On my twenty-second day out of prison, I went to the genderqueer support/discussion group again, but this time with my metaphorical evolutionary-psychology goggles firmly in place.
And just, woooooow
These not-particularly-feminine females and probably-autogynephilc males think that they have something substantive in common (being "genderqueer"), and are paranoid at the world of hostile cis people just itching to discriminate against and misgender them
And their struggle makes sense to them, but I'm just sitting there thinking wooooow
It's all just social-exchange and coalitional instincts. There are no principles. There have never been any principles. The horror is not, "This is a cult." The horror is that everything is a cult.
I mean... in my universe... when people have life-ruining problems; and they do what they need to do to stay alive; and those who don't have the same problems look down on them for what they had to do; and they band together against the original problem and against people who keep them down... that's generally considered virtuous.
Consider also: if you sat in the discussion group for the blind, listening to them talk about discrimination and stupidity in sighted society, you would conclude that blindness doesn't exist and Braille is a cult ritual.
Yes! Yes, you would! That is, unless of course you had some other means of experimentally confirming that "blindness" is a natural category ... and if "blindness" wasn't a natural category, and was actually several different things with completely different etiologies (people who lost their physical eye vs. people with some kind of defect in their visual cortex), then it might be a useful social technology to split it into different subtypes with different support groups!
That may be unfair to the 'not-particularly-feminine females'. They and the AGPs have plenty in common -- they both have erotic target location errors inducing subclinical gender dysphoria! (The specific proxy term for this they've come up with leads a lot to be desired...)
Trent, it's not clear to me that autoandrophilia is a good explanation for a lot of the female-to-nonbinary crowd; what did you think of Kay's comment about "the naturally more fluid sexuality of predominately heterosexual to bisexual women, the greater latitude allowed women in regards to personal attire, and a pronounced chafing under society’s restrictive gender roles available to natal females, [...] giv[ing] rise to a number of politically motivated alternative [identities]"?
("Erotic target location error" is kind of a mysterious answer to a mysterious question anyway. It's a better explanation than appealing to a vacuous "identity", but it's rather black-boxy: what do we gain by positing a "target error" as opposed to just describing the content of autogenderphilic fantasies without attributing them to a "target error" or anything else?)
Brown's explanation is the more commonly believed one, and I don't think they're mutually exclusive. Subclinical gender dysphoria by definition is not something you should probably transition to treat, nor do people with it get the idea to transition out of nowhere -- you need to find yourself in the right/wrong memeplex first. But I happen to know a lot of these kids, and ignoring the massive 'people attracted to unusually feminine men can easily be attracted to themselves as unusually feminine men' (the femininity being the important part here, in that it's really hard to distinguish blue-haired androgynous teenagers who should and shouldn't transition from each other because they'd all be HSTS-level GNC as men anyway) bit does them a disservice. Even full-on transtrenders who are hard on the 'shouldn't transition' end (e.g. Milo Stewart) can and do show obvious signs of AAP (Stewart keeps complimenting herself for being such a cute gay boy).
A friend of mine has looked into this, and indeed found the exact conclusions I expected them to find -- trans men and natal female enbies are mostly AAP, very andromimetophilic (my hypothesis is that one reason AAPs were invisible until recently was that the lesbian community was a pretty convenient place for people attracted to male-presenting natal females to hang out even if they weren't very attracted to any other type of women), very attracted to unusually feminine men. This friend's data is technically not scientific, though, and they're experimenting with changing their data pool because they've found a 15% A*P rate in the current one and need to replicate that weird a finding. (One study they found implies MTurk shares that 15% A*P rate, though...)