chapter  3
Varieties of Transgenerational Transmission
Pages 12

In the clinical setting, it is sometimes possible to detect, in individuals' symptoms or object relations, the derivatives of unconscious fantasies that have been passed into their psychic organization. Studies on transsexualism (Apprey, 1993b; Volkan and Berent, 1976; Volkan and Greer, 1995) provide an example of this type of transgenerational transmission. These studies clearly demonstrate that although transsexual persons believe that they have male or female gender identities incongruent with biological reality, children's "incongruent" gender identities have been "created" in their parents' minds-in other words, these are the parents' fantasies-and then passed on to the children, who experience those identities as real. Condensed with other crucial psychological constellations, such as depression in the parents, these experiences produce in the minds of the offspring the compensatory unconscious fantasies of sex-change as a means by


which to please parents and save them from their depression-hence transsexuals' familiar refrain that they are "trapped in the body of the wrong sex."