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26 December 2020

This and that

When I go to Amazon.books and type in 'transgender' the top item shown is this year's most hyped transphobic screed: A Shrier's Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.

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On page 100 of Kay Brown's new book, named after her blog as On the Science of Changing Sex, she mentions that "Meyer at Hopkins" labelled a group of transkids as 'Eonists'.  She then adds, in brackets: "Ironically, he used the term 'Eonist' which was named after a famous historically significant cross-dresser, who by his history, is easily recognizably autogynephilic".   

Now this is not a surprising claim from Brown who after all declared Christine Jorgensen to be autogynephilic.

Some of the problems in applying a 21st-century concept like 'autogynephilia' to the 18th century:

  1. A lack of early-transitioners to compare to.   Quite likely there were many early-transitioners in India and South-East Asia - although this remains undocumented.   In Christian Europe where sex and gender expression had been so repressed, it is almost impossible to name any at all.  
  2. The major development of gay/trans expression at that period was the molly houses.  There is no mention that d'Eon was ever seen at one.  However given his high diplomatic rank, he would be very constrained in what he might do.
  3. Nor is there any evidence of female lovers.   It is true that the more sensational elaborations of d'Eon's life added such titillations as the claim that d'Eon was the father of George IV, but the more reliable books reject such claims.
  4. Vern Bullough makes the claim – that surprisingly has been ignored in the debate about social construction - that “there is no evidence in Western culture of what might be called a heterosexual transvestite consciousness before the twentieth century”, and probably not before Magnus Hirschfield modified the term 'transvestite' in 1910.   Those such as Brown who conflate heterosexual transvestity and autogynephilia are notable in not having even discussed this.
  5. Brown seems to regard autogynephilia as sort of an essentialism, that is a resultant from DNA modified by epigenetics.  If so why are there not loads of such persons in the 18th century?  Is modern pollution the required epigenetic? The best known transvestites in 18th century London are George Selwyn, who loved to attend public executions in drag, and Horace Walpole who dressed as an old woman for masquerade balls. Neither ever married and historians discuss whether Walpole was gay.   So how do they fit into the 21st century social construction of  HSTS/AGP?
"his history" .   Brown denies female pronouns to Charlotte d'Eon, as does Gary Kates, her otherwise best biographer, and remarkably so does Patrick Califia.

D'Eon's name was of course taken by the English Princian group, the Beaumont Society.   Personally I could never see her as one of their members.

The word 'chevalier' was used by Susanna Valenti for her Chevalier D’Eon Resort and by Virginia Prince for Chevalier Publications.   I always found it odd that they stuck with the male form of the word, and insist on using the transient title over 200 years later.   The female form is 'chevalière'.      D'Eon is hardly the only chevaler/chevalière.  So are Marie-Pierre Pruvot (Bambi) and Amanda Lear.  Why is it that those who always say Chevalier d'Eon do not say Chevalière Pruvot and Chevalière Lear?  Here is the Wikipedia list of Chevaliers (which does not include Charlotte d'Eon).   And of course the EN.Wikipedia entry is for "Chevalier D'Eon" not "Charlotte d'Eon de Beamont".  The FR.Wikipedia entry is for "Charles d'Éon de Beaumont" - yet another Wikpedia entry for a trans person under the pre-transition name.

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My site is being subjected to a strange inflation.   Not the most recent posting, but the first link in the most recent posting gets an extra 6,000 or so visits per day.   Hence at the moment Jan Morris part 3 is so effected because I linked to it in 2020's obituaries.   This did not happen to any of the other links in the same posting.

Blogspot's statistics tell me that the source is the site World of TG which does mention the obituaries but not Jan Morris.   This should change as soon as I post this.  Will George Selwyn now be surged?  

Administrators at World of TG: why are you doing this?  It really messes up my statistics.

+++ added a day later.   I was quite right.   George Selwyn has surged to the very top!!

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Funny things that cis academics do.   In the new book Others of My Kind: Transatlantic Transgender History , 2020, there is chapter by Annette Timm of the University of Calgary.  

On p147 we find "These primitive forms of hormonal treatment struck Benjamin as a new panacea for aging, and he became the most well-known American exponent of the benefits of getting 'Steinached,' eventually performing as many as 500 of these operations." 57

What is in endnote 57   ?: 

'57. Anonymous, “Harry Benjamin: Part 2 Rejuvenation,” A Gender Variance Who’s Who (blog) 5 Oct 2012, accessed 26 June 2019, https://zagria.blogspot.com/2012/10/harry-benjamin-part-2-rejuvenation_5.html. Even though the author of this blog remains anonymous, I have found the information it provides extremely helpful and impeccably researched.  This is one of the few pieces of information I was not able to  find elsewhere.'

a) The 500 count is not my research at all. It is found in Ethel Person's The Sexual Century.  Person was the only writer to do a biography of Harry Benjamin based on interviews with the subject.  It is an essential source for anybody writing about Benjamin, and is not in Timm's bibliography.

b) Timm otherwise ignores what I have to say.   For example, why no mention of Carla von Crist who actually was transatlantic - appearing in both New York and Berlin? Nor does she use my detailed close reading of Benjamin's The Transgender Phenomenon.

c) So in what way is it "extremely helpful"?

d) Anonymous?!!   This encyclopedia (much much more than a blog) has an author name.

e) The book is by 4 authors.  If any of them are trans they are keeping it quiet, and therefore we assume that they are all cis.  Despite that they title the book: Others of My Kind.

f) Like, I think, most trans persons I live semi-stealth.  Some know my past, most do not, and I do not insist on telling them.  Therefore I use a pen name - as do many cis persons for all kinds of reasons.  While Timm is making a career writing about us, she does not seem to understand such everyday aspects of being trans.   








1 comment:

joanna Santos said...

good thing then that no one pays Kay Brown much attention :)