Colette Chiland (1928–2016) was a French psychiatrist.

She was the French equivalent of Ray Blanchard, an anti-trans gatekeeper with rigid conceptions about gender diversity that get imposed on clients.

In March 2005 longtime Chiland critics ACT UP Paris disrupted a conference Chiland was attending.

Today, about twelve activists of Act-Up Paris and of the Groupe Activiste Trans’ (GAT) interrupted a conference organized in Sainte Anne and reserved for psychiatrists, registrars in psychiatry, psychologists, students in psychology and other care providers in mental health. They were entending to protest against psychiatrization and hatred exerted on trans’gender (transsexuals and transgenders) people by organizers of this conference. We wanted to confront our expertise to the one they impose us but the organizers prefered to call upon participants to leave the room from our entrance. Answering to our invectives on the fact we were not invited, Thierry Gallarda, one of the co-organizers, asked us in an exaspered tone: “Are you Psychoanalyst/Psychiatrist?”

This colloque was excluding volontarily the most legitimate experts of trans’ issue: trans’ themselves. Psychiatrist speak in trans’ stead, psychiatry stigmatises trans’ as the presentations of general aims of this “clinical seminar” demonstrate it. We announce that will be entered “gender identity disorders alternatively linked to the field of psychosis” or also “the temactic of taking action and perversion”. If you ask to shrinks, trans’ don’t exist out of their presumed mental health systemic disorder.

This seminar was co-organized by Colette Chiland, spécialist of hatred toward trans’. In her books (Changer de sexe, her “que sais-je” about transsexualism), she shows her worse commonplaces about gays and trans’? “an attack to foundations of our civilisation” according to her. “One can’t use the opposition transsexual man/transsexual woman because one doesn’t know who want to say what”. She writes about one of her patients “he focussed attention by presenting him self as a foil”. And is this that model the university offers to its students.

For Colette Chiland “the idea of sex change is a mad idea”. This seminar is the application of this appalling prejudice. To shrinks, we can exist only as mad, perverted, depressed. We keep on showing what we are: angry with views full of hatred.

We require:

from Collette Chiland, to be silent; 
the trans’ issue is removed from psychiatric field; 
the trans’ take part to seminars approaching this topic, and to work groups for 
improvement of access to care and their management. 

Translated into english by Marlène Riwkeh Mèges 
and Karine Solène Espineira of the 
Groupe Activist Trans’ (Paris, France). 

Note of reading of “Que Sais-je” by Colette Chiland. 

Published on 3rd October 2003 in Action 90 

Colette Chiland has watered down her wine but her discourse is always as naff [sic] and full of hatred. 

Since her full of hatred “Changer de sexe”, and undoubtedly faced by the reactions her book has given rise in the gay community, Colette chiland has watered down a little her wine (of mass). This opuscule published in the ultra-classic range of books “que sais-je”, does not reproduce the reactionary horrors against homosexual marriage and the rights given to transsexuals (“an attack on foundations of the civilisation”) of her previous works. Caution … 

But the machine to produce discrimination and exclusion that is Colette Chiland is still working, just better oiled. Some compassionate schmatz to sugar the discrimination pill : “Some advocate acceptancy of child’s behaviour (…) others think on the other hand the child is tormented, and not only in accordance with background’s intolerance; on the other hand transsexualism is a so distressing condition that it would better to avoid appearance.” 

Colette Chiland challenges the trans’ basic request to be called by their adopted gender : a person living as a woman is a transsexual woman, for someone living as a man, we must say a transsexual man… Colette Chiland’s quotation “to talk about transsexuals, physicians said transsexual men for males, transsexual women for females. But transsexals protest and make the opposite choice: the males because they are women in their eyes say they are transsexual women; the females say they are transsexual men. We cannot use the opposition transsexual men – transsexual women anymore because don’t know who want to say what anymore”.” 

Sadistic enjoyment 

Recurring in her book, hypocrital usage of “one”, here hides the fact that for her ladyship Chiland and other specialists of trans’ it is a sadistic pleasure to address trans’ according to their biologic gender and not to their social gender. Furthermore, Colette Chiland lies by writing “the physicians said” : she knows very well Robert Stoller1, from the years 50 advocated physicians adress trans’ and talk about them in their new gender. 

So Colette Chiland minimizes the number of homosexual trans’ (who love same social gender partners). “they are very fiew, most often they are transvestites”. From does she have her statistics ? As for her outline of homosexuality, they are worthy of the homophobic priest and shrink Tony Anatrella : “It is not a denial of his assigned sex which leads subjects to be homosexual. On the other hand, we could say that it is a refusal to face up completely the sexual difference, with all its effects”. And just to revive the old “its against nature”, she writes, regardless of contemporary zoology, “But it does not exist in the animal an homosexuality to be compared to that of human, as a choice of exclusive object”.

The unhappy familiar to Colette Chiland’s papers will find her old hobby horses on trans’ who identify themselves to the most outdated stereotypes of feminity or masculinity. Everywhere in the world, trans’ organisations fight for the right to work, if you ask her, typic trans’ want to be a cabaret artist or homewife ! In so little pages, we have quite a lot of padding (her outline of feminism is to be in stitches) and enormous blunders (the institution of “hijras” of India would date back to one millenium while they are attested in a book foudner of hindouism the Bagavagita). More serious is her taste for discriminatory vocabulary, for example to describe one of her practices : “I understood I let myself trap by his off putting, fearsome appearance, not because he would be a caricature of woman, an untalented [t****y] : he was nothing, neither man, nor woman : he was focussing attention by presenting himself as a foil to relationship.” Obviously her Ladyship Chiland’s patients are like her readers, they are to be pitied ! 

As a conclusion, an unanswerable affirmation of medical institution’s Brigitte Bardot : “I go to think noneless the idea of sex change is a mad idea.” The mad idea for the range of books “Que sais-je” is to have given to write up a work about transsexualism to a so naff and full of hatred woman. 

Translated into english by Marlène Riwkeh Mèges and Karine Espineira of Groupe Activiste Trans’ – GAT (Paris, France).

Chiland citations:

Chiland C. [Childhood and transsexualism] Psychiatr Enfant. 1988;31(2):313-73. [Article in French]

Psychologie clinique, Universite Rene-Descartes.

The introduction covers the ground that led the author to take an interest in transsexualism. The word “transsexualism” came into being at a specific time: 1953 (Benjamin). The concept, the facts, covered by this word, have existed in several known forms, as well as in “anonymous” ones. But the possibility of changing sex by hormonal or surgical means has given a new twist to the problem, with the role of the doctor and the media that go along with it. The definition is studied carefully and gives a description of transsexuals in its present forms working with biological males and biological females. The author suggests substituting “sexuel” and “sexue” in French for the distinction made in English between “sex” and “gender”. The follow up should give a crucial value in order to justify turning a healthy subject into one who lives between the two genders. Unfortunately, such studies are neither numerous nor completely satisfactory because of insurmountable hurdles: a limited number of subjects who have been followed up, the impossibility of making up a test group, etc. Over the past few years, a reaction has sprung up, giving psychotherapy a more important role in treating patients, taking advantage of the treatment borderline cases have been given and what it has taught us. In all fairness, no one can speak of transsexual or transvestite children as has been done in the past, but only of feminine or effeminate boys and tomboy girls. When samples of such children have been followed longitudinally, one realizes that an extremely small number of them becomes transsexual, becoming for the most part homo- or bi-sexual, though some become heterosexual. Treating these children and their parents seems very important to everyone, given how hard it is to treat adult transsexuals. Only a few kinds of treatment have been published, and more especially, there is no data on the long-term future of those children having received treatment. We are trying to bring together data on the childhood of adult patients. Often, they have little to say about their own childhood. Interviews with parents give still another point of view. Most of the cases seen in consultation resulting from problems with gender-identity are mixed and secondary, rarely in a pure, clear-cut state.

PMID: 3051066

Chiland C. Transvestism and transsexualism. Int J Psychoanal. 1998 Feb;79 ( Pt 1):156-9.

Clinique a l’Universite Rene Descartes, Paris.PMID: 9587819

Chiland C. The psychoanalyst and the transsexual patient. Int J Psychoanal. 2000 Feb;81 ( Pt 1):21-35.

The author remarks on the dearth of psychoanalytic literature concerning analyses of transsexuals and of clinical experience with such patients in general. Drawing on her personal work with transsexual patients at a specialised centre, as well as with children suffering from gender identity disorders and their parents, she is able to specify the factors which, in her view, make the psychoanalysis and psychotherapy of these subjects so difficult. In particular, they are totally focused on the body and on their intention of securing sex reassignment by hormonal and surgical treatments, so that they rule out the involvement of any psychic element. The psychic functioning of these patients is illustrated by some clinical vignettes, and the transference and countertransference problems are discussed. The author shows how the patients concerned have great difficulty in accepting a psychological approach to their problems; they do not speak the language of wishes and conflict, and claim to remember nothing of their childhood or past life. She concludes that transsexualism is a narcissistic disorder in which the constitution of the self has been profoundly impaired and that it is only since analysis have embarked on the treatment of non-neurotic patients that the condition has become accessible to psychoanalytic psychotherapy or indeed to psychoanalysis. The difficulties notwithstanding, the author considers that such work is worthwhile and that patients can benefit from it.

PMID: 10816842

Spritz M. Responses to Collette Chiland’s ‘the psychoanalyst and the transsexual patient’. Comment on: Int J Psychoanal. 2000 Feb;81 ( Pt 1):21-35. Int J Psychoanal. 2001 Apr;82(Pt 2):390-91; author reply 391-2.

Chiland C. Transsexualism : Illusion and Reality 
Paperback: 208 pages 
Publisher: SAGE Publications (August 18, 2003) 
ISBN: 0826467725

Exploring Transsexualism 
by Colette Chiland, David Alcorn (Translator)

Paperback: 90 pages 
Publisher: Karnac Books (April 30, 2005) 
ISBN: 1855753324

Amazon review

In the case of sexuality and gender, can whatever is in the mind be changed, perhaps with help of psychotherapy or otherwise, rather than opt for external surgery? Is psychotherapeutic treatment powerless in the case of transsexuals? This intriguing volume is a work by a French psychoanalyst with extensive experience of working with transsexuals. It is a useful addition to the debate on transsexuals and the definitions of sex and gender. The word “transsexualism” was coined in 1953, although transsexuals and intersexed people had existed long before that, and surgery to reassign one’s sex is a relatively recent phenomenon. Transsexuals feel that the opposite sex to their biological one is their true identity – their true body and self. The idea of “hormonal and surgical sex reassignment” appeals to them; it would biologically put right what they already know to be right and true in their minds. The author discusses the problems of “reassigning” one’s sex and argues that surgery cannot fix the situation. Transsexualism as a result of interaction with environment in infancy is seen as a more shameful option compared to something biological happening to the body while in utero. If this condition is seen as something merely biological, it does not mark the person in question as psychologically ill or unbalanced. This introductory text helps in looking at this difficult, even taboo, issue from various angles. It acknowledges the complexity of the subject and warns the readers against judgements being made without knowing the full story behind the person.

As expected, Willow Arune is representing the viewpoint of what Amy Bloom calls “conservative men in conservative dresses.” Arune gave this glowing review on 8 February 2005:

A truly fantastic book!!! From the viewpoint of transsexual activists, perhaps the most politically incorrect book on the subject, but from any other view the most insightful and “tell-it-like-it-is” view of transexuality available today, perhaps ever. It does not pander to the subject, but treats it in the cold light of reality. As a transexual woman who can deal with reality, I am overjoyed that a book finally exists that dispells the mythology concerning the subject. Chiland easily deals with the most prevalent of TS statements (“I am a woman”) and treats them with respect, but also with the logic that most ignore. She points to the finacial aspect of SRS as a motivation for some doctors and the need to face the question of SRS directly. Her book is unique, for it does not avoid the basic questions posed by transsexuality but rather addresses each in turn, with a logic that will force all but the zealots to think. Caregivers need to read this; transsexual patients need to read this. This book says what it real, not what is myth. Transsexuals who believe in the mythology will be irrate for it does not offer blind support(although it certainly offers compassion) and questions some of their most basic and firmly held beliefs, It questions what has become a standard medical answer in North America and elsewhere. The transsexual “lobby” has become active in the past years, attacking without mercy those who differ with their mythology. J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University has been a favoured target. As this book becomes known, it shall be attacked by those who wish us all to follow the demanded cant of “I am woman”,”I am man”. Some may regard it as an attack akin to Janice Raymonds “Transexual Empire” of long ago. It is far from that. While Chiland questions the very foundation of transsexulity and Moneys seperation of “sex” and “gender”, there is none of the questionable scholarship and feminist rhetoric to be found in these pages. This book is firmly based in experience and logic. I suspect that many American readers will react much as they did when France opposed the War in Iraq, with emotional zeal and blind adherance to their view. That is a shame, for Chiland deserves and very careful consideration by all who are or deal with transexual patients. She raises questions that demand answers not blind following of a possibly misguided solution. The truth hurts. For some, this book will hurt greatly. For those who pause and reflect rationally, it will raise issues long put to the back of the mind, uncomfortable issues that many elect to ignore. Issues that have been ignored for far too long… A major step in our understanding of this difficult subject.

When “shrinks” are frightened by transsexuals

Text showed on poster (among others) at the 18th symposium of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, 10-13 september 2003.

Tom Reucher, psychologist,
Centre Georges Devereux, Paris 8 University,
Association du Syndrome de Benjamin.
Translation french => english: Marlène Riwkeh MEGES.