On the Science of Changing Sex

No Doubt About It…

Posted in Book Reviews, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on October 24, 2010

…gotta get me another hat.
-Bullwinkle Moose

A commonly stated reason for not accepting that autogynephilia leads to gender dysphoria is that late transitioning transsexuals often report that they clearly remember wanting to be girls when they were quite young.  Although there have been those who question this assertion as possibly being part of a desire to edit one’s history, I personally believe it wholeheartedly.  The stories are actually quite consistent with autogynephilic desire.  But, they then say, that young children don’t have sexual feelings at that age.  Not so.  Further, there have been several accounts of boys, even as young as three years old, who have had genital arousal in response to cross-dressing.  This is not a spurious, one time event in these boys.  Consider one of the best documented cases, reported by Green in his 1974 book, “Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults”.  The boy is identified only as “Example 12-3”, introduced on page #173:

“The following report is extraordinary.  A five year old boy describes penile erection as a reaction to putting on girls’ clothes.”

A dialog about wishing he had been born a girl, liking to pretend to be a girl, and dress-up as one follows for a few pages.  Then on page #177:

Dr.: Is is hard to stop dressing up once you’ve already started it?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: How does it make you feel when you dress up?
Boy: Nice, sometimes, and boring others.
Dr.: When you dress up, like a girl, does it ever make your penis stand up still and straight?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: It does?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: When you dress up?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: Does that always happen when you dress up?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: It always does?  What other times does your penis get stiff and stand up?

Here attempts were made to secure internal validation of the statement that erections accompany cross-dressing.  Other circumstances were sought in which erection might occur, and the original question was rephrased.

Boy: Right after I’ve gone to the bathroom sometimes.
Dr.: Any other times?
Boy: No.
Dr.: But always when you put on girl’s clothing?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: How does it feel when it stands up like that?
Boy: It really hurts
Dr.: It hurts?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: What do you do?
Boy: Take off the clothing.
Dr.: and then what happens?
Boy: And then it goes down again.
Dr.: Then it goes down again?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: Does it make your penis feel like you want to play with it when it stands up like that?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: Do you play with it?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: And how does that feel?
Boy: That’s – that feels funny.
Dr.: Is it a nice feeling?  You’re smiling. Is it a nice feeling?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: When you do play with it, when you put on girls’ clothing and it stands up, does that feel good?
Boy: Yeah.

At this point in the book. Dr. Green remarks that this boy may represent an important clue as to how autogynephilia develops, “This boy reports pleasurable penile feelings from cross-dressing.  If one can extrapolate it to adult behavior, one would predict later fetishist cross-dressing.  Follow-up research will decide the validity of that prediction.”

Dr.: Do you play with your penis any other time?
Boy: No.
Dr.: Just when you dress up like a girl?
Boy: Yeah, That’s about all I have to say about being a girl.

Yes indeed, that is about all he need say about being a girl.  However, during a later interview, in which the boy tells a tale of having a male friend who also likes to dress up as a girl, which Dr. Green strongly suspects is a case of “projection”, starting on page #181:

Dr.: Remember what you told me last time about putting on girls’ clothes?  How it makes your penis get big and stiff?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: Remember that?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: Does that happen to your friend too?
Boy: Yeah, He tells me it does.
Dr.: What does he say?
Boy: He says, “Euu, my penis is standing up straight.  It feels like a giant.”
Dr.: When does he say that?
Boy: When he gets dressed up like a girl.
Dr.: When he gets dressed up like a girl?  The same thing happens to you then?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: How do you like that feeling?  What’s it like when it stands up big and stiff?
Boy: It feels like a giant again.
Dr.: And what do you do then?
Boy: I take off the clothes fast.
Dr.: Do you?
Boy: I get into my boy clothes and say, “Bye-bye. I’m going home.”
Dr.: Do you ever play with your penis so it feels different?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: When do you do that?
Boy: When I like to. Ha, Ha.
Dr.: How about when you look at this little girl and she’s undressed?  Does that make your penis big and stiff?
Boy: Yeah.
Dr.: It does? Has she ever seen your penis get big and stiff?
Boy: Sometimes.
Dr.: So, if you look at this little girl when she’s undressed, sometimes your penis gets big and stiff?
Boy: Sometimes.

Dr. Green then speculated, “If so, perhaps a harbinger of later heterosexuality.”  I would speculate further, that we are seeing a boy who will grow up to be gynephilic, continue to be autogynephilic, may be a cross-dresser for life… and may be interested in transitioning male-to-female.  We know that one of Dr. Green’s boys did in fact grow up to be a heterosexual transvestite.  Care to lay odds it was this little boy?

Dr. Green tested the idea that maybe others of his subjects were similarly aroused.  In an interview with “Example 12-4”:

Dr.: Does your tweener ever get kind of big and stiff and stand up by itself?  You know what I mean?  Sometimes it’s kind of soft and down, and sometimes it gets stiff and stands up.  Does that ever happen?
Boy: Um hum.
Dr.: What makes it stand up stiff like that?
Boy: Play with it with my hand.
Dr.: Is there anything else you can do to make it stand up?
Boy: Uh huh.
Dr.: How about when you make believe you’re a girl?  Does that make it stand up stiff?
Boy: Umm. Sort of.

Here Dr. Green comments, “It is difficult to assess here whether his response was due to the interviewer’s suggestion or was based on his own experience.  Perhaps the idea of sexual metamorphosis is arousing.  The possibility is not so farfetched.  An adult male was recently interviewed who claimed that his primary source of sexual arousal was the thought of sex change.” (italics as originally printed)  So, we see that Dr. Green was aware of anatomic autogynephilia.  I believe that he is right to question whether this particular boy experiences such though:

Dr.: Sort of?  How about when you put on girl’s clothing?  Does that make it stand up stiff?
Boy: No, that makes it go back down.

We know that most of Green’s boys grew up to be conventionally gay men and one an MTF transkid.  It would appear to me that the boys who grew up to be androphilic did not experience arousal when cross-dressing as children.

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