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Homosexual transsexual is a controversial term used by some psychologists and sexologists to describe male-to-female transsexual women who are exclusively or predominantly attracted to males.[1][2][3] It is less frequently used by proponents to describe female-to-male transsexual men who are exclusively attracted to females.[4]

Proponents of the term define this category based on testing or self-report, noting that self-report is not always reliable.[1][2][5] Previous taxonomies used the terms "classic transsexual" or "true transsexual," terms once used in differential diagnoses.[6] Proponents have stated that many "non-homosexual" transsexuals systematically distort their life stories because "non-homosexuals" were often screened out as candidates for surgery[7] and because some see "homosexual transsexual" as a more socially desirable diagnosis. Key characteristics include conspicuous cross-gender behavior from childhood through adulthood, and a "homosexual" sexual orientation. The term is also part of a two-type taxonomy in which non-homosexual transsexual women have a condition called autogynephilia and are aroused by the idea or image of themselves as women.[8]

Leavitt, who has used the term in a paper notes,"Transsexuals, as a group, vehemently oppose the label and its pejorative baggage."[2] Critics claim the term "homosexual transsexual" is "heterosexist,"[9] "archaic,"[10] and demeaning because it labels people by sex assigned at birth instead of their gender identity.[11]

History of the term

Richard Green states that since the term "transsexual" is very new, it is necessary to examine historical specifics to identify transsexuality in history, and distinguish it from other roles that are described as "change of sex", such as homosexuality and heterosexual cross-dressing customs.[12] Green describes the cultural roles of groups such as the Two-Spirit, Hijra, Kathoey and Khanith, stating that these people are mentally indistinguishable from modern western transsexuals.[12] In part, because of this history, past researchers have referred to the "homosexual" category as being the "classic", "primary" or "true" transsexual.[5] At one time due to the heteronormative bias of many psychologists, transsexual people who did not fit into this category were often screened from receiving hormones and sex reassignment surgery.[5][7]

Description by western science

The concept of a taxonomy based on transsexual sexuality was first proposed by Magnus Hirschfeld in 1923,[13] and codified by Harry Benjamin in the Benjamin Scale.[14] Kurt Freund proposed two types of cross-gender identity, based on his observation that gender identity disorder is different for homosexual males and heterosexual males.[15] Published reports measure a "homosexual transsexual" at a Kinsey Scale 5-6 or a Modified Androphilia Scale 9.86±2.37.[1][2] Ray Blanchard saw that homosexual transsexuals were younger when applying for sex reassignment, reported a stronger cross-gender identity in childhood, had a more convincing cross-gender appearance, and functioned psychologically better than "non-homosexual" transsexuals.[8] Blanchard found them comparatively short and light in proportion to their height than non-homosexuals.[16] Independent research done by Smith confirmed most of Blanchards findings, except for the difference in height-weight ratio.[17] Dorner found that when injected with Premarin (for the treatment of mild to severe vasomotor symptoms of menopause), homosexual transsexual men showed an increased luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone response compared to heterosexual or bisexual transsexual men.[18]

Sexual activity

Leavitt and Berger further categorized homosexual transsexuals by three patterns of sexual activity, and how they used their penis.

  • Inactive group (44%): sexually inactive.
  • Avoidant group (19%): Avoided using their male genitalia during sex.
  • Pleasure group (37%): Derived pleasure from using their male gentalia during sex.

Each group showed varying levels of masculinity and emotional disturbance in development.[2]

Leavitt and Berger found that transsexuals in the avoidant group are different from those in the other two groups. They fit the description of the "nuclear transsexual".[2] They had a strong cross gender identification, wanted female anatomy, had never married and little to no sexual activity with females.[2] Of all the subgroups this group had the least psychopathology.[2] The transsexuals is the pleasure group behaved sexually in ways that were classically homosexual.[2] They were more likely than those in the avoidant group to have had sexual experience with females.[2] They also rated higher on a test of general fetishism.[2] Other than this transsexuals in the pleasure group were similar to the description of a "nuclear transsexual".[2] They found that transsexuals in the inactive group had characteristics which most differed from that of the "nuclear transsexual".[2] Characteristics such as strong heterosexual orientations (as determined from psychological test), and fetish histories. "The pattern exhibited generally conforms to that exhibited by heterosexual transsexuals."[2] This group was found to share little with the other groups of transsexuals other than a stated sexual interest in males.[2] Leavitt and Berger also mentioned studies by Blanchard which suggest that heterosexual transsexuals will adjust their life stories to ensure that they get sex reassignment surgery.[2]


In The Man Who Would Be Queen, J. Michael Bailey saw that the homosexual transsexuals he described were comfortable with prostitution,[19] and that they had a masculine sexual appetite and simply lusted after men.[19] In "The Transsexual Phenomenon",Harry Benjamin, wrote that "Other transsexuals find prostitution a useful profession for emotional as well as practical reasons..."[20] Benjamin goes on to note "How much more can his femininity be reaffirmed than by again and again attracting normal, heterosexual, and unsuspecting men and even being paid for rendering sex service as a woman?"[20]

Frequency of Autogynephilia

Studies have variously found that between 10% and 36% of homosexual transsexuals report a history of sexual arousal to crossdressing. Bentler found 23%, while Freund reported 31%;[15][21] Leavitt and Berger reported 36% among all homosexual transsexuals, and 24% of the sexually active subjects;[2] Blanchard found significantly lower numbers than his peers: 15% in his first study on the topic, and 10% in a paper two years later.[8][22] Blanchard saw autogynephilia in lower levels when comparing homosexual and non-homosexual transsexuals, with levels of anatomic autogynephilia among some of the 117 androphilic subjects.[23] A lower percentage of the homosexual transsexuals reported being (or having been) married and sexually aroused while cross-dressing.[17]

Socioeconomic factors

Researchers have found several demographic features that homosexual transsexuals tend to have in common.[24][25] Ken Zucker found that homosexual transsexuals are of lower IQ and social class, immigrant status, non-intact family, non-Caucasian race, and childhood behavior problems[24] D.F. MacFarlane studied transsexuals in Australia and New Zealand.[25] MacFarlane found that in New Zealand that 90% of the homosexual transsexual prostitutes were Māori,[25] an ethnic group who are only 9% of the overall population.[25] In The Man Who Would Be Queen J. Michael Bailey notes that about 60% of homosexual transsexuals he studied in Chicago were Latina or black;[19] in his studies of gay males only 20% were non-white.[19] He saw that most homosexual transsexuals learn to live on the streets, resorting to prostitution, or shoplifting.[19] Bailey reported the opinions of two of his subjects who attributed the difference to genetics, or inflexible gender roles in their respective cultures.[19] MacFarlane similarly concluded that culture influenced the number of Māori homosexual transsexuals he observed.[25]

Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy

The "BBL Controversy" also known as the "Autogynephilia Controversy"[26][27][28] is an ongoing line of discussion in the transgendered community. The concept had not received much attention outside of sexology until sexologist Anne Lawrence, who self-identifies as an autogynephile, published a series of web articles about the concept in the late 1990s.[29] Lynn Conway and Andrea James responded to Lawrence's essay. In 2003, J. Michael Bailey's book "The Man Who Would Be Queen" was published. Conway objected to the book's general portrayal of transsexual women and its sympathetic attitude toward Ray Blanchard's hypothesis that all male-to-female transsexuals are motivated either by feminine homosexuality or autogynephilia. Conway began an investigation that eventuated in a number of accusations against Bailey, from the scientific (that he conducted pseudo-scientific studies using poor methodology) to the ethical (that he conducted scientific research without proper ethical oversight, had sex with a transsexual prostitute who was a "research subject"[30][31] , wrote the book without the knowledge of his research subjects, and practiced psychology without a license).[32] Northwestern University conducted an investigation regarding the charge that Bailey conducted scientific research without required IRB approval. Although Northwestern did not release the results of that investigation, Northwestern’s Vice President for Research, C. Bradley Moore, said, "The allegations of scientific misconduct made against Professor J. Michael Bailey do not fall under the federal definition of scientific misconduct."[33]

In 2008 Northwestern University professor and intersex activist Alice Dreger published a historical investigation of the controversy, in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Dreger concluded that Bailey was "essentially blameless" and that he had been subject to "harassment" in an attempt "to ruin" his career.[34] Moreover, Dreger concluded: "the historical evidence indicates that Conway, James, and [Deirdre] McCloskey tried to destroy Bailey’s book and his reputation through these truly extraordinary measures because they didn’t like what he had to say."[35] Conway has responded that Dreger's piece is propaganda, and that its publication in Archives of Sexual Behavior and coverage by the New York Times reflected pro-Bailey bias by the editor and reporter, respectively.[36] Dreger's article was published alongside 23 commentaries, including some critical of Dreger.

Yolanda Smith conducted a study in 2005 in the Netherlands which verified many of Dr. Blanchard's observations.[17] She found that Blanchards observations were replicated in her sample. Smith found that homosexual transsexuals differed from non-homosexual transsexuals in terms of reported gender non conformity and fewer had been married.[17] She did not find the difference in height,weight, and height weight ratio that Blanchard reported.[17] Smith concluded that categorizing transsexuals by sexual history and orientation has clinical value.[17]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lawrence, Anne & Latty, Elizabeth M (April), “Measurement of sexual arousal in postoperative male-to-female transsexuals using vaginal photoplethysmography.”, Archives of Sexual Behavior 34 (2): 135–145, 1573-2800, doi:10.1007/s10508-005-1792-z, <> 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Leavitt, Frank & Berger, Jack C. (October), “Clinical patterns among male transsexual candidates with erotic interest in males”, Archives of Sexual Behavior 19 (5): 491–505, 1573-2800, doi:10.1007/BF02442350, <> 
  3. Goozen, S. H., Slabbekoorn, D., Gooren, L. J., Sanders, G., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2002). Organizing and activating effects of sex hormones in homosexual transsexuals. Behavioral Neuroscience, 116, 982-988.
  4. Chivers, M. L., & Bailey, J. M. (2000). Sexual orientation of female-to-male transsexuals: A comparison of homosexual and non-homosexual types. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 259-278.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Blanchard, Ray; Leonard H. Clemmensen, Betty W. Steiner (December 1985). "Social desirability response set and systematic distortion in the self-report of adult male gender patients". Archives of Sexual Behavior 14 (6). Netherlands: Springer. 1573-2800. 
  6. Benjamin H (1966). "Three different types of transsexual" The Transsexual Phenomenon.. Julian Press ASIN B0007HXA76.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Morgan AJ Jr (1978). Psychotherapy for transsexual candidates screened out of surgery. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 7: 273-282.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Blanchard R, Clemmensen LH, Steiner BW (1987). Heterosexual and homosexual gender dysphoria. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 16, Number 2 / April, 1987
  9. Bagemihl B. Surrogate phonology and transsexual faggotry: A linguistic analogy for uncoupling sexual orientation from gender identity. In Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality. Anna Livia, Kira Hall (eds.) pp. 380 ff. Oxford University Press ISBN 0195104714
  10. Wahng SJ (2004). Double Cross: Transamasculinity Asian American Gendering in Trappings of Transhood. in Aldama AJ (ed.) Violence and the Body: Race, Gender, and the State. Indiana University Press. ISBN 025334171X
  11. cf. Leiblum SR, Rosen RC (2000). Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, Third Edition. ISBN 1-57230-574-6
  12. 12.0 12.1 Green R (1966). Transsexualism: Mythological, Historical, and Cross-Cultural Aspects. Benjamin H, The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press ASIN B0007HXA76.
  13. Hirschfeld M (1923). Die intersexuelle Konstitution. Jarhbuch fuer sexuelle Zwischenstufen. 1923: 3-27
  14. Benjamin H (1966). The Transsexual Phenomenon. The Julian Press ASIN: B0007HXA76
  15. 15.0 15.1 Freund K, Steiner BW, Chan S (1982). Two types of cross-gender identity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1982 Feb;11(1):49-63. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "freund1982" defined multiple times with different content
  16. Blanchard R, Dickey R, Jones CL. Comparison of height and weight in homosexual versus non-homosexual male gender dysphorics. Archives of Sexual Behavior 1995 Oct;24(5):543-54.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Smith, Yolanda L.S.; Stephanie Van Goozen, Aj Kupier, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis (2005-12-15). "Transsexual subtypes: Clinical and theoretical significance" (PDF). Psychiatry Research 137 (3): 151–160. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2005.01.008. Retrieved on 2007-06-26. 
  18. Dorner G, Rohde W, Schott G, Schnabl C (1983). On the LH response to oestrogen and LH-RH in transsexual men. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology. 1983 Nov;82(3):257-67.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Bailey JM (2003). The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. Women Who Once Were Boys Joseph Henry Press, ISBN 0-309-08418-0.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Benjamin, H. (1966). The transsexual phenomenon. New York: Julian Press, pp. 50-51.
  21. Bentler P M (1976). A typology of transsexualism: Gender identity theory and data. Archives of Sexual Behavior 5: 567-584.
  22. Blanchard R (1985). Typology of male-to-female transsexualism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14, 247-261.
  23. Blanchard R (1989). The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 177, 616-623.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Cohen-Kettenis, Peggy T.; Owen A., Kaijser V., Bradley S. and Zucker K. (February 2003). "Gender-Dysphoric Children and Adolescents: A Comparative Analysis of Demographic Characteristics and Behavioral Problems.". Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 31 (1): 41–53. Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1023/A:1021769215342. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 MacFarlane, D. F. (August 1984). "Transsexual prostitution in New Zealand: Predominance of persons of Maori extraction". Archives of Sexual Behavior 13 (4): 301–309. Netherlands: Springer. doi:10.1007/BF01541903. Retrieved on 2008-02-26. 
  26. James, Andrea, A defining moment in our history. Examining disease models of gender identity., <>. Retrieved on 30 March 2008 
  27. Dan Karasic and Jack Drescher (2006). Sexual and Gender Diagnoses of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM): A Reevaluation. Haworth Press. ISBN 0789032147. 
  28. Helen Boyd (2003). My husband Betty: love, sex, and life with a crossdresser. Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1560255153. 
  29. Lawrence AA (October 1998). Men Trapped in Men's Bodies:"An Introduction to the Concept of Autogynephilia. (originally). Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
  30. Maria (2004-8). Maria's Story. Retrieved on 2008-07-26.
  31. Maria (2004). Maria's Story. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
  32. Conway, Lynn. (2008-03-28.) [1] Retrieved on 2008-07-27.
  33. Dreger, A. D. (2008). The controversy surrounding The man who would be queen: A case history of the politics of science, identity, and sex in the Internet age. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 366-421. Also available at [2].
  34. Carey, Benedict. (2007-08-21.) "Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege." New York Times via Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  35. Dreger, A. (2008). Response to the commentaries on Dreger (2008). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37 503-510.
  36. Lynn Conway (July-27-2008). Trans News Updates. personal website.

Further reading

External links