Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory

The Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory is an informal name which refers to a controversial behavioral model of male-to-female transsexualism. This theory was proposed by Ray Blanchard of Toronto's Clarke Institute in 1989.

The term "BBL" was coined by critics of the theory and refers to Drs. Ray Blanchard, J.Michael Bailey, and Anne Lawrence, the most prominent researchers, and proponents of this theory. It was originally used by critics in a derogatory sense, but has become more common in usage as this theory has received more widespread attention in academia. Critics of the term "BBL" state that it ignores other academics who take the theory seriously, ignores substantial differences in the versions of Autogynephilia Theory each of the three propose, and that it gives too much credit to Bailey and Lawrence, who were included simply because of their public prominence, while Blanchard contributed the bulk of the work toward the theory's development.

According to this theory, there are two taxonomic types of transsexuals: those who are exclusively attracted to men, called androphiles or homosexual transsexuals, and those who exhibit autogynephilia, described as a paraphilia where one is sexually arroused to the idea of having a female body.

The postulates of BBL theory are:

In essence, the theory suggests a sexual motivation for transsexuals, either due to extremely effeminate homosexuality, or an extreme form of misdirected heterosexual desire.

Origins of grouping transsexuals by sexual orientation.

Blanchard's concept follows from observations by earlier sexologists such as Magnus Hirschfeld, Harry Benjamin, and Blanchard's collaborator Kurt Freund, who had previously published about two types of cross-gender identity. Freund hypothesized that gender identity disorder is different between homosexual males and heterosexual males. Blanchard notes that "Freund, perhaps for the first time of any author, employed a term other than 'transvestism' to denote erotic arousal in association with cross-gender fantasy." Blanchard's observations at the Clarke Institute began with four types of male transsexuals based on their sexual orientation relative to their sex assigned at birth: androphiles, gynephiles, bisexual, and asexual (i.e., transsexuals attracted to men, women, both, or neither, respectively.) He eventually resolved that there are only two types; "homosexual" and everything else or "non-homosexual."

In the 2000 revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), the section on gender identity disorder specifies transvestic fetishism is a related paraphilia. Although the concept of this paraphilia is mentioned in the DSM, some psychologists object to the pathologizing of gender variance and paraphilia.

Blanchard's Categories

According to Blanchard there are only two broad categories of male-to-female transsexual people.:

Autogynephilic Transsexuals

According to the diagnosis, males with autogynephilia are heterosexuals with an extreme variation of transvestic fetishism, or heterosexuality directed to the self. Bailey's 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen describes those with autogynephilia as typically masculine boys and very masculine men, often serving in the military or holding typically masculine occupations and married with children. Blanchard classified four subtypes:

Androphilic Transsexuals

According to proponents of the taxonomy, androphilic transsexuals were found to be younger when applying for sex reassignment; reported a stronger cross-gender identity in childhood; had a more convincing cross-gender appearance, and functioned psychologically better than non-androphilic transsexuals. Blanchard found them comparatively shorter, lighter, and lighter in proportion to their height than non-androphiles. Other proponents have also reported to have observed several other correlations to androphilic transsexuals, including lower IQ, lower social class, immigrant status, non-intact family, non-Caucasian race, and childhood behavior problems, which are unrelated to gender identity disorder. Bailey states that about 60% of androphilic transsexuals he studied were Latina or black, about three times the rate of ordinary gay men . He states that most learn to live on the streets, often resorting to prostitution, shoplifting, or both.

BBL controversy

The "BBL Controversy" also known as the "Autogynephilia Controversy" is an ongoing and heated line of discussion in the transgendered community. The concept had not received much attention outside of sexology until sexologist Anne Lawrence, who self-identifies as an autogynephile, published a series of web articles about the concept in the late 1990s. Lynn Conway and Andrea James responded to Lawrence's essay. Conway started an investigation into the publication of Bailey's book by the United States National Academy of Sciences. Accusations of misconduct by Bailey were leveled. Northwestern University investigated Bailey, but did not reveal the findings of that investigation and did not comment on whether or not Bailey had been punished. According to intersex activist and bioethics specialist, Prof. Alice Dreger, Ph.D., who is now one of Bailey's supporters, two of the four transwomen who accused Bailey of misusing their stories were not mentioned anywhere in the book, and Bailey's critics' publication of obscenely titled photographs of his minor children constituted an unconscionable harassment campaign.

Some scientific concerns have been raised. A transgendered psychologist writing under the pen name of Madeline Wyndzen identified four possible scientific concerns with Blanchard's model:

Some of these concerns are common to any new idea (independent replication takes time), and others can not be tested in any practical or ethical fashion (causing people to be transsexual to prove causality).

Wyndzen is concerned that Blanchard's research promotes the politically and socially dangerous idea that transsexual people are mentally defective: "Rather than asking the scientifically neutral question, "What is transgenderism?" Blanchard (1991) asks, "What kind of defect in a male's capacity for sexual learning could produce ... autogynephilia, transvestitism ...?" (p. 246).""

Furthermore, critics claim that the distributions of sexual orientation among transsexuals do not reveal two categorically distinct groups, however researcher Yolanda Smith found in a follow up study conducted in the Netherlands:

Study of this theory is ongoing and it is not either accepted or rejected by a majority of psychologists.

See also

External links



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