Andrea James

GenderTalk #477, September 13, 2004


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 Nancy Nangeroni & Gordene O. MacKenzie

A theory of transgender desire and motivation created by Ray Blanchard at the Clark Institute in Toronto has been the focus of a controversy that’s been tearing at the heart of the transgender community. Called “autogynephilia”, this theory reduces trasngender etiology to one of two mechanisms, ignoring more comprehensive considerations and the actual diversity of individual transgender evolution. Andrea James, a trans author, activist and outspoken opponent of this philosophy, talks about her newly published analysis and refutation of the thinking behind autogynephilia.

Andrea James is an author and activist who runs Last year, she spoke on GenderTalk about the controversy surrounding the book “The Man Who Would Be Queen” by Northwestern University psychologist J. Michael Bailey. Bailey’s book caused an unprecedented mobilization within academic and activist circles. Even people who had not gotten involved before helped with an investigation started by Lynn Conway. One of the most disturbing findings to emerge from that investigation was the eugenic ideology that informs Bailey’s book. Bailey restates claims previously made by Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence that gender variance is a type of sex-fueled disease. The Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence disease model of gender identity will be part of the upcoming fight on the place of gender identity in the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Andrea has just written an essay that attempts to synthesize and contextualize the Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence model and its place in the history of systems of thought. The essay is called “A defining moment in our history: examining disease models of gender identity,” and it’s available online here.

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