Gay and Bisexual Identity Development Among Female-to-Male Transsexuals in North America: Emergence of a Transgender Sexuality
- 3.6k Downloads
We studied a North American sample of female-to-male (FtM) transsexuals sexually attracted to men, aiming to understand their identity and sexuality in the context of a culture of transgender empowerment. Sex-reassigned FtM transsexuals, 18 years or older and attracted to men, were recruited via an FtM community conference and listserv. Participants (N = 25) responded to open-ended questions about identity development, sexual behavior, and social support. Data were analyzed by content analysis. Scores for sexual identity, self esteem, sexual functioning, and psychological adjustment were compared to those of a comparison group (N = 76 nontransgender gay and bisexual men). Of the 25 FtMs, 15 (60%) identified as gay, 8 (32%) as bisexual, and 2 (8%) as queer. All were comfortable with their gender identity and sexual orientation. The FtM group was more bisexual than the nontransgender gay and bisexual controls. No significant group differences were found in self esteem, sexual satisfaction, or psychological adjustment. For some FtMs, sexual attractions and experiences with men affirmed their gender identity; for others, self-acceptance of a transgender identity facilitated actualization of their attractions toward men. Most were “out” as transgender among friends and family, but not on the job or within the gay community. Disclosure and acceptance of their homosexuality was limited. The sexual identity of gay and bisexual FtMs appears to mirror the developmental process for nontransgender homosexual men and women in several ways; however, participants also had experiences unique to being both transgender and gay/bisexual. This signals the emergence of a transgender sexuality.
KeywordsTranssexualism Transgender Female-to-male Gay Bisexual Sexuality
The authors acknowledge Anne Marie Weber-Main, Ph.D., for her critical review and editorial suggestions of earlier manuscripts drafts. The authors also would like to acknowledge the female-to-male participants for their willingness and openness in sharing their life stories with us during the interviews.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Bergman, S. B. (2006). Butch is a noun. San Francisco, CA: Suspect Thoughts Press.Google Scholar
- Bockting, W. O. (1997). Transgender coming out: Implications for the clinical management of gender dysphoria. In B. Bullough, V. L. Bullough, & J. Elias (Eds.), Gender blending (pp. 48–52). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
- Bockting, W. O. (1999, October/November). From construction to context: Gender through the eyes of the transgendered. SIECUS Report (pp. 3–7).Google Scholar
- Bockting, W. O. (2003). Outness and investment in passing among a national online sample of the U.S. transgender population. Unpublished raw data.Google Scholar
- Bockting, W. O. (2005). Biological reductionism meets gender diversity in human sexuality [Review of the book The man who would be queen: The science of gender-bending and transsexualism]. Journal of Sex Research, 42, 267–270.Google Scholar
- Bockting, W. O. (2008). Psychotherapy and the real-life experience: From gender dichotomy to gender diversity. Sexologies. doi: 10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071.
- Bockting, W. O., & Coleman, E. (2007). Developmental stages of the transgender coming out process: Toward an integrated identity. In R. Ettner, S. Monstrey, & E. Eyler (Eds.), Principles of transgender medicine and surgery (pp. 185–208). New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
- Bornstein, K. (1998). My gender workbook. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Califa, P. (2002). Speaking sex to power: The politics of queer sex. San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press.Google Scholar
- Castells, M. (1997). The power of identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
- Coleman, E. (1981/1982). Developmental stages of the coming out process. Journal of Homosexuality, 14(1/2), 9–24.Google Scholar
- Coleman, E., & Bockting, W. O. (1988). Heterosexual prior to sex reassignment, “homosexual” afterwards: A case study of a female-to-male transsexual. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 1(2), 69–82.Google Scholar
- Devor, H. (1997). FTM: Female-to-male transsexuals in society. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Kimberly, S. (1997). I am transexual—hear me roar. Minnesota Law & Politics, June, 21–49.Google Scholar
- Luteijn, F., & Kingma, L. (1979). Een nieuwe verkorte MMPI. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Psychologie, 34, 459–471.Google Scholar
- Pillard, R. C., & Weinrich, J. (1987). The periodic table of the gender transpositions: Part I. A theory based on masculinization and defeminization of the brain. Journal of Sex Research, 23, 425–454.Google Scholar
- Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Stone, S. (1991). The empire strikes back: A posttranssexual manifesto. In J. Epstein & K. Straub (Eds.), Body guards: The cultural politics of gender ambiguity (pp. 280–304). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar