On ‘Transexualidades’ by Miquel Missé

Book #2 in my Trans Rights Readathon week

Tucker Lieberman
4 min readMar 22, 2023

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For the #TransRightsReadathon, I want to tell you about Miquel Missé’s 2013 book Transexualidades: Otras miradas posibles, of which I have the 2014 second edition in Spanish.

Travesti, Transexual, Transgénero

Missé, who was born in Barcelona in the mid-1980s, is especially interested in the word transexualidad [transsexuality]. It’s a word that operates along various paradigms (“diversos paradigmas”) and has a history full of conquests, paradoxes, myths and frustrations (“una historia llena de conquistas, paradojas, mitos y frustraciones”).

  • In Spanish contexts (“el contexto español”): Historically, the concept of “transvestido” or “travesti” — literally, crossdresser — came first. This word carries distinct meanings in Latin America. At the beginning of the 20th century, it included effeminate men and masculine women (“a hombres afeminados y a mujeres masculinas”) who occasionally dressed as the opposite sex (“que esporádicamente se visten y actúan con los códigos del género opuesto”).
  • In the 1950s, with the increasing availability of hormones and surgery, the word “transexual” (with a double-“s” in English) marked those who sought to reassign their sex by changing their bodies. In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association included it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a mental disorder, and in 1990, the World Health Organization included it in the International Classification of Diseases. Later, others prominently questioned this pathologization, as in the Yogyakarta Principles (2007), in Thomas Hammarberg’s report on Human Rights and Gender Identity as Human Rights Commissioner for the Council of Europe (COE) (2009), and in a resolution by the European Parliament (2011).
  • In the 1980s in North America, the concept of “transgénero” (transgender) arose to critique the medicalized category of “transsexual” and the man/woman binary (“en oposición a la categoría médica transexual, y a menudo está relacionada con una crítica al sistema binario hombre-mujer”). This term simultaneously observed that some people change their gender assignment without changing their bodies; existing words like crossdresser and transsexual

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/