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Letter to the Editor, The Journal of Sex Research (2002)

Letter to the Editor, The Journal of Sex Research (2002)

©2002, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas, & Cole, Sandra. (2002). Letter to the editor, The Journal of Sex Research.

I’m not certain this letter made it into print.




John DeLamater, Ph.D.
The Journal of Sex Research
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393

September, 2002


Dear Editor:

We are writing in response to Bean Robinson’s comments on our chapter, “Diversity in gender identity: Issues of transgender” in her review of L. Szuchman and F. Muscarella’s edited text, The Psychological Science of Sexuality, John Wiley & Sons, 2000. (JSR Volume 38, Number 4, November 2001).

Dr. Robinson is the Executive Director of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA). Since Dr. Robinson scarcely reviewed and then criticized our chapter for its treatment of the HBIGDA Standards of Care, we feel both she and the Journal are remiss in not disclosing her dual role as reviewer and her HBIGDA affiliation.

This invited chapter represents a comprehensive overview of transgender history, life experiences, mental health evaluation and diagnostic considerations, medical indicators and clinical care recommendations, partner and family experiences, and an extensive reference list. The editors of this text write: “It is the first chapter of its kind to appear in any human sexuality text. This text is intended for postgraduate training of clinical, developmental, and experimental psychology students; practicing clinical professionals and researchers, and advanced undergraduates. There is currently no other book on the market that the editors are aware of which addresses this audience on the subject of human sexuality.” It is regretful that the significance of the presence of this transgender chapter in such a text seems to have been overlooked by the reviewer.

Dr. Robinson writes that the various points we made about the Standards are unsubstantiated. This is not true; with one exception, our reference section contains citations which corroborate our various points. The exception is our assertion that the Standards place restrictions on access to body-altering medical treatment “without empirical evidence that such restrictions are necessary or even advisable”. We are not sure just what source we could have cited to confirm this lack of data. We believe the burden of proof here is on HBIGDA and Dr. Robinson. Where are the data?

HBIGDA has updated its Standards of Care since this chapter was completed in 1999, and they are under revision yet again. The Standards, and the organization itself, are evolving and will no doubt continue to grow.

We suggest that as Executive Director, Dr. Robinson acknowledge her affiliation when responding to HBIGDA’s critics, thereby avoiding a conflict of interest.


Dallas Denny, M.A.
Sandra S. Cole, Ph.D.