A Further Assessment of Blanchard’s Typology of Homosexual Versus Non-Homosexual or Autogynephilic Gender Dysphoria
In a series of important but now highly controversial articles, Blanchard examined associations of sexual orientation and transvestic fetishism among male-to-female (MTF) transgender persons in Toronto, Canada. Transvestic fetishism was rare among the homosexuals but prevalent among the non-homosexuals. Subtypes of non-homosexual MTFs (heterosexual, bisexual, and asexual) were consistently high with regard to transvestic fetishism. Non-linear associations of a continuous measurement of sexual attraction to women (gynephilia) and transvestic fetishism were interpreted in terms of an etiological hypothesis in which transvestic fetishism interferes with the early development of heterosexuality. Blanchard concluded that homosexual versus non-homosexual sexual orientation is a dominant and etiologically significant axis for evaluating and understanding this population. We further assessed these findings among 571 MTFs from the New York City metropolitan area. Using the Life Chart Interview, multiple measurements of transvestic fetishism were obtained and classified as lifetime, lifecourse persistent, adolescent limited, and adult onset. Large (but not deterministic) differences in lifetime, lifecourse persistent, and adolescent limited transvestic fetishism were found between the homosexuals and non-homosexuals. Contrary to Blanchard, differences in transvestic fetishism were observed across subtypes of the non-homosexuals, and linear (not curvilinear) associations were found along a continuous measurement of gynephilia and transvestic fetishism. Age and ethnicity, in addition to sexual orientation, were found to be statistically significant predictors of transvestic fetishism. The clinical, etiological, and sociopolitical implications of these findings are discussed.
KeywordsGender identity disorder Transsexualism Sexual orientation Transvestic fetishism Autogynephilia
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Bailey, J. M. (2003). The man who would be queen: The science of gender-bending and transsexualism. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.Google Scholar
- Bem, S. (1993). The lenses of gender: Transforming the debate on sexuality. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Benjamin, H. (1966). The transsexual phenomenon. New York: Julian Press.Google Scholar
- Blanchard, R. (1985b). Research methods for the typological study of gender disorders in males. In B. W. Steiner (Ed.), Gender dysphoria: Development, research, management (pp. 227–257). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
- Bolin, A. (1998). Transcending and transgendering: Male-to-female transsexuals, dichotomy and diversity. In D. Denny (Ed.), Current concepts in transgender identity (pp. 63–96). New York: Garland.Google Scholar
- Bornstein, D. (1994). Gender outlaw: On men, women and the rest of us. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Boswell, H. (1998). The transgender paradigm: Shift toward free expression. In D. Denny (Ed.), Current concepts in transgender identity (pp. 56–61). New York: Garland.Google Scholar
- Cole, S., Eyler, D., & Samons, S. (2000). Issues of transgender. In L. Szuchman & F. Muscarella (Eds.), Psychological perspectives on human sexuality (pp. 149–168). New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Ellis, H. (1936). Studies in the psychology of sex. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Garber, M. (2000). Bisexuality and eroticism in everyday life. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hirschfeld, M. (1910). Die Transvestiten. Berlin, Germany: Alfred Pulver Macher.Google Scholar
- Lawrence, A. A. (2008). Societal individualism predicts prevalence of nonhomosexual orientation in male-to-female transsexualism. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi:10.1007/s10508-008-9420-3.
- Lyketsos, C., Nestadt, G., Cwi, J., Heithoff, K., & Eaton, W. W. (1994). The life chart interview: A standardized method to describe the course of psychopathology. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 4, 143–155.Google Scholar
- Nanda, S. (1994). Hijras: An alternate sex and gender role in India. In G. Herdt (Ed.), Third sex, third gender: Beyond sexual dimorphism in culture and history (pp. 373–417). New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
- Nuttbrock, L., Hwahng, S., Bockting, W., Rosenblum, A., Mason, M., Macri, M., et al. (2009). Psychiatric impact of gender-related abuse across the life course of male-to-female transgender persons. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224490903062258.
- Pauly, I. (1990). Gender identity disorders: Evaluation and treatment. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 12, 2–24.Google Scholar
- Prince, V. (1976). Understanding cross dressing. Los Angeles: Argyle Books.Google Scholar
- Rossi, A. (Ed.). (1994). Sexuality across the life course. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Rothblatt, M. (1994). The apartheid of sex: A manifesto on the freedom of gender. New York: Crown Publishing.Google Scholar
- Whitlock, K. (1996). The transgender outlook. San Francisco: Author.Google Scholar