Ray Blanchard

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
As portrayed by Terrence Mann in the 2015 documentary Sense8Wikipedia
It's a social construct
Icon gender.svg
Spectra and binaries
I think that a transsexual should be considered as whatever their biological sex is plus the fact that they are transsexuals. That’s how you would do research on them.
—Ray Blanchard, 2013[1]

Ray "Whispers"[2] Blanchard (1945–) is an American-Canadian sexologist and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Canada.[3] who researches pedophilia, sexual orientation and gender identity.

He is best known today for his work on the fraternal birth order effectWikipedia in gay men, but also more controversially, his "typology of transsexualism," in which he divides male-to-female transgender people into the categories of homosexual (attracted to men exclusively) and autogynephile (attracted to the concept of themselves as a woman), first described in 1989.[4]

Much like a Hollywood villain, Blanchard's shadow has loomed large over the transgender community for decades. He was, until 2003 and the backlash to J. Michael Bailey, an honest-to-God member of what later became the World Professional Association for Transgender Health,Wikipedia[5] the organization that publishes the standards of care for transgender healthcare, and helped write both the DSM-IV and DSM-V, overseeing the insertion of his "autogynephilia" theory into the United States' premier manual of mental health diagnoses.[6]

Relationship with the LGBT community[edit]

Until recent years, Blanchard himself was not what one would generally describe as a "transphobe," perhaps a gatekeeper or transmedicalist extraordinaire, but not openly antagonistic to the trans community in his words (though arguably in his deeds). He stated in 2004: "If people are desperately unhappy right now and there is nothing else to do besides sex reassignment, then I think this is the best we can do and what we should do. Cosmetic surgery can help people lead much happier and productive lives. … We are not trying to encourage people to have sex reassignment surgery. On the contrary, we encourage people to try to make an adjustment to their biological gender."[7]

Yet what has been truly insidious about his influence is how his theories have provided the proverbial fuel to the furnace of anti-transgender hate of both the religious and trans-exclusionary feminist variety, who have turned them into the ideal scientific veneer for fear-mongering and concern trolling. He has recently found a great deal of common ground with the TERF machine, participating in mob harassment of figures like Zinnia Jones and endorsing the gender critical-championed concept of "rapid-onset gender dysphoria" on TERF websites like 4thWaveNow.[8] He has also given credence to the extremely serious theory of animeWikipedia (Japanese cartoons) turning people trans, a fact for which he has been roundly mocked.[9] Some of his other statements don't lend themselves to anti-trans moral panic, however, in what might be viewed as stopped clock moments: in example, he attests that there is "no notable overlap between trans and pedo[phile] populations", based on his experience clinically interfacing with both.[10]

Blanchard claims that anti-trans conversion therapy should instead be called "sex-acceptance therapy";[11] he also unsuccessfully opposed attempts to ban conversion therapy in Ontario, claiming there "was little-to-no conversion therapy of gays and lesbians happening in Ontario in 2015 or now. Therefore I think the bill was a Trojan horse primarily intended to prevent therapists from helping gender-dysphoric children accept their anatomic sex."[12] In a letter to the Toronto Star, he claims that gender identity "is demonstrably mutable, at least in children" and therefore this practice should not be banned.[13] The figures he is likely drawing this conclusion from are anything but solid and uncontroversial, to say the least — many of the studied patients were likely not gender dysphoric in the first place, and the researchers put forward often-bizarre definitions of desistance (in some of the papers, simply dropping out of study participation counted as "desisting" from a transgender identity, and this applied to large chunks of the subjects).[14][15]

It is difficult to get past the impression that Blanchard sees sexual minorities first and foremost not as human beings, but as test subjects. He has not won many friends in the community by saying, for example, "I think that a transsexual should be considered as whatever their biological sex is plus the fact that they are transsexuals. That’s how you would do research on them."[1] His insistence that all non-heterosexual sexual activity is "abnormal" has not helped either, though Blanchard would contend that he simply refuses to be "politically correct."[1]


See the main article on this topic: Autogynephilia

Blanchard believes, as he has steadfastly held since the 1980s, that male-to-female transgender people can be separated into two distinct groups based on sexual orientation: "homosexual" and "autogynephile." The latter is supposedly both a sexual orientation unto itself, constituting a "misdirected" heterosexual attraction to the idea of oneself as a woman, and also the impetus to transition for all trans women not exclusively attracted to men. This theory has never enjoyed widespread acceptance in the scientific community, but has received extensive publicity thanks to figures like J. Michael Bailey and his controversial 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen, and self-appointed poster child of the theory, sexologist Anne Lawrence.Wikipedia[16]

Blanchard made an attempt to include "autoandrophilia," the female-to-male equivalent of autogynephilia, in the DSM, but later said, "I proposed it simply in order not to be accused of sexism… I don’t think the phenomenon even exists."[1]


In 1993, Blanchard co-authored a paper that coined the phrase "gynandromorphophilia". This term, as defined by Blanchard and co-author Peter I. Collins, conflates attraction to male crossdressers and attraction to transgender women. The 1993 paper refers to men with attraction to "cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals, or she-males". To be fair, this is likely as a result of the fact that many of the men under observation did not themselves make such a distinction, although, they were specifically observed via pornography, hook-up and prostitution advertisements,[17] which could have introduced some selection bias (and it was also the early 1990s, so transgender awareness was not exactly at its peak). In any case, it shouldn't preclude that people attracted to transgender women but not male crossdressers (and vice versa) do exist.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 'How the Psychiatrist Who Co-Wrote the Manual on Sex Talks About Sex', interview with Laura Cameron, Vice, 2013
  2. There is a rumor on Autogynephilic Twitter that I was the model for the villainous character of Whispers on the Wachowski sisters’ TV series “Sense8.” Who knows. the characters’ full name is Milton Bailey Brandt; my middle name is Milton and I’m a friend of Mike Bailey’s. by Ray Blanchard (12:30 PM - 7 May 2019) Twitter (archived from December 9, 2021).
  3. Ray Blanchard, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  4. The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria, Ray Blanchard, 1989
  5. Blanchard resigns in a huff from HBIGDA, University of Michigan, 2003
  6. Transvestic Disorder DSM-5 302.3 (F65.1)
  7. (October 13, 2004). "Becoming Ayden: The Expert Opinion". The Fifth Estate (CBC News).
  8. Inside the TERF Harassment Machine, Jude Ellison S. Doyle, Medium, 2023
  9. 'Transphobic doctor claims anime makes people trans, gets shut down by Twitter', Ana Valens, Daily Dot, 2018
  10. Ray Blanchard (June 18, 2019). "I’ve seen multiple tweets asserting/implying some link between transsexualism and pedophilia. I worked 15 years in a gender identity clinic and the next 15 in an assessment clinic for sex offenders. I can state there is no notable overlap between trans and pedo populations." Twitter, via the Wayback Machine.
  11. Ray Blanchard (October 10, 2018). "Transactivists have been trying to outlaw therapy to help gender-dysphoric children accept their anatomic sex by appropriating the term 'conversion therapy' to refer to it. It should have been labeled, eg, 'sex-acceptance therapy.'" Twitter, via the Wayback Machine.
  12. Ray Blanchard (April 9, 2019). "There was little-to-no conversion therapy of gays and lesbians happening in Ontario in 2015 or now. Therefore I think the bill was a Trojan horse primarily intended to prevent therapists from helping gender-dysphoric children accept their anatomic sex." Twitter, via the Wayback Machine.
  13. (April 5, 2015). "'Conversion therapy' bill opposed ". Toronto Star.
  14. Temple Newhook, Julia; Pyne, Jake; Winters, Kelley; Feder, Stephen; Holmes, Cindy; Tosh, Jemma; Sinnott, Mari-Lynne; Jamieson, Ally et al. (2018-04-03). "A critical commentary on follow-up studies and “desistance” theories about transgender and gender-nonconforming children" (in en). International Journal of Transgenderism 19 (2): 212–224. doiWikipedia:10.1080/15532739.2018.1456390. ISSN 1553-2739. 
  15. Brooks, Jon (May 23, 2018). "The Controversial Research on 'Desistance' in Transgender Youth". KQED. 
  16. Making Sense of Autogynephilia Debates, Julia Serano, Medium, 2019
  17. Blanchard, R.; Collins, P. I. (1993). "Men with Sexual Interest in Transvestites, Transsexuals, and She-males". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 181 (9): 570–575. doiWikipedia:10.1097/00005053-199309000-00008. ISSN 0022-3018. PMID 8245926. 
  18. Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser (December 31, 2003). "Northwestern University Psychology Professor J. Michael Bailey Looks into Queer Science". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center.
  19. Steve Sailer (July 20, 1999). "Roster of Human Biodiversity Discussion Group Members". AOL.