On the Science of Changing Sex

Kincade Fire in Sonoma County

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 26, 2019

For my friends and readers, Jeff and I are OK.  Our house is NOT in any of the evacuation zones at this time, though they are near by.

(Addendum 10-5-19:  The fire is out.  We are fine.  Though I grieve for friends who lost their home on Chalk Hill.)

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Debunking Transsexual & Transgender Myths

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 20, 2019

phrenologyThere are a number of misconceptions, misinformation, disinformation, and even outright lies swirling around social media regarding transsexual and transgender people, our caregivers, and the consequences of our medical care.  This post is an ongoing effort to dispel and debunk them with actual scientific evidence.  I will update this post as I research issues.  (Please be patient)

Note that some myths are actually transphobic propaganda, not merely mistaken ideas.  Much of that propaganda is directed at hurting transsexual children, teens, and their families.  I deal separately with those in a separate essay.

MYTH:  Hormone Replacement Therapy & Puberty Blockers Cause Sterility

This is a complex matter, in that while currently taking such medications, one is indeed rendered infertile.  But then, so are women who are taking contraceptive medications.  However, if one stops taking them, fertility returns (provided that no surgical removal of reproductive organs has occurred).




MYTH:  Puberty Blockers Cause Cognitive Impairment / Developmental Delay

This myth is used as a part of a propaganda campaign to force transkids to undergo unwanted puberties.  A solid study at a clinic that treats transkids has prevent that puberty blockers do NOT cause such undesirable side effects.  Transkids treated with puberty blockers reach the same levels of school acheivements as was predicted by their PRE-medical intervention IQs, as the general population.


Arnoldussen M, Hooijman EC, Kreukels BP, de Vries AL. Association between pre-treatment IQ and educational achievement after gender-affirming treatment including puberty suppression in transgender adolescents. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2022;27(4):1069-1076. doi:10.1177/13591045221091652

MYTH:  Men Who Date & Marry Transwomen Are Closeted Gay (Perhaps Bisexual), Never Straight

This would seem at first glance to a true and common-sensical, based on superficialities.  Many hold this to be self-evident.  It it repeated as true in popular entertainment and by lay people on social media.

But reality is far different.  Actual research into the matter has shown that there are two populations of men that date & marry transwomen, both heterosexual.  One group is what are called in the transcommunity “chasers”, men who avidly seek out transwomen, especially young pre-op transwomen.  The other group is simply straight men who meet and fall in love with a given transwoman, in spite of being transsexual.

GAM“Chasers”, scientifically labelled “gynandromorphophiles” (GAMP) would seem to fit the description of “bi” in that they seek out people who both have intact male genitalia and an overall female form, called “gynandromorphs” (GAM).  However, true bisexual people would also be attracted to the male body form, that is masculine body and personality.  But, research measuring actual sexual arousal to images of nude masculine men, feminine women and young feminine pre-op transwomen do NOT show this pattern.  Instead, these men are preferentially attracted to women and pre-op transwomen, with far less arousal to men.  The opposite pattern is found in gay men.

Note carefully:  Gay men do NOT find transwomen to be very sexually arousing.

The second group that may date a given transwoman is very unlikely to seek out other transwomen should their relationship end.  They are, as Dr. 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.”


K. J. Hsu, A. M. Rosenthal, D. I. Miller and J. M. Bailey, “Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women”

MYTH:  Transwomen commit crimes at the same rate as men

This is based on only one study in Sweden.  However, most people who cite that study fail to note that though the rate they found is closer to men than to women, it is NOT the same as men at 80% the rate of men = men have a 25% higher crime rate than transwomen.  When citing a study, it is critical that one use the actual data, not a glib misleading paraphrase of the text.


Dhejne, et al. “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden” (2011) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016885

MYTH: Gynephilic transwomen are transitioning younger than they used to

This is based on a mistaken idea of what it was like decades ago when such transwomen were thought to only transition after age 30. In fact, they were always transitioning in a range of 21 years old to very old age. But the median and average age has NOT changed in decades, 35 & 40 years old respectively. It remains very rare for a gynephilic transwoman to transition before age 20.

For exclusively androphilic transwomen, the pattern is reversed; half transition before age 20 and almost never after age 25 or so.


Zavlin, D. et Al., “Age-Related Differences for Male-to-Female Transgender Patients Undergoing Gender-Affirming Surgery”, Journal of Pediatric Surgery (2019) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2018.11.005

MYTH: Over 1% of the population is “transgender”

This is based on very poorly designed online polling that simply asked people if they “identify” as “transgender” without providing definitions or asking for confirming data. The real number is much, much smaller at only one in eleven thousand (1/11,000) people in the Western nations.


Benjamin Cerf Harris, “Likely Transgender Individuals in U.S. Federal Administrative Records and the 2010 Census”


MYTH: Iran forces gay men & lesbians to be transsexual

This myth has been around for years as a pure urban legend with no basis in fact. The real data shows that fewer people per capita in Iran have sought medical treatment than in the United States.

Further reading: Essay on transsexuals in Iran


Talaei, et al, “The Epidemiology of Gender Dysphoria In Iran: The First Nation Wide Study”, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2022), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02250-y

Ahmadzad-asl, et al., “The Epidemiology of Transsexualism In Iran”, Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health (2010), https://doi.org/10.1080/19359705.2011.530580

Sadr, M., Khorashad, B.S., Talaei, A. et al. “2D:4D Suggests a Role of Prenatal Testosterone in Gender Dysphoria” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2020)

MYTH: Transsexual post-operative regret is very high

This is another urban legend that may have its basis in dyslexia or dyscalcula (difficulty understanding numbers). I’ve seen figures as high as 30%. The actual percentage that regret transsexual surgical procedures is 0.3%. That’s 3 people in one thousand post-operative patients. For medical procedures, this is a very low figure.


Narayan, S., et al., “Guiding the conversion – Types of regret after gender-affirming surgery and their etiologies”, Annals of Translational Medicine (2021) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105823/

Bustos, et al., “Regret after Gender-affirmation Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence”, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open (2021) https://doi.org/10.1097%2FGOX.0000000000003477

Jedrzejewski, B.,et al., “Regret after Gender Affirming Surgery – A Multidisciplinary Approach to a Multifaceted Patient Experience” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, January 24, 2023.  DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000010243

MYTH: “Early Onset” / HSTS transsexuals have notably lower IQ than average

This myth first appeared in Prof. Bailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen. It likely has two sources, one is his exposure to “street trannies” and the other to his being used to teaching very intelligent college students. Compared to such university students, non-college bound youth would all seem “below average”.

The real data is that Early Onset / HSTS transsexuals have essentially the same IQ as the general population, half being below average, and half being above. This means that HSTS would have the same number of genius level intellects as the general population.


Thomas D. Steensma, Roeline Biemond, Fijgie de Boer and Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, “Desisting and persisting gender dysphoria after childhood: A qualitative follow-up study”

Singh D. et al., “A Follow-Up Study of Boys with Gender Identity Disorder”, Frontiers in Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.632784 

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