Randi Ettner and transgender people

Randi Joy Cahan Ettner (born 1952) is an American clinical and forensic psychologist known for her work with transgender people.


A native of Lincolnwood, Illinois, Ettner completed her undergraduate degree at Indiana University, where she earned the Outstanding Psychology Student Award and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She then earned her M.A. from Roosevelt University. She began working with transgender people in 1977 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Ph.D. in psychology at Northwestern University, writing her 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 her husband, physician Frederic M. “Fred” Ettner. She referred transgender patients to surgeon Eugene Schrang until his 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.

She has helped pass anti-discrimination laws, provided testimony on behalf of trans people seeking workplace rights, and works to secure appropriate treatment for prisoners. She has also been a critic of psychologist J. Michael Bailey and his 2003 book The Man Who Would Be Queen.[5] Bailey has stated his book was initially motivated by what he saw as “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 Ñ, 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. 1–7.
  • White T, Ettner R (2007). Adaptation and adjustment in children of transsexual parents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2007, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 215–221.
  • Ettner R, Monstrey S, Eyler AE (2007). Principles of Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Haworth Press, ISBN 9780789032683


  1. Staff report (August 28, 1977). Randi Joy Cahan is engaged to Dr. Frederic Mark Ettner. New York Times
  2. Lieberman AB (1992). Easing Labor Pain. Harvard Common Press, ISBN 9781558320437 p. 170
  3. Marilynn Marchione (August 14, 1995). Small Neenah hospital a leader in sex changes. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  4. Staff (Oct 22, 2007). Experts testify in case for hormones in prison. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  5. Rodkin, Dennis (2003). Sex and Transsexuals. Chicago Reader
  6. 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.
  7. Deardorff, Julie (March 22, 2001). Gender conflicts are given a clear place of study. Chicago Tribune
  8. Morning Edition (April 3, 2001). Profile: Center opens in Chicago to help promote understanding of transsexual issues. National Public Radio
  9. Bagby, Dyana (February 10, 2006). Fighting, preventing “trans panic.” Washington Blade http://www.washblade.com/2006/2-10/news/national/nat1.cfm


Dr. Randi Ettner (randiettner.com) [archive]

University of Minnesota Program in Human Sexuality (sexualhealth.umn.edu)