Being transgender or transsexual.
Gender dysphoria, & gender identity.
Is being transsexual linked
to homosexual orientation?
Is being transsexual linked to homosexuality?
You might have to read this section more than once in order to understand it. Different groups assign very different meanings to the same words, and the result is widespread confusion.
As noted elsewhere in
this section a transsexual is a person who experiences Gender Dysphoria: a tenacious belief that they identify their gender as different from their sex assigned at birth.
Gender Dysphoria was once called Identity
Disorder, Gender Identity Disorder, GID, Disorder of Sexual Differentiation, and DSD. However, these terms were considered stigmatizing and are no longer in common use.
In most cases, a transsexual's birth assigned gender is opposite to
their perceived gender. Some describe themselves as a woman trapped in a man's
body, or vice versa. Some describe themselves as having a female brain in a male
body, or vice-versa. A minority of transgender persons perceive themselves to be of
both genders, or neither gender, or as switching genders from time to time. We will deal only with the most common type
There is no real connection between transsexuality and homosexuality. A
transsexual can identify herself/himself to be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. There are two schools of thought about
which transsexuals belong to each of the three sexual orientations.
The vast majority of transsexuals, human sexuality researchers, therapists, counselors,
gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals, etc, who are not religious
conservatives but who are familiar with gender identity and transsexuality
would agree that:
Transgender people and transsexuals are individuals whose gender
identity conflicts with their birth-assigned gender and genetic gender.
Homosexuals are defined by their sexual orientation; they feel
sexually attracted to members of the same gender.
Consider a person born male who becomes aware of their gender dysphoria as a
child and later makes a male to female transition. Most
consider themselves heterosexual, in that they regard themselves as female and are sexually attracted only to men. A
minority will see themselves as homosexual because they are attracted only to other women. A
smaller minority will be view themselves as bisexual because they are attracted to
both men and women.
The same sequence holds in reverse, for those identified at birth as female who later transition to
Religious and social conservatives view transsexuality very differently.
Their response is
generally very negative. For example, the Evangelical Alliance in the UK,
who represents over one million adults, has sought a ban on gender
reassignment surgery, have condemned weddings involving transsexuals, and opposed
legislation allowing transsexuals to change their gender listings on
on their birth certificates. The Alliance's inclination is to ignore people's gender identity and consider only their birth-assigned gender.
1 In the U.S., the Traditional Values
Coalition and other social and religious conservative groups also refer to
transsexual people by their birth-assigned gender. 2
Thus a person born male who discovers their gender dysphoria and transitions to
identify as female will be regarded by many Evangelicals as still being male. If
the person, being comfortable with their female identity, engages in sexual behavior with a male, they will be regarded
by many religious conservatives as a
homosexual; if they are sexually attracted to a female, they will be viewed as a heterosexual. Most
religious conservatives either do not recognize bisexuality or downplay its
The same sequence holds, in reverse, for those born female and who regard
themselves as male.
Some transsexuals prefer to be called transsexed. That is because the word "transsexual" sounds much like heterosexual and homosexual -- terms related to
sexual orientation. By using "transsexed," they are emphasizing that being transsexed
is not a sexual orientation.
There is one instance where religious conservatives would agree with other
Consider "Alice" who was born a genetic male, and transitioned to female later in life.
She might marry
"Bill" who was born a genetic female, and then transitioned to a male.
Most religious conservatives would regard this as a heterosexual
relationship resulting in an opposite-sex marriage. That is because they
would regard Alice as male and Bill as female.
Most who are not religious conservatives would also regard this as a
heterosexual relationship resulting in an opposite-sex marriage. That is
because they would regard Alice as female and Bill as male.
Similarities in childhood behavior by
homosexuals and transsexuals:
Neither homosexuality nor transsexuality can be detected at
birth. There is not yet any genetic or other test that can be given to newborns to determine which will become transgender later in life. However, an epigenetic test on an adult male's saliva can now differentiate between heterosexual and homosexual adult males. This test may be eventually used to identify homosexual and transgender persons at all ages. Alternately, brain scans may be refined in the future to detect internal brain structures that appear to cause gender dysphoria.
However, before school age, homosexuals and transsexuals often
exhibit atypical behavior:
Children who will become homosexual later in life often play
with toys that many people consider gender-inappropriate. Boys will play
extensively with dolls; girls will play a lot with cars, trains, etc.
Children who will exhibit Gender Dysphoria later in life
will often insist, from an early age, that their "real" gender is opposite
to their genetic gender. They will also often play with toys that many people
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.