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Horm Behav. 1996 Dec;30(4):319-32.

Gender change from female to male in classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Author information

1
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York 10032, USA.

Abstract

The psychoendocrinology of the development of normal gender identity and its variations is poorly understood. Studies of gender development in individuals born with endocrinologically well-characterized intersex conditions are heuristically valuable for the disaggregation of factors that are acting in concert during normal development. Four 46,XX individuals with classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and atypical gender identity entered a comprehensive research protocol including systematic interviews and self-report inventories on gender role behavior and identity, sexual history, and psychiatric history. Some of the data on gender variables were compared to data from 12 CAH women with the salt-wasting variant (CAH-SW) with female gender identity. The four patients (ages 28, 35, 38, and 30 years) represented three different subtypes of classical early-onset CAH: 21-OH deficiency, simple virilizing (CAH-SV); 21-OH deficiency, salt-wasting (CAH-SW); and 11-beta-OH deficiency. Their medical histories were characterized by delay beyond infancy or lack of surgical feminization of the external genitalia and progressive virilization with inconsistent or absent glucocorticoid replacement therapy. Although three patients had undergone one or more genital surgeries, all had retained at least some orgasmic capacity. In regard to childhood gender-role behavior, the four gender-change patients tended to be more masculine or less feminine than (behaviorally masculinized) CAH-SW controls. All patients were sexually attracted to females only. The process of gender change was gradual and extended well into adulthood. The most plausible factors contributing to cross-gender identity development in these patients appeared to be neither a particular genotype or endocrinotype nor a sex-typing bias on the part of the parents but a combination of a gender-atypical behavioral self-image, a gender-atypical body image, and the development of erotic attraction to women. Implications for psychosocial management are also discussed.

PMID:
9047260
DOI:
10.1006/hbeh.1996.0039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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