The two-type model of transsexualism proposed by our dear friend Ray Blanchard in the late 1980’s is not aging very well. Postulated during a period in our history when those who were romantically drawn to females (gynephilics) were mostly in the closet regarding their cross gender feelings and perhaps married while man-loving androphilics were transitioning young, there seemed to be a massive gap between two types which turned out not to be distinct types at all.
Today one only needs to view the YouTube videos of transgender millennials to see how things have changed just a tad over the last 30 years.
The gap in transition age between the two orientations is rapidly closing mostly because gynephilics are coming out of the closet much sooner and they are not subject to the ravages of testosterone that those from previous generations were exposed to. Hence, they make for very attractive women post transition. We also need to note that many of these young transgender people are experimenting with their sexuality and some even reverse orientation (we know this happens for a fact through HRT treatments although not to everyone).
The result is that the old Blanchard model just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny any longer.
What we do know is that transgender people experience dysphoria and that sexual orientation served more than anything else as a filter. In the past, woman-loving types would deny their feelings and find partners until all exploded on them in mid-life, while those who were man-loving would transition younger due to a perfect alignment between gender identity and their orientation. This should not be rocket science but apparently it was for Blanchard who was blinded by his Kurt Freund inspired fixation to assign exclusively sexual motives to all transitions.
What is now occurring is that the gender revolution has freed everyone to be more themselves and simply closed the gap in the age of transition.
Harry Benjamin was very wise not to have focused on sexual orientation and instead concentrated on strength of cross gender identification which has far more relevance. Under this universal model we can simultaneously explain drag queens and crossdressers and their mild cross gender identification versus that of transsexuals. Thinking only about dysphoria also fits in female to male transsexualism rather nicely (something largely ignored by Blanchard's clumsy model). What it all boils down to is dysphoria and its potency which makes far more sense.
Where the cross gender identification is sourced and how the child is affected from fetus through adolescence is another matter entirely and something still waiting to be discovered.
So, is transsexualism a mental illness? Absolutely not as we're too high functioning for that. Rather, it is an anomaly in a bioligical process that must necessarily contain them.