On the Science of Changing Sex

Going to the Chapel… ♫♫

Posted in Book Reviews, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on March 13, 2013

♫♫… and We’re Going to Get Married…♫♫ Greens book

Dr. Richard Green in his 1974 book on transsexuals, “Gender Identity Conflict in Children and Adults” wrote,

“The men who fall in love with and perhaps marry women who are themselves former males, by and large, have known their partners only as women.  Their prior sexual experiences have been only with females.  They consider themselves heterosexual and their relationships heterosexual.  To varying degrees they are consciously and unconsciously aware of the biologic status of their partners, but it would be simplistic and would furthermore blur generally accepted definitions to call these men homosexual.  Rather they are men who respond to the considerable femininity of male-to-female transsexuals, ignoring the dissonant cues of masculinity.”

Those very words, read when I was 17 years old, gave me hope that my dearest wish, to find and marry a straight man, hopefully to also adopt children, just might be possible, in spite of my own mother’s words of encouragement that “No man will ever love you, you know.”  Fortunately, Dr. Green was right, and my mother quite wrong.  Although there are few references, and almost no serious studies, that specifically look at the men who marry transwomen, either “early onset” or “late onset”, I believe from my own observations that most MTF transkids who marry, do find husbands who are straight and narrow (but not narrow minded), because gay men just aren’t interested in transkids. As by negative proof, Green describes a married couple in his book, a pre-op transwoman and a putatively, self-described, straight man.  In quoting this man, he describes the day he met his ladylove,

“The first time I ever remember was she was walking across the street, and one of the fellows I work with said, “Hey, that looks like a guy wearing capris.”

Thus, this man knew she was a transwoman from the very start, as she was just barely beginning to transition.  From the description given both by Dr. Green and by this man, it is clear that this transwoman was a classic transkid.  This transwoman, in the same section, lamented that she very much wanted SRS, but was getting serious resistance from her husband,

“My marriage is not doing so good.  It’s not good because my husband more and more has turned to — now he’s turned to more and more to homosexuality.  It’s something I’ve found very difficult to live with.  I could understand his turning to another woman, because of my position, but not another man.  It really tears me up.”

Thus, we see that this transwoman has married a gay man who used her as a stepping stone in coming out.  It seemed clear reading the book that this marriage would soon end, because when asked if she thought her husband was possibly against her transitioning she replied,

“Yes, I do, because were were closer before I started dressing as a woman regularly.  The point was when I got my breast  operation.  It was one thing I didn’t understand.  It meant so much for me to get this operation, and when I did get it, he was very cold for about two months afterwards.  He was very nasty to me. and he told me that as time goes by I’m getting more womanly and more adjusted and this is bugging him.”

Thus, he showed that MTF transkids’ husbands are by and large heterosexual, because gay men lose interest as we transition. Green interviews a number of other men who are either married or engaged to MTF transkids, who were all clearly straight.  Green was mostly right… but in some respects he missed a few nuances.  Back in the early 70’s he failed to differentiate between transkids and autogynephilic transwomen, and the nature of the men who married AGP transwomen.  But we still find hints.  In his book he writes about a candidate for surgery who detransitions when he falls in love with a post-op transsexual.  This individual is in fact gynephilic, and as a man who detransitioned, would be described as heterosexual, but he is also autogynephilic and gynandromorphophilic. While it is obvious why MTF transkids, who are, after all, genuinely androphilic would wish to find and marry heterosexual men.  It has always puzzled me as to why obviously autogynephilic, and just as obviously, truly gynephilic, transwomen would chose instead to marry men.  Further, just what motivates such men to marry these autogynephilic transwomen?  Lawrence, in her 2013 book speculates,

“… some of them go to great lengths to maintain a facade of “heterosexual normality.”  One can observe this phenomenon on a few internet web sites belonging to MtF transsexuals who fit the autogynephilic demographic (formerly married to women, male-typical occupational history, etc.) and have found men willing to marry them.  On their web sites, these transsexuals clearly convey their pride in their status as married women; sometimes they even display their wedding photographs…”

I can almost see this… but it doesn’t explain the men involved, nor why these transwomen are able to maintain such relationships.  Perhaps we saw a hint of who these men are, and what dynamic maintains the relationship in Green’s book, mutual gynandromorphophilia and autogynephilia?  Consider that Green’s detransitioned transgendered individual likely still experiences autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing?  Could it be that such men who AGP transsexuals marry are themselves autogynephilic and gynandromorphophilic?

About twenty years ago, a young transwoman in her mid-20’s called me up because she wanted me to meet her new boyfriend.  This news very much surprised me because I had never gotten the impression that she was terribly interested in men.  She had, after all, been in the Navy, on board submarines, for months at a time, and never felt any desire toward her shipmates (me?  I would have gone nuts trying to keep my hands off of them!).   We discussed our conflicting schedules and finally agreed that the best time would also coincide with her support group meeting time.  So off I trudged to an AGP transgender support group meeting.  When I finally met my friend’s new boyfriend, all was made clear… her “boyfriend” was also her “girlfriend”… as he was a classic and typical cross-dresser, fully dressed in women’s clothes for this CD/TG/TS support group meeting. To the outside world, they were a heterosexual couple.  To TG ‘insiders’ it was known that they were a pre-op TS woman and a semi-closeted cross-dresser.

Some time ago, when I was still single, I was introduced to a man who sounded like a potential mate.  He took me to classical music concerts, romantic drives in the country in his sports car, cooked a fine meal… seemed ideal… yet I wasn’t attracted to him, though he was to me, strongly.  He broached the idea of marriage.  It couldn’t have been described as a proposal, likely because he “knew” I would turn him down,   because included in his reasons for why the match was perfect was the idea that we could share the same wardrobe, as we wore the same size 12 dresses.  Although this was personally repugnant, we know for a fact that many autogynephilic transwomen would find this to be ideal.

In the Daskalos paper purportedly about changes in sexual orientation after transition, we see two more examples of exactly such relationships.  In combination with autogynephilic pseudo-androphilia, this makes a potent brew of mutual sexual attraction.  Exactly how many AGP transwomen have found such a mutually agreeable relationship with a cross-dressing man is uncertain.  That such relationships exist is beyond doubt.  This would make for a very interesting research paper.

You may wish to read more from Green’s book here.

Further Reading:

Essay on men who are interested in pre-op transwomen

Essay on autogynephiles being sexually interested in pre-op transwomen

References:

Richard Green, M.D., 1974, “Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults“, Basic Books

Anne Lawrence, 2013,Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies, Springer

Daskalos CT., “Changes in the sexual orientation of six heterosexual male-to-female transsexuals.” http://www.springerlink.com/content/pu44808u15q78k21/

Anne Lawrence, “Letter to the Editor” (in response to Daskalos) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1018725518592

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