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Katie Randall's picture

Medical Authority in the Discourses of Disability and Transsexuality

Medical Authority in the Discourses of Disability and Transsexuality


Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation is an impossibly far-ranging book. Its author Eli Clare covers many topics that are entangled within his own life: tensions of class, sexuality, gender, abuse, disability, environmentalism and exile. Here I want to use his discussion of the medicalization of disability as a springboard to approach Rachel Ann Heath’s description of the pathologization of transsexuality in The Praeger Handbook of Transsexuality: Changing Gender to Match Mindset. Medicalization and pathologization are not precisely equivalent terms, but to me both represent a process of delegitimizing their subjects and placing this lost authority into the hands of medical professionals. Both produce negative or limiting effects that are not widely acknowledged. In addition, both are oriented towards “curing” or “normalizing” difference.


Exile and Pride: disability history

rae's picture

Transcending Gender


I have learned about gender in various classes. I learned that gender is constructed--socially, culturally, historically, politically, psychologically. I learned that people’s genders need not limit what they can do. I learned that biology is not destiny; one’s sex also does not control a person’s capabilities. I learned about the feminist movement in the United States. I learned about the many ways that sexism still exists in this country. I learned to see the forms that masculinity and femininity take in society and to notice the ways in which society socializes people to fit into one of two prescribed gender roles.

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