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Gillespie, W.H. (1969). Sex and Gender: By Robert J. Stoller. New York: Science House; London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psychoanalysis. 1968. Pp. xvi + 383.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:251-254.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:251-254

Sex and Gender: By Robert J. Stoller. New York: Science House; London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psychoanalysis. 1968. Pp. xvi + 383.

Review by:
W. H. Gillespie

Before attempting any critical assessment of this book by Professor Stoller of Los Angeles it is necessary to be clear about his subject-matter and the nature of his approach. Although the concepts of gender, gender identity, and gender role are becoming increasingly familiar, it may not be superfluous to explain how they differ from the concept of a person's sex (i.e. biologically male or female), since the distinction is essential to the understanding of this book. Gender is psychological rather than biological and connotes masculinity or femininity. Gender identity refers to one's knowledge or belief that one belongs to one sex rather than the other, that one is a 'he' or a 'she'. Gender role refers to overt social behaviour. Whereas sex, gender, gender identity and gender role usually correspond in a given individual, this is not true of the patients with whom Professor Stoller is concerned. These comprise various kinds of intersexed patients, i.e. those with biological abnormalities such as hermaphroditism, transsexualism both in children and in adults, and cases of transvestism and other forms of cross-dressing. The book is the outcome of a 10-year research project involving the study of 85 patients and 63 members of their families; the study varied from 'a one hour psychiatric evaluation to a classical psychoanalysis'. Although Professor Stoller is a psychoanalyst and his perspective is, as he says, psychoanalytic, it should nevertheless be appreciated that the material reported is only to a limited extent based on actual psychoanalytic work with the patients and their family members.

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