Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Women’s Health

pp 1330-1332


  • Angela Pattatucci Aragon

Transsexuality is a clinical diagnosis representing the most extreme manifestation of gender dysphoria—a psychological condition in which a person’s gender identity is opposite that of their assigned sex at birth. Simply stated, the individual believes that they were born into the wrong body, a situation that occurs in approximately equal frequency for individuals originally assigned female or male at birth. Although the medical establishment and popular media have freely used the term transsexual as a descriptive term for these individuals, a growing activist movement has rejected this designation in lieu of using transpeople or transwoman or transman.

Transsexuality as a distinct and treatable medical condition is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, incidences of women who lived their lives as men and men who lived their lives as women have been recorded throughout history in many societies. Several theorists have proposed that transsexuality is a variation in the gestational sex ...

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