Are gynephilic (woman loving) transwomen more likely to suffer from mental illnesses than the androphilic (man loving) ones? And what about transmen?
The question of whether there are different types of transsexuals is one of the minefields of transgender research, not at least because there is a long tradition to consider transwomen who love women fakes or perverts. The idea that transsexuals can be gay or lesbians too, seems to be hard to understand. Both doctors and many "classic transsexuals" have considered the other kind to be fetishistic crossdressers and perverted "autogynephiliacs".
An underpinning assumption has been that gynephilic (woman-loving)
transwomen are mentally ill, while the the androphiles (man-lovers) are either "real women" ("real women love men") or -- as in the teachings of Ray Blanchard -- mentally healthy feminine gay men.
This debate is also of relevance to non-transsexual transgender people, especially if you believe there are common traits between crossdressers and crossdreamers on the one hand and transsexuals on the other. I believe there are, given that so many transsexuals have been crossdreamers and/or crossdressers before transitioning.
The MMPI-2/MMPI-A study
A new Dutch study,"Comparing adult and adolescent transsexuals: An MMPI-2 and MMPI-A study", looks into the mental health of transsexuals and presents some very interesting findings.
As always, remember that research is a work in progress, and that gender research is doubly so, given all the difficulties stemming from the cultural context, methodological problems, the prejudices of the researchers etc. etc. In this post I consider the findings as they are.
Cause and effect, causality and correlation
What makes such studies hard is that it is hard to distinguish between cause and effect:
Are transsexuals mentally ill?
If they are ill: Does the mental illness cause their transsexual condition or is it their transsexual condition that makes them ill?
If their their illness is caused by their transsexuality, is this for inborn reasons or because of the way people treat them?
The social and cultural context of transsexuals shape their life trajectories
I have previously put forward the following hypotheses: