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not much further along

How does the qualifier in the term “homosexual transsexual” help us understand transsexualism? The answer is that it doesn't. How can it if the root condition itself is not well understood.

Recently I featured Anne Vitale’s essay on the work of Ovesey and Person and how they classified transsexuals. Subsequent researchers then ended up reversing what they meant by Primary and Secondary transsexualism and then Blanchard came along and invented his own categories.

Even Harry Benjamin, whose work I greatly respect and whose 6 classifications were the first attempt at categorizing dysphoria, never arrived at an explanation and to his credit he never pretended to.

Therefore, until the nature of dysphoria is well understood, you can play with classifications until the cows come home and have gotten no further until we understand the fundamental nature of what constitutes gender identification and how it can diverge from birth sex.


  1. I'm not saying scientists shouldn't continue their quest, but it does seem to me that trying to put individuals into clearly defined, absolute boxes is a hiding to nothing. There are simply too many variables. Trends may be discovered and certain characteristics may be observed, but it is unlikely to lead a definitive answer to the question, asked billions of times, "Who am I and why am I the way I am?"

    1. Categorizing is a shell game Kati. It is because so much information is missing that somehow doing this might give the impression of scientific rigor.

    2. Also keep in mind Kati that in Blanchard's grossly simplistic model it's all about aberrant sexuality exclusively which washes its hands of the true complexity which lies beneath...

  2. We obviously need categories to talk about anything. The trouble with all the pseudo-scientific categories is that the researchers believe that there is a one to one relationship between their man made concepts and reality "out there". There rarely is in any discipline.

    What is even more serious is the fact that they mistake correlation for causation. They group people into different categories on the basis of their observations. This is what science is all about. It is ok to sort transgender people into androphilic and gynephilic, educated uneducated, blue eyed and brown eyed or anything you want, but as soon you see a correlation you must always ask if there are other factors that influences the distribution you see.

    That is, unfortunately, what some of these researchers fail to do. In the world of Blancahrd & Bailey sexual orientation equals type of transgender, which anyone who knows anything about transgender people could tell them is not the case. Benjamin was far more careful in his analysis.

    1. thanks for the feedback Jack and of course you are correct they mistake that correlation into an argument for causation which is not the case here. But if you want an expedient solution, using groupings can be a pretend substitute for real science. This is what makes Benjamin the best in that he observed and catalogued behavior but favored a biological origin so he refrained from any conclusions he could not back up.

    2. Benjamin did, indeed. But the trans separatists could not help themselves, could they. They redefined his categories into water tight silos, sorting the good from the bad and the ugly. Sigh....

      Even these days I meet young people over at tumblr and reddit who think that crossdresser (or even transvestite) is a meaningful term for cis straight men with a kink.


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