HSTS stands for ‘homosexual transsexual’. This describes a set of people with very specific characteristics.
The most significant of these is unique attraction to the same sex, from childhood. This applies equally to those born male and those born female. This characteristic is marked and always present.
This does not mean that HSTS are ‘gay men’. They’re not. But their transsexualism is directly linked to their sexuality, which causes them to be romantically and sexually attracted to members the same sex — typically, HSTS transwomen will like classic, masculine, strong men, often older, and HSTS transmen will like conventionally beautiful women.
There are a number of secondary characteristics that emphasise the way that HSTS are physically and behaviourally shifted towards the norms for the opposite, rather than their own, sex. Although there is quite a lot of variation in these, broadly speaking they will be present to at least some degree. These include having same-sex crushes, cross-dressing as children identification with female (if male) role models and so on. These behaviours are known as ‘gender non-conforming’ or GNC.
Some characteristics are different for those born male and those born female. These are propensities and are not absolute, nor are they present in all cases. They will be present in most, however.
For males, they include: a tendency towards slightness of build and lightness overall for height, when compared to related males; fine bones and features; a tendency towards facial neoteny, otherwise known as ‘baby-face’; tendencies towards strongly feminine behaviours and comportment; a dislike for rough-and-tumble contact sports, although they may enjoy other sports — volleyball rather than basketball, for example. They may be small as well as slight, although this is not always so. As children and teenagers they may enjoy dancing, art, music, and more typically feminine recreations.
For females, characteristics include: heaviness of build and increased natural muscularity; a preference for contact sports and games; possible masculinity in their features; a propensity to enjoy more typically masculine sports and play.
Note that just because you or your child exhibit some of the above, that absolutely does not mean that this must be a case of HSTS. Plenty of boys like sewing, as legions of tailors and leather-workers will attest and art schools are full of women sculptors. This holds across the array of secondary characteristics.
To reiterate, ALL HSTS are strongly homosexual in their sexual and romantic orientation and without that, there is no indication of HSTS, irrespective of any of the other characteristics. However, not all homosexuals will transition to full HSTS.
The determination as to whether a person is or is not HSTS can only be made by the individual over a long period of time.
Whether or not a person should transition depends on a range of factors, most notably which gender they feel most discomfort in. This discomfort is called Gender Dysphoria. (See below.) Where it is most intense and, in HSTS this is usually associated with strong secondary characteristics, the individual may struggle to cope with living in the sex-conforming gender. If these feelings of discomfort or distress outweigh any feelings of rejection or exclusion by the culture around them, the individual will probably do better by transitioning.
‘Transition’ can be be social-only or surgical.
In social transition, the person lives as a member of the opposite sex, takes cross-gender hormone replacement and may seek cosmetic surgeries but not Genital Reconstruction (GRS) or transition surgery. In surgical transition, this last is specified, as well as the others. Again, this is on a scale of intensity and it’s affected by culture. More HSTS are likely to surgically transition in a society where this is made available and is affordable, than in others. Both social and surgical transitions are valid and this is not a hierarchy. Both socially and surgically transitioned HSTS are HSTS.
(We do not use the older definition of ‘transsexual’ that was applied only to those who had surgically transitioned. We apply it to both socially and surgically transitioned HSTS.)
For MtF transition surgery today is an extremely successful procedure both cosmetically and functionally and most candidates, once recovered, need no further intervention. Still, it is a major decision that must be taken with care.
Many HSTS live full and happy lives; transition is not a failure, but a natural end-point that is appropriate for some individuals, though not others. As such, those who are successful in it should be lauded. Neither transition nor non-transition are ‘better outcomes’ in any general sense, because the better outcome is the right one for a particular individual and everyone is different. Only the individual can make that decision. From the point of view of individual, family, and professionals, the objective should be that he or she lives a full and happy life and can achieve their romantic and other desires, irrespective of the gender they present in.
Nature or Nurture?
There is evidence that HSTS is not a mental, but a physical condition, possibly the result of abnormal hormone delivery in the womb. While this is not yet confirmed, the clustering of physical and behavioural characteristics in HSTS individuals tends to support the idea. Brain scans using MRI imaging techniques have shown that in some areas of the brain, HSTS are different from heterosexual males. While correlation is not causation, this is another straw in the wind pointing to an innate cause for HSTS. In addition, there is no solid evidence to suggest that homosexuality itself can be ‘conditioned’ into a child and so it must be innate.
HSTS can, though, suffer some co-morbid mental disorders such as anxiety and depression as a result of the difficulties their condition presents and it is important not to ignore these as part of a balanced treatment pathway.
The decision to transition, either socially or surgically, may be influenced by social pressure, professional counsellors and so on, but the extent to which this is effective is unknown. However, those around a GNC child who shows signs of being HSTS should take great care to ensure that the child’s desires and well-being, and not their own or the broader society’s, are the focus of any intervention.
In many ways, although we call this homosexual transsexualism (HSTS), the inverse is more appropriate: transsexual homosexuality. This makes its relationship to gender-conforming homosexuality much more clear: they are both points on a scale of development with HSTS being at the extreme end. For individuals in this group, transition can be an appropriate, even vital, life-choice.
Gender Dysphoria in HSTS
One of the terms you will hear often is ‘gender dysphoria’ (GD). This refers to an intense feeling of discomfort at publicly presenting in the gender that normally would conform to your birth sex. If you are not trans and are male, imagine for a moment how you would feel if you were to go into work tomorrow wearing a mini-skirt, heels, stockings, a wig and make-up. It is likely that this would make you feel quite uncomfortable (unless you are actually trans). Gender Dysphoria or GD is presented as something like that, but worse.
A diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria is required for cross-sex treatment under the WPATH (explain) guidelines. Two psychological assessments confirming this and stating that the indicated treatment is surgery, are required under the same rules, for GRS. While calling yourself ‘transgender’ has become a fashion option in recent years (one reason why we don’t use the term) the diagnosis of GD remains the basis of clinical treatment.
We believe that a proper and complete understanding of the exact nature of the HSTS condition is essential to ensure that the person receives the correct advice, treatment and guidance before, during and after any transition. While transgender is by and large a meaningless term, transsexual is by no means fully descriptive of all those who experience GD.
This fashion for ‘transgender’, which is socio-political and not psychological or sexual, harms HSTS directly. HSTS are genuinely transsexual and while not all, by any means, need surgery, nearly all require HRT and possibly other therapies including cosmetic surgery. The idea that a person can be any ‘gender’ they claim just by saying so, and without any observable or measurable symptoms, undermines and erases the real issues that HSTS face, which are not a matter of fad or fashion.
Even worse, the relentless conflation of two totally different phenomena, HSTS and non-homosexual trans, causes yet more difficulty, with, once again, HSTS suffering.
Non-homosexual or autogynephilic MtF trans people can have various types of body dysmorphia. This is a result of Anatomical Autogynephilia, where the subject not only desires the body parts of a woman but also is repulsed by his own sexual organs. This can be so intense that he desires to have them reshaped into a cosmetic vagina. Many will never use this for sex with a man, because they are heterosexual and attracted only to women. Some will; these are called pseudo-bisexuals. However, the point is the extreme feelings of revulsion for particular body parts, which give rise to the feelings of discomfort or dysphoria. Markedly, this rarely has anything to do with other people’s feelings towards them and tends to focus on their own feelings about their own bodies.
HSTS appear to experience dysphoria differently. For them it is far less fixated on body parts and much more on social role. They want to live complete lives, as women, without fear of discovery. Hiding male genitalia in women’s clothing can be quite the feat, especially if the person is well-endowed. Most would like, for example, to wear a bikini to the beach, without fear of anything ‘popping out’. Many are terrified of what might happen if they were involved in an accident and first responders accidentally found their genitalia were male. (There have been cases where accident victims have actually died because of this, when the responders refused to give necessary help). Many HSTS, especially in the West, live in ‘deep stealth’ where nobody at all knows their history or background. They may have built solid, good lives and relationships not just with partners but with friends and colleagues, which would be completely destroyed if they were discovered to be transsexual. All of these possibilities tend to push the individual towards electing for GRS and we might call them ‘social imperatives’.
In addition, HSTS often state that they wish to have sex without the encumbrance of an organ that just gets in the way and which they will never use. They will usually express this in terms of partnerships and so this too has a social or interpersonal element. Their desire for GRS is not just about appearance: an HSTS transwoman will invariably use her vagina for sex with male partners!
It appears, then, that GD for a non-homosexual trans person is introspective and has to do with the subject’s relationship to his own body, while for an HSTS it is extrospective and has to do with her relationships to the people around her and her position in society, as well as sex. This is an area which is much in need of more research.
Professionals and HSTS
The difference between these two forms, unfortunately, is often ignored by even those professionals who do recognise the central importance of GD. This may lead to inappropriate treatment strategies for HSTS, if they are presumed to have a form of GD that they do not.
Unfortunately, non-homosexual trans have been successful in dominating the debate and it is a fact that many, if not most, professionals who assist HSTS as part of their jobs, do not understand the nature of HSTS. This ignorance is also found in well-meaning support organisations like GIRES in the UK, which does not even, apparently, realise that there are two different forms of MtF trans, despite the high-sounding title it has given itself.
In brief, this situation is scandalous and should never have occurred. It is our purpose to provide a resource which will provide accurate and evidence-based information to HSTS, their parents, carers, professionals and volunteers.