Sex change (revision)

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University of Washington iSchool students Sam Buechler, Le Button, and Josh Hall have been collaborating on an LCSH proposal to update the heading Sex change. Below is the result of their hard work! The fields in highlighted text are the ones that have been added or updated.

Submitted as below March 5 2018.


150 __ $a Transition (Gender)

450 __ $w nne $a Sex change [coding indicates this is the previous heading]

450 __ $w nne $a Change of sex

450 __ $a Sex change surgery

450 __ $a Sex reassignment

450 __ $a Transsexual surgery

450 __ $a Sex reassignment surgery

550 __ $w g $a Generative organs $x Surgery

550 __ $w g $a Hormone therapy

670 __ $a Random House $b (sex change)

670 __ $a Hennepin $b (Sex change surgery)

670 __ $a Acad. Am. encyc.: $b v. 17, p. 225 (sex reassignment)

670 __ $a Intl. dict. med. biol. $b (Transsexualism; sex reassignment operation; transsexual surgery)

670 __ $a MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), U.S. National Library of Medicine, viewed online February 28 2018 $b (MeSH Heading: Sex Reassignment Procedures; scope note: Clinical treatments used to change the physiological sexual characteristics of an individual; entry terms: Gender Change Procedures, Gender Confirmation Procedures, Gender Reassignment Procedures, Sex Change Procedures) $u

670 __ $a Transgender migrations : the bodies, borders, and politics of transition, 2012

670 __ $a Trans bodies, trans selves : a resource for the transgender community, 2014: $b page 620 (“Transition: The process one goes through to discover and/or affirm their gender identity. This can, but does not always, include taking hormones, having surgeries, or going through therapy.”) page 618 (“Sex Change: An older term for gender-affirming surgery. Some people do not like this term because it implies that a person’s sex is changing, while many trans people feel they have always been who they are.”)

670 __ $a The SAGE encyclopedia of LGBTQ studies, 2016: $b page 847 (“Transitioning is the process that transgender (or trans) individuals go through in living as the gender with which they identify rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.”)

670 __ $a Oxford Dictionary (American English), viewed online February 25, 2018 $b (“transition: The process by which a person permanently adopts the outward or physical characteristics of the gender with which they identify, as opposed to those associated with their birth sex. The process may or may not involve measures such as hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery”)

670 __ $a GLAAD Media Reference Guide, viewed online February 25, 2018 $b definition of Transition (“Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery.” “Avoid the phrase ‘sex change’.” ) definition of Sex Reassignment Surgery (“Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), also called Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition.” “Avoid the phrase ‘sex change operation.'”) $u

675 __ $a MESH

680 __ $i Here are entered works on the surgical and hormonal alteration of a person’s biological sex characteristics.

680 __ $i Here are entered works about the process of changing one’s gender presentation and/or sex characteristics to align with one’s internal sense of gender identity, which may or may not involve surgery or hormone therapy.


Violet’s questions for SACO experts:

  • Is “Transition (Gender)” the best preferred term? Would “Gender transition” be better, even though the sources found never listed it as such?
  • There’s currently a 675 for MeSH, so I’m assuming it’s a good idea for me to add the 670 for the MeSH term? Does that mean I delete the old 675, since I’ve now found info there?


Follow-up: this proposal was rejected. In the July 2018 summary of decisions, the following was given as rationale. Needs more work!

Transition (Gender)
This proposal was made to revise the existing heading Sex change to Transition (Gender). The existing scope note for Sex change – which was unchanged in the proposal – states, “Here are entered works on the surgical and hormonal alteration of a person’s biological sex characteristics.” Transition is not an equivalent concept, because transition involves the overall social and psychological process of going through life in a different gender, and may or may not include hormone therapy or surgery. The citations provided in the proposal made the distinction between the two concepts clear. If a heading is needed to catalog a work on the social and psychological processes of transition, then a proposal may be made for a separate heading. The proposal was not approved.


2 Replies to “Sex change (revision)”

  1. Hi Violet this looks great! Hats off to you and to Sam Buechler, Le Button, and Josh Hall!

    — not a SACO expert, but my two cents:

    1. Because most sources use ‘transition’ on its own you have the proper term, then we qualify it because it does have many different meanings, I say the 150 is good!

    2. Yes, replace the 675 with the now found 670

    3. Consider adding 450s for ‘Gender confirmation surgery’ and ‘Gender-affirming surgery’, both of which appear in the sources

  2. A few comments:

    4XXs must be in alphabetical order.

    I would have 4XXs for Gender transition, Gender transitioning, and Transitioning (Gender)

    But the biggest problem that I see is that I think that there are two discrete concepts being lumped into this one subject authority. Look that the BTs that are in your proposed record–they have to do with surgery and hormone therapy. I don’t think they are appropriate on a record for Transition (Gender). The BT for that concept should be the concept of gender, which in LCSH is labeled Sex. The second concept is that of sex change surgery or sex reassignment surgery, and this should have its own separate subject authority, with BTs that include Transition (Gender).

    I think LC will have some problems with the proposal as submitted because the BTs don’t really fit with the concept Transition. I suspect they will tell you to redo this and resubmit to separate out sex change surgery from the much broader concept of transitioning.

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