On the Science of Changing Sex


Posted in Transsexual Theory by Kay Brown on January 16, 2011

…on a hypothesis concerning bisexual  and asexual transsexuals.

androgynous faceIn the past, I’ve tried to keep from too much speculation, trying to describe and interpret the research into transsexuality.  But in this post, I wish to take a chance and speculate a bit, perhaps generate a hypothesis to test that speculation.

A bit of background:  Blanchard tested a hypothesis that there were only two types of transsexuals, rather than three or four as others had proposed.  The earlier researchers / commentators that had proposed that there were three basic types usually settled on Asexual, Homosexual, and Transvestite (Person and Oversey, Bentler, and even Green), though they didn’t always agree on the labels, nor on which group was the “real”  or “primary” transsexual.  Hirschfeld had used four types of people in general, not just for TS/TG folks;  Homosexual, Bisexual, Heterosexual, and Asexual.  Since this four grouping also would encompass the three grouping, it seemed prudent to start with four and see if there really were differences.  From this, Blanchard tested for autogynephilia and other characteristics, such as life arc (age of transition, level and quality of childhood gender atypicality, etc.).  From his study, he noted that three groups were very much alike in that the majority reported autogynephilia and had similar life arcs (statistically speaking) such as late transitioning, while one of the four was quite different, showing very, very low percentage reports of autogynephilia, greater childhood gender atypicality, and very early transitioning.  One group was “Homosexual” and the other was “Non-Homosexual”.  Thus, his data showed only two groups as being statistically separable, but with a non-statistically-significant (meaning, it could be noise in the sample) trend for the bisexual and asexual groups to report less transvestic autogynephilic individuals.  This was the state of things in the 1980’s and ’90s.

Then came the Nuttbrock study with many more subjects (N=571) in the late 2000’s.  The data exactly duplicated Blanchard’s study from twenty years previous.  And having enough subjects meant that the trend of having fewer bisexual and asexual individuals reporting transvestic autogynephilia (in this case, erotic arousal to cross-dressing) was shown to be statically valid, at least for bisexuals; There were so few (N=12) asexuals, that the trend might still be random noise, but when combined with Blanchard’s subjects, which reported about the same way, it gives us some additional confidence that it is real.  So, as I wrote earlier last year, we are now left with trying to generate new hypotheses to test that might explain this trend.

So, what is the trend?  Let’s use the Nuttbrock data:

Self-reported       Homosexual     Heterosexual    Bisexual   Asexual
Sexuality               (androphilic)   (gynephilic)
Number:                  (n=391)               (n=71)               (n=96)       (n=12)
Autogynephilia       23.0                     81.7                    67.7            66.7

And looking at age of transition:

Hormone Therapy      percentages                                              AGP
Adolescent(n=171) 91.8                 0.6                         7.6            14.0
Adult (n=242)           64.5               13.2                       22.2           42.6
None (n=158)            54.2               25.5                      20.2           59.5

And finally, we should add, from the Doorn study (N=31), that 85% of adult cross-dressers (TV/CD) reported erotic arousal to cross-dressing.  This number is vitally important, as it tells us the maximum number that will recognize and admit to such arousal.  Many researchers have looked into the issue of why less than 100% this group does report such arousal.  Those that don’t report ever having had such arousal, none-the-less report feeling the same exact type of satisfaction and most importantly, compulsive need, to cross-dress as those that do report such arousal… and in fact, the same type of feelings that those who found cross-dressing erotically arousing at one time, but no longer experience it as such.  For our purposes here, I think we can assume that they all experience autogynephilia in some form, in desire, if no longer such intense arousal.  That being so, we can note the amazing similarity to the percentage reporting AGP arousal found in the gynephilic transsexual group, who most resemble adult cross-dressers in life arc (up to but not including transition itself).

Here is where I am going to speculate, possibly rather wildly, but such is the nature of hypothesis generation.  If we assume that gynephilic transsexuals are all autogynephilic, and that we can take that 82% number as a baseline of how many autogynephilic transsexuals, regardless of self-reported sexuality, report that fact, we can use it as a means of making an estimate of how many autogynephilic transsexuals there are in a given sample:

Self-reported       Homosexual     Heterosexual    Bisexual   Asexual
Sexuality               (androphilic)   (gynephilic)
Number:                  (n=391)               (n=71)               (n=96)       (n=12)
Autogynephilia       28.0%                  100%                 82.7%         81.6%

And looking at percentage at age of transition again:

Hormone Therapy                                                                          AGP
Adolescent(n=171) 91.8                 0.6                         7.6            17.1
Adult (n=242)           64.5               13.2                       22.2           52.1
None (n=158)            54.2               25.5                      20.2           72.8

Note that we still have an interesting anomaly in that the estimated percentage of adolescent “early” transitioners is still significantly fewer autogynephilic individuals than would be predicted controlling for sexuality from the total study.  And, as expected, most of those who have not started HRT, would be autogynephilic.

So, if this estimation is correct, we are left with a question, why do fewer bisexual and asexual individuals report autogynephilia?  Several possible hypotheses come to mind:

1)  Fewer actual autogynphilic individuals who are bisexual and asexual recognize and admit to autogynephilia.

2)  Fewer self-reported bisexual and asexual individuals are autogynephilic (at least of the transvestic type).

3)  Some combination of the above two hypotheses will be found.

The safer bet is always to look at a combination of reasons, since real human lives are messy… but, if I had to take a guess regarding the bisexual group, I will go with more of the second hypothesis, as it fits with what we know of human sexuality in general, that many male-bodied people who self-report as bisexual do so because they honestly report that at sometime in their lives, they had some sexual experience(s) with women, but that their primary sexual orientation is androphilic.  If our estimate is correct, then 17.3% of the bisexual group is primarily androphilic.  I’d also bet that more of them transitioned at a younger age, than those who were autogynphilic (and experience pseudo-androphilia).  The asexual group is more of a question mark, but my guess would be the same, out of the twelve individuals in this study who report being asexual, two of them are primarily androphilic, but find their libido is low at the present time, or they are afraid of being emotionally hurt.

So, how do we test this hypothesis?

Addendum 1/22/2012:

I thought of a way to test this hypothesis using the reclassification from ‘homosexual’ to ‘non-homosexual’ that Lawrence performed on the Smith data set.  Originally, Smith et al. dichotomously sorted, by self-reported sexuality into “homosexual” and “heterosexual” (based on natal sex).  Lawrence then reviewed that original sort and resorted based on sexual history with natal females, as indicated by prior marriage to women.  That is, she looked at those who self-reported being exclusively androphilic and, in essence, assigned an implied assessment of being ‘bisexual’, based on their actual history combined with their stated sexual orientation.  She noted that the original ‘heterosexual’ and her resorted group had similar self-reported levels of autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing.  However, when I look at the data, I note that though the are similar, they are not identical:

Percentage Reporting Cross-dressing Arousing
Self-Identified Heterosexual:  63%
Resorted Behavioral “Bisexual”: 52%

If we examine this as a ratio of Bisexual to Heterosexual self-report of autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing we get 0.83.  The Nuttbrock ratio of Bisexual to Heterosexual self-reported arousal is 0.83.  They are identical!!!  Thus, this analysis supports the first, rather than the second, hypothesis, since in the Lawrence re-designated Bisexual group, we know that they are in fact non-HSTS because of their sexual history.  So, my original guess was wrong.  Nuttbrock’s Bisexual Group does not include etiologically homosexual transsexuals.

If the ratio of the two groups’ percentage reporting is the same, why aren’t the raw percentages?  Nuttbrock’s data was gathered in the open community, not in a clinical setting, as was the Smith data.  This may have led to more honesty, less social desirability bias.  The bias works equally on both self-reported heterosexual and bisexual groups, so that the ratio remains the same.

So why then do bisexual transsexuals report lower amounts of erotic arousal to cross-dressing?  Perhaps they experience other forms of autogynephilic arousal, as reported by Blanchard?  In any case, the Smith data set adds yet more evidence to the two type taxonomy, as already noted, but also adds to the observation that ‘bisexual’ transsexuals report slightly less arousal to cross-dressing than do ‘heterosexual’ transsexuals.

This area needs further research.

Addendum 1/23/2012

Lawrence resorted 23 out of 61 self-reported ‘homosexual’ transsexuals as not being exclusively so (23/61=38%).  If this percentage is similar, minus those who already sorted themselves as ‘bisexual’,  in the Nuttbrock data set, and that they reported erotic cross-dressing is the same percentage as Nuttbrock’s ‘bisexual’ group, then we can explain the reported figure of 23% of the androphilic group experiencing cross-dressing to be autogynephilically arousing.  That is to say, that about 33% of the “androphilic” group are not actually exclusively so.  Note that most of these started HRT as adults or are not on HRT.  This exercise reinforces the need for careful sorting based on actual sexual history, not simply by self-report.


A Further Assessment of Blanchard’s Typology of Homosexual versus Non-Homosexual or Autogynephilic Gender Dysphoria, Nuttbrock, et al. Archives of Sexual Behavior



Fun Reading:

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The Dutch Connection

Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy by Kay Brown on December 24, 2010

androgynous faceAge of Onset vs. Sexuality

While the TS/TG world rails against even being included in the DSM, a far more interesting scientific debate regarding transsexual typology is being played out in the DSM-V committee and associated scientific circles.  On the one hand is the North American centered contingent who favors continued use of sexual orientation as specifiers/subtypes, and the Netherlands contingent who favors the use of age of onset of “gender incongruent behavior or feelings”.  The Netherlands group summarizes their argument thus:

“Considering the strong resistance against sexuality related specifiers, and the relative difficulty accessing sexual orientation in individuals pursuing hormonal and surgical interventions to change physical sex characteristics, it should be investigated whether other potentially relevant specifiers (e.g., onset age) are more appropriate.”

While the North American position is best summarized by Lawrence:

“Typologies based on sexual orientation, however, employ subtypes that are less ambiguous and better suited to objective confirmation and that offer more concise, comprehensive clinical description.  Typologies based on sexual orientation are also superior in their ability to predict treatment-related outcomes and comorbid psychopathology and to facilitate research. Commonly expressed objections to typologies based on sexual orientation are unpersuasive when examined closely”

The question for me is… what is really motivating the Netherlands position?  Do they believe that sexuality has nothing to do with typology?  Have they themselves ( in the Smith paper) not shown that Blanchard’s typology of Homosexual vs. Non-Homosexual (AGP) transsexuality is valid?  This seeming contradiction begs exploration. The story actually starts decades ago with the first attempts at creating meaningful typologies.  I won’t go into historical details, as that has been done by better historians than I, most especially Lawrence.  It is only important that we focus on the thread of ideas that led to the “Early vs. Late Onset” typology. In the ’60s and ’70s, a number of sexologists proposed typologies based upon a division between “true” transsexuals and “pseudo” transsexuals, or a softened version using the terms, “primary” vs. “secondary”.  The problem was, that different researchers had different ideas as to just what constellation of behaviors indicated which was primary and which secondary.  But one idea did seem to be held in common, the notion that those gender dysphoric individuals who had always been such, and knew it, were different than those who only slowly became gender dysphoric during late adolescence or adulthood.  This would seem to be common-sensical. This then, is the basis of the school of thought that currently predominates in the Netherlands. However, they have replaced the loaded language, softening it still further by replacing “primary” with “early onset” and “secondary” with “late onset”.  It is important to understand that this is in regards to self-reported private awareness, not at what age transition occurs. But… Is it etiologically meaningful?  Or even clinically meaningful?  Is there even a meaningful difference between age of onset and sexuality? Consider the 1994 Netherlands, Doorn study. Our first question, is Early Onset Transsexual (EOT) and Late Onset Transsexual (LOT), merely new names for the same thing as HSTS vs. Non-HSTS?  After all, we know from many studies that most HSTS transition before age 25, with 40% having transitioned as teens:

Type:                                                            EOT    LOT     TV
N=                                                         103       52      31
Imagined partner in adolescence:
Heterosexual male                               63.0   37.3     3.0
Bisexual/changing                                18.0   19.6   15.2
Heterosexual woman                             9.0   17.6   60.6
No image                                                   10.0   25.5   21.2
Non-androphilic                                    37.0   62.7   97.0
Cross-dressing arousing                     26.0   42.2   84.8

Interestingly, as the authors noted, Person and Oversey’s definition of “primary” transsexual of always having had a livelong conviction of being the opposite sex as “asexual” is clearly wrong, and Stoller’s opinion correct; Most transsexuals showing a lifelong conviction of being the opposite sex are homosexual and not asexual.  Thus, we see a high correlation with exclusive androphilia and  being classified as an “early onset” transsexual.  While there is an equally high correlation with being non-exclusively-androphilic (non-homosexual) and being a “late onset” transsexual. So, it would seem that on first blush, that Early Onset Transsexual (EOT) vs. Late Onset Transsexual (LOT) and HSTS vs. Non-HSTS would have very high statistical correlations, but not perfectly.  So, the two competing typologies aren’t that different in practice, only in theory.

A theoretical point for the use of Early Onset is that those who experience such, cannot be originally motivated by autogynephilia, and thus must have had a feminine gender identity that later developed into fetishistic use of cross-dressing in some.  The authors make an assumption that autogynephilic arousal cannot exist before puberty, “Cross-dressing, however, in many transvestites starts before age 10, indicating that its original function is not fetishistic.” But, as has been shown, this simply is not true.  Such arousal does occur, and further, obvious penile arousal is not necessary for autogynephilic desire to be present and rewarding.  Thus, the age cut-off for early vs. late onset was based on a false premise.

If Blanchard’s original hypothesis that exclusively androphilic gender dysphoric MTF transsexuals are non-autogynephilic and non-exclusively-androphilic individuals are, then we would expect that there would be a high correlation with the number of individuals who reported autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing and the number who were not exclusively androphilic.  A casual examination certainly shows that to be the case and a mathematical examination shows that the three point correlation is 0.985403; so close to a perfect 1.0 as to essentially be so, given the rounding errors.  Thus, Blanchard’s hypothesis is confirmed.

This study also suggests something very interesting: the ratio of transvestites, who are predominately exclusively gynephilic, reporting that cross dressing is, or was at one time, sexually arousing is 85%.  This number is very similar to those numbers found in both Blanchard and Nuttbrock for exclusively gynephilic transsexuals.  This is again powerful evidence that we are looking at the same “essential” taxa in these groups, that is to say, that both of them are autogynephilic.  The TS groups, which include higher percentages of bisexual and asexual transsexuals, show lower reported arousal to cross-dressing (but not necessarily lower autogynephilic arousal, as this is not the only form of autogynephilic ideation) show similar reduced percentages as was found in both Blanchard and Nuttbrock.  Thus, this Doorn study shows essentially the same results, and may be added to the list of studies that confirm Blanchard’s hypothesis in nearly all respects. Although Doorn et al. have made a valiant effort to shoehorn the data to fit their hypothesis that early vs. late onset of gender dysphoria is an essential taxanomic distinction, the data actually supports just the opposite conclusion.  Sexual orientation, specifically exclusive androphilia, vs. non-exclusive-androphilia (and by extension, “homosexual” vs. “autogynephilic”, a la Blanchard) are far more salient signifiers, and likely matching etiologies.

Addedum 12/27/2010: I was curious to see if we turn the data around by 90° what would the percentage of each sexuality be:

Sexuality:                      Androphilic      Bisexual      Asexual   Gynephilic
N=                                              85                      29                  23                 18
Early Onset                            77%                  65%              43%             50%
Late Onset                              23%                   35%             57%             50%

So we see from this direction, that again, that report to have been exclusively  or even somewhat androphilic transsexuals are more likely to have been classified as “EOT” than the other sexualities.  That is to say, that androphilia correlates with early onset.

Addendum 12/1/2013:  The question of whether the two typologies are synonymous has been answered by a joint paper in which researchers in the Netherlands and North America use the two interchangeably.

Addendum 6/29/2014:  One of my faithful readers pointed out an interesting paper published in part by the Netherlands (Dr. Cohen-Kettenis) team that touched upon the above issue.  (Thanks.) Looking at just the data on the sexual orientation vs. “EOT” and “LOT” vs. sexual orientation of the MTF research population we see a similar pattern to Doorn’s data.  Interestingly, in this study, they understood that their subjects might not be reporting their sexual orientation accurately, so they include data on their clinician’s assessment of these subjects sexual orientation from their observations over the months and years that the subjects were in transition.  No surprise, these MTF transwomen had misrepresented their sexual orientation in the socially desirable direction for MTF transwomen, toward greater exclusive androphilia.

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%)

Using the clinician assessment, only 18 (23%) out of the 79 transwomen were exclusively androphilic, with 14 (78%) of them having been categorized as “early onset”, identical to the Doorn study.  Conversely, using clinician assessment, only 21 (34%) out of 61 non-exclusively androphilic transwomen were categorized as “early onset”.  If anything, this shows an even stronger signal than the Doorn study, that non-exclusively androphilic transwoman are likely to be categorized as “late onset”.

It’s interesting to note that while this study acknowledged the well-recognized fact that “late onset” transsexuals tend to misrepresent their sexual orientations, they failed to recognize that self-report of early childhood gender atypicality is also suspect.  Further, accurate self-report of early cross-dressing and gender dysphoria does not equate to early gender atypicality, as it can and often does result from childhood expression of autogynephilia.  Lawrence found in her 2005 survey that 76% of self-reported non-exclusively androphilic transwomen will describe themselves as having been feminine (gender atypical) as children, but only 25% self-reported that others would have thought so.  In future studies, I would like to see reliable data of parents or other caregivers reports on gendered behavior in addition to self report.  I strongly suspect that we will see an even stronger signal with respect to clinician assessed sexual orientation (especially before transition) and parental reports of childhood gender atypicality.

Addendum 8/17/2014

While reviewing data for another post, I realized that I had in an older post, data that supported my contention that exclusive androphilic MTF transkids reported being “early onset” at the same rates as the above referenced papers.  In the Tsoi study of transwomen in Singapore, which has been shown to have zero percentage of autogynephilic transsexuals, the following data was gathered:

Singapore HSTS Life Arcs
(Cumulative Percentages at Age Indicated)

Age:                                                             6    12   18     24 Total %
Start to feel like a girl                       27    74  99  100 100

Note the number 74% of this population that reported having recognized that they “feel like girls” by age 12.  Puberty occurs around age 12-14 in males… so this study shows that 74% exclusively androphilic MTF transsexuals report being “early onset” in this study.  But note that ALL of them feel that way by age 18.

So, three studies, one from the Netherlands, one from greater Europe, and one from Asia, showing 77%, 78%, and now 74% of exclusively androphilic transsexuals would be classified as “early onset”.  This is yet more data that shows that the concept of “early” vs. “late” is nearly synonomous with Blanchard’s “Homosexual” vs. “Autogynephilic” and that sexuality, exclusive androphilia vs autogynephilia is the actual taxonomic distinction.  Had the null hypothisis, that “early onset” did NOT correlate with exclusive androphilia… we would have seen widely diverging data.  Further, given that this last study shows that looking at a country’s transsexual population and testing their sexuality by ‘early’ vs. ‘late’ would have shows widely diverging data, as the Singapore study as zero “early onset” gynephiles… of course, they also have zero “late onset” gynephiles as well, so that’s not totally fair… but still, had “early” vs. “late” been a valid taxonomy, one would not have had this Singaporean result… as it is sexuality, not age of onset that varies from country to country in correlation with their Individuality vs. Collectivity.

Addendum 12/1/2015:

I found a Korean study that also lists the ages of becoming gender dysphoric.  Of 43 MTF transsexuals, all but one was exclusively androphilic and that one bisexual:

Gender dysphoric by age:
Preschool    Middleschool    Adult (18)
30%                83%                      100%

The median age was 10.9 +/- 4.1 for gender dysphoria.  The mean age for social transition was 19.7 +/- 1.2 years old, typical for transkids from other places in the world, including the United States.

Addendum 1/22/2019:

Yet more data published in 2019; this time from Germany where they too prefer the “early” vs. “late” distinction.  However, their cut line was at the age of majority of 18 years old.  Note that the very same pattern, nearly identical percentages were found.

N=40     Androphilic     Non-Androphilic
Early      10 (77%)             9 (33%)
Late         3 (23%)            18 (67%)

Addendum 1/24/2019:

In reviewing my blog entries today, I realized I had yet another study from 2014 that I had overlooked earlier, the Cerwenka paper:

N=201    Androphilic     Non-Androphilic
Early      54 (73%)             53 (40%)
Late        20 (27%)             78 (60%)

Oh look… it shows the same trend.  Imagine that.



Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis and Friedemann Pfäfflin, “The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults” http://www.springerlink.com/content/c54551hj463111j1/

Anne A. Lawrence, “Sexual Orientation versus Age of Onset as Bases for Typologies (Subtypes) for Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults” http://www.springerlink.com/content/7135712p31525871/

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

Timo O. Nieder, Melanie Herff, Susanne Cerwenka, Wilhelm F. Preuss, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Griet DeCuypere, Ira R. Hebold Haraldsen, and Hertha Richter-Appelt, “Age of Onset vs. Sexual Orientation in Male and Female Transsexuals” (2011)

TaeSuk Kim, et al., “Psychological Burdens are Associated with Young Male Transsexuals” (2006) DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2006.01525.x

Zavlin, D. et al., “Age-Related Differences for Male-to-Female Transgender Patients Undergoing Gender-Affirming Surgery”, Journal of Pediatric Surgery (2019)

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

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Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy by Kay Brown on November 4, 2010

critical-thinkingIn one of the most misunderstood of Blanchard’s papers, he and his colleagues, Clemmensen and Steiner, explored the likelihood and areas in which MTF transsexuals might selectively ‘color’ their presentation of their sexual and gendered behavior history.  Many people on both sides of the debate have assumed that Blanchard was making a judgment upon “non-homosexual” transsexuals, saying that they were more prone to lying than “homosexual” transsexuals.  Actually, the data says just the opposite, that neither group is more naturally inclined to such distortion, generally.  However, the data does say that the more an individual is inclined to color their responses to questionnaires in such a way as to present as more socially desirable, the more likely that they will answer questions regarding sexual history and gendered behavior is such a way as to increase the likelihood of being accepted for SRS.  Is that so shocking?  That ‘trannies’ might ‘enhance’ their chances of getting past the gate keepers? (Gasp!)

But there is more detail to the study, that is important to note;  While both AGP and androphilic transsexuals were just as likely to color and shade their history, the AGP  transsexuals did so along all eight of the study’s scales, while HSTS did it only on one of the scales.

But, before we get to that, I think we need to explore how we know this, how Blanchard, et al. determined this.  They sought correlations between their sexological scales and the Crowne-Marlow Social Desirability Scale.

The Crowne-Marlow scale is a set of 32 statements that are answered true or false for one’s self.  Each statement is scored with either a zero or a plus one, depending if the answer indicates a tendency to color one’s socially desired behaviors.  Thus, the scale goes from zero to thirty-two (0-32).  The statements are very clever in that each statement, if answered in the non-socially desirable fashion, would still not be indicative of any pathology, and in fact might indicate self-honesty.  For example, one of the statements reads, “I have never intensely disliked anyone.”  If one answers “true” this is a socially desirable answer, most saintly indeed.  However, how many of us can honestly answer that there has never been someone, some time, that pissed us off so badly, that we still hold an intense and personal hatred for them?  (I can think of several such individuals instantly.)  The statements are also chosen to be “graded” from not likely to be that good, to likely to be that good, in that some statements might be honestly answered in the socially desirable manner by many, if not most people, for example, “I would never think of letting someone else be punished for my wrongdoings.”

Thus, the Crowne-Marlow scale has the unusual property that an honest saint may give the same high score as a dishonest sociopath.  So, a high score in no way indicates that one is a liar per se.  In fact, the scale is nearly useless as an individual test.  It is only in groups, large groups can we use the scale to look for meaningful inferences, in either the mean scores or in the correlations with other scales.

In his chapter comparing various scales of social desirability Paulhus noted that:

Crowne and Marlowe (1964) reported a mean of 15.5 (s.d. = 4.4) in a sample of 300
college students. In a more recent study of 100 students, Paulhus (1984) reported means of 13.3 (s.d. = 4.3) and 15.5 (s.d. = 4.6) in anonymous and public disclosure conditions, respectively. In a sample of 503 students, Tanaka-Matsumi and Kameoka (1986) reported means of l4.0 and 12.3 for normal and depressed respondents, respectively. In a sample of 650 Peace Corps volunteers (90% college graduates), Fisher (1967) found means of 16.1 (s.d. = 6.8) and 16.4 (s.d. = 6.5) for males and females, respectively.

Thus, we see that Peace Corps volunteers, probably the closest sample that we will ever find to saintly people, give scores in the range of 16.1-16.4.  But, Paulhus found that college students gave mean scores of 13.3 in an anonymous situation and 15.5 when they knew that someone they knew would be reading their answers.  So, folks tend to ‘color’ their answers when they feel that they might be judged in some manner by their answers?  Not much surprise there!

Compare these scores to the mean scores of the two types of transsexuals in Blanchard’s study of 17.68 for the “heterosexual” (non-homosexual) and 20.02 for the “homosexual” transsexuals.  Given that the scores for female Peace Corps volunteers was only 16.4, do we really believe that these transsexuals were more saintly?  Are we surprised that these transsexuals would be assuming that their answers to the other eight scales would be used to judge them, possibly used to deny them essential medical services, that they might wish to color their responses?  Also, please note, as did Blanchard, that if anything, the HSTS group was more likely to color their answers than the non-hsts group.

It is in the correlations with the individual scores on the Crowne-Marlow scale and the scores on the other eight scales used in the study that we learn something really interesting about each group (taken verbatim from the paper):

Correlations of Demographic Variables and Questionnaire Measures with
Social Desirability Scale ~
–                                                                                      All                Hetero        Homo
Variable                                                                  r           p            r       p           r      p
Age                                                                        -.04       NS     -.13     NS      .23  NS
Education                                                             .01       NS     -.04    NS      .18   NS
Item: Felt like a woman                                  .30     .001    .29   .011     .26  .034
Item: Rather live as female                           .27     .002    .34   .003   .01  NS
Feminine Gender Identity Scale                 .35     .001     .37  .001    .16   NS
Modified Androphilia Scale                          .28     .001     .25  .022    .02  NS
Modified Gynephilia Scale                           -.30    .001   -.38   .001    .18   NS
Cross-Gender Fetishism Scale                    -.35    .001   -.48   .001    .08   NS
Item: Aroused by cross-dressing              -.29    .001   -.34   .003    .02   NS
Item: Masturbated cross-dressed             -.27   .002   -.34   .003    .06   NS

~The abbreviations Hetero and Homo refer to heterosexual and homosexual subjects.
Columns headed r are correlation coefficients; columns headed p are their associated one-tailed probabilities. The abbreviation NS means that the associated correlation coefficient was not statistically significant at the 0.05 level. (The smaller the number, the more “statistically significant; that is to say, that it is more likely to be “real” and not just chance.)

Looking at the two groups and correlations, one notices that on all eight of the sexualogical scales, for the “heterosexual” group the correlations are all statistically significant.  Further, the single highest correlation was on the Cross-Gender Fetishism Scale (a measure of autogynephilia) at -0.48.  For those familiar with psychological research and statistics, this number screams!  (No correlation would be 0.00 and perfect, one to one, correlation would be 1.00; so this number is half way between.)  That is a very high correlation telling us that this group, as a group, would like to color this scale.  That is, that the more likely that an individual is to have a high score on the Crowne-Marlow scale, the more likely they will have a low score on this autogynephilia scale!  Ok, this can be interpreted that individuals who wish others to see them as having socially desirable traits are more likely to minimize or deny experiencing autogynephilia.

Similarly, scores for gynephila and androphilia are colored to minimize their attraction to women, while maximizing their attraction to men, and so on down the line, to seem more “classically” transsexual (more like HSTS) perhaps?

In contrast, for the “homosexual” transsexual group, there was only one scale that has a statistically significant correlation, “Felt like a woman”, and only just barely “significant”.  This was a scale from one to three that indicates under what state of dress that they felt like a woman, with three being dressed as either a man or a woman, to never, which excluded the subject as not being “transsexual”:

Item: Have you ever felt like a woman?
a. Only if you were wearing at least one piece of female underwear or clothing (1)
b. While wearing at least one piece of female underwear or clothing and only occasionally at other times as well (2)
c. At all times and for at least one year (3)
d. Never felt like a woman (exclude subject)

But… BUT… do the math… there were only fifty-one “homosexual” subjects (N=51) which gave a mean score of 2.96 on this scale.  That would come from two subjects giving a score of 2, while the rest, all forty-nine of the others, scored 3.  Also note that that one other correlation almost reached the threshold for statistical significance: age, at 0.23.  That is to say, that a weak correlation was found with older subjects being more likely to have a higher score on the Crowne-Marlow scale.  This suggests to me that age will have a weak correlation with higher scores on the “felt like a woman scale”… thus… we might guess that those two subjects that answered “2” instead of “3” were younger than the average of the “homosexual” group… perhaps they were more tentative in their answers?  Overall, this isn’t much of a strong signal.  In spite of the higher mean score on the Crowne-Marlow scale, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence for coloring their answers.  Perhaps that’s because they didn’t feel that they needed to?

Addendum 1/15/2018:

Study after study has shown that around 80% to 85% of “non-homosexual” transwomen readily acknowledge experiencing sexual arousal to cross-dressing, at least in adolescence.  This leaves 15% or so who say that they didn’t.  As we’ve seen, social desirability bias is strongly operating.  At least some percentage of the population is not being honest.  Interestingly, there is a new study exploring the subject of honesty and dishonesty.  It was discovered that there are three types of people that I shall paraphrase as “always honest”, “mostly honest”, and the “never honest”.

Guess what the percentages were?

“always honest” = 50%
“mostly honest” = 35%
“never honest” = 15%.

Wow, what an interesting coincidence.

Many transwomen who are critical of the two type taxonomy have specifically called out Blanchard and any who accept and advocate the taxonomy as being ugly transphobes for having called transwomen liars.  But are we to suppose that transwomen, as a population, are somehow more saintly and honest than the general population?  Phhfft !


Addendum 2/16/2019:

I found another paper dealing with dishonesty in research studies that showed that around 10% to 20% of people were willing to lie in a survey just to make a few bucks, even as little as $5.  Wow, that’s an interesting coincidence; around an average of 15% of people are willing to lie for so small an incentive.  Can we really believe that transwomen, as a population, are somehow more saintly and honest than the general population?



Ray Blanchard, Leonard H. Clemmensen, Betty W. Steiner, “Social Desirability Response Set and Systematic Distortion in the Self-Report of Adult Male Gender Patients

Douglas P. Crowne, David Marlowe, “A New Scale of Social Desirability Independent of Psychopathology”

Delroy L. Paulhus, Chapter 2: “Measurement and Control of Response Bias”
J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver & L. Wrightsman (Eds), Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes (pp. 17-59)., Academic Press, Inc.

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No Doubt About It…

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

…gotta get me another hat.
-Bullwinkle Moose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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How Should I Your True Love Know…

Posted in Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on October 21, 2010

female_scientist…From Another One?
-Shakespeare, “Hamlet”


A common argument against the data that shows a clear correlation between gynephilia and autogynephilia is to point out that a small number of “androphilic” transsexuals report having experienced erotic cross-dressing, a form of autogynephilia.  Thus, aren’t “homosexual transsexuals” autogynephilic as well?  No Virgina, they are not.  Instead, the small number of “androphilic” transsexuals that report such autogynephilic arousal are not natively androphilic, but instead experience an extension of their interpersonal autogynephilic ideation that includes sexual acts, most notably, sexual intercourse, with men, as female.

For a very clear description of this phenomena, by one who experiences it, please read this blog entry and then come back:

Kaleasha’s Life Story

A few key points in Kaleasha’s narrative are vitally important to understand.  Kaleasha is decidedly gynephilic as this quote makes clear:

“Now, what makes my experience so unique is that I did not consider myself gay. Because I found women to be the most beautiful things on the planet. Sometimes I would see a pretty female and just stare at her beauty for hours. I could easily talk to my friends and peers about women and direct them to look at the cutie that was coming down the street.”

And in fact, Kaleasha is sexually active and enjoys sex with women:

“Eventually, I had sex with two women. My last partner was really good in bed.”

Yet, we also read:

“I am too nervous and scared to dress up like a woman especially going outside like that. One fear is that I might get addicted to looking like a woman and never want to revert back to being a man.”

And finally:

“My homosexual desires are fantasies that I don’t have to act on because they consist of me being a woman (vagina and all).”

Kaleasha is clearly gynephilic and masculine, but hears the siren call to transition, and fears the repercussions.  Kaleasha also experiences autogynephilic pseudo-androphilia.  As clearly articulated here, this desire is dependent upon “being a woman (vagina and all)”, first and foremost.  With Kaleasha, we may be witnessing a stage in the development of an AGP’s feminine gender identity.  Many late transitioning transsexuals’ narratives mirror this snapshot.  When such an individual finally does transition, they can say with complete and utter honesty, “I’ve always been attracted to men”.  They may even then self-identify and report that they are now exclusively androphilic.  But this does not mean that they are etiologically HSTS.

Lest you think this story is unique, consider the six individuals who reported that their sexual orientation changed after transition in the Daskalos paper entitled, “Changes in the sexual orientation of six heterosexual male-to-female transsexuals”  As Alex Parkinson, one of the original Transkids.us website authors so brilliantly analyzed, none of the six were conventionally attracted to men, but either sexually inactive, involved with asexual men, or with another transgendered male (suggesting that their attraction was due to gynandromorphophilia, rather than androphilia).  But one individual, Luann, clearly articulated autogynephilic pseudo-androphilic ideation:

“There were times before I transitioned when I thought I was maybe gay because I was actually having some thoughts of other guys like in high school and that. Until I realized I wasn’t having gay thoughts, I was having male to female thoughts but I was thinking of being with the guys as a female.”

All of these individuals would self-report to a researcher as being “androphilic”. And many would then also report that they had experienced erotic cross-dressing or other autogynephilic arousal.  As Lawrence showed, we can sort out some of these individuals from those that are actually exclusively and genuinely androphilic, by their marital history to women.  However, not every gynephilic transsexual would have been married.  And, it is also possible that there are a number of etiologically autogynephilic individuals who have limited sexual experience with women, who experience autogynephilic pseudo-androphilia.  These individuals would, very honestly, report that they have only had sex with men… and that they also experience erotic cross-dressing or other direct autogynephilic arousal.  These individuals would be very hard to sort out, unless the phenomena of autogynephilic pseudo-androphilia was expressly tested for in a survey instrument.  So far, I know of no instrument that has such a scale.

Addendum 12/11/2013:  In another study in which Lawrence gathered data from 97 post-operative transwomen, 17 reported to have been always exclusively androphilic, but their history indicated that six of them were almost certainly incorrectly reporting their pre-transition sexual orientation, as they had had extensive sex with women, including being married and having fathered children, indicating that their actual orientation was bisexual at best.  However, of the 80 transwomen who reported that their pre-transition sexual orientation was gynephilic, fully 30 of them reported that their sexual orientation had changed to being androphilic.  This indicates that such perceived changes in sexual orientation are not rare, representing 38% of post-op transwomen.  Tellingly, when compared to those who reported having always been exclusively androphilic, those transwomen who reported changes in their sexual orientation reported less than half the number of sexual encounters with men, post-operatively.

Addendum 12/1/2014:  In a recent study from Europe, we see the same pattern of changes in self-reported sexual orientation in transfolk, both MTF and FtM.


Daskalos CT., “Changes in the sexual orientation of six heterosexual male-to-female transsexuals.”

Anne Lawrence, “Letter to the Editor” (in response to Daskalos)



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The Right Stuff…

Posted in Book Reviews, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on October 15, 2010

… or How to Tell the Difference.

TMWWBQ CoverProf. J. Michael Bailey, in his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, wrote a very simple set of questions, almost a Cosmopolitan Magazine style quiz, on how a novice can tell the difference between autogynephilic (AGP) and transkids / “homosexual” transsexuals (HSTS):

Start at Zero. Ask each question, and if the answer is “Yes,” add the number (+1 or -1) next to each question. If the sum gets to +3, stop; the transsexual you are talking to is autogynephilic. If the sum gets to -3, she is homosexual.

+1 Have you been married to a woman?

+1 As a child, did people think you were about as masculine as other boys?

+1 Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted to women? Or equally uninterested in both?
. (Add 1 if “Yes” to any of these.)

+1 Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full time as a woman?

+1 Have you worn women’s clothing in private and, during at least three of those times, become so sexually aroused that you masturbated?

+1 Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman or truck driver, or been a computer programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?

-1 Is your ideal partner a straight man?

-1 As a child, did people think you were an unusually feminine boy?

-1 Does this describe you? “I find the idea of having sex with men very sexually exciting, but the idea of having sex with women is not at all appealing.”

-1 Were you under the age of 25 when you began to live full time as a woman?

-1 Do you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?

-1 Have you worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie model, or prostitute?

Finally, if the person has been on hormones for at least six months, ask yourself this question:

If you didn’t already know that this person was a transsexual, would you still have suspected that she was not a natural-born woman?

+1 if your answer is “Yes” (if you would have suspected)

-1 If your answer is “No”.


Many transsexuals have lampooned this quiz. Yet, should it be treated so lightly? What does the science say about each question? Let us take each question, in turn, starting with all of the positive valued questions, those whose affirmative answers would indicate the likelihood of the transsexual being autogynephilic:

“Have you ever been married to a woman?” As Lawrence showed, and I blogged about in BridesHead Revisited, sorting on this very question allowed us to increase the signal strength of the difference between the assumed to be HSTS and non-HSTS groups with respect to erotic cross-dressing. So, statistically speaking, this has been proven to be a useful marker for autogynephilia. The question indirectly tests for gynephilia, as that is one of the primary motivations for marriage to a woman, which is positively correlated with autogynephilia in transsexuals.

“As a child, did people think you were about as masculine as other boys?” As has been shown in many studies, AGP transsexuals usually were considered by family and friends to have been unremarkably masculine as children. However, in this regard, self-report from AGP transsexuals is notoriously inaccurate, likely due to inner feelings of wishing to have been feminine coloring their memories. To get the right answer more consistently, we would be better to ask her parents or other older relatives.

“Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted to women? Or equally uninterested in both?” This is based on Blanchard’s work showing that gynephilia, both exclusively, and in self-reported bisexuals, along with asexuals are all “non-homosexual” and all exhibit autogynephilia as groups.

“Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full time as a woman?” All of the studies that differentiate AGP transsexuals from transkids clearly show that exclusively androphilic transsexuals never transition so late in life. They typically transition before the age of 25. Bailey could have used the age of 30 to the same effect, as the typical age of transition for an AGP is 30 or older.

“Have you worn women’s clothing in private and, during at least three of those times, become so sexually aroused that you masturbated?” This one is obvious. Erotic cross dressing is one of the most common forms of autogynephilia. More interesting is the requirement that it be “at least three of those times”. This is likely to reduce false positives, as it is possible to have anticipatory arousal (e.g. an MTF transkid or natal female getting prepared for a hot date with a sexy man).

“Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman or truck driver, or been a computer programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?” We need to break this one down into its pieces. First, in the past, the military is unlikely to have retained an MTF transkid, as her obvious femininity would be noticed. Given the present (when this essay was written ~KB) enforcement of “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” by the U.S. military, it is just possible that she might have kept it to herself just well enough not to have triggered an investigation, even if everyone around her assumed that she was really a gay man. However, statistically, just as with being a policeman, transkids just don’t usually aspire to such obviously macho occupations. But many AGPs, in their naturally more masculine mindset and often wishing to sublimate their autogynephilic desires, often do choose such stereotypically masculine jobs. The second group of occupations, while statistically more likely to be filled by men than women, actually has as its statistical power to differentiate AGPs from transkids the socio-economic selection pressure on AGP individuals to consider whether they can “afford” to transition or not. Compared to transkids, AGPs tend not to transition unless they have higher socio-economic status than average. Intelligence correlates with such higher status and of achieving success in the very fields mentioned in this question. As I showed in Smarter than the Average Bear, AGP transsexuals have an average IQ of ~120, while transkids are likely to be of average intelligence, since IQ and socio-economic status figure less in their decision making. That means that the percentage of AGPs that are eligible to join Mensa, the high IQ society, is 27%, while only 2% of transkids would qualify. Assume for the moment than any given transkid is just as likely to pursue a given career as a natal female, compounding the likelihood that a woman might take such a job times the percentage with the IQ to be successful, says that a few transkids will have any of these positions. However, compounding the higher likelihood that a man would take such a position times the percentage with the IQ needed to be successful, many more AGPs will be in such positions.  Conversely, AGPs in those positions will have the socio-economic status that make it more likely that they would elect to follow their heart’s desire and transition. That does not mean that an MTF transkid could not have such a career. In fact, one of my heroines, Terry Noel was a systems analyst (computer programmer), as well as a wife and step-mom, after her career as a secretary, and before that as a female impersonator! But those transkids almost always find such careers after transition, not before.

Now turning to the negatively valued questions, those whose affirmative answers indicate the likelihood of the transsexual being a transkid:

“Is your ideal partner a straight man?” and “Does this describe you? “I find the idea of having sex with men very sexually exciting, but the idea of having sex with women is not at all appealing.” ” Pretty obvious… an MTF transkid is not likely to answer in the negative. Nearly every study has shown that exclusive androphilia is negatively correlated with being autogynephilic. Asking this question in two different ways gives a high weighting to it.

“As a child, did people think you were an unusually feminine boy?” Studies show that unlike AGPs, exclusively androphilic MTF transsexuals were uniformly considered unusually feminine, often to the point where they would qualify as having Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood.

“Were you under the age of 25 when you began to live full time as a woman?” As we can show in multiple studies, including the Nuttbrock, transkids typically transition very young, often as teenagers, but rarely after age 25.  Does this mean that anyone who transitions before age 25 is a transkid?  Not a bit!  A fair number of AGP TS women transitioned in their early 20’s.  I had several AGP roommates and friends over the years who did so.  But, statistically, if someone transitioned by age 25, they are more likely to be a trankid than someone who transitioned after age 25.

“Do you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?” This is yet another way of asking about androphilia. It would seem to be redundant, but actually, it asks a more subtle question, “Are you attracted to masculine bodies, or is it possible that you are really just saying you like men due to pseudo-androphilia” Pseudo-androphilia is when an autogynephilic individual incorporates men as props in their behavioral autogynephilic sexual fantasies. That is, the act or fantasy of being female having sex with a man is sexually arousing to pseudo-androphilic autogynephiles. Such transsexuals are unlikely to experience an actual attraction to masculine men per se, independent from their autogynephilic fantasy. That is to say, that their attraction to men is dependent upon perceiving themselves as female. However, this question is actually weak in that it requires the exclusively androphilic transsexual to be highly motivated by photographs, visual imagery, over other modalities, such as written fiction. She may answer in the negative, simply because she doesn’t go out of her way to view such photos and misinterpreted the intent of the question as having asked about habitual behavior rather than potential behavior. The question may have been better asked, “Would you enjoy seeing pictures of really muscular men with their shirts off?”

“Have you worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie model, or prostitute?” Hairstylist and beautician are both occupations that are traditionally filled by women and gay men, thus it would appear to be unlikely that an AGP would have filled them, especially pre-transition. For an MTF transkid, though, these positions are equally likely both pre and post- transition. I’ve personally met a number of transkids in such positions.  Looking at the questions, it appears that Bailey is expressing an observation bias, as these jobs are usually filled by working class individuals. From personal experience, for middle and upper-middle-class transkids, it is more likely that they would have found jobs in other pink collar occupations such as receptionist, secretary, office clerk, physician or dental assistant, etc. They may also take positions as child-care provider, store clerk, bank teller, waitress, or fast food server. Essentially, any job that young women may be welcome and find acceptable. But, it is extremely unlikely that an AGP transsexual would have taken a pink collar job pre-transition.  Although, becoming an electrologist seems to be a choice for some post-transition AGPs… To be even considered as a female impersonator and especially a lingerie model, that transsexual would have to be both quite attractive and unexceptionally female appearing. While not every MTF transkid would fit that bill, it is very unlikely that an AGP would do so. Finally, prostitute… it is a sad fact that a sizable minority, but a minority none-the-less, find themselves becoming working girls when they are young. It is more likely to occur when a teenager is disowned by her family for being a transsexual, being unacceptably feminine, and/or homosexual. Transkids that have family support, both financial and emotional, are unlikely to become sex workers. On first examination, it would appear unlikely that an AGP would become a sex worker, but in fact, I personally knew of one, and have read an online biography of another. So, perhaps statistically, it is far more likely that a transsexual / transgender sex worker would be an transkid, but I know for a fact that AGPs have also been.

And finally, the issue of truly passing. It has been noted, over and over and over, by unbiased observers that transkids are more likely than AGPs to pass. But this is only statistically. I’ve known transkids that could only pass in the dark. And I’ve known a couple AGPs that do pretty well for themselves. But, on the whole, because of transitioning younger, being more naturally feminine behaving, and perhaps because of self-selection, transkids just pass better.

It is clear that Dr. Bailey did not intend the quiz to actually serve as a test instrument. He wrote it more as an educational tool to help people who have not met both types and learned how to tell the difference, ‘in the wild’, so to speak, understand the differences in presentation, sexuality, and life arcs, of the two types. However, it is still amusing to apply the quiz to see how well it works.

First, let’s try it on the most famous transsexual of all, Christine Jorgensen:

Married to a woman? Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child? Unclear, as we have only her own recollection… Zero
Sexual attraction? Uninterested in either: +1
Over 40 for transition, Nope, at age 27, still +1
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Unknown, Still +1
Jobs? Military, now +2 (not only was she in the military, but she joined an all male secret society, indicating that she was quite comfortable and accepted as an adult man.)
Ideal mate a man? Nope, not interested, still +2
Feminine as a child? Unclear, still +2
Men sexually exciting? Nope! still +2
Under 25 for transition? Nope. still +2
Enjoy pics of hunks? Not likely, still +2
Female jobs before transistion, nyet, +2
Passes? Almost… call it a draw +2 (I personally met her when I was 18 years old… in photos, she passed reasonably OK. In person? Close, but not quite. She also patronized me, cooing over me, calling me a “Baby TS”)

So, we have a score of +2 for Christine Jorgensen, who I personally believe is AGP, so it would appear to agree.

(Addendum 5/31/2015:  Ms. Jorgensen may no longer be the most famous, as Caitlin Jenner has come out.

Bruce Jenner beginning transition

Caitlyn Jenner beginning transition

So, now let’s “ask” her:

Married to a woman? Yes, three times! +1 (or should that be +3??)
Masculine as a child? Undoubtedly, +2
Sexual attraction? Only women: +3 Oh… we can stop here… but let’s do go on…
Over 40 for transition, Heck yes (!) at age 65, now +4
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Quite likely, given her description of her secret cross-dressing, Still +5
Butch Jobs? None of those listed… but come on… male athletic champion? +6
Ideal mate a man? Nope, not interested, still +6
Feminine as a child? No fricking way, still +6
Men sexually exciting? Nope, she adamantly rejected that idea! still +6
Under 25 for transition? Nope. still +6
Enjoy pics of hunks? Not likely, still +6
Female jobs before transistion, nyet, +6
Passes? Not even close (photos aren’t real life)… now +7

The evidence that she is an autogynephilic transsexual is overwhelming.)

How about Terry Noel?

Married to a woman, Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child, No way! Zero
Sexual attraction to women? Ha! Zero
Over 40 for transition, Nope, had SRS at age 29… Still zero.
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Unknown, still zero.
Butch Jobs? Heck no! But she did become a computer programmer after transition, +1
Ideal mate a man? Yes. Married a Naval Officer, Cancels out, now zero
Feminine as a child. Yes! -1
Men sexually exciting? Yes! -2
Under 25 full time? Unclear still -2
Enjoy pics of hunks, unknown still -2
Female Impersonator!!! -3 (Oh, we can stop now… but lets keep going shall we?
Passes? Flawlessly! -4

OK, how about you? I’ll go first:

Kay BrownMarried to a woman, Nope. Zero
Masculine as a child? Not according to my mother, who complained bitterly to Dr. Fisk during an intake interview at the Stanford Clinic when I was 17, “He was always very prissy” {“prissy” was my mother’s favorite word for “unacceptably effeminate”} Still zero.
Sexual attraction to women? I can say with absolute honesty that I never had, nor wanted, intercourse with a woman! Yet, as a teen, I had sex with young men.  Still zero.
Over 40 for transition? Nope, had SRS at age 23.
Erotic arousal cross-dressed? Not that I can recall. Still zero.
Butch Jobs? Ummm… I became a silicon valley engineer, than a CEO, after transition. so… ok… +1 (BTW, I grew up in Silicon Valley… used to hang with this girl named Patti, Patti Jobs, who had older brother named Steve… yes, that Steve.)
Ideal mate a man? Ohh… yeah! I dated four straight boys from high school… and I’m presently happily married to a wonderful, very straight man. Cancels out, now Zero
Feminine as a child? My mother votes, bitterly, “yes”. Now -1
Men sexually exciting, women not? You might say that. Now -2
Under 25 full time? I turned 18 and graduated from high school the same week… and that was that for me! So, Now -3, but let’s keep going, shall we?

Enjoy pics of hunks, yes, if he’s also handsome and smiling at the camera…  -4

Lingerie model? Well… actually… yes, when I was 20 years old, I modeled for a small boutique in L.A. I was also a full time nanny as a teenager in high school, a secretary, an office clerk, an electronics assembler (pink collar job), a technician (mixed men and women), an engineer (a few women, not many, but a few), and finally CEO of a Silicon Valley high tech company. (I’m a bit like Carly Fiorina in that regard.) -5

Passes? OK, other people should answer that… so… still -5

Hmmm… according to the quiz…

Additional Reading:  An updated and revised quiz based on the critique above.


J. Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen, 2003



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The Love that Can’t Pronounce Its Name

Posted in Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on October 1, 2010

female_scientistGynandromorphophilia and Gynememetophilia

One day, back in the spring of ’77, as I sat at my desk as a 19-year-old secretary, between answering the phone and typing memos, I perused a local weekly arts and entertainment rag, looking for something fun to do the coming weekend, I saw a personals ad from a “drag queen” looking to make friends with transsexuals. The ad intrigued me, so on a lark, I answered it.

The man who placed that ad was probably the most interesting man I had ever met.  But he was most definitely NOT a “drag queen”.

Paul was in his mid-30s, divorced, urbane, educated middle-class man, of average height and build. Earlier, at around age 28, he would have been thought to be an average heterosexual married man with no unusual sexual interests. One day while masturbating in the bathroom of the service station he managed, with the aid of a chance found adult magazine, he discovered in turning the page that the young woman, about whom he had been fantasizing, was a pre-op transsexual, a “she-male” in porn cant. The discovery, rather than repulsing him, overwhelmingly aroused him. He began seeking out other “she-male” pornography. He also began experimenting with cross-dressing, discovering it to be intensely arousing, accompanied by fantasies of himself as a “she-male”. The activity became his only sexual outlet, leading to divorce.

Freed from marital limits, his activity became obsessive. He sought out actual pre-op transsexuals as lovers and friends. He began impersonating pre-op transsexuals (“early transitioners”/transkids) at gay/tranny clubs using the name Debbie Cummings. In order to improve his feminine persona’s appearance, he began taking low doses of feminizing hormones. Dressed as Paul, he presented as quite masculine and attractive, with the air of appearing a decade younger than his actual age, partially due to the use of feminizing hormones. Paul had no desire to further alter his body. He enjoyed being male.

Paul was intelligent and observant. He noticed and could explain many facets of the MTF transkid psyche, where they were emotionally vulnerable, where their strengths lay. He truly loved transkids. He had a picture in his den of a stunningly beautiful transkid, for whom he clearly was still smitten.  However, I understood why that relationship hadn’t worked out.  It’s hard to have a lasting romance with a man who doesn’t know if he wants to do you, or be you.

Compare the above description to that found in Blanchard’s paper entitled, “The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia”.  The abstract could have been written to describe Paul to a “T”:

The term autogynephilia denotes a male’s propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself with female attributes. Some autogynephiles imagine themselves, in their sexual fantasies, as complete women. Others, here called partial autogynephiles, imagine themselves with a mixture of male and female anatomic features, usually women’s breasts and men’s genitals. Partial autogynephiles evince a particular sexual interest in those individuals known in the vernacular as she-males. These are men, often involved in prostitution or pornography, who have undergone breast augmentation while maintaining their male genitals. Partial autogynephiles appear less likely to pursue surgical sex reassignment than gender-dysphoric men whose erotic self-image includes a vagina. Some patients with a persistent desire for women’s breasts but no or conflicted desires to live as women full-time or undergo vaginoplasty may be pacified with mildly feminizing doses of estrogenic hormones.

Transfan, Tranny Chaser, T-Bird, TrannyHawk

As a young pre-op, I became very aware of the men who specifically sought those like me.  You couldn’t go to a party or a night club where there weren’t several of them present.  I held no particular malice towards them.  But something about most of them turned me off.  Over the years, that something became more clear, it was their autogynephilia.  Even when they didn’t tell me directly about it, I could often tell.  Sometimes it was obvious, sometimes it was not.

But it was not just occasional cross-dressers, Blanchard’s “partial autogynephile”, but autogynephilic transsexuals that are also seriously gynandromorphophilic.  I’ve already detailed my unfortunate experience with my short-time roommate, Karen in my essay, “Do as I say, Not as I Do”.  Again, when I was 19, another TS woman, Rachel, in her mid-20s, befriended me, inviting me to meet a circle of young TS women living in the Tenderloin in San Francisco.  I was intrigued to meet so many “transies” living in one building, on Eddy Street… but I was getting odd vibes from them.  It finally came out, during the course of a conversation with one of them, that they had all been puzzled by why, “…Rachel was so interested in a GG…”  (For those not from the TS world, “GG” means “Girl Girl” or “Genetic Girl”, a non-transsexual woman.)  I was also surprised and astonished in turn, “You mean you think I’m GG?”  It soon came tumbling out and word spread through the building, that I wasn’t GG after all… these street transies hadn’t clocked me!  And now it made sense to them… and then they warned me.  “Rachel’s a trannyhawk.  She only likes transies.  She’s got the hots for you!”

This phenomena about AGP TS women being interested in other transsexuals is reasonably well known now, but wasn’t back then.

In the ’90s I tried using the personals in another local arts and entertainment rag to meet single men, as my professional and social circles includes so very few.  I met very few men that were worth meeting.  At one point, I got curious about what would be the response if I wrote my own, specifically stating that I was a post-op TS.

One of the men that responded turned out to have once been emotionally attached to a college dorm-mate who was just beginning to transition.  They had a brief affair, which was broken up by an unsympathetic school official who objected to the young transkid transitioning, and to what he perceived as a homosexual relationship.  The now middle-aged man, a recent widower, was looking back at that relationship and realized that transwoman had actually been the love of his life, but he had let her slip away.  In answering my ad, he was hoping to find that love again.  But of course, I was not his lost love, and could never replace her.  Simply speaking, this man was completely straight, and had no real interest in transwomen per se, but rather, had fallen in love with a woman who just happened to be transsexual. I was very touched by this man’s story… and I looked back at my own life… and wondered; Were there any men from my past that now realized that they too had let the love of their life, me, slip away because they weren’t ready to deal with a woman with my medical history?

Of the rest of the respondents?  Quite a different story!

(Addendum 7/12/2015:  I think it is worth reading Blanchard’s other paper on the subject, at least the abstract,

This study was a preliminary exploration of gynandromorphophilia, that is, sexual interest in cross-dressed or anatomically feminized men. Subjects were male subscribers to a voice mail system devoted to personal advertisements for sexual or romantic partners. These comprised 51 gynandromorphophiles who sought cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals, or she-males for such relationships, 37 gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers who identified themselves as cross-dressers and sought similar men, and 31 residual cross-dressers who sought masculine or unspecified male partners. Analysis of advertisement content suggested that gynandromorphophilia constitutes a distinct erotic interest.

Note the numbers, at least “37 gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers” had self-identified compared to 51 that did not identify themselves as cross-dressers.  In my experience, many who do not identify themselves as cross-dressers are closeted cross-dressers, having learned that transkids won’t respond if they identify themselves as such.  Also, erotic cross-dressing is NOT the only form of autogynephilia, many are cross-dreamers instead.  In any case, in this study, at least 42% of the gynandromorphophilic men identified themselves as cross-dressers, i.e. autogynephilic.

Further Reading:

Essay on Gynandromorphophilia vs. Sexual Orientation

Essay on the high correlation between Autogynephilia and Gynandromorphophilia

I have more commentary on the mutual gynandrophmorphophilic relationships between autogynephiles in my essay on transsexual marriages.)


Blanchard R, Collins PI., “Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males”

Blanchard R., “The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia”

Jaimie F. Veale, Dave E. Clarke and Terri C. Lomax, “Sexuality of Male-to-Female Transsexuals”

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”


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Scientific Sodoku II

Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy by Kay Brown on April 10, 2010

I just couldn’t resist playing some more sodoku.    This to look at the issue of looking at age at transition, with the age of starting on HRT as our guide, as the Nuttbrock, et al. data uses.  If we look at the difference between the expected amount of reported erotic cross-dressing to the actual, those that started on HRT as teens is very, very different than the other two.  Something about being a young transitioner is very different, even when accounting for self reported sexuality.  Again, we note that young transitioners are much less likely to be autogynephilic, than older transitioners.   It’s not just that they are more likely to be androphilic, which report the lowest percentage of erotic cross-dressing.  They are simply less likely to be AGP regardless of reported sexual orientation, when compared to older transitioners.

All numbers in percentage except for (n=number) and the A/E ratio:

Hormone Therapy

.                             Homosexual     Heterosexual    Bisexual     AGP      AGP              A/E
.                             (androphilic)   (gynephilic)                             Actual  Expected    Ratio
.                                     (n=391)          (n=71)               (n=96)
Autogynephilia           23.0                81.7                     67.7

Adolescent(n=171) 91.8                 0.6                         7.6            14.0       26.7         0.52
Adult (n=242)           64.5               13.2                       22.2           42.6       42.6          1.00
None (n=158)            54.2               25.5                      20.2           59.5       44.2          1.35

Time will tell…

Posted in Transsexual Theory by Kay Brown on March 24, 2010

androgynous faceWhile I’ve barely started to delve into the Nuttbrock et al. study, Anne Lawrence has already published a Letter in response.  In it she also points out that the Nuttbrock study fully confirms the Freund/Blanchard two type taxonomy of MTF transsexuality, plus disproves several points where Nutbrock believed they had demonstrated differences from Blanchard’s earlier work.

First, Nuttbrock stated that they had found differences between the non-homosexual subtypes in the amount of reported autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing where Blanchard didn’t.  Lawrence pointed, in graphical format, that the two studies essentially agree.  The only point that Blanchard had made, quite correctly, that since his study had fewer subjects, the level of statistical signal to his differences did not meet the mathematical standard of “significance”, and could not be accepted as gospel.  Meaning, that this difference might have been merely noise.  With the Nuttbrock data confirming the differences, we can now consider the possibility that these differences are real.  We are then left with the task of interpreting what these differences could mean.  Likely, we will need to do more in depth research to test new hypotheses, as we can now accept the basic taxonomy as convincingly validated.

Another point that Nuttbrook et al. made is that they failed to duplicate Blanchard’s later work that showed that there was a slight non-linearity in the correlation between gynephilia intensity and the expression of autogynephilia.  Lawrence showed that this was purely a mathematical artifact, given that Blanchard had measured gynephilic intensity in six levels, while Nutbrook had only measure them in three.  If we lump Blanchard’s data into only three levels, we get essentially the same data plot as Nuttbrock.  Thus, it is likely this minor dip in the correlation is, extant, likely to be buried in the Nuttbrock population, but was not adequately measured.

All in all, Lawrence has put to rest any remaining questions about the Nuttbrock study differences from Blanchard’s.  Once again, we can state with assurance, that Blanchard’s work is fully replicated and validated.

The only difference between Nuttbrock and Blanchard remaining is one of theoretical interpretation.  Nuttbrock opines that Blanchard’s interpretation is essentialist.  That is to say, that Blanchard’s theory is that autogynephilia as a phenomena and etiology arises from an essential difference between typical heterosexual males and AGP transsexuals.  For example, this could mean that there is a biological etiology to this difference, perhaps prenatal hormones, perhaps differences in genes that code some subset of hormone receptors in the brain, perhaps epigenetic changes in gene expression.  While Nuttbrock rejects this notion and invokes instead, Bem’s sexual conditioning model, described by Bem as “exotic becomes erotic”.  Thus, interestingly, Nuttbrock would seem to see sexual arousal to cross-dressing as truly being “fetishistic transvestism”… that is to say, that it is a conditioned response akin to conventional fetishes!

Lawrence points out that invoking Bem’s theory is a misinterpretation of his theory, that Bem theorized that ‘‘individuals can become erotically attracted to a class of individuals from whom they felt different during childhood’’

Nuttbrock is right that Blanchard, and other researchers, do personally hold the suspicion that autogynephilia is essential and likely of biological origin.  In fact, Blanchard has recently argued that autogynephilia is not a fetish and should be removed from that category in the DSM.  Of course, traditionalists in the DSM review committee are resisting this change, so as a compromise, it has been proposed that autogynephilia be listed as a descriptor, an ‘add-on’ to Fetishistic Transvestism.

As a consequence of their analysis of the data from their study, Nuttbrock et al. seemingly ignoring the fact that it exactly duplicates previous studies going back twenty-five years and more, make the rather astounding conclusion that only the older generation of trans-folk have or will have autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing, since in their view, the “exotic” nature of cross-dressing will become a thing of the past, and thus not lead to the development of sexually arousing fetishistic cross-dressing.  Science is done best when it makes predictions.  So, this prediction can be tested in thirty years time.

My own prediction is that nothing of the sort will happen.  Late transitioning, autogynephilic transsexuals of the future are already in the making, marrying their girlfriends, dealing with their autogynephilic nature as best they can, dreaming that someday that they too will be ready to live full-time as women and get SRS and HRT.  After-all… I heard this very same prediction 30 years ago… that everyone in the near future would be transitioning young, as it was no longer difficult to seek out SRS/HRT, given the easy availability.  Nothing changed.

Time will tell…


A validation of Blanchard’s Typology: Comment on Nuttbrock et al. (2010)
Lawrence, A., Archives of Sexual Behavior

A Further Assessment of Blanchard’s Typology of Homosexual versus Non-Homosexual or Autogynephilic Gender Dysphoria
Nuttbrock, et al., Archives of Sexual Behavior

The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Transvestic Fetishism
Blanchard, R., Archives of Sexual Behavior

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Scientific Sodoku

Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy by Kay Brown on March 21, 2010

A careful analysis of a large study like the Nuttbrock, et al. gives us a chance to have fun with numbers.  From this may glean additional insights.  It took a bit of doing, recalculating, but I was able find the data on the Asexual population and add it to the table I showed earlier.  Consider the results:

Self-reported       Homosexual     Heterosexual    Bisexual   Asexual    AGP    AGP
Sexuality               (androphilic)   (gynephilic)                                              Actual  Expected
Number:                  (n=391)               (n=71)               (n=96)       (n=12)
Autogynephilia       23.0                     81.7                    67.7            66.7

White  (n=150)       18.6                     38.0                    37.3              6.0         78.7       64.4
Black  (n=120)       90.0                        2.5                      7.5              0.0         23.1        27.8
Hispanic (n=246) 90.2                         1.6                      7.3              0.8         22.8        27.2
Other  (n=54)          61.1                       13.0                   24.1              1.9         27.9         46.8

From the percentage that of each sexual identity report erotic cross-dressing, we can calculate an expected percentage for each ethnicity based upon the relative number of each sexual identity, assuming that ethnicity should have no effect on the likelihood of a given sexual identity group reporting such autogynephilic arousal to cross-dressing.  However, looking at the expected and the actual percentages, we see a very striking pattern.  Our assumption that ethnicity has no effect isn’t supported.  In fact, we see a far different pattern in that the White population reports far higher than expected amounts of autogynephilia, while the other ethnicities report significantly lower amounts than expected.  A higher number of white folk reported experiencing autogynephilic arousal, even when controlling for sexual identity.  Also of interest is that most of the Asexual group (75%) are White, when we would have expected only 25% of them to have been White if there had been no correlation with ethnicity.