On the Science of Changing Sex

The Transsexual Brain Sex Gallop

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on June 13, 2019

phrenologyA year ago I wrote an essay in response to an article that clearly cherry picked its citations to argue that recent brain sex research shouldn’t be used in evaluations of transsexual etiology.  I pointed out that it represented a change in strategy by autogynephilic transwomen from attempting to use brain sex research to bolster the claim that all transwomen had feminized brains to a strategy of attempting to claim that brains aren’t sexually dimorphic so that no one would notice that the latest brain scan studies on transfolk support the two type taxonomy of transwomen.

Well, it looks like I was right – as another article by Simon(e) D Sun [sic], this time in Scientific American Blogs, attempts to tell the very same misleading story, even right in the subtitle, “Actual Research Shows that Sex is Anything But Binary”.

It reads as a Gish Gallop running headlong away from the two type taxonomy while setting up some amazing strawmen and logical disconnects that the author hopes the reader doesn’t spot,

Let’s just take the most famous example of sexual dimorphism in the brain: the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (sdnPOA). This tiny brain area with a disproportionately sized name is slightly larger in males than in females. But it’s unclear if that size difference indicates distinctly wired sdnPOAs in males versus females, or if—as with the bipotential primordium—the same wiring is functionally weighted toward opposite ends of a spectrum. Throw in the observation that the sdnPOA in gay men is closer to that of straight females than straight males, and the idea of “the male brain” falls apart.

Say What?  Ummmm….  So Sun turns a classic example of a sexually dimorphic brain feature that has been feminized in a class of people whose very sexuality has been feminized, who are known to have more female typical gendered behaviors as children… and somehow that gets flipped to demonstrate that the “Idea of the male brain falls apart”.  Ummmm… No!  Just No.  This demonstrates just the opposite, that there is a very strong correlation with a female typical feature and female typical behaviors in both male and female bodied people.  That argues for a sexually dimorphic brain with behavioral correlates.

Then, Sun cites studies of transsexual MRI brain scans but completely fails to mention that they are from two separate etiological types and as such do NOT support the thesis of a non-binary, non-sexually dimorphic brain.  Sun is counting on the reader not knowing this key fact.

It is disappointing to see articles this poor.  Sun, stop using phony science articles to justify ignoring the two type taxonomy.

Further Reading:

(Cherry) Picking The Transgender Brain

Review of Brain Scan Research

Further External Reading:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/

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The Gender Dysphoria Epidemic in Teens

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 26, 2019

female_scientistIn the media and in clinical circles, there is a perception that there is a growing epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  But is there really?  A recent paper set out to test this perception using a survey of 318 male and 401 female youth participated in 2012–2013, and 326 male and 701 female youth in 2017 with up to 3.6% of the boys reporting gender dysphoria in the later survey.  That’s twelve of the boys.

Right from the start, I have to question the utility of this study because these numbers are FAR too small to detect clinical gender dysphoria in statistically valid numbers given that we know that only three out of ten thousand individuals experience gender dysphoria sufficient to drive them to socially transition.  And that counts “late onset” gender dysphoria which would not occur in teenagers.  If we count only “early onset”, we would expect to see only one out of ten thousand.  So, with less than two thousand subjects this study couldn’t possibly detect any change in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria.

Lying on survey instruments is common in the general population.  It also occurs in the transsexual population and has been shown to be heavily driven by social desirability bias in which autogynephilia is strongly downplayed or outright denied in the “late transitioning” / gynephilic transsexual population.  But another form of misrepresentation occurs, especially in teenagers, as the authors point out,

“Validity screening is a novel approach in GD research. Social desirability has been recognized as a methodological problem resulting in the concealing of information perceived as stigmatizing in clinical encounters and research studies. Anonymous survey studies appear to offer a forum to disclose sensitive information without such inhibition, but particularly among adolescents, surveys have also been shown to be susceptible to exaggeration of such information. The proportion of those who admitted to giving incorrect responses was low, but missing information on this item was decidedly common. Comparisons between those reporting responding honestly with those who were not honest and those omitting to answer the honesty question revealed first that among male youth, admitting incorrect responding was strongly associated with reporting GD as measured by the GIDYQ-A. Unfortunately, no validity screen was included in the earlier data. The prevalence of GD detected among males in the earlier data may also be an overestimation. However, not responding to the honesty question was likewise associated with vastly increased prevalence of GD. This may indicate that adolescents felt uneasy after mispresenting themselves when faced with the honesty question and chose to ignore it. However, it may also be that adolescents exaggerated their gender-related dissatisfaction due to assuming that such feelings are expected. GD has recently attracted extensive media coverage in Finland. Adolescents may perceive that they should problematize their gender, and this may influence their responses. When confronted with the validity question they perhaps nevertheless hesitated.”

The odd thing about this study is that their validity screening was conducted with just a single question item in the survey at the end, “Did you respond  honestly?”  While one can imagine that some who had previously been dishonest would now admit to “Yeah, I’m just messing with you.”  Can we assume that all who had been dishonest would suddenly be totally honest just because they asked?  Seriously?  Still, answering the question that they had not been honest or not answering that question both correlated with a higher GD score.  This tells us that we can not trust these scores.

Simply put, there is no credible evidence that there is such a serious epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  Underpowered studies such as this will not answer the question.

For myself, I don’t see any evidence of any increase in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria, only an increase in the visibility and acceptance of transfolk, and of the trendiness of claiming to be transgender.

Further Reading:

Essay on teenagers falsely claiming to be transgender

References:

Katiala-Heino, R., et al, “Gender dysphoria in adolescent population: A 5-year replication study” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359104519838593

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ROGD Redux

Posted in Editorial, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 22, 2019

female_scientistA paper published online today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by a young transwoman, Arjee Restar, tears apart the Littman paper purporting to be about a phenomena called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria which Littman claims is an example of “social contagion” in which teenagers, most of whom are female bodied, develop gender dysphoria purely because of exposure to what many are calling “transgender ideology”.  Restar’s paper admirably questions Littman’s paper on it’s poor methodology which failed to follow good science practices.  The critique shows that rather than testing a hypothesis, Littman’s entire study was designed to produce a predetermined result and pass it off as science, as Restar explains,

“Participants recruited into a study should never be selected based on a researcher’s a priori knowledge of how the results of the paper would appear and confirm their premise. As noted earlier, Littman recruited specifically on three Web sites solely because these venues are attracting a specific demographic group of parental-respondents who are already subscribed into, are selecting into (i.e., self-selection bias), are promoting the concept of “ROGD,” and agree via consent form with the premise of the study. By choosing a specific population of interest and selecting cases and venues where cases can be found, an a priori motivation that favors the investigator’s premise and specific perspectives is likely to be gathered from the sample and thus likely contributing to systemically biased results.”

Fortunately, both Littman’s revised paper and Restar’s critique are openly published, not behind a paywall, so anyone can read both and come to their own conclusions.  However, I do have a few of my own comments to make here.

First, the idea of social contagion of minority human sexual orientation has previously been put forward.  In fact, it became a center piece of homophobic political activism that used such slogans as “Save Our Children” from the “homosexual agenda” of “recruitment”.  That Littman and her ilk recycle this thoroughly debunked trope in a new guise should be no surprise (ref: Brakefield, 2014).

Second, the idea of social contagion (ROGD as a form of “conversion disorder”) focused on girls smacks of the misogynist concept of “hysterical women” found in sexist medical literature of the past.  It’s use here as a “just so” explanation is one that transphobic parents would happily cling to in their denialism.

Third, I’ve already shared my thoughts on transphobic parental denialism in a previous essay.

Finally, I look forward to seeing more of Ms. Restar’s academic work in the future.

References:

Restar, A. J., “Methodological Critique of Littman’s (2018) Parental-Respondents Accounts of “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria” “, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1453-2

Littman, L. L. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports.” PLoS ONE, 13(8) (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202330

Brakefield, T. A., et al, “Same-sex sexual attraction does not spread in adolescent social networks.” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2014)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0142-9

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

Further Reading:

Essay on ROGD and Parental Denialism

Further External Reading:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/shannonkeating/rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria-flawed-methods-transgender

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Autopedophilia

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on March 19, 2019

kisspng-peter-pan-peter-and-wendy-tinker-bell-wendy-darlin-d0a3d180d0bed0ba-d0bfd0be-d182d0b5d0bcd0b5-amp-quot-i-can-fly-amp-qu-5b648afcbc0ec9.5969844415333158367703The Love of One’s Self as a Child

With the release of Leaving Neverland documenting the experiences of two men who were sexually abused by Michael Jackson, now seems a good time to talk about how Erotic Target Identity Inversions motivate otherwise difficult to understand behavior.  Some time back, I read a comment by Dr. Bailey suggesting that Jackson’s behavior fit the theoretical description of an autopedophilic androphilic pedophile.  That is to say, a pedophile, attracted to little boys, who also finds the thought of being a little boy himself sexually arousing and rewarding.  Jackson saw himself as Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, one of the lost boys of Neverland who in his innocence has sex with other little boys.  This wasn’t just a metaphor.  It was central to his sexual identity.

Hsu and Bailey conducted research to test the hypotheses that pedophiles, who are sexually aroused at the thought of being a child, autopedophiles, will be most aroused by imagining themselves to be the type of child that they are most sexually attracted towards as the Erotic Target Identity Inversion theory would predict.  That is to say, if he is attracted to nine-year old boys, he will be most aroused by the thought of being a nine year old boy.  Likewise, if he is most attracted to little girls, he will be most aroused by the thought of being a little girl.  This prediction was supported by the data gathered.

Interestingly, the data suggests that autopedophilia is COMMON among hebepedophilic men.

2f478cfe00000578-3356084-image-m-17_1449847923459This result is important because it adds to the evidentiary support for Erotic Target Identity Inversion theory to explain heterosexual male adults who are aroused at the thought of being or becoming women, to wit, autogynephilic transwomen.  It also helps to explain the phenomena of adult men whose gender dysphoria is accompanied by “age dysphoria”… and attempt to live as little girls or young teenaged girls, much to the embarrassment of the transcommunity, as Stephanknee W. shown here has.

PrideBut there has also been worse than simple embarrassment caused by others.  About little over a decade ago, a young transwoman related to me a set of incidences she witnessed about an individual who showed up in the transcommunity in a mid-western state.  This individual first caused consternation in a transgender support group in which some members clearly felt uncomfortable with an individual claiming to be a little girl trapped in the body of an adult man, wearing very age inappropriate female clothing.  This individual then caused an even greater upset by showing up in said inappropriate young girl’s clothing at an LGBT Pride event and entering a child-care space, insisting on being treated as a child and allowed to play with the “other children” there.  But was ejected when it became impossible to ignore that “she” was very sexually aroused and was rocking back and forth in a manner to add to the self-stimulation and arousal.

Morally, ethically, an autopedophile who wishes to play out one’s fantasies in private or with consenting adults is fine.  But the moment that one crosses the line to include minors, as Jackson did, we should all seek to have them prosecuted to the full extent of the law… and to believe the victims.

Further Reading:

Erotic Target Location Errors

References:

Kevin J. Hsu, J. Michael Bailey, “Autopedophilia: Erotic-Target Identity Inversions in Men Sexually Attracted to Children”
https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797616677082

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Common Correlations In HSTS Transwomen & Gay Men

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on July 2, 2018

female_scientistIn learning about correlations between various behaviors and characteristics between exclusively androphilic transwomen and gay men, we may learn things that point to etiological factors that effect both.  An interesting correlation is that both gay men and androphilic transwomen, both populations exhibit the now famous Fraternal Birth Order Effect (FBOE) in which they have more older brothers than straight men.  That is to say, that the more boys that a given mother gives birth to, the higher the chances of a boy being androphilic, either gay or trans.  The FBOE strongly supports a biological etiology for androphilia in males.

fobeBut the really interesting thing about this effect is that it is stronger for androphilic transwomen than it is for gay men.  This opens up some interesting avenues of research.  Does this effect also mean that there is a correlation within the gay male population between meansures of femininity and the FBOE?  What about other characteristics that are more common in androphilic transwomen than in gay men?

The picture of androphilic transwomen is that of early and notable gender atypical behavior, hypomasculine appearance (even before medical intervention) and near universal preference for anal receptive sexuality, “bottom” as its called in the modern Western gay community.  Many gay men are just the opposite, preferring to “top” other gay men.  So, is there are a correlation between prefered anal sex role and FBOE, childhood gender atypical behavior, or hypomasculine appearance?  Are tops more like straight men in less FBOE, less gender atypicality, and more masculine appearance?  Conversely, are bottoms more like transwomen?

In the Wienrich paper they found a correlation between childhood gender atypicality and a preference for being a bottom,

“The connections between childhood gender nonconformity (assessed by the Freund Feminine Gender Identity Scale, or FGI) and adult genitoerotic role (assessed by a sex history) were examined. … Although other workers have cautioned against assuming a priori that childhood gender role is inherently related to adult preferences for particular sexual acts, our data suggest that there is at least a statistical association between these two concepts. In particular, the FGI (and many of its factors and items) are significantly associated with preferences for receptive anal intercourse and, less clearly, with oral-anal contact — but not with oral-genital intercourse or insertive anal intercourse. … The data also suggest that in sex research involving homosexual men, the correct genitoerotic role distinction is not insertive vs. receptive behaviors, or even insertive vs. receptive anal intercourse, but receptive anal intercourse vs. all other behaviors.”

Thus, like transwomen, bottoms are more likely to have been gender atypical than tops.

In Moskowitz, they found that physical traits, relative masculinity, was correlated with sex role,

“We surveyed 429 men engaging in same-sex anal intercourse to investigate the degree to which anal penetrative self-identity was concordant with actual penetrative behavior. Additionally, the roles of masculinity and physical body traits (e.g., penis size, muscularity, height, hairiness, and weight) were tested as correlates of anal penetrative identity and identity-behavior concordance. … Generally, tops reported larger penises than bottoms. They also reported being comparatively more masculine than bottoms. … Our study suggests that the correlates of gay men’s sexual self-labels may depend on objective traits in addition to the subjective pleasure associated with receptive or insertive anal intercourse.”

Thus, bottoms were more physically hypomasculine, just like androphilic transwomen.

In the Wampold paper he explores the correlation between sex role and FBOE,

“Bottoms had a significantly greater mean number of older brothers than did Not-Bottoms. … Thus, late fraternal birth order was correlated with receptive anal-erotic behavior among MSM.”

This same effect was found by Swift-Gallant,

“Only gay men with a bottom anal sex role showed evidence of a fraternal birth order effect. … These results suggest that the fraternal birth order effect may apply to a subset of gay men who have a bottom anal sex role preference and that this subgroup is more gender-nonconforming. “

Thus, we’ve come full circle.  There is evidence for a multivariate cluster of indicia in a subset of gay men that would appear to be very much like androphilic transwomen save for one behavior, social transition to being transwomen.  The question we then need ask, is this difference between tops and bottoms dimensional or taxonic.  It sure looks taxonic to me.  The next question is the difference between bottom gay men and androphilic transwomen dimensional or taxonic?  I’m betting it’s dimensional.

If this is the case, what makes the difference between bottom gay men and androphilic transwomen?  We have strong hints that it is cultural.  There are cultures where feminine androphilic males are granted greater latitude to express their native femininity and not be coerced into hiding in the closet, or attempting to pretend to be ‘straight acting – straight looking’ gay men like ours does.  Assuming this to be the case, as our Western society is becoming less transphobic and misogynist, we should see more young gender atypical androphilic males persisting and chosing social transition as transwomen.

Further Reading:

Essay on cross cultural expression of male androphilia

Essay on the Fraternal Birth Order Effect

References:

Blanchard, R., “Fraternal Birth Order, Family Size, and Male Homosexuality: Meta-Analysis of Studies Spanning 25 Years”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (2017)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-017-1007-4

Weinrich, et al., “Effects of recalled childhood gender nonconformity on adult genitoerotic role and AIDS exposure” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1992)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01542256

Moskowitz, et al., “The Influence of Physical Body Traits and Masculinity on Anal Sex Roles in Gay and Bisexual Men”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (2011)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-011-9754-0

Wampold, C., “The Association Between Fraternal Birth Order and Anal-Erotic Roles of Men Who Have Sex with Men”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (2018)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-018-1237-0

Swift-Gallant, A. et al., “Gender Nonconformity and Birth Order in Relation to Anal Sex Role Among Gay Men” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0980-y

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J. Michael Bailey Video Interview

Posted in Film Review, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on November 19, 2017

Kay Brown 2010Excepting Blanchard himself, no one has been more misunderstood nor falsely vilified than J. Michael Bailey, Ph.D.  The conservatives have lambasted him for researching sexual orientation.  Bisexuals have lambasted him for showing that true bisexuality in men is actually quite rare.  Gay people have maligned him for his philosophical stance that if it is “OK” for parents to use genetic screening or manipulation to effect a non-critical trait such as eye or hair color, then it is equality “OK” to select for the equally non-critical trait of sexual orientation  (meaning that Bailey sees gay or straight as equally valuable and acceptable outcomes in children), falsely accusing Bailey of supporting anti-gay genocide (ummmm… no… he equally supported chosing FOR being gay… as they were morally the same).  But it is his authorship of a book that only incidentally covered Blanchard’s research on the Two Type MTF transsexual taxonomy that got his name on the uninformed LGBT communities black list.

TMWWBQ CoverBailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen is primarily about male androphilia and its deep connection to gender atypicality, to male femininity.  But, in order to explain that connection, he needed to show that autogynephilic transwomen were NOT in that taxon.  Cue that autogynephilic transwomen’s backlash !

So, let’s hear Bailey in his own words:

 

Further Reading:

Book Review: The Man Who Would Be Queen

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Blood Lines

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on October 17, 2017

Icritical-thinkingA recent study regarding cross-sex blood transfusions and subsequent mortality may have implications for Blanchard’s immune factor Fraternal Birth Order Effect etiology hypothesis.  In the study, they found that when blood from a previously pregnant woman is transfused in men, their subsequent mortality is increased compared to women who are transfused.  Blood from women who had never been pregnant did not increase men’s mortality.  The hypothesis is that when women are pregnant with a male child, immune factors are created against “males” that can be transfused into men and cause iatrogenic harm.  Note the similarity with the immune factor Fraternal Birth Order Effect hypothesis.

To remind my reader.  The Fraternal Birth Order Effect is the now well established fact that androphilic males (both gay and transsexual) have more older brothers than sisters.  That is to say, that the odds that a given male baby will be androphilic increases with each male child that their mother had carried previously.  This is a cumulative effect.

Further research is called for in this new case of transfusion induced mortality connection, of course.  But this suggests a new wrinkle to the immune factor hypothesis.  Could the issue of immune factor mediation for the Fraternal Birth Order Effect be one of increased fetal mortality for heterosexual males rather than immune factors interfering with virilization?  This too should be researched.  If this hypothesis is true, the mothers of gay men would have higher “chemical” pregnancies that did not become clinical pregnancies than mothers of only heterosexual men.

Further Reading:

Essay on Fraternal Birth Order Effect

“Blood Boundaries: Should Transfusions Be Matched by Sex? A new study raises questions about potential dangers” By Karen Weintraub, Scientific American (2017)

References:

Camila Caram-Deelder, Aukje L. Kreuger, Dorothea Evers, et al, “Association of Blood Transfusion From Female Donors With and Without a History of Pregnancy With Mortality Among Male and Female Transfusion Recipients” JAMA (2017)
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2657377

Malvina N. Skorska, Ray Blanchard, Doug P. VanderLaan, Kenneth J. Zucker, Anthony F. Bogaert, “Gay Male Only-Children: Evidence for Low Birth Weight and High Maternal Miscarriage Rates” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2016)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-016-0829-9

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Brain Maps…

Posted in Brain Sex, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on September 19, 2017

phrenologyOr Searching for the Lost Continent of Atlantis

A recently popular counter argument to evidence of the two type taxonomy that arises in the transgender communities is that transsexuals brains have cross-sexed maps of the body.  It sounds so reasonable doesn’t it?  That is to say, if our bodies are sexually dimorphic with respect to genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics, shouldn’t our brains be as well?  And if the sexes have sexually dimorphic brain mapping of those body parts, could it not be that transsexuals have been “cross-wired”?  And further, couldn’t that explain all transsexuals and maybe even non-gender-dysphoric transgender people?

Trusting “truthiness” gut feelings is how we form false beliefs.  We need to look at this issue objectively, both open-mindedly to see if true, and skeptically to find the flaws in this hypothesis to prove it wrong if it is wrong.  So let’s look at the evidence shall we?

First, this idea seems to have cropped up BEFORE any supporting evidence.  Thus, it may be that when this idea is being explored, it will be subject to strong confirmation bias.  I’ve already written about such an incident in a previous essay when, ten years ago, Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran tried to pass off experimentally and statistically flawed data to support this hypothesis by comparing the experience of phantom limb sensations of a small group of control men who had penectomies with post-op MTF transwomen.  The study was roundly and rightly criticized by Anne Lawrence for not showing what it purported to show.  When writing about it, I discussed the theoretical objections to the notion of sexually dimorphic neural maps of the genitalia in the brain,

“First and foremost of which is that the genitalia are not really all that different in quality… and only superficially different in quantity.  Nearly each feature of the external and even of some of the internal structures are homologous.  That is, for each feature found in a male, there is a feature that matches it in the female, which is only different in degree, not in kind.  The most obvious example is the glans of the penis is homologous with the glans of the clitoris.  Inside of the penis, and down into its root inside of the body, is spongy tissue that expands when blood pressure fills it with blood.  Inside of the clitoris and down into its root inside of the body, is spongy tissue that expands when blood pressure fills it with blood.  Quite literally, a penis is a very large clitoris; And a clitoris is a very small penis.  Oh there are differences in how the urethra is routed, but even there, they start in the same place.  In men there are two glands called the Cowper’s, which produce a clear fluid that aids in lubrication during sex.  In women there are two glands called the Bartholin’s which produce a clear fluid that aids in lubrication during sex.  Why are they called two different names?  Finally, the scrotal sac is the same tissue as the labia majora, but have fused together.  Thus, the two sexes, which seem so different to a naive observer, are really very nearly the same to a student of anatomy.  So, given that the two are really very nearly the same, shouldn’t the neural maps be the same?”

I stand by my objections with regard to genitalia being sexually dimorphically represented in the brain.  But could there be other areas that are sexually dimorphically represented in the brain?  There could be, in fact… there SHOULD be.  To be specific, those areas of the body which are not homologous between the sexes should be expressed non-homologously in the brain.  Specifically, the uterus and fallopian tubes.  Further, these areas of female anatomy are not served by the pudendal nerves like the genitalia so may experience quite different representation in the brain.

Consider also the phenomena of neural atrophy.  If the brain is not stimulated by external events… for example someone born blind, the portion of the brain not stimulated does not fully develop while it may also be “repurposed” for another function.  That is to say, it is remapped and recruited by neurologically nearby functions.  So, we would expect to find sexually dimorphic maps of the somatic sensation processing functions associated with organs which are non-homologous.

However, under this analysis, we would NOT expect to find a section of a male-to-female transsexual’s brain waiting for input from non-existent non-homologous female anatomy!  That is the equivalent of searching for the Lost Continent of Atlantis.  You can put it one your paper map of the globe, but that won’t mean that you can find it on the real earth.  It sank into mythology a long time ago.

So, can there be sexually dimorphic brain development involving somatic maps where the opposite happens?  That is, can the brain fail to develop a map for a somatically sexually dimorphic feature that does exist?  This might be possible in theory.

Consider breast tissue.  This is superficially sexually dimorphic after puberty, but largely homologous.  But we have evidence from studies in mice that certain nerves leading to the milk glands begin to form in both sexes, but later atrophy in males in utero.  I haven’t been able to find data on humans regarding the same phenomena.  Mice, being rodents, are close cousins of primates, and thus humans.  But evolution does not always conserve every detail.  So we may or may not have the same phenomena.  However, lets for the moment entertain such a notion.  This would suggest that males would fail to develop brain functions that respond to the sensation of milk gland fullness, fail to develop the needed sensory map for the signals from an infant needing to nurse, and fail to send the needed signals back from other unconscious functions to “let down” the milk to an awaiting baby.  This let down signal is triggered by the sight, sound, and feel of a baby wanting to nurse.  It is thought that originally, only the sensations on the nipple bring about ‘let down’, but soon a mother learns by association the sight and sounds (baby hunger cry) that precede nursing.  It is theoretically possible that we could find the location of this somatic sensorium map and how it feeds the let down function in the human brain and see if it is a) sexually dimorphic and b) anomalous in transsexuals.

body2bmapping2bon2bthe2bbrain2b_new2bscientist2bhomunculusIt is also possible, though I’m not totally convinced, that the maps that allow one to experience touch on the nipples as erotic are also sexually dimorphic.  Interestingly we have discovered that the neural map on the neocortex between the genitalia and the nipples are contiguous and overlapping.  But it turns out, that the very same areas also map for the penis and nipples in males.  Thus, the maps are all in the same place on the sensory cortex.  Both men and women have reported that nipple simulation adds to sexual arousal.  This suggests that this is NOT very sexually dimorphic and is homologous between the sexes.

However, hypothesis were meant to be tested and there is a new paper from Case, et al. that deals with FtM transmen and the possibility of anomalous neurological findings regarding somatic representation.

But before I discus that aspect of the study, I have to share a pet peeve of mine that this paper is guilty of.  It peeves me when I see paper after paper by authors making reference to earlier papers that have clearly been shown to not support a given thesis, especially if those earlier refuted papers are their own.  For example, Swaab’s later papers keep referencing his earlier one regarding transsexuals and BSTc as though that study still had any validity regarding transsexual etiology.  As a reminder, it was Swaab himself that proved it didn’t… but you would never know that from his later papers which keep referring to it as though it did.  In this new paper that also includes Ramachandran as a co-author it references his earlier paper regarding phantom penises as though it supported the notion that MTF transwomen experience fewer of them than control men with penectomies.  But as I mentioned earlier, Lawrence demolished that paper showing that it showed no such thing, not passing even the simplest statistical ‘sniff test’ while I showed not only theoretical problems with the notion but that his purported controls did not qualify as such.  I can forgive not having read my blog, but not of ignoring Lawrence’s reply published in the same journal as the original paper.  My pet peeve is that authors of papers, when they make these references without also referencing those later papers that cast their conclusions into doubt, are guilty of the worst sin of bad science, cherry picking.

Further, the Case paper references xenomelia and observes that this may be similar to transgender, but ascribes it to somatic mapping issues while failing to note that we have another name for xenomelia, “apotemnophilia”, the erotic desire to be an amputee and how that desire arises out of an Erotic Target Location Error (ETLE) for the primary erotic target of amputees.  The authors thus sweep the well documented erotic motivations of both amputation “wannabees” and of autogynephilic transwomen under the rug in order to further their thesis of transgender as a brain mapping issue alone.

But for the moment, lets put these transgressions aside and look at the actual study.  Actually… not much to say about it.  They noted that FtM’s seem to have a reduced somatic awareness of their pre-top-surgery chests as shown by functional brain scans.  And although the authors offer a nod to the notion that their higher level conscious aversion to their breasts, i.e. somatic gender dysphoria, might mean that they repress awareness of touch sensations that announced that they have breasts, they bend over backwards to posit that the direction of causality is reversed.

Ummm… No.

That would mean that non-transmen would also have to have less awareness of their chests… and that has never been noted to happen.

All in all, this paper has interesting details on how psychophysical experiments can be conducted using brain scanning, a topic that is very much of interest to me as one whose career has been in applied psychophysics.  It also discloses sexually dimorphic differences in white matter distribution in parts of the brain in which the FtM subjects differed from female controls, thus adding to the growing pool of data that show that gynephilic transmen are, like androphilic transwomen, gender atypical in brain development.  But it does not show any convincing data for a somato-sensory brain map issue as being causitive of transsexuality.

Further Reading:

Essay on phantom penises

Essay on xenomelia / apotemnophilia and its relationship to autogynephilia

References:

Case, et al., “Altered White Matter and Sensory Response to Bodily Sensation in Female-to-Male Transgender Individuals” (2017) Archives of Sexual Behavior
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-016-0850-z

 

Comments Off on Brain Maps…

Bibliography

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on August 17, 2017

female_scientistThis is a selected bibliography of references from On the Science of Changing Sex.  Not all of the papers that I have referenced in my essays are here, only those that I feel are the most important for those who wish to come up to a minimal level of literacy on the science that conclusively tests the two type taxonomy hypothesis.  Be cautious of reading only the abstracts of papers behind paywalls.  The abstract may not completely or even accurately describe the data or its import in supporting or refuting a given hypothesis.  Links to essays that provide further analysis of the papers are provided.  You may also wish to read an annotated bibliography, that comments on many of the references also included here, written in 2004 by a young transwoman:

http://www.transkids.us/biblio.html

Incidence rate of Post-Transitioned Transsexual/Transgender:

Benjamin Cerf Harris, “Likely Transgender Individuals in U.S. Federal Administrative Records and the 2010 Census”
http://www.census.gov/srd/carra/15_03_Likely_Transgender_Individuals_in_ARs_and_2010Census.pdf

transmapThis study shows that there are only 90,000 transfolk who have socially transitioned in the United States out of 300 million people.  This is important because when the public hears “transgender” they think “post-transition”.  Yet, in recent surveys, 1.4 million people “identify” as “transgender”, which means that the public perception of who is “transgender” and who identifies as “transgender” is off by a factor of 15X:  The New Math

SocietySpeaking of incidence rates, there is a correlation between the percentage of the two types of transwomen transitioning and a culture’s level of individualism.  The “AngloSphere”, (e.g. United States, Canada, U.K. Australia, etc.) is one of the most individualist culture in the world and has the greatest percentage of gynephilic/autogynephilic transwomen.  Better the Second Time Around

Anne A. Lawrence (2010), “Societal Individualism Predicts Prevalence of Nonhomosexual Orientation in Male-to-Female Transsexualism”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/x556338354658m3w/

Anne A. Lawrence (2013), “More Evidence that Societal Individualism Predicts Prevalence of Nonhomosexual Orientation in Male-to-Female Transsexualism”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-013-0083-3#page-1

Two Type Taxonomy

For an excellent overview on the taxonomy, objections, and critique of those objections one may start with Anne Lawrence:

Lawrence, A., “Autogynephilia and the Typology of Male-to-Female Transsexualism: Concepts and Controversies”, European Psychologist, 22, 39-54. (2017)
http://www.annelawrence.com/autogynephilia_&_MtF_typology.html

Norman Fisk, M.D. wrote this next paper that changed the way that the medical community treated Male-To-Female (MTF) transsexuality.  Previously, in recognition that there were in fact two types of transsexuals / transgender, one that was autogynephilic, in the same etiological taxon as transvestites and one that was exclusively androphilic and appeared to be in the same etiological taxon as feminine gay men, the clinicians attempted to “gate-keep” the autogynephilic type from receiving services, leading to extensive misrepresentations by the autogynephilic type that continues today.  This paper proposed that they should both be treated similarly under the new unitary diagnosis of “gender dysphoria”, not as a replacement for the taxonomy, but in recognition that both types were equally in need of palliative medical interventions:

Fisk, N., “Editorial: Gender dysphoria syndrome–the conceptualization that liberalizes indications for total gender reorientation and implies a broadly based multi-dimensional rehabilitative regimen.” (1974) Western Journal of Medicine
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1130142/

These next papers have data that supports the Two Type Taxonomy of MTF transsexual and transgender, most importantly, data showing a very strong correlation between sexual orientation and autogynephilia in which putatively exclusively androphilic transwomen report significantly less autogynephilia than non-androphilic transwomen.  They also show that age of social transition, childhood gender atypicality, physical appearance (passability), and brain structure & responses also correlate with the two types.  These studies collectively involve thousands of transwomen.

Two clinically discrete syndromes of transsexualism. Buhrich N, McConaghy N. British Journal of Psychiatry. 1978 Jul;133:73-6.  Abstract online

Two types of cross-gender identity. Freund K, Steiner BW, Chan S. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1982 Feb;11(1):49-63.  Abstract online

Typology of male-to-female transsexualism. Blanchard, Ray. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Vol 14(3) Jun 1985, 247-261.  Abstract online

Heterosexual and homosexual gender dysphoria. Blanchard, Ray; Clemmensen, Leonard H; Steiner, Betty W. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Vol 16(2) Apr 1987, 139-152.
Abstract online

Nonhomosexual gender dysphoria. Blanchard, Ray. Journal of Sex Research. Vol 24 1988, 188-193.  Abstract online

The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria. Blanchard, Ray. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease. Vol 177(10) Oct 1989, 616-623.  Abstract online

Nonmonotonic relation of autogynephilia and heterosexual attraction. Blanchard R. J Abnorm Psychol. 1992 May;101(2):271-6.  Abstract online

Varieties of autogynephilia and their relationship to gender dysphoria. Blanchard R. Arch Sex Behav. 1993 Jun;22(3):241-51.  Abstract online

Clinical observations and systematic studies of autogynephilia. Blanchard, Ray. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. Vol 17(4) Win 1991, 235-251.
Abstract online

C. D. Doorn, J. Poortinga and A. M. Verschoor, “Cross-gender identity in transvestites and male transsexuals” http://www.springerlink.com/content/u63p723776v57m11/

Transsexual subtypes : Clinical and theoretical significance Smith Yolanda L. S.; Van Goozen Stephanie H. M.; Kuiper A. J.; Cohen-Kettenis Peggy T.; Psychiatry research (Psychiatry res.) 2005, vol. 137, no3, pp. 151-160  Abstract online

Sex Reassignment : Predictors and Outcomes Of Treatment for Transsexuals / Yolanda Louise Susanne Smith – [S.l.] : [s.n.], 2002 – Tekst. – Proefschrift Universiteit Utrecht  https://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/429/inhoud.htm?sequence=15

Anne A. Lawrence, “Sexuality Before and After Male-to-Female Sex Reassignment Surgery” 2005  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-005-1793-y

A Further Assessment of Blanchard’s Typology of Homosexual versus Non-Homosexual or Autogynephilic Gender Dysphoria, Nuttbrock, et al. Archives of Sexual Behavior
http://www.springerlink.com/content/b48tkl425217331j/

passingtransClinicians have long noted differences in physical appearance of the two types in which the exclusively androphilic transwomen were significantly better at passing.  In one study in Canada, differences in height and body size were noted, but a study in the Netherlands failed to replicate this effect.  But when they evaluated physical appearance there was a significant effect:  Searching High and Low,  A Passing Moment

Ray Blanchard, Robert Dickey, Corey L. Jones, “Comparison of Height and Weight in Homosexual Versus Nonhomosexual Male Gender Dysphorics” http://www.springerlink.com/content/w318411nq4q7387u/

Lawrence, A., “Male-to-female transsexual subtypes: Sexual arousal with cross-dressing and physical measurements”
http://akikos-planet.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/files/maletofemale_transsexual_subtypes_sexual_arousal_with_crossdressing_and_physical_measurements_319320.pdf

Yolanda L.S. Smith, Stephanie H.M. van Goozen, A.J. Kuiper, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, “Transsexual subtypes: Clinical and theoretical significance”
http://akikos-planet.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/files/psychiatry_research__transsexual_subtypes_clinical_and_theoretical_significance.pdf

Tim C. van de Grift, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Thomas D. Steensma, Griet De Cuypere, Hertha Richter-Appelt, Ira R. H. Haraldsen, Rieky E. G. Dikmans, Susanne C. Cerwenka, , Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels, “Body Satisfaction and Physical Appearance in Gender Dysphoria” Archives of Sexual Behavior
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-015-0614-1

Research into perceived shifts of sexual orientation in transsexuals has revealed an important feature of the life arcs of non-exclusively androphilic transwomen which causes confusion and ‘noise’ in some studies when the researchers aren’t careful to sort on their primary (original) sexual orientation.  Non-exclusively androphilic transwomen often report that their sexual orientation shifted from primarily gynephilic to bisexual or even “exclusively” androphilic during social transition or soon after SRS.  However, research strongly suggests that this in effect of interpersonal autogynephilic ideation:  How Should I Your True Love Know?

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/content/pdf/10.1023%2FA%3A1018725518592

Matthias K. Auer, Johannes Fuss, Nina Hohne, Gunter K. Stalla, Caroline Sievers, “Transgender Transitioning and Change of Self-Reported Sexual Orientation”
http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0110016&representation=PDF

Anne A. Lawrence, “Sexuality Before and After Male-to-Female Sex Reassignment Surgery” 2005  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-005-1793-y

inah3Research on Transsexual Brains shows very strong support for the two type taxonomy in that exclusively androphilic transwomen and exclusively gynephilic transmen show shifts in sexually dimorphic brain structures and responses toward the opposite sex (toward their gender identity) BEFORE Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) while non-exclusively-androphilic transwomen do not.  It’s important to know that HRT causes such shifts and thus studies with subjects on HRT do not offer insight into the etiology of either type.  Brain Sex

Guillamon, A et al., “A Review of the Status of Brain Structure Research in Transsexualism” Arch Sex Behav (2016). doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0768-5

Spizzirri, G., et al., “Grey and white matter volumes either in treatment-naïve or hormone-treated transgender women: a voxel-based morphometry study” Nature Scientific Reports (2018). DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-17563-z

Dörner G, Rohde W, Schott G, Schnabl C., “On the LH response to oestrogen and LH-RH in transsexual men.” Experimental Clinical Endrocrinology (1983)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6317420

Dörner G., “Neuroendocrine response to estrogen and brain differentiation in heterosexuals, homosexuals, and transsexuals.” Archives of Sexual Behavior (1988)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3282489?dopt=Abstract

Dörner G, Rohde W, Seidel K, Haas W, Schott GS.”On the evocability of a positive oestrogen feedback action on LH secretion in transsexual men and women.” Endokrinology (1976)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1244197

Ivanka Savic, Stefan Arver, “Sex Dimorphism of the Brain in Male-to-Female Transsexuals”
http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/04/05/cercor.bhr032

Lajos Simon, Lajos R. Kozák, Viktória Simon, Pál Czobor, Zsolt Unoka, Ádám Szabó, Gábor Csukly, “Regional Grey Matter Structure Differences between Transsexuals and Healthy Controls—A Voxel Based Morphometry Study”
10.1371/journal.pone.0083947

Eileen Luders, et al., “Increased Cortical Thickness in Male-to-Female Transsexualism”
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, July 2011
http://dbm.neuro.uni-jena.de/pdf-files/Luders-JBBS11.pdf

Leire Zubiaurre-Elorza et al, “Cortical Thickness in Untreated Transsexuals”
Cerebral Cortex, August 2012
http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/08/30/cercor.bhs267.abstract

Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., Van Haren, N. E., Peper, J. S., Brans, R. G., Cahn, W., et al. (2006). “Changing your sex changes your brain: Influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure.” European Journal of Endocrinology, 155(Suppl. 1), S107-S114.
http://eje-online.org/cgi/content/full/155/suppl_1/S107

Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF. “A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity.” Brain. 2008
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/131/12/3132

Clinicians have been noting that transfolk are more likely to be autistic than the general population, especially Female-to-Male (FtM) transmen.  Interestingly, there is a difference in the autism-like behaviors between exclusively androphilic transwomen and gynephilic transwomen in which androphilic are identical to women and gynephilic identical to men.  Autistic Sky

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

Several clinicians have noted that there is a difference between exclusively androphilic transwomen and gynephilic transwomen in their sexual interaction with others.  These papers explore the correlation between being “avoidant”, that is, avoid the use of their pre-op genitalia, and sexual orientation / age of gender dysphoria onset.  I Know What Boys Like

S. Cerwenka, et al., “Sexual Behavior of Gender Dysphoric Individuals Before Gender-Confirming Interventions: A European Multicenter Study” (2014)

“Clinical Patterns Among Male Transsexual Candidates with Erotic Interest in Males”
Frank Leavitt, Ph.D., Jack C. Berger, M.D.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/fp15j71n57474k1l/

There is one paper that attempted to statistically test whether the two type topology was in fact taxonic.  The paper had serious methodological problems due to failure to properly sort truly exclusively androphilic transwomen from those who were in fact originally gynephilic but had experienced a perceived shift in sexual orientation.  Autogynephilic and Even More Autogynephilic

Jaimie F. Veale, “Evidence Against a Typology: A Taxometric Analysis of the Sexuality of Male-to-Female Transsexuals” Archives Sexual Behavior
DOI 10.1007/s10508-014-0275-5

Anne A. Lawrence, “Veale’s (2014) Critique of Blanchard’s Typology Was Invalid” Archive Sexual Behavior
DOI 10.1007/s10508-014-0383-2

Exclusive Androphilic Tranwomen

fobePapers on the Fraternal Birth Order Effect in androphilic males, both conventional gay men and transwomen strongly support the two type taxonomy and potentially an effect that differentiates androphilic transwomen from masculine gay men.  Exclusively androphilic transwomen, as a population, have more older brothers than non-exclusively-androphilic (gynephilic) transwomen and men in the general population.  While gay men also show this same effect, it is NOT as strong as it is in androphilic transwomen.

Blanchard, R., “Fraternal Birth Order, Family Size, and Male Homosexuality: Meta-Analysis of Studies Spanning 25 Years”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (2017),
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-017-1007-4

Blanchard, R., & Sheridan, P. M. (1992). “Sibship size, sibling sex ratio, birth order, and parental age in homosexual and nonhomosexual gender dysphorics.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 180, 40–47.

Blanchard, Bogaert, “Homosexuality in men and number of older brothers”
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/153/1/27?ijkey=e186877631aa1c47de8fd859310668c21bcd25ef&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

Anthony F. Bogaert, “Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation”
http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10771.full

Green, R. (2000). “Birth order and ratio of brothers to sisters in transsexuals. Psychological Medicine”, 30, 789–795.

Blanchard, R., Zucker, K., Cohen-Kettenis, P., Gooren, L., & Bailey, J. (1996). “Birth order and sibling sex ratio in two samples of Dutch gender-dysphoric homosexual males.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 25, 495–514.

Poasa, K. H., Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. J. (2004). “Birth order in transgendered males from Polynesia: A quantitative study of Samoan fa’afafine.” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 30, 13–23.

Cross cultural aspects of androphilic transgender behavior and identity:

Bailey, et al., “Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science”, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, doi: 10.1177/1529100616637616

Vanderlaan, et al., “Elevated Kin-Directed Altruism Emerges in Childhood and Is Linked to Feminine Gender Expression in Samoan Fa’afafine: A Retrospective Study” Archives of Sexual Behavior
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-016-0884-2

Vasey, P. et al., “What can the Samoan Fa’afafine Teach Us About the Western Concept of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood?”, (2007) Perspectives on Biology and Medicine,  http://muse.jhu.edu/article/222247

Vasey, P. “The Evolution of Male Androphilia” Personal Website:  http://people.uleth.ca/~paul.vasey/PLV/Evolution_Androphilia.html

Petterson, L. “Male Bisexuality In Samoa” (2012) University of Lethbridge Thesis  https://www.uleth.ca/dspace/bitstream/handle/10133/3745/PETTERSON_LANNA_MSC2015_THESIS.pdf

Autogynephilia

mtimbAnne Lawrence, M.D. solicited material from autogynephilic transwomen and performed an analysis of its content.  Her book, ironically entitled Men Trapped in Men’s Bodies – Naratives of Autogynephilic Transsexualism is the result.  It is an absolute must read for anyone who sincerely wishes to understand how autogynephilia is experienced in non-exclusively-androphilic transwomen.  Book Review

Dr. Lawrence has published other papers on autogynephilia which are also must reads:

“Autogynephilia: A paraphilic model of gender identity disorder.” Lawrence A. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy. 2004 Vol. 8 Numbers 1/2.  http://www.annelawrence.com/autogynephilia,_a_paraphilic_model_of_GID.pdf

“Becoming What We Love: Autogynephilic Transsexualism Conceptualized as an Expression of Romantic Love”, Lawrence A.  http://www.annelawrence.com/becoming_what_we_love.pdf

Papers on Autogynephilia in the general population:

Langstrom, et al., “Transvestic Fetishism in the General Population”  Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, (2011) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00926230590477934

Baur, E., et Al, “Paraphilic Sexual Interests & Sexually Coersive Behavior: A Population-Based Twin Study” Archives of Sexual Behavior:  DOI:10.1007/s10508-015-0674-2

Kevin J. Hsu, A. M. Rosenthal, J. Michael Bailey, “The Psychometric Structure of Items Assessing Autogynephilia”
Archives of Sexual Behavior, DOI 10.1007/s10508-014-0397-9

Papers on the correlation between autogynephilia and gynandromorphophilia:

K. J. Hsu, A. M. Rosenthal, D. I. Miller and J. M. Bailey, “Sexual Arousal Patterns of Autogynephilic Cross-dressing Men”
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308036975_Sexual_Arousal_Patterns_of_Autogynephilic_Male_Cross-Dressers

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”
http://d-miller.github.io/assets/HsuEtAl2015.pdf

Jaimie F. Veale, Dave E. Clarke and Terri C. Lomax, “Sexuality of Male-to-Female Transsexuals”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/bp2235t8261q23u3/

Anne A. Lawrence and J. Michael Bailey
Transsexual Groups in Veale et al. (2008) are “Autogynephilic” and “Even More Autogynephilic”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/u473w370g11vx758/

Jaimie F. Veale, David E. Clarke and Terri C. Lomax
Reply to Lawrence and Bailey (2008)
http://www.springerlink.com/content/cm2531l3m3148377/

Blanchard R, Collins PI., “Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8245926

Blanchard R., “The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia”
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a789560133

Gender Dysphoria in Adolescence and Childhood

Sumia et al., “Current and recalled childhood gender identity in community youth in comparison to referred adolescents seeking sex reassignment”, Journal of Adolescence
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197117300155

Vrouenraets, L. et al. “Perceptions of Sex, Gender, and Puberty Suppression: A Qualitative Analysis of Transgender Youth”
Archives of Sexual Behavior (2016). doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0764-9

Zucker KJ\, Wild J, Bradley SJ, Lowry CB., “Physical attractiveness of boys with gender identity disorder.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1993 Feb;22(1):23-36.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01552910

Stephanie A. Mcdermid, Kenneth J. Zucker, Susan J. Bradley, Dianne M. Maing, “Effects of Physical Appearance on Masculine Trait Ratings of Boys and Girls with Gender Identity Disorder” Archives of Sexual Behavior
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1018650401386

Sari R. Fridell, Kenneth J. Zucker, Susan J. Bradley, Dianne M. Maing, “Physical attractiveness of girls with gender identity disorder” Archives of Sexual Behavior
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02437905

Kristina R. Olson, Aidan C. Key, Nicholas R. Eaton, “Gender Cognition in Transgender Children”, Psychological Science

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”
http://ccp.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/01/06/1359104510378303

Sarah M. Burke, Willeke M. Menks, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Daniel T. Klink, Julie Bakker, “Click-Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions in Children and Adolescents with Gender Identity Disorder”  Archives of Sexual Behavior, DOI 10.1007/s10508-014-0278-2

Androphilia and Autoandrophilia in Transmen and Women

While not as well researched as the correlation between autogynephilia and gynephilia in transwomen and men, there is some regarding non-gynephilic transmen.  Autoandrophilia occurs in 0.4% to 0.5% of women in the general population (compared to autogynephilia in 2.8% to 4.5% of men).   Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

S. Colton Meier, Seth T. Pardo, Christine Labuski, Julia Babcock, “Measures of Clinical Health among Female-to-Male Transgender Persons as a Function of Sexual Orientation”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-012-0052-2

Walter Bockting, Autumn Benner and Eli Coleman, “Gay and Bisexual Identity Development Among Female-to-Male Transsexuals in North America: Emergence of a Transgender Sexuality”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/775x6m1p0j045313/

Eli Coleman, Walter O. Bockting, and Louis Gooren, “Homosexual and bisexual identity in sex-reassigned female-to-male transsexuals”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01552911

Robert Diekey and Judith Stephens, “Female-to-male transsexualism, heterosexual type: Two cases”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01541857

Dorothy Clare and Bryan Tully, “Transhomosexuality, or the Dissociation of Orientation and Sex Object Choice”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01541679

Meredith L. Chivers and J. Michael Bailey, “Sexual Orientation of Female-to-Male Transsexuals: A Comparison of Homosexual and Nonhomosexual Types”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1001915530479

Stefan Rowniak and Catherine Chesla, “Coming Out for a Third Time: Transmen, Sexual Orientation, and Identity”
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-012-0036-2

Robert J. Stoller, “Transvestism in Women”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/tj0lw18644n18g02/

Langstrom, et al., “Transvestic Fetishism in the General Population”  Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, (2011) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00926230590477934

Baur, E., et Al, “Paraphilic Sexual Interests & Sexually Coersive Behavior: A Population-Based Twin Study” Archives of Sexual Behavior:  DOI:10.1007/s10508-015-0674-2

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Coming of (r)age in Samoa…

Posted in Science Criticism, Transsexual Field Studies, Transsexual Theory by Kay Brown on June 20, 2017

critical-thinkingOr, The Fa’afafine in Context

It seems to me that research focused on the fa’afafine of Samoa has become all the rage of late, at least for those interested in feminine androphilic males / “homosexual MTF transgender” folk.  The interest has at its heart, the hope that it represents a culture that is closer to what we might have had before large-scale civilizations began, one closer to what humans may have evolved within.

First, Samoan culture is very collectivist.  Although we don’t have a formal Hofstede Individualism Index value for Samoa, most commentators I can find all agree that it would be very low, perhaps lower than just about any other on the planet.  They do everything in groups, traditionally even living together under one roof without walls.  Family and extended family are everything.  Thus, if we were to predict the ratio of androphilic vs. non-androphilic transwomen based upon the relationship between the Hofstede Individualism Index and the percentage of non-androphilic transwomen found by Lawrence, we would expect almost no non-androphilic transwomen.  And indeed, one never sees them mentioned in connection with Samoa.

In Samoa, there is almost no stigma attached to being a feminine male.  Feminine male children are not bullied.  Fa’afafine adults are not discriminated against in employment.  There is little to no stigma attached to masculine men finding Fa’afafine sexually attractive.  This is not to say that there isn’t any problems for them.  Christian missionaries and Western colonization has brought homophobic laws and attitudes.  But because there is little to no stigma attached, androphilic males are free to express as much or as little femininity as they find in themselves with little incentive to attempt to suppress it as occurs in many other cultures.

However, before anyone lauds the Samoan culture as being the transgender (or gay) paradise, consider one other factoid.  I can’t find any reference to any fa’afafine who is in a long-term relationship with a lover.  I’ve never seen any reference to their families celebrating a marriage to a man.  The fa’afafine may be called “in the manner of a woman” (as the term loosely translates), but they aren’t given that social status.  They are granted a status as what many anthropologists would call a “third gender”.  But that gender is not seen as equal to women in status and marital desirability.

fafafineFa’afafine are universally androphilic and have sex with masculine men.  They don’t have sex with each other because they are attracted to masculinity which is not especially abundant in fa’afafine.  But those episodes with masculine men are typically “one night stands”.  I can’t believe that they wouldn’t choose to have long-term romance in a committed relationship.  Although not well publicized, and not nearly as common as we might like, such long term relationships do exist between masculine men and androphilic transwomen in Western cultures.  So I must conclude that it is the Samoan culture, non-fa’afafine family members and others, that in effect prohibits or discourages such relationships.  I would like to be proven wrong on this… I really would.

An educated reader will perhaps recognize my quip of a title from Margaret Mead’s 1928 book.  They may also know of how she was attacked by Derek Freeman.  Maybe I’m just biased by my friendship with Alice Dreger, since I don’t believe a word Freeman says… but the episode does offer a cautionary tale regarding the potential changes that Christian missionaries have already brought to Samoa.  I’ll leave it at that, since those who are better acquainted with the controversy will know what I mean.

One of the interesting aspects of androphilia in males is the question of evolution, to wit, if genetics play a role, and there is strong evidence it does, than why hasn’t it been selected out of the human population?  How can a trait that confers a significant reproductive disadvantage be maintained in the gene pool, should that allele(s) be under very high anti-selection pressure?  One hypothesis is the “Kin Selection” effect in which androphilic males are indirectly “fit”, reproductively successful, because they increase the resources available for their near relatives.  Paul Vasey has been testing this idea in both Western gay men and fa’afafine.  Interestingly, it doesn’t appear to be true among Western gay men, but does appear to be true among fa’afafine who exhibit strong materterally supportive behaviors toward the children of their siblings.  The speculation is that something about the suppression, the crushing, of the natural femininity of androphilic males in Western nations also suppresses this materteral behavior.  I would suggest that we also look at Western androphilic transwomen, being careful to sort by the quality of familial relationships.

Since the culture is presupposed to be closer to that of our pre-civilization ancestors, the question of who the fa’afafine are sexually attracting may offer other insights into the early evolutionary selection pressures on masculine men, specifically the notion of competition for mating opportunities between women and feminine androphilic males.  Lanna Petterson explored this in a study published as her thesis (also published in journals) in which she presented images of faces, men, women, and very plain emojis on a computer screen, asking her subjects to evaluate and report how sexually attractive they found them.  The images were limited only to the faces.  They were composites that had been digitally modified to enhance their sexual dimorphism.  (Frankly, of the two images she included in the appendix of her thesis, I personally found them disturbing, seeming to be slipping over a cliff into the uncanny valley below.  I can’t but help thinking that the results may have been influenced in part by this.)  Unknown to her subjects, the response time latency was also recorded by the computer.  Earlier studies have shown that people tend to linger over images that they find erotically rewarding.  From this data, she comes to the conclusion that the men who are having sex with fa’afafine are “bisexual”.

Sigh… Looking at the data, as well as what we know from other studies of men who seek out transwomen (chasers), I have to seriously question this conclusion.  First, very much like what androphilic transwomen experience in the West, 65% of the men had never had a sexual encounter with a man and 75% had not within the past year.  As Dr. Richard Green wrote about the men who dated Western androphilic transwomen,

“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.”

For many of the masculine Samoan men in Petterson’s study, I believe would fit this description as well.  Another portion of the men I believe would likely fall into the category of gynandromorphophilic (GAMP).  From a wonderful study by Hsu, we know that such men tend to be autogynephilic as well.  Although Samoan autogynephilic men are not likely to transition to presenting as women, that does not mean that they won’t seek out their prefered external sexual partners, women and feminine males, to wit fa’afafine.

From personal experience and hints from clinician and sexologist comments (e.g. Stoller and Bailey, separately), Western androphilic transwomen avoid gynandromorphophiles. One of the hallmarks of gynandromorphophiles is that they prefer pre-op and “functional”, that is, willing to allow these men to touch their penis, as Stoller remarked, “… she considered anyone who was not interested in her penis as normal…”

From reading between the lines of Petterson’s thesis, it appears that she made the assumption that sexual role “flexibility” denoted greater bisexuality.  I would argue just the opposite, that it is a signifier of potential gynandromorphophilia.  Also, I would predict that such men would have a different and “disturbed” response time when presented with faces to evaluate due to their underlying erotic target location error proneness.  While it is true that people tend to linger over images that they find erotically rewarding, they also tend to have trouble responding quickly to associations that reside further away from each other in their personal experience (e.g. implicit bias testing).  Indeed, this issue is shown in the data… that those who are willing to perform fellatio on fa’afafine had longer response latency, even to the crude emojis.

A minority of the masculine men having sex with fa’afafine are also only having sex with other masculine men, but not women.  This would suggest masculine presentation / identity exclusive androphilia, not bisexuality.  Not all fa’afafine present as extremely feminine as adults – some are fairly conventionally masculine, as average gay men would be in the West.  It would appear to me that not all androphilic males in Samoa developed an identity as fa’afafine as a child and that they are having sex with each other and to at least some of the fa’afafine, perhaps those who are less hypomasculine?

Although Petterson rejected the hypothesis that her masculine male subjects included both primarily androphilic and gynephilic subjects based on statistical tests of her response time data for normal distribution.  I believe that the effect of there being three different populations masked this fact.

Although Samoa and the fa’afafine culture seem so different than that of the West, I believe that the feminine androphilic subcultures in the West, that of feminine gay men, drag, and feminine androphilic transsexuals and our experiences very much parallel each other in important ways and future research will bear this out.

Further Reading:

Essay on relationship between Hofstede Individualism Index and non-androphilic MTF transsexual transitions

Essay on cultural influence on androphilic male presenation

Essay on Gynandromorphophilia

References:

Vasey, P. et al., “What can the Samoan Fa’afafine Teach Us About the Western Concept of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood?”, (2007) Perspectives on Biology and Medicine,  http://muse.jhu.edu/article/222247

Vasey, P. “The Evolution of Male Androphilia” Personal Website:  http://people.uleth.ca/~paul.vasey/PLV/Evolution_Androphilia.html

Petterson, L. “Male Bisexuality In Samoa” (2012) University of Lethbridge Thesis  https://www.uleth.ca/dspace/bitstream/handle/10133/3745/PETTERSON_LANNA_MSC2015_THESIS.pdf

 

 

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