Response to Alessandra Lemma – APP Lecture. Research off the couch: Revisiting the transsexual conundrum

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2012) Response to Alessandra Lemma – APP Lecture. Research off the couch: Revisiting the transsexual conundrum. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 26 (4). pp. 290-293. ISSN 0266-8734

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Abstract/Book Review

These comments are based on a developmental perspective as my experience derives primarily from work with children, adolescents and their families attending a gender identity development service. The paper stresses the importance of empirical research, in this case qualitative, as a complementary source of evidence to that derived from psychotherapeutic or psychoanalytic work. This stance is in my view valuable and needs to be well supported. The empirical observation in this paper contributes to a better understanding of the development of atypical gender identity which in some forms is addressed as transsexualism. The language to define these experiences is complex and controversial as it refers to a multitude of different experiences regarding one's own perceptions of gender identity in relationship to the sexual appearance of the body. In childhood, definitions of atypical gender development have gone from ‘gender identity disorder’ to the more acceptable definitions by families and professionals of Gender Dysphoria, Gender Diversity or Gender Variance. The paper stresses the importance of regarding transsexual experience as varied. A fitting metaphor for this would be the Ai Wey Wey Sun Flower Seeds Installation at the Tate Modern. This work is composed of about 120 million porcelain seeds individually painted by a number of workers. At a distance they all look the same, but at a closer look, in spite of the communality of some features, they all differ because of the individual difference of the paint strokes, as Ai Wey Wey himself emphasised in an introductory interview for the Tate exhibition. From the experiences reported by the trans people involved in a television programme, Lemma put forward a hypothesis that a lack of experience of mirroring of their perceived gender identity by the attachment figure contributes to their need for acceptance, particularly in the visual field. This becomes an ongoing pursuit.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 19 Nov 2012
Subjects: Sex Psychology > Gender Identity
Department/People: Special Units
Depositing User: Ms Linda Dolben
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2015 14:30
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 14:30
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/495

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