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Encyclopedia > Transsexual

A transsexual (sometimes transexual) person establishes a permanent identity with the opposite gender to their assigned (usually at birth) sex. Transsexual men and women make or desire to make a transition from their birth sex to that of the opposite sex, with some type of medical alteration (gender reassignment therapy) to their body. The stereotypical explanation is of a "woman trapped in a man's body" or vice versa, although many in the transsexual community reject this formulation. For the exact wording of formal diagnosis, see gender identity disorder. Gender, for the purposes of this article, is the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person. ... Look up Sex in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The members of many species of living things are divided into two categories called sexes (or loosely speaking, genders). ... Look up Sex in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The members of many species of living things are divided into two categories called sexes (or loosely speaking, genders). ... Gender reassignment therapy is an umbrella term for all medical procedures regarding gender reassignment of both transgendered and intersexual people. ... Diagnosis (from the Greek words dia = by and gnosis = knowledge) is the process of identifying a disease by its signs, symptoms and results of various diagnostic procedures. ... Gender identity disorder as identified by psychologists and medical doctors is a condition where a person who has been assigned one gender (usually at birth on the basis of their sex, but compare intersexual) but identifies as belonging to another gender, or does not conform with the gender role their...

Contents


Definitions

The minimum requirements for a person to be considered transsexual are debated. Some feel that hormone-induced changes, without surgical changes, are sufficient to qualify for the label transsexual. Others, especially health care providers, believe there is a certain set of procedures that must always be completed. The general public often defines "a transsexual" as someone who had or plans to have a "sex change" surgery. The current term in widest use for modification of sex characteristics is sex reassignment surgery (SRS), a term which reflects the belief that transsexual people do not consider themselves to be changing their sex, but to be correcting their bodies. However, it is also often accepted (and is also evident in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) that to express desire to be of the opposite sex, or to assert that one is of the sex opposite to the one with which they were identified at birth, constitutes being transsexual. (This does not include delusions about ones current sex.) In contrast, some transgender people often do not identify as being of or wanting to be the opposite sex, but as being of or wanting to be another gender. A hormone (from Greek horman - to set in motion) is a chemical messenger from one cell (or group of cells) to another. ... A clownfish Sex change in animals Some species are known to change sex, including reproductive functions, in special circumstances, such as the clownfish. ... Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) includes the surgical procedures by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are changed to that of the other sex. ... The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries. ... Transgender is generally used as a catch-all umbrella term for a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups centered around the full or partial reversal of gender roles; however, compare other definitions below. ...


Transsexuality (also known as transsexualism) is one of a number of behaviours or states collectively referred to as transgender, which is generally considered an umbrella term for people who do not conform to typical gender roles. However, many in the transsexual community do not identify as transgendered. Some see transgender as subsuming and erasing their identity, rejecting the term for themselves because to them it implies a breaking down of gender roles, when in fact they see themselves as fitting a gender role -- just not the one they were assigned at birth. Transgender is generally used as a catch-all umbrella term for a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups centered around the full or partial reversal of gender roles; however, compare other definitions below. ... A bagpiper in Scottish military uniform. ...


Transsexual people are often construed as belonging to the LGBT or the Queer community, and many identify with the community; others do not, or prefer not to use the term. It should be noted that transsexuality is not associated with or dependent on sexual orientation. Transsexual men and women exhibit a range of sexual orientations just as non-transsexuals (cissexuals) do. They almost always use terms for their sexual orientation that relate to their target gender. For example, someone assigned to the male gender at birth but who identifies as a woman, and who is attracted solely to men, will identify as heterosexual, not gay; and someone who was assigned female sex at birth and prefers male partners will identify as gay, not heterosexual. LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism used as a collective term to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people. ... Queer has traditionally meant strange or unusual, but is most often used in reference to lesbians, gay men, bisexual women and men, and other sexual minorities. ... Sexual orientation is the focus of a persons amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and feelings, the gender(s) one is primarily oriented towards. ... Cisgender (cis-, on this side of, not across; compare cisatlantic, cisalpine) is a neologism meaning not transgender, that is, having a gender identity or performing in a gender role that society considers appropriate for ones sex. ... Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love or sexual desire exclusively for members of the opposite sex or gender, contrasted with homosexuality and distinguished from bisexuality and asexuality. ... Although the word gay originally meant happy, in modern usage the term is synonymous with homosexual. However, as monosyllabic slang, it has achieved wide usage and its connotations are very context-dependent. ...


(As stated above, older medical texts often described sexual orientation in relation to the person's assigned sex, not their gender of identity; in other words, referring to a male-to-female transsexual who is attracted to men as a "homosexual male transsexual." Again, this dwindling usage is considered scientifically inaccurate and clinically insensitive today, and such a person would now be called and most likely identify herself as a heterosexual transwoman.) Homosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire exclusively for another of the same sex. ...


Transsexuality should not be confused with cross dressing or the behaviour of drag queens, who can be described as transgender, but usually not transsexual. Also, transvestic fetishism has usually little, if anything, to do with transsexuality. This articles is about cross-dressing in general, that is the act of wearing the clothing of another gender for any reason. ... Drag queens Luc DArcy and Jerry Cyr and friend at Montreals 2003 Divers/Cité pride parade Drag queens are performers - usually gay men, sometimes transgendered women - who dress in drag, clothing associated with the female gender, usually highly exaggerated versions thereof. ... Transvestic fetishism is a sexual fetish for the clothing of the opposite gender. ...


Terminology

Gender terms used to describe transsexual people always relate to the target. For example, a transsexual man is someone who was identified as female at birth owing to his genitals, but identifies as a man and who is transitioning, or has transitioned, to a male social gender role and a male-identified body (an alternative term is female-to-male transsexual or transman; compare also transwoman). A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis... Transmen or trans men are transsexual or transgendered people who were assigned female gender at birth (or, in some rare cases of intersexuality, later) and who feel that this is not an accurate or complete description of themselves. ... Transwomen or trans-women are transsexual or transgender people who were assigned male sex at birth (or, in some cases of intersexuality, later) and feel that this is not an accurate or complete description of themselves. ...


One common abbreviation used to clarify involves versions of "assigned-to-target", i.e. female-to-male, or male-to-female. This helps avoid confusion caused by outdated medical terminology. These terms are abbreviated with several variants, so female-to-male might be expressed as F to M, FtM, F2M, F-M, F>M, etc.


Those researching the topic should be aware that older medical texts often referred to the person's original sex; in other words, referring to a M2F transsexual as a "transsexual male." This usage is now sharply deprecated and little-used.


Among the transsexual community, the short form trans is more commonly used, e.g. trans guy, trans dyke, trans folk. Some also use the somewhat more controversial term tranny, e.g. tranny boy. Both abbreviated forms are also used by non-transsexual transgendered people, although "tranny" is often considered offensive if used by those outside the community. Tranny is a term with multiple meanings: Transistor radio Transmission on an automobile Transparency (photographic slide) Transgender or transsexual person (slang), either as an adjective or noun. ... Transgender is generally used as a catch-all umbrella term for a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups centered around the full or partial reversal of gender roles; however, compare other definitions below. ...


Some people prefer to spell transexual with one s, in an attempt to divorce the word from the realm of psychiatry and medicine and place it in the realm of identity, but this trend is most common in the United States and, for example, is almost never used in the United Kingdom.


Some people prefer the term transsexed over transsexual, as they believe the term sexual found in transsexual is misleading. Another justification made for this preference is that they feel it is more in line with the term intersex, as more transsexual groups are welcoming them because they feel both groups have much in common. It is by some definitions also possible to be both intersexed and transsexed. Other attempts to avoid the misleading -sexual have been the increasing acceptance of transgender or trans* and in some areas, transidentity. An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ...


Causes of transsexualism

There is no scientifically proven cause of transsexualism. However, many theories have been proposed which suggest that the cause of transsexualism has its roots in biology.


Proposed psychological causes

In the past, many psychological causes for transsexualism have been proposed; including "overbearing mothers and absent fathers", "parents who wanted a child of the other sex", "repressed homosexuality", "sexual abuse" or a variety of sexual perversions. (Compare autogynephilia.) Psychology (ancient Greek: psyche = soul and logos = word) is the study of mind, thought, and behaviour. ... Sexual abuse is physical or psychological abuse or harm that involves sexual behavior. ... Perversion is a derogatory term for deviation from the original meaning or doctrine, literally turning aside from what is perceived to be orthodox or normal. ... Autogynephilia (from Greek auto (self), gyno (woman) and philia (love) — love of oneself as a woman) is a behavioral model proposed in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, who defines it as a mans paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman. ...


None of these theories however was able to be applied successfully to a majority of transsexual people, usually not even to a significant minority. Many theories also were developed in order to describe transsexual women, and when applied to transmen, they usually work even less. Many of these theories had also previously been applied to homosexuals, where they did not work out, either. This led to theories which consider physical reasons for transsexualism.


Experience with individuals who were surgically reassigned at birth (in order to correct deformities such as those caused by accidental castration) suggests strongly that the mental gender identification is determined at birth - individuals born male but raised as female show the same symptoms of gender dysphoria as transsexuals. (Compare intersex) Castration, gelding, neutering, orchiectomy or orchidectomy is any action, surgical, chemical or otherwise, by which a biological male loses use of the testes. ... An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ...


"Curing" transsexualism

Psychological treatments aimed at curing transsexuality are historically known to be unsuccessful. As early as 1972, the American Medical Association Committee on Human Sexuality published the prevailing medical belief that psychotherapy was generally ineffectual for adult transsexuals and that sexual reassignment therapy was more useful. (Human Sexuality. The American Medical Association Committee on Human Sexuality. Chicago. 1972.) A number of other treatments have been used in the past that are now considered ineffective for people with significant and persistent cross gender identity, including aversion therapy, psychoactive medications, electroconvulsive therapy, hormone treatments consistent with the birth gender, and psychotherapy alone.


Reparative therapy aimed at gay or lesbian people has also been applied to transsexual and transgender people, since gender variant behaviour is seen by proponents of reparative therapy as an extreme form of homosexuality (a view that has long since disappeared from almost all scientific discourses). While the Kinsey scale expressed a similar view, the scientific community today rejects this part of Kinsey's theory, making reparative therapy as useless to transsexual people as it is for gay and lesbian people. Unfortunately, even though many of the major medical professional associations have repeatedly condemned reparative therapy as not only ineffective, but actually harmful, it continues to be advocated as a treatment for both homosexuals and transsexuals by several organizations with ties to the conservative Christian movement. However, reparative therapy is not considered either standard of care or good medical/psychological care currently in modern western medicine. Reparative therapy, or conversion, reorientation or differentiation therapy, is any of several controversial religious or secular techniques that are aimed at changing a persons sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality (or ex-gay). ... Often misused as a measure of sexual orientation, the Kinsey scale is a graphic representation to describe sexual history, that is former partners in respect to their biological sex. ...


However, it should be remembered that all therapy aimed at resolving gender conflicts, which is exclusive of somatic treatments to reassign physical sex, is not entirely negative. Some people may have milder conflicts between gender identity and their physical sexual characteristics. These individuals may not actually wish to pursue sexual reassignment therapy, but may seek care to help deal with the conflicts they face. If individuals express this desire for psychological care without SRS, supportive and psychoeducational counseling may be helpful. Additionally some transsexuals, who may have a significant lifelong conflict between gender identity and their sexed-body may present for care without requesting SRS. Their reasons for forgoing transition may include family or professional concerns, perceptions of difficulty of transition, worry about perceived losses of social standing or role, and sometimes even advanced age or chronic medical problems. Regardless of their reasoning, if their decision is consistent, it should be respected. These individuals can often be helped by alternative methods to improve current functional status, promote acceptance of their gender identity as valid, and ameliorate mood symptoms caused by gender conflict through psychotherapy and sometimes medications. Additionally, these individuals sometimes benefit from partial somatic treatment. Low dose hormonal therapy only, validating patients desire to dress and live partially in the gender role appropriate to their gender, and even simply allowing the person a safe outlet to express themselves as a male or female can provide a great deal of comfort to patients who for one reason or another chose not to transition.


Physical causes

Many transsexual (and also many other transgendered) people have assumed that there is a physical cause of their transsexualism, because they claim to have had the feeling of being a girl or a boy for as long as they can remember. However, research into brain gender identity has been sparse.


While the article by Zhou, et al: http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtc0106.htm, has been touted as strong evidence that transsexuality is based in structural and neurochemical similarities between the brain of transsexuals and brains typical of their gender identity, this article has numerous flaws.


More interesting evidence comes from numerous animal studies demonstrating that exposure to cross-sex hormones during development can reliably produce cross-sex behaviors in animals. In addition twin studies have demonstrated a strong heritability for transsexuality. (Concordance for Gender Identity Among Monozygotic and Dizygotic Twin Pairs. Diamond, M and Hawk, S. American Psychological Association 2004 Annual Meeting. July 28 - August 1, 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii.) This research provides more suggestive evidence that transsexuality may be determined in part by genetics and in utero hormonal environment.


Objections against research of causes

Scholars of gender theory, gender professionals and transsexual and transgender rights activists contest the very rationale of looking for a "cause" to transsexualism. The basic assumption behind this quest for "causes" is that gender dimorphism (the idea that there are only two discrete, well defined and dichotomous genders) is an established fact. The critics cite, among other things, historiographic and anthropological findings pointing to the fact that different cultures had diverse concepts of gender, some of them including three or more genders. Gender studies is a theoretical work in the social sciences or humanities that focuses on issues of sex and gender in language and society, and often addresses related issues including racial and ethnic oppression, postcolonial societies, and globalization. ...


The main argument against the search for a "cause" to transsexualism is that it assumes a priori the legitimacy of normative gender identity, i.e. gender identity congruent with the external genitalia. This, affirm the critics, is an unproved contention. Historical research shows that the relation of genitals and gender identity changes across cultures. Assuming a priori that variant gender identity is anomalous (and therefore its "causes" should be investigated) distorts science's view of gender and contributes to the stigmatization of gender non-conformists.


Gender reassignment therapy

Pictures showing Korean star Ha Ri-Su at various times of her life
Pictures showing Korean star Ha Ri-Su at various times of her life

Most transsexual men and women suffer from great psychological and emotional pain due to the conflict between their gender identity and their original gender role and anatomy. They find their only recourse is to change their gender role and undergo gender reassignment therapy. This may include taking hormones or having sex reassignment surgery to modify their primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Download high resolution version (980x570, 101 KB)Photos of Ha Ri-Su/Yi Kyung Yup. ... Download high resolution version (980x570, 101 KB)Photos of Ha Ri-Su/Yi Kyung Yup. ... ... Gender reassignment therapy is an umbrella term for all medical procedures regarding gender reassignment of both transgendered and intersexual people. ... Hormone is also the NATO reporting name for the Soviet/Russian Kamov Ka-25 military helicopter. ... Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) includes the surgical procedures by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are changed to that of the other sex. ...


Psychological treatment

Mental health approaches that attempt to change the gender identity to one considered appropriate for their assigned sex have universally been shown to be ineffective. It is generally accepted, therefore, that the only effective course of treatment for transsexuals is gender reassignment therapy.


The need for physical treatment is emphasized by the high rate of mental health problems, including depression, various addictions, and a suicide rate among untreated transsexual people many times the rate in the general population (some estimates are as high as between thirty and seventy percent); many of these problems in the majority of cases disappear or decrease significantly after a change of gender role. Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of wilfully ending ones own life; it is sometimes a noun for one who has committed or attempted the act. ...


Transgender and transsexual activists, but also many caretakers, however, point out that these problems are usually not related to the gender identity issue as such, but to problems that arise from dealing with those issues and social problems related to them. Also, those problems are much more likely to be diagnosed than similar problems in the general population, since for both medical treatments and letters of recommendation contacting a healthcare professional is needed, where the patients are routinely screened for these and similar problems.


A growing number of transsexual and transgender people therefore resent or even refuse often mandatory psychological treatment, since gender dysphoria itself is untreatable by psychological means, and they have no other problems that need treatment. This however can cause significant problems when they try to obtain physical treatment.


Therapists' records reveal most transsexuals do not believe they need psychological counseling, but acquiesce to legal demands in order to gain rights which are granted through the medical/psychological hierarchy. Legal issues such as a name change, and sex reassignment surgery itself are usually impossible to obtain without a doctor's approval. This leads to the inevitability that transsexuals feel coerced into confirming pre-ordained symptoms of self-loathing, impotence, and sexual-preference in order to see simple legal hurdles granted. Transsexuals face the unattractive option of remaining invisible with no legal rights and possibly incongruent identification, or submitting to a medical hierarchy which alone has the ability to grant legal gender status. Name change is a basic legal act that is recognized in practically all legal systems to allow an individual the opportunity to adopt a name other than the name given by birth, marriage, or adoption. ...


Requirements for gender reassignment treatment

Main article: Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders In many countries or areas, an individuals pursuit of sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) is often governed, or at least guided, by documents called standards of care (SOC), or standards of care for gender identity disorders. ...


The requirements for hormone replacement therapy vary greatly. Often a minimum time period of psychological counseling or a time spent living in the desired gender role in order to ensure they can function psychologically in that role is required. This is not always possible; transsexual men especially often cannot "pass" this period without hormones. This time period is usually called the Real Life Test (RLT). The most recent revision of the HBIGDA Standards of Care recognize this limitation for some transgender people. So the SOC state that patients may be approved for treatment after either a period of successful cross-living or a period of diagnostic psychotherapy - generally at least three months. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a system of medical treatment for postmenopausal women, based on the assumption that it may prevent health problems caused by diminished circulating estrogen hormones. ... The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, Inc. ...


Some surgeons who perform sex-reassignment surgery may require the patient to live as the opposite gender in as many ways as possible ways for a specified period of time (this is termed "cross-living" or real-life-test) prior to the start of surgery. However some surgeons recognize that RLT without at least chest reconstruction may be difficult. So many are willing to perform some or even all elements of SRS without a RLT period. This is especially prevalent amongst surgeons who practice in Asia.


Generally both physicians who prescribe hormones and surgeons who perform SRS may request letters of diagnosis and recommendation for treatment from the patient's therapist. However, experienced physicians and surgeons sometimes waive this requirement with patients who, by their evaluation, are obvious candidates for treatment.


Hormone replacement therapy

Main article: Hormone replacement therapy (trans) Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for transgender and transsexual people replaces the hormones naturally occurring in their bodies with those of the other sex. ...


For both transsexual men and women hormone replacement therapy (HRT) causes the development of some of the secondary sexual characteristics of their desired gender. Many of the already existing primary and secondary sexual characteristics cannot be undone by HRT though. For example breasts will grow in transsexual women but they will not regress in transsexual men. However some characteristics like distribution of body fat and muscle as well as menstruation in transsexual men may be reversed by hormonal treatment. Unfortunately generally those traits that are easily reversible will also revert on cessation of hormonal treatment unless surgical castration has occurred. Moreover, especially in transsexual women, but also in some transsexual men, surgery is required to provide a satisfactory physical body. Transsexual women often require extensive epilation to remove unwanted facial hair and, if necessary, body hair. Depilation is a generic term for hair removal which affects the part of the hair above the surface of the skin. ...


Sex reassignment surgery

Main article: Sex reassignment surgery Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) includes the surgical procedures by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are changed to that of the other sex. ...


Sex reassignment surgery consists of processes transsexual women and men take in order to match their anatomical sex to their gender identity; however, surgery to correct genitalia (SRS) is also very expensive and not covered by public or private health insurance everywhere.


Prior to surgery, transsexual men and women are often referred to as pre-operative (pre-op); those who have already had the surgery may be referred to as post-operative (post-op) or simply identified by the sex and sexual status they have chosen. Not all transsexual people undergo sexual reassignment surgery (either because of the high cost of such surgery, medical reasons, or other reasons), although they live constantly in their chosen gender role; these people are often called non-operative (non-op). A bagpiper in Scottish military uniform. ...


A more modern idea suggests the notion that the focus on surgery status is misplaced, and therefore more and more people are refusing to define themselves in terms of operative status.


Legal and social aspects

Main article: Legal aspects of transsexualism Transsexual people are persons who establish a permanent identity with the opposite gender to their birth sex. ...


Many Western societies today have some sort of procedure whereby an individual can change their name, and sometimes also their legal gender, to reflect their gender identity. Medical procedures for transsexual and transgender people are also available in most Western countries. However, transsexual and transgender people make strong challenges to the prevalence of gender roles in many cultures and often face considerable prejudice. The film Boys Don't Cry chronicles such a case. Name change is a basic legal act that is recognized in practically all legal systems to allow an individual the opportunity to adopt a name other than the name given by birth, marriage, or adoption. ... In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i. ... Movie poster for Boys Dont Cry Boys Dont Cry is a 1999 movie based on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a transgendered young man who was raped and murdered by his male friends, after they found out he was physically female. ...


Some people who have undergone a change of gender role will adopt or provide foster care for children, often for children who are also transsexual or transgender so they can live according to their gender identity. Societies are in some instances challenged to assimilate these men and women into their social institutions such as marriage and the role of parenting. Often children exist from the time before transition. Many of these children stay with their transitioning/transitioned parent. Recent research shows that this does not harm the development of these children in any way.


The style guides of many media outlets prescribe that a journalist who writes about a transsexual should use the pronoun and name used by that person. Family members and friends, who are often confused about pronoun usage or the definitions of sex, are frequently corrected by either the transsexual or the professionals who assist them as they approach that point at which they begin to "pass" as a member of the sex they wish to adopt. For other uses of the words pass or passing, see Pass. ...


Stealth

After this level of transition and development has been achieved, some transsexual men and women may wish to blend in with other members of their new sex and will avoid revealing their past. They do this believing that it will provide greater peace and security on the other side of a stressful and potentially dangerous transition.


This behaviour, known as stealth, is recognized by most people in the transsexual community as an individual decision one must make. Some however, within and outside the transsexual community, feel that one should be upfront about his or her past, and that stealth living is somehow dishonest. Some draw a parallel with a perceived need for lesbian and gay people to "come out", and may perceive a failure to do that as a betrayal of a greater community, seeing hope for advancement of civil rights and public image in the visibility of greater numbers. However, most people within the community understand that revealing one's transsexual history is a deeply personal choice. Moreover, this is part of an individual's medical history, and as such should be his or hers alone to disclose. F-117 Stealth Fighter Stealth technology covers a range of techniques used with aircraft, ships and missiles, in order to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar and other detection methods. ... Come Out was composed by Steve Reiche in 1966. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ...


The equation with "coming out", whereby a lesbian or gay person, or a transsexual person who has hidden their true gender identity maintaining their originally assigned gender role, feels they reveal their true self, has been countered by the explanation that, in contrast, because of prejudice, sensationalism, and how it can trigger unconscious personal feelings and emotions, knowledge of someone's transsexual past can too easily prevent the average person being able see the transitioned person's true self. So the knowledge obscures, instead of reveals the truth. Coming out of the closet (very often shortened to coming out in winking reference to the public introduction of debutantes) describes the voluntary public announcement of ones sexual orientation, sexual attractions, gender identity, or (less commonly) paraphilia. ...


The choice to live completely stealth is believed to present its own psychological difficulties - that without anyone in which to confide there may be tendencies towards anxiety and depression. The term deep stealth is sometimes used for these individuals, referring to those that have completely isolated themselves from their past, their birth families, the medical professionals directly involved in their treatment process, and from the support structures that may have helped them through transition. Several examples exist of people who have gone deep stealth whose status was only discovered at their death. For example the Jazz musician Billy Tipton was deep stealth and his status was not even known by his wife and (adoptive) children. Moreover the tragedy of Mr Tipton's death illustrates just one of the dangers of going deep stealth. The fear of discovery as being transsexual often may keep people from seeking needed medical care. Mr Tipton bled to death from an ulcer that could have been readily treated at the time had he been able to seek medical care without fear of discovery. Anxiety is a complex combination of the feeling of fear, apprehension and worry often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, chest pain and/or shortness of breath. ... The word depression can mean: A decrease of functional activity in behavior patterns The everyday term for a sad mood, see depression (mood) The medical condition clinical depression, which includes decreased interest in pleasurable activities A sunken or depressed geological formation, see depression (geology) An economic depression, is a more...


Fortunately the majority of the transsexual and transgender community has learned to accept that people choose for many reasons including political beliefs, religion, family responsibilities, career, and personal psychology to live at a certain place on the spectrum from 'out and proud' to 'deep stealth.' Billy Tipton's decision to be deep stealth was no more or less valid than Jamison Green's decision to be out and politically active as detailed in his book 'Becoming a Visible Man.' There are risks and benefits to any place on the spectrum and the decision is a personal one.


Transsexual youth

Individuals may begin to come to terms with their gender identity at many different stages in their life. In most cases, the transsexual condition becomes apparent at some time in childhood, sometimes in very early childhood, where the child may be expressing behaviour incongruent with, and dissatisfaction related to, their assigned gender. A male Caucasian toddler child A child (plural: children) is a young human. ...


Most of the time, though, these children try to hide their being different as soon as they experience rejection resulting from their differences.


Coming out

Since transsexualism is still not widely accepted in many countries, transsexual youth may feel they need to remain in the closet until they feel that there is a time appropriate to reveal to their parents their gender identity -- understandably so, as parents have a great deal of influence in their children's lives, some parents can react negatively towards such news. Other parents can be very supportive, initially, or after such news has been broken to them. The slang term being in the closet has been used to describe keeping secret ones sexual behaviors or orientation disapproved of by society; typically homosexuality or bisexuality, but also including transgender or transsexual people and various paraphilias. ...


Ensuring the child's security

Only in recent years have some transsexual or transgendered children received both counseling and in some cases also medical treatment, as well as the possibility to change their social role.


Families with a young child, who may identify already as a member of "the other" sex, and who chooses to change their gender roles through dress and behaviors, may decide to relocate this child and home to another area in order to afford the young person the best opportunity to live in the desired gender role among a novel set of peers and community.


Choosing to remain and live within an intolerant society where the local community has had previous experience of the child's assigned sex may raise many challenging issues. Gwen Araujo of Newark, California was a young person who had attempted to cross-live as a female, a gender opposite to the male gender assigned her at birth. She became the victim of violent crimes that resulted in her death after she attended a party where her birth sex was revealed. Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (February 24, 1985 — October 4, 2002) was a teenager who was killed at a party by a group of transphobic men angered by the discovery that she was a transwoman. ... The city of Newark highlighted within Alameda County Newark is a city located in Alameda County, California. ...


The film Ma Vie En Rose (1997), by Alain Berliner, depicts a similar scenario: Ludovic is a young child who is assigned male but who identifies as a girl and tries to make others agree with this identification. Ludovic's gender play incurs conflict within the family and prejudice from the neighbours; in the end the family has to relocate to a new community.


The 1999 documentary film Creature directed by Parris Patton, tells the story of Stacey "Hollywood" Dean, a young transsexual woman who grew up in rural North Carolina. It follows her through four years and includes interviews with her conservative Christian parents.


The decision to relocate, however, depends very much on the social environment and the handling of the situation by caretakers and other adults. There are also several cases where it was not felt that there was such a need to relocate, particularly in Western Europe.


Retransitions

As with every transition, in children and in adults, "experts" often raise the spectre of transitions gone wrong, that is people transitioning back to their original sex. These cases do in fact exist, however, every recent study done on the number of these cases states that their number is well below 1%, and that the reasons for retransitioning are very diverse. See this article in the International Journal of Transgenderism for examples.


These cases are often cited as reasons for the lengthy triadic process outlined in the Standards of Care, which specifies a treatment process combining supportive psychological, hormonal, and surgical care. While many have criticized this process as being too slow for some, it is argued that without the safeguards within the standards of care, the incidence of unsuccessful surgical transitions would be much higher. This is also questioned by many critics, especially with regard to particular demands or behaviour of some caretakers. The article above states that in some of these cases, transitioning could have been prevented if some demands made by caretakers, or demands perceived as coming from the caretakers, had been less rigid; particularly, if the patients had not felt that talking about any problems or doubts would jeopardize their further treatment. (An unwavering demand for medical treatment and the absolute conviction of "doing the right thing" is often indeed seen as a necessary for the diagnosis of transsexualism, and therefore the prerequisite for any further treatment; consequently, further treatment has indeed been denied to people who uttered any doubts or even questions.) In many countries or areas, an individuals pursuit of sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) is often governed, or at least guided, by documents called standards of care (SOC), or standards of care for gender identity disorders. ...


Critics claim that when patients cannot talk about problems or doubts, but have to present themselves as having neither, the patients, anxious to get treatment they perceive at this point to be absolutely necessary, will face these problems or doubts after transitioning, when dealing with them is much more difficult, and this will often lead to social problems, depression, anxiety, or similar problems, and, in some rare cases, to a retransitioning. While there is no scientific study on the question, many trans*-organisations and groups claim from experience that the less pressure is felt by the patient to conform to any particular stereotype, the more satisfactory the outcome of the transition will be. This of course does not preclude any screening for mental problems which might lead to pseudo-transsexuality, nor a supportive psychological therapy if necessary. The word depression can mean: A decrease of functional activity in behavior patterns The everyday term for a sad mood, see depression (mood) The medical condition clinical depression, which includes decreased interest in pleasurable activities A sunken or depressed geological formation, see depression (geology) An economic depression, is a more... Anxiety is a complex combination of the feeling of fear, apprehension and worry often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, chest pain and/or shortness of breath. ... For the term used in Computing, see Stereotype (computing). ...


Depictions of transsexuality in the media

The pornography industry is notable for its exploitative treatment of pre-operative male-to-female transsexuals, usually referred to by the pornography industry as "shemales" (a term regarded as offensive by many transsexuals). The general depiction is that of transsexuals as freaks, or as "women with a bit more". Pornography (from Greek πορνογραφια pornographia — literally writing about or drawings of harlots) (also informally referred to as porn or porno) is the representation of the human body or human sexual behaviour with the goal of sexual arousal, similar to, but (according to some) distinct from, erotica. ... The terms shemale (or chicks with dicks) refer to transwomen (male-to-female transgender or transsexual people) who have female breasts, through hormone replacement therapy and/or through breast augmentation and usually other female secondary sex characteristics, but who have not undergone genital reassignment surgery. ...


However, the mainstream media, after years of insensitive depictions of transsexuals, is now making films with a more serious and nuanced depiction of transsexuals. Films containing depictions of transgender issues include The World According to Garp and The Crying Game. The film Different for Girls is notable for a sensitive depiction of a male-to-female transsexual who meets up with, and forms a romantic relationship with, her male former best friend. The World According to Garp book cover The World According to Garp is a novel by John Irving. ... The Crying Game is a 1968 novel by John Braine. ...


See also

  • List of transgender-related topics

Transgender is a very complex topic, where definitions are often still up in the air. ...

External links

The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, Inc. ...

Specific to trans women

  • Mom, I Need to Be a Girl - a book by the mother of a transsexual child
  • Transsexual Road Map - practical and medical information
  • Annelawrence.com Medical and Other Resources for Transsexual Women - often considered to be a controversial figure within the community due to her support for the autogynephilia theory

Autogynephilia (from Greek auto (self), gyno (woman) and philia (love) — love of oneself as a woman) is a behavioral model proposed in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, who defines it as a mans paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman. ...

Specific to trans men

  • FTM International - Female To Male International: practical and medical information
  • American Boyz - practical and medical information
  • FTMA Network - Australian-wide network providing up to date contact, support and information.

Media treatment of transsexuality


  Results from FactBites:
 
What (2311 words)
Transsexuality occurs roughly equally in both physical males and physical females, and is caused by factors (such as a critically timed hormonal release caused by stress in the mother, or by the presence of hormone mimicking chemicals present during critical development) which interfere with fetal development.
The standard treatment for a diagnosis of transsexuality is to reassign the transsexual to a physical sex congruent with their gender identity, a process involving the administration of appropriate hormones and surgery.
Whereas transsexuality is concerned primarily with gender identity and the correction of physical form to fit that identity, transvestitism is primarily a sexual fetish that occurs after puberty, and the transvestite has no desperation to redress a physical incongruity.
Transsexualism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (8295 words)
Transsexualism or transsexuality is a condition in which a transsexual person self-identifies as a member of the gender opposite to the one assigned to them at birth.
Transsexualism should not be confused with cross dressing or with the behaviour of drag queens, which can be described as transgender, but usually not transsexual.
Transsexual people are often construed as belonging to the LGBT community, and many identify with the community; others do not, or prefer not to use the terms.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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