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Julia Serano and transgender people

Julia Serano is an American writer, performer, activist, and biologist. Serano’s work covers feminism and LGBTQ+ issues and includes performances, presentations, keynote talks, articles, and books.


Julia Michelle Serano was born September 23, 1967. Serano earned an undergraduate degree from Philadelphia University, then earned a doctorate from Columbia University in 1995. Serano underwent a gender transition starting in 1999 while working as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, evolution and developmental biology. Serano’s work has examined insect and crustacean model organisms used for genetic research. Serano has published research on genetic aspects of egg development in Drosophila melanogaster and limb development in Parhyale species.

Serano’s analysis and coverage of what is now called “gender critical” or “trans-exclusionary” feminism began with a 2006 piece titled “Frustration.” That piece pointed out the transmisogyny Serano had witnessed in some queer spaces.

Following the publication of her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, Serano has gone on to publish a wide range of work on the intersections of gender, feminism, biology, and sexuality.

Comments on Dreger (2008)

A Matter of Perspective: A Transsexual Woman-Centric Critique of Alice Dreger’s “Scholarly History” of the Bailey Controversy.

By centering the discussion around the most extreme and unsavory aspects of the backlash, Dreger creates the impression that the entire breadth of the trans community’s response to Bailey’s book was wholly unjustified, unprovoked and irrational. This, in combination with her failure to provide sufficient historical background and context regarding trans people’s marginalization in society and within psychology, and her continual dismissiveness toward trans people’s concerns about the book, practically strong-arms the reader into viewing the entire backlash as a mass hysterical overreaction on the part of trans people.

Comments on “autogynephilia” (2009)

“‘Autogynephilia’ and the psychological sexualization of MtF transgenderism”

“The Case Against Autogynephilia”

Her abstract notes:

Autogynephilia is a paraphilic model that states that all male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals who are not exclusively attracted toward men are instead sexually oriented toward the thought or image of themselves as a woman. The assertion that transsexual women are sexually motivated in their transitions challenges the standard model of transsexualism—that is, that transsexuals have a gender identity that is distinct from their sexual orientation and incongruent with their physical sex. This article provides a review of the evidence against autogynephilia and makes the case that the taxonomy and terminology associated with this theory are both misleading and unnecessarily stigmatizing.

See my 2010 note for more.

Comments on the DSM (2013)

Trans People Still Disordered in DSM

The following year, in May 2010—after the formal period of comments had passed—the DSM quietly broadened the language of the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis even more. One of the many complaints that I, and other trans advocates and activists, had raised was that the diagnosis was sexist because it singled out “heterosexual males.” We had levied these critiques in order to push for removal of the diagnosis altogether. But Blanchard and his Paraphilia subworkgroup seemed to have used our complaints as an excuse to expand the diagnosis even further! By removing the “heterosexual male” language, they made Transvestic Disorder applicable to trans people of all identities and sexual orientations.


Serano JM (2006). Frustration.

Serano JM (2007). Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Seal Press, ISBN 978-1580056229

Serano JM (2008). A Matter of Perspective: A Transsexual Woman-Centric Critique of Dreger’s “Scholarly History” of the Bailey Controversy. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37 (3), 491-494.

Serano JM (2013). Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive. Seal Press, ISBN 978-1580055048

Serano JM (2016). Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. Switch Hitter Press, ISBN 978-0996881005

Serano JM (2010). The Case Against Autogynephilia. International Journal of Transgenderism, 12: 3, 176 — 187. (PDF)

Serano JM (October 24, 2013). Trans People Still Disordered in DSM. Social Text

Serano JM (June 19, 2019). The Science of Gender Is Rarely Simple. New York Times.


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