Against the Bedrock


gender affirming


This article identifies and offers an alternative to a trope shared across multiple genres of writing on therapy for transgender people: the bedrock. That metaphor, derived in part from Sigmund Freud’s own argument (in “Analysis Terminable and Interminable” [1937]) that a sexual difference rooted in biology is the “bedrock” of all psychic phenomena, is influential in psychoanalytic accounts of transgender being and often implicitly present even in non-psychoanalytic clinical writing. I take as exemplary cases two recent nonpsychoanalytic manuals on trans-affirming therapy, and two recent articles on psychoanalytic therapies with trans patients and theories of trans being. Despite their differences, each of these articles formulates or depends on a theory of a “bedrock” to trans experiences in order to demonstrate that trans patients are not confused about sex and gender. I propose the prepositional “against the bedrock” as a counter-metaphor which might articulate how patients, cis and trans, only confuse sex precisely

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