On the Science of Changing Sex

No. Iran Does NOT “Force” Gay Men & Lesbians To Be Transsexuals

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 28, 2022

For several decades now, I’ve seen the same claim made, usually from transphobic elements in the Gay & Lesbian communities, but increasingly in right wing heterosexual circles, that gay men and women, especially gay men, are “forced” to have sex reassignment surgery in Iran. They rarely have any actual data to back up their claims, only nebulous references to anecdotes that they heard from somewhere else. Occasionally this story shows up on a newspaper or magazine, usually of the tabloid / yellow “journalism” type.

It’s long past time to carefully examine these stories, where they come from, why they persist, and what the real facts are.

First, one must know that the idea of gays and lesbians being “forced”, or in modern transphobic parlance, “transed” is many decades old. The story is usually told that a “gender non-conforming” (read: gender atypical) gay boy or tomboyish girl / lesbian, is pushed to be transsexual by their homophobic parents. This is itself a strange notion, that homophobic parents wouldn’t be just as transphobic. It also stretches credulity in that it pre-supposes that transsexuals will successfully avoid public scrutiny when they transition such that homophobic parents can, as though by magic, suddenly introduce their “straight” daughter or son that their other relatives, neighbors, and co-workers, had never heard of before… and my oh my… don’t they remind everyone about their obviously gay / lesbian child that they had met before?

This also goes against the actual experience of both homosexuals and transsexuals, in that such ‘phobic parents would MUCH rather have a CLOSETED homosexual child than an out transsexual child. Many transsexuals with such ‘phobic parents have experienced entreaties from parents that “couldn’t they just be closeted homosexual instead?”

So why does the idea that transsexuals are pushed into being transsexuals occur at all? Because it is the corollary of that other false narrative popular within the transphobic elements of the gay and lesbian community that transsexuals are homophobic themselves and having internalized this homophobia, seek to live as heterosexuals by changing their sex. Never mind that such Homosexual Transsexuals (HSTS) were nearly all extremely gender dysphoric as young children and had long desired, indeed, made up their minds, that they would grow up to be the opposite sex, long before coming to understand what their sexual orientation might be. Only as they matured, did they realize it would take medical interventions for this to occur. They (we) do not hold homophobic views, internalized or not.

Back to the Iran myth. What is true is that Iran, like many other nations, both Islamic and Christian, have a history of social and legal persecution of homosexual people. Slowly very slowly, some Christian nations changed their laws in fits and starts, sometimes becoming better for gays and lesbians, sometimes becoming better for transsexuals. Did you know that transsexuals are still being legally harassed by police in the United States? We call it “trans while walking”. Look it up. Today, half of the US States are working to pass bills that specifically target transsexuals, our families, and access to medical services. There are similar issues occurring in other Western, mostly Christian, nations. But in Iran, an odd thing occurred after the Islamic Revolution. While homosexuality, or rather it’s direct practice, remained criminalized as it had been earlier, in 1987, a transsexual, a pre-op transwoman who had been able to obtain HRT, reached their top cleric and reminded him that in the Hadith (stories of the Prophet Mohammed’s life and sayings that were not included in the Quran) included details of Mohammed’s friendships and acceptance of what would clearly be recognized today as “homosexual transsexuals”. She begged him to explore this history. The result was a fatwa that specifically sanctioned the existence and medical treatment of transsexuals in Islam.

So, jump back to the West and know that some transphobic elements in the gay and lesbian communities saw this as being unfair. Why should non-gender-dysphoric gays and lesbians continue to be legally and socially discriminated against (and indeed, why should they?) in Iran while transsexuals have a free pass, a “get out of jail free card”? This anger, combined with the earlier angry myths of parents forcing their homosexual children to be transsexuals and the myth that transsexuals are just self-hating homosexuals transitioning to escape homophobic (and in the case of transmen, sexist) discrimination, naturally lead to the false narrative that Iran is “forcing” gays and lesbians to have sex reassignment surgery. They don’t actually need evidence, certainly not of the kind that involves data, to prove it’s happening. Just the horror at the thought of being forced to “change sex” vs. being jailed for being gay is enough to let others who hear the myth believe it unskeptically.

But, we do require such evidence! Because the data, the numbers, just didn’t fit that narrative.

But let us say for the moment that it’s true, that Iran is rounding up homosexuals and forcing them to have sex changes. What would the data look like? What it should look like is that there would be far more people having sex reassignment surgeries in Iran, per capita, especially per homosexual population, than in the West. But is this true?

Consider that it is now well known that homosexuality is universal, occurring in all societies, throughout history, and at about the same rates. It’s public expression may vary, due to repressive legal and social circumstances, but the actual sexual orientation and desire remain constant at about three percent (give or take depending upon definitions, etc.).

Now compare that the number of actual transsexuals in the United States at around ~6/100,000 people. So, 3% G&L = 3,000/100,000 against 6. Thus, in the United State, one of the most transsexual and homosexual friendly nations in the world (not the best, but near the top) the ratio of homosexuals to transsexuals seeking social and medical transition is 500 to 1.

Back to Iran. How many transsexuals are seeking medical transition? It is only 1.46/100,000. So, in Iran that ratio of homosexuals to transsexuals is a whopping 2055 to 1.

Let’s turn our attention to the data on who is getting medical transition services. Here we see something interesting in that multiple separate papers both show that the average age for SRS for both natal sexes is around 25 years old. Further, the data for MTF transsexuals shows that 90% report being “early onset”. This is what we would expect given Iran’s culture and the correlation between a given culture’s level of individualism vs. the number of “late onset” transwomen transitioning. The numbers add up with what we would expect for those receiving transition services to be naturally occurring gender dysphoric people, freely choosing it.

The numbers do NOT support the allegation that gays and lesbians are being “forced” to undergo an unwanted “sex change”, the data would in fact, suggest the opposite, that transsexuals in Iran are exactly the people we expect to find. Neither the government, “society”, nor transsexuals’ families are “forcing” transsexuality upon unwilling gays and lesbians.

Instead of spreading the myth of unwanted, forced, “sex changes”, the LGBT community should be decrying the recent vicious propaganda against transsexual people in Iran (and elsewhere).

Further Reading:

Transphobic Propaganda Aimed at Parents of Transsexual Kids

Stolen History: False Narratives of Transsexuals Transitioning Because of Homophobia & Sexism

Data On Transsexual SubTypes 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)

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Transsexuals Misrepresenting Their Sexual Orientation

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 22, 2022

I continue to see transwomen vehemently denying that pseudo-androphilia exist, demanding that since there are exclusively androphilic transwomen that report autogynephilic sexual arousal to wearing women’s clothing, etc. means that the Two Type Taxonomy is wrong. But those of us who care about evaluating the evidence carefully and completely see a different pattern. First, many of us have seen first hand, in personal relationships, examples of such pseudo-androphilia in older transitioners, transwomen who claim to be exclusively androphilic, but we know have a history of sexual conduct that focused primarily on women, NOT men. so we KNOW it exists and can’t ignore the evidence of our own eyes. But the plural of anecdote is not data.

Yesterday, I had a dialog, argument really, with a denialist. (She attempted to paint herself as a reasonable “skeptic” and me as the obsessive pseudo-science zealot, but gave herself away when she used the term “Blanchardian”, which is code in the autogynephilic community similar to that used by religious “Creation Science” / “Intelligent Design” advocates, evolution science denialists, of calling biological scientists, “Darwinists”.) She insisted that although recent evidence proved that natal female women are NOT autogynephilic, as so many transwomen were claiming, some of them were. She based this on a claim that what is in fact “noise” (false positives) in the data was REAL evidence that SOME natal female women were just as autogynephilic as non-exclusively androphilic transwomen. After a while, it became clear that she self-identified as “androphilic” and was insisting that since “some” natal female were autogynephilic, it was “normal” for women to be autogynephilic and that true androphilic transwomen could be and “some” were also autogynephilic. But I countered, these transwomen claiming to be exclusively androphilic were misrepresenting / misreporting their actual sexual orientation. She never came out and said that she was autogynephilic, but her demand that the two type taxonomy was wrong and that it was normal for “some” natal female women to be autogynephilic strongly supports that conclusion.

I then realized that I did have lots of proof of that many transwomen were misrepresenting their sexual orientation in my essays, but that they were scattered all about. Thus, my motivation for writing a new essay to pull together the data, the evidence. Evidence, not vehemence; data, not denial.

First, a bit of history. Multiple studies have shown that the vast majority of non-exclusively-androphilic transwomen admit to various autogynephilic experiences and behavior while exclusively-androphilic transwomen do not. I recommend a quick review of what constitutes and how autogynephilia presents in my essay (listed below). We have data that strongly supports the assertion that ALL such non-exclusively-androphilic transwomen are in fact autogynephilic and in the same taxon, while exclusively androphilic transwomen are not autogynephilic and are in a separate taxon. See my FAQ for an introduction and links to essays that lay out this evidence. However, because of transwomen misrepresenting their sexual orientation, their is a great deal of noise in the data, though we can still see the evidence that there are two (and only two) separate taxons, one autogynephilic and non-exclusively-androphilic and one that is exclusively androphilic and NOT autogynephilic.

This issue of misrepresentation was addressed by Lawrence when she considered the sexual history of subjects in a Netherlands study. She saw that many of the subjects who claimed to be exclusively androphilic had in fact been married to women! She then found that if she considered them to not be exclusively androphilic, the signal strength for sexual orientation vs. autogynephilia went up. Most notably the number of putatively exclusively androphilic transwomen reporting autogynephilic arousal when down:

Sort:       Old                New

AGP     18 (31%)        5 (15%)
Not      40 (69%)       29 (85%)

Sorting, filtering out those who claimed to be exclusively androphilic but had a clear history of marriage to women is useful, but not perfect, since not every transwomen who may be falsely reporting their sexual orientation would have such a solid legally traceable history of their true sexual history and orientation. Note that Lawrence demonstrated that at least 24 of the original 58 (41%) subjects had misrepresented their sexual orientation.

The folks at the Netherlands clinic, in a later study, compared self-identification with clinician evaluations of their patients’ sexual orientation (presumably using sexual history, marriage records, family interviews, and personal interviews). The also categorized on “early” vs. “late onset” of their gender dysphoria.

Type:                                                            EOT               LOT
N=                                                                35                    44
Women (self)                                            15 (43%)         8 (18%)
Women (clinician)                                   14 (41%)        17 (39%)
Men (self)                                                   13 (37%)        23 (52%)
Men (clinician)                                         14 (41%)          4 (9%)
Bisexual (self)                                             2 (6%)          10 (23%)
Bisexual (clinician)                                   5 (15%)         22 (50%)
Asexual (clinician)                                     1 (3%)             4 (9%)

Note that in the above study that one of the early onset transwomen failed to represent herself as exclusively androphilic who the clinicians believed should have. But that of the late onset (most often “older transitioners”) 19 of the 24 (79%) who claimed to be exclusively androphilic were misrepresenting their sexual orientation. If this study had looked at autogynephilia and used self-report, the non-exclusively androphilic group would have at least one who shouldn’t have been, likely pulling down the autogynephilic score, and the exclusively androphilic group would have had at least nineteen (out of 36 = 52%) that should not have been, likely pulling up the autogynephilia score.

These studies led to the realization that asking transwomen to report their “current” self-identification was insufficient. Later studies began asking not only their current orientation, but their prior orientation. This gives the subjects an opportunity to be a bit more honest about their sexual orientation via their sexual history, by allowing them to claim to have had a “change of sexual orientation”.

Lawrence used such a technique in one of her later studies.

Attraction before SRS/Attraction after SRS:F/MF/FM/M
Participant characteristic(n = 30)(n = 50)(n = 17)
Mean age at SRS (SD)45 (8.4)44 (9.1)34 (9.2)
Mean age at living full-time in female role (SD)42 (11.3)42 (9.6)28 (8.8)
Very or somewhat feminine as a child, in own opinion41%45%76%
Very or somewhat feminine as a child, in others’ probable opinion21%24%76%
Autogynephilic arousal hundred of times or more before SRS52%58%18%

Note that had she not done that, it is likely that 30 out of 97 subjects may have been falsely categorized as exclusively androphilic. Or put another way, 30 out of 47 putatively androphilic transwomen would not have been correctly binned in that category. But… and here is the sad, but telling part. Although Lawrence did NOT recategorize on known legal history of marriage, she did report,

“six participants classified as homosexual based on their pattern of sexual partnering before SRS reported experiencing autogynephilic arousal before SRS. Two of these participants, both of whom reported “hundreds of episodes or more” of autogynephilic arousal before SRS, had been married to women and had been biologic parents before SRS, suggesting that their reports of no female sexual partners before SRS were inaccurate. Two other homosexual participants, both of whom also reported “hundreds of episodes or more” of autogynephilic arousal, had not been married and had not been biologic parents; one, age 33 at time of SRS, reported only one male partner before SRS; the other, age 44 at time of SRS, reported multiple male partners before SRS. The remaining 2 homosexual participants, both ages 38, reported autogynephilic arousal only “once or twice” before SRS; both reported multiple male partners before SRS and one also reported MtF transgendered partners.  Seven other participants who were classified as homosexual based on their self-reported pattern of sexual attraction before SRS but not on the basis of their pattern of sexual partnering before SRS also reported autogynephilic sexual arousal before SRS. Four of these 7 participants had been married, and 2 of these 4 had been biologic parents; only 1 reported any male sexual partners before SRS. Of the remaining 3 participants, 2 reported no sexual partners before SRS, and 1 reported multiple male, female, and MtF transgendered partners before SRS.”

Some of these self-identified androphilic individuals who were clearly having sex with female partners before SRS, are just as clearly STILL having sex with female partners after SRS.  Someone is not being honest here.  So, even with the opportunity to admit that that were non-exclusively androphilic in their past, some of them still chose to misrepresent their sexual orientation, both in the past, and currently.

In a more recent study in Europe, they looked at this phenomena of “changing sexual orientation” during transition, comparing their self-reported sexual identity at their intake interviews/survey and later. The same shifts occurred with another interesting bit of data, that six of eighteen of those who had originally reported to be androphilic later confessed to have not been.

So what’s really going on? As Auer, et al explains it,

“Self-reported sexual orientation studies have further been reported to be interfered by the fact that some persons do not answer the question truthfully. Some transsexual people for example may want to present themselves as particular feminine (MtF) or masculine (FtM) and thus ‘‘classical’’ transsexual persons.  Participants in the present study might have biased their reports on purpose or unwittingly towards a more gender-typical presentation.

This misrepresentation is sufficient to explain the number of “androphilic” transwomen who report autogynephilic arousal.

Getting back to my interlocutor of yesterday. In arguing against the idea of pseudo-androphilia, she was ignoring the evidence of the reported shifts in sexual orientation with transition. Why would this occur? As Auer, et al explain,

“Autogynephilic MtF transsexual persons often report the fantasy of sexual intercourse as a woman with a man, that was repeatedly described as faceless and abstract. Yet this pseudoandrophilia has to be distinguished from genuine androphilia or homosexuality in MtF, or as Blanchard points it: ‘‘the effective erotic stimulus, however, is not the male physique per se, as it is in true homosexual attraction, but rather the thought of being a female, which is symbolized in the fantasy of being penetrated by a male. For these persons, the imagined – occasionally real – male sexual partner serves the same function as women’s apparel or makeup, namely, to aid and intensify the fantasy of being a woman’’. Similarly, one of our participants that formally reported a change of sexual orientation from gynephilia towards androphilia stressed that ‘‘I always wanted to experience sexual intercourse as a woman but I did not know what to do with my male body before the hormone treatment. I hated male bodies in general before’’. In this case a reported change in sexual orientation from gynephilic to androphilic can be attributed to autogynephilic fantasies.”

Before I cut off the dialog, which which was becoming vituperative, with false claims that I was being derisive (attempted tone policing), she doubled down on the “female embodiment fantasy” meme by mischaracterizing reports of sexual fantasies of “early transitioners” as evidence that such were autogynephilic. This is when I realized that she was misrepresenting her sexuality, because no actual exclusively androphilic transwoman would have made that mistake. Androphilic transwomen KNOW that their attraction is to masculine men, not to autogynephilic fantasy.

This latest science denialism is complete bunk.

Further Reading (w/ citations):


No. Women Are NOT Autogynephilic!

Lawrence Recategorized Data

Netherlands Study Comparing Self vs. Clinician Evaluation of Sexual Orientation

Lawrence Orientation Shift Study

European Study Of Change of Self Identity of Sexual Orientation

Essay on Invalidity of “Female Embodiment Fantasy” Meme

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Autistic Sunset

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 1, 2022

As noted before, gynephilic transmen are not only “butch” but somewhat “hypermasculine” in some respects. This shows up in being more likely to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. We now have another study that confirms this observation and some other observations regarding transwomen as I will explore in this essay.

The new study is out of the UK, which will be an important point, so keep in mind given that we know that the UK, like the US, has a very “individualist” culture and that in such cultures, autogynephilic transwomen significantly out number homosexual transwomen. Thus, this data for transwomen is very, very likely ONLY from autogynephilic transwomen. I point this out because the data clearly shows that transwomen in the study are nearly identical to control men and very different than control women; that autogynephilic transwomen has been shown before by Jones, et al. as the data documents.

Group:               Men                  Women       FTM                 Non-Androphilic           Androphilic
.                                                                                                     MTF  N=129                   MTF N=69

Score (SD):       17.8 (6.8)        15.4 (5.7)     23.2 (9.1)         17.4 (7.4)                         15.0 (5.6)

In this new study, the trend that transmen have high Autistic Quotient scores compared to everyone else remains, and thus can be considered to have been replicated.

Control women2119.439.931921.0510.821913.749.68
Control men1818.117.611820.8310.001818.946.82
Transwomen (AGP)1820.179.061822.069.011721.249.54

The table shows the data for the mean Autism Quotient (AQ), the Emotional Quotient (EQ), and the Systematizing Quotient (SQ) scores and their standard deviations from the new Hendriks, et al. study.

As well the AQ scores being substantially different, the EQ and SQ scores for transmen are different than control women, but only slightly higher than for both the control men and notably, the transwomen. At this point, it might be well to ask, “how different” by calculating Cohen’s d for some of these population differences. The difference between control men and the transmen for AQ is d = 0.86, a fairly large, but not super large difference. It certainly does show that transmen are as a population, likely to be “on the spectrum”. But more importantly, it shows that the brains of exclusively gynephilic (as all these subjects were) are masculinized, even hypermasculinized, as one would expect them to be.

The other interesting point is how different the control women and transwomen are in their Systematizing Quotient with d = 0.77, reasonably large effect size indicating that women and (likely to be autogynephilic) transwomen are very different in this regard. How different are they from control men? First note that their score for transwomen is even more “masculine” than control men with d = 0.28, small but detectable. Again, as with the Jones study, this shows that autogynephilic transwomen are NOT very different than control men in these important, sexually dimorphic phenomena, and thus NOT feminized, nor even hypomasculine.

Further Reading:

Autistic Sky


Jones, et al, “Female-To-Male Transsexual People and Autistic Traits”, J. Autism Dev. Discord. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1227-8

Hendriks, et al, “Autist Traits, Empathizing-Systematizing, and Gender Diversity”, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2022), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02251-x

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