Transgender sexuality

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Transgender sexuality is the sexuality of transgender people. Like all other genders, transgender people exhibit the full range of possible sexual orientations and interests,[1] including the potential for a lack of sexual attraction.[2]

Sexual orientation labels[edit]

Historically, clinicians labeled transgender people as heterosexual or homosexual relative to their sex assigned at birth.[3] Most transgender people find this offensive, and prefer to define their sexual orientation relative to their gender identity.[4]

To avoid confusion and offense, the terms "gynesexual" and "androsexual" are sometimes used to describe attraction to women and men, respectively.

Sexual orientation distribution[edit]

One study published in 1977 suggests that transgender people have more heterosexual than homosexual experiences.[5] Another study published in 1976 found an almost equal distribution of transgender people between three distinct categories: homosexual, asexual, and heterosexual.[6] However, this study only assessed 42 male-to-female transgender people who had undergone gender reassignment surgery and does not address bisexuality.[6] Furthermore, these categories have been rejected by many transgender people as pejorative. [7]

Transgender women[edit]

Research, such as that done by Walter Bockting at the University of Minnesota, suggests that the breakdown of sexualities among transgender women is 38% bisexual, 35% attracted to women, and 27% attracted to men.[7][8] Older research had suggested that the majority of transgender women seeking sex reassignment were attracted to men. About half of trans women studied have sexual intercourse with women.[9][10]

Trans-feminine mixed gender roles[edit]

R. Green compares two-spirit people, hijra, mukhannathun, and kathoey, all of which are people assigned male at birth who have adopted a more feminine gender role.[11] They have in common early effeminacy, adulthood femininity, and attraction to masculine males.[12] Green argues that the members of these groups are mentally indistinguishable from modern western transsexual women.[11]

The exact cultural role of two-spirit people varied from tribe to tribe, but in all cases Green writes about they are oriented towards men.[11]

The Hijra of India and Pakistan are phenotypic men who occupy a female sexual and/or gender role, sometimes undergoing castration.[13] As adults they occupy a female role, but traditionally Hijra describe themselves as neither male nor female, preferring Hijra as their gender.[13] They often express their femininity in youth; as adults they are usually sexually oriented towards masculine men.[13]

Mukhannathun were transgender individuals of the Muslim faith and Arab extraction who were present in Medina and Mecca during and after the time of Muhammad.[14] Ibn Abd Al-Barh Al-Tabaeen, a companion of Aisha Umm ul-Mu'min'in who knew the same mukhannath as Mohammed, stated that "If he is like this, he would have no desire for women and he would not notice anything about them. This is one of those who have no interest in women who were permitted to enter upon women."[15] That said, one of the Mukhannath of Medina during Muhammad's time had married a woman.[14]

Travesti are Brazilian trans women who are attracted to men.[16] Travestis' feminine identity includes hormones and/or silicone body alterations, feminine dress, language, and social and sexual roles, but rarely genital surgery.[16] However, in contrast to North American transgender women, they often don't see themselves as real women, and many describe themselves as gay or homosexual.[16] According to Don Kulick, they will describe themselves instead as "feeling like a woman".[16] In his book Travesti: Sex, Gender and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes, he writes that no travesti in Salvador ever claims to be mulher (a woman) except as a joke, and travestis reading or hearing about transgender people who say they feel like women regard them as disturbed.[17]

Transgender men[edit]

By the mid-1990s, the range of gender identities and sexual orientations among trans men were well-established,[18] [clarification needed] with the majority of trans men attracted primarily or exclusively to women.[19][20][21][22]

Foerster reported a 15-year successful relationship between a woman and a trans man who transitioned in the late 1960s.[23][24]

In the 20th century, trans men attracted to women struggled to demonstrate the existence and legitimacy of their identity.[25] Many trans men attracted to women, such as jazz musician Billy Tipton, kept their trans status private until their deaths.

Author Henry Rubin wrote that "[i]t took the substantial efforts of Lou Sullivan, a gay FTM activist who insisted that female-to-male transgender people could be attracted to men."[25] Matt Kailey, author of Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience,[26] recounts his transition "from 40-something straight woman to the gay man he’d always known himself to be."[27] Researchers eventually acknowledged the existence of this phenomenon, and by the end of the 20th century, psychiatrist Ira Pauly wrote, "The statement that all female-to-male transgender are homosexual [Pauly means attracted to women] in their sexual preference can no longer be made."[21] Gay trans men have varying levels of acceptance within other communities.[28] For some gay trans men, they find having sex with cisgender gay men to be a powerful validation of their identity as gay men.[citation needed] Upon beginning testosterone treatments, some trans men report an increase in both their libido and their desire for sex with non-trans men.[29]

Sexual practices[edit]

In a 1977 study, a large majority of transsexual women reported allowing a male partner to touch their penis, and minority reported receiving fellatio and performing anal sex.[30]

Tobi Hill-Meyer, self-described 'Queer Trans Multiracial Sex-Positive Activist Writer and Porn Maker', is making a documentary called Doing it Again: In Depth about transgender people's sexualities. As of December 17, Volume 1: Playful Awakenings has been released.[31] This volume interviews couples where both people are transgender. Cultural studies scholar J.R. Latham wrote the first definitive analysis of trans men's sexual practices in the journal Sexualities.[32]

Sexual orientation and transitioning[edit]

Some transsexual people maintain a consistent orientation throughout their lives,[33][34] in some cases remaining with the same partner through transition.[35] In other cases, their choices in sexual partners may change after transition.[36]

Classifying transsexual people by sexual orientation[edit]

Sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld first suggested a distinction based on sexual orientation in 1923.[37] A number of two-type taxonomies based on sexuality have subsequently been proposed by clinicians, though some clinicians believe that other factors are more clinically useful categories, or that two types are insufficient.[38] Some researchers have distinguished trans men attracted to women and trans men attracted to men.[39][40]

The Benjamin Scale proposed by endocrinologist Harry Benjamin in 1966 uses sexual orientation as one of several factors to distinguish between transvestites, "non-surgical" transsexuals, and "true transsexuals".[41]

In 1974, Person and Ovesey proposed dividing transsexual women into "primary" and "secondary" transsexuals. They defined primary transsexuals as asexual persons with little or no interest in partnered sexual activity and with no history of sexual arousal to cross-dressing or cross-gender fantasy.[42] They defined both homosexual and transvestic transsexuals to be secondary transsexuals.[43] Later uses of this terminology often defined primary transsexualism as attracted to males, and secondary transsexualism as attracted to females.

In the DSM-III-R, released in 1987, "transsexualism" was divided into "homosexual" and "heterosexual" subtypes.[44]

A 5 type sexual orientation scale has never been proposed and that should be viewed as problematic especially with the adoption of the transgender umbrella and its LGBT attachment. Dr Norman Fisk [45] noted those entering his clinic seeking reassignment surgery comprised a larger group than fit into the classical transsexual diagnosis. The article notes that effeminate gay men and heterosexual fetishistic transvestites desire surgery and could be considered good candidates for it. He believed they could successfully integrate after surgery. This points to problems with transsexual sexual orientation research that only recognizes two groups. This indicates there are two groups for sexual attraction to men in Transsexual women. One from a homosexual perspective and one that should either match or be similar to that of a heterosexual woman. There would also be two types for transsexual men. A fifth group would exhibit extremely fetishistic behavior and be bisexual only while cross dressed before transition or exclusively heterosexual. This means of the five groups only three would be potentially totally comfortable with placement within the gay community and for one group each from the male and female side it would be conversion therapy.

Transvestic fetishism[edit]

The DSM had a diagnosis of transvestic fetishism.[46] Some therapists and activists sought to de-pathologize this category in future revisions.[47] DSM 5, which was released in 2013, replaced the transvestic fetishism category with 'transvestic disorder'.[48]

Following the example of the Benjamin Scale, in 1979 Buhrich and McConaghy proposed three clinically discrete categories of fetishistic transvestism: "nuclear" transvestites who were satisfied with cross-dressing, "marginal" transvestites who also desired feminization by hormones or surgical intervention, and "fetishistic transsexuals," who had shown fetishistic arousal but who identified as transsexuals and sought sex reassignment surgery.[49]

Cultural status[edit]

Sexual behavior and gender roles vary by culture, which has an effect on the place of gender variant people in that culture. In most cultures, transsexual people are stigmatized, and sexual activity involving transgender people is considered shameful, especially in cultures with rigid sex roles or strictures against non-heterosexual sex.

In African-American and Latino cultures, a distinction is sometimes made between active and passive sexual activity, where the passive or receiving partner is not considered masculine or straight, but the active partner is.[50][citation needed]

Some observers question the racist assumptions behind clinical literature on transgender sexuality in various ethnic groups.[who?]

Some Asian countries, notably Thailand, have a more socially tolerant view of transgender sexuality.[citation needed]

Sex work[edit]

In many cultures, transgender people (especially trans women) are frequently involved in sex work such as transsexual pornography.[citation needed] This is correlated with employment discrimination. In the National Trans Discrimination Survey, 11% of respondents reported having done sex work for income, compared to 1% of cisgender women in the US.[51] According to the same survey, 13% of transgender Americans are unemployed, almost double the national average.[52] 26% had lost their jobs due to their gender identity/expression. Transgender sex workers have high rates of HIV. In a review of studies on HIV prevalence in trans women working in the sex industry, over 27% were HIV positive. However, the review found that trans women engaged in sex work were not more likely than trans women not engaged in sex work to be HIV positive.[53] Studies have found that in the United States HIV is especially prevalent amongst transgender sex workers of color, particularly black trans women, a problem that has been identified by academics[54] and members of the transgender community.

The subject of transgender sex workers has attracted attention in the media. Paris Lees, a British trans woman and journalist, wrote an article in June 2012 for the Independent defending criticism of Ria, star of Channel 4 documentary Ria: Teen Transsexual, who was seventeen at the time and depicted as working as a prostitute at a massage parlor, saying that the choice to engage in sex work is a matter of bodily autonomy and pointing out reasons that young trans women often turn to sex work such as low self-esteem and severe employment discrimination.[55] A review by GLAAD of its archives of transgender-inclusive television episodes from 2002 to 2012 found that 20% of transgender characters were depicted as sex workers.[56]

Some trans men in the sex work industry are gay for pay. Porn actor Buck Angel frequently does scenes with males, but he was married to women (Karin Winslow and later Elayne Angel).[57][clarification needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Devor H (1997). FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21259-6
  3. ^ Chivers, Meredith L.; Bailey, J. Michael. Sexual Orientation of Female-to-Male Transsexuals: A Comparison of Homosexual and Nonhomosexual Types. Archives of Sexual Behavior
  4. ^ Bagemihl B. Surrogate phonology and transsexual faggotry: A linguistic analogy for uncoupling sexual orientation from gender identity. In Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality. Anna Livia, Kira Hall (eds.) pp. 380 ff. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-510471-4
  5. ^ McConahay SA, McConahay JB (1977). Sexual permissiveness, sexrole rigidity and violence across cultures. ‘’Journal of Social Issues’’ 33: 134–143.
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  15. ^ Al Muqni, Matan. al Sharh al Kabeer (in Arabic). 7. pp. 347–348. 
  16. ^ a b c d Kulick, Don (1998). Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture Among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 269. ISBN 0-226-46100-9. 
  17. ^ Kulick, Don (1998). Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (PDF). University of Chicago Press. p. 248. 
  18. ^ Linnea Due (October 25, 1995). Genderation X. San Francisco Weekly
  19. ^ Devor H (1993). Sexual Orientation Identities, Attractions, and Practices of Female-to-Male Transsexuals. The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Nov., 1993), pp. 303–315
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  21. ^ a b Ira B. Pauly (1998). Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. In Dallas Denny, ed. Current Concepts in Transgender Identity. Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8153-1793-7
  22. ^ Virginia A. Sadock, Harold I. Kaplan (2008). Kaplan and Sadock's Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, p. 329. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, ISBN 978-0-7817-8746-8
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  26. ^ Kailey, Matt (2006). Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0-8070-7959-1
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  28. ^ Szymanski, Zak (January 19, 2006). Leather community debates trans exclusion at upcoming contest. Bay Area Reporter
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  30. ^ Langevin, R.; Paitich, D.; Steiner, B. (1977). "The clinical profile of male transsexuals living as females vs. those living as males". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 6 (2): 143–153. doi:10.1007/BF01541706. 
  31. ^ Handbasket Productions Online Store
  32. ^ Latham, JR (March 2016). [sex.sagepub.com/content/19/3/347.abstract "Trans men's sexual narrative-practices: Introducing STS to trans and sexuality studies"] Check |url= value (help). Sexualities. 19 (3). doi:10.1177/1363460715583609. 
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  34. ^ Cossey C (1992). My Story. Faber & Faber, ISBN 0-571-16251-7
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  44. ^ Wahng SJ (2004). Double Cross: Transamasculinity Asian American Gendering in Trappings of Transhood. in Aldama AJ (ed.) Violence and the Body: Race, Gender, and the State. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34171-X "Thus the institutionalized recognition of the queer-identified, or homosexual, transsexual, is historically groundbreaking. Rosario scrutinized how transgenderism has been described in relation to homosexuality and heterosexuality in both the revised third edition and the fourth edition of the [DSM]. In the DSM-III-R, the classification of "transsexualism" was divided into "homosexual" and "heterosexual" subtypes. However, sexual orientation was based on one's birth sex, so that an FTM who was attracted to women would be deemed a female homosexual transsexual, whereas an FTM attracted to men would be considered a female heterosexual transsexual. These diagnoses were especially confusing since a female homosexual transsexual – that is, an FTM who desires women – would actually identify himself as a heterosexual trans man. And an FTM who desires men, a female heterosexual transsexual, would self-identify as either a gay man or a queer-identified FTM."
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  49. ^ Buhrish N, McConaghy N (1979). Three clinically discrete categories of fetishistic transvestism. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 8, Number 2 / March, 1979.
  50. ^ Southern Arizona Gender Alliance Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer. [1]
  51. ^ (PDF) http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  52. ^ (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20110728123651/http://transequality.org/Resources/Trans_Discrim_Survey.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  53. ^ "Sex Work and HIV Status Among Transgender Women: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". 
  54. ^ "HIV Prevalence, Risk Behaviors, Health Care Use, and Mental Health Status of Transgender Persons: Implications for Public Health Intervention" (PDF). Am J Public Health. 91 (6): 915–21. 2001. PMC 1446468Freely accessible. PMID 11392934. doi:10.2105/ajph.91.6.915. 
  55. ^ Lees, Paris. The Independent http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/06/18/bodily-autonomy-confessions-of-a-transsexual-sex-worker/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  56. ^ Kane, Matt. "GLAAD EXAMINES TEN YEARS OF TRANSGENDER IMAGES ON TELEVISION; MORE THAN HALF WERE NEGATIVE OR DEFAMATORY". 
  57. ^ Wilkinson, Peter (January 12, 2006). The Mystery of Larry Wachowski. Rolling Stone