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Randi Ettner and transgender people

Randi Ettner is an American psychologist and author known for affirming work with transgender and gender diverse people.


Randi Joy (Cahan) Ettner¬†was born in 1952 in¬†Lincolnwood, Illinois. Ettner earned a bachelor’s degree from¬†Indiana University, followed by a master’s degree from¬†Roosevelt University.

Ettner began working with transgender people in 1977 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Ettner received a doctorate in psychology at Northwestern University, with a dissertation on childbirth. Ettner had additional training at Moray House School of Education in Scotland.

Ettner is founder of New Health Foundation Worldwide and works with spouse Frederic M. “Fred” Ettner, a physician.

Ettner referred transgender patients to surgeon¬†Eugene Schrang¬†until Schrang’s retirement.¬†Ettner is a member of the¬†American Psychological Association¬†and is a Fellow, Diplomate, and served on the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2005 for the¬†World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Ettner has helped pass anti-discrimination laws, provided testimony on behalf of trans people seeking workplace rights, and works to secure appropriate treatment for prisoners.¬†Ettner has also been a critic of psychologist¬†J. Michael Bailey‘s 2003 book¬†The Man Who Would Be Queen. Bailey claims the book was initially motivated by “gross inaccuracies in Ettner’s account of transsexualism.”¬†Ettner works to improve understanding of trans issues,¬†and has spoken out against attitudes used to justify violence against trans people.

Below is a clip from a 2006 interview I did with Dr. Ettner on coming out.


  • Cahan RJ (1976). A Psychology Internship: Cook County Hospital. Roosevelt University
  • Ettner R (1979). Childbirth at Home: A Preliminary Attempt to Predict Dysfunctional Labor. Northwestern University
  • Ettner R (1996). Confessions of a Gender Defender: A Psychologist’s Reflections on Life Among the Transgendered. Chicago Spectrum Press, ISBN 9781886094512
  • Ettner R (1999). Gender Loving Care: A Guide to Counseling Gender-variant Clients. W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 9780393703047, W W Norton page
  • Ettner R (2002). Book Review: Sex, Gender & Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations. By Tracie O’Keefe. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 31, Number 2 / April, 2002.
  • Ettner R, Harima K, King D, Landen M, Nodin √Ď, VP (2003). Transgender and Transsexuality. In Ember CR, Ember M (eds.). Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World’s Cultures. Springer, ISBN 9780306477706
  • White T, Ettner R (2004). Disclosure, Risks and Protective Factors for Children Whose Parents Are Undergoing a Gender. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 8 (1/2), 129-145.
  • White T, Ettner R (2004). Disclosure, risks, and protective factors for children whose parents are undergoing a gender transition. In Leli U, Drescher J (eds.) Transgender Subjectivities: A Clinician’s Guide. Haworth Press ISBN 9780789025760
  • Ettner R, White T, Brown GR, Shah BJ (2006). Client Aggression Towards Therapists: Is It More or Less Likely with Transgendered Clients? International Journal of Transgenderism, 2006, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1‚Äď7.
  • White T, Ettner R (2007). Adaptation and adjustment in children of transsexual parents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2007, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 215‚Äď221.
  • Ettner R, Monstrey S, Eyler AE (2007). Principles of Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Haworth Press, ISBN 9780789032683


Staff report (August 28, 1977). Randi Joy Cahan is engaged to Dr. Frederic Mark Ettner. New York Times

Lieberman AB (1992). Easing Labor Pain. Harvard Common Press, ISBN 9781558320437 p. 170

Marilynn Marchione (August 14, 1995). Small Neenah hospital a leader in sex changes. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Staff (Oct 22, 2007). Experts testify in case for hormones in prison. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rodkin, Dennis (2003). Sex and Transsexuals. Chicago Reader

Dreger AD (2008). The controversy surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen: a case history of the politics of science, identity, and sex in the Internet age. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2008 Jun;37(3):366-421.

Deardorff, Julie (March 22, 2001). Gender conflicts are given a clear place of study. Chicago Tribune

Morning Edition (April 3, 2001). Profile: Center opens in Chicago to help promote understanding of transsexual issues. National Public Radio

Bagby, Dyana (February 10, 2006).¬†Fighting, preventing “trans panic.”¬†Washington Blade


Dr. Randi Ettner ( [archive]

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University of Minnesota Program in Human Sexuality (