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Measures of Clinical Health among Female-to-Male Transgender Persons as a Function of Sexual Orientation

Abstract

The present study examined the sexual orientation classification system that was used in the DSM-IV-TR for categorizing those who met the Gender Identity Disorder diagnostic criteria in order to determine the extent to which female-to-male transgender persons (FTMs) differ on psychological variables as a function of sexual orientation. Participants were 605 self-identified FTMs from 19 different countries (83 % U.S.) who completed an internet survey assessing their sexual orientation, sexual identity, symptoms of depression and anxiety, stress (Depression Anxiety Stress Scales), social support (Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support), and health related quality of life (SF-36v2 Health Survey). Over half the sample (52 %) reported sexual attractions to both men and women. The most common sexual identity label reported was “queer.” Forty percent of FTMs who had begun to transition reported a shift in sexual orientation; this shift was associated with testosterone use. Overall, FTMs ranged from normal to above average on all psychological measures. FTMs did not significantly differ by sexual attraction on any mental health variables, except for anxiety. FTMs attracted to both men and women reported more symptoms of anxiety than those attracted to men only. Results from the present study did not support a sexual orientation classification system in FTMs with regard to psychological well-being.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Graduate Student Research Proposal Award from the Texas Psychological Foundation, the Student Research Award from the LGBT Special Interest Group of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Peggy Rudd scholarship from the Houston Transgender Unity Committee. The authors would like to thank Dr. Carla Sharp for her thoughtful comments throughout the revision process.

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Meier, S.C., Pardo, S.T., Labuski, C. et al. Measures of Clinical Health among Female-to-Male Transgender Persons as a Function of Sexual Orientation. Arch Sex Behav 42, 463–474 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-012-0052-2

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Keywords

  • Transgender
  • Gender Identity Disorder
  • Transsexualism
  • Sexual orientation