127 Comments
Jan 31·edited Feb 1

I treated men with “gender issues” for about 20 years, starting in the mid-1990’s. Most of these men were struggling with conflicts about their sexualized cross dressing, with a few having arrived at the idea that they wanted to transition. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to understand and help them, but the task was complicated by the men’s ambivalent motives to continue the behavior versus stopping them. They essentially all acted like addicts who periodically would resolve to stop, often in reaction to others discovering their secret.

Over time I came to several conclusions about these patients. First and most importantly, they are all males. It is rare to see a psychiatric problem that is so confined to one sex. This definitely suggests that transvestic fetishism is a kink associated with male biology. The second conclusion is that most of them were diagnosable with narcissistic personality disorder. To a great extent, transvestic fetishism appears to be a complication of that disorder. There was a minority of patients who did not appear as narcissistic, although they were self-centered and immature in their marriages to a significant degree.

I stopped working with these guys for some of the same reasons I stopped working with people with eating disorders. The psychiatric issues were at least moderately severe, the patients were ambivalent about recovery, and narcissistic people are for the most part not as amenable to honest self appraisals and insight as are most other patients.

I would have loved to have been able to refer them to someone like you, Dr. Burgo, but alas, most of my colleagues were not interested in trying to work with these men. I completely support your work, and am relieved to no longer be working with these men myself.

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What do you propose we do with this analysis? From a public policy perspective I think it supports a rad fem vision of treating these guys like men, keeping them out of women's sports and prisons, etc.

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Jan 31·edited Jan 31

It´s remarkable the defense and simpathy the author shows to men´s perversions and a clear paraphilia. Although interesting how this article show that feminity - sexist stereotypes forced upon women - is a male fantasy. He completly disregard the power dynamics in society and how these men pose a real threat to women. This also proves how much men need women to validate themselves and how disgusting and little they are without women.

Also, psychologists constanly have told women to be compassionate of men, who we know are dangerous. Sexologists and psychologists explain us how our rightful fear and rejection of these men should be soften through compassion: "they had a bad childhood" "life was so difficulte for them" "they suffer their shame :("; while we pay all the consequences of their sick behavior. Important to note that, OF COURSE, is the mother´s fault. All of these poor men were somehow badly treated or humillated by their mothers. There will always be a woman to blame for men´s disgusting behavior.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Interesting, makes a lot of sense

Except that your role is necessarily to be sympathetic and understanding, and everyone else has to deal with the fall out.

While shame operated properly, AGP men would keep their paraphilia private, get help, share the information with as few people as possible. Now they feel no shame, they feel a right to impose their paraphilia on everyone else, including children, so we're all roped into affirming a fantasy which damages everyone, including them. Shame is useful in early development - it's also necessary to keep society on track. These men are pushing social norms off track, manipulating the culture so that young women are being groomed into believing they're trans, blocking puberty, arresting their physical, mental and emotional development. And the whole world is being coerced into denying reality.

It's not just the fetishists being harmed - I understand why you'd want to help - it's a generation of children and young people. This explanation is convincing, but "poor guys" doesn't justify the resultant abuse to everyone else.

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This article undermines itself in the first sentence by using the highly misleading description "trans-rights activists (TRAs)" for the transification cultists.

The transifiers are NOT advocating for "rights" as traditionally understood, but rather for special privileges that actually abrogate the rights of women (and men) to free association in single-sex spaces, organizations, events, etc. https://womensbillofrights.com

By acquiescing to the preferred language of the cult, half the battle is already lost.

Please stop doing that.

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Great, we have even more evidence, as far as it goes, of what we already knew - that AGPs are seriously fucked up.

But let's be clear, we didn't need a psychologist to tell us this. Anyone with common sense and unobscured observation can see it.

The field of psychology has been profoundly compromised by the gaslighting of AGPs, and are enabling and validating the medical mutilation of vulnerable children.

I hope Burgo is as motivated to call out this gross failing of his profession and the practitioners participating in the travesty as he is to presume to lecture the rest of us based on credentials from a discipline with serious credibility issues.

Psychologists, treat thyselves.

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Interesting piece, judicious editing may be in order. However, I don’t agree with the premise of this article. The sample set of AGP discussion about these men are ones who have emotional issues of sufficient degree that they require help, either psychological or “Reddit” chat. That prevents generalization to a larger audience.

There are many logical contradictions in the text - for instance the AGP inevitably presents as slutty, yet it is spoken of as a maternal (e.g. non-slutty) feeling. Therefore, they don’t present as maternal to themselves. The analysis of the situation isn’t illuminating to me.

Most people embedded in Western European cultural contexts have shame over sex - anyone not accustomed to public sex displays will be feel “shamed”, AGP no different. That’s not differentiating in the experience, not explanatory.

One unique aspect of AGP presentation is non-consensual induction of others into the sex fantasy, similar to other types of exhibitionism, which is what I believe we all respond badly to, particularly women. It’s a particularly acute part of the game - not just autoerotic masturbatory fantasies. Aside from rage, that’s not touched on.

Presenting as a slutty woman, intentionally creating a situation to irritate others, narcissistic rage at intentionally evoked rejection, isolated masturbatory fantasy replay, these are content that, were we to read AGP porn (which I have in curiosity) form the narrative.

I would also counter with considering Auto-androphilia, men who derive erotic satisfaction from presenting to themselves and others as sex-stereotyped caricatures - enormously muscular, highly aggressive, militaristic, sporting, etc.

I think these are eerily similar variations on underlying drive to gain sexual satisfaction by creating and controlling responses of others through authoritarian exhibitionism, providing fodder for later sexual masturbatory replay.

AGP is easy to see, because it’s unexpected. AAP is difficult to discern because the behaviors are expected, even lauded, and others don’t see the sexual part

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Thank you for linking to Eva's essay. She does stellar work and I am proud to be her editor. It was good meeting you at Genspect. "Being/becoming a man" has changed its meaning several times over in a short historical timespan. We have quite lost the art of inculcating manhood into boys because we are not even sure what that even means, anymore. I've been talking about this problem since 1989 and Iron John. It's only gotten worse.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Burgo gets off on the wrong foot with the gross strawman that GC women 'loathe' AGPs. If the author had paid closer attention to what these women actually say he would have noticed that they have plenty of compassion for the gender dysphoric. Burgo, if you're listening, we don't hate anybody. The issue is not even the AGPs themselves but the trampling of women's rights and the harming of children.

The other odd thing is that Burgo never says anything about the class and ethnic composition of his clientele and seems not to wonder about it himself. Somebody give us some true enlightenment: why are the original AGPs disproportionately middle-to-upper class, white middle-aged men? And how far would this movement have got if these were not its core constituents? If AGP were largely confined to inner city blacks or poor blue collar whites would the rest of society be jumping somersaults to accommodate them?

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Dr. Burgo, you also have a copy of my trans widow memoir, In the Curated Woods, True Tales from a Grass Widow, in which I do not vilify my ex, "Neddy." I simply tell the truth about his secret life, how he spent inordinate money from the family budget on himself, how he was often distant and awkward with our young sons and how he defamed me in court, in public, to my own relatives and friends. This is the common pattern of trans widows' experiences. I am the only person in the world keeping data on us, now 56 trans widows. 20 of the 56 reported to me that he sexually assaulted her prior to her departure. None of us know for sure which ex-husband was AGP. Shannon Thrace, in her trans widow memoir, writes in the second person, addressing "Jaimie" as you to avoid the accusation of misgendering this demanding, emotionally manipulative man. He's now a lobbyist for the TQ movement, having given up his career. Both Shannon and I were there in a therapy session in person with a 'professional' and our needs were completely ignored while our husbands were glorified. In the end, both of us experienced defamation and alienation of friends by him. I've been accused of cultivating this loathing, but I simply tell the truth about his deceit, financial abuse and narcissism. I hope you will add a sentence or two next time, with a recognition of what we've been through. None of the 5 attempted strangulations or 20 sexual assaults by the husbands in my data (from 20 Questions to Ask a Trans Widow survey) has been prosecuted. Nor the physical assaults, such as when Tracey Shannon (she bravely uses her real name) was pushed down the stairs by her crossdressing then-husband. Please recognize the danger trans widows are in, because these men often have a stream of violence just below the surface. Ute Heggen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZViL3sZeII&t=45s

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Really great essay! This is the first essay I have read on agp that gets at the truth, so I have many, MANY thoughts (mini essay incoming):

Part 1:

“AGPs are self-evidently evil and scarcely human. Men who derive sexual satisfaction from putting on women’s lingerie and masturbating in front of a mirror are the devil incarnate.”

If you recognize that women are people too, many of whom also have core shame, then you might understand where this reaction to men who dehumanize us by reducing us to objects for sexual use, comes from. For many women, it is terrifying, disgusting, and enraging to see men like this, because it compounds our own experiences with core shame- hence the narcissism of some women’s reactions. For me, there have been times when seeing men exhibit “agp” in public is something like seeing myself be dismembered and then used. So, to call that “distressing” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

“object relations theory, and in particular, Melanie Klein’s description of defenses against need and dependency.”

“To evade unbearable desire and envy,” I opined, “Schreber transformed himself into the object of his own libido so he wouldn’t need anyone or anything outside himself to satisfy it.”

YES!!! I have been trying to put this into words but that is what I think is going on here too. Glad to know there’s already a theory here. It’s all about narcissistic control- terror of the ego being damaged by the horror of vulnerability that comes with the necessity to give up control and seek outside ourselves for sex and love- (I said this online and got called a shrieking radical feminist who hates men, obviously, by Benjamin Boyce, Bailey et al ) which is why it’s so common among autistic people (for whom there is increased anxiety surrounding connecting with others)- females AND males. Only males tend to take it to such extremes though, which I think is bc they are aided by patriarchal society in their attempts to symbolically dismember and own women. Although women with these same personality traits/childhood issues tend to retreat into gay-male fandoms etc. VERY common in ROGD girls.

“Leading theorists such as J. Michael Bailey tend to dismiss psychodynamic explanations. Others attempt to destigmatize AGP by relabeling it autoheterosexuality–a variation on normal heterosexual attraction that just happens to boomerang back on itself. They tend to deploy scientific-sounding terms like “erotic target location error” that make AGP into a kind of computer glitch, a coding error without psychological meaning or content, and certainly without developmental/psychological roots in childhood.”

Totally agree! Just bc it sounds scientific doesn’t mean it means anything. It’s the same issue as the gender identity issue- trying to turn it into a scientific phenomenon often obscured what is actually happening psychologically.

I’m very persuaded by your take, although I wish you’d exercise a bit more compassion for women. You might consider that women often face the worst and most terrifying sexual harm from men who are extraordinarily vulnerable, insecure and sad and who have deep shame: true defensive narcissists. I actually had to tell a male therapist once that women actually tend to have very little problems from confident, handsome, masculine men who want them for “only one thing” in the therapist’s words (a handsome, masculine man being clear and open that he wants casual sex with you? What woman has a problem with that? That’s not a threat!) And that the real threat of being “used” by men who have fantasies of domination, harm, and control of women (which is the psychology behind rape) comes from the truly, deeply vulnerable men. The “incel to transbian pipeline” is another great example of this phenomenon.

“core shame as I call it throughout my work and which I define as a deeply painful sense of being damaged or defective at one’s core, usually unconscious and often experienced as feeling ugly or deformed.”

Wow great to hear this out into words. Too bad men who experience this can’t connect and seek healing on this with the women they might desire, bc 90% of the women I know have this, as a legacy of patriarchy. It often takes the form of “the mother wound” (inheriting sexual and gender based trauma from your mom and passing it down). But I guess doing that would require empathy for women, and an understanding of women as human beings, and that would render their coping mechanism ineffective.

Ha “Know it All” as a narcissistic coping mechanism! I can definitely relate to that!

I wonder when people will become more aware that Ann Lawrence got fired from his job as an anesthesiologist due to allegations of misconduct from multiple medical professionals who witnessed him examine the genitals of an unconscious female patient after the gynecologist had left the operating room. There are publicly available legal documents outlining what occurred and why he was terminated and barred from practicing. He also has two allegations of sexual impropriety from transwomen towards him. Just putting that out there- that his version of himself and his life story is often wildly divorced from reality.

“I find the Lawrence theory self-evidently wrong and, to be honest, a little preposterous.” Thank god someone said so. Me too.

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Wow reading the comments I see that indeed there is a lot of work to do in this area

Joe I admire and personally relate to your willingness to try to explain this phenomenon in psychologically minded and developmentally informed terms (which is rare these days in mental health field broadly) especially because it evokes such strong feelings that I am equally interested in however that obscures the point you are making

I’ve sat with a lot of these men myself and their partners if they are married to women which they often are, who are sometimes at risk of over accommodating, yes, and deserve to be validated as well, and it’s hard to hold a space for all of it at once especially in the same room

That said I think just because we have as therapists a role to play in challenging and holding people accountable that is not incompatible with holding compassion

I don’t think you mean to be an apologist for harmful effects of this at all but instead the point is to provide real therapy for those who may be receptive to it

I’m very interested in reading more of what you have to say about masculinity issues and all the ways this can manifest including this particular type of presentation, regardless of how others may react to it with all kinds of emotions like I’m seeing here in the comments (anger, disgust, contempt)

There’s an irony in how reactions to this seem to provoke such strong confirmation bias towards anti-male sentiments when you’re saying there are underlying inadequacy issues regarding the demands of societal expectations of masculinity to begin with

Appreciate you for tackling this despite the pushback, your POV as a thoughtful insight oriented therapist is extremely important in the noise that understandably surrounds a perplexing and poorly understood issue (not unlike trans id in general)

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Feb 4·edited Feb 4

I am mom to a young man who declared a trans identity several years ago and who, I'm pretty sure, is AGP. I think it's true that shame and low self-esteem underlie AGP. However, it's distressing to read over and over again that said shame and low self-esteem result from poor attachment in infancy (from the mother being unpredictable or rejecting, according to attachment theory). I carried my baby boy around in a sling, picked him up and nursed him every time he cried, and spent almost every waking hour entertaining him and making sure his brain was stimulated (lots of reading, foreign languages, tummy time, etc.). If I made a serious mistake as a parent, it was to come too quickly to his rescue whenever he felt distress; I'm convinced that he never learned to self-soothe. Dad, on the other hand, was a bit of a cold fish, and I was often angry with him for not giving our son more attention. I saw how the lack of his father's attention pained our son, and I think it made him feel inadequate around other boys. I have also wondered if the contrast between my cheerleading, lack of attention from dad, and lukewarm reception from peers confused our son in a way that could lead to narcissism. I've heard many other mothers of mtf sons say "we used to be so close," and I don't think they are lying. Why are psychological problems always the mother's fault and the role of fathers never mentioned?

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Transgenderism will only run out of fuel when it becomes widely known that it is all being funded by your taxpayer dollars, paid to lobby groups purporting to be ‘consultants’. In Australia it’s ACON, in the UK Stonewall. All this radical nonsense gets to be continually pushed under the guise of ‘diversity and inclusion training’, through large corporations and through public service. It’s a kind of corruption known as Industry Capture. People need to know about this, but when you try and tell them, you can see them thinking you’re a crazy conspiracy theorist. It’s so depressing I feel like going to live in a cave somewhere. Have a listen to BBC ‘Nolan Investigates Stonewall’ series, where BBC journalist Chris Nolan actually investigated his own department’s relationship with Stonewall and exposed that Stonewall is in fact a lobby group for radical transgenderism, and that the BBC is anything but impartial. The level of secrecy too is astonishing. Listen and share his podcasts- Nolan’s podcast as well as the excellent ‘Tavistock- Inside the Gender Clinic’ did maybe more to turn things around than anything else in the UK.

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As a former autogynephile, I found your analysis of the condition very accurate. I was cured of the symptoms with EMDR, which was very effective for decoupling the erotic urge from cross dressing. The underlying discomfort with manhood was resolved in joining a men only 12 step group and experiencing intimacy with men which ultimately led to healing the relationship with my father.

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I have no sympathy for AGP as the ones I've encountered deserve none.

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