Y. Gavriel Ansara & Peter Hegarty: “Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008”

Intersex activist, psychologist and academic Y. Gavriel Ansara has co-written a ground-breaking work on cisgenderism and its adverse effects on nonconforming children.
Psychology & Sexuality: Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008, by Y. Gavriel Ansara & Peter Hegarty - click to read the abstract.

The abstract contains a useful definition of “cisgenderism”:

We assessed whether recent psychological literature on children reflects or contrasts with the zeitgeist of American Psychological Association’s recent non-discrimination statement on ‘transgender’ and ‘gender variant’ individuals. Article records (N = 94) on childhood ‘gender identity’ and ‘expression’ published between 1999 and 2008 inclusive were evaluated for two kinds of cisgenderism, the ideology that invalidates or pathologises self-designated genders that contrast with external designations. Misgendering language contradicts children’s own gender assignations and was less frequent than pathologising language which constructs children’s own gender assignations and expression as disordered. Articles on children’s gender identity/expression are increasingly impactful within psychology. Cisgenderism is neither increasing nor decreasing overall. Mental health professionals are more cisgenderist than other authors. Articles by members of an ‘invisible college’ structured around the most prolific author in this area are more cisgenderist and impactful than other articles. We suggest how authors and editors can implement American Psychological Association policy and change scientific discourse about children’s genders.

One Comment


This is no surprise to me. The Australian National University has refused to modify its online psychology reserach experience surveys to include Intersex (for the most part) as a gender choice. They brought in their lawyers when I made a complaint to the ACT Human Rights Commission about it. On the other hand, the law faculty has been keen to bring about changes to laws to end discrimination against gender diverse people.

It seems a case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

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