On the Science of Changing Sex

The Right Stuff…

Posted in Book Reviews, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on October 15, 2010

… or How to Tell the Difference.

TMWWBQ CoverProf. J. Michael Bailey, in his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, wrote a very simple set of questions, almost a Cosmopolitan Magazine style quiz, on how a novice can tell the difference between autogynephilic (AGP) and transkids / “homosexual” transsexuals (HSTS):

Start at Zero. Ask each question, and if the answer is “Yes,” add the number (+1 or -1) next to each question. If the sum gets to +3, stop; the transsexual you are talking to is autogynephilic. If the sum gets to -3, she is homosexual.

+1 Have you been married to a woman?

+1 As a child, did people think you were about as masculine as other boys?

+1 Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted to women? Or equally uninterested in both?
. (Add 1 if “Yes” to any of these.)

+1 Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full time as a woman?

+1 Have you worn women’s clothing in private and, during at least three of those times, become so sexually aroused that you masturbated?

+1 Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman or truck driver, or been a computer programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?

-1 Is your ideal partner a straight man?

-1 As a child, did people think you were an unusually feminine boy?

-1 Does this describe you? “I find the idea of having sex with men very sexually exciting, but the idea of having sex with women is not at all appealing.”

-1 Were you under the age of 25 when you began to live full time as a woman?

-1 Do you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?

-1 Have you worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie model, or prostitute?

Finally, if the person has been on hormones for at least six months, ask yourself this question:

If you didn’t already know that this person was a transsexual, would you still have suspected that she was not a natural-born woman?

+1 if your answer is “Yes” (if you would have suspected)

-1 If your answer is “No”.

————————————————————-

Many transsexuals have lampooned this quiz. Yet, should it be treated so lightly? What does the science say about each question? Let us take each question, in turn, starting with all of the positive valued questions, those whose affirmative answers would indicate the likelihood of the transsexual being autogynephilic:

“Have you ever been married to a woman?” As Lawrence showed, and I blogged about in BridesHead Revisited, sorting on this very question allowed us to increase the signal strength of the difference between the assumed to be HSTS and non-HSTS groups with respect to erotic cross-dressing. So, statistically speaking, this has been proven to be a useful marker for autogynephilia. The question indirectly tests for gynephilia, as that is one of the primary motivations for marriage to a woman, which is positively correlated with autogynephilia in transsexuals.

“As a child, did people think you were about as masculine as other boys?” As has been shown in many studies, AGP transsexuals usually were considered by family and friends to have been unremarkably masculine as children. However, in this regard, self-report from AGP transsexuals is notoriously inaccurate, likely due to inner feelings of wishing to have been feminine coloring their memories. To get the right answer more consistently, we would be better to ask her parents or other older relatives.

“Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted to women? Or equally uninterested in both?” This is based on Blanchard’s work showing that gynephilia, both exclusively, and in self-reported bisexuals, along with asexuals are all “non-homosexual” and all exhibit autogynephilia as groups.

“Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full time as a woman?” All of the studies that differentiate AGP transsexuals from transkids clearly show that exclusively androphilic transsexuals never transition so late in life. They typically transition before the age of 25. Bailey could have used the age of 30 to the same effect, as the typical age of transition for an AGP is 30 or older.

“Have you worn women’s clothing in private and, during at least three of those times, become so sexually aroused that you masturbated?” This one is obvious. Erotic cross dressing is one of the most common forms of autogynephilia. More interesting is the requirement that it be “at least three of those times”. This is likely to reduce false positives, as it is possible to have anticipatory arousal (e.g. an MTF transkid or natal female getting prepared for a hot date with a sexy man).

“Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman or truck driver, or been a computer programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?” We need to break this one down into its pieces. First, in the past, the military is unlikely to have retained an MTF transkid, as her obvious femininity would be noticed. Given the present (when this essay was written ~KB) enforcement of “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” by the U.S. military, it is just possible that she might have kept it to herself just well enough not to have triggered an investigation, even if everyone around her assumed that she was really a gay man. However, statistically, just as with being a policeman, transkids just don’t usually aspire to such obviously macho occupations. But many AGPs, in their naturally more masculine mindset and often wishing to sublimate their autogynephilic desires, often do choose such stereotypically masculine jobs. The second group of occupations, while statistically more likely to be filled by men than women, actually has as its statistical power to differentiate AGPs from transkids the socio-economic selection pressure on AGP individuals to consider whether they can “afford” to transition or not. Compared to transkids, AGPs tend not to transition unless they have higher socio-economic status than average. Intelligence correlates with such higher status and of achieving success in the very fields mentioned in this question. As I showed in Smarter than the Average Bear, AGP transsexuals have an average IQ of ~120, while transkids are likely to be of average intelligence, since IQ and socio-economic status figure less in their decision making. That means that the percentage of AGPs that are eligible to join Mensa, the high IQ society, is 27%, while only 2% of transkids would qualify. Assume for the moment than any given transkid is just as likely to pursue a given career as a natal female, compounding the likelihood that a woman might take such a job times the percentage with the IQ to be successful, says that a few transkids will have any of these positions. However, compounding the higher likelihood that a man would take such a position times the percentage with the IQ needed to be successful, many more AGPs will be in such positions.  Conversely, AGPs in those positions will have the socio-economic status that make it more likely that they would elect to follow their heart’s desire and transition. That does not mean that an MTF transkid could not have such a career. In fact, one of my heroines, Terry Noel was a systems analyst (computer programmer), as well as a wife and step-mom, after her career as a secretary, and before that as a female impersonator! But those transkids almost always find such careers after transition, not before.

Now turning to the negatively valued questions, those whose affirmative answers indicate the likelihood of the transsexual being a transkid:

“Is your ideal partner a straight man?” and “Does this describe you? “I find the idea of having sex with men very sexually exciting, but the idea of having sex with women is not at all appealing.” ” Pretty obvious… an MTF transkid is not likely to answer in the negative. Nearly every study has shown that exclusive androphilia is negatively correlated with being autogynephilic. Asking this question in two different ways gives a high weighting to it.

“As a child, did people think you were an unusually feminine boy?” Studies show that unlike AGPs, exclusively androphilic MTF transsexuals were uniformly considered unusually feminine, often to the point where they would qualify as having Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood.

“Were you under the age of 25 when you began to live full time as a woman?” As we can show in multiple studies, including the Nuttbrock, transkids typically transition very young, often as teenagers, but rarely after age 25.  Does this mean that anyone who transitions before age 25 is a transkid?  Not a bit!  A fair number of AGP TS women transitioned in their early 20’s.  I had several AGP roommates and friends over the years who did so.  But, statistically, if someone transitioned by age 25, they are more likely to be a trankid than someone who transitioned after age 25.

“Do you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?” This is yet another way of asking about androphilia. It would seem to be redundant, but actually, it asks a more subtle question, “Are you attracted to masculine bodies, or is it possible that you are really just saying you like men due to pseudo-androphilia” Pseudo-androphilia is when an autogynephilic individual incorporates men as props in their behavioral autogynephilic sexual fantasies. That is, the act or fantasy of being female having sex with a man is sexually arousing to pseudo-androphilic autogynephiles. Such transsexuals are unlikely to experience an actual attraction to masculine men per se, independent from their autogynephilic fantasy. That is to say, that their attraction to men is dependent upon perceiving themselves as female. However, this question is actually weak in that it requires the exclusively androphilic transsexual to be highly motivated by photographs, visual imagery, over other modalities, such as written fiction. She may answer in the negative, simply because she doesn’t go out of her way to view such photos and misinterpreted the intent of the question as having asked about habitual behavior rather than potential behavior. The question may have been better asked, “Would you enjoy seeing pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?”

“Have you worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie model, or prostitute?” Hairstylist and beautician are both occupations that are traditionally filled by women and gay men, thus it would appear to be unlikely that an AGP would have filled them, especially pre-transition. For an MTF transkid, though, these positions are equally likely both pre and post- transition. I’ve personally met a number of transkids in such positions.  Looking at the questions, it appears that Bailey is expressing an observation bias, as these jobs are usually filled by working class individuals. From personal experience, for middle and upper-middle-class transkids, it is more likely that they would have found jobs in other pink collar occupations such as receptionist, secretary, office clerk, physician or dental assistant, etc. They may also take positions as child-care provider, store clerk, bank teller, waitress, or fast food server. Essentially, any job that young women may be welcome and find acceptable. But, it is extremely unlikely that an AGP transsexual would have taken a pink collar job pre-transition.  Although, becoming an electrologist seems to be a choice for some post-transition AGPs… To be even considered as a female impersonator and especially a lingerie model, that transsexual would have to be both quite attractive and unexceptionally female appearing. While not every MTF transkid would fit that bill, it is very unlikely that an AGP would do so. Finally, prostitute… it is a sad fact that a sizable minority, but a minority none-the-less, find themselves becoming working girls when they are young. It is more likely to occur when a teenager is disowned by her family for being a transsexual, being unacceptably feminine, and/or homosexual. Transkids that have family support, both financial and emotional, are unlikely to become sex workers. On first examination, it would appear unlikely that an AGP would become a sex worker, but in fact, I personally knew of one, and have read an online biography of another. So, perhaps statistically, it is far more likely that a transsexual / transgender sex worker would be an transkid, but I know for a fact that AGPs have also been.

And finally, the issue of truly passing. It has been noted, over and over and over, by unbiased observers that transkids are more likely than AGPs to pass. But this is only statistically. I’ve known transkids that could only pass in the dark. And I’ve known a couple AGPs that do pretty well for themselves. But, on the whole, because of transitioning younger, being more naturally feminine behaving, and perhaps because of self-selection, transkids just pass better.

It is clear that Dr. Bailey did not intend the quiz to actually serve as a test instrument. He wrote it more as an educational tool to help people who have not met both types and learned how to tell the difference, ‘in the wild’, so to speak, understand the differences in presentation, sexuality, and life arcs, of the two types. However, it is still amusing to apply the quiz to see how well it works.

First, let’s try it on the most famous transsexual of all, Christine Jorgensen:

Married to a woman? Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child? Unclear, as we have only her own recollection… Zero
Sexual attraction? Uninterested in either: +1
Over 40 for transition, Nope, at age 27, still +1
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Unknown, Still +1
Jobs? Military, now +2 (not only was she in the military, but she joined an all male secret society, indicating that she was quite comfortable and accepted as an adult man.)
Ideal mate a man? Nope, not interested, still +2
Feminine as a child? Unclear, still +2
Men sexually exciting? Nope! still +2
Under 25 for transition? Nope. still +2
Enjoy pics of hunks? Not likely, still +2
Female jobs before transistion, nyet, +2
Passes? Almost… call it a draw +2 (I personally met her when I was 18 years old… in photos, she passed reasonably OK. In person? Close, but not quite. She also patronized me, cooing over me, calling me a “Baby TS”)

So, we have a score of +2 for Christine Jorgensen, who I personally believe is AGP, so it would appear to agree.

(Addendum 5/31/2015:  Ms. Jorgensen may no longer be the most famous, as Caitlin Jenner has come out.

Bruce Jenner beginning transition

Caitlyn Jenner beginning transition

So, now let’s “ask” her:

Married to a woman? Yes, three times! +1 (or should that be +3??)
Masculine as a child? Undoubtedly, +2
Sexual attraction? Only women: +3 Oh… we can stop here… but let’s do go on…
Over 40 for transition, Heck yes (!) at age 65, now +4
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Quite likely, given her description of her secret cross-dressing, Still +5
Butch Jobs? None of those listed… but come on… male athletic champion? +6
Ideal mate a man? Nope, not interested, still +6
Feminine as a child? No fricking way, still +6
Men sexually exciting? Nope, she adamantly rejected that idea! still +6
Under 25 for transition? Nope. still +6
Enjoy pics of hunks? Not likely, still +6
Female jobs before transistion, nyet, +6
Passes? Not even close (photos aren’t real life)… now +7

The evidence that she is an autogynephilic transsexual is overwhelming.)

How about Terry Noel?

Married to a woman, Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child, No way! Zero
Sexual attraction to women? Ha! Zero
Over 40 for transition, Nope, had SRS at age 29… Still zero.
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Unknown, still zero.
Butch Jobs? Heck no! But she did become a computer programmer after transition, +1
Ideal mate a man? Yes. Married a Naval Officer, Cancels out, now zero
Feminine as a child. Yes! -1
Men sexually exciting? Yes! -2
Under 25 full time? Unclear still -2
Enjoy pics of hunks, unknown still -2
Female Impersonator!!! -3 (Oh, we can stop now… but lets keep going shall we?
Passes? Flawlessly! -4

OK, how about you? I’ll go first:

Kay BrownMarried to a woman, Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child? Not according to my mother, who complained bitterly to Dr. Fisk during an intake interview at the Stanford Clinic when I was 17, “He was always very prissy” {“prissy” was my mother’s favorite word for “unacceptably effeminate”} Still zero.
Sexual attraction to women? I can say with absolute honesty that I never had, nor wanted, intercourse with a woman! Yet, as a teen, I had sex with young men.  Still zero.
Over 40 for transition? Nope, had SRS at age 23.
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Not that I can recall. Still zero.
Butch Jobs? Ummm… I became a silicon valley engineer, than a CEO, after transition. so… ok… +1 (BTW, I grew up in Silicon Valley… used to hang with this girl named Patti, Patti Jobs, who had older brother named Steve… yes, that Steve.)
Ideal mate a man? Ohh… yeah! I dated four straight boys from high school… and I’m presently happily married to a wonderful, very straight man. Cancels out, now Zero
Feminine as a child? My mother votes, bitterly, “yes”. Now -1
Men sexually exciting, women not? You might say that. Now -2
Under 25 full time? I turned 18 and graduated from high school the same week… and that was that for me! So, Now -3, but let’s keep going, shall we?

Enjoy pics of hunks, yes, if he’s also handsome and smiling at the camera…  -4

Lingerie model? Well… actually… yes, when I was 20 years old, I modeled for a small boutique in L.A. I was also a full time nanny as a teenager in high school, a secretary, an office clerk, an electronics assembler (pink collar job), a technician (mixed men and women), an engineer (a few women, not many, but a few), and finally CEO of a Silicon Valley high tech company. (I’m a bit like Carly Fiorina in that regard.) -5

Passes? OK, other people should answer that… so… still -5

Hmmm… according to the quiz…

Additional Reading:  An updated and revised quiz based on the critique above.

References:

J. Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen, 2003

 


 

Fun Reading:

All the Stars are Suns ebook completeSincerity Espinoza didn’t go looking for trouble, it found her. All she wants out of life is the chance to go to the stars but she is caught in a web of misunderstandings, political & legal maneuvering, and the growing threat of terrorist plots by religious fanatics. She has a secret that if found out too soon could mean not only her own death but the ruin of the hope for humanity ever going to the stars. But even amidst momentous events, life is still about the small moments of love, laughter, and sadness.   Available as an ebook at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

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