Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 449–461 | Cite as

Coming Out for a Third Time: Transmen, Sexual Orientation, and Identity

Original Paper

Abstract

Female-to-male (FTM) transgender persons are often assumed to have been lesbian in sexual orientation prior to transition and to have maintained a primary attraction for women after transition. However, limited research and anecdotal information from clinicians who work with FTM have indicated that many identify as gay men post-transition. This article described the results of a qualitative study that employed interviews with 17 FTM in order to understand their experience of transition and sexual orientation. Of the 17 participants, seven identified as lesbian prior to transition, three as heterosexual, and seven as bisexual or queer. After transition, 10 identified as gay men and the remaining seven identified as bisexual or queer. Four patterns of sexual behavior emerged from the data and were described and discussed. These patterns were named steadfast, aligned, shifted, and fluid. These findings bring additional options to the belief that there are two distinct types of transgender: a homosexual subtype and a nonhomosexual subtype.

Keywords

Transgender Gender identity Sexual orientation Gay community 

References

  1. Benjamin, H. (1966). The transsexual phenomenon. New York: Julian Press.Google Scholar
  2. Benner, P. (1994). The tradition and skill of interpretive phenomenology in studying health, illness, and caring practices. In P. Benner (Ed.), Interpretive phenomenology: Embodiment, caring, and ethics in health and illness (pp. 99–127). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bockting, W., Benner, A., & Coleman, E. (2009). Gay and bisexual identity development among female-to-male transsexuals in North America: Emergence of a transgender sexuality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 688–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chan, G., Brykczynski, K., Malone, R., & Benner, P. (2010). Interpretive phenomenology in health care research. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.Google Scholar
  5. Chivers, M. L., & Bailey, J. M. (2000). Sexual orientation of female-to-male transsexuals: A comparison of homosexual and nonhomosexual types. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 259–278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clements-Nolle, K., Marx, R., Guzman, R., & Katz, M. (2001). HIV prevalence, risk behaviors, health care use, and mental health status of transgender persons: Implications for public health intervention. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 915–921.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coleman, E., Bockting, W. O., & Gooren, L. (1993). Homosexual and bisexual identity in sex-reassigned female-to-male transsexuals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 22, 37–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daskalos, C. T. (1998). Changes in the sexual orientation of six heterosexual male-to-female transsexuals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 605–614.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Devor, H. (1993). Sexual orientation identities, attractions, and practices of female-to-male transsexuals. Journal of Sex Research, 30, 303–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Devor, H. (1994). Toward a taxonomy of gendered sexuality. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 6(1), 23–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Devor, H. (1997). More than manly women: How female-to-male transsexuals reject lesbian identities. In B. Bullough, V. L. Bullough, & J. Elias (Eds.), Gender blending (pp. 87–102). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  12. Devor, H. (2004). Witnessing and mirroring: A fourteen-stage model of transsexual identity formation. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 8(1/2), 41–67.Google Scholar
  13. Herbst, J. H., Jacobs, E. D., Finlayson, T. J., McKleroy, V. S., Neumann, M. S., & Crepaz, N. (2008). Estimating HIV prevalence and risk behaviors of transgender persons in the United States: A systematic review. AIDS and Behavior, 12, 1–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kenagy, G. P., & Hsieh, C. M. (2005). The risk less known: Female-to-male transgender persons’ vulnerability to HIV infection. AIDS Care, 17, 195–207.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lawrence, A. A. (2010). Sexual orientation versus age of onset as bases for typologies (subtypes) for gender identity disorder in adolescents and adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 514–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leonard, V. W. (1994). A Heideggerian phenomenological perspective on the concept of person. In P. Benner (Ed.), Interpretive phenomenology: Embodiment, caring, and ethics in health and illness (pp. 43–63). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Morgan, S. W., & Stevens, P. E. (2008). Transgender identity development as represented by a group of female-to-male transgendered adults. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 29, 585–599.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Namaste, V. K. (1999). HIV/AIDS and female to male transsexuals and transvestites: Results from a needs assessment in Quebec. International Journal of Transgenderism. Retrieved March 30, 2008, from http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtintro.htm.
  19. San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). (2010). San Francisco HIV prevention plan (Harder + Company Community Research). San Francisco, CA: Author.Google Scholar
  20. Sevelius, J. (2009). “There’s no pamphlet for the kind of sex I have”: HIV-related risk factors and protective behaviors among transgender men who have sex with nontransgender men. Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 20, 398–410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Smith, Y. L., van Goozen, S. H., Kuiper, A. J., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2005). Transsexual subtypes: Clinical and theoretical significance. Psychiatry Research, 137, 151–160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Nursing and Health ProfessionsUniversity of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.San FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations