Heterodox Trans People #6: Phil Illy

Heterodox Trans People #6: Phil Illy

Telling the Truth about Autogynephilia

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Hello listeners, welcome to the audio version of Broadview. I’m Lisa Selin Davis.

And here’s a story I forgot to tell Phil Illy, my guest today:

I was having reading time with my 11-year-old daughter, and I didn’t realize that instead of reading her own book, she was peering over my shoulder as I read Phil’s book Autoheterosexual: Attracted to Being the Other Sex. And all of the sudden she said, “Mama, what’s an adult diaper baby lover?”

And I said, “I’m really sorry that you saw that, because you deserve to have gone your whole life, or at least your entire childhood, without knowing about that.”

And that exchange, I think, encapsulates some of the following discussion with Phil about who should know what, and when. He was an adult when he figured out that his troubles with gender could be explained by a sexual orientation he’d never heard of: autogynephilia. Thinking he’d found the key to his struggles, he reached out to others to commune over their shared experience and found: censorship, denial, gaslighting.

And he decided that he didn’t want others to go through what he went through, and wrote a book to bring knowledge to those who wouldn’t otherwise access it in this time when so much information is politicized.

We didn’t get to a lot in this conversation, mostly because we were hashing out the meanings of words like gender, and Phil has taken it upon himself to coin some new terms and redefine some old ones in ways that may help some people accept themselves, but may really rile some others. What we didn’t talk about was all the other stuff in the book. Not just adult diaper baby lovers, but auto-furries—people who are attracted to the idea of themselves as animals—and trans-racial sexualities (I can only enrage so many people at once) and, well, I’ll let you peruse the pages yourselves.

There’s a lot we disagree on but ultimately Phil and I share one message: we’ve got to stop lying about autogynephilia.

Discussions about the impossible-to-discuss topic of gender...whatever the heck that word means.
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Lisa Selin Davis