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Beware False Prophets (1997)

Beware False Prophets (1997)

©1997, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1997). Beware false prophets: A review of Am I A Man or a Woman by Sandra Davis, “Psychotherapist.” Decatur, GA: American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc.





Beware False Prophets

A Review of Am I A Man or a Woman?

By Sandra Davis, “Psychotherapist”

Dallas Denny


In March, 1996 a woman named Sandra Davis showed up at the IFGE conference in Minneapolis, hawking a book in which she made extravagant claims about being able to “cure” transsexual and transgendered people:

Am I A Man or a Woman? is a book that the world has been waiting for. It explains why gender dysphoria occurs, how it evolves, how it can be treated, and how it can be prevented or reversed at early stages. (p. 10)

I should mention that in the more than 100 years since transpeople were first colonized by the medical/psychological communitym there has been no shortage of attempts to understand, treat, and in some cases cure crossdressing and transsexualism. No one, to my knowledge, has ever made such a bold statement. The consensus is that gender identity disorder, as it has been called, has an indeterminate number of exceedingly complex and interacting causal factors, and that known pharmacological, psychoanalytic, and behavioral treatments are successful at best on occasion. Even Christian fundamentalists who run conversion ministries have not claimed an ability to cure large numbers of transpeople, despite their fervent desire to do so. If Ms. Davis has a cure, I’m certain the Southern Baptists, psychiatrists, and psychologists of the world will be anxious to hear about it. However, there do not seem to be any cures in her rather ugly, typo-ridden, and apparently self-published book.

Who is Sandra Davis? She gives no credentials or evidence of education, other than claiming to be a psychotherapist, a term meaningless without substantiating information. I certainly had never heard of her— nor, apparently, had anyone else in the community before her surprise appearance at the IFGE conference. She has not been active in the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, AEGIS, Quad-Ess, AASECT, or other professional sexological organizations, nor has she published in any reputable journals. In the reference section, she indicates that she completed a doctoral thesis at the State University in Mons, Belgium.

Davis’ belief is that gender identity disorder is caused by “introjects,” which are “mental entities responsible for gender identity disorders and for some forms of homosexuality”— in other words, alternate personalities which take over the body, replacing the primary, non-transgendered personality. Perhaps Ms. Davis was watching a late-night screening of Invasion of the Body Snatchers when she developed her theory. Certainly, it is not based on verifiable evidence, as she does not cite the work of others, although she does conveniently cite herself.

Davis’ book seems to be (rather poorly) translated from French. It is filled with psychobabble and abbreviations. The Table of Contents page looks like an acronym convention; one chapter is entitled, “Comparison between MPD/DID and GID.” She uses line drawings, which she unfortunately did herself, and which add little to the text, consisting, as they do, mostly of profiles of bearded males with females emerging like genies from a location just behind the ears.

Davis cites the literature selectively, dredging up isolated case reports of psychopathology in transgendered persons and using them to argue that transsexualism is a dissociative disorder— you know, multiple personalities, like in The Three Faces of Eve, Sybil, and Anthony Perkins in “Psycho.” Her ultimate authority, however, is herself, as she conveniently evades getting down to the nitty-gritty of explaining just how and why this is true by referencing her previous work and a forthcoming no-doubt also self-published book. She illuminates her theories with records from I suspect contrived case histories, in which she “cures” transpeople by pointing out to the alternative personalities that they are not real and should go away. “What? Oh, sure. Guess you’re right. Sorry for all the trouble! Bye!”


Ms. Davis is in my opinion a poseur, a self-appointed expert who has no real understanding of transsexual and transgendered people and what makes them tick. Her book makes her ignorance a matter of public record. Unfortunately, there will be those who will read it, will assume Ms. Davis knows what she is talking about, and will embark upon an expensive and ineffective course of “treatment” with Ms. Davis in search of her “cure.” They won’t find it.

Shame on Ms. Davis for writing such trash, and shame on her if she accepts the first penny from a client in search of a cure.


Distributed by American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc., Decatur, GA

Dallas Denny is a transgender activist and woman of transsexual experience. She is author of Gender Dysphoria: A Guide to Research, Identity Management in Transsexualism, and Current Concepts in Transgender Identity, Editor of the journal Chrysalis, and founder and Executive Director of The American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc. She is licensed to practice psychology in Tennessee.