Chase's  review of Zucker & Bradley  
by Gene Chase
Christianity and Homosexuality
Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children  and Adolescents 
by Kenneth J. Zucker, Susan J. Bradley
[1995 Guilford Press]

Kenneth Zucker & Susan Bradley are from the Clark Institute. They are specialists in Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which is the last vestige of the characterization of homosexuality as a disorder in the old APA DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual].

Recall that GID is the feeling of conflict in one's gender. It is not being transsexual (ts), since no biology is a part of the diagnosis. It is not being transgendered (tg) alone, since that may not be conflicting. It is not cross-dressing, since that is a behavior not a feeling.

Maggie has been wanting me to read George Rekers newest book on GID, but neither Cornell U. nor Messiah College has the book, and I have been waiting to buy more books until I've read the ones at hand. Rekers is a cC who's take on GID can be read at from the collection of articles that he edited Zucker & Bradley cite 30 of Rekers' articles. Rekers is clearly a respected researcher in the field. But Rekers will have to wait.

As I've said on this list several times, I learn more from reading the writings of those with whom I disagree. (ChrisP has sterotyped this as being the typical RR reactive rather than proactive stance, and in the context of my reacting to his "list" he's right. To some extent I buy the constructivist view of meaning: How do I know what I've said until I hear it bounced back to me to see how it was heard?) So I was actually expecting to find a defense of adult homosexuality in this book. There was none.

The are two relevant sections to B-A. One is entitled "Is GID really a Disorder?" Z & B answer that "yes, because GID children  manifest `distress, disability, and disadvantage'--criteria of  functional impairment that can be objectively observed, even though they are subjectively felt. They agree that the correlation is  very high between adult homosexuality and a history of GID when those adults were children, but they argue that a GID child is not homosexual; they wish to argue that the two are distinct variables.

This leaves open the following question: what does a GID child become when he or she is an adult? Z & B do not answer that question. As scientists, they deal only with the clinical data, and their clinic sees only children. Thus Z & B do not try therapeutic intervention to change future erotic behavior. However, they do try to eliminate peer ostracism, treat any other psychopathologies, and prevent GID in adulthood. They misleadingly call adult GID "transsexualism" which implies a desire for a biological sex change, whereas an adult who is gender dysphoric (unhappy with gender) may prefer a sex change (if ts) or may prefer simply to act in the role of the opposite gender (if tg). Their grid is too coarse to catch that distinction.

Z & B recommend a combination of behavioral, psychodynamic, and group therapies (including family therapy in the latter)-- in other words, an eclectic mix, and conclude (p. 232) "a sizeable number of children and their families achieve a great deal of change." They are optimistic.

Visit the Bridges-Across GID Page

NARTH review of Zucker and Bradley

Gene Chase's review of Gender Shock

Nancy Sharp's Medical Abuse of GLBT Youth


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text © 1998 Gene Chase