What causes transsexuality? Maddie briefly reviews the many possibilities suggested by psychological research.

What Causes Transsexuality?

Madeline, Your opinion ..... Is transgender/transsexual learned or inherent behaviour? ie Nature or Nurture? I've got my opinions... but I'm always open to new points of view ~ Alex

Hi Alex

There has been lots of research addressing the possible causes of transsexuality yet nobody really knows the answer. One possibility is a neurological difference like Zhoo's two studies showing BSTc is related to gender identity (not sex, sexual orientation, or hormone levels). Another possiblity is Richard Green's theory about how homosexuality and transsexuality have the same underlying biological causes (no matter what the TS's sexual orientation) but that it's the social environment which leads somebody to be a transsexual. Yet another possiblity comes out of Ken Zucker's research where boy-bodied children with GID have some girlish physical features and girl-bodied children with GID have some boyish physical features. So maybe transsexuality emerges because your physical features cause people treat you more like the 'other' sex. Also, Ray Blanchard has a model where transsexuality is one form of misdirected sex drive. And I could go with even more possibilities!

My personal feeling is that transsexuality is probably caused by a wide combination of different things all combined together. Each of the psychological approaches I mentioned probably has a "grain of truth" in it and I doubt any approach really can explain transsexuality fully.

Personally, I don't feel this question is nearly as important as many people believe. Like, if a farmer who really needs rain because his or her crops are dying, does it really matter if the cause is: (1) atmospheric pressure changes, (2) paying to have the clouds seeded, or (3) deities intervening because of a rain dance? No. What matter is that is ACTS, it RELATES, to the world like rain: it falls, it's water, and it helps the crops grow. Why are we any different? It doesn't matter to my friends what distant cause make me a girl today; all that matter is that I relate to them like any other girl. Does it matter what distant cause makes your friend a girl? All I feel really matters when it comes to knowing you're a boy is how you relate to others ... as a boy. By the way Alex, I have always liked your web-site; I linked to it from my web-site years ago!