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Molofsky, M. (2015). Transsexuality and the Art of Transitioning: A Lacanian Approach. By Oren Gozlan. London: Routledge, 2015. 104 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(3):423-426.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(3):423-426

Transsexuality and the Art of Transitioning: A Lacanian Approach. By Oren Gozlan. London: Routledge, 2015. 104 pp.

Review by:
Merle Molofsky, NCPsyA, LP

In this magnificent work, Dr. Gozlan offers a depth of knowledge that is both scholarly and emotionally informed, presenting greatly needed originality of thought in an area relatively new to psychoanalysis. He explores the physical and emotional realities of transsexuality and the process of transitioning from a perspective that integrates psychoanalytic process and aesthetics. The title of the book alone speaks volumes: The art of transitioning involves physical artistry, with the body as canvas, and the use of the body as canvas involves what is essential to all artistry—psyche as canvas, psyche as artist.

Unfortunately, contemporary culture, including psychoanalytic culture, still makes it necessary to identify a tendency to pathologize transsexuality; Gozlan identifies the problem, specifying the “heteronormative privilege embedded in the conflation of gender and sex” (p. 10). He makes it clear that anxiety is evoked in the phantasy that transsexuality challenges nature, and then wisely brushes past these limitations to focus on the complexity of the phenomenon itself. His book is organized into six chapters and a conclusion. The titles of the chapters invite the reader to consider the framework of Gozlan's perspective as a whole, while immersed in the specific aspects on which he concentrates. He examines transsexuality as a state of mind; the aesthetics of transitioning; narrating transsexuality (a chapter that emphasizes a “transition from memoir to literature”); transsexual surgery; gender; and dream. The reader is invited to participate in an intellectual journey that is challenging, but the challenge is worth it.

Gozlan's first challenge is to insist on a mental transition involving transsexuality as identity morphing into aesthetics.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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