This article puts the research and writing of UCLA psychology professor Robert J. Stoller in conversation with Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous essay “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” to highlight the racial and colonial logics of university-based gender clinics and their significance for transsexual life. The author provides examples of patients of color who made their way to these gender clinics through institutions of psychiatric detention or the criminal justice system. The article attempts to demonstrate three points: (1) gender-clinic patients were not all white and middle class, and many of them did not come to the gender clinics voluntarily; (2) understanding the prolonged, multigenerational temporality of Stoller's theory of transsexual etiology makes clear the connections between transsexual medicine, evolutionary and eugenic theory, and racial science; and (3) Stoller's theory of transsexual etiology emerges alongside essays like Moynihan's reveals the shared genealogy of US sexology and Jim Crow.
Early Gender Clinics, Transsexual Etiology, and the Racialized Family
Emmett Harsin Drager is a postdoctoral fellow of trans and queer studies in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri. Their work can be found in Transgender Studies Quarterly and the anthology Turning Archival: The Life of the Historical in Queer Studies.
Emmett Harsin Drager; Early Gender Clinics, Transsexual Etiology, and the Racialized Family. GLQ 1 January 2023; 29 (1): 13–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-10144364
Download citation file: