FEMINISM AND POST-MODERNISM: An uneasy alliance. (Ou como não jogar o bebê com a água da bacia), in: BENHABIB, BUTLER, CORNELL & FRASER “Feminist Contentions. A Philosophical Exchange”.

A decade ago a question haunted feminist theorists who had participated in the experiences of the New Left and who had come to feminism after an initial engagement with varieties of 20th-century, Marxist theory: whether Marxism and feminism were reconcilable, or whether their alliance could end only in an ‘unhappy marriage’? Today with Marxist theory world-wide on the retreat, feminists are no longer preoccupied with saving their unhappy union. Instead it is a new alliance, or misalliance – depending on one’s perspective – that has proved more seductive.”

feminism and postmodernism have emerged as two leading currents Of our time. They, have discovered their affinities in the struggle against the grand narratives of Western Enlightenment and modernity. Feminism and postmodernism are thus often mentioned as if their current union was a foregone conclusion; yet certain characterizations of postmodernism should make us rather ask ‘feminism or postmodernism?’”

In her recent book, Thinking Fragments: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and Postmodernism in the Contemporary West, Jane Flax characterizes the postmodern position as subscription to the theses of the death of Man, of History and of Metaphysics.”

Postmodernists wish to destroy,” she writes,” all essentialist conceptions of human being or nature…. In fact Man is a social, historical, or linguistic artifact, not a noumenal or transcendental Being…. Man is forever caught in the web of fictive meaning, in chains of signification, in which the subject is merely another position in language.”

The idea that History exists for or is his Being is more than just another precondition and justification for the fiction of Man. This idea also supports and underlies the concept of Progress, which is itself such an important part of Man’s story…. Such an idea of Man and History privileges and presupposes the value of units’, homogeneity, totality, closure, and identity.”

Western metaphysics has been under the spell of the ‘metaphysics of presence’ at least since Plato…. For postmodernists this quest for the Real conceals most Western philosophers’ desire, which is to master the world once and for all by enclosing it within an illusory, but absolute, system they believe represents or corresponds to a unitary Being beyond history, particularity and change…. just as the Real is the ground of Truth, so too philosophy, as the privileged representative of the Real and interrogator of truth claims must play a ‘foundational’ role in all ‘positive knowledge’.”

Feminist versions of the three theses concerning the Death of Man, History, and Metaphysics can be articulated.”

From Plato over Descartes to Kant and Hegel western philosophy thematizes the story of the male subject of reason.”

Furthermore, the various philosophies of history which have dominated since the Enlightenment have forced historical narrative into unity, homogeneity, and linearity, with the consequence that fragmentation, heterogeneity, and above all the varying pace of different temporalities as experienced by different groups have been obliterated. We need only remember Hegel’s quip that Africa has no history.”

For feminist theory, the most important ‘knowledge-guiding interest’ in Habermas’s terms, or disciplinary, matrix of truth and power in Foucault’s terms, is gender relations and the Social, economic, political and symbolic constitution of gender differences among human beings.”

As Linda Alcoff has recently observed, feminist theory is undergoing a profound identity crisis at the moment. The postmodernist position(s) thought through to their conclusions may eliminate not only the specificity of feminist theory but place in question the very emancipatory ideals of the women’s movements altogether.”

CORRENTE PESSIMISTA: “The subject that is but another position in language can no longer master and create that distance between itself and the chain of significations in which it is immersed such that it can reflect upon them and creatively alter them.”

Feminist appropriations of Nietzsche on this question, therefore, can only lead to self-incoherence. Judith Butler, for example, wants to extend the limits of reflexivity in thinking about the self beyond the dichotomy of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. ‘Gender’, she writes ‘is not to culture as sex is to nature; gender is also the discursive/cultural means by which <sexed nature> or a <natural sex> is produced and established as <prediscursive>, prior to culture, a politically neutral surface on which culture acts.’ For Butler, we might say, the myth of the already sexed body is the epistemological equivalent of the myth of the given: just as the given can be identified only within a discursive framework, so too it is the culturally available codes of gender that ‘sexualize’ a body and that construct the directionality of that body’s desire.”

If we are no more than the sum total of the gendered expressions we perform, is there ever any chance to stop the performance for a while, to pull the curtain down, and let it rise only if one can have a say in the production of the play, itself? Isn’t this what the struggle over gender is all about? Surely we can criticize the supremacy of presuppositions of identity politics and challenge the supremacy of heterosexist and dualist positions in the women’s movement. Yet is such a challenge only thinkable via a complete debunking of any concepts of selfhood, agency, and autonomy? What follows from this Nietzschean position is a vision of the self as a masquerading performer, except of course we are now asked to believe that there is no self behind the mask. Given how fragile and tenuous women’s sense of selfhood is in many cases, how much of a hit and miss affair their struggles for autonomy are, this reduction of female agency to a ‘doing without the doer’ at best appears to me to be making a virtue out of necessity.” A mulher – ou muitas indivíduas – não está emancipada o suficiente para ter a própria voz ‘elevada ao absoluto’, e ser levada em consideração com a mesma literalidade do ‘homem acadêmico’, i.e., sem ser submetida a uma acurada crítica para que não prejudique a luta pela emancipação feminina?

Intellectuals and philosophers in the 20th century are to be distinguished from one another less as being friends and opponents of the belief in progress but more in terms of the following: whether the farewell from the ‘metanarratives of the Enlightenment’ can be exercised in terms of a continuing belief in the power of rational reflection [Habermas, etc.] or whether this farewell is itself seen as but a prelude to a departure from such reflection.”

O FIM DA METANARRATIVA É O FIM DO MARXISMO: “Politically the end of such grand narratives would mean rejecting the hegemonial claims of any group or organization to “represent” the forces of history, to be moving with such forces, or to be acting in their name. The critique of the various totalitarian and totalizing movements of our century from national socialism and fascism to orthodox Marxism and other forms of nationalisms is certainly one of the most formative political experiences of postmodernist intellectuals like Lyotard, Foucault, and Derrida.”

. . . the practice of feminist politics in the 1980s has generated a new set of pressures which have worked against metanarratives. In recent years, poor and working-class women, women of color, and lesbians have finally won a wider hearing for their objections to feminist theories which fail to illuminate their lives and address their problems. They have exposed the earlier quasi-metanarratives, with their assumptions of universal female dependence and confinement to the domestic sphere, as false extrapolations from the experience of the white, middle-class, heterosexual women who dominated the beginnings of the second wave … Thus, as the class, sexual, racial, and ethnic awareness of the movement has altered, so has the preferred conception of theory. It has become clear that quasi-metanarratives hamper rather than promote sisterhood, since they elide differences among women and among the forms of sexism to which different women are differentially subject.”

The strong version of the thesis of the ‘Death of History’ would imply, however, a prima facie rejection of any historical narrative that concerns itself with the longue durée and that focuses on macro- rather than on micro-social practices. Nicholson and Fraser also warn against this ‘nominalist’ tendency in Lyotard’s work. I agree with them that it would be a mistake to interpret the death of ‘grand narratives’ as sanctioning in the future local stories as opposed to global history. The more difficult question suggested by the strong thesis of the ‘death of history’ appears to me to be different: even while we dispense with grand narratives, how can we rethink the relationship between politics and historical memory? Is it possible for struggling groups not to interpret history in light of a moral-political imperative, namely, the imperative of the future interest in emancipation? Think for a moment of the way in which feminist historians in the last 2 decades have not only discovered women and their hitherto invisible lives and work, but of the manner in which they have also revalorized and taught us to see with different eyes such traditionally female and previously denigrated activities like gossip, quilt-making, and even forms of typically female sickness like headaches, hysteria, and taking to bed during menstruation. In this process of the ‘feminist transvaluation of values’ our present interest in women’s strategies of survival and historical resistance has led us to imbue these activities, which were wholly uninteresting from the standpoint of the traditional historian, with new meaning and significance.

While it is no longer possible or desirable to produce ‘grand narratives of history’, the ‘death of history’ thesis occludes the epistemological interest in history and in historical narrative which accompany the aspirations of all struggling historical actors. Once this ‘interest’ in recovering the lives and struggles of those ‘losers’ and ‘victims’ of history is lost, can we produce engaged feminist theory? I remain skeptical that the call to a ‘postmodern-feminist theory’, that would be pragmatic and fallibilistic, that would take its method and categories to the specific task at hand, using multiple categories when appropriate and foreswearing the metaphysical comfort of a single feminist method or feminist epistemology, would also be a call toward an emancipatory appropriation of past narratives. What would distinguish this type of fallibilistic pragmatics of feminist theory from the usual self-understanding of empirical and value-free social science? Can feminist theory be postmodernist and still retain an interest in emancipation?”

much of the postmodernist critique of western metaphysics itself proceeds under the spell of a metanarrative, namely, the narrative first articulated by Heidegger and then developed by Derrida that ‘Western metaphysics has been under the spell of the <metaphysics of presence> at least since Plato…’ This characterization of the philosophical tradition allows postmodernists the rhetorical advantage of presenting what they are arguing against in its most simple-minded and least defensive versions.”

But is the philosophical tradition so monolithic and so essentialist as postmodernists would like to claim? Would not even Hobbes shudder at the suggestion that the ‘Real is the ground of Truth’? What would Kant say when confronted with the claim that ‘philosophy is the privileged representation of the Real’? Would not Hegel consider the view that concepts and language are one sphere and the ‘Real’ yet another merely a version of a naive correspondence theory of truth which the chapter on ‘Sense Certainty’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit eloquently dispensed with?”

In its strong version of ‘the death of metaphysics’ (…) [o]nce this history is rendered unrecognizable, then the conceptual and philosophical problems involved in this proclamation of the ‘death of metaphysics’ can be neglected.”

The version of the ‘death of metaphysics’ thesis which is today more influential than the Heidegger-Derrida tall tale about the ‘metaphysics of presence’ is Richard Rorty’s account. In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature Rorty has shown in a subtle and convincing manner that empiricist as well as rationalist projects in the modern period presupposed that philosophy, in contradistinction from the developing natural sciences in this period, could articulate the basis of validity of right knowledge and correct action. Rorty names this the project of ‘epistemology’; this is the view that philosophy is a meta-discourse of legitimation, articulating the criteria of validity presupposed by all other discourses. Once it ceases to be a discourse of justification, philosophy loses its raison d’être.”

Does not philosophy become a form of genealogical critique of regimes of discourse and power as they succeed each other in their endless historical monotony? Or maybe philosophy becomes a form of thick cultural narration of the sort that hitherto only poets had provided us with? Or maybe all that remains of philosophy is a form of sociology of knowledge, which instead of investigating the conditions of the validity of knowledge and action, investigates the empirical conditions under which communities of interpretation generate such validity claims?

Why is this question concerning the identity, and future and maybe the possibility of philosophy of interest to feminists? Can feminist theory not flourish without getting embroiled in the arcane debates about the end or transformation of philosophy? The inclination of the majority of feminist theorists at the present is to argue that we can side-step this question, even if we do not want to ignore it, we must not be committed to answer it one way or another.”

How can we conceive a version of criticism without philosophy which is robust enough to handle the tough job of analyzing sexism in all its endless variety and monotonous similarity? My answer is that we cannot, and it is this which makes me doubt that as feminists we can adopt postmodernism as a theoretical ally. Social criticism without philosophy is not possible, and without social criticism the project of a feminist theory, which is committed at once to knowledge and to the emancipatory interests of women is inconceivable.” Fraser & Nicholson

I think we have reason to be wary, not only of the unqualified Nietzschean vision of an end of legitimation, [?] but also of the suggestion that it would somehow be ‘better’ if legitimation exercises were carried out in a self-consciously parochial spirit. For if feminism aspires to be something more than a reformist movement, then it is bound sooner or later to find itself calling the parish boundaries into question.


So postmodernism seems to face a dilemma: [1] either it can concede the necessity, in terms of the aims of feminism, of ‘turning the world upside down’ in the way just outlined – thereby opening a door once again to the Enlightenment idea of a total reconstruction of society, on rational lines; [2] or it can dogmatically reaffirm the arguments already marshalled against that idea – thereby licensing the cynical thought that, here as elsewhere, who will do what to whom under the new pluralism is depressingly predictable.” Sabina Lovibond

Me parece uma visão muito maniqueísta, não?

language games”

Complex social practices, like constitutional traditions, ethical and political views, religious beliefs, scientific institutions are not like games of chess. The social critic cannot assume that when she turns to an immanent analysis and characterization of these practices, she will find a single set of criteria on which there is such universal consensus that one can simply assume that by juxtaposing these criteria to the actual carrying out of the practice one has accomplished the task of immanent social criticism. So the first defect of situated criticism [A teoria de que o feminismo pode se constituir em separado do debate sobre o fim da filosofia ocidental, como grupo que não defende nem ataca meta-narrativas, concentrado na luta feminista exclusivamente, uma TEORIA CRÍTICA ESTILO “MÔNADA” LEIBNIZIANA.¹ – o side-step acima.] is a kind of ‘hermeneutic monism of meaning’, the assumption namely that the narratives of our culture are so univocal and uncontroversial that in appealing to them one could simply be exempt from the task of evaluative, ideal-typical reconstruction.” Não há que criticar a ideologia de que estamos partindo, pois ela é autoevidente e já de si informada (conscienciosa). Não seria a primeira nem a última vez que alguém se enganaria pronunciando estas palavras. Se a sociedade – se a academia, se a filosofia – está emperrada, o feminismo também está emperrado. Não existe ‘tática de pegar o vácuo’ nesta ‘corrida maluca’, i.e., tentar tirar vantagem em seu próprio movimento enquanto o mundo soçobra ou aguarda, petrificado…

¹ Em si uma figura muito metafísica – que ninguém dentro da mônada assinará, é óbvio.

The second defect of “situated criticism” is to assume that the constitutive norms of a given culture, society, and tradition will be sufficient to enable one to exercise criticism in the name of a desirable future. There certainly may be times when one’s own culture, society and tradition are so reified, dominated by such brutal forces, when debate and conversation are so dried up or simply made so impossible that the social critic becomes the social exile. Not only social critics in modernity, from Thoreau to the Frankfurt School, from Albert Camus to the dissidents of Eastern Europe, have exemplified this gesture. Antiquity, as well as Middle Ages have had philosophers in

exile, chiliastic sects, mystical brotherhoods and sisterhoods, and prophets who have abandoned their cities. Certainly the social critic need not be the social exile; however, insofar as criticism presupposes a necessary distantiation of oneself from one’s everyday certitudes, maybe eventually to return to them and to reaffirm them at a higher level of analysis and justification, to this extent the vocation of the social critic is more like the vocation of the social exile and the expatriate than the vocation of the one who never left home, who never had to challenge the certitude of her own way of life. And to leave home is not to end up nowhere; it is to occupy a space outside the walls of the city, in a host country, in a different social reality. Is this not in effect the quintessential postmodern condition in the 20th century? Maybe the nostalgia for situated criticism is itself a nostalgia for home, for the certitudes of one’s own culture and society in a world in which no tradition, no culture, and no society can exist any more without interaction and collaboration, confrontation and exchange.”

It may indeed be no coincidence that from Hypatia to Diotima to Olympe de Gouges and to Rosa Luxemburg, the vocation of the feminist thinker and critic has led her to leave home and the city walls.”

the utopia of a rationally planned economy leading to human emancipation, has come to an end. The end of these rationalistic visions of social engineering cannot dry up the sources of utopia in humanity.” A BUSCA PELO ‘GRANDE OUTRO’: “such utopian thinking is a practical-moral imperative. Without such a regulative principle of hope, not only morality but also radical transformation is unthinkable. What scares the opponents of utopia, like Lyotard for example, is that in the name of such future utopias the present in its multiple ambiguity, plurality, and contradiction will be reduced to a flat grand narrative. I share Lyotard’s concerns insofar as utopian thinking becomes an excuse either for the crassest instrumentalism in the present – the end justifies the means – or to the extent that the coming utopia exempts the undemocratic and authoritarian practices of the present from critique. Yet we cannot deal with these political concerns by rejecting the ethical impulse of utopia but only by articulating the normative principles of democratic action and organization in the present. Will the postmodernists join us in this task or will they be content with singing the swan song of normative thinking in general?” Se você está se perguntando se o pós-modernismo tem uma ética, não, ele não tem.

The retreat from utopia within feminist theory in the last decade has taken the form of debunking as essentialist any attempt to formulate a feminist ethic, a feminist politics, a feminist concept of autonomy, and even a feminist aesthetic. The fact that the views of Gilligan or Chodorow or Sarah Ruddick (or for that matter Kristeva) articulate only the sensitivities of white, middle-class, affluent, first-world, heterosexual women may be true (although I even have empirical doubts about this).” Kristeva é fraca.

Yet what are we ready to offer in their place?” “As a vision of feminist politics are we able to articulate a better model for the future than a radically democratic polity which also furthers the values of ecology, non-militarism, and solidarity of peoples? Postmodernism can teach us the theoretical and political traps of why utopias and foundational thinking can go wrong, but it should not lead to a retreat from utopia altogether. For we, as women, have much to lose by giving up the utopian hope in the wholly other.”

THE TRANSSEXUAL EMPIRE: The making of the she-male (sic) – Janice Raymond, 1994.

This book has been long in process. It began as a conference paper delivered at the New England Regional American Academy of Religion Meeting in 1972. Much of it had another life as my doctoral dissertation, which was finished at Boston College in 1977. Finally, it metamorphosed into a book.”

Shortly after the book was published in 1979, Johns Hopkins, which was the first US medical institution to perform transsexual surgery, phased out the procedure and dismantled its Gender Identity Committee. Although some of my friends credited The Transsexual Empire as an important influence on the termination of the surgery, I think the closing of Johns Hopkins’s doors had much more to do with several other factors, some announced and some not publicized.”

In his work on children and sexuality, Money and co-editor Gertrude Williams went so far as to state that a man who commits incest is a sexual deviant, which is <like being a religious deviant in a one-religion society>.”

Transexualism remains, as in 1979, largely a male phenomenon. Female-to-constructed-male transsexuals are relatively rare. For example, of the transsexual surgeries currently performed at the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality, the second US institution to perform the surgery, 85% are male to female.”

I still maintain that men, being freer to experiment than women, seek out and submit to the surgery more often.” Oh, but then, as a consequence, they lose their free-will, see the paradox?

Iron John’ [?] embraces the standard of men’s new-found ability to cry as a primary marker of male liberation.” HAHAHAHA!

As opposed to men who seek opposite sex hormones and surgery, most women’s ‘gender dissatisfaction’ has been in not being feminine enough, or in not fulfilling their female role, e.g., motherhood. Thus medical science has tended to direct women into conforming to male dominant images and roles of femininity.”

ESTRANHA AUTOFAGIA… “Simone de Beauvoir gave us the insight that woman has been fabricated by man as ‘the other’, the relative being—relative to himself as the norm. So it should not be surprising that men, who have literally and figuratively, constructed women for centuries, are now ‘perfecting’ the man-made women out of their own flesh.”

Since transsexualism effectively has become a medical problem, the medical model prevails as the legitimate and dominant form of therapy, requiring psychiatric evaluation, hormonal and surgical intervention, and often a host of countless secondary cosmetic surgeries, all meant to adjust the artifactually evolving female body to the accepted feminine stereotypes.”

Defining and treating transsexualism as a medical [challenge] prevents the person experiencing so-called gender dissatisfaction from seeing it in a gender-challenging or feminist framework.”

Many want to know why the issue of transsexualism is of concern in the schema of pressing issues of feminism. As I saw it then and see it now, transsexualism goes to the question of what gender is, how to challenge it, and what reinforces gender stereotyping in a role-defined society. These questions have been raised subsequently in the context of more recent debates defined by the current argot of ‘transgender’.”

If it all boils down to some innate, essential quality, any attempt to change this state of affairs would be futile. In fact Raymond states that as sex reassignment surgery cannot change chromosomal sex, the transsexual does not really change sex at all.” Woodhouse

When I wrote this [the title of her book, thoughtlessly!], many reviewers took it to mean that a vast male conspiracy was afoot to eradicate ‘native-born’ women—the ultimate male plot to possess women totally. That was never what I meant, nor was it what I intended to convey.”

In giving us the concept of ‘the banality of evil’, Hannah Arendt reminded us that wrong-doing and destruction are not always radically intentional or the result of planned conspiracies, but they may be terribly ordinary.”

The title of my book was satirized in ‘The Empire Strikes Back; a Post-transsexual Manifesto’, an article written by Sandy Stone. Stone, a male-to-constructed female transsexual, was hired in the 1970s as a sound engineer by Olivia Records, the all-women recording company. This set off a controversy in feminist circles that I alluded to and commented on in The Transsexual Empire. Since then, it seems that Stone has gotten himself a thorough post-modernist education, and he now theorizes that, after all is said and done, the transsexual is really text, or perhaps a full-blown genre.”

A transsexual who passes is obeying the Derridean imperative . . . to begin to write oneself into the discourses by which one has been written.” S.S.

Raymond contemplated transsexualism with all the frustration and disgust of a missionary watching prime converts backslide into paganism and witchcraft.” Shapiro

men, and some women, who undergo transsexual surgery are terribly alienated from their bodies, so alienated that they think little of mutilating them.”

The term, transgender,¹ covers preoperative and postoperative transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, cross dressers, gays and lesbians, bisexuals, and straights who exhibit any kind of dress and/or behavior interpreted as ‘transgressing’ gender roles.”

¹ “While I realize that much of the traditional literature distinguishes among drag queens, cross dressers, and transvestism, and that there are some significant differences among these groups, what they all have in common is that they wear women’s clothes. Further, they wear the kind of hyperfeminine women’s clothes that many women would never wear.”

When Boy George accepted a Grammy award for Best New Artist in 1985, he thanked his US audience for recognizing not only his music but ‘a good drag queen’. Perhaps the more flamboyant US version of Boy George is African-American RuPaul, whose musical act has become a highly successful marketable commodity.”

When most women put on pants, a necktie, combat boots, or a business-looking blazer, they are not trying to pass as men.” How do you know?

But transgenderist defiance equals a kind of androgynous humanism, an individualist assertion of androgynous blending, rather than a political defiance of both roles.” E o que você propõe enquanto esperamos a hora da meia-noite e um, i.e., o fim do pós-modernismo? “Política”? Mas esse é o problema: política no sentido clássico não existe mais, odiando-se Derrida ou não… O que acontece agora é uma etapa intermediária de uma lenta inversão.

And so androgynous humanism replaces feminist politics.” You got it. You can fight against it, not accept it, but this is fundamental reality (not a construto)…

Stone Butch Blues is basically a transgender odyssey of a woman growing up in the gay bars and working-class factories of the 1950s and 1960s. Coming of age as a young ‘butch’ [sapatão] in Buffalo, Feinberg movingly describes the working-class reality of this historical butch world with a sharp consciousness of its political aspects—a more powerful testimony to class politics than any Marxist analysis—” Nossa, e cadê o Nobel dessa autora?!

A key turning point is when Jess, the butch protagonist in the novel, undergoes hormone treatment and breast surgery. Living and working as a butch has become too painful and fraught with harassment and violence, but so has the realization that Jess feels herself to be other than a woman—a ‘he-she’, feeling neither like a woman or man but ‘different’.”

Maleness and femaleness are governed by certain chromosomes, and the subsequent history of being a chromosomal male or female. Masculinity and femininity are social and surgical constructs.” Sequer há diferenciação no Português.

The term transsexualism¹ was first used by Harry Benjamin in a lecture at a meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1953.”

¹ “Harry Benjamin first became interested in sex conversion (which he later named transsexualism) when sex researcher Alfred Kinsey referred him to a case that he, Kinsey, could not understand. Kinsey was preparing a second volume on sexual behavior and discovered in the taking of his case histories a young boy whose great ambition was to become a girl. Benjamin subsequently began seeing other cases of a similar nature, began referring candidates abroad for surgery before the operation could be performed legally in the United States, and published the first systematic and professional account of transsexualism in a volume entitled The Transsexual Phenomenon (New York: Julian Press, 1966).”

But I have chosen to consistently employ the term transsexualism, because it is one of the main contentions of this work that transsexualism operates as an ideology which the suffix -ism is meant to denote.”

À GÊNESE DOS GENERA (PRATICAMENTE): “6. Psychological Sex. Much of the literature uses this terminology to designate attitudes, traits, characteristics, and behavior that are said to accompany biological maleness or femaleness. I would prefer the term psychosocial sex to indicate the all-important factor that such attitudes, traits, characteristics, and behavior are socially influenced. Robert Stoller uses the term gender to distinguish this kind of sex from biological sex.”

gender identity is the private experience of gender role, and gender role is the public expression of gender identity.”

The word gender has certain problems for the feminist critic. It gives the impression that there is a fixed set of psychosocial conditions that determines gender identity and role.”

Moreover, the change in genital sex does not make reproduction possible. Maybe with the development of various forms of reproductive technology, this will be feasible in the future, but as yet, a change in genital sex is not accompanied by reproductive capacity.”

In 1975, for example, the Second International Conference on Transsexualism was renamed the Second International Conference of Gender Dysphoria.”

Until, of course, the surgery was popularized, post-Christine Jorgensen, the specific need of surgery was not evident, although some people may have felt that they wanted to change sex.” wiki: “Christine Jorgensen (30 de maio de 1926 – 3 de maio de 1989) foi uma mulher trans americana e a primeira pessoa a ser abertamente conhecida nos Estados Unidos por ter passado pela cirurgia de re-designação sexual.”

ROOT OF ALL EVIL: “These disciplines attribute the conditions of a sexist society to amorphous ‘roles’ and ‘forces’ that are unspecified. Nobody is blamed and everyone is blamed. Such words delete the agents of these ‘roles’ and ‘forces’—that is, the society and institutions men have created.”

Writers on moral issues frequently do little or no in-the field research. They understand their discipline as a ‘library science’, or they limit their empirical research to institutions that ‘treat’ the problem, rather than also including those persons and individuals who are most immediately affected. (Daniel Callahan, for example, did a comprehensive medical, legal, and ethical analysis of abortion, yet nowhere in his study does he indicate that he spoke extensively with women who were in the process of choosing or had chosen abortions.)¹ It has been my experience that talking with transsexuals themselves, as well as with individuals involved in the study and treatment of transsexualism, especially in their occupational milieu, made a vast difference in what I came to know about transsexualism.” Não creio que entrevistas com envolvidos possam mudar opiniões das pessoas engajadas num estudo. O fato de ter entrevistado transexuais pode apenas ter reforçado suas crenças anti-transexualidade, o que não significa que elas estejam erradas, mas que o estudo etnológico não é ‘o todo’ da questão.

¹ Quem liga para o que homens falam sobre aborto de qualquer maneira??

All this helped form my belief that the issue of transsexualism is basically one of social ontology—that is, an issue of what society allows and encourages its constituency to be.”

it is perhaps imperative that I explain further just what I mean by ontology.” Por favor!

I have therefore chosen to talk about transsexualism as most deeply a question of be-ing,¹ which cannot be separated from the social context that generated the problem to begin with.”

¹ “Because the ontological tradition generated such a static notion of being, modern ethicists have talked about its impossibility for providing a basis for ethics. They have often pointed to the need for a post-metaphysical way. Yet the split between being and becoming is not a necessary one, as Mary Daly has pointed out, and has always seemed rather artificial and imposed as compared to the experience of being and its philosophical intuition in individual lives. Thus Daly speaks about being as be-ing. Be-ing is the initial power of everything, not as static structure, but as the direction of a process.”

There are many questions that people often ask about transsexualism. When was the first transsexual operation performed? Where was it done? How did transsexualism first gain public recognition? What is the cost of the surgery? How, medically speaking, is a person transsexed? What are the legal ramifications of sex conversion surgery? Is it possible to change birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, and the like? Has transsexualism been a phenomenon throughout history?

Transsexual operations have been surgically possible since the early 1930s. The hormonal and surgical techniques, however, were not refined and made public until the early 1950s. Since then, thousands of transsexual operations have been performed both here and abroad. Largely due to the support of individuals such as Harry Benjamin, M.D., and institutions such as the Erickson Educational Foundation and Johns Hopkins, transsexual treatment and surgery has become a legitimate medical area of research and activity. The medical specialties that it calls forth, or more correctly that call it forth, are varied and complex, beginning with hormone therapy and often ending in numerous operative procedures. Just as complicated are the legal intricacies of changing sex on birth certificates, licenses, and other certificates of personhood required to live one’s life. Other legal issues also affect the institutions performing the surgery.” “Historical antecedents are found in certain mythological accounts, initiation rites, and certain modes of eunuchism and castration but, strictly speaking, transsexualism has no historical precedents.” Tirésias, O Adão dos Trans

Christine is a powerful name!

Although Christian Hamburger has been credited with bringing together many of the surgical specialties for the treatment of the transsexual, he was not the first physician to perform transsexual surgery. This title belongs to a German, F.Z. Abraham, who, in 1931, reported the first case of sex-conversion surgery. In the years between 1931-52 sporadic and piecemeal reports of transsexual operations came forth, primarily from Germany and Switzerland. Hamburger, however, seems to have been the first to make use of hormonal castration and to follow up on his patients.”

Casablanca, Istanbul, and countries such as Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, were the most frequent locations to which transsexuals travelled, provided they could pay the cost and were willing to risk little or no medical follow-up. Today, however, the situation, at least in the United States, is quite different.”

Although reports conflict as to how many transsexual operations have actually been performed in this country and how many persons seek the surgery, figures published in Newsweek magazine on November 22, 1976, indicated that there are about 3,000 transsexuals in the U.S. who have undergone surgery and 10,000 more who view themselves as members of the opposite sex.” “In the spring of 1973, the Erickson Foundation Newsletter reported that only 10% of those individuals who go through evaluation for surgery eventually achieve it.”

In other areas, for example New York City, courts have ruled that transsexual operations are to be included in medical assistance provided by the city and state for persons on welfare. In New Jersey, Medicaid payments have been authorized in some cases. Since federal funds that had been allocated for abortions have recently been withdrawn, feminists are struck by the inequity of this situation. To paraphrase Jimmy Carter, life has been ‘fair’ to transsexuals.”

It is reasonable to speculate that the extreme difficulty I had in finding male transsexuals, plus the scant mention of them in the literature, may be indicative of the fact that there are fewer of them than are claimed.”

male transsexualism may well be a graphic expression of the destruction that sex-role molding has wrought on men. Thus it could be perceived as one of the few outlets for men in a rigidly gender-defined society to opt out of their culturally prescribed roles. Women, on the other hand, since the recent rise of feminism, have been able to confront sex-role oppression on a sociopolitical, as well as personal, level. Thus women have realized that both masculine and feminine identities and roles are traps.” Ambíguo face ao desenvolvimento ulterior da transexualidade. Talvez as mulheres tenham emburrecido (claro, pois a humanidade como um todo emburreceu) nos últimos 40 anos?

Karen Homey reversed Freud’s theory of penis envy calling it womb envy.” E o garoto aprende o que é um útero aos 3 anos de idade? Quando se pensa que é IMPOSSÍVEL piorar Freud…

The same socialization that enables men to objectify women in rape, pornography, and ‘drag’ enables them to objectify their own bodies. In the case of the male transsexual, the penis is seen as a ‘thing’ to be gotten rid of. Female body parts, specifically the female genitalia, are ‘things’ to be acquired.”

Transsexualism is thus the ultimate, and we might even say the logical, conclusion of male possession of women in a patriarchal society. Literally, men here possess women.” Olhe pelo lado bom: o começo do fim do patriarcado…

Objectification is largely accomplished by a process of fragmentation. The fetish is the fragmented part taken away from the whole, or better, the fetish is seen to contain the whole.” Klein, a fetichista da psicanálise.

The four steps are penectomy, castration, plastic reconstruction, and formation of an artificial vagina (vaginoplasty). Some transsexuals have only the first and second steps performed, and indeed, some writers recommend this approach.”

The vagina is constructed by creating a cavity between the prostate and the rectum. An artificial vagina is formed from a skin graft from the thigh and lined with penile and/or scrotal skin. Thus orgasmic sensation is possible. The shape of the artificial vagina is maintained by a mold that is worn continuously for several weeks following surgery. Once healing has occurred, manual dilation or penile insertion 2 or 3 times weekly is necessary to prevent narrowing, which can result through the contraction of scar tissue.” For me this is news!

One of the ill effects of long-term androgen therapy has been attacks of acne. Some observers also report a libido increase that they regard as undesirable and troublesome, but whether or not this is caused by biological or social-psychological influences is debatable. One of the more serious consequences of androgen is that all its effects are not always reversible. If a woman decides to stop hormone treatment, her voice may retain its low pitch and her facial hair may remain.”

The female transsexual patient, perhaps considerably more than the male, feels quite strongly that something is wrong internally. The menses are regarded as loathsome and often are described as being exceedingly painful.”

The removal of ovaries was used to tame deviant women during the 19th and early 20th century rash of sexual surgery. This mode of female castration has now been superseded by hysterectomy. If one regards the male trans as a potential deviant, as a potential lesbian and woman-identified woman, the comparison between these castrated women and male transsexuals is significant.” “A remoção dos ovários foi usada para domesticar mulheres desviantes durante a erupção das primeiras cirurgias sexuais no fim do séc. XIX e começo do séc. XX. No entanto, esse método de castração feminina já foi há muito tempo superado pela histerectomia [extração do útero]. Se se olha o transexual macho como desviante ‘em potencial’, enquanto possível lésbica ou mulher que se identifica com mulheres, a comparação entre essas mulheres castradas de outrora e o transexual homem de hoje torna-se significativa.”

The vagina remains. Phallus construction, when undertaken, begins in conjunction with a hysterectomy. It is technically possible to construct a penis surgically by rotating a tube flap of skin from the left lower quadrant of the abdomen and closing the vaginal orifice. A urinary conduit can be led through such a phallus, so that the constructed penis may be used for urination. However, because of complications, many surgeons have decided against constructing the phallus so it can be used to urinate. Instead, the female urethra is maintained in its existing position beneath the constructed penis. But the new penis lacks sensitivity, and can become erect only through the insertion of certain stiffening material that remains in the penis all the time, or can be put in and out through an opening in its skin.” “Some transsexuals recognize that the phallus will serve little, if any, role in sexual activity, since the technique of creating an erect penis has not been developed. Some female transsexuals, however, do undergo the number of hospitalizations required for phallus construction. They are convinced that the rodlike stiffener, inserted into the skin of the constructed member, can put pressure on the original clitoris (which still remains) during intercourse, making an orgasm possible.”

For the male transsexual, ‘toilet trauma’, as Zelda Suplee calls it, is a particular fear. Public lavatory facilities for men often require the kind of exposure that women do not meet, and this alone increases the female transsexual’s anxiety about phallus construction.”

A case in Argentina ruled that a transsexual’s consent to sex conversion surgery was unnatural, and therefore invalid, and the surgeon became liable in tort for assault”

As Robert Sherwin has stated, there is no law that expressly forbids males to wear female clothing, per se. There are laws that forbid males from doing so for the purposes of defrauding when, for example, one tries to gain illegal entry or attempts to acquire money by such impersonation.”

The causes of transsexualism have been debated for years. Perhaps the earliest commentator was Herodotus. He explained the origin of what he referred to as ‘the Scythian illness’ by resorting to divine causation. Venus, enraged with the plundering of her temple at Ascelos, changed the Scythian males and their posterity into women as her divine punishment for their misdeeds.”

I will demonstrate that while biological and psychological investigations seek different causes, they both utilize the same theoretical model—i.e., both seek causes within the individual and/or interpersonal matrix.” “For example, psychological theories measure a transsexual’s adjustment or nonadjustment to the cultural identity and role of masculinity or femininity.”

There are many reasons I have chosen to do an extensive analysis of Money’s work. First of all, his theories on sex differences have gained wide acceptance, both in academic and lay circles. They have also been widely cited by feminist scholars. No other researcher in this area has developed any comparable body of research. Thus most discussions of sex differences refer to Money’s work as a kind of bible. Second, no one has done a comprehensive analysis and critique of Money’s work, especially as it relates to issues surrounding transsexualism. For example, Money’s much-publicized theory that core gender identity is fixed by the age of 18 months forms one critical basis for the justification of transsexual surgery, and therefore deserves special attention. Finally, inherent in Money’s proclaimed scientific statements about sex differences are many normative and philosophical statements about the natures of women and men. Under the guise of science, he makes normative and prescriptive statements about who women and men are and who they ought to be.”

Compared to earlier theorists, Money appears to be a very astute and careful researcher of gender identity. For example, the earlier, more reductionistic theorists linked anatomy directly to destiny. Straightforward links between hormonal factors and supposed behavioural results were simplistically set forth. In Money, however, the connection between the two is indirect.”

O CHOMSKY DOS ESTUDOS DE GÊNERO: “The interaction of biological and social factors is explained by using the concept of a program and by comparing that program to the development of native language. There are certain parts of the program that exert a determining influence, particularly in the prenatal period, and leave a permanent imprint. These are hormonal influences that act on the brain to set up supposed neural pathways to receive postnatal, social, gender identity signals.”

Is science, in John Money, reducible to hidden pseudo-metaphysical statements about the nature and behavior of men and women?”

Their causal explanation of tomboyism is grounded in fetal hormonal activity:

The most likely hypothesis to explain the various features of tomboyism in fetally masculinized genetic females is that their tomboyism is a sequel to a masculinizing effect on the fetal brain. This masculinization may apply specifically to pathways, most probably in the limbic system or paleocortex, that mediate dominance assertion (possibly in association with assertion of exploratory and territorial rights) and, therefore, manifests itself in competitive energy expenditure.”

For the little it is worth as commentary on Adam’s Rib, it is the female sex that is primal. The early embryo is female until the 5th or 6th week of fetal life. A testicular inductor substance must be generated at this point to suppress the growth of ovaries. No ovarian inductor is required for female differentiation because all mammalian embryos of either genetic sex have the innate capacity for femaleness. Eve and not Adam appears to have been the primeval human that God had in mind.”

Thus initial embryonic female differentiation is so powerful that even without the presence of female hormones, female internal and external sex structure will result whether in an XX or XY genotype. Furthermore, as Eileen van Tassell has pointed out, the male needs the X chromosome in order to survive. There is no YO chromosomal anomaly. The female, however, does not need a second X, and XO females have been born and survived.”

The genital anatomic fact is that, embryologically speaking, the penis is a masculinized clitoris; the neurophysiological fact is that the male brain is an androgenized female brain.” Robert Stoller

To advocate a flexibility within the range of stereotypes, yet not do away with the stereotypes completely, is similar to giving a woman whose feet have been bound and mutilated crutches or a chair to be carried in, yet not the ability to completely and freely move about.”

Would Money assert that if ‘society’ has driven racist attitudes into the ‘core’ of one’s identity, it has no right to expect that one should drive them out?”

This is an incredible piece of sexist advice, advocating some of the worst aspects of sexual stereotypes. Why should a 5-year-old girl be encouraged to rehearse ‘flirtatious coquetry’ with her father while her mother stands on the sidelines permitting such behavior within suitable ‘limits of rivalry’?”

I believe that the first cause, that which sets other causes of transsexualism in motion (such as family stereotypes and interactions), is a patriarchal society, which generates norms of masculinity and femininity.”

Stoller attributes male transsexualism to a classic mother-child relationship that occurs within the context of a disturbed marriage.”

As Kando summarizes, ‘transsexuals are reactionary, moving back toward the core-culture rather than away from it. They are the Uncle Toms of the sexual revolution. With these individuals, the dialectic of social change comes full circle and the position of greatest deviance becomes that of greatest conformity’

Why women tend to be less tolerant of the transsexual phenomenon is an interesting question. It is my belief that this is because more women than men perceive the destructiveness that is inherent in sex-conversion procedures.”

Henry Guze’s insight may be of some interest here. He notes that the female transsexual in some ways puts masculinity on a pedestal. In doing so, he responds as if he were unworthy of this esteemed role. Since he feels he does not really fit the cultured concept of a male, a concept he fears but also loves and admires, he must be a female. I would add to this that he must be a female in order to participate in what is basically a male, heterosexual culture, and that sex-conversion surgery is his only entrance into this world that he basically loves and admires but doesn’t totally fit into as a man. This also explains his repugnance against homosexuality, which would prohibit his fitting into the ‘straight’ world.”

The recent debate and divisiveness that the transsexual lesbian-feminist has produced within feminist circles has convinced me that, while lesbian-feminists may be a small percentage of transsexuals, the issue needs an in-depth discussion among feminists. (…) Because the oral and written debate concerning the transsexual lesbian-feminist seems to be increasing out of proportion to their actual numbers, I think that feminists ought to consider seriously the amount of energy and space we wish to give to this discussion. However, if any space should be devoted to this issue, it is in a book that purports to be a feminist analysis of transsexualism.”

Transsexual lesbian-feminists show yet another face of patriarchy. As the female transsexual exhibits the attempt to possess women in a bodily sense while acting out the images into which men have molded women, the female who claims to be a lesbian-feminist attempts to possess women at a deeper level, this time under the guise of challenging rather than conforming to the role and behavior of stereotyped femininity.”

All men and male-defined realities are not blatantly macho or masculinist. Many indeed are gentle, nurturing, feeling, and sensitive, which, of course, have been the more positive qualities that are associated with stereotypical femininity. In the same way that the so-called androgynous man assumes for himself the role of femininity, the transsexual lesbian-feminist assumes for herself the role and behavior of feminist. (…) they lure women into believing that they are truly one of us—this time not only one in behavior but one in spirit and conviction.”

It is not accidental that most female transsexuals who claim to be feminists also claim to be lesbian-feminists.” “Lesbian-feminists have spent a great deal of energy in attempting to communicate that the self-definition of lesbian, informed by feminism, is much more than just a sexual choice. It is a total perspective on life in a patriarchal society representing a primal commitment to women on all levels of existence and challenging the bulwark of a sexist society—that is, heterosexism. Thus it is not a mere sexual alternative to men, which is characterized simply by sexually relating to women instead of men, but a way of being in the world that challenges the male possession of women at perhaps its most intimate and sensitive level. In assuming the identity of lesbian-feminist, then, doesn’t the transsexual renounce patriarchal definitions of selfhood and choose to fight sexism on a most fundamental level?”

If, as I have noted earlier, femininity and masculinity are different sides of the same coin, thus making it quite understandable how one could flip from one to the other, then it is important to understand that the transsexual lesbian-feminist, while not exhibiting a feminine identity and role, still exhibits its obverse side—stereotypical masculinity.”

One of the definitions of male, as related in Webster’s, is ‘designed for fitting into a corresponding hollow part.’ This, of course, means much more than the literal signification of heterosexual intercourse. It can be taken to mean that men have been very adept at penetrating all of women’s ‘hollow’ spaces, at filling up the gaps, and of sliding into the interstices.”

I feel raped when Olivia passes off Sandy, a transsexual, as a real woman. After all his male privilege, is he going to cash in on lesbian feminist culture too?”

The question of deception must also be raised in the context of how transsexuals who claim to be lesbian-feminists obtained surgery in the first place. Since all transsexuals have to ‘pass’ as feminine in order to qualify for surgery, so-called lesbian-feminist transsexuals either had to lie to the therapists and doctors, or they had a conversion experience after surgery.”

Deception reaches a tragic point for all concerned if transsexuals become lesbian-feminists because they regret what they have done and cannot back off from the effects of irreversible surgery (castration). Thus they revert to masculinity (but not male body) by becoming the man within the woman, and more, within the women’s community, getting back their maleness in a most insidious way by seducing the spirits and the sexuality of women who do not relate to men.”

Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women so that they seem non-invasive.”

There is a long tradition of eunuchs who were used by rulers, heads of state, and magistrates as keepers of women. Eunuchs were supervisors of the harem in Islam and wardens of women’s apartments in many royal households. In fact, the word eunuch, from the Greek eunouchos, literally means ‘keeper of the bed’. Eunuchs were men that other more powerful men used to keep their women in place. By fulfilling this role, eunuchs also succeeded in winning the confidence of the ruler and securing important and influential positions.”

In Mesopotamia, many eunuchs became royal officers and managers of palaces, and ‘others emerge on the pages of history as important and often virile figures’. Some were famous warriors and statesmen, as well as scholars. One finds eunuchs associated with temples dedicated to the goddesses from at least 2000 B.C. until well into the Roman period. In fact the earliest mention of eunuchs is in connection with the Minoan civilization of Crete, which was a transitional period from an earlier gynocentric society. It thus appears that eunuchs, to some extent, always attached themselves to women’s spaces and, most frequently, were used to supervise women’s freedom of movement and to harness women’s self-centeredness and self-government. It is stated that entree into every political circle was possible for eunuchs even if barred to other men.”

Will the acceptance of transsexual lesbian-feminists who have lost only their outward appendages of physical masculinity lead to the containment and control of lesbian-feminists? Will every lesbian-feminist space become a harem?”

Eve was born of Adam; Dionysus and Athena were born of Zeus; and Jesus was generated by God the Father in his godly birth. (Mary was a mere receptacle used to conform Jesus to earthly birth standards.)”

Men, of course, invented the feminine, and in this sense it could be said that all women who conform to this invention are transsexuals, fashioned according to man’s image. Lesbian-feminists exist apart from man’s inventiveness, and the political and personal ideals of lesbian-feminism have constituted a complete rebellion against the man-made invention of woman, and a context in which women begin to create ourselves in our own image.”

In the most popular version of the myth, Semele, the mother of Dionysus while pregnant with him, is struck by Zeus with a thunderbolt and is thus consumed. Hermes saves the 6-month fetal Dionysus, sews him up in Zeus’s thigh, and after 3 more months, Zeus ‘births’ him. Thus Zeus exterminates the woman and bears his own son, and we have single-parent fatherhood (read motherhood). Moreover, Jane Harrison has pointed out that <the word Dionysus means not ‘son of Zeus’ but rather Zeus-Young Man, i.e., Zeus in his young form>. Thus Dionysus is his own father (read mother) and births himself into existence.

Whether we are talking about being born of the father, or the self (son), which in the myth are one and the same person (as in the Christian trinity), we are still talking about male mothering. At this level of analysis, it might seem that what men really envy is women’s biological ability to procreate.”

Most often, lesbian existence is simply not acknowledged, as evidenced in the laws against homosexuality, which legislate against male homosexuals, but not lesbians. It has been simply assumed that all women relate to men, and that women need men to survive. Furthermore, the mere labeling of a woman as ‘lesbian’ has been enough to keep lesbian living harnessed or, at best, in the closet.”

While the super-masculine Apollo overtly oppresses with his contrived boundaries, the feminine Dionysus blurs the senses, seduces, confuses his victims—drugging them into complicity, offering them his ‘heart’ as a love potion that poisons.”

such liberalism is repressive, and that it can only favor and fortify the possession of women by men.”

We have seen 3 reasons why lesbian-feminists are seduced into accepting transsexuals: liberalism, gratitude, and naiveté. There is yet another reason—one that can be perhaps best described as the last remnants of male identification.” “one way of avoiding that feared label [man-hater], and of allowing one’s self to accept men, is to accept those men who have given up the supposed ultimate possession of manhood in a patriarchal society by self-castration.”

How many women students writing on such a feeble feminist topic as ‘Should Women Be Truck Drivers, Engineers, Steam Shovel Operators?’ have had their male professor scribble in the margins: But what are the real differences between men and women? Transsexuals, and transsexual lesbian-feminists, drag us back to answering such old questions by asking them in a new way. And thus feminists debate and divide because we keep focusing on patriarchal questions of who is a woman” “We know that we are women who are born with female chromosomes and anatomy, and that whether or not we were socialized to be so-called normal women, patriarchy has treated and will treat us like women. Transsexuals have not had this same history.”

Although popular literature on transsexualism implies that Nature has made mistakes with transsexuals, it is really society that has made the mistake by producing conditions that create the transsexual body/mind split.”

Should non-transsexual men who wish to fight sexism take on the identity of women and/or lesbian-feminists while keeping their male anatomy intact? Why should castrated men take on these identities and self-definitions and be applauded for doing so? To what extent would concerned blacks accept whites who had undergone medicalized changes in skin color and, in the process, claimed that they had not only a black body but a black soul?”

Transsexuals would be more honest if they dealt with their specific form of gender agony that inclines them to want a transsexual operation. This gender agony proceeds from the chromosomal fact of being born XY and wishing that one were born XX, and from the particular life history that produced such distress. The place to deal with that problem, however, is not the women’s community. The place to confront and solve it is among transsexuals themselves.”

One transsexual openly expressed that he felt female transsexuals surpassed genetic women.”

Genetic women are becoming quite obsolete, which is obvious, and the future belongs to transsexual women. We know this, and perhaps some of you suspect it. All you have left is your ‘ability’ to bear children, and in a world which will groan to feed 6 billion by the year 2000, that’s a negative asset”

Transsexual lesbian-feminists challenge women’s preserves of autonomous existence. Their existence within the women’s community basically attests to the ethic that women should not live without men—or without the ‘reconstructed man’. How feminists assess and meet this challenge will affect the future of our genuine movement, self-definition, and power of being.”

Recently, male photographers have entered the book market by portraying pseudolesbians in all sorts of positions, clothing, and contexts that could only be fantasized by a male mind. In short, the manner in which women are depicted in these photographs mimics the poses of men pawing women. Men produce ‘lesbian’ love the way they want it to be and according to their own canons of what they think it should be.”

The Transsexual Empire is ultimately a medical empire, based on a patriarchal medical model. This medical model has provided a ‘sacred canopy’ of legitimations for transsexual treatment and surgery.” “From time to time there are ‘in-house’ debates about certain elements of the model, but on the whole, it functions at an established and consistent level of orthodoxy. (I use the term medical model to mean an ideology that stresses: freedom from physical or mental pain or disease; the location of physical or mental problems within the individual or interpersonal context; an approach to human conflicts from a diagnostic and disease perspective to be solved by specialized technical and professional experts.)”

Since the 19th century, especially, problems of alienation have been individualized. With the advent of Freudian psychoanalysis, which was later incorporated into medical psychiatry, ‘health’ values began to take the place of ethical values of choice, freedom, and understanding.”

The medical model has gradually yet consistently treated problems of social alienation in the therapy of closed rooms, and more recently in the small group counselling sessions of family clinics and community mental health centers. Ernest Becker has contended that initially, ‘the psychoanalytic cure began its work by focusing on the individual; now, it is broadening out to the study and therapy of the family’.”

Many persons express the urgency of their desire to be transsexed in terms of ‘normalizing’ their self-perceived masculine or feminine psyche in a male or female body. The abhorrence of homosexuality, expressed by many transsexuals, and their unwillingness to be identified as such, indicate their desire to ‘normalize’ their sexual relationships as heterosexual by acquiring the appropriate genitalia. (…) Thus the transsexual is generally no advocate of social criticism and change.”

Health values are all of a piece again with our philosophy of adjustment, spurious individualism, and unashamed and thoughtless self-seeking.”

All of us are in some way constricted by sex-role socialization. One way of viewing transsexuals is that they are uniquely constricted by the rigidified definitions of masculinity and femininity.”

Until the problems that psychiatry has claimed for itself are broadened into a general criticism of patriarchal society, transsexualism will not be understood as a medical manipulation of social and individual action and meanings. Meanwhile, the medical model and its empire continue to domesticate the revolutionary potential of transsexuals. The potential stance of the transsexual as outsider to the conventional roles of masculinity and femininity is short-circuited. (…) Thus be-ing is reduced to well-being (therapy).”

Thomas Szasz has noted that the conquest of human existence by the mental-health professions started with the identification and classification of so-called mental illnesses, and has culminated in our day with the claim that ‘all of life is a psychiatric problem for behavioural science to solve’.” “Indeed, Szasz contends that the ‘mandate’ of the contemporary psychiatrist is precisely ‘to obscure’, and moreover ‘to deny’ the ethical dilemmas of life, and to transform these into medical and technical problems susceptible to their solutions.”

De-ethicization, of course, is defended in the name of scientific knowledge and neutrality. However, neutrality is a myth and the politics of diagnosis and therapy remain. So too do the philosophical-ethical dimensions of the psychological craft. Under the guise of science, psychological explanations often include value judgments. For example, when John Money and Patricia Tucker assert: ‘Once a sex distinction has worked or been pressured into the nuclear core of your gender schema, to dislodge it is to threaten you as an individual with destruction’, they are using popularized pseudoscientific language where the ‘oughts’ have been deleted, yet where they permeate the sentence. Thus the reader translates: ‘Once a sex distinction has worked or been pressured into the nuclear core of your gender schema, one should not dislodge it, else the individual is threatened with destruction.’ One might also ask here, destruction by whom? by what? Once more, the agent is deleted.”

Fetishization, for example, is one explanation why law-enforcement officials in our society are so obsessed with issues of traffic violations, marijuana, and the like, but cannot cope with the much more serious problems of rape and murder.”

Interestingly, these photographs seldom show the whole person. With a zoom lens effect, they center upon the breasts or phallus. Thus the photographs themselves illustrate the fetishizing of transsexualism. The medical-surgical solution begins to assert control in the narrow area of the chemical and surgical specialties. Attention becomes focused upon constructing the vagina, for example, in as aesthetic a way as possible.”

In the 19th century, clitoridectomy for girls and women, and to a lesser extent, circumcision for boys were accepted methods of treatment for masturbation and other so-called sexual disorders. In the 1930s, Egas Moniz, a Portuguese physician, received the Nobel Prize for his ‘ground-breaking work’ on lobotomies. Moniz operated on state mental hospital inmates, using lobotomy for everything from depression to aggression. The new terminology for brain surgery of this nature today is psychosurgery, which its proponents have attempted to disassociate from the cruder procedures of Moniz and others by pointing to its more ‘refined’ surgical techniques. But call it lobotomy or psychosurgery, surgeons continue to intrude upon human brains on the basis of tenuous localization theories that supposedly pinpoint the area of the brain where the ‘undesirable’ behavior can be found and excised.”

Reinforcement is a key-word for behaviorists. One of the central claims of B.F. Skinner is that the immediacy of reinforcement is what shapes successive behavior in all ‘learning animals’. Skinner differs from classical conditioning theorists (e.g., Pavlov) in saying that behaviour is shaped by what follows it rather than by what precedes it. In the past, most psychologists of this persuasion had assumed that new attitudes were necessary to develop new behavior. Skinner turned this around and said that new attitudes follow or accompany changed behavior.” “Thus transsexual counseling and clinics sire very good examples of Skinner’s ‘operant conditioning’ philosophy: the controller, using a series of carefully planned schedules of positive and/or negative reinforcements (shortening or lengthening the ‘passing’ time) brings about desired responses (stereotypical behavior) from the transsexual. However, the most significant point in Skinner’s philosophy is that the controller will exert hardly any control, because the controlled will control themselves voluntarily. Coercion, in the traditional sense, will not have to be employed.”

To use another example: Many oppressed people use heroin to make life tolerable in intolerable conditions. Heroin usage is a highly effective yet dangerous treatment for dissatisfaction and despair. Recently, for example, black leaders have drawn attention to heroin as a pacifier of black people. As Jesse Jackson has phrased it: ‘We have come from the southern rope to the northern dope.’ In a strict sense, one cannot say that the drug is forced upon its users. Indeed they seek it eagerly. But in the long run, the willing use of the drug strengthens the position of the oppressors and the oppressed. The contentment and euphoria produced by the drug diffuses the militancy, or potential militancy, of the user. Thus heroin is a tool of behavior control and modification.”

It may be that the general population resists the idea of seeing emotional coercion in the same terms as physical coercion because it threatens basic beliefs about man’s autonomy, because one likes to think of himself as a logical individual under the control of intellect rather than emotion.”

Presently, the controllers are the gender identity clinics and the transsexual experts who staff them. It is not far-fetched to conceive of a ‘gender identity business’, as such institutions proliferate, functioning as centers of social control. We now have violence control centers, such as Vacaville, which, in the words of its main organizer, has been designed to focus on the ‘pathologically violent individual’ and is aimed at ‘altering undesirable behavior’.”

Furthermore, we can safely predict, on the basis of past and present CIA and FBI activities, that if gender identity facilities became government controlled, some gender modification activities would be reported while others would be repressed from public view; only those offering a therapeutic rationale would be revealed. Moreover, such controllers and centers for control (such as Johns Hopkins and UCLA) would continue to have a very specific philosophy about what women and men should be, how they should act, and what functions they should perform in society. In fact, gender identity clinic research and treatment has already been funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and other government-affiliated funding sources. All this is happening, and will continue to happen, of course, in the name of science and therapy, and with the denial that any social engineering is taking place. Here we have institutional sexism at its most functional capacity.

A dystopian perspective, some will say, but such perspectives have a way of highlighting present and future reality by daring to predict what most persons do not, or choose not to, perceive.”

Individuals undergo psychosurgery giving ‘informed consent’; parents, on advice of school administrators and physicians, sign ‘informed consent’ papers to have Ritalin administered to their children in public-school centers; women ‘consentingly’ undergo unnecessary hysterectomies for prophylactic reasons such as the vague ‘threat’ of uterine cancer (imagine a prophylactic penectomy!)”

If behaviorist philosophers such as B.F. Skinner are right, and behaviorist technicians such as José Delgado remains active, then future social controllers can replace control-through-torture with control-through-pleasure. What is becoming possible with Delgado’s electronic brain stimulation (ESB) is also becoming possible with transsexual surgery.”

Electrodes were implanted in her right temporal lobe and upon stimulation of a contact located in the superior part about 30mm below the surface, the patient reported a pleasant tingling sensation in the left side of her body ‘from my face down to the bottom of my legs.’ She started giggling and making funny comments, stating that she enjoyed the sensation ‘very much’. Repetition of these stimulations made the patient more communicative and flirtatious, and she ended by openly expressing her desire to marry the therapist. . . . The second patient expressed her fondness for the therapist (who was new to her), kissed his hands, and talked about her immense gratitude for what was being done for her.” Delgado

transsexuals are volunteering for surgery that they hope will relieve their sex role ‘dis-ease’ of gender dissatisfaction and dysphoria. But there is no evidence to prove that transsexual surgery ‘cures’ what is basically a problem of transcendence.”

Imagine what would happen if a male child pill became freely available throughout the world through the World Health Organization. Even in developed countries there is surprising prejudice among ordinary people in favour of having male children; among most African, Asian, Central and South American peoples, this prejudice amounts to almost an obsession. Countless millions of people would leap at the opportunity to breed male: no compulsion or even propaganda would be needed to encourage its use, only evidence of success by example. . . . I hope, incidentally, that it is obvious why I specified a ‘man child’ pill; one selecting for females would not work.” John Postgate

Women’s right to work, even to travel alone freely, would probably be forgotten transiently.

Polyandry might well become accepted in some societies; some might treat their women as queen ants, others as rewards for the most outstanding (or most determined) males. . . . Whether the world would come to resemble a giant boy’s public school or a huge male prison is difficult to predict.”

Transsexual surgery is professedly done to promote the individual transsexual’s right of synchronizing body and mind. Yet what society ‘gains’ is a role conformist person who reinforces sex roles.”

Medical civilization teaches that suffering is unnecessary, because pain can be technically eliminated. . . . The subject is better understood when the social situation in which pain occurs is included in the explanation of pain.” Ivan Illich, filho, com certeza, de pais letrados e de bom gosto!

What has been scarcely noted in many commentaries on transsexualism is the immense amount of physical pain that the surgery entails. Generally, this fact is totally minimized. Most postoperative transsexuals interviewed seldom commented on the amount of physical pain connected with their surgery. Are we to suppose no pain is involved? Anyone who has the slightest degree of medical knowledge knows that penectomies, mastectomies, hysterectomies, vaginoplasties, mammoplasties, and the like cannot be painless for those who undergo them. There is also the pain of anxiety about possible consequences of surgery such as cancer or faulty healing. It seems that the silence regarding physical pain, on the part of the transsexual, can be explained only by an attitude of masochism, where one of the key elements of the transsexual order is indeed the denial not only of self but of physical pain to the point ‘where it may actually be subjectively pleasurable’, or at least subjectively negligible. At least one medical team has recognized this, although in muted and partial form.”

The sadomasochist is someone who has trouble believing in the validity and sanctity of people’s insides—their spirit, personality, or self. These insides could be his own or others’; if they are his own he tends to be masochistic, if they are others’ he tends to be called a sadist” Becker

Transvestism, for them, is too superficial and does not provide the bite or the painful experience of true conversion.” Yea, go on through some ordeal, then you have truly lived!

Learning from the Nazi Experience. Much of the literature on medical experimentation has focused on the various captive populations of prisoners and mental patients, but the most notorious example of unethical medical experimentation on a captive population is the Nazi concentration camps. The example of the Nazi camps has often been cited in ethical arguments that attempt to sensationalize and disparage opposing views. Furthermore, ethicists especially have used these experiments to throw sand in people’s eyes about such issues as abortion and euthanasia, and to create ethical arguments based on a kind of domino theory. In mentioning the Nazi experiments, it is not my purpose to directly compare transsexual surgery to what went on in the camps but rather to demonstrate that much of what did go on there can be of value in surveying the ethics of transsexualism.”

A ‘FITA’ DO CAPÍTULO NEGRO: “In fact, one of the first comprehensive codes of medical ethics, specifically dealing with the ethics of experimentation, emerged from the Nuremberg trials in the wake of the famous ‘Doctors Trial’ or, as it is sometimes called, the ‘Trial of the Twenty-Three’. The Nazi medical experiments read like a series of horror stories. The experiments were quite varied. High-altitude tests were done on prisoners to observe the point at which they stopped breathing. Inmates of the camps were subjected to freezing experiments to observe the changes that take place in a person during this kind of slow death, and also to determine the point of no return. Experiments in bone-grafting and injections with lethal viruses were commonplace. The much-publicized sterilization experiments were carried out on a massive scale at several camps, primarily by radiation and surgical means, for the purpose of seeing how many sterilizations could be performed in the least amount of time and most ‘economically’ (thus anaesthesia was not used). However, the point of all this background is not merely to recite a list of atrocities, but to highlight several points that apply to the situation of transsexualism.”

The activities of the Nazi physicians . . . were, unfortunately, not the aberrations of a holy healing profession imposed upon it by the terrors of a totalitarian regime, but, on the contrary, were the characteristic, albeit exaggerated, expressions of the medical profession’s traditional functions as instruments of social control.” Szasz


Today especially, it is no longer the alliance of church and state that should be feared, that is, theocracy, but rather the alliance between medicine and the state, that is, pharmacracy.¹”

¹ “Inasmuch as we have words to describe medicine as a healing art, but have none to describe it as a method of social control or political rule, we must first give it a name. I propose that we call it pharmacracy, from the Greek roots pharmakon, for ‘medicine’ or ‘drug’ and kratein, for ‘to rule’ or ‘to control’. . . . As theocracy is rule by God or priests, and democracy is rule by the people or the majority, so pharmacracy is rule by medicine or physicians.” Szasz, Ceremonial Chemistry

What we are witnessing in the transsexual context is a science at the service of a patriarchal ideology of sex-role conformity in the same way that breeding for blond hair and blue eyes became a so-called science at the service of Nordic racial conformity.”

One must remember that many of the Nazi physicians whose experiments were the most brutal refused to recognize in the end that they had done wrong. Dr. Karl Brandt, for example, during his trial at Nuremberg, offered his living body for medical experiments like those he had conducted. Before Brandt met his death at the side of the gallows, he made a final speech, which included these words: ‘It is no shame to stand on this scaffold. I served my Fatherland as others before me.’

it is significant that the first physician on record to perform sex-conversion surgery was a German by the name of F.Z. Abraham, who reported the first case in 1931. Furthermore, Benjamin relates that the Institute of Sexual Science in Berlin did much work on transvestism (and probably transsexualism before it was named such) under the leadership of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. Benjamin states that it had a ‘famous and rich museum, clinic, and lecture hall’. In 1933, he says, it was destroyed by the Nazis because, ‘The Institute’s confidential files were said to have contained too many data on prominent Nazis, former patients of Hirschfeld, to allow the constant threat of discovery to persist’. Benjamin visited Hirschfeld and his Institute many times during the 1920s.”

I met another boy whom the scientists of Auschwitz, after several operations, had successfully turned into a woman. He was then 13 years old. After the war, a complicated operation was performed on him in a West German clinic. The doctors restored the man’s physical masculinity, but they couldn’t give back his emotional equilibrium.”

By this comparison, I do not mean to exploit the very real difference between a conditioned ‘voluntary’ medical procedure performed on adult transsexuals and the deliberate sadism performed on unwilling bodies and minds in the camps. However, it is important to understand that some transsexual research and technology may well have been initiated and developed in the camps and that, in the past, as well as now, surgery was not performed for the present professed goal of therapy, but to accumulate medical knowledge.”

There is a crucial distinction between integration and integrity. Briefly, integration means putting together a combination of parts in order to achieve completeness or wholeness. In contrast, the word integrity means an original wholeness from which no part can be taken away. It is my contention that, in a deep philosophical sense, transsexual therapy and treatment have encouraged integration solutions rather than helping individuals to realize an integrity of be-ing. In its emphasis on integration, much of the recent psychological, medical, and medical-ethical literature on transsexualism, and the solutions they propose, resemble theories of androgyny. In many ways, contemporary transsexual treatment is a modem version of medieval, androgynous alchemy where stereotypical femininity is integrated with a male genotype to produce a transsexually constructed woman. As alchemy treated the qualitative as quantitative in its attempts to isolate vital forces of the universe within its laboratories of matter, transsexual treatment does the same by reducing the quest for the vital forces of selfhood to the artifacts of hormones and surgical appendages. Transsexualism is comparable to the theme of androgyny that represents biological hermaphroditism, because ultimately the transsexual becomes a surgically constructed androgyne, and thus a synthetic hybrid. Furthermore, the transsexual also becomes a sex-stereotyped hermaphrodite, often unwittingly displaying his former masculine gestures, behavior, and style while attempting to conform to his new feminine role.”

The first drafts of this chapter were entitled An Ethic of Androgyny. But as I examined the androgynous tradition and its uses in recent literature, problems of etymology, history, and philosophy arose that were not evident at first glance. These necessitated the choice of a different ethical vision, which I have called integrity.”

Until those contemplating transsexual surgery come to realize that such a step does nothing to promote this integrity on both a personal and social level, they will continue to settle for many of the false and partial modes of androgynous integration.”

For an extensive and specific delineation of the androgynous tradition in theology and philosophy, from its prepatriarchal origins, through Plato, the Midrashim, the Gnostics, and others, up through nineteenth-century French philosophy and social theory, see: Janice G. Raymond, ‘Transsexualism: An Etiological and Ethical Analysis’ (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Boston College, 1977).”

Maleness and femaleness were perceived as divisions resulting from the Fall and not originally intended to be part of primordial personhood. Thus, for example, Adam in the Garden of Eden is represented as originally combining and/or transcending maleness and femaleness. Such androgynous notions are present in the rabbinic commentaries on Genesis, in the Gnostics, in the Jewish Cabala, and in John Scotus Erigena. In this same context, androgyny became a salvation or reunification theme, bringing divided personhood, maleness and femaleness, back into its original and divinely intended unity of either biological bisexuality or asexuality.”

Many writers see Jesus as the unique bearer of androgynous humanity. This conception of Jesus, implicit in some of the Gnostic literature, is developed by Erigena in his portrayal of the Resurrected Jesus, and reaches its apex in Jacob Böhme.”

Although the primal Adam is written about as androgynous or hermaphroditic, one is still left with the impression that the original human was more male than female.” “Thus the male portion of androgyny remains steady and constant, while the female is the wayward, unsteady half. In the Gnostics, moreover, the female must make herself male before a salvific androgyny can be reached.”

In Plato, androgyny is mixed with misogyny to support male homosexuality which is regarded as the superior form of love.”

In no writing on androgyny is the male exhorted to make himself female before he can become androgynous.”

Beginning with Auguste Comte and up to the Saint-Simonians, androgyny comes to symbolize human progress, universal unity, and the removal of social oppression, especially that of female and class oppression.”

The word androgyny is formed from integrating the Greek aner and gyne (with the male classically coming first).” “Nor would the term gynandry be adequate. Although the female root of the word comes first, the primary image is still one of the sexual sphinx.”

For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Unfortunately even the brilliant Virginia Woolf had a similar notion of androgyny in A Room of One’s Own.”

Perhaps with the overcoming of women’s oppression, the woman in man will be allowed to emerge.” Betty Rozsak

One would not put master and slave language or imagery together to define a free person.”

As models for the ‘new androgyny’, James Nolan gives us ‘pansexual rock images’ of David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Bette Midler.”

Here we have the ultimate co-optation of the Women’s Movement—an ‘adolescent stage’ that we have already passed through. Androgyny becomes the great leap forward, a synonym for an easily accessible human liberation that turns out to be sexual liberation—a state of being that men can enter as easily as women through the ‘cheap grace’ of the ‘wider’ countercultural revolution. What androgyny comes to mean here, in fact, is sexual revolution, phrased in the language of The Third Sex. Sex (fucking), not power, becomes the false foundation of liberation.”

Integrity gives us a warrant for laying claim to a wholeness that is rightfully ours to begin with and that centuries of patriarchal socialization to sex roles and stereotyping have eroded.” “The real mytho-historical memory may have been that of an original psychosocial integrity where men were not masculine, nor women feminine, and where these definitions and prescribed norms of personhood did not exist.”

Initially, Rachel Carson demonstrated that chemical pesticides were disastrous to the planet. Barry Commoner followed by showing how so-called technological ‘advances’ have debilitated our ecosystems, because everything is related to everything else. In a similar manner, evidence is beginning to prove that hormone treatment and surgery are destructive intrusions of the total ‘bio-ecosystems’ of transsexuals.”

Transsexuals often betray this socially constructed hermaphroditism.”

As Ivan Illich has pointed out, anyone who ‘becomes dependent on the management of his intimacy. . . renounces his autonomy, and his health must decline.’

Transsexual surgery turns into an antisocial activity that promotes the worst aspects of a patriarchal society by encouraging adaptation to its sex roles.”

The transsexual odyssey can be viewed as a quest for transcendence, an effort to go beyond the limits of the self (symbolized by the acquisition of a new body). But from the perspective of transcendence, transsexualism’s greatest weakness is its deflection of the ‘courage to be’, and its short-circuiting of existential risk, creativity, world-building, and social healing—all of which are elements of genuine transcendence.”

There is no doubt that selfhood presupposes embodiment and that our bodies cannot be ignored in any authentic development of selfhood. However, even many persons who have been wracked with severe physical pain or deformed by natural or imposed crippling agents have been able to transcend these conditions.”

Transsexuals move totally in the realm of the body while thinking that they are transcending the body. To use Daly’s terminology, they are ‘possessed’ by their bodies and cannot confront and transcend that possession.”

We might say that the body is part of the creative ground of existence, but we are not bound by that structure in the full creative sense.”

In a thousand subtle ways, the reassignee has the bitter experience that he is not—and never will be—a real girl but is, at best, a convincing simulated female. Such an adjustment cannot compensate for the tragedy of having lost all chance to be male and of having, in the final analysis, no way to be really female.”

To encourage would-be transsexuals to hand over their bodies to the transsexual empire hardly seems to be an adequate or genuinely sensitive response to the questions that transsexualism raises. Those who advocate medicalized transsexualism as the answer to a desperate emergency situation of profound sex-role agony only serve, in my opinion, to prolong the emergency. They seem sensitive only to Band-Aid solutions that ultimately help to make more medicalized victims and to enhance the power of the medical empire.”

Any woman who has experienced the agony of sex-role oppression in a patriarchal society is hardly insensitive to the suffering that transsexuals experience.”

Isn’t it possible for persons who desire sex-conversion surgery, and who have also experienced sex-role oppression and dissatisfaction with their bodies, to band together around their own unique form of gender agony—especially those who claim to have a deep commitment to feminism? Many will say that this is too much to ask of transsexuals. Yet it is no more than women have asked of ourselves—those who have taken feminism seriously and have tried to live unfettered by gender in a gender-defined society.

This book will, no doubt, be dismissed by many transsexuals and transsexual advocates as intolerant. Tolerance, however, can easily become repressive, as Marcuse has pointed out. It is often a variation on the ‘poverty of liberalism’, functioning as sympathy for the oppressed.”

those who take a critical position will be subjected to accusations of dogmatism and intolerance, when in fact those who are unwilling to take a stand are exercising the dogmatism of openness at any cost. This time, the cost of openness is the solidification of the medical empire and the multiplying of medical victims. Those who advocate tolerance of medicalized transsexualism are expressing a false sympathy which, in both the immediate and ultimate context, can only facilitate and fortify the possession of women by men.”

When tolerance serves mainly to protect the fabric by which a sexist society is held together, then it neutralizes values. It is important to help break the concreteness of oppression by showing its theoretical inconsistencies and by stretching minds to think about solutions that only appear to be sensitive and sympathetic.”

Marcuse, in his essay Repressive Tolerance, has written:

The political locus of tolerance has changed: while it is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition, it is made compulsory behavior with respect to established policies. Tolerance is turned from an active into a passive state, from practice to non-practice. . . . It is the people who tolerate the government, which, in turn, tolerates opposition within the framework determined by the constituted authorities.”

Many feminists are opposed to transsexualism. Yet that opposition, having moved outside the limits of tolerance set up by the medical authorities, will often be decried as intolerant. What is happening here is a fundamental reversal.”

Does a moral mandate, however, necessitate that transsexualism be legally mandated out of existence? What is the relationship between law and morality, in the realm of transsexualism? While there are many who feel that morality must be built into law, I believe that the elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it—and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping, which generated the problem to begin with.”

Cultural iatrogenesis . . . consists in the paralysis of healthy responses to suffering, impairment, and death. It occurs when people accept health management designed on the engineering model, when they conspire in an attempt to produce, as if it were a commodity, something called ‘better health’. This inevitably results in the managed maintenance of life on high levels of sub-lethal illness.” Illich

In the early stages of the current feminist movement, consciousness-raising groups were very common. These groups were composed of women who talked together about their problems and directions as women in a patriarchal society. Gradually, these groups came to the insight that ‘the personal is political’, thus providing the first reconciliation between what had always been labeled the ‘personal’ and the ‘political’ dimensions of life. Women, who had felt for years that the dissatisfaction they had experienced as women was a personal problem, came to realize in concert with other women that these problems were not peculiar to them as individuals but were common to women as a caste. (…) From these consciousness-raising groups came much of the initial political action of the women’s movement.”

aside from this one-to-one form of counseling, the model of consciousness-raising emphasizes the group process itself.”

We have seen enough of those transsexuals and professionals in the media who are in favor of transsexual surgery as the solution to so-called gender dissatisfaction and dysphoria. We need to hear more from those men and women who, at one time, thought they might be transsexuals but decided differently—persons who successfully overcame their gender identity crises without resorting to the medical-technical solution. We need to hear more also from professionals such as endocrinologist Charles Ihlenfeld who, after helping one hundred or more persons to ‘change their sex’, left the field. Ihlenfeld decided that ‘we are trying to treat superficially something that is much deeper’. And finally we need to hear more from persons, such as feminists and homosexual men, who have experienced sex-role oppression but ultimately did not become transsexuals.”


Somer Brodribb, Nothing Matters: A Feminist Critique of Postmodernism

Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

The case of Rosalyn Franklin is a primary example of a woman who made an initial and major contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA, yet was not part of the group that received the Nobel Prize for this discovery. See Anne Sayre, Rosalyn Franklin and the DNA (New York: W. W. Norton, 1975). An even more famous example of the male scientific erasure of a woman’s discovery is the case of Helen Taussig who discovered the method for saving the lives of ‘blue babies’. Alfred Blalock took the credit for this discovery, and it has since been named the Blalock method.”

Because Stone gave up his male identity and lives as a ‘woman’ and a ‘lesbian’, [s]he is faced with the same kinds of oppression that other women and lesbians face, along with the added ostracism that results from being a transsexual.”

Another parallel is that some royal eunuchs also wore women’s clothing, and their physical characteristics, especially as represented on Assyrian monuments, resembled those of women. Eunuch priests of goddess temples were said to wear women’s garb and perform women’s tasks. See John L. McKenzie, ‘Eunuch’, Dictionary of the Bible

See the Oxford English Dictionary listing for the word health, which traces the word from its Old English spelling originally meaning whole.”

Two patients felt angry and hopeless that they could not return to their previous masculine state. In Randell’s study, there were 4 cases in which the postoperative adjustment was worse than before the operation. ‘There the result can be designated as very poor.’ The behavior included suicide, suicidal impulse, moral depravity, and a wish to reverse the effects of operation. Two of these men succeeded in committing suicide.”

George Gilder, Sexual Suicide

J. Hoenig et al., in their article, ‘The Surgical Treatment for Transsexuals’ (Acta Psychiatra Scandinavia, 47 [May 1974]: 106-36), state that surgical treatment to increase breasts in male transsexuals should not be undertaken, especially if such treatment is followed up with estrogen therapy, since there is a risk of malignancy. They cited the study of W. Symmers, ‘Carcinoma of the Breast in Transsexual Individuals after Surgical and Hormonal Interference with the Primary and Secondary Sex Characteristics’, British Medical Journal, 2 (1968): 83. Symmers reported two cases who came to autopsy with carcinoma of the breast. He suggests that the malignance was entirely due to the hormonal imbalance created by castration plus the massive doses of estrogen received. Jan Stiefel has noted the significant factor that serious and accepted research was being done on transsexuals with breast cancer resulting from exogenous estrogen therapy, long before a comparable serious and accepted study was done on native-born women.”

Alexander Mitscherlich & Fred Mielke, Doctors of Infamy: The Story of the Nazi Medical Crimes (New York: Henri Schuman, 1949).

the question of verification of ontological judgments, the question of method, cannot be answered before the method is applied successfully or unsuccessfully—that is, before its efficacy in human lives and community is tested.”

A THEORY OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF WOMEN – Hellen Moore & Jane Ollenburger, 1989.

For example, sex role analyses use bipolar concepts, such as masculinity and femininity as givens. Even models of androgyny anticipate the reality of a continuum with fixed masculine and feminine end points. Thus, the language used in creating patriarchal and sex role theories sets parameters that cannot be ignored or transformed by the models themselves.”

Explain the development, maintenance, and change of women’s oppression in the range of cultures we can use as examples (Chafetz, Feminist Sociology, 1988). The reasons for building a feminist theory or explanation are clear. But why build a sociological theory? Are the problems created by patriarchal theory and liberal feminist theory inherent to the sociological theory building process? We believe it is not. Theory as a practice can itself be examined from a feminist perspective, analyzed for potential consequences, and revisioned for its potential contributions to an understanding of women’s lives”

A major challenge for feminist theorists is to bridge the structural and interpretive approaches available in the social sciences and in women’s studies theory. An integrative theory of women’s oppression should draw from all available models, not to construct a hodgepodge, but with an eye toward the patchwork quilt of women’s traditional crafts. Such a patchwork would take the useful concepts of feminist models and draw them together to make a strong theoretical fabric”

The post-structuralists argue that we cannot answer the question, ‘Are there women?’ (De Beauvoir, 1974; Eisenstein and Jardine, 1980). We believe that the questions must be asked, even if the medium of language will ultimately distort the reality of those lives.”

Drawing on the radical feminist theories, we also propose that, in a patriarchal system, men set the exchange value. As Hartmann and others have pointed out, capitalism goes hand in hand with patriarchy in most Western industrial nations (Hartmann, 1984).” Vago.

the lives of black women prior to the Emancipation Proclamation have been limited to a few diaries and to public records that define blacks as property. Immigrant and black women’s work was not recorded separately by race from white women until the 1890’s, and various Hispanic groups have been tabulated as white at various points in time. Not until the 1980 census were significant Hispanic cultural groups separated such as Cubana, Chicana, and Puerta Ricana for research and policy discussion.”

the absence of marital rape laws in the majority of states identifies the informal and formal definitions of sexual control for men.”

Women who do not fit this family-centered framework are thrust out of the normative definitions of sexuality: lesbians, nuns, spinsters [solteironas], prostitutes, and women in the pornography industry.”

The notion of recreational, non-reproductive sex (the use value of sex) is a relatively modem phenomenon, particularly for married women. This new model of sexuality has generated an avalanche of media images, novels, advice books, and self-help groups to create norms for the practice and enjoyment of women’s sexuality. Much of this recreational sexual identity has been based upon historical and erroneous definitions supplied by men: the norm of the vaginal orgasm, definitions of the sexually attractive, and control of the verbal and nonverbal cues for sexual initiation”