Past Event

"Trans Realism:
Psychoanalysis and the Trans Experience"

Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D. and Grace Lavery, Ph.D.

 “The RealReal in Psychoanalysis and in the Trans Experience”

Patricia Gherovici


“Imagine denying your core and soul.” (p. 3) “If I become a woman I will be my real self.” (p.182) “I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role.” (p. 197) The preceding quotes from Caitlyn Jenner’s The Secrets Of My Life (2017), a memoir “written during the pivotal first years of becoming her authentic self” (book front flap), exhibit a typical reference to truth and authenticity. We can thus ask what is “true” and what is “authentic” in the realm of gender transition. In this domain, can we follow Martin Heidegger who criticizes the concept of “truth” defined as an adequation between thought and reality in order to promote a concept of authenticity as unconcealment? It looks like this has been the itinerary of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990), a first book appealing to a notion of authenticity and taking gender as performance, as an imitation for which there is no original. The trans response to these conflicting positions would consist in pursuing an undeniable truth, which is all the more powerful because it contradicts the appearance of the body. I will explore the concept of “realness” as pointing to the convergence of these problematic ideas and in contradistinction to Lacan's concept of the Real that has to be demarcated from Reality. To do so, I will reread Janet Mock’s groundbreaking memoir Redefining Realness in order to compare its conclusions with other “truths” that are revealed in our clinical experience.


“Trans Realism, Psychoanalytic Practice, and the Rhetoric of Technique”

Grace Lavery

In “Trans Realism, Psychoanalytic Practice, and the Rhetoric of Technique” Grace Lavery argues that, in Eliot’s early, definitive statement of realism in the seventeenth chapter of Adam Bede, realism will only have been accomplished when readers have learned not merely to respect, but to desire, the dysphorically sexed bodies of others. In this sense, Lavery argues, realism shares a central tenet with two of the more controversial and, frankly, neglected dimensions of Freudian thinking – which Freud himself took to be indispensable components in the treatment of neurotics – castration complex and penis envy. Though post-Freudian analysts have frequently found these dimensions of libidinal embodiment distasteful, to trans people they are central and in certain respects definitive aspects of social participation. Hence, while trans studies tends to eschew psychoanalysis altogether, and the only psychoanalysts to write about trans people tend to be Lacanians for whom “technique” is a mystification, re-appraising the “realist” dimension of psychoanalytic practice can reveals the trans logic at the core of both Freud’s project and Eliot’s.


Papers to be followed by a discussion.

(link forthcoming)

Saturday, October 10, 2020

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

PatriciaPatricia Gherovici, Ph.D.

Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor. She is the co-founder and director of the Philadelphia Lacan Group, Associate Faculty, Psychoanalytic Studies Minor, University of Pennsylvania, and Honorary Member at IPTAR in New York City.  Her books include The Puerto Rican Syndrome (Other Press: 2003), winner of the Gradiva Award and the Boyer Prize; Please Select Your Gender: From the Invention of Hysteria to the Democratizing of Transgenderism (Routledge: 2010); Lacan On Madness: Madness, Yes You Can’t (with Manya Steinkoler Routledge: 2015); Lacan, Psychoanalysis and Comedy (with Manya Steinokler, Cambridge University Press: 2016); and Transgender Psychoanalysis: A Lacanian Perspective on Sexual Difference (Routledge: 2017.)

GraceGrace Lavery, Ph.D.

Grace Lavery is Associate Professor in the Department of English at UC Berkeley, where she is affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Program in Critical Theory. Her research focuses on the history and theory of aesthetics, and on trans feminist accounts of the self. Her first book, Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan was published by Princeton University Press in 2019, and her essays have appeared or will appear in Critical Inquiry; Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies; Modernism/modernity; ELH; Transgender Studies Quarterly; PMLA; Novel: A Forum on Fiction; and elsewhere. Additionally, she writes on trans cultures and politics for non-specialist readerships, which work has appeared or will appear in Autostraddle, Vice, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian,, and in her own regularly published newsletter, The Stage Mirror. She is currently writing one book about sitcoms, another about parallel universes, and a third about the rhetoric of technique.

Future Events

Coming soon

Past Events

Saturday, February 3, 2024

"Questioning the Superego"
Penelope Garvey

Saturday, December 2, 2023

"Rossellini Beyond Repair"
Ramsey McGlazer, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

"Anorexia: Between Desire for Recognition and the Death Drive"
Domenico Cosenza, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

"Psychoanalysis and Opera: Rejoining the Verbal and Non-Verbal"
Steve Goldberg, Dr.,
Lee Rather, Ph.D.,

Saturday, January 21, 2023

""What Should I Call You? Pronouns and the Scene of Address""
Judith Butler, Ph.D.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

"Link Theory and Practice: The Irreducible Effects of Presence"
Israel Katz, M.D.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

"The Structure and Function of Part Objects"
Richard Rusbridger

Saturday, April 30, 2022

"Psychoanalysis: the Contemporary Scene from an Editor's View"
Murray Schwartz

Saturday, February 5, 2022

"Working Backwards: "Backwards Causation"and the Temporality of the Unconscious in Pre-Freudian Dream Theory"
Jake Fraser, Ph.D.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

"The Significance of the Anus in Psychoanalytic Theory"
Benjamin Y. Fong, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

"Love, Hate and Knowledge: the Analyst’s Aesthetic Conflict"
Meg Harris Williams

Saturday, April 24, 2021

"The Analyst's Desire: The Ethical Foundation of Clinical Practice"
Mitchell Wilson, M.D.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

"Freud’s Nietzsche: Eternal Return, Symptomatic Acts and the Gay Apophrades"
Dany Nobus

Saturday, December 12, 2020

"What's uncanny in the Unheimliche?"
Sergio Benvenuto, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

"Roads to the Unconscious: Some Parallels and Divergences between Psychoanalysis and the Writing of Poetry"
John Hart,
Helen Schoenhals Hart,

Saturday, October 10, 2020

"Trans Realism: Psychoanalysis and the Trans Experience"
Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D.,
Grace Lavery, Ph.D.,

Saturday, April 4, 2020

"*POSTPONED* What's uncanny in the Unheimliche?"
Sergio Benvenuto, Ph.D.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

"*POSTPONED* Trans Realism, Psychoanalytic Practice, and the Rhetoric of Technique"
Grace Lavery, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

"Creativity and the Erotic Dimensions of the Analytic Field"
Dianne Elise, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

"Mama, Mnemo - Reading Kristeva with Montale"
Benjamin Davidson, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

"The Maternal: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film"
Claire Kahane, Ph.D.,
Marilyn Fabe, Ph.D.,

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Light Rooms: Medium, Mourning and Mania"
Elizabeth Abel, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"From Freud's Mourning to Mourning Freud"
Madelon Sprengnether, Ph.D.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

"Group Discussion: The Place of the Nonrepresentational and the Nonverbal in Psychoanalysis"
Margot Beattie, Ph.D.,
Israel Katz, MD,

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"Freud's Seduction: Psychoanalysis and California"
Fernando Castrillon, Psy.D.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Trans Psychoanalysis and Livable Embodiments"
Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

"The Political Unconscious in Perilous Times"
Judith Butler, Ph.D.,
Lance Dodes, M.D.,
Jill Gentile, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg: The Dream World of Wagner"
Steven H. Golderg, MD,
Jeanne C. Harasemovitch, LCSW,

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Incandescent Alphabets: Language and Art in Psychosis"
Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Homeland (In)Security: How Feminine Law Might Rescue Democracy, Truth and Free Speech"
Jill Gentile, Ph.D.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Enigmatic Mechanisms: Some Reflections on Love, Affect, and Identification in Freud"
Marcus Coelen, Ph.D

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Refashioning Jouissance/Enjoyment for the Age of the Imaginary"
Juliet Flower MacCannell, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Freud and the Frankfurt School"
Martin E. Jay, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Thinking About The Future"
Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"Death Drive Dialogue #2"
Henry Markman, MD,
Israel Katz, MD,

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"Psychoanalytic Knowledge"
Peter Hobson, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"The Alterability of the Memory Trace"
Rosaura Martinez, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

"Conversion Disorder: Freud, religious transformation, Foucault and Agamben"
Jamieson Webster, Ph.D.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Surviving Terror: An Interview with Ernst Federn"
Helen Schoenhals Hart,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Rosa Luxemburg and Marilyn Monroe: Women in Depressed Times"
Jacqueline Rose

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Keeping the Other Alive: Counter-trends to the Death Drive"
Judith Butler, Ph.D.

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Cultivating the Foreigner Within: Julia Kristeva and Hannah Arendt on Uncanny Art and Human Relations in the Contemporary World"
Elaine Miller, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

"Enduring Inequality: Racism in America"
Jeffrey Prager, Ph.D.

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