call queue didn’t seem to bother them).
“When someone who idealizes women in this way transitions to living as a woman, they often talk a lot about losing privilege. What they are actually doing is, very often, nothing of the sort. The trans activists who started out as Silicon Valley nerdy “forever alone” types (who comprised a huge number of callers over the years!) were economically and racially privileged men, but when it came to the patriarchy, they were being shit upon by traditional masculinity. Instead, they’re seeking to move up, not down. They want to move into women’s spaces, where their male socialization will make it easier for them to get ahead, be assertive, and be at the top of their social hierarchy with other women talking to them and ensuring that they don’t feel lonely. Instead of hating the gazed-upon, this kind of person decides that the only freedom from the gazer’s existential loneliness is to become the gazed-upon. Once in the territory of the gazed-upon, the person who has been socialized as a gazer can switch at will in their relationships with women, both sexual and otherwise, a privilege not afforded to female born persons.”