Psychology’s current understanding of transsexualism is somewhat limited. A better understanding of this disorder can help with early identification of transsexuals who are prone to problems. It could also provide improved treatment methods for transsexuals who are having difficulties coping psychologically or socially. This paper provides an organized overview of transsexualism as gained through an extensive analysis of previous research and studies on the disorder. This analysis revealed that transsexuals’ characteristics and psychosocial adjustment differ according to their biological gender. Female transsexuals (FMs) are more likely to be homosexual than male transsexuals (MFs), are less likely to marry, and are less likely to display psychosocial problems. FMs also adjust much better to gender reassignment than MFs. Research regarding the merit of different treatment methods was also analyzed. Gender reorientation, which includes surgical treatment, hormonal treatment, or any other methods which bring a transsexual closer to the desired gender, exhibited the best results. Results suggest that gender reorientation helps to alleviate or reduce the psychological and social problems which are found in many transsexuals.
Andrea Bakker, ’97
Sponsor: Suzette Astley