Psychoanalysis Needs a Sex Change
This post is part of the Gender and Domination Course in OOPS.
“Six years ago, when I published Please Select Your Gender, a book inspired by my clinical practice, I had not foreseen a wave that has swept away everything else in pop culture’s imagination. It also engulfed psychiatric and psychoanalytic practices; this wave was like a tsunami, many were left behind amidst the wreckage. My new work aims at assessing the gains, the new trends, and the concepts necessary to make sense of what has happened. Despite the increasing media presence of transgender people, the transgender community continues to be an understudied population, no matter which discipline is framing the work. This situation is even more pronounced in the psychoanalytic field. Psychoanalysis has a sex problem in more than one sense. Transgender activists and scholars have been wary of psychoanalysis, with good reasons. In both subtle and brutal ways, psychoanalysis has a history of coercive hetero-normatization and pathologization of non-normative sexualities and genders. Such a homophobic and transphobic history, however, is based on a selective reinterpretation of the Freudian texts. It is true that many normative theories about sex and gender claim to derive from Freudian psychoanalysis and classify and adjudicate individuals according to sexual behavior. In fact, nothing could be farther from what we can observe today in the clinical practice.” (Patricia Gherovici).