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29 August 2010

Georges Zavitzianos (1909 – 1995) psychoanalyst

Zavitzianos was born in Corfu. Greece. He studied medicine at Monpellier, France, where he was psycho-analyzed by Eduard Pichon. He returned to Greece in 1934 where he worked as a neuropsychiatrist with a psychoanalytic orientation. In the late 1940s he was a co-founder of the first Greek psychoanalytic group. In 1950 he was elected to the Societé psychanalytique de Paris.

In 1952 he emigrated to Canada, where he was active in the Psychoanalytic Club at McGill University in Montréal. He married the singer Sylvia Filyndras and they settled in Bethesda, Maryland.

His writings are concerned with female 'perversions' and he coined the expression 'homeovestism' for erotic arousal by wearing the clothes of the gender that one is, either obsessively or with exaggeration, such as men who always wear a suit and tie, or women who never go out except in a skirt and makeup. His writings on the subject mirror writings by psychoanalysts of his generation about transvestism, and as such he sees it as a 'perversion' and a 'fetish'.
  • George Zavitzianos. "Fetishism and Exhibitionism in the Female and Their Relationship to Psychopathy and Kleptomania". International Journal of Psychoanalysis 52 (3): 297–305, 1971. PMID .
  • George Zavitzianos. "Homeovestism: Perverse Form of Behaviour Involving the Wearing of Clothes of the Same Sex". International Journal of Psychoanalysis 53 (4): 471–477,1972. PMID.
  • George Zavitzianos. "The Object in Fetishism, Homeovestism, and Transvestism". International Journal of Psychoanalysis (PEP) 58 (4): 487–95, 1977. PMID.
  • George Zavitzianos. "The perversion of fetishism in women". Psychoanalytic Quarterly. 51, 405-425. 1982.
  • Athanase Tzavaras. Georges A. Zavitzianos: Corfu, 1909-Maryland/E.U, 1995. Cahiers de psychiatrie, 53,10-13, 1996.
  • “Georges Zavitzianos”.

Before the 1960s it was difficult to distinguish homovestity from the socially required norms. The term ‘homeovestism’ was re-introduced by Louise Kaplan in the early 1990s. As the obverse of ‘transvestism’ as pathologized by psychoanalysts, Zavitzianos and Kaplan saw homeovestism as a perversion and a fetish. However, as there has not been much public usage of the words, the pathologizing connotations have not passed over, and we are able to use them without the psychoanalytic baggage.

‘Homovestity’ means ‘as’ one’s own gender – dress styles already in existence. ‘Homeovestity’ means ‘like’ one’s own gender – e.g. the gay leather outfits that did not pre-exist their fetishization.

Obviously homeovestity is similar to autogynephilia in women and autoandrophilia in men.  However the sets of jargon exist as two solitudes and do not talk to each other.


  1. Stonewall Janet30/8/10 12:13

    Just another case of a shrink classifying behavior under the pervasive (for that discipline) "mental illness model". It's not just "jargon" when it is used to hurt people.

  2. Great Work! Thanks for being out Gender Politics Historian. The term homeovestite is useful for understanding Queer Femme and Queer Faery Politics in San Francisco. I used it here:


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