Gird your loins: The transgender psychoanalysts are coming!

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


To “gird your loins” is a common idiom with a comical edge, a metonymic and thus anticipatory expression. It is both a gendered and sexed declaration, meant to warn of upcoming difficulty or strenuous undertaking. In this chapter, I explore the institution of clinical psychoanalysis and its resolute loingirding against transgender people, despite some of its most fundamentally queer and gender nonconforming premises. In so doing, I contribute to a growing body of scholarship that challenges psychoanalysis’ fundamentally destructive quotidian clinical transphobia. In particular, I address the under-considered issue of transgender people’s systemic exclusion from the status of “psychoanalyst.” The institution’s girding against trans subjects has, thus far, been primarily disputed by cisgender psychoanalysts. Their efforts have been instrumental in a setting where it has been otherwise impossible for transgender people to be heard. However, as these disruptions of long-worn norms begin to take hold and rouse change, the most rudimentary move of meaningful professional inclusion has simply not taken place. As Wark (2023) writes her call for reparations: “Dear Psychoanalysts, I’m going to assume nearly all of you are cis, even though you may have trans patients. There are so few trans analysts. And why is that?” This talk provides an overview of the state of the profession, charting the lasting effects of a shared psychoanalytic cis-tuation, highlighting how trans-led interventions are restricted, peripheralized, or split-off as “not really psychoanalytic.” Ultimately, I argue that transgender people’s biggest asset is their still unfaltering irreconcilability with clinical psychoanalysis in its present form.
Original languageCanadian English
Title of host publicationThe Queerness of Psychoanalysis
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Freud and Lacan to Contemporary Times
EditorsV. Sinclair, M. Sauer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • transgender
  • transgender studies
  • psychoanalysis
  • institutional violence
  • institutional activism
  • transphobia
  • queer
  • queer theory
  • ciscentrism
  • philosophy
  • gender studies
  • systemic exclusion
  • psychoanalytic training


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