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Bruce Lincoln suggests that myth is “that small class of stories that possess both credibility and authority” (1992, 24). When studying the history of mythology we find that myths often are understood as something other people have—as if the group in question possesses the truth while others live by falsehoods. In examining contemporary North American society, we can see how Judeo-Christian narratives structure popular and medical discourses regarding sex and gender. The idea that humans are born into male and female, and male and female only, is a deeply held belief—so much so that it appears as fact rather than belief. Anthropologists such as Serena Nanda and Will Roscoe have documented the cross-cultural and historical “gender variants” who exist in societies where three or more genders are the norm. The origin of the belief in two sexes could well be the opening verses of Genesis where the origin of the human species is described in bipolar, dimorphic forms: “… in the image of God He created them; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27 NRSV). In the article I explore the mythology that underlies the clinical management of transgender children.

Keywords: Jacques Lacan; gender variant; psychoanalysis; religion and gender; religion and sex; religious ideology; religious mythology; transgenderism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Assistant Professor of Religion at Muskingum University, 19 Brown Chapel, New Concord, OH 43762;, Email:

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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