Letter from Karla

(Received in August 2003; name changed for privacy)

It is nice that you and Lynn Conway have taken the mission to bash down the writings about autogynephilia because I really dislike what Anne Lawrence along with some other people have written about the cause of transsexualism (as a sexual fetish that it definitely is not in my opinion and from my viewpoint). Being myself is not a sexual matter, it is about being me, I feel that I am definitely a woman, not a man that have done something for some fetish that is actually even quite hard to understand to me. I was a woman that had a malformed body and it have been now converted to match the feeling of my gender. About Bailey's (or whoever he was that wrote about femininity linked to sexual orientation) writing about gays is also wrong in my opinion. Gay men in Finland at least are trying to be as masculine as possible. Masculinity is "in" in those circles. Gay men seem to have also some weird fetishes, one friend of mine likes somehow police uniforms and thinks policemen to be very sexy and he likes to look like a skinhead by himself despite he definitely is not a skinhead. He is not at all feminine and his partners are extremely overly masculine and he dislikes anything feminine and I for example am very much out from his preferences since I am everything he dislikes sexually.

I have seen some "late onset" (very weird ones) persons around that might fit to Anne Lawrence & co's description (they seem to be more interested in the vagina than to their gender), but it is not fair to think or conclude that all transsexuals would be like that. Actually those that could be called as autogynephiles seem to be attracted somehow to vagina. They don't seem to even know the purpose of clitoris and they seem to have just fantasies about penis turned upside down (inverted). Actually I think a person that does this for a sexual fetish, is not a transsexual, and should not be able to be legally female. I would not like to go to sauna with a person that would be male if I would expect there to be only other females.

The sexual orientation really has nothing to do with transsexuality in my opinion. If the division would be made by sexual orientation, I would be thrown to the wrong side where I do not belong to in my opinion. Someone could claim on that basis that I must be then autogynephilic because I am not so interested in men or because I am technically gifted (not stupid as a cow in other words like some less clever people seem to think women to be).

On the other hand, I am spending less and less time on that group since I am slowly losing interest to writing there since I have other things to do than spend my lifetime in helping others to seek correct treatment etc. I know that at least I and my girl friend definately do not fit to the description of autogynephilic person. And on the other hand, if we would not 100% believe ourselves to be 100% women from bottom of our hearts, our relationship would be in fact quite much impossible. My girl friend appears to be 100% lesbian from her orientation and could not have a relationship with a person she would think to be a man. I would not have fallen in love with her if I would have thought her to be male, she-male or something similar.

In fact, in Finland those who seek for the treatment for wrong purposes, rarely succeed to go through the very strict examination system except some rare exceptions - only qualified shrinks do examinations here and patients can not go "shopping" to yet another therapist if the first one doesn't write a letter for applying for SRS. Actually the system has strictened even further. Now for name change alone, it is required to have recommendation letters from psychiatrists from separate cities, from both Tampere University Hospital and Helsinki University Hospital. The strictness of the examinations have on the other hand went too far in my opinion novadays here, it may kill more (by suicide) than prevent wrong people go through the system.

We (me and my girl friend) have sexuality yes, we are not completely asexual, but it has nothing to do with the issues that Anne Lawrence etc. are trying to claim, better word to clarify that would be that it is a result of love to each other - a feeling that I never did know to exist in me before I fell in love. I don't think that being sexual would be bad at all, but it is a very different matter than being me, in other words a woman, not a just sexual-pervert-something.

In Finland there have been by the way discussion about the terminology and transsexuals are novadays usually called as "transsukupuolinen", not "transseksuaali" anymore. Also term sex reassignment (sukupuolen vaihto) have changed to sukupuolen korjaus (correction of gender). The removal of the sexual word have been quite important in my opinion. There is still a problem though with that, the direct translation from Finnish to English for "transsukupuolinen" is "transgender". And the word transgender is used for other purposes (such as for calling those she-males, crossdressers, non-ops etc. that the word transsukupuolinen on the other hand has nothing to do with).