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A transsexual (sometimes transexual) person is one who establishes a permanent gender identity opposite to their assigned sex; with their sex usually having been assigned at birth. Transsexual men and women make, or desire to make, a transition from their birth sex to that of the opposite sex, usually with medical alteration to their body, taking the form of hormone therapy and sometimes (but by no means all the time) gender reassignment surgery.

The stereotypical explanation is of a “woman trapped in a man’s body” or vice versa. Many members of the transsexual community, as well as some outside the community, reject this description as failing to fully describe the experience.

For the exact wording of the formal diagnosis, see gender identity disorder.


The minimum requirements for a person to be considered transsexual are debated. Some feel that hormone-induced changes, without surgical changes, are sufficient to qualify for the label transsexual. Others, especially health care providers, believe there is a certain set of procedures that must always be completed. The general public often defines “a transsexual” (an incorrect use of the term, as ‘transsexual’ is an adjective, not a noun) as someone who had or plans to have “sex change” surgery. The current term in widest use for modification of sexual characteristics is gender reassignment surgery (GRS), a term which reflects the belief that transsexual people do not consider themselves to be changing their sex, but to be correcting their bodies.

However, it is also often accepted (and is also evident in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, version four, aka DSM IV) that to express desire to be of the opposite sex, or to assert that one is of the sex opposite to the one with which they were identified at birth, is sufficient to constitute being transsexual. (This does not include delusions about ones current sex, regardless of the cause of the delusion.) In contrast, some transgender people often do not identify as being of or wanting to be the opposite sex, but as being of or wanting to be another gender.

Transsexuality (also known as transsexualism) is one of a number of behaviours or states collectively referred to as transgender, which is generally considered an umbrella term for people who do not conform to typical gender roles. However, many in the transsexual community do not identify as transgender. Some see transgender as subsuming and erasing their identity, rejecting the term for themselves because to them it implies a breaking down of gender roles, when in fact they see themselves as fitting a gender role — just not the one they were assigned at birth.

Transsexuality and the LGBT & Queer Communities

Transsexual peoples’ association with the LGBT and the Queer communities is fraught with problems. Many trans people identify with those communities but others do not, or prefer not to use the terms. It should be noted that transsexuality is not associated with or dependent on sexual orientation. Transsexual men and women exhibit the same range of sexual orientations as cisgender people do.

Transsexual people almost always use terms for their sexual orientation that relate to their target gender. For example, someone assigned to the male gender at birth but who identifies as a woman, and who is attracted solely to men, will identify as heterosexual, not gay; likewise, someone who was assigned female at birth but identifies as a man and prefers male partners will identify as gay, not heterosexual.

Older medical texts, and some modern theories (see the universally disregarded autogynephilia “model”) often describe sexual orientation in relation to the person’s assigned sex, not their gender of identity; in other words, referring to a male-to-female transsexual who is attracted to men as a “homosexual male transsexual.” Again, this dwindling usage is considered scientifically inaccurate and clinically insensitive today. These older theories dismiss the identity of the trans person in question in favour of the medical person’s own views on what the gender of the trans person should be. Such a person would now be called (and most likely identify herself as) a heterosexual trans woman.

A number of people outside the transsexual community maintain the usage of referring to transsexual people with terms associated with their birth sex; for example calling a male-to-female transsexual “him”. This usage is highly offensive and an example of how cisgender people attempt to erase transsexual identities.

Disassociation with Cross-dressing and Drag

Transsexuality should not be confused with cross-dressing or the behaviour of drag queens. While both of these can be described as transgender, their participants are usually not transsexual. Transvestic fetishism has little, if anything, to do with transsexuality.


Gender terms used to describe transsexual people always relate to the ‘target‘ or ‘acquired‘ gender. For example, a transsexual man is someone who was identified as female at birth owing to his genitals, but identifies as a man and who is transitioning, or has transitioned, to a male social gender role and a male-identified body (an alternative term is female-to-male transsexual or trans man; compare also trans woman).

One older abbreviation used to clarify involves versions of “assigned-to-target”, i.e. female-to-male, or male-to-female. This helps avoid confusion caused by outdated medical terminology. These terms are abbreviated with several variants, so female-to-male might be expressed as F to M, FtM, F2M, F-M, F>M, etc. These terms were widely used up to the late 1990s but have now fallen from favour in most parts of the community due to their overly medical nature. Terms such as “trans man” and “trans masculine” (or their female equivalents, “trans woman” and “trans feminine”) are now far more common.

Those researching the topic should be aware that older medical texts often referred to the person’s original sex; in other words, referring to a M2F transsexual as a “transsexual male”. This usage is now sharply deprecated and little-used outside of transphobic screeds.

Among the transsexual community, the short form trans is more commonly used, e.g. trans guy, trans dyke, trans folk. Some also use the very controversial term tranny, e.g. tranny boy. Both abbreviated forms are also used by non-transsexual transgendered people. “Tranny” is often considered offensive, especially if used by those outside the community; in a similar way to how “the N-word” is.

Uncommon terms

Some people prefer to spell transexual with one s, in an attempt to divorce the word from the realm of psychiatry and medicine and place it in the realm of identity. This trend is hardly ever seen outside the United States, where it originated.

Some people prefer the term transsexed over transsexual, as they believe the suffix -sexual is misleading. Another justification made for this preference is that they feel it is more in line with the term intersex; as more transsexual groups are welcoming them because they feel both groups have much in common. It is by some definitions also possible to be both intersexed and transsexed. Other attempts to avoid the misleading -sexual have been the increasing acceptance of transgender or trans* and, in some areas, transidentity.

Causes of transsexualism

There is no scientifically proven cause of transsexualism. However, many theories have been proposed which suggest that the cause of transsexualism has its roots in biology; an idea that evidence of transsexual siblings has shown may have some truth to it. Many religious conservatives and others still believe that the causes of transsexualism are predominantly psychological.

Proposed psychological causes

In the past, many psychological causes for transsexualism have been proposed; including “overbearing mothers and absent fathers”, “parents who wanted a child of the other sex”, “repressed homosexuality”, “sexual abuse” or a variety of sexual “perversions”. None of these theories can be applied successfully to a majority of transsexual people, or even to a significant minority.

Many theories were developed in order to describe transsexual women, and when applied to trans men they usually work even less. One such example was Ray Blanchard’s ridiculous theory that all trans women could be divided into the categories of autogynephilic and homosexual; a “theory” that was bolstered by his control of the gender clinic where his data was collected. The theory collapsed when applied to anyone outside of his treatment program (as well as many from within it).

Many of these theories had also previously been applied to homosexuals, where they did not work out either. This led to theories which consider physical reasons for transsexualism.

Experience with individuals who were surgically reassigned at birth (in order to correct deformities such as those caused by accidental castration) suggests strongly that the mental gender identification is determined at birth. Individuals born male but raised as female often show the same symptoms of gender dysphoria as transsexuals. See the the case of David Reimer for an example of how badly surgical intervention of this kind can go. Also, compare intersex.

“Curing” transsexualism

Psychological treatments aimed at curing transsexuality are historically known to be unsuccessful. As early as 1972, the American Medical Association Committee on Human Sexuality published the prevailing medical belief that psychotherapy was generally ineffectual for adult transsexuals and that sexual reassignment therapy was more useful. (Human Sexuality. The American Medical Association Committee on Human Sexuality. Chicago. 1972.) A number of other treatments have been used in the past that are now considered ineffective for people with significant and persistent cross gender identity, including aversion therapy, psychoactive medications, electroconvulsive therapy, hormone treatments consistent with the birth gender, and psychotherapy alone.

Reparative therapy aimed at gay or lesbian people has also been applied to transsexual and transgender people, since gender variant behaviour is seen by proponents of reparative therapy as an extreme form of homosexuality (a view that has long since disappeared from almost all scientific discourses). While the Kinsey scale expressed a similar view, the scientific community today rejects this part of Kinsey’s theory, making reparative therapy as useless to transsexual people as it is for gay and lesbian people. Even though many of the major medical professional associations have repeatedly condemned reparative therapy as not only ineffective, but actually harmful, it continues to be advocated as a treatment for both homosexuals and transsexuals by several organisations with ties to the American conservative Christian movement.

Reparative therapy is not considered either standard of care or good medical/psychological care in modern western medicine.

However, it should be remembered that not all therapy aimed at resolving gender conflicts, excluding somatic treatments to reassign physical sex, is entirely negative. Some people may have milder conflicts between gender identity and their physical sexual characteristics. These individuals may not actually wish to pursue sexual reassignment therapy, but may seek care to help deal with the conflicts they face. If individuals express this desire for psychological care without SRS, supportive and psychoeducational counseling may be helpful.

Non-transitioning treatment

Some transsexuals, who may have a significant lifelong conflict between gender identity and their sexed-body may present for care without requesting SRS. Their reasons for forgoing transition may include family or professional concerns, perceptions of difficulty of transition, worry about perceived losses of social standing or role, firmly held religious beliefs, real or perceived inability to finance transition, and sometimes even advanced age or chronic medical problems. Regardless of their reasoning, if their decision is consistent, it should be respected. These individuals can often be helped by alternative methods to improve current functional status, promote acceptance of their gender identity as valid, and ameliorate mood symptoms caused by gender conflict through psychotherapy and sometimes medications. Additionally, these individuals sometimes benefit from partial somatic treatment. Low dose hormonal therapy only, validating patients desire to dress and live partially in the gender role appropriate to their gender, and even simply allowing the person a safe outlet to express themselves as a male or female can provide a great deal of comfort to patients who for one reason or another chose not to transition.

Physical causes

Many transsexual (and also many other transgender) people have assumed that there is a physical cause of their transsexuality because they claim to have had the feeling of being a girl or a boy for as long as they can remember. However, research into brain gender identity has been sparse.

While the article by Zhou, et al has been touted as strong evidence that transsexuality is based in structural and neurochemical similarities between the brains of transsexual people and brains typical of their gender identity, this article has numerous flaws.

More interesting evidence comes from numerous animal studies demonstrating that exposure to cross-sex hormones during development can reliably produce cross-sex behaviours in animals. In addition twin studies have demonstrated a strong heritability for transsexuality. (Concordance for Gender Identity Among Monozygotic and Dizygotic Twin Pairs. Diamond, M and Hawk, S. American Psychological Association 2004 Annual Meeting. July 28 – August 1, 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii.) This research provides more suggestive evidence that transsexuality may be determined in part by genetics and in utero hormonal environment.

A recent study in Germany provides some of the strongest evidence yet for a physical basis for transsexualism. The study found a correlation between digit ratio and male to female transsexualism. Male-to-female transsexuals were found to have a higher digit ratio than control males, but one that was comparable to control cisgender females. Because digit ratio is directly related to prenatal hormone exposure, this tends to support theories linking such to male-to-female transsexualism. (Schneider, Pickel & Stalla 2005)

Objections against research of causes

Scholars of gender theory, gender professionals and transsexual and transgender rights activists contest the very rationale of looking for a “cause” to transsexuality. The basic assumption behind this quest for “causes” is that gender dimorphism (the idea that there are only two discrete, well defined and dichotomous genders) is an established fact. The critics cite, among other things, historiographic and anthropological findings pointing to the fact that different cultures had diverse concepts of gender, some of them including three or more genders.

The main argument against the search for a “cause” to transsexualism is that it assumes a priori the legitimacy of normative gender identity, i.e. gender identity congruent with the external genitalia. This, affirm the critics, is an unproved contention. Historical research shows that the relation of genitals and gender identity changes across cultures. Assuming a priori that variant gender identity is anomalous (and therefore its “causes” should be investigated) distorts science’s view of gender and contributes to the stigmatisation of gender non-conformists.

Closely related to the above argument is the belief of many people that transsexuality is not a disease or disorder and that no attempts should be made to cure transsexuality psychologically. However, a counterargument exists that cites the investigation into a reason why a brain-body dimorphism could develop is proposed as a valid reason why investigation into the causes of transsexuality should go ahead. The main argument being that investigation into why a phenomenon occurs does not necessarily have to reinforce any particular side in gender politics.

Gender reassignment therapy

Most transsexual men and women suffer from great psychological and emotional pain due to the conflict between their gender identity and their original gender role and anatomy. They find their only recourse is to change their gender role and undergo gender reassignment therapy. This may include taking hormones to modify their secondary sex characteristics or having sex reassignment surgery to change their primary sex characteristics.

Psychological treatment

Mental health approaches that attempt to change the gender identity to one considered appropriate for their assigned sex have universally been shown to be ineffective. It is generally accepted, therefore, that the only effective course of treatment for transsexuals is gender reassignment therapy.

The need for physical treatment is emphasised by the high rate of mental health problems, including depression, various addictions, and a suicide rate among untreated transsexual people many times the rate in the general population (some estimates are as high as between thirty and seventy-five percent); many of these problems in the majority of cases disappear or decrease significantly after a change of gender role.

Transgender and transsexual activists, but also many caregivers, however, point out that these problems are usually not related to the gender identity issue as such, but to problems that arise from dealing with those issues and social problems related to them. Also, those problems are much more likely to be diagnosed than similar problems in the general population, because transsexual people are usually required to visit a mental health professional to obtain approval for hormones and sex reassignment surgery. These professionals routinely evaluate their patients for these and similar problems, as a number of mental health problems are known to manifest in a way that can cause an idividual to believe they are transsexual.

A growing number of transsexual and transgender people therefore resent or even refuse often mandatory psychological treatment, since gender dysphoria itself is untreatable by psychological means, and they have no other problems that need treatment. This however can cause significant problems when they try to obtain physical treatment.

Therapists’ records reveal most transsexuals do not believe they need psychological counselling, but acquiesce to legal demands in order to gain rights which are granted through the medical/psychological hierarchy. Legal issues such as a change of sex on legal documents (and sex reassignment surgery itself) are usually impossible to obtain without a doctor’s approval. This leads to the inevitability that transsexuals feel coerced into confirming pre-ordained symptoms of self-loathing, impotence, and sexual-preference in order to see simple legal and medical hurdles granted.

Transsexuals face the unattractive option of remaining invisible with no legal rights, and possibly incongruent identification, or submitting to a medical hierarchy which alone has the ability to grant legal gender status.

Requirements for gender reassignment treatment

The requirements for hormone replacement therapy vary greatly. Often a minimum time period of psychological counselling or a time spent living in the desired gender role in order to ensure the patient can function psychologically in that role is required. This is not always possible; transsexual men especially often cannot “pass” this period without hormones. Transsexual women may also require hormones to pass in society as women; however, hormones are generally much more important to transsexual men as far as “passing” is concerned. This time period is usually called the Real Life Test (RLT).

The most recent revision of the HBIGDA Standards of Care recognise this limitation for some transgender people. So the SOC state that patients may be approved for treatment after either a period of successful cross-living or a period of diagnostic psychotherapy – generally at least three months. Some doctors may prescribe hormones to any patient who requests them; however, most physicians are extremely reluctant to do so, especially for FTM transsexuals for whom some hormonally-induced changes may become virtually irreversible within a matter of weeks. Conversely, MTF transsexuals usually have to take hormones for many months before any irreversible changes will result. Some transsexual men and women are able to avoid the medical community’s requirements for hormone therapy altogether by obtaining hormones from black market sources, such as internet pharmacies which ship from overseas but this process is dangerous as the lack of medical supervision means there are no medical safeguards against the many side-effects (including the possibility of liver damage, suicidal levels of depression, kidney failure and thrombosis) of hormones and associated anti-hormone drugs.

Some surgeons who perform sex-reassignment surgery may require the patient to live as the opposite gender in as many ways as possible for a specified period of time (this is termed “cross-living” or Real Life Test) prior to the start of surgery. However some surgeons recognize that RLT without at least chest reconstruction may be difficult. So many are willing to perform some or even all elements of SRS without a RLT period. This is especially prevalent amongst surgeons who practice in Asia. However all UK surgeons, and almost all US surgeons, who perform vaginoplasty on MTF transsexuals require a minimum one-year RLT as well as recommendation letters from two psychotherapists.

Generally both physicians who prescribe hormones and surgeons who perform SRS may request letters of diagnosis and recommendation for treatment from the patient’s therapist. However, experienced physicians and surgeons, especially outside the United States, sometimes waive this requirement with patients who, by their evaluation, are obvious candidates for treatment.

Hormone replacement therapy

For information, see our article on hormone replacement therapy.

Gender/Sex Reassignment Surgery (GRS/SRS)

For information, see our article on Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).

Legal and social aspects

Many Western societies today have some sort of procedure whereby an individual can change their name, and sometimes also their legal gender, to reflect their gender identity. Medical procedures for transsexual and transgender people are also available in most Western countries. However, transsexual and transgender people make strong challenges to the prevalence of gender roles in many cultures and often face considerable prejudice. The film Boys Don’t Cry chronicles such a case.

Some people who have undergone a change of gender role will adopt or provide foster care for children, often for children who are also transsexual or transgender so they can live according to their gender identity. Societies are in some instances challenged to assimilate these men and women into their social institutions such as marriage and the role of parenting. Often, children exist from the time before transition. Many of these children stay with their transitioning/transitioned parent. Recent research shows that this does not harm the development of these children in any way.

Much to the dismay of many transsexual people, older children frequently reject their transsexual parents and refuse to live with them. Equally distressing to transsexual parents, many younger children are barred from visiting their transsexual parents by family members (sometimes illegally) or court order.

The style guides of many media outlets prescribe that a journalist who writes about a transsexual person should use the pronoun and name used by that person (although many still do not). Family members and friends, who are often confused about pronoun usage or the definitions of sex, are frequently corrected by either the transsexual person or the professionals who assist them as they approach that point at which they begin to “pass” as a member of the sex they wish to adopt. This usually passes.


After this level of transition and development has been achieved, some transsexual men and women may wish to blend in with other members of their new sex and will avoid revealing their past. They do this believing that it will provide greater peace and security on the other side of a stressful and potentially dangerous transition. This behaviour, known as stealth, is recognised by most people in the transsexual community as an individual decision one must make.

The equation with “coming out”, whereby a lesbian or gay person, or a transsexual person who has hidden their true gender identity maintaining their originally assigned gender role, feels they reveal their true self, has been countered by the explanation that, in contrast, because of prejudice, sensationalism, and how it can trigger unconscious personal feelings and emotions, knowledge of someone’s transsexual past can too easily prevent the average person being able see the transitioned person’s true self. So the knowledge obscures, instead of reveals the truth.

The choice to live completely stealth is believed to present its own psychological difficulties – that without anyone in which to confide there may be tendencies towards anxiety and depression. The term deep stealth is sometimes used for these individuals, referring to those that have completely isolated themselves from their past, their birth families, the medical professionals directly involved in their treatment process, and from the support structures that may have helped them through transition. Several examples exist of people who have gone deep stealth whose status was only discovered at their death. For example the jazz musician Billy Tipton was deep stealth and his status was not even known by his wife and (adoptive) children. Moreover the tragedy of Mr Tipton’s death illustrates just one of the dangers of going deep stealth. The fear of discovery as being transsexual often may keep people from seeking needed medical care. Mr Tipton bled to death from an ulcer that could have been readily treated at the time had he been able to seek medical care without fear of discovery.

Fortunately the majority of the transsexual and transgender community has learned to accept that people choose for many reasons including political beliefs, religion, family responsibilities, career, and personal psychology to live at a certain place on the spectrum from ‘out and proud’ to ‘deep stealth.’ Billy Tipton’s decision to be deep stealth was no more or less valid than Jamison Green’s decision to be out and politically active as detailed in his book ‘Becoming a Visible Man‘. There are risks and benefits to any place on the spectrum and the decision is a personal one.

Transsexual youth

Individuals may begin to come to terms with their gender identity at many different stages in their life. In most cases, the transsexual condition becomes apparent at some time in childhood, sometimes in very early childhood, where the child may be expressing behaviour incongruent with, and dissatisfaction related to, their assigned gender.

Most of the time, though, these children try to hide their “being different” as soon as they experience rejection resulting from their differences.

Coming out

Since transsexualism is still not widely accepted in many countries, transsexual youth may feel they need to remain in the closet until they feel that there is a time appropriate to reveal to their parents their gender identity — understandably so, as parents have a great deal of influence in their children’s lives, some parents can react negatively towards such news. Other parents can be very supportive, initially, or after such news has been broken to them. It is often impossible to predict how parents will react to such news, and the process is fraught with tension for many transsexual youth.

Transsexual youth also face many hardships when it comes to obtaining medical treatment for their condition. Psychiatrists and endocrinologists are very reluctant to give hormone treatment to transsexual youth under 16, and getting surgery is almost completely impossible.


Puberty is especially rough for trans youth. Unlike their peers, who may be excited about body changes and thrilled with growing up, trans youth are put into a particularly hard place in their lives. While everyone around them may seem happy about going through puberty, the changes that are happening to them are the opposite of what feels right. The androgyny of childhood melts away, and to their horror, they see changes in their body that only make them more uncomfortable and put them through considerable agony. And to make it worse, many endocrinologists insist on a youth going through the puberty of their birth sex before they prescribe hormones that could have prevented the masculinization or feminization of an MTF or FTM, respectively.

Ensuring the child’s security

Only in recent years have some transsexual or transgendered children received both counselling and in some cases also medical treatment, as well as the possibility to change their social role.

Families with a young child, who may identify already as a member of “the other” sex, and who chooses to change their gender roles through dress and behaviors, may decide to relocate this child and home to another area in order to afford the young person the best opportunity to live in the desired gender role among a novel set of peers and community.

Choosing to remain and live within an intolerant society where the local community has had previous experience of the child’s assigned sex may raise many challenging issues. Gwen Araujo of Newark, California was a young person who had lived as female, a gender opposite to the male gender assigned her at birth. She became the victim of violent crimes that resulted in her death after she attended a party where her birth sex was revealed.

The film Ma Vie En Rose (1997), by Alain Berliner, depicts a similar scenario: Ludovic is a young child who is assigned male but who identifies as a girl and tries to make others agree with this identification. Ludovic’s gender play incurs conflict within the family and prejudice from the neighbours; in the end the family has to relocate to a new community.

The 1999 documentary film Creature directed by Parris Patton, tells the story of Stacey “Hollywood” Dean, a young transsexual woman who grew up in rural North Carolina. It follows her through four years and includes interviews with her conservative Christian parents.

The decision to relocate, however, depends very much on the social environment and the handling of the situation by caregivers and other adults. There are also several cases where it was not felt that there was such a need to relocate, particularly in Western Europe.


As with every transition, in children and in adults, “experts” often raise the spectre of transitions gone wrong, that is people transitioning back to their original sex. These cases do in fact exist, however, every recent study done on the number of these cases states that their number is well below 1%, and that the reasons for re-transitioning are very diverse. See this article in the International Journal of Transgenderism for examples.

These cases are often cited as reasons for the lengthy triadic process outlined in the Standards of Care, which specifies a treatment process combining supportive psychological, hormonal, and surgical care. While many have criticized this process as being too slow for some, it is argued that without the safeguards within the standards of care, the incidence of unsuccessful surgical transitions would be much higher. This is also questioned by many critics, especially with regard to particular demands or behaviour of some caregivers. The article above states that in some of these cases, transitioning could have been prevented if some demands made by caregivers, or demands perceived as coming from the caregivers, had been less rigid; particularly, if the patients had not felt that talking about any problems or doubts would jeopardize their further treatment. (An unwavering demand for medical treatment and the absolute conviction of “doing the right thing” is often indeed seen as a necessary for the diagnosis of transsexualism, and therefore the prerequisite for any further treatment; consequently, further treatment has indeed been denied to people who uttered any doubts or even questions.)

Critics claim that when patients cannot talk about problems or doubts, but have to present themselves as having neither, the patients, anxious to get treatment they perceive at this point to be absolutely necessary, will face these problems or doubts after transitioning, when dealing with them is much more difficult, and this will often lead to social problems, depression, anxiety, or similar problems, and, in some rare cases, to a retransitioning. While there is no scientific study on the question, many trans*-organisations and groups claim from experience that the less pressure is felt by the patient to conform to any particular stereotype, the more satisfactory the outcome of the transition will be. This of course does not preclude any screening for mental problems which might lead to pseudo-transsexuality, nor a supportive psychological therapy if necessary.

Depictions of transsexuality in the media

The pornography industry is notable for its exploitative treatment of pre-operative male-to-female transsexuals, usually referred to by the pornography industry as “shemales” (a highly offensive term). The general depiction is that of transsexuals as freaks, or as “women with a bit more”.

However, the mainstream media (after years of insensitive depictions of transsexuals and despite still getting many more things wrong than right) is now making films with a more serious and nuanced depiction of transsexuals. Films containing depictions of transgender issues include The World According to Garp and The Crying Game. The film Different for Girls is notable for a sensitive depiction of a male-to-female transsexual who meets up with, and forms a romantic relationship with, her male former best friend.

One of the newest films is Soldier’s Girl which is based on a true story that made national headlines in the U.S. The film TransAmerica, although ostensibly setting out to portray the trans woman lead as sympathetic and even including several trans people in some scenes, still gets almost everything about trans medicine incorrect (if a trans woman was taking hormones up to the day of surgery, as depicted in the film, she would greatly increase her chances of dying during surgery) and presents its lead character as flaky and hormone-obsessed.

Television is starting to show transsexual people in a little better light as well. Both Law & Order and Nip Tuck, have had transsexual characters but they were played by cisgender women. CSI had an episode dealing with a transsexual victim, and they used transsexual actresses and extras for those parts including Dr Marci Bowers and the subject of the movie Soldier’s Girl, Calpernia Addams. Calpernia Addams has been in numerous movies and television shows. CSI also included a lot of educational information about who transsexuals are, and the hardships they face.


  • Schneider, Harald J. Pickel, Johanna and Stalla,Günter K., (2005) Typical female 2nd-4th finger length (2D:4D) ratios in male-to-female transsexuals–possible implications for prenatal androgen exposure, Psychoneuroendocrinology, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 2 September 2005

External links

Specific to Trans women

  • Mom, I Need to Be a Girl – a book by the mother of an MTF transsexual child. Available in Deutsch (German), Español (Spanish), Français (French), Português (Portuguese), and العربيّة (Arabic)
  • Transsexual Road Map – practical and medical information
  • Lynn Conway – her goal is to “illuminate and normalise the issues of gender identity and the processes of gender transition.”
  • Brenda Make’s Genderrain Project – contains the web version of Saving Throw. Saving throw is a transsexual person’s autobiography which also touches on bisexuality, abuse, recovery, drug abuse, gender ethics and politics.
  • The Anne Who Would Be Queen – The truth about Anne Lawrence, one of the only backers of autogynephilia

Specific to trans men

  • FTM International – Female To Male International: practical and medical information
  • FTMA Network – Australian-wide network providing up to date contact, support and information.

Media treatment of transsexuality

Forked from the Transsexuality Wikipedia article on 14 Nov 2005 by Jennifer Kirk and adapted for T-Vox.