I've always been curious about the seemingly high proportion of lesbian transsexual women. Why is that? When I ponder that, it leads me to think about the relationship between gender identity and sexual preference, if one even exists.

I hear a lot about how gender identity and sexual preference are not related.  This page claims that "sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual identity are independent of each other." This person claims that they're not correlated.  I tire of hearing people write and say this.  It seems to me that it is simply common sense that gender identity and sexual preference *are* related, or correlated.  Today, there are around 3 billion women in the world and of those, 90 to 95% of them identify as primarily straight.  90% of a sample size this large seems to indicate a correlation.  The concepts are certainly different, but independent? I doubt it.

Please note before you start flaming, that I am merely talking about correlation. Nothing bigger than that. Not causation. Two things are correlated if the presence of some characteristic X allows you to predict Y with some degree of confidence. Correlation does not imply causation.

We can use a statistical test known as a t-test (how apropos!!) to see if there is a correlation.  We surmise that there's an equal chance for any given woman to be straight, lesbian, or bisexual.  That becomes our hypothesis.  We create a set of data for it and a set following the observed preferences of women. We then plug the numbers into this test and it tells you how likely your hypothesis is.  The excruciating details of the test are here.  It turns out that it's more likely for you to win the Powerball jackpot eight times in a row than for gender identity and sexual preference to be unrelated in cisgender women.

Many transsexual women claim that we are exactly the same as natal women. You hear this claim thrown around quite a bit. Is that true? I mean, if we're exactly the same as natal women, we ought to be exactly the same in this regard, too. Right?

Reliable numbers are very difficult to come by, but I found a study which found that 38% of transsexual women identified as bisexual, 35% lesbian, 27% straight.  Seemed representative of the admittedly small number of trans women that I know, so I went with it.  These numbers seem to indicate that in transsexual women, gender identity and sexual preference are unrelated.  I did one of my little t-tests and it showed that a set of data reflecting "no relation" stood a decent chance of being statistically equivalent to the data for transsexual women.  In this respect, we couldn't be much further away from cisgender women!  If we are the same, explain to me why we differ in this fairly important way.

I think many factors conspire to cause so many transsexual women to identify as something other than straight...

  • Some aren't women. I'm not opening the Pandora's box of who is and who isn't, so we'll leave it at that.
  • Some aren't able to attract or date men, for reasons real or perceived and may settle for someone that she otherwise might not have. For example: a transsexual who is not able to have SRS. It is a fact that it will be difficult for her to find a straight male.
  • Some are just lesbian or bisexual.
  • Some are truly in love with their wives but would otherwise identify as straight or bisexual. I know a couple people that fall into this category.
  • Some take their hatred of their old selves and transpose that onto the entire male population. I've seen this hatred and I think it's sad. There are a lot of terrific guys out there.
  • Some transsexuals don't feel the societal constraints that natal women do when it comes to dating and relationships. There's no pressure to have children, for example. We cross gender norms in the most profound way possible, so perhaps it makes it easier for us to cross gender norms when it comes to sexual preference.
  • I think that a lot of stealth transsexual women are less inclined to participate in these sorts of surveys.  It's probably fair to say that most such women are straight, so in reality, there are more of us who are straight than it appears.
What can we conclude from all this? Not much, really. Here's an example of a conclusion one might make after reading this entry:

- A group of people with homogeneous gender identities tend to have homogeneous sexual orientations.
- Transsexual women tend to have heterogeneous sexual orientations.
- Therefore, transsexual women do not have homogeneous gender identities.

Nope. The logic is correct but the preconditions are not. The problem with this is that we didn't just start with any random "group of people," we used "a group of cisgender women." You cannot draw logical conclusions based on any other group. It might be true that there are men among us, but you cannot use the above to prove it. For what it's worth, I think the "truth," as it usually does, lies somewhere in the middle. There exist transsexual women who are very similar to natal women. There exist transsexual women who are not. I think it's intellectually dishonest to claim that as a group, we're the same. In this regard, we're clearly not. I'm sure there are others.

We should all go in on group Powerball tickets.  It's a virtual certainty that we'll win.


Wow, I think I need another cup of coffee and some Fortran before I can comment intelligently. Nice work on this. You make a lot of valid points. I especially like the "reasons". It'd be interesting to know how the distribution changes based upon the age of transition. From a purely non scientific perspective, it appears to me that the younger a person is when they transition, the more likely they are to match the cis population in regards to sexual orientation. Then again, who knows, I'm still trying to figure it all out in my own little world.

Careful, Faline.

You're starting to sound more like me, every day! You just know how to say it nicer :-)

I like the idea of winning a lottery with a huge payout. :)

I've never taken statistics. Not much of a geek! So the behind-the-scenes entry didn't tell me much. Still, your list is intriguing.

Jen has a good point about age, but then, who do some of us shift anyway (or not shift, if you go with my opposite/same theory) even though we're older and should, one would think, be set in our ways?

Interesting post, Faline. Here's another wrinkle, though. How many cisgender women, when taking polls, identify as straight when they are actually lesbian and due to societal issues (religion, etc.), are not out?

Not quite, Jamie...


It is said that the numbers do not lie, but that..."Figures lie and liars, figure."

I think that where you are running into problems is in your population of "trans-women".

A loosely, or poorly defined population can skew or negate meaningful results.

Just as Natasha points out above and you noted as well, many of your hypothetical poll takers might MIS-IDENTIFY.

In other words, how many of those self-identified "trans-wymen" are really NOT women, but men, merely masquerading as women of "femulating".

The reality is the incidence of 'same sex' orientation is the same in women of history as it is in the general, (mainstream), population.

Anne, as I commented on another blog, and I will use my exact quote, throwing around opinions as if they were facts is neither helpful nor illuminating. If your assertion is correct, that would mean that out of every 200 women who identify as transsexual, 119 of them would need to be misidentifying themselves. That's a fact.

If you can prove your assertion or offer any data to back it up, I'd love to see a link to it. I agree that out of those 200, there are those who are misidentifying. But I'd be surprised if anyone could show me something that proves that 60% of them are misidentifying.

I await your link. :)

Oh, and by the way, the better cliche to use would have been "Lies, damned lies and statistics." Please make a note of it. ;)

Faline. I am neither a sophist, statistician nor a lawyer. All my opinions are my own and may or may not have some connection to reality.

I happen to believe that they do. But since you do raise the question, then let me ask what might be YOUR explanation of the fact that such a large proportion of T-wymen, transwomen, and/or TG "SEEM" to be lesbian.

If 90% of women are straight and virtually EVERY WOMAN of history ALSO seems to be straight, might one not logically suspect that all these other so called women are NOT really women at all but some transgendered hybrid?

As I said in the post, I think there are many factors. I refer you to the bulleted list prefaced by "I think many factors conspire to cause so many transsexual women to identify as something other than straight."

Yes, if it is your personal observation that just about all women of history seem to be straight, that's a very logical conclusion. All I can write about now, if it's going to be honest, are my personal observations. And I'm obviously a lot (a LOT!!!) earlier in the process than you are, and am familiar with a different set of people than you are.

But let's say for the sake of argument that someone put a gun to my head and asked me to pick the one main reason. A look at the item I chose to put first in my list, as well as the intentional double entendre in the post title should give you a hint as to what my answer would be.

I understand. The problem that you face, (that I did NOT), is one of peer pressure. I am not sure about your case, but in many cases, those that DO find themselves afflicted with some form of GD or GID, will seek out others in 'similar circumstances'. And therein lies the "rub". "Similar" is NOT THE SAME AS.

And THATis the MAJOR problem with conflating TG with TS. Until TS can be seen for what it is, a neurological, MEDICALLY TREATABLE, disorder that has a clearly defined treatment protocol, AND NOT a 'variation' of gender "expession", THE CONFUSION, MISUNDERSTANDING, Statistical Manipulation, and Political Wrangling will continue.

Great point about peer pressure.

The first thing any therapist tells you these days is to attend a support group. So it's almost unavoidable not to seek out others. Some end up going to group for years. Some don't. I'm in the latter category. Early in my transition, I went about once a month for 3 months. After I while I started to wonder why I was there. At this point, I am actively, yet gradually, removing myself from the "community."

I totally agree with you that TS ought not be a subset of TG.

The whole peer pressure thing would be a good blog, I think.

Again I agree that the influence of one's peers is definately worth looking into. I dropped in on one of these local 'support groups', a few years ago just to see if there was anything helpful that I might add.

Silly me. What would a fully assimilated woman of history POSSIBLY have to offer those that already "know" what it means to actually TRANSITION from MALE to FEMALE.

What I was told was that male/female was a "socially imposed patriarchal form of gender oppression". HUH!!??!?

Because I could not agree with this "thinking", this "dogma" that a person WAS 'really' who/what they SAID they were, (IE a turnip, or a frog or a woman), that I was a bigoted, ignorant, backward, HATER and as no longer welcome in "THEIR" community.

So yeah....I guess i got me some "issues".

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