It has been suggested that people ask for sex-change operations because society will not allow them to behave in a way which deviates from the rigidly prescribed roles of male and female. People who seek sex reassignment will in most cases be either individuals who wish to express behaviour which society has labelled as ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’, and who are so taken in by societal strictures regarding sex roles that they change to the other sex physically in order to be legitimately, as they (and society) see it, a member of the now-appropriate sex; or homosexuals who have so strongly internalised societal attitudes that only heterosexual relationships are acceptable and natural, that in order to validate having a relationship with another person of the same sex, they must change their sex and thus make the relationship heterosexual. Such people are conservatives with regard to sex roles. Empirically, these propositions can be tested by looking at incidence and ratio of the transsexual phenomenon in a society with less rigid sex roles and less repressive attitudes towards homosexuality as compared with a more rigid and repressive one.
Recommended CitationRoss, Mike, Why people change their sex: an empirical study, Australian Left Review, 1(71), 1979, 21.