What do we actually know about transgender and transsexuality in terms of its origins and risk factors? The answer is quite simple—not very much. The state of being "transgendered or transsexual" is classified by DSM IV-TR as a psychiatric disorder and given the name gender identity disorder (GID). A detailed discussion of GID can be found below in the section on diagnostic criteria.
Biological. There is no known biological reason for GID. Anecdotal discussion among some evolutionary biologists has looked at the GID issue as an evolutionary experiment in adaptivity of the human being. Some argue that it could be embedded within the "junk" DNA about which we know next to nothing. There is no scientific evidence to show that anything is true.
Social/Environmental. There is no evidence to indicate that there are social causes of GID, although social environment, roles, etc. are clearly implicated in GID. There is a psychosocial argument that GID may be induced by abuse in childhood and that GID is an extreme avoidance/dissociative response to the sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse subjected upon such individuals (Devor, 1994). There are some studies in this area; none are conclusive one way or another. This particular theory is a chicken or egg first theory, and most data are anecdotal, at best, as accurate on violence against trans-gendered individuals is not readily available (Witten & Eyler, 1999a).
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