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19 November 2010

the word ‘Androphilic’

Androphilic means ‘loving men’.
There are two usages:
  1. Loving men rather than women.   That is, not bisexual or gynephilic.
  2. Loving men rather than boys.
(I find in googling that there is a third usage, where ‘androphilic’ is used to mean humans rather than other animals.  This is outrageously wrong.  In Greek, ‘anthropos’ means homo sapiens, ‘andro-’ means the male gender within anthropos.)
 Let us take the second usage first. 

Rather than boys
Magnus Hirschfield seems to have been the first to use both androphilie and gynaekophilie.  He offered the last three of a four part classification of male homosexuality:
  1. pedophilia – the preference for males younger than puberty
  2. ephebophilia - the preference for males from puberty to the early twenties
  3. androphilia - the preference for males from in their twenties to in their fifties
  4. gerontophilia - the preference for older males.
Each of these terms, although used initially in a homosexual context, is now used of women and trans persons who are attracted to males.
Wayne Dynes, who totally ignores the first usage whether by trans persons or by cis women, but is frequently cited, says:
“This rarely used term serves to focus attention on those homosexuals who are exclusively interested in adult partners rather than adolescents and children.”
Jack Malebranche (also known as Jack Donovan) has taken the gay usage further.  In his book Androphilia, A Manifesto: Rejecting the Gay Identity, Reclaiming Masculinity,  he uses androphilia for masculine homosexual men attracted to masculine homosexual men.  He rejects the term ‘gay’ as contaminated by effeminacy, anti-male feminism and gender non-conformity.

Rather than women
In the psychoanalytic tradition trans persons were referred to by their birth gender even after surgery and legal gender changes.  Thus heterosexual trans women are regarded as homosexual men.  This tradition has been continued by Blanchard and Bailey.  Obviously this usage is not popular with trans people.
Even amongst those who were ignorant of psychoanalytic usage, it was a common observation that the word ‘homosexual’ was confusing when speaking about a trans person.  Homosexual before or after transition?  Those with some knowledge of Greek derived words would suggest ‘androphilic’ and ‘gynephilic’.  I cannot cite an early print usage but from my own memory I can say that the words were being used as early as the 1970s.
John Money uses the terms in his books as early as 1980.
Ray Blanchard, who never was in touch with the usages of trans persons, wrote the following in 2004:
“I therefore reluctantly concluded that I had no alternative but to invent a new word. My colleagues and I at the Clarke Institute were accustomed—again, under the influence of Kurt Freund—to referring to the erotic preference for adult women as gynephilia rather than heterosexuality, because the former denotes both the gender and the age of an individual’s preferred partners, whereas the latter denotes only the gender. It was thus a small step for me to prefix gynephilia with auto to produce autogynephilia.”
And we are waiting for him to go to the next step and bring in the word ‘androphilia’.  But he never does.  He insists on writing ‘homosexual transsexual’.  Many have introduced the word ‘androphilia’ in paraphrases of Blanchard’s position, and the word has been suggested to him, but he sticks with ‘homosexual transsexual’. 
On the sits there is an unsigned ‘Terms and Meanings’ page.  Unlike Blanchard himself, this page actually argues against the usage of ‘androphilia”:
“Androphile/Androphilic Transsexual: A way to refer to HSTS transkids that politically active AGP transsexuals find more to their tastes since it denotes sexual orientation without implying gender. It is a needlessly technical term that is in fact less accurate as it does not represent the etiology of HSTS and since many AGPs develop a pseudo-androphilia it confuses what the condition actually is. Androphile or related terms are not the preferred term for these reasons.”
In Alice Novic’s Interview with Blanchard just last month, she reports
“He even explained to me that people in his lab for a while have referred to male heterosexuality as gynephilia, so he was really just building on this term.”  
This is the same position as he put out in 2004.  He is still totally ignoring all those who say, why not use the word ‘androphilia’.    Note that he does not reject the word as does  He just refuses to acknowledge that the rest of us are using it.
Two recent examples where homosexual/heterosexual are used of trans persons with resulting confusion:
  1. The TransPulse study of Trans People in Ontario.
  2. National Transgender Discrimination Survey.  See p21.


Philological note: The Greek word for ‘woman’ is gyne in the nominative form, but the root or stem, on which compound terms should be based, is gynaiko- or gyneco-. Therefore the correct formation in English would be gynecophilia; gynephilia and John Money’s gynophilia are malformations coined by social scientists ignorant of Greek. However, such words are now accepted as they have become established usage.

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