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Philosophical exploration of transsexuality

Evans, Richard Neil (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis has two aims: First, to demonstrate that there is in the current medical model of transsexuality conceptual incoherence. Second, to establish an alternative model for understanding transsexuality: the model of authenticity. The current medical model is based on an assumption that the sexed body and gender identity are distinct, so that gender is different to sex, which forms the basis of transsexuality. The tension in transsexuality between sex and gender gives rise to suffering. Surgery unifies sex and gender and is offered as the humane response. It is this move from separation to unification of sex and gender that constitutes the conceptual incoherence in the current medical model. Suffering is then explored as a potential justification for surgery. It is argued that it is not obvious that suffering must be alleviated. Indeed, suffering may be valuable, and where this is the case there is no moral imperative to remove it. So, whilst there is a serious moral duty to respond to suffering there is no absolute duty to alleviate it. An alternative model is then explored. A model of authenticity, which can replace the medical model, better enables the freely chosen identity and goals of the transsexual to be respected, without compromising the ends of medicine.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Draper, Heather (Dr) and Lamb, David (Dr)
Department:Centre for biomedical ethics
Subjects:HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
RA Public aspects of medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:335
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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