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Essay Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences

Exploring the Diversity of Gender and Sexual Orientation Identities in an Online Sample of Transgender Individuals

By Laura E. Kuper, Robin Nussbaum, and Brian Mustanski, 2012

Although the term transgender is increasingly used to refer to those whose gender identity or expression diverges from culturally defined categories of sex and gender, less is known about the self-identities of those who fall within this category. Historically, recruitment of transgen- der populations has also been limited to specialized clinics and support groups. This study was conducted online, with the aim of exploring the gender identities, sexual orientation identities, and surgery and hormonal statuses of those who identify with a gender identity other than, or in addition to, that associated with their birth sex (n 1⁄4 292). Genderqueer was the most com- monly endorsed gender identity, and pansexual and queer were the most commonly endorsed sexual orientation identities. Participants indentified with a mean of 2.5 current gender iden- tities, 1.4 past gender identities, and 2 past sexual orientation identities. The majority of participants either did not desire or were unsure of their desire to take hormones or undergo sexual reassignment surgery. However, birth sex and age were significant predictors of ‘‘bottom’’ surgery and hormone status=desire, along with several identities and orientations. This study explores explanations and implications for these patterns of identification, along with the potential distinctiveness of this sample.

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