Deconstructing the Feminine Essence Narrative
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In Dreger’s history of the controversy surrounding Bailey’s (2003) work on femininity in biological males, she refers to the popular view of male-to-female transsexualism as the feminine essence narrative. Because my commentary considers the feminine essence view as a set of propositions rather than as a story, I will refer to it as the feminine essence theory.
Dreger presents the main ideas of the theory quite clearly enough for the purposes of her history. She writes, for example, that according to the feminine essence theory, “trans people suffer from a sort of trick of nature, whereby they have the brain of one gender in the body typical of the other. Thus the trans person has a sort of neurological intersex condition, typically understood to be inborn.” She does not, however, formally enumerate the distinguishable elements and implications of the theory, an exercise that would have taken her beyond the scope of her article. Such an analysis is the subject of this commentary. My...
KeywordsGender Identity Sexual Arousal Natal Woman Gender Identity Disorder Transsexualism
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