Him and Her Sex Blog

We talk about sex and sexuality


Leave a comment

Topic #28: Bestiality

Terminology

There are three terms that are most commonly used in regards to the subject: zoophilia, bestiality, and zoosexuality. The terms are usually relatively interchangeable. Zoosadismsodomy, zooerasty and zooerastia are other terms closely related to the subject but are less synonymous with the former terms and/or are not commonly used. “Bestiosexuality” was discussed briefly by Allen (1979), but never became established.

The term “zoophilia” was introduced into the field of research on sexuality in Psychopathia Sexualis (1886) by Krafft-Ebing, who described a number of cases of “violation of animals (bestiality)”, as well as “zoophilia erotica”, which he defined as a sexual attraction to animal skin or fur.

Zoophilia can refer to sexual activity with non-human animals (bestiality), the desire to do so, or to the paraphilia (atypical arousal) of the same name which indicates a definite preference for animals over humans as sexual partners.

Some zoophiles and researchers draw a distinction between zoophilia and bestiality, using the former to describe the desire to form sexual relationships with animals, and the latter to describe the sex acts alone.

Bestiality is frequently misspelled as “beastiality”. Even when spelled “bestiality”, the word has two common pronunciations, (/ˌbestʃiˈæləti/ or /ˌbistʃiˈæləti/), with the first syllable sounding either like “best” or “beast”, The latter is more frequently used in the United States.

Masters (1962) uses the term “bestialist” specifically in his discussion of zoosadism, which refers to deriving sexual pleasure from cruelty to animals. Stephanie LaFarge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School, and Director of Counseling at the ASPCA, writes that two groups can be distinguished: bestialists, who rape or abuse animals, and zoophiles, who form an emotional and sexual attachment to animals. Colin J. Williams and Martin Weinberg studied self-defined zoophiles via the internet and found they saw the term as involving concern for the animal’s welfare and pleasure, and an emphasis on believing they obtained consent, as opposed to the zoophile’s concept of bestialists, who zoophiles defined as a group who focused only on their own gratification. Williams and Weinberg also quoted a British newspaper as saying that zoophilia is the term used by “apologists” of bestiality.

Zoosexuality

The term “zoosexual” was cited by the researcher Miletski in the year 2002. It was seen as a value-neutral term which would be less susceptible to being loaded with emotion or rhetoric. Usage of the noun “zoosexual” can be applied to both a “zoosexual (person)” which is synonymous with zoophile, and a “zoosexual act”, meaning a sex act between a human and an animal. The term “zoosexuality” is often used by zoophile forums and support groups, which manifests as a person being romantically and/or sexually attracted to animals.

Zoosadism and zooerasty

Ernest Bornemann (1990, cited by Rosenbauer 1997) coined the separate term “zoosadism” for those who derive pleasure from inflicting pain on an animal, sometimes with a sexual component. Some horse-ripping incidents may have a sexual connotation.

Krafft-Ebing, the same author who introduced the term zoophilia, used the term “zooerasty” for the paraphilia of exclusive sexual attraction to animals, but the term has fallen out of use.

Extent of occurrence

The Kinsey reports rated the percentage of people who had sexual interaction with animals at some point in their lives as 8% for men and 3.6% for women, and claimed it was 40–50% in people living near farms, but some later writers dispute the figures, because the study lacked a random sample in that it included a disproportional amount of prisoners, causing sampling biasMartin Duberman has written that it is difficult to get a random sample in sexual research, and that even when Paul Gebhard, Kinsey’s research successor, removed prison samples from the figures, he found the figures were not significantly changed.

By 1974, the farm population in the USA had declined by 80 percent compared to 1940, reducing the opportunity to live with animals; Hunt’s 1974 study suggests that these demographic changes led to a significant change in reported occurrences of bestiality. The percentage of males who reported sexual interactions with animals in 1974 was 4.9% (1948: 8.3%), and in females in 1974 was 1.9% (1953: 3.6%). Miletski believes this is not due to a reduction in interest but merely a reduction in opportunity.

Nancy Friday‘s 1973 book on female sexualityMy Secret Garden, comprised around 190 fantasies from different women; of these, 23 involve zoophilic activity.

In one study, psychiatric patients were found to have a statistically significant higher prevalence rate (55 percent) of reported bestiality, both actual sexual contacts (45 percent) and sexual fantasy (30 percent) than the control groups of medical in-patients (10 percent) and psychiatric staff (15 percent). Crépault and Couture (1980) reported that 5.3 percent of the men they surveyed had fantasized about sexual activity with an animal during heterosexual intercourse. A 1982 study suggested that 7.5 percent of 186 university students had interacted sexually with an animal.

Sexual fantasies about zoophilic acts can occur in people who do not have any wish to experience them in real life. Nancy Friday notes that zoophilia as a fantasy may provide an escape from cultural expectations, restrictions, and judgements in regard to sex. A frequent interest in and sexual excitement at watching animals mate is cited as an indicator of latent zoophilia by Massen (1994). Masters (1962) says that some brothel madams used to stage exhibitions of animals mating, as they found it aroused potential clientele, and that this may have encouraged the clients to engage in bestiality.

Several studies have found that women show stronger vaginal responses to films depicting bonobo copulation than to non-sexual stimuli. Zoophiles have been described as “occupying [many] different demographic categories: white, black, Asian, Mormon, Amish, Catholic, atheist, pagan, Jewish, male and female.”. In addition, people who “grew up in the country around animals were no more likely to become zoophiles than those who grew up in the city without them.”

Perspectives on zoophilia

Psychological, psychiatric, and research perspectives

Zoophilia has been partly discussed by several sciences: Psychology (the study of the human mind), sexology (a relatively new discipline primarily studying human sexuality), ethology (the study of animal behavior), and anthrozoology (the study of human-animal interactions and bonds).

The nature of animal minds, animal mental processes and structures, and animal self-awarenessperceptionemotion in animals, and “map of the world”, are studied within animal cognition and also explored within various specialized branches of neuroscience such as neuroethology.

Zoophilia is placed in the classification “paraphilias not otherwise specified.” in the DSM-III and IV. The World Health Organization takes the same position, listing a sexual preference for animals in its ICD -10 as “other disorder of sexual preference”. The DSM-IV (TR) (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) recommends that the individual does not receive treatment of zoophilia, as with most other paraphilias, unless it is accompanied by distress or interference with normal functioning on the part of the individual.

Zoophilia may also be covered to some degree by other fields such as ethics, philosophy, law, animal rights and animal welfare. It may also be touched upon by sociology which looks both at zoosadism in examining patterns and issues related to sexual abuse and at non-sexual zoophilia in examining the role of animals as emotional support and companionship in human lives, and may fall within the scope of psychiatry if it becomes necessary to consider its significance in a clinical context. The Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine (Vol. 18, February 2011) states that sexual contact with animals is almost never a clinically significant problem by itself; it also states that there are several kinds of zoophiles:

  1. Human-animal role-players
  2. Romantic zoophiles
  3. Zoophilic fantasizers
  1. Tactile zoophiles
  2. Fetishistic zoophiles
  3. Sadistic bestials
  1. Opportunistic zoophiles
  2. Regular zoophiles
  3. Exclusive zoophiles

Additionally, zoophiles in categories 2, 3, and 8 (romantic zoophiles, zoophilic fantisizers, and regular zoophiles) are the most common, while zoophiles found in categories 6 and 7 (sadistic bestials and opportunistic zoophiles) are the least common.

Zoophilia may reflect childhood experimentation, sexual abuse or lack of other avenues of sexual expression. Exclusive desire for animals rather than humans is considered a rare paraphilia, and sufferers often have other paraphilias with which they present. Zoophiles will not usually seek help for their condition, and so do not come to the attention of psychiatrists for zoophilia itself.

The first detailed studies of zoophilia date from prior to 1910. Peer reviewed research into zoophilia in its own right started around 1960. However, a number of the most oft-quoted studies, such as Miletski, were not published in peer-reviewed journals. There have been several significant modern books, from Masters (1962) to Beetz (2002); their research arrived at the following conclusions:

  • Most zoophiles have (or have also had) long term human relationships as well or at the same time as zoosexual ones, and that zoosexual partners are usually dogs and/or horses (Masters, Miletski, Beetz)
  • Zoophiles’ emotions and care for animals can be real, relational, authentic and (within animals’ abilities) reciprocal, and not just a substitute or means of expression. Beetz believes zoophilia is not an inclination which is chosen.
  • Society in general at present is considerably misinformed about zoophilia, its stereotypes, and its meaning. The distinction between zoophilia and zoosadism is a critical one to these researchers, and is highlighted by each of these studies. Masters (1962), Miletski (1999) and Weinberg (2003) each comment significantly on the social harm caused by misunderstandings regarding zoophilia: “This destroy[s] the lives of many citizens”.

Beetz also states the following:

“The phenomenon of sexual contact with animals is starting to lose its taboo: it is appearing more often in scholarly publications, and the public are being confronted with it, too.[…] Sexual contact with animals – in the form of bestiality or zoophilia – needs to be discussed more openly and investigated in more detail by scholars working in disciplines such as animal ethics, animal behavior, anthrozoology, psychology, mental health, sociology, and the law.”

More recently, research has engaged three further directions – the speculation that at least some animals seem to enjoy a zoophilic relationship assuming sadism is not present, and can form an affectionate bond. Similar findings are also reported by Kinsey (cited by Masters), and others earlier in history. Miletski (1999) notes that information on sex with animals on the internet is often very emphatic as to what the zoophile believes gives pleasure and how to identify what is perceived as consent beforehand. For instance, Jonathan Balcombe says animals do things for pleasure. But he himself says pet owners will be unimpressed by this statement, as this is not news to them.

Beetz described the phenomenon of zoophilia/bestiality as being somewhere between crime, paraphilia and love, although she says that most research has been based on criminological reports, so the cases have frequently involved violence and psychiatric illness. She says only a few recent studies have taken data from volunteers in the community. As with all volunteer surveys and sexual ones in particular, these studies have a potential for self-selection bias.

Medical research suggests that some zoophiles only become aroused by a specific species (such as horses), some zoophiles become aroused by multiple species (which may or may not include humans), and some zoophiles are not attracted to humans at all.

Religious perspectives

Passages in Leviticus 18 (Lev 18:23: “And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is a perversion.” RSV) and 20:15–16 (“If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast. If a woman approaches any beast and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.” RSV) are cited by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians as categorical denunciation of bestiality. However, the teachings of the New Testament has been interpreted by some as not expressly forbidding bestiality.

In Part II of his Summa Theologica, medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas ranked various “unnatural vices” (sex acts resulting in “venereal pleasure” rather than procreation) by degrees of sinfulness, concluding that “the most grievous is the sin of bestiality.” Some Christian theologians extend Matthew‘s view that even having thoughts of adultery is sinful to imply that thoughts of committing bestial acts are likewise sinful.

There are a few references in Hindu scriptures to religious figures engaging in symbolic sexual activity with animals such as explicit depictions of people having sex with animals included amongst the thousands of sculptures of “Life events” on the exterior of the temple complex at Khajuraho. The depictions are largely symbolic depictions of the sexualization of some animals and are not meant to be taken literally. In the Hindu tradition, having sex with a sacred cow is believed to bring good fortune. However, the Hindu scriptures like the Bhagavata Purana and the Devi Bhagavata Purana having sex with animals, especially the cow, leads one to Hell, where the person is tormented by rubbing their bodies on trees with razor-sharp thorns.

Historical and cultural perspectives

The phenomenon of sexual intercourse with animals is not new. Instances of this behavior have been found in the Bible. In a cave painting from at least 8000 BC in the Northern Italian Val Camonica a man is shown about to penetrate an animal. Raymond Christinger interprets that as a show of power of a tribal chief, and so we do not know if this practice was then more acceptable, and if the scene depicted was usual or unusual or whether it was symbolic or imaginary. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art says the scene may be humorous, as the penetrating man seems to be waving cheerfully with his hand at the same time. Potters seem to have spent time depicting the practice, but this may be because they found the idea amusing. Dr “Jacobus X”, said to be a nom-de-plume for a French author, said this was clearly “before any known taboos against sex with animals existed.” Marc Epprecht states that authors such as Jacobus X do not deserve respect because their methodology is based on hearsay, and was designed for voyeuristic titilation of the reader. Masters said that since pre-historic man is prehistoric it goes without saying that we know little of his sexual behaviour, depictions in cave paintings may only show the artist’s subjective preoccupations or thoughts.

Masters feels that in antiquity bestiality was widespread, and believed it was often incorporated into religious ritual. He believes it to have taken place in ancient Egypt, claiming that the zoomorphic forms of Ancient Egyptian gods ensures that bestiality would have been part of their rites. There is no evidence that the presence of gods with zoomorphic attributes ensures this in itself. However, Pindar, Herodotus, and Plutarch claimed the Egyptians engaged in ritual congress with goats. Such claims about other cultures do not necessarily reflect anything about which the author had evidence, but be a form of propaganda or xenophobia, similar to blood libel.

Bestiality was accepted in some North American and Middle Eastern indigenous cultures. Sexual intercourse between humans and non-human animals was not uncommon among certain Native American indigenous peoples, including the Hopi. Voget describes the sexual lives of young Native Americans as “rather inclusive,” including bestiality. In addition, the Copper Inuit people had “no aversion to intercourse with live animals”.

Several cultures built temples (Khajuraho, India) or other structures (Sagaholmbarrow, Sweden) with zoophilic carvings on the exterior, however at Khajuraho these depictions are not on the interior, perhaps depicting that these are things that belong to the profane world rather than the spiritual world, and thus are to be left outside.

In the West, the most explicit records of sex involving humans and animals activity are associated with reports of the murderous sadism, torture and rape of the Roman games and circus, in which some authors estimate that several hundreds of thousands died. Masters believes beasts were specially trained to copulate with women: if the girls or women were unwilling then the animal would attempt rape. A surprising range of creatures was used for such purposes, and taught how to copulate vaginally or anally. Representations of scenes from the sexual lives of the gods, such as Pasiphaë and the Bull, were highly popular, often causing extreme suffering, injury or death. On occasion, the more ferocious beasts were permitted to kill and (if desired) devour their victims afterwards.

In the Church-oriented culture of the Middle Ages zoophilic activity was met with execution, typically burning, and death to the animals involved either the same way or by hanging, as “both a violation of Biblical edicts and a degradation of man as a spiritual being rather than one that is purely animal and carnal. Some witches were accused of having congress with the devil in the form of an animal. As with all accusations and confessions extracted under torture in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe, their validity cannot be ascertained.

Legal status

In many jurisdictions, all forms of zoophilic acts are prohibited; others outlaw only the mistreatment of animals, without specific mention of sexual activity. In the UK, Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (also known as the Extreme Pornography Act) outlaws images of a person performing or appearing to perform an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive). Countries such as Belgium, Germany, and Russia are somewhere in between: they permit sexual activity with animals, but prohibit the promotion of animal-oriented pornography.

Laws on zoophilia are often triggered by specific incidents. While some laws are very specific, others employ vague terms such as “sodomy” or “bestiality,” which lack legal precision and leave it unclear exactly which acts are covered. In the past, some bestiality laws may have been made in the belief that sex with an animal could result in monstrous offspring, as well as offending the community. Current anti-cruelty laws focus more specifically on animal welfare while anti-bestiality laws are aimed only at offenses to community “standards”. Notable legal views include Sweden, where a 2005 report by the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency for the government expressed concern over the increase in reports of horse-ripping incidents. The agency believed current animal cruelty legislation was not sufficient in protecting animals from abuse and needed updating, but concluded that on balance it was not appropriate to call for a ban. In New Zealand, the 1989 Crimes Bill considered abolishing bestiality as a criminal offense, and instead viewing it as a mental health issue, but they did not, and people can still be prosecuted for it. Under Section 143 of the Crimes Act 1961, individuals can serve a sentence of seven years duration for animal sexual abuse and the offence is considered ‘complete’ in the event of ‘penetration’

Some countries once had laws against single males living with female animals, such as Alpacas. Copulating with a female alpaca is still specifically against the law in Peru.

As of 2012, having sex with animals is illegal in 37 U.S. states. Most of the individual anti-zoosexual state laws were created recently (between 1999 and 2012). Until 2005, there was a farm near Enumclaw, Washington that was described as an “animal brothel”, where people paid to have sex with animals. After an incident on 2 July 2005, when a man was pronounced dead in the emergency room of the Enumclaw community hospital after his colon ruptured due to having been sodomized by a horse, the farm garnered police attention. The state legislature of the State of Washington, which had been one of the few states in the United States without a law against bestiality, within six months passed a bill making bestiality illegal.

Joe Arpaio of Arizona, Bob Lynn of Alaska and Nan Rich of Florida were responsible for banning bestiality in their respective states. When such laws are proposed, they are never questioned or debated. Laws which prohibit non-abusive bestiality have been criticized for being discriminatory, unjust and unconstitutional.

 

Pornography

Ancient Greek sodomizing a goat, plate XVII from ‘De Figuris Veneris‘ by F.K. Forberg, illustrated by Édouard-Henri Avril.

 

 

Pornography involving sex with animals is widely illegal, even in most countries where the act itself is not explicitly outlawed.

 

In the United States, zoophilic pornography would be considered obscene if it did not meet the standards of the Miller Test and therefore is not openly sold, mailed, distributed or imported across state boundaries or within states which prohibit it. Under U.S. law, ‘distribution’ includes transmission across the Internet. Production and mere possession appear to be legal, however. U.S. prohibitions on distribution of sexual or obscene materials are as of 2005 in some doubt, having been ruled unconstitutional in United States v. Extreme Associates (a judgement which was overturned on appeal, December 2005).

 

Similar restrictions apply in Germany (see above). In New Zealand the possession, making or distribution of material promoting bestiality is illegal.

 

The potential use of media for pornographic movies was seen from the start of the era of silent filmPolissons and Galipettes (re-released 2002 as “The Good Old Naughty Days“) is a collection of early French silent films for brothel use, including some animal pornography, dating from around 1905 – 1930.

 

Material featuring sex with animals is widely available on the Internet, due to their ease of production, and because production and sale is legal in countries such as Denmark. Prior to the advent of mass-market magazines such as Playboy, so-called Tijuana Bibles were a form of pornographic tract popular in America, sold as anonymous underground publications typically comprising a small number of stapled comic-strips representing characters and celebrities. The promotion of “stars” began with the Danish Bodil Joensen, in the period of 1969–72, along with other porn actors such as the Americans Linda Lovelace (Dogarama, 1969), Chessie Moore (multiple films, c. 1994), Kerri Downs (three films, 1998) and Calina Lynx (aka Kelly G’raffe) (two films, 1998). Another early film to attain great infamy was “Animal Farm“, smuggled into Great Britain around 1980 without details as to makers or provenance. The film was later traced to a crude juxtaposition of smuggled cuts from many of Bodil Joensen’s 1970s Danish movies.

 

Into the 1980s the Dutch took the lead, creating figures like “Wilma” and the “Dutch Sisters”. In 1980s, “bestiality” was featured in Italian adult films with actresses like Denise Dior, Francesca Ray, and Marina Hedman, manifested early in the softcore flick Bestialità in 1976.

 

Today, in Hungary, where production faces no legal limitations, zoophilic materials have become a substantial industry that produces numerous films and magazines, particularly for Dutch companies such as Topscore and Book & Film International, and the genre has stars such as “Hector”, a Great Dane starring in several films. Many Hungarian mainstream performers also appeared anonymously in animal pornography in their early careers. For example, Suzy Spark.

 

In Japan, animal pornography is used to bypass censorship laws, often featuring Japanese and Russian female models performing fellatio on animals, because oral penetration of a non-human penis is not in the scope of Japanese mosaic censor. Sakura Sakurada is an AV idol known to have appeared in animal pornography, specifically in the AV The Dog Game in 2006. While primarily underground, there are a number of animal pornography actresses who specialize in bestiality movies. A box-office success of the 1980s, 24 Horas de Sexo Explícito featured zoophilia.

 

In the UK Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 criminalises possession of realistic pornographic images depicting sex with animals (see extreme pornography), including fake images and simulated acts, as well as images depicting sex with dead animals, where no crime has taken place in the production. The law provides for sentences of up to two years in prison; a sentence of 12 months was handed down in one case in 2011.

 

Pornography of this sort has become the business of certain spammers such as Jeremy Jaynes and owners of some fake TGPs, who use the promise of “extreme” material as a bid for users’ attention.

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Topic #27: Pedophilia

As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia, or paedophilia, is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, as specific diagnosis criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13). An adolescent who is 16 years of age or older must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.

The term has a range of definitions, as found in psychiatrypsychology, the vernacular, and law enforcement. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) defines pedophilia as a “disorder of adult personality and behaviour” in which there is a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal age. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is a paraphilia in which a person has intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children and on which feelings they have either acted or which cause distress or interpersonal difficulty.

In popular usage, pedophilia means any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse, often termed “pedophilic behavior”. For example, The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary states, “Pedophilia is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children.” This common use application also extends to the sexual interest in and sexual contact with pubescent or post-pubescent minors. Researchers recommend that these imprecise uses be avoided because although people who commit child sexual abuse commonly exhibit the disorder, some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia and these standards pertain to prepubescents. Additionally, not all pedophiles actually commit such abuse.

Pedophilia was first formally recognized and named in the late 19th century. A significant amount of research in the area has taken place since the 1980s. Although mostly documented in men, there are also women who exhibit the disorder, and researchers assume available estimates underrepresent the true number of female pedophiles. No cure for pedophilia has been developed, but there are therapies that can reduce the incidence of a person committing child sexual abuse. In the United States, following Kansas v. Hendricks, sex offenders that are diagnosed with certain mental disorders, particularly pedophilia, can be subject to indefinite civil commitment, under various state laws (generically called SVP laws) and the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. At present, the exact causes of pedophilia have not been conclusively established. Research suggests that pedophilia may be correlated with several different neurological abnormalities, and often co-exists with other personality disorders and psychological pathologies. In the contexts of forensic psychology and law enforcement, a variety of typologies have been suggested to categorize pedophiles according to behavior and motivations.


Leave a comment

Topic #24: Transgender

Transgender  is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles.

Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersexbased on physical/genetic sex). Transgender does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as heterosexualhomosexualbisexual,pansexualpolysexual, or asexual; some may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them. The precise definition for transgender remains in flux, but includes:

  • “Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.”
  • “People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.”
  • “Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”

A transgender individual may have characteristics that are normally associated with a particular gender, identify elsewhere on the traditional gender continuum, or exist outside of it as other, agendergenderqueer, or third gender. Transgender people may also identify as bigender, or along several places on either the traditional transgender continuum, or the more encompassing continuums which have been developed in response to the significantly more detailed studies done in recent years.

Evolution of the term transgender

Writing for health professionals in the second edition of his reference work Sexual Hygiene and Pathology in 1965, psychiatrist John F. Oliven of Columbia University used the lexical compound trans+gender in the Transexualism section of “Primary Transvestism,” noting “‘transgenderism’ is what is meant, because sexuality is not a major factor in primary transvestism.” Crossdressing pioneer Virginia Charles Prince used the compound in the December 1969 issue of Transvestia, a national magazine for cross dressers founded by Prince. In the mid-1970s both trans-gender and trans people were in use as umbrella terms. In part it was describing people who wanted to live cross-gender without sex reassignment surgery. By 1976, transgenderist was abbreviated as TG in educational materials.

In 1979, Christine Jorgensen publicly rejected transsexual and instead identified herself in newsprint as a trans-gender saying, “gender doesn’t have to do with bed partners, it has to do with identity.” By 1984, the concept of a “transgender community” had developed, in which transgender was used as an umbrella term. In 1985, Richard Elkins established the “Trans-Gender Archive” at the University of Ulster. By 1992, the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy defined transgender as an expansive umbrella term including “transsexuals, transgenderists, cross dressers” and anyone transitioning.

Transgender vs. transsexual

Transsexual, unlike transgender, originated in medical and psychological communities. It was defined by Harry Benjamin in his seminal book The Transsexual Phenomenon. He defined transsexuality on the “Benjamin Scale“, with levels of intensity; “Transsexual (nonsurgical)”, “True Transsexual (moderate intensity)”, and “True Transsexual (high intensity)”. Many transsexuals believe that to be a true transsexual, a person needs to have a desire for surgery. However, it is notable that Benjamin’s moderate intensity “true transsexual” needs either estrogen or testosterone as a “substitute for or preliminary to operation.” There are also people who have had sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), but do not meet the definition of a transsexual, while other people do not desire SRS, yet clearly meet Benjamin Scale definition of a “true transsexual”, such as Miriam Rivera.

In addition to the larger categories of transgender and transsexual, there is a wide range of gender expressions and identities which are contrary to the mainstream male-female binary. These include cross dressersdrag queensdrag kingstransvestitesgenderqueer, etc.

Some people take issue with transsexual because Virginia Charles Prince, who started Transvestia, and built up the cross-dressing organization Tri-Ess, used transgender to distinguish cross-dressers from gay, bisexual and transsexual people. In “Men Who Choose to Be Women,” Prince wrote “I, at least, know the difference between sex and gender and have simply elected to change the latter and not the former.” There is ample academic literature on the difference between sex and gender, but in pragmatic English this distinction is often ignored, so that “gender” is used to describe the categorical male/female difference and “sex” is used to describe the physical act of sexual intercourse.

There is political tension between the identities that fall under the “transgender umbrella.” For example, transsexual men and women who can pay for medical treatments (or who have institutional coverage for their treatment) are likely to be concerned with medical privacy and establishing a durable legal status as their gender later in life. Extending insurance coverage for medical care is a coherent issue in the intersection of transsexuality and economic class. Most of these issues can appeal even to conservatives, if framed in terms of an unusual sort of “maintenance” of traditional notions of gender for rare people who feel the need for medical treatments. Some trans people might paraphrase this by saying, “I don’t challenge the gender binary. I just started out on the wrong side of it.”

Transgender identities

Albert Cashier, a trans man who served as a soldier in the US civil war.

While people self-identify as transgender, the transgender identity umbrella includes sometimes-overlapping categories. These include transsexualtransvestite or cross-dressergenderqueerandrogyne; and bigender. Usually not included are transvestic fetishists (because it is considered to be a paraphilia rather than gender identification), and drag kings and drag queens, who are performers who cross-dress for the purpose of entertaining. In an interview, celebrity drag queen RuPaul talked about society’s ambivalence to the differences in the people who embody these terms. “A friend of mine recently did the Oprah show about transgender youth,” said RuPaul. “It was obvious that we, as a culture, have a hard time trying to understand the difference between a drag queen, transsexual, and a transgender, yet we find it very easy to know the difference between the American baseball league and the National baseball league, when they are both so similar.” These terms are explained below.

The current definitions of transgender include all transsexual people, although this has been criticized. (See below.) Intersex people have genitalia or other physical sexual characteristics that do not conform to strict definitions of male and/or female, but intersex people are not necessarily transgender, since they do not all disagree with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender and intersex issues often overlap, however, because they both challenge the notion of rigid definitions of sex and gender.

The term trans man refers to female-to-male (FtM or F2M) transgender people, and trans woman refers to male-to-female (MtF or M2F) transgender people. In the past, it was assumed that there were more trans women than trans men, but a Swedish study estimated a ratio of 1.4:1 in favor of trans women for those requesting sex reassignment surgery and a ratio of 1:1 for those who proceeded.

The term cisgender has been coined as an antonym referring to non-transgender people; i.e. those who identify with their gender assigned at birth.

When referring to a transgender person, it is respectful to always use that person’s preferred name and pronoun regardless of their legal gender status (as not all transgender people can afford surgery or other body modifications). The word “transgender” should be used as an adjective rather than a noun — for example, “Max is transgender” or “Max is a transgender man” rather than “Max is a transgender.”

Transsexual

Main article: Transsexualism

Transsexual people identify as a member of the sex opposite to that assigned at birth, and desire to live and be accepted as such.

Transsexual people may undergo gender transition, the process of aligning one’s gender expression or presentation with their internal gender identity. People who have transitioned may or may not necessarily identify as transgender or transsexual any longer, but simply as a man or a woman. Those who continue identifying as transsexual men or women may not want to ignore their pre-transition life, and may continue strong ties with other trans people and raising social consciousness.

The process of transition may involve some kind of medical gender reassignment therapy and often (but not always) includes hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery. References to “pre-operative”, “post-operative” and “non-operative” transsexual people indicate whether they have had, or are planning to have sex reassignment surgery, although some trans people reject these terms as objectifying trans people based on their surgical status and not their mental gender identity.

Transvestite or cross-dresser

Main article: Transvestism

transvestite is a person who cross-dresses, or dresses in clothes of the opposite sex. The term “transvestite” is used as a synonym for the term “cross-dresser”, although “cross-dresser” is generally considered the preferred term. The term ‘cross-dresser’ is not exactly defined in the relevant literature. Michael A. Gilbert, professor at the Department of Philosophy, York UniversityToronto, offers this definition: “[A cross-dresser] is a person who has an apparent gender identification with one sex, and who has and certainly has been birth-designated as belonging to [that] sex, but who wears the clothing of the opposite sex because it is the clothing of the opposite sex.” This excludes people “who wear opposite sex clothing for other reasons,” such as “those female impersonators who look upon dressing as solely connected to their livelihood, actors undertaking roles, individual males and females enjoying a masquerade, and so on. These individuals are cross dressing but are not cross dressers.” Cross-dressers may not identify with, or want to be the opposite gender, nor adopt the behaviors or practices of the opposite gender, and generally do not want to change their bodies medically. The majority of cross-dressers identify as heterosexual. People who cross-dress in public can have a desire to pass as the opposite gender, so as not to be detected as a cross-dresser, or may be indifferent.

The term “transvestite” and the associated outdated term “transvestism” are conceptually different from the term “transvestic fetishism“, as “transvestic fetishist” describes those who intermittently use clothing of the opposite gender for fetishistic purposes. In medical terms, transvestic fetishism is differentiated from cross-dressing by use of the separate codes 302.3 in the DSM and F65.1 in the ICD.

Genderqueer

Main article: Genderqueer

Genderqueer is a recent attempt to signify gender experiences that do not fit into binary concepts, and refers to a combination of gender identities and sexual orientations. One example could be a person whose gender presentation is sometimes perceived as male, sometimes female, but whose gender identity is female, gender expression is butch, and sexual orientation is lesbian. It suggests nonconformity or mixing of gender stereotypes, conjoining both gender and sexuality, and challenges existing constructions and identities. In the binary sex/gender system, genderqueerness is unintelligible and abjected.

Androgyne

Main article: Androgyny

An androgyne is a person who does not fit cleanly into the typical gender roles of their society. It does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation. Androgynes may identify as beyond gender, between genders, moving across genders, entirely genderless, or any or all of these, exhbiting a variety of male, female, and other characteristics. Androgyne identities include pangenderambigendernon-genderedagendergender fluid or intergender. Androgyny can be either physical or psychological, and it does not depend on birth sex. Occasionally, people who do not define themselves as androgynes adapt their physical appearance to look androgynous. This outward androgyny has been used in fashion, and the milder forms of it (women wearing men’s pants or men wearing two earrings, for example) are not seen as transgender behavior.

The term androgyne is also sometimes used as a medical synonym for an intersex individual.

Bigender

Main article: Bigender

bigender (sometimes rendered as bi-gender or bi+gender) individual is one who moves between masculine and feminine gender roles. Such individuals move between two distinct personalities fluidly depending on context. While an androgynous person retains the same gender-typed behaviour across situations, the bigendered person consciously or unconsciously changes their gender-role behaviour from primarily masculine to primarily feminine, or vice versa.

Drag kings and queens

See also: Drag kingDrag queen, and Faux queen

 

Drag is a term applied to clothing and make-up worn on special occasions for performing or entertaining. This is in contrast to those who are transgender or who cross-dress for other reasons. Drag performance also includes overall presentation and behavior in addition to clothing and makeup. Drag can be theatrical, comedic, or grotesque. Drag queens have been considered caricatures of women by second-wave feminism. Drag artists have a long tradition in LGBT culture. Generally the terms drag queen covers men doing female drag, drag king covers women doing male drag, and faux queen covers women doing female drag. Nevertheless, there are drag artists of all genders and sexualities who perform for various reasons. Some drag performers, transvestites, and people in the gay community, have embraced the pornographically-derived term tranny to describe drag queens or people who engage in transvestism or cross-dressing, however this term is widely considered offensive if applied to transsexual people.

 

Transgender people and the LGBT community

See also: LGBT

The concepts of gender identity and transgender identity differ from that of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation describes an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, emotional, and/or spiritual attraction to another person, while gender identity is one’s personal sense of being a man or a woman. Transgender people have more or less the same variety of sexual orientations as cisgender people. In the past, the terms homosexual and heterosexualwere incorrectly used to label transgender individuals’ sexual orientation based on their birth sex. Professional literature now uses terms such as attracted to men (androphilic), attracted to women (gynephilic), attracted to bothor attracted to neither to describe a person’s sexual orientation without reference to their gender identity. Therapists are coming to understand the necessity of using terms with respect to their clients’ gender identities and preferences. For example, a person who is assigned male at birth, transitions to female, and is attracted to men would be identified as heterosexual.

Despite the distinction between sexual orientation and gender, throughout history the gay, lesbian, and bisexual subculture was often the only place where gender-variant people were socially accepted in the gender role they felt they belonged to; especially during the time when legal or medical transitioning was almost impossible. This acceptance has had a complex history. Like the wider world, the gay community in Western societies did not generally distinguish between sex and gender identity until the 1970s, and often perceived gender variant people more as homosexuals who behaved in a gender-variant way than as gender-variant people in their own right. Today, members of the transgender community often continue to struggle to remain part of the same movement as lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens, and to be included in rights protections.

Pride symbols

Main article: LGBT symbols

The transgender pride flag

A common symbol for the transgender community is the transgender pride flag, which was designed by Monica Helms, and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, United States in 2000.

The flag consists of five horizontal stripes, two light blue, two pink, with a white stripe in the center.

Monica describes the meaning of the flag as follows:

“The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives.”

Other transgender symbols include the butterfly (symbolizing transformation or metamorphosis), and a pink/light blue yin and yang symbol.

 

Transgender people and feminism

 

See also: Transfeminism

Some feminists and feminist groups are supportive of transgender people. Others are not.

Though second-wave feminism argued for the sex and gender distinction, some feminists believed there was a conflict between transgender identity and the feminist cause. These feminists believed, for example, that male-to-female transition abandoned or devalued female identity, and that trangender people embraced traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Many transgender feminists, however, viewed themselves as contributing positively to feminism by questioning and subverting gender norms. Third wave and contemporary feminism have tended to be more accepting of transgender people.

Feminist writer Janice Raymond asserts that sex determines gender, and that there is no practical difference between the two. In her view, genitalia or “birth sex” or chromosomes deeply and permanently determine one’s essential identity as a woman or man; trying to violate this divide is impossible, unnatural, and unhealthy. She argues that while transpeople may claim to feel like a certain gender, only a biological female can genuinely feel what it is to occupy a woman’s body, including having experiences such as childbirth.

Transgender healthcare

Main article: Transgender transition

Mental healthcare

Therapy is recommended by most mental health professionals for those who suffer from internal conflicts regarding their gender identity or those who feel discomfort in their assigned gender role, especially if they desire to transition. People who experience discord between their gender and the expectations of others or whose gender identity conflicts with their body may benefit by talking through their feelings in depth with someone who will listen attentively. However, research on gender identity is relatively new to psychology and scientific understanding of it and related issues is still in its infancy.

Transgender people may be eligible for diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) “only if [being transgender] causes distress or disability.” This distress is referred to as gender dysphoria and may manifest as depression or inability to work and form healthy relationships with others. This diagnosis is often misinterpreted as implying that simply being transgender means a person suffers from GID, which is not the case. This has caused much confusion to transgender people and those who seek to either criticize or affirm them. Transgender people who are comfortable with their gender, whose gender does not directly cause inner frustration or impair their functioning, do not suffer from GID. Moreover, GID is not necessarily permanent, and is often resolved through therapy and/or transitioning. GID does not refer to people who feel oppressed by the negative attitudes and behaviors or others including legal entities in the same way that racist institutions do not create a “race disorder.” Neither does GID imply an opinion of immorality; the psychological establishment holds the position that people with any kind of mental or emotional problem should not receive stigma. The solution for GID is whatever will alleviate suffering and restore functionality; this often, but not always, consists of undergoing a gender transition.

The terms “transsexualism”, “dual-role transvestism”, “gender identity disorder in adolescents or adults” and “gender identity disorder not otherwise specified” are listed as such in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) or the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) under codes F64.0, F64.1, 302.85 and 302.6 respectively.

In February 2010, France became the first country in the world to remove transgender identity from the list of mental diseases.

The issues around psychological classifications and associated stigma (whether based in paraphilia or not) of cross dressers, transsexual men and women (and for that matter lesbian and gay children who may be difficult to tell apart from trans children early in life) have recently become more complex since it was announced that CAMH colleagues Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard would serve on the DSM-V‘s Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group. CAMH aims to ‘cure’ transgender people of their ‘disorder’, especially in children. Within the trans community, this has mostly produced shock and outrage with attempts to organize other responses.

One of the reasons there is so much controversy about Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard’s work group is that many people believe that gender identity disorders/homosexuality are incurable as they are genetic and/or occur as a result of events occurring before birth (therefore already “solidified” by the time of birth). If this is the case, then trying to ‘cure’ said condition(s) could lead (and in some individuals already has led) to increased confusion, more intense dysphoria later in life, and perhaps even suicide (likely due to the fact that the younger the transgender individual, the greater the effect of hormones). While some cases of individuals partaking in these sessions seem to show success, the long term repercussions (if any) of some of these individuals being ‘cured’ have not yet been observed, due to an indefinite amount of time before negative reactions could possibly occur.

Transgender issues are both new in the scientific field and affect relatively few people, so many mental healthcare providers know little about transgender issues. People seeking help from these professionals often end up educating the professional rather than receiving help. Among those therapists who profess to know about transgender issues, many believe that transitioning from one sex to another – the standard transsexual model – is the best or only solution. This usually works well for those who are transsexual, but is not the solution for other transgender people, particularly genderqueer people who do not identify as exclusively male or female.

Physical healthcare

Medical and surgical procedures exist for transsexual and some transgender people. (Most categories of transgender people as described above are not known for seeking the following treatments.) Hormone replacement therapy for trans men induces beard growth and masculinises skin, hair, voice and fat distribution. Hormone replacement therapy for trans women feminises fat distribution and breasts. Laser hair removal or electrolysis removes excess hair for trans women. Surgical procedures for trans women feminise the voiceskinfaceadam’s applebreastswaistbuttocks and genitals. Surgical procedures for trans men masculinise the chest and genitals and remove thewomb and ovaries and fallopian tubes. The acronyms “GRS” and “SRS” refer to genital surgery. The term “sex reassignment therapy” (SRT) is used as an umbrella term for physical procedures required for transition. Use of the term “sex change” has been criticized for its emphasis on surgery, and the term “transition” is preferred. Availability of these procedures depends on degree of gender dysphoria, presence or absence of gender identity disorder,[64] and standards of care in the relevant jurisdiction.

Transgender people and the law

Legal procedures exist in some jurisdictions allowing individuals to change their legal gender, or their name, to reflect their gender identity. Requirements for these procedures vary from an explicit formal diagnosis of transsexualism, to a diagnosis of gender identity disorder, to a letter from a physician attesting to the individual’s gender transition, or the fact that one has established a different gender role. In 1994, the DSM IV entry was changed from “Transsexual” to “Gender Identity Disorder.” In many places, transgender people are not legally protected from discrimination in the workplace or in public accommodations. A report released in February 2011 found that 90% of transgender people faced discrimination at work, and were unemployed at double the rate of the general population. Over half had been harassed or turned away when attempting to access public services. Members of the transgender community also encounter high levels of discrimination in health care on an everyday basis.

In Canada, a private members bill protecting the rights of freedom of gender expression and gender identity passed in the House of Commons on February 9, 2011. It amends the Canada Human Rights code to help protect gender-variant people from discrimination by including gender identity and expression in the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination, as well as including gender identity and expression in the description of identifiable group, so that offences deliberately against gender-variant people can be punished to a similar extent as a racial-based crime. It is uncertain whether the bill will be passed by the Senate.

In the U.S., a federal bill to protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – has stalled and failed several times over the past two decades. Still, individual states and cities have begun passing their own non-discrimination ordinances. In New York, for example, Governor David Paterson passed the first legislation to include transgender protections in September 2010.

Transgender people and religion

The world’s religions display great diversity and their interpretations of and reactions to transgender people demonstrate equal diversity. Even within one specific religion, Christianity, different groups have very different interpretations of gender identity and socio-cultural gender roles as well as very different attitudes toward and reactions to transgender people (see the main article on this topic). More generally the scriptures of Abrahamic religionsinclude both texts sometimes interpreted as condemning transgender persons as well as texts sometimes interpreted as challenging conservative views of gender and of the possibilities open to transgender people, as well as offering them encouragement, support and hope.

Transsexual people and science

Brain-based studies

Several studies have concentrated on whether sexually dimorphic brain structures in transsexuals are more similar to their preferred sex or to their birth sex. Researchers caution that there are known brain differences between homosexual and heterosexual persons and that the brain changes in response to hormone-treatment, which many transsexuals use. In order to know what in the brain is related to what feature of the person, studies of more uniform groups give clearer results than do studies of more mixed groups.

Androphilic MtF transsexuals

Studies have consistently shown that specifically androphilic male-to-female transsexuals (sometimes called homosexual MtF transsexuals in studies) show a shift towards the female direction in brain anatomy. In 2009, a German team of radiologists led by Gizewski compared 12 androphilic transsexuals with 12 biological males and 12 biological females. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they found that when shown erotica, the biological men responded in several brain regions that the biological women did not, and that the sample of androphilic transsexuals was shifted towards the female direction in brain responses.

Rametti and colleagues used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to compare 18 androphilic male-to-female transsexuals with 19 gynephilic males and 19 typical (heterosexual) females. The androphilic transsexuals differed from both control groups in multiple brain areas, including the superior longitudinal fasciculus, the right anterior cingulum, the right forceps minor, and the right corticospinal tract. The study authors concluded that androphilic transsexuals are halfway between the patterns exhibited by male and female controls.

Gynephilic MtF transsexuals

Conversely, gynephilic male-to-female transsexuals also show differences in the brain from non-transsexual males, but in a unique pattern different from being shifted in a female direction. Researchers of the Karolinska Institute ofStockholm used MRI to compare 24 gynephilic male-to-female transsexuals with 24 non-transsexual male and 24 non-transsexual female controls. None of the study participants were on hormone treatment. The researchers found sex-typical differentiation between the MtF transsexuals and non-transsexual males, and the non-transsexual females; but the gynephilic transsexuals “displayed also singular features and differed from both control groups by having reduced thalamus and putamen volumes and elevated GM volumes in the right insular and inferior frontal cortex and an area covering the right angular gyrus.”

These researchers concluded that

“Contrary to the primary hypothesis, no sex-atypical features with signs of ‘feminization’ were detected in the transsexual group….The present study does not support the dogma that [male-to-female transsexuals] have atypical sex dimorphism in the brain but confirms the previously reported sex differences. The observed differences between MtF-TR and controls raise the question as to whether gender dysphoria may be associated with changes in multiple structures and involve a network (rather than a single nodal area).”

In Sweden, non-androphilic transsexual women were tested when they were smelling odorous steroids. The results showed that the transsexual women demonstrated “a pattern of activation away from the biological sex, occupying an intermediate position with predominantly female-like features.”

Anne Lawrence, a sexologist, physician, and self-identified autogynephilic transsexual, has hypothesized that the desire by persons with autogynephilia, including some cross dressers and some transsexuals, to alter their body can be compared with apotemnophilia (alternately body integrity identity disorder if framed as an identity issue rather than a fetish).Explanations of the desire to transition based on libido, such as this, have been criticized by some transsexuals who argue that they are unscientific or transphobic.

Mixed samples of MtF transsexuals

Several teams of researchers have examined the brains or brain functioning of MtF transsexuals, but without breaking down the samples into androphilic (or homosexual) and gynephilic (or autogynephilic or heterosexual) types. Such studies have yielded contradictory results, with some studies reporting differences between the (mixed groups of) MtF transsexuals and the non-transsexual controls but with other studies finding no differences.

One brain structure that was examined in MtF transsexuals because of having known sex difference is the corpus callosum, which is larger and of a different shape in men than in women. In 1991, a University of Texas team reported comparing the corpus callosa of 10 MtF transsexuals, 10 FtM transsexuals, 20 control males, and 20 control females. No significant differences were found.

In a pair of reports, a Dutch team led by Swaab, examined the volume and neuron count in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in six estrogen-treated transsexuals and one pre-treatment transsexual. They found the BSTc to be female-shifted (smaller) among the transsexuals than among the male control subjects. A subsequent study by Swaab found that the BSTc becomes sexually dimorphic only in adulthood, suggesting that differentiation of the BSTc does not cause transsexualism. Rather, the difference in the BSTc might instead be the result of a “failure to develop a male-like gender identity” (p. 1032). The BSTc has also been reported to be smaller in other sexually atypical populations unrelated to transsexualism.

Another team of Dutch researchers examined the effects of cross-gender hormone treatment on the brain in 8 male-to-female transsexuals and in 6 female-to-male transsexuals, finding that the hormones changed the sizes of the hypothalamus in a gender consistent manner. Treatment with male hormones shifted the hypothalamus towards the male direction in the same way as in male controls, and treatment with female hormones shifted the hypothalamus towards the female direction in the same way as female controls.

A 2003 study by Haraldsen and colleagues compared the performance of 52 persons with Gender Identity Disorder (33 from Norway and 19 from the U.S.) with that of 29 control subjects on a series of tests that tap into the functioning of different parts of the brain and on which men and women perform differently. The people in the GID sample “were either homosexually attracted by males or females (n=38), by both (n=3) or by neither (n=9).” No effects of transsexual status were detected.

Johns Hopkins researchers in 2005 reported on another test of brain functioning using test performance. The study subjects included 27 MtF transsexuals and 16 control men, and the authors reported that no female-typical patterns in cerebral lateralization or cognitive performance were found within the transsexual sample.

In 2009, UCLA researchers used MRIs to examine a mixed sample of 24 non-hormone-treated male-to-female transsexuals (6 were androphilic, and 18 were gynephilic), comparing them with 30 non-transsexual males and 30 non-transsexual females. The results “revealed that regional gray matter variation in MTF transsexuals is more similar to the pattern found in men than in women,” except for the “right putamen.”. They concluded that “These findings provide new evidence that transsexualism is associated with distinct cerebral pattern, which supports the assumption that brain anatomy plays a role in gender identity.”

Gynephilic FtM transsexuals

Brain-based research has repeatedly shown that female-to-male transsexuals have several male-like characteristics in neuroanatomy. In 2010, a team of neuroscientists compared 18 female-to-male transsexuals with 24 male and 19 female gynephilic controls, using an MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging or DTI. DTI is a specialized technique for visualizing white matter of the brain, and white matter structure is one of the differences in neuroanatomy between men and women. The study found that the white matter pattern in female-to-male transsexuals was shifted in the direction of biological males, even before the female-to-male transsexuals started taking male hormones (which can also modify brain structure).

Another team of neuroscientists, led by Nawata in Japan, used a technique called single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) compare the regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) of 11 female-to-male transsexuals (attracted to women) with that of 9 biological females (attracted to men). Although the study did not include a sample of biological males so that a conclusion of “male shift” could be made, the study did reveal that the female-to-male transsexuals showed significant decrease in blood flow in the left anterior cingulate cortex and a significant increase in the right insula, two brain regions known to respond during sexual arousal.

Genetic studies

In 2008, a study was performed to attempt to find a link between genes and transsexuality. The researchers compared 112 male-to-female transsexuals (both androphilic and gynephilic), mostly already undergoing hormone treatment, with 258 cis-gendered male controls. The male-to-female transsexuals were more likely than non-transsexual males to have a longer version of a receptor gene for the sex hormone androgen or testosterone. The research suggests reduced androgen and androgen signaling contributes to the female gender identity of male to female transsexuals. The authors say that it is possible that a decrease in testosterone levels in the brain during development might result in incomplete masculinization of the brain in male to female transsexuals, resulting in a more feminized brain and a female gender identity.

Terms and typology

The use of homosexual transsexual and related terms have been applied to transgender people since the middle of the 20th century, though concerns about the terms have been voiced since then. Harry Benjamin said in 1966:

“….it seems evident that the question “Is the transsexual homosexual?” must be answered “yes” and ” no.” “Yes,” if his anatomy is considered; “no” if his psyche is given preference. What would be the situation after corrective surgery has been performed and the sex anatomy now resembles that of a woman? Is the “new woman” still a homosexual man? “Yes,” if pedantry and technicalities prevail. “No” if reason and common sense are applied and if the respective patient is treated as an individual and not as a rubber stamp.”

Many sources, including some supporters of the typology, criticize this choice of wording as confusing and degrading. Biologist Bruce Bagemihl writes “..the point of reference for “heterosexual” or “homosexual” orientation in this nomenclature is solely the individual’s genetic sex prior to reassignment (see for example, Blanchard et al. 1987[24], Coleman and Bockting, 1988[25], Blanchard, 1989[26]). These labels thereby ignore the individual’s personal sense of gender identity taking precedence over biological sex, rather than the other way around.” Bagemihl goes on to take issue with the way this terminology makes it easy to claim transsexuals are really homosexual males seeking to escape from stigma. Leavitt and Berger stated in 1990 that “The homosexual transsexual label is both confusing and controversial among males seeking sex reassignment. Critics argue that the term “homosexual transsexual” is “heterosexist“,”archaic”, and demeaning because it labels people by sex assigned at birth instead of their gender identity. Benjamin, Leavitt, and Berger have all used the term in their own work. Sexologist John Bancroft also recently expressed regret for having used this terminology, which was standard when he used it, to refer to transsexual women. He says that he now tries to choose his words more sensitively. Sexologist Charles Allen Moser is likewise critical of the terminology.

Use of androphilia and gynephilia was proposed and popularized by psychologist Ron Langevin in the 1980s. Psychologist Stephen T. Wegener writes, “Langevin makes several concrete suggestions regarding the language used to describe sexual anomalies. For example, he proposes the terms gynephilic and androphilic to indicate the type of partner preferred regardless of an individual’s gender identity or dress. Those who are writing and researching in this area would do well to adopt his clear and concise vocabulary.”

Psychiatrist Anil Aggrawal explains why the terms are useful in a glossary:

“Androphilia – The romantic and/or sexual attraction to adult males. The term, along with gynephilia, is needed to overcome immense difficulties in characterizing the sexual orientation of transmen and transwomen. For instance, it is difficult to decide whether a transman erotically attracted to males is a heterosexual female or a homosexual male; or a transwoman erotically attracted to females is a heterosexual male or a lesbian female. Any attempt to classify them may not only cause confusion but arouse offense among the affected subjects. In such cases, while defining sexual attraction, it is best to focus on the object of their attraction rather than on the sex or gender of the subject.”

Sexologist Milton Diamond, who prefers the correctly-formed term gynecophilia, writes, “The terms heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual are better used as adjectives, not nouns, and are better applied to behaviors, not people. Diamond has encouraged using the terms androphilic, gynecophilic, and ambiphilic to describe the sexual-erotic partners on prefers (andro = male, gyneco – female, ambi = both, philic = to love). Such terms obviate the need to specify the subject and focus instead on the desired partner. This usage is particularly advantageous when discussing the partners of transsexual or intersexed individuals. These newer terms also do not carry the social weight of the former ones.”

Psychologist Rachel Ann Heath writes, “The terms homosexual and heterosexual are awkward, especially when the former is used with, or instead of, gay and lesbian. Alternatively, I use gynephilic and androphilic to refer to sexual preference for women and men, respectively. Gynephilic and androphilic derive from the Greek meaning love of a woman and love of a man respectively. So a gynephilic man is a man who likes women, that is, a heterosexual man, whereas an androphilic man is a man who likes men, that is, a gay man. For completeness, a lesbian is a gynephilic woman, a woman who likes other women. Gynephilic transsexed woman refers to a woman of transsexual background whose sexual preference is for women. Unless homosexual and heterosexual are more readily understood terms in a given context, this more precise terminology will be used throughout the book. Since homosexual, gay, and lesbian are often associated with bigotry and exclusion in many societies, the emphasis on sexual affiliation is both appropriate and socially just.” Author Helen Boyd agrees, writing, “It would be much more accurate to define sexual orientation as either “androphilic” (loving men) and “gynephilic” (loving women) instead.” Sociomedical scientist Rebecca Jordan-Young challenges researchers like Simon LeVayJ. Michael Bailey, and Martin Lalumiere, who she says “have completely failed to appreciate the implications of alternative ways of framing sexual orientation.”

Blanchard’s typology

Blanchard’s transsexualism typology characterizes trans women as having one of two motivations for transition. Whereas previous descriptions of transgenderism included very many combinations of sexual orientation, gender identity, and the desire to cross-dress, Blanchard interprets his evidence as suggesting that there were only two basic phenomena. One phenomenon was androphilia (male homosexuality), which ranged from typical gay men to, when extreme, androphilic or homosexual transsexualism. The other phenomenon was autogynephilia, which ranged from typical cross-dressers to, when extreme, autogynephilic transsexualism (or non-homosexual transsexualism). Androphilic male-to-female transsexuals are characterized by sexual attraction to males and by overt and obvious femininity since childhood, whereas autogynephilic transsexuals are characterized by sexual attraction to females (or sometimes to females and males, or by asexuality) and whose presentations are internal and typically unremarkable until they choose to disclose them, typically later in life. There are community activists who dislike the theory.

Scientific criticism of the theory includes papers from Veale, Nuttbrock, Moser, and others who argue that the theory is poorly representative of MTF transsexuals, non-instructive, the experiments poorly controlled, or contradicted by other data. Many sources, including some supporters of the theory, criticize Blanchard’s choice of wording as confusing or degrading.\

Also the DSM V workgroup has been quoted as saying:

“In contemporary clinical practice, sexual orientation per se plays only a minor role in treatment protocols or decisions. Also, changes as to the preferred gender of sex partner occur during or after treatment (DeCuypere, Janes, & Rubens, 2005; Lawrence, 2005; Schroder & Carroll, 1999). It can be difficult to assess sexual orientation in individuals with a GI diagnosis, as they preoperatively might give incorrect information in order to be approved for hormonal and surgical treatment (Lawrence, 1999). Because sexual orientation subtyping is of interest to researchers in the field, it is recommended that reference to it be addressed in the text, but not as a specifier. It should also be assessed as a dimensional construct.”

Blanchard is a member of the DSM V Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group chaired by Kenneth J. Zucker. Though it has supporters, the transsexual community has for the most part vehemently rejected Blanchard’s typology theory.

Transgender people in non-Western cultures

Asia

In Thailand and Laos, the term kathoey is used to refer to male-to-female transgender people and effeminate gay men. The cultures of the Indian subcontinent include a third gender, referred to as hijra in Hindi. Transgender people also have been documented in Iran, Japan, NepalIndonesiaVietnam, South Korea, Singapore, and the greater Chinese region, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China.

North America

In what is now the United States and Canada, many Native American and First Nations peoples recognised the existence of more than two genders, such as the Zuñi male-bodied Ła’mana, the Lakota male-bodied winkte and the Mohave male-bodied alyhaa and female-bodied hwamee. Such people were previously referred to as berdache but are now referred to as Two-Spirit, and their spouses would not necessarily have been regarded as gender-different. In Mexico, the Zapotec culture includes a third gender in the form of the Muxe.

Other

In early Medina, gender-variant male-to-female Islamic people were acknowledged in the form of the Mukhannathun. In Ancient Rome, the Gallae were castrated followers of the Phrygian goddess Cybele and can be regarded as transgender in today’s terms.

Among the ancient Middle Eastern Akkadian people, a salzikrum was a person who appeared biologically female but had distinct male traits. Salzikrum is a compound word meaning male daughter. According to the Code of Hammurabisalzikrūm had inheritance rights like that of priestesses; they inherited from their fathers, unlike regular daughters. A salzikrum’s father could also stipulate that she inherit a certain amount.

Mahu is a traditional status in Polynesian cultures. Also, in Fa’asamoa traditions, the Samoan culture allows a specific role for male to female transgender individuals as Fa’afafine.

Coming out

Main article: Coming out

Transgender people vary greatly in choosing when, if, and how to disclose their transgender status to family, close friends, and others. The prevalence of discrimination and violence against the transgender community can make coming out a risky decision. Fear of retaliatory behavior, such as being removed from the parental home while underage, is a cause for transgender people to not come out to their families until they have reached adulthood. Parental confusion and lack of acceptance of the child’s transgenderism may be met with an effort to change their children back to “normal” by utilizing mental health services to alter the child’s sexual orientation and what is seen as a “phase”.

(Source: Wikipedia)


Leave a comment

Him: Topic 22: Artificial Hymen

The very thought that there is a market for Artificial hymens makes me physically ill. The reasons for needing something like an artificial hymen are obvious to me; there are parts of the world where a woman can be put to death if she doesn’t bleed the first time she has sex with her husband. There is, of course, a big problem with this. That problem becomes clear when you know a few simple things about female anatomy.

Not all women bleed the first time they have sex. Some women break their hymen through vigorous activities like horse back riding. Some women, my sister included, can break the hymen the first time they use a tampon. What I’m trying to say is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the state of things when a young woman thinks that she needs a fake hymen to ensure her safety. Especially when women who have an intact hymen might not bleed the first time they have sex.

I’m going to come right out and say that it disturbs me to my core that religious views, which is where this problem seems to come from, can have such an adverse affect on society as a whole. I don’t care that the market for these things is in the middle east, it effects people here in the United States as well if only in regards to the fight for feminism that is still taking place today. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are young women who have heard about this artificial hymen and thought it could be beneficial to them to use it.

I’ve written before about my views on the notion of virginity, those views have not changed in the least. This disgusting tool is only reinforcing my hatred on this societies preoccupation concerning the fucking idealized notion of the blushing virgin bride. I don’t know when the idea of virginity being the most important thing came into vogue, but I can’t wait for the notion to GO. AWAY.

The artificial hymen can save innocent girl’s lives, and for that I am eternally thankful. That the fucking thing is needed in this modern society on the other hand, makes me so angry I feel the need to hit something. I had thought the world was well beyond the need to have something like an Artificial Hymen so a young woman could keep her head.

Him


Leave a comment

Him: Topic #17

“1 + 1 = 3 if you don’t use [a] condom…” -Don Kel

Safe sex is one of those things that really should be common sense at this point…but it’s not. I mean, how sad is it that there are still Abstinence ONLY Sex Education programs in schools across america? When young people don’t learn how to use contraceptives, all kinds of bad things happen.

 

I’m going to go down the list on my opinions of various safe sex practices and how I’ve seen people misuse them!

 

Masturbation is one of the few that I think, really can’t get messed up very easily, either you do it…or ya don’t.

I’m going to be totally honest, the only ways i feel that non=penetrative sex could be messed up…is if someone has an open wound on the part of the body coming in contact with any bodily fluids.

Condoms. Slip it on, then slip it in. Both male and female condoms work amazingly well, and female condoms can be used for anal sex as well as vaginal. I know this to be true from experience. At the end of the day though, there are a few things to always do when having sex with a latex condom. Always make sure you are not using an oil based lubricant, Water based is the best, otherwise the CONDOM WILL BREAK. While having sex, make sure to reach down and check that everything is in working condition, that the condom hasn’t fallen off, and of course, make sure it hasn’t broken.

-Him


Leave a comment

Her: Topic #15

So every other week when it is my turn to pick the topic for that week I usually start looking by typing sexual related phrases into Wikipedia or Google. This week was a little different though. I was looking at military related things, because in a year or two I want to join the Navy. Then I came across this picture of the Marines and I read the comments and it made me think of this topic! So anyways, here is my response…

I don’t think that gender should affect whether something is hot or repulsive, or acceptable or not. Obviously some people are not attracted to certain genders, but that does not make it alright to post rude comments.

I don’t think that it is ok to post rude comments or make rude remarks regardless of gender, but it especially annoys me when someone is ok with say lesbians kissing but not gay men, I mean if you are homophobic you would think you would be regardless of whether it is two men or two women.

In regards to these images specifically, I ESPECIALLY don’t think people should be making rude comments because Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen (almost forgot, Coast Guard too!) are out there risking their life for our freedom. It is ridiculous when people harass homosexuals in the military, if you have a problem with them serving, how bout you take their place and go to Afghanistan for them and risk your life for our country. But I digress.

I think that love shouldn’t be determined by the gender of the people in the relationship. I also don’t think that it is anyone’s business other than the two people in the relationship. When I read comments that are judging people’s lifestyles I really think those people need to get a life and quit worrying about what other people are doing and just concentrate on themselves.

So I guess to summarize, I don’t think that gender should play a role in same sex couples, and how society views them. 


Leave a comment

Topic #15: Society’s View on Gay vs. Lesbian Relationships

title

So this week’s topic is not really about the military, as the hints might make it seem, but it was inspired by a military story I was reading. This week’s topic is society’s views on male-male (gay), female-male (straight), and female-female (lesbian) relationships, and how people may accept one but not the other, and all of the controversy of accepting say a lesbian relationship as ok, but not a gay one. 

So, the background information:

[Note: to respect the privacy of the people who made these comments, I am blurring out their names. If you want to read the comments for yourself though, I have attached the links to the articles where I found the comments.]

Image 1: U.S. Marine Kissing His Boyfriend

This was the image that sparked my interest in this topic. I was reading comments on an article I was reading, and noticed there were a lot more negative comments on this image than on the image of the Navy woman kissing her girlfriend did.

Some of the comments about the Gay Marine picture:

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/us-marine-kissing-his-boyfriend-photo_n_1303848.html

Now I could go on and on and on and on and find more negative posts, but I think you get the point.

Image 2: U.S. Navy Sailor Kissing Her Girlfriend

Now let’s look at some of the comments the female Navy kiss got.

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/a-public-embrace-between-two-female-sailors-from-california-is-being-hailed-as-the-kiss-heard-round-the-world-by-activists-wh.html

Now don’t get me wrong, there are negative and positive posts on both, but I think that this post sums up the entire purpose of this week’s topic:

Society so often views one thing as ok, but another similar thing as not being ok. Why would someone be ok with a lesbian couple, but not a gay one (or vice-versa)?

So for Him and Her, why do you think that society views two homosexual relationships differently, just because of gender? As some comments put it, why are two women kissing “hot”, and two men kissing “disgusting”?