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08 May 2017

Transgender lexicons: John Money 1: gender and transexual

Transgender lexicons:

Virginia Prince
Rose White
Raven Usher
Chris Bartlett
Jack Molay
Raphael Carter
John Money

John Money coined a lot of words, and took other existing words and made them his own. Man & Woman, Boy & Girl: Differentiation and Dimorphism of Gender Identity from Conception to Maturity, 1972 (co-authored by Anke A. Ehrhardt) and Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference, and Pair Bonding, 1980 both contain extensive glossaries – 16 pages in the former, 17 in the latter, but actually do not contain most of his neologisms. More than that, the glossaries contain both words in general usage and Money’s coinings. Unfortunately, unlike Jack Molay, Money does not indicate his own coinings e.g with an *.

On the other hand Terry Goldie’s The Man Who Invented Gender: Engaging the Ideas of John Money, 2014, had Index entries for most of Money’s neologisms, and chapter 6 is “The Edge of the Alphabet: Neologisms”.

Goldie writes: “Money loved jargon and creating jargon. He seemed to have no idea in sexology for which he did not want to find a Latin or Greek word. “ (p148-9)

Money is, of course, most associated with the term gender, so let us start there.


Man & Woman, Boy & Girl:

gender identity: the sameness, unity, and persistence of one’s individuality as male or female (or ambivalent), in greater or lesser degree, especially as it is experienced in self-awareness and behaviour. Gender identity is the private experience of gender role, and gender role is the public expression of gender identity.

gender role: everything that a person says and does, to indicate to others or to the self the degree in which one is male or female or ambivalent. It includes but is not restricted to sexual arousal and response. Gender role is the public expression of gender identity, and gender identity is the private experience of gender role.

Love and Love Sickness: (8 years later)

gender: one’s personal, social and legal status as male or female or mixed, on the basis of somatic and behavioural criteria more inclusive than the genital criterion alone.

gender indentity/role (G_I/R): gender identity is the private experience of gender role, and gender role is public manifestation of gender identity. Gender identity is the sameness, unity, and persistence of one’s individuality as male, female, or ambivalent, in greater or lesser degree, especially as it is experienced in self-awareness and behaviour. Gender role is everything that a person says and does to indicate to others or to the self the degree that one is either male or female, or ambivalent; it includes but is not restricted to sexual arousal and response.

And 4 years after that:

In 1984, Money presented a paper “The Conceptual Neutering of Gender and the Criminalization of Sex”.* In it he surveys the changes in the use of the word during the 30 years since he had introduced it in 1955. ``As originally defined, gender role consists of both introspective and the extraspective manifestations of the concept. In general usage, the introspective manifestations soon became separately known as gender identity. The acronym, G-I/R, being singular, restores the unity of the concept. Without this unity, gender role has become a socially transmitted acquisition, divorced from the biology of sex and the brain.”

He notes that “people adopted the term and gave it their own definition”. The first change was to separate gender identity and gender role; the second was the separation of sex from gender as “heralded in the title of Stoller’s book, Sex and Gender (1968)”. He continues: “Many textbooks … now introduce the definition of gender by defining sex as a biological entity -- and as what one is born with. Gender is a social entity, which one acquires after birth, and gender role is the social casting or ordainment of gender. This is the strategy by which gender role has been neutered. It has become devoid of any connection with biology and reproduction. It is defined instead as the product of social history, with male and female roles having been more or less arbitrarily assigned on the basis of male superiority and female inferiority.”

Money also includes the rather odd observation:

“The discordancy that exists in the case of transsexualism is so complete that, in technical jargon, gender identity is sometimes used as an attribute of only the discordant cases. One effect of this usage has been that some theoreticians of homosexuality have been entrapped into attributing a male gender identity to all homosexuals, provided they do not repudiate their self-declared status as male. The qualifier is then added that the homosexual, despite a male identity, has a male object choice or sexual preference. This nomenclature is totally illogical in cases of gynemimetic homosexuals, or drag queens, who impersonate women in variable degrees on a full-time basis. It is more straightforward to attribute to homosexuals a gender identity that is homoerotic, and in its nonerotic components may or may not conform to the masculine stereotype.”
(Comment: Money’s concept of “gender indentity/role (G_I/R)” makes sense in terms of the work that he was doing in the mid-1950s with intersex persons with the same DNA/hormonal conditions who stayed with the gender of rearing, whichever it was. However once the concept of ‘gender’ was released to the wider world, other uses were found for the term. This was inevitable, as it would be for any word that is as useful as ‘gender’. Money is particularly insensitive to feminist usages of ‘gender’ as a social construction and as a system of oppression.

With all respect for Money’s role in enabling transgender surgery at Johns Hopkins, “gender indentity/role (G_I/R” ) renders null the dynamic behind transsexuality. As it consists of “both introspective and the extraspective manifestations” of gender such that they reinforce each other, he is talking of cis gender. In a trans person there is a discrepancy between gender (role) and gender identity, and the act of transition is to change one’s gender (role) to align it with one’s gender identity.)

A note on the word ‘transexual”.

‘transexual’ (one S) was coined by David Cauldwell. Harry Benjamin went with the two-S spelling, but Money retained Cauldwell’s one-S spelling. Article.

Riki Anne Wilchins and others proclaimed that they spelt the word with one S to avoid medical implications. I never understood that claim. One-S, two-S -- it was a choice between Cauldwell-Money on one side and Benjamin on the other. Both have medical implications. To avoid such one needs to say ‘transsexuality’ rather than ‘transsexualism’.

* “The Conceptual Neutering of Gender and the Criminalization of Sex” was first given 20 September 1984 as a lecture at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, Cambridge. It was published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14, 1985: 279-290. It was reprinted as the penultimate chapter in John Money. Venuses Penuses: Sexology, Sexosophy and Exigency Theory, 1986.

Continued in part II

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