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Sexual attraction to transgender people has been the subject of scientific study and social commentary. Psychologists have researched attraction toward trans women, cross dressers, non-binary people, and a combination of these. Cisgender men attracted to transgender women primarily identify as heterosexual and sometimes as bisexual, but rarely as homosexual. Sexual arousal research has confirmed that their response patterns are unlike those of gay men and resemble those of heterosexual men, except that they are highly aroused by transgender women in addition to cisgender women. They show little arousal to men. A substantial proportion of cisgender men attracted to transgender women report also experiencing autogynephilia, sexual arousal in response to the image of themselves as female. There has been some discussion of attraction to trans men, but it has not yet been the topic of scientific study.

Scientific study

Despite being referred to as a paraphilia by several researchers,[1] having a sexual preference for transgender people is neither diagnosable as a mental illness nor as a paraphilic disorder.[2]

In 1993, Ray Blanchard and Peter Collins conducted an analysis of 119 profiles in a voicemail-based personal ad system of people seeking romantic or sexual partners and indicating an interest in cross-dressing or cross-dressers. The analysis revealed three groups: 42.9% were gynandromorphophiles, who "sought cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals," or individuals with both "male primary and female secondary sexual characteristics"; 31.1% were gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers, who identified themselves as transvestites or engaged in cross-dressing and sought partners who did the same; and 26.1% were residual cross-dressers, who identified themselves as transvestites or engaged in cross-dressing, but sought "masculine" men or did not specify their desired type of partner.[3]

In their sociological study, Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams interviewed 26 men sexually interested in transwomen (MSTW).[4] Thirteen identified themselves as heterosexual, and 13 as "bisexual or probably bisexual." The authors opined "These labels only superficially describe their sexual interest,"[4]: 378  and noted that the expressed interest in trans women was sometimes used as a basis for denying a more stigmatized self-identity. As an example, they described a case who "said that he was 'bisexual' rather than 'gay' because he was able to think of the transwomen as women".[4]: 381 

As part of HIV prevention research in 2004, Operario et al. interviewed 46 men in the San Francisco area who had sex with transgender women, but found "no consistent patterns between how men described their sexual orientation identity versus their sexual behavior and attraction to transgender women".[5] Of the sample, 20 of them described themselves as being straight or heterosexual. Some men were definitive about this declaration, while others were hesitant and wondered if they should consider themselves bisexual.

A Northwestern University study recruited 205 men interested in trans women. In that online survey, 51% identified as straight, 41% as bisexual, and the remainder as gay. Also, 55% said their ideal partner would be a cisgender female, and 36% said it would be a trans woman. The study authors concluded that "The interest in trans women appears to be a distinct sexual interest separate from heterosexual men’s attraction to women for the majority of men, but there is a substantial minority who may experience it as their sexual orientation."[6] A 2017 followup study from NWU of 525 men found that "[gynandromorphophilia] is best considered an unusual form of heterosexuality rather than a separate sexual orientation."[7]

A 2016 study that used the penile plethysmograph demonstrated that the arousal patterns, genital and subjective, of men who report attraction to transgender women who have "female-typical physical characteristics (e.g. breasts) while retaining a penis" are similar to those of straight men and different from those of gay men. The study showed that these men are much more aroused to female than to male stimuli. They differed from both the groups of straight and gay men, however, in also displaying strong arousal to stimuli featuring trans women, to which they responded as much as to the cisgender female stimuli. The study also found that autogynephilia is common in this group: 42% of the study group reported experiencing autogynephilic arousal, whereas only 12% of straight men and 0% of gay men did. Of the men attracted to trans women, 41.7% identified as bisexual, with the remainder identifying as straight. The bisexuals among them did not display significantly more arousal to male stimuli than their heterosexual counterparts, however. They did report a higher number of male sex partners, and they had higher levels of self-reported autogynephilic arousal than their straight counterparts.[8]

Sexual arousal was also measured in another study, comparing the responses of four groups of people: autogynephilic male cross-dressers, gynandromorphophilic men, heterosexual men, and homosexual men. The penile reactions of the study participants were recorded while watching nine 3-minute film clips (with audio): two neutral (natural scenery with soothing music) and seven showing pairs of individuals engaged in oral and penetrative sex. In these seven, two had cisgender male actors only, two had cisgender female actors only (with fingering as the penetrative sex), and three had transgender women who had breasts and a penis as actors: a trans woman and a man, a trans woman and a cis woman, and a trans woman with another trans woman. Their responses replicated the finding that gynandromorphophilic men are distinct from gay men; the responses of the gynandromorphophiles were not distinguishable from those of the autogynephilic male crossdressers, however. These two groups showed little response to the cisgender male-only stimuli, large response to the cisgender female-only stimuli, but largest response to transgender female stimuli. The responses of the gay men and the heterosexual men both showed the expected patterns of most arousal to cisgender males and females respectively, little to the non-preferred sex, and only some to the trans female actors.[9]

A 2019 study that asked 958 participants which gender identities they would be interested in dating found that 96.7% of heterosexual men, 98.2% of heterosexual women, 88.5% of gay men, 71.2% of lesbian women, and 48.3% of bisexual, queer, and non-binary participants reported that they would not be interested in dating a transgender person, and the remainder would be interested.[10]

Social views

According to Jeffrey Escoffier of the Centre for Gay and Lesbian Studies of CUNY, sexual interest in trans women first emerged in 1953, associated with the then-famous transition of Christine Jorgensen.[11]

Erotic materials created for people attracted to trans men have become more visible, especially due to pornographic actor Buck Angel.[12] Trans activist Jamison Green writes that cisgender gay men who are partnered with trans men "are often surprised to find that a penis is not what defines a man, that the lack of a penis does not mean a lack of masculinity, manliness, or male sexuality."[13] Gay author Andrew Sullivan has criticized the idea that gay men should necessarily be attracted to trans men, arguing that sexual orientation is based on biological sex, not gender identity.[14]


A variety of casual terms have developed to refer to people who are attracted to transgender people. These terms include trans-attracted,[15] trans-oriented,[15] transfan,[16] trans admirer,[15] and trans catcher.[16] The terms transamorous and transsensual have also emerged, but they have not seen much usage.[17]

The terms tranny chaser[17][16] (sometimes shortened to chaser)[15] and tranny hawk[16] have been used, although tranny is considered a slur by many.[18][19] The term chaser is predominantly used to describe men sexually interested in trans women,[15] but it is sometimes used to refer to those interested in trans men as well.[17][15] Transgender people themselves often use the term in a pejorative sense, because they consider chasers to value them for their trans status alone, rather than being attracted to them as a person.[17] However, some claim this term in an affirming manner.[20]

Sociologist Avery Tompkins of Transylvania University in Kentucky argued in an article in the Journal of Homosexuality that a sex-positive trans politics cannot emerge if terms such as tranny chaser informed discussion of attraction to transgender people.[17]

In scientific literature, the terms gynandromorphophilic (noun: gynandromorphophilia)[21][22][23] and gynemimetophilic (noun: gynemimetophilia)[24][22] are used for men who are attracted to trans women who possess a combination of male and female physical characteristics.

The term skoliosexual has been used to describe attraction to non-binary people.[25][26] The terms pansexual and polysexual may be used to indicate that gender variant people are among the types of people that one is attracted to.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Richard Laws, D; O'Donohue, William T (7 January 2008). Sexual Deviance, Second Edition: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment. ISBN 9781593856052.
  2. ^ American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC.
  3. ^ Blanchard, R.; Collins, P. I. (1993). "Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 181 (9): 570–575. doi:10.1097/00005053-199309000-00008. PMID 8245926.
  4. ^ a b c Weinberg, M. S.; Williams, C. J. (2010). "Men Sexually Interested in Transwomen (MSTW): Gendered Embodiment and the Construction of Sexual Desire". Journal of Sex Research. 47 (4): 374–383. doi:10.1080/00224490903050568. PMID 19544216.
  5. ^ Operario, D.; Burton, J.; Underhill, K.; Sevelius, J. (2008). "Men who have sex with transgender women: Challenges to category-based HIV prevention". AIDS and Behavior. 12 (1): 18–26. doi:10.1007/s10461-007-9303-y. PMID 17705095.
  6. ^ Tracy Clark-Flory (23 October 2011). "What's Behind Transsexual Attraction?". Archived from the original on 26 February 2014.
  7. ^ Rosenthal, A.M., Hsu, KJ & Bailey, J.M. (2017). "Who Are Gynandromorphophilic Men? An Internet Survey of Men with Sexual Interest in Transgender Women". Arch Sex Behav. 46 (1): 255, 262. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0872-6. ISSN 1573-2800 – via EBSCOhost. Men with GAMP reported much higher attraction to natal women than to men, although they also reported slightly higher levels of bisexual feelings compared with controls. Men with GAMP were equally attracted to natal women and GAMs, on average. Thus, GAMP is best considered an unusual form of heterosexuality rather than a separate sexual orientation. ...By this understanding of "sexual orientation," GAMP does not qualify. GAMP men in this study were indifferent between their self-reported sexual arousal by women and by GAMs; both were highly arousing to them. ((cite journal)): Invalid |doi-access=subscription (help); More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help); Vancouver style error: non-Latin character in name 2 (help)
  8. ^ Kevin J Hsu; David Miller; J. Michael Bailey (2016). "Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women" (PDF). Psychological Medicine. 46 (4): 819–27. doi:10.1017/S0033291715002317. PMID 26498424.
  9. ^ Hsu, K. J., Rosenthal, A. M., Miller, D. I., & Mailey, J. M. (2017). Sexual arousal patterns of autogynephilic male cross-dressers. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 247-253. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0826-z
  10. ^ Blair, Karen L.; Hoskin, Rhea Ashley (1 July 2019). "Transgender exclusion from the world of dating: Patterns of acceptance and rejection of hypothetical trans dating partners as a function of sexual and gender identity". Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 36 (7): 2074–2095. doi:10.1177/0265407518779139. ISSN 0265-4075. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  11. ^ Escoffier, J (2011). "Imagining the she/male: Pornography and the transsexualization of the heterosexual male". Studies in Gender and Sexuality. 12 (4): 268–281. doi:10.1080/15240657.2011.610230.
  12. ^ Richardson, Niall (2010). Transgressive Bodies: Representations in Film and Popular Culture. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9780754676225
  13. ^ Green, Jamison (2004). Becoming a Visible Man. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-826-51456-1. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  14. ^ "The Nature of Sex". New York Magazine Intelligencer. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Milloy, Christin Scarlett (2 October 2014). "Meet the Chasers, "Admirers" Who Really, Really Want to Date Trans People". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d Baker, Paul (2004). Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang. Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-7343-1
  17. ^ a b c d e Tompkins, Avery Brooks (2 December 2013). ""There's No Chasing Involved": Cis/Trans Relationships, "Tranny Chasers," and the Future of a Sex-Positive Trans Politics". Journal of Homosexuality. 61 (5): 766–780. doi:10.1080/00918369.2014.870448. PMID 24294827.
  18. ^ Staff report (4 January 2010). Paper guilty of transsexual slur. BBC News
  19. ^ Lennard, Natasha (7 April 2010). Transgender Film Draws Protests at Festival Site. The New York Times
  20. ^ Green, Eli; Eric Peterson. "LGBTTSQI Terminology & Definitions" (PDF). Trans academics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  21. ^ Hsu, K. J.; Rosenthal, A. M.; Miller, D. I.; Bailey, J. M. (March 2016). "Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women". Psychological Medicine. 46 (4): 819–827. doi:10.1017/S0033291715002317.
  22. ^ a b Blaney, Paul H.; Krueger, Robert F.; Millon, Theodore (19 September 2014). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 592. ISBN 9780199811779. OCLC 900980099.
  23. ^ Petterson, Lanna J (2020). "Male sexual orientation: a cross-cultural perspective". OPUS: Open Uleth Scholarship (thesis). Lethbridge, Alberta. p. iii, 1-276.
  24. ^ Money, John; Lamacz, Margaret (1984). "Gynemimesis and gynemimetophilia: Individual and cross-cultural manifestations of a gender-coping strategy hitherto unnamed". Comprehensive Psychiatry. Elsevier. 25 (4): 392–403. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(84)90074-9. ISSN 0010-440X.
  25. ^ a b Michelson, Noah (16 October 2015). "What's a Skoliosexual?". HuffPost. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  26. ^ Anderson-Minshall, Jacob (18 May 2017). "Is Fetishizing Trans Bodies Offensive?". The Advocate. Retrieved 14 October 2017.

Further reading