ABSTRACT

This chapter examines how gender identity and gender dysphoria have been framed within feminist discourse, which includes constructions of the same groups of individuals. Analyses of trans-sexualism are often associated with the second wave of feminism, although it also features in more trans-positive third-wave perspectives. While 'barely a ripple' of feminist influence had reached psychiatry, psychiatric theories regarding the diagnoses of trans-sexualism and gender identity disorder influenced feminist thought. Bem introduced the concept of 'psychological androgyny' in 1981, drawing on empiricist approaches within psychology and the increasing research interest in gender and sex roles. Critical of feminist psychology, and of the focus on 'sex roles' rather than foregrounding gendered oppression radical feminism promoted a different view of gender. Another key area where radical feminism and psychiatry overlap is the framing of transgenderism as masochism. The uncritical use of psychiatric perspectives and discourses to argue for feminism and lesbianism is therefore paradoxical and absurd.