The terms homosexual, bisexual and pseudo-bisexual are often misunderstood and misused. So here’s an explanation with particular relevance to transsexualism.
In the general vernacular, this is taken to mean ‘attraction to same sex’; so a homosexual male is sexually and romantically attracted to other males and a homosexual female to other females.
These are people who are attracted both to their own sex and to the opposite one. In practise, this can be sequential (one after the other) or concurrent (at the same time). In other words, the bisexual individual might form monogamous relationships, sometimes with the same sex, sometimes the other, or might establish multiple relationships with individuals of both sexes at the same time. It’s likely that social factors and the level of partner tolerance will affect this.
This term applies to a very specific sample and is NOT the same as the above. Pseudo-bisexualism is a function of one of the Male-to-Feminine trans forms, the non-homosexual or autogynephilic. In this the male subject becomes obsessed and sexually aroused by the idea of himself as a woman. As a result of this, he creates a second mental model of himself. This man is not homosexual so this erotic target must be a woman. As this gathers strength, the pseudo-bisexual autogynephile will seek out sexual or romantic encounters with men in order to validate it.
Initially, this exists as secret crushes on desirable men and it is common for AGPs with this form to project such crushes back into their childhood; this is why it is important to verify claims of childhood Gender Non-Conformity by interviewing close relatives and peers. In almost every case, for AGPs, these individuals will not corroborate the subject’s claim.
As the condition progresses, some individuals may progress to quasi-romantic engagements with men, in which they flirt but do not have sex. Some flirt exclusively online, often while masturbating. Others have real sexual encounters with men. It is important to note that these will only happen when they are presenting as women, i.e. when the invented pseudo-feminine character is in control. When presenting socially as men, these individuals are unable to flirt or have sex with other men.
Docter and Fleming 2001 (docter-fleming ) noted that these encounters were often ‘one-off’, in that the subject would pursue and have sex with a man once then desist from the behaviour. They opined that this one encounter validated the man as a ‘woman’ and he did not need to repeat this act. This, however, is only one possible outcome. The thrill of sex ‘as a woman’ can be so strong that the subject desires to repeat it, and this is especially the case if he enjoys the act of sex with a man. This can lead to a desire for sex with men exclusively, especially if the pseudo-feminine character is in control; her need for physical validation can become so intense that it cannot be denied, and she will actively pursue men. (This behaviour may readily be observed in any of the major hotspots for TS sex workers, many of whom are AGP.)
An exclusive desire like that could be seen as ‘pseudo-homosexual’ rather than ‘pseudo-bisexual’ and this confusion is often promoted by AGP subjects. But it is a false conclusion because the AGP’s primary love interest is himself, but as a woman. It is this ‘woman’ who is interested in sex with men and the subject’s reward is in her validation. No matter how much he enjoys sex, while in the role of a woman, with other men, he is at one remove, having sex through a proxy. So this is still pseudo-bisexualism.
Some AGP males may take this even further and establish long-term relationships with men. In doing so they are validating the invented pseudo-feminine character who, in such cases, will now be fully in control, having completely taken over the host. Such individuals, therefore, might have a male partner and a projected (but unverifiable) history of childhood GNC. These two factors are characteristic of HomoSexual TransSexuals (HSTS), however, and it seems likely that some at least of the AGPs who do this are aware of that and are trying to mimic as closely as possible what they know about the HSTS condition. Validation of the proxy, of course, is the ultimate aim here.
This means that researchers have to be very precise in their estimation of the condition affecting any subject they are interacting with. While in person or even on video link, it is unlikely that an experienced interviewer would be fooled into thinking that an AGP was actually HSTS, online these individuals have their responses thoroughly fine-tuned and are not easy to catch out.
Returning to Homosexuality
It should now be clear that the definition of homosexuality I began with is too vague to be useful. Scientists generally, when considering HSTS, use a more precise one: for males it is: ‘attracted to masculinity from childhood’. Further, such individuals are characterised by a range of physical features. They are often smaller than related males; they are usually lighter and slighter in build than them; they tend to neoteny, that is the retention of childlike features; they might have digit ratios more like the female-typical. The conclusion that such individuals are not fully masculinised, or that if they do become so, they do it much later than is typical, is unavoidable.
In addition, these individuals have marked behavioural similarities to each other. They almost certainly displayed GNC in childhood, and this will be verifiable; it will have been observed by those around them. They were ‘girly’ and often called ‘sissy’ or similar pejoratives; they did not enjoy contact sport, preferring volleyball to basketball etc; they had a marked GNC preference for girl-typical toys like dolls etc; they preferred playing with the girls and naturally played like them too; they did not need to have the rules of games like ‘House’ explained to them. They knew, and, indeed, might well be the instigators of such play.
They began having crushes on boys at around 6 or 7 and these crushes were exactly the same as those other boys have on girls, but on males. Again, this will have been noted by those around them. Girls were their friends, their crushes were on boys. Frequently, they were strongly romantically attracted to older men even before puberty, making them, unfortunately, easy targets for predatory males. (It is often claimed that childhood abuse leads to adult male homosexuality but the opposite is likely true; the child’s incipient homosexuality and romantic desire for men leads him to attract men who like boys and to get into situations where unscrupulous adult men might take advantage.)
In sex, once they become active, these individuals always prefer to be submissive in the sexual act, that is, to be penetrated. Although they can learn to have sex as penetrators and even to enjoy it, this preference never changes and, in more intense cases, they are repulsed by the idea of penetrating. This might, if they are TS, lead to them electing to have Genital Reconstruction Surgery. (I know of one specific case where an HSTS in a long-term relationship with a man had the surgery because she could not stand his demands that she penetrate him; unfortunately, he abandoned her immediately afterwards. I have heard many similar reports concerning individuals not personally known to me and, of course, it is well known amongst transsexual sex workers that removal of the penis will compromise their earning ability. They call it ‘the moneymaker’.)
Note that this is only one of the types found in contemporary New Gay Man culture. They are predated on by other types represented there and coerced into suppressing their innate femininity, but without them, NGM culture could not exist. Finally, a man who has had a successful, consummated relationship with a woman is NOT HOMOSEXUAL, in this definition, but serial bisexual. one doesn’t ‘become’ homosexual, it is an orientation and as such innate and lifelong.
The above is the definition of ‘Homosexual’ that I use in all my writing. It is not interchangeable with ‘gay’ because it is a smaller group, a subset of ‘gay’. However, as mentioned above, a significant number of homosexual males, in this definition, are actually transsexual. The precise number is obscure because social pressures have enormous effect but in broad terms and in the West, between 60% to 80% of male children who show persistent, intense GNC will be homosexual men while the remainder HSTS transwomen. In SE Asia I would suggest that these proportions are inverted, because of cultural and social factors. It would be fair to say, however, that the most feminine HS boys everywhere are likely to be successful as transwomen and, if the culture permits, will probably try to do so.
Bisexualism is far more common than is admitted to or realised and we know this from phenomena like ‘prison sex’ and other forms of what is known as ‘situational homosexuality’. It occurs in both men and women and appears to be innate. In the latter it might be a part of female group bonding; women in tribal groups are extremely closely related and may not have social taboos against practices like mutual stimulation. It might also have a function in controlling reproduction.
In men, in the first place males are hardwired to have as much sex as possible and situational homosexuality shows that they will do it with other males if no female is available. It might also have to do with group bonding and we could look to Spartan men, who believed that a soldier would always fight harder for a lover than a mere comrade in arms.
True male bisexualism occurs, however, outside the social circumstances wherein men are obliged to have sex with other men in order to have sex at all. In other words, the individual is specifically attracted to masculinity and also to femininity in more or less equal measure. Further, a true bisexual will desire to penetrate women and be penetrated by men; remember the case of Julius Caesar, who was ‘every woman’s man and every man’s woman’.
Most notably, however, the desire for sexual partners is direct and visceral, as it heterosexual and homosexual desire. The subject feels real lust for a partner’s body; dreams about its contours, its softnesses and muscularity, the sensations it can provoke in his own. The one thing it is not is ‘sex by proxy’ and this absolutely distinguishes it from the Pseudo-bisexualism exhibited by AGP males.
I mention this here again because it is often conflated with some of the above. Gynandromorphophilia, or GAMP, is the specific attraction to ‘males in the form of women’. Although most commonly associated with men, some women are also GAMP. Unfortunately there is little research on this latter or what causes it.
GAMP in males comes in two forms, which I call Bisexual GAMP (B-GAMP) and Autogynephilic GAMP (A-GAMP). Research by Kevin Hsu at Northwestern suggests that about half of all GAMP men are A-GAMP. (link)
Dealing with the other half, the B-GAMP, then this sexuality occurs in heterosexual, never homosexual, men. Indeed I only use the term ‘bisexual’ because these man are, after all, happy to get into bed with a person who has a penis. (GAMPs are rarely attracted to post-operative transsexuals; most men in relationships with such TS are actually heterosexual.)
B-GAMP is a direct, visceral, full-blooded attraction. It is identical to that felt by heterosexual men towards women (B-GAMPS are invariably attracted to women, in exactly the same way, too.) The sexual target produces a heightened pulse rate, strongly erotic feelings and probably a measure of erection. The sense of physical desire is electrifying.
To give an example, speaking as a B-GAMP, last week I did something I rarely do, went to a girly bar with my girlfriend. We had a drink watching a dozen or so bored, good-looking but not stunning young women dancing unenthusiastically to some awful music. We finished our drink and left and, as we walked, two tall transwomen appeared in front of us, walking the same direction. The sense of desire was immediate and powerful; the contrast was enough for me to remark. B-GAMP men are powerfully attracted to transwomen as women, to the point that they can seem sexier than women. But the nature of the desire is the same; we want to take them, to have them, to penetrate them.
A-GAMP men are autogynephilic. They seek to have sex ‘as women’ that is, to be penetrated. While B-GAMP men are usually wary of AGP transwomen, often through bad experiences with them, A-GAMP men seek them out. YouTube is full of videos showcasing obviously AGP transwomen and the comments are telling enough there; go on one of the sites dedicated to TS porn and the general tone of the conversation is even more instructive. The men who populate these are seeking to be penetrated but cannot because they are actually (incredibly) heterosexual. These are in fact non-trans (or not trans yet) AGP males who still need to validate the pseudo-feminine character that they have created. They are not homosexual because they are not thrilled by the thought of a man’s body, his scent, his strength; but they seek to be penetrated nonetheless in order to feel like women (they think).
What then happens is that, in the man’s head, a lesbian relationship is formed, in which the act of being penetrated by a woman validates his own autogynephilic womanhood, without the challenge to his heterosexuality, and often homophobia, that allowing a man to do this would entrain. Yet, ironically, the A-GAMP man typically prefers larger, more muscular and certainly more well-endowed AGP transwomen who are often, frankly, hardly feminine at all and are more like caricatures of women.
It appears that the tissue of femininity needed to assuage the A-GAMP’s homophobia can be pretty thin; and especially after a few beers. Indeed, it is almost always possible, though there are other clues, to determine whether a GAMP man is A or B, by looking at his TS girlfriend, if he has one: the more feminine she appears to be, the more likely he is to be B. If she is 6 foot with shoulders to match and looks like Zoey Turr, your man is A-GAMP.
I hope this has been helpful; definitions, while detested by some, are the root of understanding; and understanding the trans phenomenon has never been more important.
Also published on Medium.