How Transphobia Gets Written Into Science and Medicine

DSM-V and the Science of Autogynephilia
By Alexis Takahashi

A stylized image of a scientist trapping smaller, multicolored humans in glass jars. The jars are labeled in blue and red with figures gendered as male and female, representing the efforts of science to categorize people with little regard for their lived experiences. One of the trapped humans is struggling to be released, while another has sat down inside their jar out of exhaustion. Still another has managed to tip over their confines and is sneaking away to freedom, hinting at the possibility of escape.  Artwork by Iris Jong:

Transphobia is written into our science and medicine and maintains a gender binary that denies lived experiences. Buried in the DSM-V’s (the universal authority for psychiatric diagnoses in the US) diagnosis of ‘Transvestic Fetishism’ is a little known term called ‘Autogynephilia’, or “Sexually Aroused by Thought or Image of Self as Female”. Learn more about how transphobia is perpetuated in science and medicine through inaccurate and dangerous medical terms and concepts such as autogynephilia.

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