Episode 33 – Archetypal Dynamics of Gender Transition

Nov 15, 2018

Lisa, Joseph, and Deb circumambulate the difficult issue of gender reassignment. They discuss the significance of teen girls wishing to transition and the current tendency to foreclose the meaning of this and move rapidly into medical procedures, a process of concretization instead of curiosity and exploration. Lisa discusses previous examples of symptoms and their diagnoses in history, leading to an understanding of the influence of cultural factors on mental illnesses and diagnosis. Finally, gender reassignment is considered as a Promethean venture, and although it is now possible to challenge the gods of genetics, it is also truly awe-full. We suggest that gender transitioning, like much else, can be psychologically transformative only if there is a conscious relationship to it.

Lisa’s writings on the topic include three articles in Quillette:

This article in the Jungian journal Psychological Perspectives:

And a chapter in this book, which also includes a chapter from UK Jungian analyst Bob Withers:

Here’s the dream we discuss:

“I am lying in bed with a man I do not know and we are both naked. We are covered by a thin blanket. The man’s right-hand man comes in the room to discuss something with him. The man in bed with me gets up and does not clothe himself but nonchalantly takes off his penis and hands it to me. It is not bloody or gory and he seems to know that he can put it back on; I am just holding it for him. I’m not sure what to do so I take it under the blanket and lay it on my lower abdomen. The man tells his partner, as he points at me, that he should take a picture for his Dad because they see the outline of the penis under the blanket.”

8 Comments

  1. Lara

    Thank you for your podcast. It strikes the nerve because my 21 year old brother wants to transition and is poisoning himself with hormones. I am surprised that while wondering why transgender has become a trend in society, none of you mentioned the real reason – money. Money made by unethical therapists, surgeons, counselors, medical loan companies (most kids have to take out a loan to go through reassignment surgeries) etc. Also, as far as expectations before surgery not matching the reality after surgery – had patients been educated about the actual results (real photos of reassigned genitalia), 99% of them would not go through it. I can see how this type of education is not in the interest of the money making machine. Either way, thank you for a great podcast!

    Reply
  2. Tyson

    Gender transition is a physical band-aid on a psychological problem. The idea that we can take a psychologically sick person, give them pills or surgery and make them sane is a result of over-materialism and an overemphasis on the physical while ignoring the psychological. While cross-dressing is a sexual fetish that can be used as a form of play, gender transitions do not change a person’s mind because ultimately, fulfillment and happiness cannot last if it comes from physical possessions or physical qualities, happiness must be found from within.

    Reply
    • Joseph23455

      Gender Transition is such a profound and serious process – all sides must be considered and weighed. Understanding that sometimes the fantasy of becoming another gender is a sign of a spiritual process, which can and must be honored on a spiritual level, is indeed one important consideration.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment Tyson.
      Joseph

      Reply
  3. Patricia Irick

    This was an interesting topic. As a woman who was always a tomboy and now is 64 years old, I cannot express how joyful it was for me to attain an androgynous status in the community. If I could have avoided all the trappings of womanhood, I would have done it. Motherhood, being a potential sex-object, projections of my intentions, the glass ceiling, birth control, the cattiness of many women,the anger of men when the feminine doesn’t know her place… I miss none of it. I love now that people can talk to me as just another person. I hope the teenage girls bloom.

    Reply
    • Joseph23455

      What a wonderful story of individuation Patricia!
      Joseph

      Reply
  4. Michal Ginter

    In many traditions, there are gods who either possess both genders permanently or sometimes manifest as male and sometimes as female.

    Also, to offer a counter-point to the view that transitioning is akin to usurping god-like powers: in many species of fish, females will turn into sperm-producing males when circumstances require it. 🙂 Radiolab’s short series called “Gonads” explores this and other interesting aspects of the long journey from gonads to sex to gender.

    Reply
  5. Flemming O. Behrend

    I graduated from The Assisi Institute as an Archetypal Pattern Analyst in 2016. I have had to deal with my own gender fluidity all my life and have researched and lectured on this subject many times. I found your podcast to be fabulous and very insightful. I wish more young people seeking transition could listen to your discussion. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Joseph23455

      Hi Flemming,
      Thank you for your work in the world. It is so important to bring every dimension of gender and sex to awareness in the culture. Your affirmation of our work is very kind and appreciated.
      ~Joseph

      Reply

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