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Zaitlin, R. (1977). Sexual Identity Conflicts in Children and Adults: By Richard Green, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1974. 327 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 46:170-171.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:170-171

Sexual Identity Conflicts in Children and Adults: By Richard Green, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1974. 327 pp.

Review by:
Robert Zaitlin

Given our present appropriate preoccupation with the phenomena of identification and identities, this book, which probes the formation of gender identity through a detailed investigation of adult transsexuals, is particularly timely. The phenomenon of transsexualism is especially fascinating to analysts in its apparent contradiction of analytic ideas about development. In Stoller's studies, for instance, male to female transsexuals seem to be reflecting an identity source more influenced by imprinting than by conflict solution, sublimation, oedipal precipitates, or more mature loving identifications.

While Green's book is not primarily a psychoanalytic study, it nevertheless makes a worthy contribution to the study of the early origins of identity formation: the exploration of sexual identity as an entity is particularly useful, since its phenomena provide a relatively easy means of investigating the processes of internalization.

Starting with a historical and cross-cultural survey, Green delineates the psychological theories and the recent biological studies which throw light on transsexuals. In addition to investigating the men themselves at some length, the study follows boy friends and husbands of male-to-female transsexuals. Similar work was done with women who wish to become men.

Verbatim interviews occupy at least half of the book.

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