Dr. Anne Lawrence is a physician, sex researcher, and academic writer. She is also a postoperative male-to-female transsexual who underwent gender transition in 1996. Since early childhood, she had experienced an intense desire to have a female body, but she had been unable to find any scientific or popular descriptions of transsexualism that spoke to her experience. This changed in the early 1990s when she discovered Dr. Ray Blanchard’s writings about the concept of autogynephilia, which he defined as “a male's propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a female.” Blanchard’s revolutionary concept gave Dr. Lawrence an essential insight into the meaning of her desire for sex reassignment, and it helped her find the courage to undergo gender transition.
Dr. Lawrence subsequently began to research and write extensively about transsexualism and associated issues, both in academic journals and on her website, “Transsexual Women’s Resources.” She is best known for her controversial book, Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies: Narratives of Autogynephilic Transsexualism, published in 2013. The book provides a detailed summary and analysis of existing research about autogynephilia and related phenomena. It also contains excerpts from narratives submitted by over 200 male informants, describing their personal experiences of autogynephilic transsexualism and gender dysphoria.
Anne tells us about her early experiences with AGP in childhood, how she tried various ways to sometimes navigate, alleviate or avoid this propensity. She ultimately transitioned in her 40s. Anne is now 71 and reflects on the long game. We spend time talking about her finding Dr. Blanchard’s work and her own research, her book, and her academic interest in understanding this AGP experience.
The end of the conversation took an unexpected turn when she described mindset, the intensity, and the desperate measures that seem so reasonable when you’re tortured with severe autogynephilia. For the record, Anne has not been involved in the field for many years and her reflections do not encompass the ROGD phenomenon. Stella and I feel it’s important to listen to people’s experiences so we can understand all the manifestations of GD. However, we believe in the power of therapeutic intervention and we don’t think a nihilistic approach is helpful to deeply distressed individuals.
2008 Paper: Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism
2013 Book: Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies
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