Gender Role Disorders

Transsexualism involves a disturbance in sexual identity. The criteria for establishing sexual identity are described .

In transsexualism, there is no evidence as yet of abnormality in the chromosomal or phenotypic sex; social sex conforms to biological sex. There is, however, a severe disturbance in psychosexual differentiation. A person’s gender identity refers to the individual’s sense of masculinity or femininity as distinct from sex. It is thought to arise from a biological component (prenatal endocrine influences), psychological imprinting and social conditioning.

Disturbances in these three areas have variously been blamed for the cause of transsexualism. The four
key features of transsexualism are:

I A sense of belonging to the opposite sex and of having een born into the wrong sex
2 A sense of estrangement from one’s own body; all manifestations of anatomical sexual identification are regarded as repugnant
3 A strong desire to resemble physically the opposite sex and seek treatment, including surgery, towards this end
4 A wish to be accepted in the community as belonging to the opposite sex

For males, treatment includes hormonal administration (oestrogen is used to produce some breast enlargement and fat deposition around hips and thighs) and, if surgery is to be recommended, a period of living as a woman as a trial beforehand. In the case of female transsexuals treatment involves surgery and the use of methyltestosterone.

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