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Why should I suffer from a despot duality - the trans gender phenomenon

In the early first part of the twentieth century, European scientists began to experiment with “sex-change” (Meyerowitz 2002, 16–21). By 1953, media sensation Christine Jorgensen had become the first “celebrity” MTF transsexual in the United States and scientific controversy heated over whether transsexuality was a psychological or physical condition (Meyerowitz 2002). 

While the former position (then dominant in the U.S.) held that trans phenomena were purely psychological in nature and ought to be treated psychotherapeutically to “cure the mental illness”, the latter (European model) held a “bisexuality theory” which maintained that there was a physical blend of male and female in all human beings and that special cases yielded a “mixed-sex” condition which in some cases justified surgical intervention (Meyerowitz 2002, 98–129)

In 1966, Benjamin published the landmark The Transsexual Phenomenon and that same year saw the opening of the Johns Hopkins University program for sex-reassignment surgery, ushering in a period of large university-based gender-identity clinics which lasted until the end of the seventies

The role of the medical treatment of transsexuality is to turn men into “women” and women into “men” when they cannot be normed into their natally assigned sex roles. For Raymond, the phrase transsexual empire applies to the patriarchal medical establishment which perpetuates sex-role oppression through surgical intervention. 

Some see androgyny as a kind of blend between masculine and feminine and she argues that transsexual surgery also brings about such blends (constructing the individual into a kind of hermaphroditic being) 

Significantly, Anzaldúa identifies a state between man and woman as a site for creative resistance:
There is something compelling about being both male and female, about having an entry into both worlds. Contrary to some psychiatric tenets, half and halfs are not suffering from a confusion of sexual identity, or even from a confusion of gender. What we are suffering from is an absolute despot duality that says we are able to be only one or the other (1987, 41).

Stone's article laid the foundations for the emergence of transgender studies, which can be characterized as the coming-to-academic-voice of (some) trans people against a history of scholarly objectification. The early nineties also witnessed the emergence of current transgender politics, articulated in the popular works of Leslie Feinberg (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998) and Kate Bornstein (1994). 

Three major features of what might be called the transgender paradigm paralleled the ideas of Stone: 1) the recognition of gender-based oppression, usually targeting trans people, as distinct from and non-reducible to sexist oppression; 2) the positioning of trans people as problematically situated with respect to the binary categories man and woman; and 3) the endorsement of a politics of visibility. 

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