Male and female transsexualism: The danish experience with 37 patients

Abstract

Since the first sex-reassignment operation in Denmark at the Rigshospitalet in 1951, a total of 37 patients, 29 males and 8 females, have had sexmodifying surgery and a change in legal status. In our experience a basic insecure gender identity is a predominant trait in transsexuals, dating back to earliest childhood. This insecurity and a concomitant anxiety are overcome differently by the two transsexual sexes. In male transsexualism, the most outstanding characteristic is a narcissistic withdrawal to a condition marked by submission and pseudofemininity. Anxiety and insecurity are basic to the gender dysphoria but are subdued by means of fantasy escape and gratification in aestheticized ego-ideals with suppression of aggressive and sexual feelings. This results in the often observed pseudofemininity in the male transsexual. A core group of transsexual males are marked by a persistent pseudofeminine narcissism. They have stable ego strength, are agenital in sexual attitude, and have an intact sense of reality. This group is expected to remain so after sex reassignment. The transsexual female assumes a narcissistic, phallic attitude displaying outer activities and caricatured masculine manners in an attempt to subdue her insecurity. Examples are given of the characteristic splitting of these persons' phenomenological egoexperiences and how different their reality testing is from that of psychotic persons with a desire for sex change. Transsexual females are much more sexually active than transsexual males. We find a closer connection between female homosexuality and transsexualism than between male homosexuality and transsexualism.

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Sørensen, T., Hertoft, P. Male and female transsexualism: The danish experience with 37 patients. Arch Sex Behav 11, 133–155 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01541980

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Key words

  • gender identity
  • male transsexuals
  • female transsexuals
  • ego functions
  • sexual identity
  • transsexual