Richard Ekins (born 1945) is a British sociologist who wrote extensively about gender identity and expression, often with fellow sociologist Dave King.
According to trans community historian Zagria, Ekins and King first met at the British Sociological Conference on Gender in Manchester in 1982. Over time, their work examined erotic aspects of gender identity and expression, with a focus on trans women.
In 1999, Ekins and King met Anne Lawrence at the HBIGDA Conference in London. Via Zagria:
They sort of incorporated her ideas into Ekins’ concept of erotic femaling, and in 2001 published “Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia.” Unlike the Blanchardians they see autogynephilia in MTFs as very similar to that in cis women. “In our judgement, our framework provides the conceptual wherewithal to unpack such issues in a way denied to the taxonomic, typological and diagnostic approach followed by Blanchard.”
In that 2001 article, Ekins and King examined the diagnosis of “autogynephilia” from a sociological perspective. After Ray Blanchard created it in 1989, proponents like Lawrence were attempting to popularize the controversial concept in academic circles. Ekins and King contextualized the zeal with which “autogynephilia” activists like Anne Lawrence embrace the concept:
Her account of how, after periods of personal confusion, she ‘found herself’ with reference to Blanchard’s concept, echoes the many other stories we have heard of transgendered people ‘finding themselves’ when first becoming acquainted with and adopting the terms ‘transvestite’ or ‘transsexual’.
In 2003, Ekins and King edited Blending Genders, which included diverse perspectives on “gender blending”: the personal experiences, social organization, medicalization, media coverage, and gender politics. The last section on politics gives the final word to Janice Raymond, reprinting her 1994 introduction to The Transsexual Empire.
The Transgender Phenomenon
In 2006, Ekins and King co-authored The Transgender Phenomenon. In it, they discussed response to The Man Who Would Be Queen, a book by J. Michael Bailey that attempted to popularize Blanchard’s disease model. They also discussed the transkids.us hoax site which was later revealed to be the creation of transgender troll Denise Magner, later run by “autogynephilia” activist Candice Brown Elliott after Magner’s death. Via Ekins and King
Recently, there has appeared a website apparently produced by a small group of people who identify with Blanchard’s concept of the homosexual transsexual. The website is called ‘transkids (http://www.transkids.us/index.html), the title reflecting Blanchard’s emphasis on childhood femininity. […] The website’s authors are also keen to distance themselves from the autogynephilic transsexuals arguing that not all transsexuals are the same. Androphilic transsexuals have always behaved in a feminine way, are feminine in appearance and are sexually attracted to men. Autogynephilic transsexuals are masculine in behaviour and appearance and are attracted to women. According to ‘Alex Parkinson’ writing on the site, homosexual transsexuals do not transition because they have a ‘female gender identity’, they transition, ‘because they are in fact, very female-like individuals in affect, appearance and behavior from an outsider’s perspective and therefore find they have a great deal of outside incentive for becoming female and very little for remaining male’. […] The ‘Transkids’ position argues that as the medical profession in the 1950s and 1960s saw sexual arousal to cross-dressing as an indication that surgery was not a suitable method of treatment, autogynephilic transsexuals lied about this aspect of their condition. Over time, the concept of gender identity was developed and eagerly grasped by the autogynephilic transsexuals as it legitimated their wish for surgery. The writers of the ‘Transkids’ site clearly do not see themselves as part of the ‘transgender’ community which they see as dominated by autogynephilic transsexuals to whom they (homosexual transsexuals) pose a threat. […] The reaction to this website, as to Bailey (2003) and Anne Lawrence’s work, has been a strong one. Some of the reaction can be seen at the website run by (http://www.calpernia.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/99671/page/0/fpart/1/vc/1). Many of the responses here are claiming that ‘Transkids’ website is bogus.
They then present the diagnosis of “autogynephilia” to several trans acquaintances and report the responses.
Ekins R, King D (2001). Transgendering, Migrating and Love of Oneself as a Woman: A Contribution to a Sociology of Autogynephilia. International Journal of Transgenderism. Volume 5, Number 3 [archive]
Ekins R, King D, eds. (2003). Blending Genders. Routledge ISBN 978-0415115520
Ekins R, King D (2006). The Transgender Phenomenon. SAGE. ISBN 9781446238912