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06 April 2012

Tom Reucher (196?–) psychologist, activist.

"Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will continue to glorify the hunter ' African proverb cited by Tom Reucher

Reucher first worked as a computer programmer-analyst. In the late 1980s he joined Joseph Doucé’s Centre de Christ Libérateur which helped him overcome his shame and become an activist.

In 1994 he was a co-founder of the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin, which grew to over 300 members. (This is apparently the first use of the term Syndrome de Benjamin). They asked for the syndrome to be removed from the bailiwick of psychiatry, that the term ‘transsexuality’ not be used as it is stigmatizing. They drafted a bill to harmonize changes of civil status. From 1997 they marched in Paris, the first Saturday in October under the label Existrans. They also marched with Gay Pride.

Tom Reucher did a diploma and then a masters in psychology at the University of Paris 8, applying ethnopsychiatry and queer theory to allow transsexuals to speak for themselves.

In September 2001 the magazine Res Publica published an article on transsexuality by Colette Chiland, and the magazine accepted a reply by Reucher, but the management then changed its mind and the reply did not appear, apparently to oblige Chiland.  Reucher’s article was presented at the HBIGDA symposium in September 2003.
“Speaking out by transsexual or transgender individuals in order to counter the professionals who speak in their place is a novelty in France. This goes hand in hand with reclaiming their identity by the act of self-naming, as well as with the founding of organizations to protect their rights. (When ‘Shrinks' are Frightened by Transsexuals ..) “
In 2002 he was a co-founder of VigiTrans, and of the Groupe Activiste Trans, and the next year set up the website Transidentité. From 2003-2006 he worked with the first trans radio program, Bistouri oui-oui , on Radio Libertaire FM 89.4 Mhz.  In 2004 he left the Association du Syndrome de Benjamin following internal dissent, and has been working with Sans contrefaçon. By 2005 the Existrans march was attracting over a thousand marchers.

Since 2005 he has preferred the term transidentity rather than transsexuality or Benjamin Syndrome. In 2007 he completed training in Reichian analysis. In 2008 he moved to Brest where he works as a psychologist and analyst. He is an active member of OII-France.
“My academic career and my background therapy led me to question the medical practices and to understand what was effective and ineffective for transsexes. I also met with transgender men and women and exchanged with them.There are many commonalities.”(Mon parcours thérapeutique et ma formation universitaire m'ont amené à remettre en cause les pratiques médicales et à comprendre ce qui était efficace et inefficace pour les transsexes (transsexuelLEs). J'ai aussi rencontrer des transgenres et échangé avec elles et eux. Il y a beaucoup de points communs. -- Qui Suis-Je? at Transidentité: le site de Tom Reucher)
“The writings of these experts arise from their fright, poor knowledge of the various processes of  transidentity, and heterocentric theories now set up as "standards" in defiance of human rights. In evoking the idea of psychopathology, these words of experts generate social and political consequences for transgender people, such as rejection by family, friends and neighbours, and society in general. These writings also show an inability to learn from patients." ("Les écrits de ces experts découlent de leur frayeur, d’une méconnaissance des différents processus de transidentité et de théories hétérocentrées qui se sont érigées en « normes » au mépris des droits humains. En évoquant l’idée d’une psychopathologie, ces paroles d’experts génèrent des conséquences sociales et politiques pour les personnes transsexuelles, telles que leur rejet par la famille, l’entourage et par la société en général. Ces écrits montrent également une incapacité à apprendre des patients." - Quand les trans deviennent experts)

The Association du Syndrome de Benjamin  was formed in 1994.  The Harry Benjamin Syndrome founded by Charlotte Goiar happened a decade later and was initially called Síndrome de Benjamin.   I have not been able to find any mention of Goiar acknowledging the prior existence of Association du Syndrome de Benjamin.    While the ASB was radical, queer and inclusive, HSB was mainly conservative, homophobic and separatist.  It is very difficult to imagine the HBS crowd in a thousand-strong march with gays, socialists and greens.

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