“I have seen and examined more than 300 transvestites and transsexuals during the past 14 years, and am at present engaged in active research on this problem with a number of collaborators, under a grant from the Erickson Educational Foundation. I have just published the first medical book on the subject, The Transsexual Phenomenon (Julian Press, New York 1966).
Dr. Hastings has given a clear and comprehensive summary, especially as to the management of transsexualism (197:599, 1966). Dr. Barker is right in differentiating transvestism from transsexualism (198:488, 1966), but he did not emphasize the fact that transvestism can be merely a symptom of transsexualism, which is a psychopathological condition, based on a disturbance of gender role orientation. According to recent animal experiments by Seymour Levine and Roger Gorski, transsexualism may indeed have a neuro-endocrine, prenatal origin, with transvestism as its most frequent symptom in later life”
This article re-emphasizes two findings that Benjamin espoused and which showed up in the “Transsexual Phenomenon”. Namely that:
1) Transvestism and transsexualism are likely related to one another.
2) What we now term gender dysphoria is likely a prenatally determined condition.
We shouldn't be despondent that Benjamin, like other researchers today, saw this condition as psychopathological because in fact it is. Its just that people suffering from it don't perceive it that way any more than the schizophrenic off his meds often doesn't realize he suffers from a condition. The myth one uses here is that "I am a woman therefore I must transition" which is literally untrue but which helps us rationalize something as dramatic as a physical transformation.
However, if the remedy works for some people and they are happy then what difference does it make? the problem only comes for those who opt for this course of treatment and then regret what they have done. But this is why there are so many safety gates before it is approved.
I will try to post excerpts from this paper in the near future.