The classification and labeling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias

Arch Sex Behav. 1989 Aug;18(4):315-34. doi: 10.1007/BF01541951.


This report suggests systematic strategies for the descriptive classification of nonhomosexual gender identity disorders, based on clinical observations and research findings. The classification of biological males is considered first. A review of cross-gender taxonomies shows that previous observers have identified and labeled a homosexual type far more consistently than any other category of male gender dysphoric. It is suggested that the apparent difficulty in differentiating reliably among the nonhomosexual types results from the sharing of many overlapping characteristics by the various groups. This is supported by a review of informal, mostly clinical, observations and by the findings of three studies designed to test the hypothesis that the nonhomosexual gender dysphorias, together with transvestism, constitute a family of related disorders in men. It is concluded that the main varieties of nonhomosexual gender dysphoria are more similar to each other than any of them is to the homosexual type. Two recommendations, based on the foregoing review, are offered for the classification of male gender dysphorics in research studies. When the number of subjects is small, they may be classified simply as homosexual or nonhomosexual. When the number is larger, the nonhomosexual cases may be classified as heterosexual, bisexual, or analloerotic (unattracted to male or female partners, but not necessarily devoid of sexual drive or activities).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Transsexualism / psychology*
  • Transvestism / psychology*