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heterosexual versus homosexual

I posted two distinct sections from the same chapter of Ray Blanchard’s book over the last few posts in which he made the distinction between his heterosexual and homosexual dysphoric patients.

In his heterosexual group, he explained the difficulty in predicting the difference between transvestism and transsexualism and showed, like Harry Benjamin, that there was a blurring of the line in some of his patients. He suggested that transvestism could be a stunted form of transsexualism.

His homosexual gender dysphoric group were found not to be as variable in adulthood as his non-homosexual patients, but were also found to differ in the degree of cross-gender identity and intensity of gender dysphoria. Mild intensity dysphorics might end up like drag queens in using episodic dressing (minus the erotic component) while high intensity dysphorics would need to have hormone treatments and surgery. These were the same patients that Harry Benjamin would have identified as types V and VI.

So far so good as both make the same types of observations.

However, in finding no etiology for his patients’ dysphoria, Blanchard then proposes two distinct explanations; both involving sexual motivation. Target location error was proposed for his heterosexual patients while a desire to attract heterosexual male partners was given for his homosexual group.

Since we have no scientific evidence for the causes of gender dysphoria it’s easier to fill the void with pseudo-scientific theories such as Blanchard’s and in the vacuum created after Benjamin’s death we even saw the invention of a nonexistent disorder called Harry Benjamin syndrome to help homosexual dysphorics who had transitioned feel better about their decision. Transition worked for them but not necessarily for the reason they hoped as any simple genetic test would prove.

Here is where the power of belief takes over and people do what they must to feel right in their own skin. It comes down to what works for them.

What should matter most to us is that we have improved the treatment methods and expanded the options available to help people suffering from gender dysphoria which makes me very glad.

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