Episode 61

Published on:

4th Feb 2022

61 - Pioneers Series: Autogynephilia: Myth and Meaning with Ray Blanchard

Ray Blanchard was the psychologist in the Adult Gender Identity Clinic at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry 1980–1995. Much of his research in those 15 years concerned transsexualism and milder forms of gender identity disorders. In 1995, he was appointed Head of the newly created Clinical Sexology Services at the CAMH. This unit comprised the Adult Gender Identity Clinic and the Kurt Freund Laboratory, the latter being the oldest laboratory in North America for the psychophysiological assessment of erotic interests in sexual offenders and other men with problematic sexual behavior. Blanchard retired from the CAMH in 2010. Since his retirement, he has continued to be active in research on human sexuality, often in collaboration with former students, colleagues, and their students.


Today, Ray tells us how he got into the field, as he was primarily interested in conducting sex research. And then he found himself in a gender identity clinic. He got interested in boiling down the cumbersome and sprawling categorizations of gender dysphoria and deemphasizing women’s clothing. He wanted to uncover the wider framework that explains a variety of behaviors for dysphoric males. The term autogynephilia was born. Ray describes common misunderstandings about the term and addresses some myths about AGP, clusters of behavior, and what he calls “erotic mislearnings.”


Dr. Blanchard’s Publications

Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies: Narratives of Autogynephilic Transsexualism, by Anne Lawrence

The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, by J. Michael Bailey

Extended Notes

  • A little bit about Ray and why he decided to work in sexology.
  • What kind of classifications were there at the time for “transsexualism”?
  • From 1980 to 1995, the females who wanted to transition in Ray’s clinic, all of them were attracted to other females.
  • Ray talks about his observations with his patients that had autogynephilia and some common themes he saw within this group.
  • Ray suggests listeners watch the difference in manners between Blaire White and Caitlyn Jenner.
  • Ray shares his experiences in this field and how it’s changed throughout the years.
  • Did Ray ever receive backlash for his work?
  • Ray doesn’t believe there’s a connection between sexual abuse and gender dysphoria.
  • Are male-to-female transexuals more likely to be pedophiles? Ray says no.
  • Can autogynephilia be passed down to children? Is this genetic?
  • Sasha wonders if it was easier to get the truth out of the patient back then vs. now; a time where people have an agenda to prove they’re trans.
  • Having one erotic paraphilia tends to predispose you to other paraphilia. It’s not just an “autogynephilia” thing.
  • Ray shares his thoughts on why pedophiles become pedophiles.
  • What are some of the misconceptions of autogynephilia?
  • Out of Ray’s clinical practice, only two women stood out as different from a gynophile.
  • How come so many males transitioned in their late 40s?
  • Ray shares his thoughts on trans widows and how they must be feeling when their partner comes out as trans.

This podcast is sponsored by ReIME and Genspect. Visit Rethinkime.org and Genspect.org to learn more.


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About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

* We are sponsored by ReIME and Genspect.
Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics (ReIME) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving long term care for gender variant individuals. To learn more, visit https://rethinkime.org/

Genspect is an international alliance of parent and professional groups whose aim is to advocate for parents of gender-questioning children and young people. Parents are concerned that their kids are not receiving appropriate treatment and support; many do not feel free to speak out about their concerns.
To learn more, visit https://genspect.org/
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

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Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

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Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.