John Money, Ph.D., Moderator
The Johns Hopkins University, Schoo] of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland 21205
Before becoming involved in the sex role area, I was a linguist. I would like to share three comments on methodology in regard to the whole question of gender and sex. One of the first things that you learn when you enter the gay world is that we have more vocabulary for gender than the straight world has. There is a psycholinguistic principle that says cultures invent a vocabulary to deal with the phenomena that are important to them. It seems to me that you make the assumption that you know what male and female are, and you will never look at that assumption. In dealing with gay people and getting gayness associated with a medical model and psychological problems, you set back the civil liberties movement 50 years. I see the same thing happening with the question of gender identity by refusal to accept the vocabulary of the community that uses it. It is possible to get away from Latin and to call a spade a spade, a gay a gay, and a transsexual a transsexual. Virginia Prince talks about a person who is merely transgenderal. She sees no reason to change her sex organs just because she happens to like a different gender role. I see total refusal to deal with and experiment with vocabulary, or to even talk about what is male and what is female. Consequently as you do these studies, you only deal with the patient who presents himself to you as sick and who is interested in the medical mode. You do not find out what can be learned by dealing with the transvestite, the cross-dresser who never comes to see you.
This usage was discovered by Dr. Rawson… Many Thanks!