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更新时间:2006/12/21
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Transvaluing Transsexuality
江山易改,本性能移

Transsexuality is an interesting, if baffling, subject for most people. It is often confused with transvestitism, even though the two are distinctly different.

Transvestites feel a compulsion to dress in clothing that is considered appropriate to the other sex, while still feeling comfortable with their given sex. Transsexuals, on the other hand, feel a strong dissonance between their sex---their physical selves, and their gender---their identity in society. Basically, they feel as if they are trapped in a body of the wrong sex.

This condition, called gender dysphoria, is not merely a disposition, but an unsuppressable urge. Along with their discomfort with their own bodies, transsexuals must contend with stigma, shame, and sometimes violence, in an unaccepting society. Difficulties that transsexuals face are so great, in fact, that 50 percent of them die before the age of 30---the vast majority from suicide.

Transsexual feelings are strong, in part, because they have a biological basis. They are caused by different factors including a critically timed hormone released by the mother during gestation.

Other confirmation of transsexuality's biological roots are its existence in cultures all over the world throughout time. From Greece to Africa, from India to North America, transsexuals held a sacred place in primitive societies and were allowed to live as the gender of their choosing.

Modern classification and medical treatment of transsexuals began in 1930 with the first sex change operation. Still, for decades afterward, the mainstream medical community saw transsexuality as a mental disorder. After the ‘60s, however, studies supported a biological cause. Scientists also learned that transsexuality is evenly split between males and females, and that transsexuals may be straight, gay, bisexual, or asexual.

A greater understanding of gender dysphoria has led to methods of reassigning transsexuals to a congruent sex. These include hormone treatments, which soften the skin and enlarge the breasts of men and deepen the voice and increase facial hair in women. While these measures help assuage transsexual identity issues, many transsexuals choose to take the next step and have sex reassignment surgery.

Sex reassignment surgery is expensive and may be done with or without modification of the genitals. Female-to-male transsexuals present a greater challenge, as doctors are as yet unable to construct a fully functional penis. However, despite potential problems, sex reassignment surgery has a huge rate of success: 97 percent of female-to-male transsexuals are satisfied with the results, as are 87 percent of males who become females.

It is hoped that these scientific advances, along with a greater understanding of transsexualism, will lead to more fulfilling lives for transsexuals. Perhaps in the future, they will be accepted as just another unique group in society.


1. baffling a. 令人困惑的,难解的
2. dissonance n. 不合
3. disposition n. 倾向
4. stigma n. 污名,耻辱
5. mainstream a. 主流的
6. congruent a. 相合的
7. assuage v. 缓和
8. genitals n. 生殖器


变性欲,对多数人而言,即使难以理解,但也仍是一个感兴趣的话题。变性欲与易装癖常被混淆,尽管两者截然不同。

异装癖者会感到一种内心的冲动驱使他(她)们去穿那些更适合异性穿着的服饰而仍对他们固有的性别感到满意——变性欲者则会对他们的性(别)──自己的身体及性别──社会身份,感到非常不协调。基本上,他们觉得自己陷进了错误性别的躯体中。这种情况被称为性别焦虑的状态,不仅仅是一种意向,更是一种无法抑制的冲动。变性欲者除了对自己的身体感到厌恶,他们身处不能接纳他们的社会,还要对抗污名、羞辱,甚至暴力。变性欲者面临着重重困难,以至于他们中百分之五十的人事实上都活不到30岁──大部分人都自杀了。

变性的感觉是很强烈的,部分是有他们生物学上的根据的。造成这种情况的因素不尽相同,其中包括母亲怀孕的关键时刻释放出来的荷尔蒙。

变性欲有其生物学根源的另一实证是它长期以来始终存在于世界各地的文化之中。从希腊到非洲,印度到北美,变性欲者在原始社会中具有神圣的地位,并且还被允许按照他们选择的性别来生活。

现代对变性欲者的分类和医学治疗始于1930年的首次变性手术。尽管如此,在几十年后,主流医学界仍将变性欲视为一种精神错乱。然而,60年代以后,研究结果却证实变性欲是因为生物学上的原因。科学家也发现变性欲平均分布于两性之间,而且变性欲者可能是异性恋、同性恋、双性恋,或无性者。

对性别焦虑状态有了进一步的了解,便产生了将变性欲者重新分配到适合自身的性别中去的种种方法。其中包括能让男性皮肤变细、胸部变丰满,或让女性声音变得低沉、脸部的毛发增多的荷尔蒙疗法。这些方法有助于缓和由变性欲者的身分引起的争议,但仍然有许多变性欲者选择更进一步的措施,做变性手术。

变性手术费用高,完成后可能将生殖器改造或维持原状。想变成男性的女变性欲者面临的挑战较大,因为医生们至今仍无法造出功能齐全的男性生殖器。然而,撇开潜在的问题不谈,变性手术的成功率非常高:97%变成男性及87%变成女性的变性欲者,对结果感到满意。

希望科学的进步和人们对变性欲更深的了解,能为变性欲者带来更美满的生活。或许在将来,他们只是被视为另外一群独特的人,而被社会接纳。

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