One of the controversial aspects of Blanchard’s typology is that it asserts that asexual trans women transition because of autogynephilia. Many people find it ridiculous to suggest that asexuals transition for reasons originating in sexuality, because, y’know, they’re asexual. How could Blanchard come up with such an idea?
Most obviously, because the asexual trans women themselves report having experienced autogynephilia. In this study, Blanchard asked trans women whether they had engaged in transvestic fetishism, and found that 75% of his asexual group answered yes. Similarly, Nuttbrock found that 67% of his asexual group had experienced transvestic arousal at some point in their lives.
Need more convincing? On page 83 of Jaimie Veale’s Master’s thesis, she has a table showing how well trans women feel that the concept of autogynephilia applies to their own experiences. Obviously since many trans women feel that AGP is invalidating, there’s going to be a degree of bias where no group feels it totally applies to them. But do the 31 asexual trans women feel that it makes less sense in their case than the other groups do? Nope; 45.2% of the asexuals feel that it applies at least a little bit to them, versus 40.8% of the other groups. The only group with a higher percentage is the gynephilic trans women, at 53%. (Sidenote: due to her way of recruiting participants, Veale did not have any non-autogynephiles in her sample.)
Thinking that asexual trans women are not explained by autogynephilia demonstrates a striking unfamiliarity with asexual trans women’s experiences. That’s understandable for those who are just asking questions. However, if someone explicitly states that the typology can’t explain asexual trans women, well… then they are probably not a very reliable source on the validity of Blanchard’s typology.
How might asexual trans women end up autogynephilic? Well, it’s hard to know, but a common speculation is that it’s due to the phenomenon known as “competition”: basically, autogynephilia is related to (allo)gynephilia in the sense that it is a self-directed variant of gynephilia. Most gynephiles are not autogynephilic, but many autogynephiles are allogynephilic. Autogynephilia and allogynephilia can coexist to various degrees, with some having a skew towards allogynephilia, some varing approximately equally much of both, and some having a skew towards autogynephilia. Asexual autogynephiles are then those who have a very strong skew towards the autogynephilic part of their sexuality, to the degree where they experience no or negligible allogynephilic attraction. In a sense, the autogynephilia and allogynephilia “competes”, so that autogynephilic interest overshadows allogynephilic interest.
The relation between exclusivity of AGP and possible identities. Note that this relation is very very far from deterministic, as there are many factors that may affect how one identifies.
Some early pieces of data indicated that this model was true because they suggested that the most-autogynephilic people were least attracted to other people. However, this finding doesn’t look very well-supported by newer data, so there might be some subtleties at play that are not yet fully understood. More research is needed.