Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 269–279

Comparison of transvestism in Australia and America

  • Neil Buhrich
  • Trina Beaumont


Information concerning gender identity, sexual orientation, cross-dressing behavior, fetishism, and bondage was obtained from a questionnaire which was posted to members of two transvestite clubs, one in the United States and one in Australia. This study reports the responses of 136 American and 86 Australian self-designated transvestites who reported a period of fetishism to women's clothes at some stage of development. Characteristics of transvestism of subjects in both countries were remarkably similar: all were male, almost half the subjects first crossdressed in prepuberty, and in the large majority cross-dressing was well established by late adolescence; intense fetishism was usually experienced during adolescence but waned in later years; in almost a quarter of subjects fetishism ceased, although the desire to cross-dress continued; in many subjects transvestism was associated with fantasies of bondage, usually of the subjects bound while cross-dressed; sexual orientation was predominantly or exclusively heterosexual in more than three-quarters of the subjects. Subjects were categorized into two groups. One group, termed nuclear transvestites, were satisfied with cross-dressing. The second group, termed marginal transvestites, desired feminization by hormone ingestion or by surgical intervention. Marginal compared to nuclear transvesites reported significantly stronger feminine gender identity and tended to report a stronger interest in the homosexual direction. The differences appeared to be present from childhood. No significant differences were found between the nuclear and marginal transvestites with regard to characteristics of fetishism, bondage, and cross-dressing except that in the American group marginal transvestites currently cross-dressed more frequently than did nuclear transvestites.

Key words

transvestism gender identity sexual orientation fetishism bondage transcultural 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Buhrich
    • 1
  • Trina Beaumont
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychiatric DepartmentSt. Vincent's HospitalDarlinghurstAustralia
  2. 2.Seahorse Club of AustraliaRoyal ExchangeAustralia

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