Satire: The 7DS Theory of Transsexuality
[editor's note: Because a college student wrote with a
serious question believing this was a serious theory, let me be more clear:
this essay is a joke. Satire. Humor. Comedy. It is a subtle parody
of theories about transsexuals. It is not meant to be taken seriously, although
as with any parody, it exposes the ridiculousness of similar theories like
Karen wrote the following in 2000 as a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek
satire of "academic" attempts to categorize transsexuals. Within
each of the seven categories, it fortuitously worked out that there were exactly
two subsets, thus bringing perfect scientific symmetry and natural order to
this insightful taxonomy. -AJ]
Why do some people choose to undergo the torments and tribulations,
the pain, the marginalization, the ridicule, the financial and emotional expense
of reassigning their gender? What could possibly impel someone to seek such
an extreme body modification? Is gender identity innate, or can it shift over
time? (Might some people have an innate gender identity that shifts over time?)
The process is tedious, the outcome startling: why, in short, would anyone bother?
Recent academic theory has suggested that only the sex drive
could provide a strong enough motive, and divides male-to-female transsexuals
into two groups according to their sexuality. However, this perspective does
not take into consideration the relative strengths of different drives in different
people. I would like to suggest that it is therefore only one special case of
a larger theory.
SEXUALITY ONE OF SEVEN POSSIBLE MOTIVATING FACTORS
For the sex drive, of course, is only the least of the Seven
If it be strong enough to thrust its victims into gender dysphoria,
then how much more could the other six do! Indeed, the Seven Deadly Sins, and
their corresponding virtues, provide a very convenient framework for dividing
all transsexuals into not two, but fourteen groups, depending on which aspect
of which sin comprises their base motivation. Conveniently, this approach also
imposes a set of implicit moral judgments, eliminating the need to consider
any transsexual as an individual.
Naturally, I propose this theory only for the advancement of
knowledge, and would be horrified to learn of any social rifts or human experimentation
which may result.
THE 7DS SCALE: AN OVERVIEW
Lust is the pursuit of excessive physical delights, and according
to Dante, the closest sin to salvation. Specifically, it is the sin of excessive
love for earthly pleasures, whose corresponding virtue is chastity. This is
the psychological theory from which I have abstracted the other twelve categories.
People who transition from lust fall into one of two groups:
(1) "Autogynephilic" (or, presumably,
"Autoandrophilic") transsexuals have fetishized
the process of gender reassignment, and transition in order to satisfy their
(2) "Homosexual" transsexuals
are so attracted to members of their own biological sex that they cannot
function sexually before transition. In effect, they are excessively chaste,
and transition in order to express their lust at all.
Gluttony is the pursuit of unending quantities of the necessities
of life, such as food and friendship, without valuing the quality of what
one already possesses. It is the sin of excessive love for earthly sustenance.
Dante circumlocutes the question of gluttony's corresponding virtue; in Purgatorio
24:151-54 he writes, "Beati cum alluma / tanto di grazia, che l'amor
del gusto / nel petto lor troppo disir non fuma, / esuriendo sempre quanto
Ò giusto!" Roughly, this describes temperance.
People who transition from gluttony fall into one of two groups:
(3) "Teiresian" transsexuals
find that having only one gender throughout their lives is simply not enough
of a range. They transition in order to accumulate the experience of both.
(4) "Intersexed" transsexuals
were born with indeterminate or absent sexual characteristics. Having neither
gender to start off with, nor a surgeon who assigned them one at birth,
they transition in order to normalize their gender experience and endocrine
Avarice is the overweening pursuit of material wealth, without
regard to the people one must tromp on to attain it. It is the sin of excessive
love for earthly goods, whose corresponding virtue is justice.
People who transition from avarice fall into one of two groups:
(5) "Ulterior" transsexuals have
something to gain on the side. They transition in order to secure an inheritance,
or to win a large sum of money on a wager.
(6) "Outlaw" transsexuals transition
as part of a political stand on gender issues. Unable to separate their
personal and political lives, they change their sex in order to speak with
authority on such topics as trans rights and gender socialization.
Sloth is the lack of desire to improve one's physical or spiritual
lot in life. It is the sin of deficient love, whose corresponding virtue is
People who transition from sloth fall into one of two groups:
(7) "Therapeutic" transsexuals
use obscure psychological disorders and support groups as an excuse not
to have to deal with any of their real problems. Eventually they reach gender
dysphoria, and transition in order to continue avoiding responsibility for
(8) "Impulsive" transsexuals
simply cannot resist a new adventure. They transition because, after hang-gliding
blindfolded over live volcanoes in the Amazon jungle, it sounds like fun.
Wrath is the desire to hurt people and destroy things, as
though that would solve anything. It is the sin of perverted love for vengeance
and harm, whose corresponding virtue is meekness.
Those who transition from anger fall into two groups:
(9) "Misanthropic" transsexuals
cannot stand their biological sex. They transition in the belief that anything
would be better.
(10) "Submissive" transsexuals
have lost their genitalia to accident or disease, and do not want to argue
with Fate by pursuing reconstructive surgery. They transition because it
seems to be the way things are going anyhow.
Envy is the desire to share in the possessions and good fortune
of others, or even to take them away. It is the sin of perverted love for
the downfall of others, whose corresponding virtue is generosity.
Those who transition from envy fall into two groups:
(11) "Gramoviridious" transsexuals
are convinced that the other biological sex has total control over society.
They transition in order to exert male privilege, to enroll in affirmative
action programs, or simply to visit the better washroom.
(12) "Codependent" transsexuals
realize that their parents always wanted a child of the opposite gender,
or occasionally that their spouse is gay. They transition to fulfill someone
Pride is the excessive valuing of oneself. Dante holds pride
as the deadliest of the deadly sins: that of perverted love for one's own
aggrandizement, whose corresponding virtue is humility.
Those who transition from pride fall into two groups:
(13) "Stubborn" transsexuals
came out as transsexual once in company, and cannot bear to admit they were
wrong. They transition so that they will not have to eat their words.
(14) "Innate" transsexuals really
do belong to another gender, and have done nothing more than identify this.
They transition so that they may properly align their minds and bodies.
Diagnosing these various conditions must rely on a wide range
of assessment methods. Very few subjects -- notably Impulsive (type 8) transsexuals
-- are both open and honest about their motivation. Nevertheless, by turning
the conversation to gender issues, the skilled interviewer can provoke distinctive
rants from Outlaw (type 6), Misanthropic (type 9), and Gramoviridious (type
Some conditions, such as Intersexed (type 4) or Submissive (type
10) transsexualism, are accompanied by obvious medical stigmata; while others,
such as Homosexual (type 2) or Teiresian (type 3) transsexualism, reveal themselves
in a standard psychiatric examination.
Autogynephilic (type 1), Therapeutic (type 7), and Stubborn
(type 13) transsexuals all exhibit cognate psychological symptoms, which can
be separately tested for: for instance, the Stubborn transsexual will go to
extraordinary lengths to avoid being caught in an inconsistency. Codependent
(type 12) transsexuals become evident when one observes their home life. Ulterior
(type 5) transsexuals can usually be unmasked with standard surveillance equipment.
Perhaps the trickiest of all is the Innate (type 14) transsexual.
Identifying such individuals is extremely difficult, as there are no clinical
tests which infallibly determine a person's gender. However, since they probably
make up no more than one fourteenth (7.1%) of the total, most researchers will
seldom encounter one. In the initial assessment, it is always safer to proceed
with an alternate diagnosis.
Would you like to make an anonymous contribution?
If you have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent
(and anonymous) home.