I met my recent editor under unusual circumstances. I was contacted via email with a request to write a book on the topic of 'gender dysphoria'. We agreed to meet in person and talk more, as the topic itself is complex with much disagreement and debate. I needed to make sure that they were looking for the kind of critical, trans-inclusive, and feminist book that I was planning to write. At our meeting, we discovered that our paths had crossed before - only briefly. My editor had developed an interest in the topic after attending a conference some years earlier - I conference where there was such controversy regarding the keynote speaker that there was a protest outside. We laughed as we soon discovered that while my editor was inside the conference promoting books, I was outside with the protesters.
My first book, Perverse Psychology, was a critical analysis of psychology and psychiatry and the many problematic ways they frame sexual violence and transgender people. I concluded that it was the profession that was perverse, not those they claim to 'treat'. My new book builds on this work, by including a more in-depth analysis of psychology and psychiatry's framing of gender nonconformity - including a broader range of diagnoses related to gender (e.g. masochistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, hysteria, autogynephilia, transvestism, gender dysphoria) as well as more detail and critique regarding treatment approaches - such as gender conversion therapies.
The second part of the book addresses the longstanding tensions between feminist and transgender perspectives, most notably those from trans-exlusionary radical feminism (or 'TERF') and trans feminists. It shows how oppressive and transphobic accounts of gender, that are used to silence and victimize trans people from within feminism, actually draw on and parallel dominant narratives from psychology and psychiatry. I conclude that feminist, queer, and trans critiques need to incorporate sanism into their intersectional analyses of oppression.
Psychology and Gender Dysphoria: Feminist and Transgender Perspectives will be published by Routledge in March 2016.
The book is available for pre-order at this link, and you can also recommend it to your university librarian from here as well.
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