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Gender – Psychological Theories

6. Transgenderism and the Psychology of Gender

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the extent to which the field of gender psychology is equipped to accommodate transgenderism, focusing in particular on: (i) the distinction between sex and gender in the work of John Money and Sandra Bem; (ii) the view that whereas gender is relatively changeable (based on societal attitudes, culture, etc.), sex is relatively fixed (based on biological ‘reality’); (iii) Bem’s concept of gender schematicity, and its usefulness when applying it to the XY sex-determination system; (iv) the ways in which Turner syndrome (XO genotype) and Klinefelter syndrome (XXY genotype) have become increasingly ‘gendered’ from the late 1950s; (v) the extent to which different approaches to the psychology of gender are able to accommodate transgender and nonbinary narratives; (vi) the more fruitful ‘ethnomethodological’ approach of Suzanne Kessler and Wendy McKenna; (vii) the way in which the psychology of gender is changing today in order to better accommodate the experiences of individual who identify as transgender or nonbinary.


In this course, Professor Peter Hegarty (University of Surrey) explores the psychology of gender. In the first lecture, we think about different ways of measuring one’s psychological gender, focusing in particular on the most widely used system, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BRSI). In the second lecture, we think about the history of sex and gender as distinct concepts. In the third, fourth and fifth lectures, we consider how three psychological theories have intersected with the psychology of gender – cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and social learning theory. In the sixth and final module, we think about the extent to which the psychology of gender has accommodated the experience of those who identify as transgender or nonbinary, and how the psychology of gender might evolve in the future.


Peter Hegarty is Professor of Psychology at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on the intersection of social psychology, history, and gender and sexuality studies. Professor Hegarty's two sole-authored books on the history of psychology are about early twentieth-century entanglements between sexology, intelligence testing, and masculinity, and psychology’s more recent relationships with lesbian and gay movements. Some of Professor Hegarty's recent publications include 'Public understanding of intersex: an update on recent findings' (2022) and 'Between cultural relativism and liberal ethnocentrism: What does Audi Arabia tell us about cultural variation in moral identity and prejudice?' (2021).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hegarty, P. (2021, January 07). Gender – Psychological Theories - Transgenderism and the Psychology of Gender [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hegarty, P. "Gender – Psychological Theories – Transgenderism and the Psychology of Gender." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2021,

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