Special Issue on Gender—Call for submissions


Many societies have historically recognised more than two traditional gender categories, and many have well-established communal rituals for people to affirm or shift between gender categories. In some societies, gender is self-determined, whereas in others, external designations are imposed and treated as authoritative. Some societies classify people using other characteristics than gender classifications, while others enforce rigid and highly stratified gender rules—even among the latter, concepts of “natural” gender roles contrast widely between societies. The distinct but often conflated social constructs of “gender” and “biological sex” have profound political significance. These constructs are widely associated with pathologising and gatekeeping of gender for people who do not fit a US-centric, Anglocentric, and European colonial gender binary, such as the ideological framework of the American Psychiatric Association’s influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in which people’s understanding that externally imposed gender does not fit for them is treated as something to diagnose rather than validate. This ethnocentric and widely critiqued approach has been (mis)used in psychotherapy and allied “psy” professions to promote state-imposed rules regarding whose genders are pathologised and whose are treated as legitimate. Within this psy industrial complex, some relevant questions have yet to be adequately explored, such as the political, ethical, and social justice implications of treating societally imposed genders as “natural” and “normal”, whilst simultaneously problematising and requiring evidence for people’s organic and internal understanding of their own gender. Which factors contribute to the inversion of what is natural into something suspect? What consequences occur when psy professions seek to create biological and psychological requirements for authenticity or research what “causes” people not to conform to state-assigned categories? How does this approach to gender affect people’s rights to self-determination in other domains of life and which forms of systemic oppression can result? Some recent psychopolitical movements have weaponised these constructs to promote autonomy violations and coercive control dynamics against people whose externally imposed genders contrast with their own understanding of their gender.

This special issue encourages submissions from psychotherapists, allied psy professionals and grassroots and community activists which interrogate the US/Anglo/Eurocentric gender binary and analyses that examine how colonising, ageist, and neuroprivileged discourses of gender are used to problematise some people’s genders. This includes but is not limited to people of trans experience, history, and/or expression, and autistic authors writing about autigender lived experiences, as well as people with traditional genders excluded by US/Anglo/Eurocentric colonialist gender categories. We are particularly interested in articles and creative contributions that address intersecting forms of cisgenderism, ableism, sexism, racism, classism, and other forms of systemic oppression; the role of racism, white supremacy, and colonial US/Anglo/Eurocentrism in the efforts of the psy professions to restrict gender and bodily autonomy; as well as intersectionally informed contributions that interrogate the weaponisation of liberation discourses within psychotherapy and psy professions to restrict gender and bodily autonomy. The deadline for original submissions is 31st May and the issue will be published in August.