Transwidow 2

How Was It For You? My marriage to an Autogynaephilic man (AGP)

I first resolved to speak out about my experience because autogynaephilia exists and because I believe it has a crucial significance in the debate which needs to happen around the impact of the proposed adoption of ’self-ID’ on the legal rights and protections women have fought so hard to secure. I will say ‘women’ and not ‘cis women’ or ‘natal women’ because language matters. Not only does sloppy language lead to sloppy thinking but it can be manipulated and ‘fudged’ for political ends. Anyone who doubts this should read George Orwell’s excellent essay “Politics and the English language” (1946).
I am also motivated by the fact that before I reached the age of 15 I had been groomed, abused, abducted at knife point, and shot in the eye. In the aftermath of these events I promised myself that I would never again would I allow myself to be silenced by intimidation. Facebook and Twitter are awash with abuse of so-called ‘TERFs’ like me but this only strengthens my resolve. There has been a deliberate, sustained, and highly organised campaign to demonise gender-critical women – and just lately gender-critical men too. I will not allow that to go unchallenged.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly, I am in a position to know and say how it feels to be married to an autogynaephile man in what ‘passes’ for a normal heterosexual relationship. Unlike many of the women who are living this now- and whose stories I have read, for example, in a heart-breaking thread on Mumsnet – I am looking back some fifteen years to before the ‘trans explosion’. It is impossible to say whether, if the events I am remembering were happening today, my husband would ‘come out’ as ‘trans’ or not. At the time I met him he was already in his late thirties and I suspect that the pattern of his life was already fixed. I do know, however, *because he told me so* that he would not be seeking surgery. I also know, again because he told me, that he obtained sexual excitement and gratification from both wearing women’s clothing and from intruding into their single-sex spaces. He boasted about having done this over a period of many years and about his belief – deluded I am sure – that women couldn’t tell.
What mattered most to my husband – apart from his penis of which he was extremely proud – was the idea – the delusion – that he ‘passed’ as a woman. He did not believe that he was a woman nor did he have the slightest thought of ‘losing’ his penis. It was, by his own admission, far too important to him as the primary site of his sexual gratification. It was also the focus – often quite literally – of the trans pornographic videos that I later discovered he made, copied and sold on the internet. He was, however, obsessed by breasts and fantasised about having them, telling me once that to have both breasts and a penis was his idea of ‘heaven’. He was also, incidentally, very interested in ‘lady boys
I must stress that although these things happened a long time ago it is not easy for me to talk about this. The hurt, the betrayal, the sense of humiliation, the absolute loss of self-esteem: all these things were, and still are, the source of great pain. What was most painful, however, for me at least, was the brutal realisation that I had lost a decade of my precious life to a deliberate and poisonous deception. I want to be plain. My ex-husband married me in the full knowledge of what he was and the life he was living, a life that he had no intention of giving up or changing. He used me and my position in the community – I was a senior teacher at a large comprehensive – to provide him with a cloak of ‘respectability’. He also used me as a convenient meal ticket since, during the years when we lived together, he paid no household bills. He persuaded me that his ‘business interests’ were doing badly and he needed all his money for ‘investment’.
Throughout most of my intimate life with my husband he was, in his secret life, a practising autogynaephile. I have come to realise that his autogynaephilia – I had no name for it then – included to a greater or lesser degree three of the four main elements associated with that condition. These are broadly: transvestic, behavioural, physiological and anatomic autogynaephilia. As far as I am aware, apart from having a somewhat salacious interest in pregnant women, my husband showed no other signs of physiological autogynaephilia either in his behaviour or his conversation.
I should make it clear that, despite the secrecy that surrounded my husband’s ‘other’ life, he was a difficult man to live with. You might think, perhaps, that my ‘not knowing’ would have made things easier but this was far from being the truth. On the contrary, I lived constantly in a state of anxiety and tension because he was so moody and unpredictable. Displays of interest or affection were rare so that I felt very much alone. Looking back I see that within a year or two of establishing this relationship my friends and social circle had for the most part fallen away. I learned later that my friends didn’t like my husband and that in some cases he had deliberately ‘put off’ or ‘pushed them away’. In a couple of cases he had achieved this by making sexual advances.
My husband offered as an ‘explanation’ for his behaviour towards me that he had always suffered from severe depression. He hinted that this was a consequence of ‘things’ in his past and an unsatisfactory relationship with his parents. As a survivor of early grooming and abuse I have my own dark moments so I accepted this as making some kind of sense. However, despite escalations in his problematic behaviour and my own repeated entreaties, he refused to seek medical help. I realise now, of course, that he knew perfectly well what was ‘wrong’ with him but that it wasn’t a problem in his eyes. To him the only problem was keeping me from finding out the truth.
My husband was emotionally unavailable most of the time, and very often absent from home. He ‘worked late’ regularly which he excused by saying his business interests were failing. He said I should be grateful that he worked so hard and that I should not complain. For a time I accepted this and tried to be a good wife. I cooked meals late at night, I paid all the household bills. I read half a dozen books on male depressive illness. But then, increasingly, I didn’t believe him any longer. I became suspicious. There were many things that didn’t add up. There were inconsistencies in his accounts of his movements and I received a lot of calls to ‘wrong numbers’. He had a mobile phone but he spent a lot of time in places where there was, according to him, ‘no signal’. I began to get calls on my landline asking for ‘Jo’ and on one or two occasions visitors called who claimed to be ‘old friends’.
Naively I thought that my husband was having a series of affairs. Of course, he denied it. It was, he said, ‘just his depression’ . My lack of ‘trust’ and ‘relentless nagging’ was making it worse. I must admit I felt a bit guilty then. I tried to be more supportive. I read more books on male depression. I did my best to talk to him. His response would be to quite literally turn his back on me. Like a sullen child he hunched his shoulders and crossed his arms over his chest. And when in desperation I stamped my foot and screamed at him to ‘please just look at me’ he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – do it. At any time when I stepped outside the very limited role which he had constructed for me, he simply refused to recognise or engage with my existence.
He said I was ‘unbalanced’ and ‘emotionally unstable’. It was ‘no wonder I didn’t have any friends’. In fact, by then he had systematically isolated me from my former social circle. Often he would leave – usually for days at a time but sometimes for a week or two – without giving me any indication where he was going. I would be left with my daughter’s care and my work as head of a large English faculty. Not surprisingly my health suffered – but that’s another story.
Eventually I turned detective. His absences and his strange habits – which included binge-spending as well as periodically removing all his body hair and spending many hours on a sun-bed – had to be caused by something. This was fifteen years ago. Even fewer people than now knew anything about such matters. However, I did know that he rented an ‘office/ storage space’. I had never been there. One day, like Bluebeard’s wife, I stole my husband’s keys and went in.
It’s hard to describe the scene that greeted me – maybe a cross between a love nest and a 1960s’ film set. There was king-sized bed – with fancy bedding – a fridge and a cooker and an armchair – and a vast array of photographic lights, a computer, and recording equipment for making and reproducing videos. It turned out that my husband’s preferred business was making and selling specialist porn on the internet. Remember he told me his business was failing and I was paying all the household bills. The equipment must have represented an ‘investment’ of tens of thousands of pounds.
At first I could not take it in but, investigating further, I found wigs of every style and colour, multiple pairs of size 9 stilettos, and several rails of women’s clothing. These garments were at the same time both expensive and ‘trashy’. Tight-fitting or skimpy – or both – was the order of the day and colour preferences were ‘girly’. There was an awful lot of PVC. Worse was to come. Cupboards and filing cabinets bursting at the seams with photographs. Many thousands of photographs. I do not exaggerate. About three quarters of these were sexually explicit and showed my husband fully ‘dressed’, alone or with various sexual partners, engaged in a whole range of sexual practices the details of which I will spare you.
There were also videos – shelves and shelves of them – with names suggesting their content. I selected some at random with the vague notion that I needed ‘evidence’. Viewing them later, I spent hours on on the floor weeping into my dog’s fur. I knew some of the people in the videos. One of them was our postman. Others were people I had been introduced to as my husband’s friends and acquaintances. Some of the videos had been made in my home – in my lounge, my kitchen, even in my bedroom – during the hours I was teaching. The sheer scale of the betrayal of trust, and the deliberate and callous nature of his deception took me many years to process and overcome.
Later I confronted him. I wept as I told him that I had booked an appointment at the clinic. Did he not care that he might have infected me with some terrible disease? He laughed at me. ‘Don’t be so dramatic,’ he said.
I should not have been surprised by that comment. My husband’s feelings were always paramount. He was was deeply wounded by the smallest criticism or slight – yet he was incapable of empathising with others.
I will list some of the other things that I learned about my husband over the period of twelve years of my precious life which I ‘lost’.
He was completely obsessed with his own image – witness the many thousands of printed images I referred to earlier. For years I kept, on the advice of my solicitor, at least five hundred of these. Before I eventually burned them I made a kind of ‘pornographic cover for my kingsize bed’ and took some photographs of my own. I think of this as therapeutic art.
His brain was soaked in pornography from childhood, from the age of eleven or twelve. He told me eventually he used to masturbate using his older sister’s underwear. By the time I came to know him, therefore, he had been heavily involved in pornography for almost three decades.
Even as a man, he was the vainest person I have ever known. He was also, when it came to women, one of the most judgmental. He was, for example, apt to make scathing comments about my clothes and my weight. He frequently spoke in praise of other women in my presence. Over time, he destroyed any self-esteem I might have had when we met.
For him the sexual act was linked with the notion of ‘performance’. It was as if his focus was somehow internal. If he was making love then it was to himself. It was a source of acute pain to me that he kept his eyes closed throughout any intimate contact we had. This, I later discovered from watching video material he had filmed, was not typical of his sexual encounters when dressed as a woman.
Sexually, he wasn’t ‘picky’. I soon realised he would have sex with pretty much anyone. It didn’t matter too much what sex they were or even if they were attractive. The important thing was that they were prepared – for whatever reason of their own – to ‘go along’ with the pretence of him ‘being’ a woman. Some of his partners were downright ugly. One of them was a local postman. Another turned out to be a man that he had introduced as a ‘friend’ and allowed me to entertain in my home.
Some of the pictures I saw showed people who seemed disturbingly young. After my marriage ended and my husband ‘disappeared’ an acquaintance who had been working as a ’special’ in the local police force told me that he was one of a number of men who had been ‘under observation’ in connection with crimes relating to sexual activity with minors.
He was utterly deluded about his ability to ‘pass’ as a woman. He was six foot three with the upper body development of a competitive banger racer. In fact, he drove for one of the well-known teams on the circuit at that time.
He was an exhibitionist. He found it sexually exciting to be naked and/or performing sexual acts in public places. He would do this equally while presenting as a man or as a woman. He told me once that he liked to walk naked along the hard shoulder of the A30 to see the effect on passing drivers. Of course he never considered that his thrills might kill someone in an accident.
I discovered that he had a criminal past going back a very long time. His criminal activity included buying goods on stolen credit cards, or on credit cards taken out in false names at incorrect addresses; various, car-related crimes, ‘fencing’ and selling stolen goods. I subsequently learned that local shop-lifters knew him as a fence and frequently ‘stole to order’. I believe he received quite a lot of stolen jewelry. He was inordinately fond of gold. I often got jewelry as a birthday or a Christmas gift. I believe now those gifts were stolen. Once he gave my daughter, then aged about eleven, a ‘dress ring’ to play with. Recently, clearing out some of her old toys I found this ring and looked at it more closely. It is, in fact, a fairly large diamond. This was typical of him. He would have considered it a huge joke.
He lied for fun, for pure entertainment and to see how ‘beautifully’ the lie could be spun. Occasionally he would tell a ‘truth’ but in a way that made it sound like he was joking. I remember him ‘joking’ once that one of his businesses, a second hand book shop, was a ‘cover’ for his porn empire. Everyone laughed. Even me. And of course it actually was!
He found it ‘exciting’ to shock other people and to not respect their boundaries. He liked to go to places dressed as a woman where he knew he had no right to be. He even boasted to me about his exploits in this activity.
After many years I think I have – finally – learned not to hate him. I hate his lies and his cruel behaviour and I hate what he did to me and my daughter. Nevertheless, over time, I have learned to pity him for what he was – and presumably still is: a man with a whole raft of emotional and mental health problems. He had a total lack of empathy with others combined with acute hypersensitivity when it came to his own feelings. He was manipulative and controlling. He used people – all people – for his own ends. I cannot be sure whether, if it had happened today he would have been openly ‘trans’ but I am sure beyond any shadow of doubt that he is not the sort of person who should have free and unrestricted access to women’s spaces. For a man like my ex-husband, the opportunity to self-ID as a “woman” would present him with a “Willy Wonka”-style golden ticket, a free ticket to ride.

Transwidow 1

My ex-husband and I were together in total for 12 years, and married for 7. Whilst I knew that he had one brief gay relationship before we met, I was his first girlfriend and female partner.  He had difficulty forging relationships and he acknowledged that his gay relationship was because he was desperate for human contact.
His social awkwardness had stemmed from severe bullying whilst he was growing up, but was exacerbated by his upbringing.  He was the first child to a couple in their 40’s who had been born in the 1920’s and lived through the war.  Austerity, making do and mending, and keeping up appearances dominated their lives.  His father was head of household and what he said, went.  His mother didn’t work, didn’t socialise, wasn’t allowed to make decisions, and was anxious.  The family dynamic was strained, and his younger sister suffered from severe depression for most of the time I knew her.  I had assumed my ex-husband was the “normal” one of the family; I was wrong.
Our sex life was disappointing and limited by his libido I thought (but subsequently found out that he masturbated daily to BDSM fantasies), but he gave every indication that he was only interested in women.  There was absolutely no indication given throughout the time I was with him that he was anything other than a man with heterosexual interests and gender conforming hobbies (weightlifting, metalwork and DIY), till he announced he wanted to be a woman.  He was having a bath and I walked in to find him shaving his legs.  I asked why and that was what he told me
I believe it would have been easier for me to bear if he had died because he changed completely after making this declaration.  He went to numerous doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors in the 9 months till I filed for divorce and, throughout that time, his only thoughts were for himself.  He became consumed.  He was not prepared to rest until he had gained the necessary agreement to have his penis removed and my feelings were never given any consideration. 
His narrative about his feelings started with him wanting to become a woman, it morphed into him wanting to be sexless, and then veered towards wanting to swing with me and other couples, or have BDSM sex.  On one memorable Sunday morning, he went through all of those options in the space of an hour before returning to stating he wanted to become a woman.  He rejected any suggestion that his upbringing had repressed him sexually and was, perhaps, the basis of his belief that his penis had to be removed. 
He was encouraged by healthcare professionals to meet with other transsexuals at the local TV/TS group.  His social life expanded as he started to be egged on to go out dressed as a woman.  He bought many outfits which could only be classed as overly revealing and would generally not be acceptable on a woman of his age, nearing 40.  He was aroused by wearing women’s clothing, and masturbated in changing rooms when trying it on.  He was “coached” by his new friends about what he had to say to have medical professionals believe him and treat him.  He threatened suicide on a daily basis.  He made a guillotine and rigged it up to an anvil in the garage and attempted to cut his penis off.  He wanted me to stop pleading with him not to self-harm “but to take me to the hospital when I do it again”.  He had no concern for what this was doing to my mental health whatsoever; he just wanted to have the operation, take the hormones, and ultimately live with me as a lesbian.  He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t accept this.
Through his TV/TS group, he was put in touch with a psychiatrist, Dr Russell Reid, whom he saw privately (after he had rejected the diagnosis of an NHS psychiatrist).  He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and permission was given for him to proceed with the removal of his penis as a private patient by his second appointment, which was within a year of his coming out as “transsexual”, and without any period of living as a woman.  I sent written protestations which were rejected by Dr Reid then decided that I could no longer live with the person he had become so I started divorce proceedings.  It should be noted that Dr Reid was subsequently found guilty of misconduct.  The operation went ahead and a few months later, I received a letter from my ex-husband blaming me for forcing him to go ahead with it because he had now discovered that he had just wanted to have wild sex and had been repressing those urges.  Looking at his behaviour through the lens of time, I believe he was an autogynaephile.
If I had stayed with him, there is no question that I would have had a complete nervous breakdown.  As it was, it took 4 years of counselling to come to terms with what had happened, and many more years before I felt it no longer defined me.  I chose to be secretive about it because I was humiliated that I found myself in that position; I did not want people to gossip about me behind my back, I didn’t want to be seen as somebody who had been so misguided to have married a man who wanted to become a woman – or worse, that I had driven him to it.  Today, I still have those feelings of guilt and shame, but I’m also angry that if he had those feelings from childhood, as he claimed, then he lived with and married me purporting to be something else and his actions were fraudulent.
The proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify cause me grave concern in relation to men self-identifying as women.  I am aware that my ex-husband’s motivation was sexual and there were other men who attended his TV/TS group who were aroused by dressing as women – they were completely acknowledged as heterosexual, just with a kink. 
Transvestites don’t believe they are women, and they are not women by any stretch of the imagination, but under the Trans umbrella described by Stonewall, they are women and, it would appear Stonewall propose transwomen should be entitled to every sex based right that has been granted to women.  However, sex based rights have been granted for a reason.  Women require safety, privacy and dignity.  That will not be possible where their segregated spaces have to be shared with men who claim to be women, even those who may have had gender reassignment surgery.  Figures suggest that over 80% of transwomen retain their penises, and many identify as lesbians, so it is fair to assume that a large number don’t have gender dysphoria, will never have sex reassignment surgery, and should not ever be considered to be women.   
Considering self-ID also opens the doors for predatory men who will take advantage of this change in boundaries and cause women distress with no recourse since self-id would allow any man to say they are a woman without any real ability to challenge the declaration, whether this is in a toilet, changing room or prison.
Whilst the people I told at the time were supportive of my position and horrified on my behalf, transwidows now face the prospect of being considered transphobic bigots for not accepting their partner’s “true identity” or wanting to remain in a sexual relationship with them when the goalposts of their relationship haven’t just been moved, they have been taken away and put up on a completely different pitch. 

Why now?

Scottish Gender Recognition reforms – deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 17th March 2020

On 19th December 2019 the Scottish Government published its proposals – which we hoped they had ditched – for reforms to the process of gender recognition in Scotland. The outcome of the consultation on the Bill will have an effect on proposals for similar English legislation.

Despite strenuous protests from feminists, mothers and fair-minded people, the proposals include “gender self-ID”.

The Bill for consultation is here.

The Scottish Gov’s consultation questionnaire is here.

Fair Play For Women has produced suggested responses to reject firmly any notion that gender self-ID is acceptable to women. Anyone can submit a response to the Scottish consultation.

Action:    Please print out and complete with your details page 1 of the Scot Gov’s paper form. Then print out page 2. Then send them together in an envelope to: Gender Recognition Reform, Room GW-15, St Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.

Alternatively copy and paste the answers on page 2 into the appropriate spaces in the on-line Scottish Gov questionnaire which is here.

Deadline for submitting responses is Tuesday 17th March. I have completed mine.

 

[E&W] Gender Recognition Act changes halted after child fears

by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – The Times  

At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support.

Ministers are expected to drop plans to make it easier for people to change their gender [in England and Wales]  amid concerns about the impact on children.

The government will formally respond to a public consultation on updating the Gender Recognition Act by the summer. The consultation, which was launched in 2018 by Theresa May, proposed to change the law so that people would be able to officialy transition simply by making a declaration of their gender.

At present they have to receive a medical diagnosis, appear before a specialist panel, and wait for two years for legal recognition of their new gender. They also have to pay a £140 fee.

The proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act have met with criticism from some feminist groups, whose members are concerned about the prospect of trans people being able to use single-sex spaces.

Ministers are also concerned about the impact the proposals could have on children, who are being helped to transition while still developing their “decision-making capabilities”.

………

At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support. Children unhappy with their birth gender can begin treatment after as few as three therapeutic assessments. They can discuss treatments separately from their parents and are encouraged to self-define their status and to develop “autonomy” in decision-making. Interventions include hormone blockers to suppress puberty and, later, cross-sex hormone therapy. The average age at which children begin such treatments is 14, but some are as young as 12.

NHS England has ordered an independent review into the use of puberty suppressant drugs and cross-sex hormones. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which is responsible for clinical practice guidelines in England and Wales, has also been asked to develop guidance for the first time about referring children to gender identity services.

Existing NHS treatment draws heavily on international guidelines that recommend approaches in care for gender dysphoria.

An NHS contract with the Tavistock & Portman Trust, issued in 2016, says that it will “conform” or “broadly conform” to standards of care issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in 2012. These say that they reflect the best available science and “professional consensus”. The Tavistock Trust works with children and young people with gender identity issues.

However, Gene Feder, professor of primary care at the University of Bristol and an expert in clinical guidelines, said that these fall far below the benchmark for British healthcare guidelines used by Nice and that he would not recommend their use.

 

Fair Cop judgment gives partial court win and victory for free speech

BBC 14th Feb 2020 : Harry Miller: Police probe into ‘transphobic’ tweets unlawful

On 14th February 2020, the judgement in the case of Harry Miller (“Fair Cop”) was delivered. The judge found that Mr Miller’s allegedly “transphobic” tweets were lawful and that the conduct of Humberside Police in visiting him at his place of work and warning him was disproportionate. The police had wrongly interfered with his right to freedom of speech.

But the more substantial action, a wider challenge to the legality of the College of Policing’s guidelines on “hate crimes”, was rejected.

These define a hate incident as “any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender”.

Mr Justice Julian Knowles rejected Mr Miller’s challenge against the guidelines, ruling they “serve legitimate purposes and [are] not disproportionate”.

The guidelines are problematic because the complainant does not have to provide evidence of any actual harm nor is there a test of “reasonableness” – what a reasonable independent person would understand about the action that is complained of. The guidelines assume that a “hate incident” has been committed on the sole allegation of a complainant, not a  “victim“. The use of the word “victim” implies that a “hate incident” has occurred. Thus the guidelines are defective and the bar to proof of a “hate incident” is set far too low.

Mr Miller has appealed against the ruling about the College of Policing guidance and permission has been granted for the case to go straight to the Supreme Court.