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05 July 2013

Shoshanna Gillick (1943 - 1999) psychiatrist

Marvin Gillick was trained as a psychiatrist at Georgetown University, and had board certifications in General Psychiatry, Child/Adolescent Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry. He served as a Lieutenant Commander/ psychiatrist/ drug counselor in the US Navy, and was later an associate professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for more than a decade. He and his wife had a daughter.

He worked with anorexic, autistic and emotionally disturbed children. He also counseled trans patients and gave workshops to gay and lesbian care providers.
Gillick was working for Cigna Corp in 1993 as a staff psychiatrist when she started transition as Shoshanna, and was fired on the pretext of violating the dress code.

She moved to San Francisco, partially to be closer to her daughter, and opened a private practice.
"I am a developmental child psychiatrist trained and experienced in evaluating children and adolescents. As both a child and an adolescent with GID, I was seriously leaking gender, and can recall on a daily basis festering and suppurating while attempting to construct a workable core gender identity. Before there was a GID diagnosis I experienced a gender identity disorder which made for one confused and extremely unhappy little boy.
My article strongly differentiated between "gender non-conforming" children and adolescents who displayed variant gender behavior but did not present with the emotional distress and functional impairment of a psychiatric disorder. Unfortunately, most of my psychiatric colleagues are either or both insensitive or ignorant of gender developmental issues, and lump all individuals who display crossgender identification or behavior as sick, weird or psychotic. …
Rather than abolish GID, I suggest a more accurate picture of the diversity of gender presentations. Under the heading of "gender variants" I include non-pathological phenomena such as healthy gender independence, healthy gender-blending, and healthy gender-questioning in youth and adults. Variants means simply different presentations, which are not better or worse than the "normal" masculine or feminine flavors. My concept of "gender deviants" implies a symptomatic, painful, jumping off the track of the gender train. I have introduced a clinical syndrome of anatomical rejection/disgust with the genitalia of birth or "genital dysphoria." A separate condition which I term "gender dysphoria" is a rejection of the gender role and behavior associated with the genitalia at birth. When these two serious clinical syndromes combine that is what I am calling gender identity disorder. I got it, and its no fun."

In 1998, apparently again as Marvin although still considering surgery, she became employed at an outpatient clinic in San Mateo. However in August 1999 Marvin was found hanged in the foyer of the clinic.

Sarah Seton (Rachel Tortolini) dedicated her book to Shoshanna.


  1. Such a loss! A great open mind and a terrible end. RIP.

  2. Wow! I actually came to Google looking for Dr. Marvin Gillick because he did a forensic evaluation many moons ago on an offender I have to interview this week. I was hoping to locate him to get the report. I was not expecting this. Very tragic death.


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