Psychoanalysis and Trans

A study of two psychosocial scenes

Handbook of Psychosocial Studies

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_13-1

The wave of activism and popular discourse around trans identity and subjectivity has had a profound impact on numerous fields, including psychoanalysis. In this chapter I will bring a psychosocial lens to thinking about how the signifiers “trans” and “psychoanalysis” encounter one another today. There are two different psychosocial “scenes” through which, I propose, we can usefully examine this interaction: first, the unusual (re)appearance of clinical psychoanalysis in British debates surrounding trans healthcare – primarily used to oppose young people’s access to gender affirming healthcare. The second scene we will examine concerns the development of “transpsychoanalytics,” involving clinical and academic work that attempts to move beyond debates over the pathologization of trans identity and forge new, more constructive engagements that bring the insights of trans theory and experience into dialogue with psychoanalysis. The emergence of transpsychoanalytics, I will demonstrate, paves the way for closer and less adversarial engagement between trans and psychoanalysis without erasing the tensions between the psychoanalytic emphasis on the unconscious and the project for trans liberation.

Oct 2023