Childhood and transsexualism

Childhood and transsexualism

Chiland C.
Psychologie clinique, Universite Rene-Descartes.
Abstract [Full Text] [PDF]


The introduction covers the ground that led the author to take an interest in transsexualism. The word “transsexualism” came into being at a specific time: 1953 (Benjamin). The concept, the facts, covered by this word, have existed in several known forms, as well as in “anonymous” ones. But the possibility of changing sex by hormonal or surgical means has given a new twist to the problem, with the role of the doctor and the media that go along with it.

The definition is studied carefully and gives a description of transsexuals in its present forms working with biological males and biological females. The author suggests substituting “sexuel” and “sexue” in French for the distinction made in English between “sex” and “gender”. The follow up should give a crucial value in order to justify turning a healthy subject into one who lives between the two genders. Unfortunately, such studies are neither numerous nor completely satisfactory because of insurmountable hurdles: a limited number of subjects who have been followed up, the impossibility of making up a test group, etc.

Over the past few years, a reaction has sprung up, giving psychotherapy a more important role in treating patients, taking advantage of the treatment borderline cases have been given and what it has taught us. In all fairness, no one can speak of transsexual or transvestite children as has been done in the past, but only of feminine or effeminate boys and tomboy girls. When samples of such children have been followed longitudinally, one realizes that an extremely small number of them becomes transsexual, becoming for the most part homo- or bi-sexual, though some become heterosexual. Treating these children and their parents seems very important to everyone, given how hard it is to treat adult transsexuals. Only a few kinds of treatment have been published, and more especially, there is no data on the long-term future of those children having received treatment.
We are trying to bring together data on the childhood of adult patients. Often, they have little to say about their own childhood. Interviews with parents give still another point of view. Most of the cases seen in consultation resulting from problems with gender-identity are mixed and secondary, rarely in a pure, clear-cut state.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)


Citation: Psychiatr Enfant 1988;31(2):313-73 an article published on the Internet by PubMed <>