Sedgwick Diablog Discussion Handout

DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual):
1973: dropped homosexuality from its list of mental disorders
1980: added 'gender identity disorder of childhood' as diagnosis
girls: believes "that she has, or will grow, a penis"
boys: "preoccupation wish female stereotypical activities as manifested by a preference for either cross-dressing or simulating female attire, or by a compelling desire to participate in the games and pastimes of girls."

Revisionist Psychoanalysis: a new approach to treating homosexuality in a therapeutic setting
Richard Friedman's 1988 Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytical Perspective
seeks to perpetuate gender binarism
promotes the seemingly ambivalent wish of therapists for a 'nongay outcome'
"...the healthy homosexual is one who (a) is already grown up and (b) acts masculine" (141)

What these institutions "demonstrate is the wish for the dignified treatment of already gay people is destined to turn into either trivializing apologetics or, much worse, a silkily camouflaged complicity in oppression--in the absence of a strong, explicit, erotically invested affirmation of some people's felt desire or need that there be gay people in the immediate world" (148)

Gender-nonconforming Children (especially effeminate boys):
"...seen as a pathology involving the core gender identity..." (142)
The role of the mother:
Richard Green's 1987 The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality and Friedman: "mothers 'proud of their sons' nonviolent qualities' are manifesting unmistakable 'family pathology'" (144)
"...these mysterious skills of survival, filiation, and resistance could derive from a secure identification with the resource richness of a mother" (144)

Green "refers approvingly... to 'therapy, be it formal (delivered by a paid professionals) or informal (delivered by the peer group and the larger society via teasing and sex-role standards)'" (146)

Gender-nonconformity and sexual difference:
"...the depathologization of atypical sexual object choice can be yoked to the new pathologization of an atypical gender identification" (142)
"One serious problem with this way of distinguishing between gender and sexuality is that, while denaturalizing sexual object choice, it radically renaturalizes gender" (142-143).
"The reason effeminate boys turn out gay, according to [Friedman], is that other men don't validate them as masculine" (143)
"For Friedman, the increasingly flexibility in what... can be processed as masculine... fully account[s] for the fact that so many 'gender disturbed' (effeminate) little boys manage to grow up into 'healthy' (masculine) men, albeit after the phase where sexuality has differentiated as gay" (143)
For Friedman, "it seems merely an unfortunate... misunderstanding that for a proto-gay child to identify 'masculinely' might involve his identification with his own erasure" (144)

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