Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 573–583 | Cite as

Societal Individualism Predicts Prevalence of Nonhomosexual Orientation in Male-to-Female Transsexualism

  • Anne A. Lawrence
Original Paper


There are two distinct subtypes of male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals: homosexual and nonhomosexual. The relative prevalence of these two subtypes varies dramatically between countries, but no explanation of this variability has yet been proposed. This study examined the hypothesis that the prevalence of nonhomosexual MtF transsexualism, relative to homosexual MtF transsexualism, would be higher in individualistic countries than in collectivistic countries. I analyzed data from 22 studies of MtF transsexualism, conducted in 16 countries, examining the association between percentage of nonhomosexual participants and Hofstede’s (Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations, 2001) Individualism Index (IDV). IDV accounted for 77% of observed variance in the percentage of nonhomosexual MtF participants (r = 0.88, p < .0001). Controlling for differences in national wealth and in Hofstede’s other indices of societal values (Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Masculinity) did not significantly change the ability of IDV to account for variance in the percentage of nonhomosexual participants. The factors that contribute to the observed association between societal individualism and the relative prevalence of nonhomosexual MtF transsexualism remain to be determined, but a greater tolerance within individualistic countries for socially disruptive gender transitions by nonhomosexual gender dysphoric men, and the availability within many collectivistic countries of socially approved transgender roles for pervasively feminine homosexual gender dysphoric men, are plausible contributors.


Individualism Collectivism Transsexualism Sexual orientation Gender dysphoria 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.SeattleUSA

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