Beyond the Binary: Gender Dysphoria & Gender Identity
From Jeff Layne
Professor Emeritus, CSU, Chico Department of Anthropology
Since retiring from teaching cultural anthropology at CSU, Chico, Dr. Thomas Johnson has surveyed over 3,000 eunuchs – with eunuch defined as a biological male whose testicles have been removed or destroyed. He notes that some of these people have been castrated voluntarily, and they do not fall into the male or female binary dichotomy. Some have what is known as extreme gender dysphoria, which is not the same as male-to-female transgender. This group desires to not be male but does not wish to be female, either. Dr. Johnson also discusses the presence of eunuchs throughout history. Some were castrated to become castrati – opera singers who could reach unusually high notes, with a different tone quality from female-born sopranos. He also notes that, centuries ago, court eunuchs were common in China, Vietnam, Assyria, Turkey, and other countries.
Recorded: February 27, 2014