Here I would like to pursue an unexplored position. In my essays on Prince and on autogynephilia, I proposed that Prince was the classic autogynephile. That is still my position. However let us see what happens when we line up the chief femmiphilic and the HBS side-by-side.
- Virginia Prince was an actual patient of Harry Benjamin, just as much as Sally Barry, Reed Erickson, Barbara Wilcox, Christine Jorgensen, Lynn Conway, Renée Richards or Diane Kearny. Benjamin prescribed female hormones to Prince.
- Of the three major criteria for a transsexual -- hormones, genital surgery and living full-time in the target gender -- Prince scores 2 out of 3. Benjamin did not recommend surgery for all his transsexual patients.
- Diane Kearny writes: “my brain gender of female was quite clear to me and others including family long before a hint of puberty. That in essence describes those born with HBS”. Prince passes this test easily.
- Prince urged privacy, stealth even closetry, for those in her groups. Surprise: the HBS people urge the same for their membership.
- Diane Kearny writes of “evidence that true transsexuals/HBS are born and not nurtured”. Much the same evidence supports the idea that femmiphilics are born and not nurtured.
- Prince was intolerant of most transgender persons, especially drag queens, homosexual transvestites, all gender queers, all transsexuals, and all non-ops who did not conform to her own transgenderist (a different word from transgender) or femmiphilic template. Surprise: HBS people are intolerant of most transgender persons, especially drag queens, homosexual and heterosexual transvestites, all gender queers, all non-ops, and the vast majority of transsexuals who did not conform to the HBS template.
- Trans men are totally ignored by Prince; while there do seem to be a few HBS trans men, you can easily read the HBS web sites without being aware of them.
- Prince was often domineering to the point of bullying and rudeness, often telling potential transsexuals that they were ‘delusional’. HBS persons are constantly telling people that they are ‘fetishists’ and ‘autogynephiles’.
- Prince advocated a false respectability of a dated concept of being a 'lady'; many of the HBS persons object to being described as gender variant, and are even proud to self-describe as gender conformist, which is also a false respectability.
- Both Prince and many HBS persons are indifferent or hostile to feminism.
In any case, Benjamin posits three kinds of transvestite, one of which is the transsexual. If there is such a thing as a "Harry Benjamin Syndrome", it surely covers all three kinds. To limit it to the third only, is tendentious.