Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Transwomen or trans-women are transsexual or transgendered people who were assigned male sex at birth (or, in some cases of intersexuality, later) and feel that this is not an accurate or complete description of themselves. They therefore identify as female or strive to fit a female gender role.
Transwomen can come from the whole of the male-to-female side of the transgender spectrum, from male-to-female transsexual persons to those cross-dressers, transvestites and drag queens who consider themselves transgendered.
Most transwomen who consider their change of gender role and their physical treatments to be completed prefer to be called simply women. Some consider transwoman, male-to-female transsexual, and transgendered person to be terms that should only used for persons who are transitioning.
Research on the sexual orientation of transwomen is sparse. Many studies on this issue have suffered from reporting bias, since many transsexuals feel they must give the "correct" answers to such questions in order to increase their chances of obtaining hormone therapy. Patrick Califia, author of Sex Changes and Public Sex, has indicated that this group has a clear awareness of what answers to give to survey questions in order to be considered eligible for hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery:
- "None of the gender scientists seem to realize that they, themselves, are responsible for creating a situation where transsexual people must describe a fixed set of symptoms and recite a history that has been edited in clearly prescribed ways in order to get a doctor's approval for what should be their inalienable right".
Therefore, there is a considerable difference between what most of the few scientific papers dealing with the subject claim and what most support groups, help lines etc. report. Both however report that the number of transwomen who consider themselves lesbians or bisexual or asexual is higher than it is in the general female population (at least in studies done from the 1980s on). Most sources from within the transgender community report that the number of lesbian transwomen roughly equals that of transwomen who prefer male partners, and many also consider themselves bisexual or asexual. Scientific papers on the other hand usually report a higher number of heterosexual identified transwomen.
A few transsexual activists claim the orientation of transsexual women corresponds to that of the cisgendered female population; however, these claims so far have not been substantiated and appear to be politically motivated rather than based on facts.
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