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Transsexuality is a state of being where one identifies spiritually and emotionally as a person of the opposite sex to their physical body. People in this state are known as transsexuals.
Transsexuals can identify as males despite having the physical characteristics of a female or identify as females despite having male characteristics. Transsexuality occurs not just in humans, but in a variety of animals too. It is independent of sexual orientation.
Transsexuality is also sometimes known as gender dysphoria or transgenderism.
There is evidence of transsexuality occurring throughout history. However, it took until the 1880s for modern diagnosis of the condition. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who studied gender divergence among homosexual people, was one of the first academics to study transsexuality.
Transsexuality can be thought of as having a mind that is physically trapped within the body of the opposite sex. The sex-related structures of a transsexual’s brain are at odds with the physical sex organs of the transsexual’s body.
It’s thought transsexuality may be triggered during fetal development. Some theorize a pregnant woman’s womb may undergo hormonal changes if she’s stressed, triggering this atypical gender identity.
Living in a state of transsexuality can be very difficult. It can be challenging for transsexuals to accept themselves, or for others in society to accept them, and this can lead to self-destructive behavior. It’s sobering to note 50% of transsexuals die by the time they’re 30, usually through suicide. Many people undergo sex reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and/or dress in a way atypical of their physical sex to feel more comfortable within their bodies. This behavior should not be confused with transvestitism, which often has a sexual motive.