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Transgenderism, transsexualism,
gender dysphoria, & gender identity

Is transsexuality linked to homosexual orientation?

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Is transsexualism linked to homosexuality?

You might have to read this section more than once in order to understand it. Different groups assign very different meanings to the same words, and the result is confusion.

As noted elsewhere in this section a transsexual is a person who experiences Gender Identity Disorder (a.k.a. GID, Gender Dysphoria, Disorder of Sexual Differentiation, or DSD) In the most common type, their genetic gender (a.k.a. birth gender) is opposite of their perceived gender. Some describe themselves as a woman trapped in a man's body, or vice versa. Some describe themselves as having a female brain in a male body, or vice-versa. A minority of persons with GID perceive themselves to be of both genders, or neither gender. We will deal only with the most common type here.

There is no real connection between transsexuality and homosexuality. A transsexual can consider herself/himself to be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. There are two schools of thought on which transsexuals belong to each of the three sexual orientations.

bulletThe vast majority of transsexuals, human sexuality researchers, therapists, counselors, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals, etc, who are not religious conservatives but who are familiar with gender identity and transsexuality would agree that:

bullet Transgender people and transsexuals are individuals whose gender identity conflicts with their birth-assigned gender and genetic gender.

bulletHomosexuals are defined by their sexual orientation; they feel sexually attracted to members of the same gender.

Consider a person born male who becomes aware of their gender dysphoria as a child and later makes a male to female transition. Most consider themselves heterosexual, in that they regard themselves as female and are sexually attracted only to men. A minority will see themselves as homosexual because they are attracted only to other women. A smaller minority will be view themselves as bisexual because they are attracted to both men and women.

The same sequence holds in reverse, for those born female who later transition to male.

bullet Religious and social conservatives view transsexuality very differently. Their response is generally very negative. For example, the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, who represents over one million adults, has sought a ban on gender reassignment surgery, have condemned weddings involving transsexuals, and opposed legislation allowing transsexuals to change their gender listings on on their birth certificates. The Alliance's inclination is to reduce the importance of gender identity in favor of genetic gender. 1 In the U.S., the Traditional Values Coalition and other social and religious conservative groups also refer to transsexual people by their birth-assigned sex. 2

Thus a person born male who discovers their gender dysphoria and transitions to become female will be regarded by many Evangelicals as still being male. If the person, being comfortable with their female identity, engages in sexual behavior with a male, they will be regarded by many religious conservatives as a homosexual; if they are sexually attracted to a female, they will be viewed as a heterosexual. Most religious conservatives either do not recognize bisexuality or downplay its significance.

The same sequence holds, in reverse, for those born female and who regard themselves as male.

Some transsexuals prefer to be called transsexed. That is because the word "transsexual" sounds much like heterosexual and homosexual -- terms related to sexual orientation. By using "transsexed," they are emphasizing that being transsexed is not a sexual orientation.

There is one instance where religious conservatives would agree with other groups: Consider  "Alice" who was born a genetic male, and transitioned to female. She might marry "Bill" who was born a genetic female, and then transitioned to a male.

bulletMost religious conservatives would regard this as a heterosexual relationship resulting in an opposite-sex marriage. That is because they would regard Alice as male and Bill as female.

bulletMost who are not religious conservatives would also regard this as a heterosexual relationship resulting in an opposite-sex marriage. That is because they would regard Alice as female and Bill as male.

Similarities in childhood behavior by homosexuals and transsexuals:

Neither homosexuality nor transsexuality can be detected at birth. There is not yet any genetic or other test that can be given to newborns to determine which will become transgender later in life.

However, before school age, homosexuals and transsexuals often exhibit atypical behavior:

bullet

Children who will become homosexual later in life often play with toys that many people consider gender-inappropriate. Boys will play extensively with dolls; girls will play a lot with cars, trains, etc.

bullet

Children who will exhibit Gender Identity Disorder later in life will often insist, from an early age, that they their "real" gender is opposite to their genetic gender. They will also often play with toys that many people consider gender-inappropriate.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. The home page of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK is at: http://www.eauk.org/
  2. "Transsexualism," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

Copyright © 2007 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-JUN-08
Latest update: 2011-DEC-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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