In the case of sexuality and gender, can whatever is in the mind be changed, perhaps with help of psychotherapy or otherwise, rather than opt for external surgery? Is psychotherapy treatment powerless in the case of transsexuals?This intriguing volume is a work by a French psychoanalyst who has worked with many transsexuals. It is a useful addition to the debate on transsexuals and the definitions of sex and gender. The word 'transsexualism' was coined in 1953 and although transsexuals and intersexed people had existed for much longer, surgery to reassign one's sex is a relatively recent phenomenon. Transsexuals feel that the opposite sex to their biological one is their true identity - their true body and self. The idea of 'hormonal and surgical sex reassignment' appeals to them; it would biologically put right what they already know to be right and true in their minds. The author discusses the problems of 'reassigning' one's sex and argues that surgery cannot fix the situation. Transsexualism as a result of interaction with environment in infancy is seen as more shameful option compared to something biological happening to the body while in utero.
If this condition is seen as something merely biological, it doesn't mark the person in question as psychologically ill or unbalanced.This introductory text helps in looking at this difficult, even taboo, issue from various angles. It acknowledges the difficulty of the subject and warns the readers against judgements being made without being informed of all the sides of the story.'Transsexuals put us to the test. We cannot remain indifferent to their suffering, nor can we stay aloof as they challenge us with the question that means so much to them. We respond with our own subjectivity: to say that any one human being is a man or woman is initially a statement about surface criteria; conformity to social criteria that vary according to cultural patterns; deep-down psychological criteria that vary according to the expectations each of us has.The various kinds of discourse that surround transsexuals are part of the diversity of the universe of discourse, in which, whatever our willingness to do so, we can never find common ground. We have no choice but to make a personal choice.'- From the Introduction
Buy Exploring Transsexualism book by Colette Chiland from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
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Author Biography - Colette Chiland
Colette Chiland is Professor Emeritus at Rene Descartes University of Paris; Psychiatrist-in-chief at the Alfred Binet Center and a Training Analyst of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society. She is also an Honorary President of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP). She has written numerous books and contributed papers to various journals. Colette read philosophy and psychology, then medicine and psychiatry at the University of Paris. She taught clinical psychology at La Sorbonne, then at Universite Paris Descartes, and is training analyst at the Paris Psychoanalytical Society.