Some accuse Blanchard’s typology of being inherently unfalsifiable, due to it not taking self-report narratives by trans women at face value. This attitude is flawed, but I thought it would be good to construct a list of predictions that Blanchard’s typology makes to show how this isn’t the case.
I’m going to make three different classes of predictions; those which if shown to be false, would immediately throw the typology into question and plausibly result in needing to throw out it all; those which if shown to be false, would require serious rethinking and refactoring of the typology; and smaller predictions whose wrongness wouldn’t mean much by itself but where consistent prediction failures would imply that the typology is incorrect. For understanding why smaller prediction failures don’t necessarily imply that the whole theory is wrong, I recommend reading about scientific paradigms here.
I will include several predictions that I consider to already be proven, but which are not all that well-known. I will especially make sure to include claims made by the typology which are regularly used as a “gotcha” because they sounds preposterous.
If these predictions turn out to fail, it will immediately throw the typology into question.
- If genes are discovered (from GWAS or similar; classical candidate-gene studies obviously don’t count, due to their poor replicability) which account for femininity, homosexuality, or similar, these will turn out to be mostly independent from genes discovered to account for autogynephilia (or “cross-gender sexual fantasies”).
- Both sets of genes will likely account for desire to be the opposite sex, though, albeit likely not as strongly. (Studies have generally found adulthood gender issues to be less genetic than most other things, plausibly due to them not being directly genetic.)
- Femininity and autogynephilia will be mostly non-associated in the general population. (I have already partially confirmed this.)
- Autogynephilia will not be associated with any degree of large-scale brain feminization in the general population.
- Autogynephilia is strongly associated with desire to be female. (This is already pretty clearly true, but surprisingly many people are not aware of it.)
- Autogynephilia will not be linked to repressing femininity; i.e. it will not be shown that if a boy is feminine, encounters judgement for it, and then “mans up”, he will tend to end up autogynephilic.
- Autogynephilia in trans women is strongly negatively associated with exclusive attraction to men and femininity. (This is pretty well-known, but disputed by some.)
- Homosexuality is strongly associated with femininity (or masculinity if we’re talking in women). (This is already pretty clearly true, but a handful of people are not aware of it.)
Some of the genetic predictions might be testable just by studying siblings.
If these predictions turn out to fail, the typology needs to be seriously rethought.
- Most of the trans women who the theory predicts to be misreporting (e.g. claiming higher degrees of femininity, lack of autogynephilia, or physiological attraction to men) cannot be shown to be reporting correctly when their claims are tested through independent measures that they have less ability to affect the outcome of. This might include past records of their behavior, reports of sexual behavior by wives, measured sexuality in penile plethysmography, or similar.
- Autogynephilia will not be associated with any form of brain feminization that is not present in other paraphilias.
- Among equally-feminine very-GNC natal males (or equally-masculine very-GNC natal females), those who are homosexual are much more likely to end up gender dysphoric.
- Autogynephilia in cis men will be more common among those who are exclusively attracted to women than those who are exclusively attracted to men. (I think this is already known, but it might be worth studying further.)
- A verified measure of autogynephilia in cis women will show lower rates of autogynephilia than what we see in trans women.
- People who have one autophilia will more generally tend to desire to have the characteristics that they find attractive. (This is potentially wrong.)
- Autogynephilia generally appears before unambiguous dysphoria. (This needs to be tested carefully because many trans women reinterpret past experiences as dysphoria when it is not clear that they are actually dysphoria.)
- Sexual orientation as measured by penile or vaginal plethysmography will not turn out to change through transition.
Moser’s test is not in my opinion verified enough, and so it is not clear that this constitutes a prediction failure. I would like to see a test of whether cis women who score high on his measure would also tend to say that their sexuality is like that of autogynephiles. In addition, Moser did not present his test to trans women as a comparison.
These don’t matter much individually as one could easily imagine ways to account for them, but if they consistently turn out wrong, it’d suggest flaws with the theory.
- Asexual trans women tend to have autogynephilic sexual fantasies. (This is already known to hold, but many people fail to realize this.)
- Almost all trans women who the theory predicts are misreporting can, if examined carefully enough, be shown to be misreporting. (If this fails, then it suggests that there is some rare third type.)
- It is rare for highly autogynephilic men to have the same aversion to being female that non-autogynephilic men have. (I believe I find this pretty consistently, but it’s not sufficiently well-known and it hasn’t been published anywhere.)
- When controlling for sexual orientation, a verified measure of autogynephilia in cis women will still show lower rates of autogynephilia than what we see in trans women.
- Interventions that reduce the libido of autogynephiles will also reduce their desire to be female (in approximate proportion to how equivalent interventions would reduce allogynephiles’s desire to get a girlfriend, which typically don’t get reduced to zero even in the case of complete removal of libido), at least when applied long-term and to ones who don’t at the same time create new sources of desire to be female. (Trans women may as a result of coming out and living in a female gender role create new desires to be female due to the friction associated with detransitioning.) This effect applies even when the person in question is dysphoric.
- Non-exclusively-androphilic trans women are more fetishistic than cis women.
The prediction that gender issues go away as libido is reduced is often cited as a prediction that has been falsified by trans women continuing to transition after starting HRT, but I don’t know that this quite holds. First, HRT does not usually fully kill the libido, but instead merely reduces it. Secondly, many trans women seem to report an almost-magical dysphoria-reducing effect when starting HRT, which seems like the sort of thing we should expect if the prediction held. Third, dysphoria seems to exist somewhat independently of AGP, so we should expect this change to be somewhat slow and, depending on how independent it is, not even happen. (This is why I only classify it as a weak predicction.) Fourth, it seems likely that if one socially transitions, one commits more to being transgender in a way that would prevent this effect. These issues can be handled with more careful testing, though, and I intend to look into how it works if I fix them.