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The statute of the body in transexuality: a dialogue between the transfeminist movement, psychoanalysis and medical speech

Grant number: 15/22361-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2016
Effective date (End): April 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Patricia Porchat Pereira da Silva Knudsen
Grantee:Maria Caroline Ofsiany
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências (FC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Bauru. Bauru , SP, Brazil


The purpose of this study is to compare in which points the knowledge produced by the transfeminist movement, the medical discourse and psychoanalysis agree or disagree when it concerns to the issue of the body in transsexuality. On one hand the issues of transsexuality are increasingly appearing both in Brazilian and international agenda - just watch the frequent presence of this subject in the media and the huge queues for the reassignment of sex in specialized hospitals. On the other hand, the network of organizations supporting the rights of the transgender population (Transgender Europe) said that Brazil leads the world ranking of murders of transvestites and transsexuals. The body of transgender people is thus subjected to violence, prejudice and also research and interventions. In transfeminist movement, we can highlight the following issues related to statute of the body: the question of the agency, which means the complete power of decision over the own body; the adaptation to binary gender norms; and the sexual orientation. Once transsexuality is still considered a disease, it undergoes the medical knowledge. For that reason, it is the Medical Science who sets the criteria of who is "fit" to be considered sick, and this means transgender people has no right to decide on their own bodies. So, if pathologizing transsexuality has allowed the insertion of body modifications in the practice of medicine, it has also limited the individual agency on the own body and self-determination of gender for transgender people. We see that the question of agency becomes problematic both in medical speech as well as in psychoanalysis. We note that psychoanalysis did not find a consensus on transsexuality. There are positions that will assume a pathological condition of transsexuality, often labeling it as a psychosis, but there are also those who argue that transsexuality is not itself a disease, it just expresses an identity experience that can only be evaluated individually. It's possible to verify that the theories pathologizing transsexuality are founded in a heterosexual binary matrix, and it ends up regulating the sexuality and the subjectivity. One possible criticism for such theories is to point out that in transsexuality there are several forms of subjectivity and gender constructions, which opposes to the idea of a single subjective position like the structural psychoanalytic theories that supports the identification of the "true "transsexual. Who owns the right to legislate over that body? We intend to consider and strengthen the arguments of these fields of knowledge, understanding that one depends on another: transgender people depend on psychology and medicine to perform sexual reassignment surgery, but claim the right to decide over their own bodies; medicine requires psychological reports and psychotherapeutic treatments; and psychoanalysis is subject to the medicine when it comes to the implementation of any intervention on the body. At the same time, psychoanalysis has the ethical duty of listening to each person, although it cannot avoid the fact that there are some psychological dynamics that are more complex than others. (AU)

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(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PATRICIA PORCHAT; MARIA CAROLINE OFSIANY. Quem habita o corpo trans?. Revista de Estudos Feministas, v. 28, n. 1, . (15/22361-0)

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