Chris L. Minnick, M.D.

Gender Identity, Homosexuality, and the Baby Core of the Personality

1 – This course is more about stimulating your repertoire for thinking about ideas than putting forth a particular
point of view. I hope to open up a dialogue, generate some ideas that are useful in thinking about this topic,
and offer an organization that aids in your future thinking. There are areas of very early experience that are
extremely difficult to tease out, partly because they are first stored as memory in feeling and partly because
the subtly of their components is beyond ordinary common sense using adult logic. [It goes without saying
that I don’t know what I don’t know.]

[Note: Donald Meltzer’s 1973 book “Sexual States of Mind” is the preeminent source for an exploration
of these topics]

To Have a Discussion, We Must First Address Several Issues:
1 – What is it to be human?

– e.g. to be an infant is to be “psychosomatic”

– e.g. to be an infant is to have misperceptions, delusions, anxieties, confusions, envy, jealousy, separation
anxiety, etc.

2 – Why can’t we talk openly and honestly about subjects like autism and homosexuality?

– fear of prejudice toward someone who is seen as “different, disturbed, bad, not normal”, etc.

– fear of being blamed as a “bad” parent

– intolerance of “psychological” or unconscious emotional explanations that make homosexuals mentally
ill, homosexuality a product of faulty gender identification, suggest they disproportionately molest
children, they wish to convert heterosexuals to homosexuality, they will betray their country, etc.

3 – If a human has emotional difficulties, is a moral judgment to be made?

– we need to distinguish descriptions of potential for problems from moralizing and sitting in judgment

4 – What is the difference between a neurotic homosexual and neurotic heterosexual?

5 – How do we decide when something is a problem?
e.g. it impedes growth and development
e.g. interferes with happiness and internal harmony
e.g. interferes with or prevents relationships when they are desirable
e.g. it has undue risks

Gay and Lesbian Stereotypes:
1 – Most stereotypes are accurate, but only on average, says J. Michael Bailey, except for one:

– the idea that “masculine” and “feminine” gays or lesbians pair up in couples with one husband and one
wife is not accurate; more likely one is the container for baby parts of self or versions of internal parents
that are projected by the other, which is the same as in heterosexual relationships

– according to Bailey, what is more accurate is that gay men tend to want masculine partners and lesbian
women want feminine partners, even though gay men tend on average to be feminine in certain ways, and
lesbian women tend to be masculine

– the “on average” accurate stereotypes tend to be around occupational and recreational interests
e.g. more male hairdressers, professional dancers, actors and designers
e.g. more females in armed services and professional athletes
e.g. children, especially males, who are “sex-atypical” behaviorally, do tend to become homosexual
e.g. on average, gay men and lesbians are very different from straight people in the way the walk and talk
and lesbians tend to have shorter hair

2 – Some common causal explanations:
e.g. Bailey says something happens in the womb to prevent the brains of gay men from fully masculinizing
(a typical male newborn accidentally castrated and raised as a girl will still be attracted to females, i.e.
it’s too late at birth to change sexual orientation)

– genetic explanations tend to suffer the problem that gay and lesbian’s reproduce less than the
population and yet the persistence of homosexuality remains a paradox for human evolution

– Bailey estimates that a gay man’s identical twin has a 20-25% chance of also being gay

– where twins are different, it can be for biological environmental factors as well social environmental

e.g. Ray Blanchard says gay men on average tend to have more older brothers than straight men
e.g. Gregory Cochran has a “gay germ” idea of infections causing homosexuality

3 – Common assumptions about homosexual behavior and homosexuality as a permanent choice:
– the origin of “homosexuality” and homosexual behavior

– the morality of being homosexual
– the assumption that it is inherently a “perversion” of an ordinary object choice
– homophobia is probably strongly influenced by fear of the universal “bisexuality of identifications” (i.e.
that unconsciously every boy would like to be daddy’s wife and every girl would like to be mommy’s

– whether or not homosexuality can be “changed”

An overview of how we develop a personality and a sense of identity
1 – Nature versus nurture

2 – The role of genetics
– all babies probably inherit predispositions for personality characteristics, defensive postures, physical
target zones for emotional reactions, etc.

– the fundamental difficulty is that geneticists and Melanie Klein don’t work together

3 – The role of experience in earliest infancy and later infancy

4 – The role of adolescence

The specific mechanisms for developing an identity
1 – The role of introjections (introjective identification)

2 – The role of projections (projective identification)

3 – Whether or not one stays separate from the object

Overview of the composition of the unconscious inner world where the sense of identity resides:
1 – Creation of internalized relationships, of a fixed nature, between parts of self and various versions
of mom and dad (both good and bad versions of each at part or whole object level)

2 – The parts of self include:
– an adult part of self (i.e. the most mature part and models after good internal and external parents)

– good “baby” parts of self (i.e. they turn toward the good internal and external parents)

– a bad part of self (the envious, omnipotent, know-it-all, destructive, self-sufficient part of self)

3 – The sense of identity can reside at a given moment in any one of the components in items 1 or 2 above:
– Because the components of the personality are already established after early infancy, this means that there
are a limited number of possible choices for the sense of identity. However, the “center of gravity of the
sense of identity” can shift from one moment to the next between these parts of a specific individual’s
unconscious inner world

– note: There is no such thing as one single permanent sense of identity. On the other hand, there is a fairly
small, relatively permanently fixed range of choices in a given individual’s personality.

4 – The momentary sense of identity has discernable qualities that are clues as to how that momentary sense of
identity was achieved via one of three choices:
– contact with a part of self has a sense of littleness tinged with loneliness

– identification with an object through introjection while remaining separate from the object has an
aspirational quality tinged with uncertainty and doubt about achieving the goal

– identification with an object by getting inside it through projective identification has a delusional
quality of certainty and the claustrophobic and other persecutory anxieties are held in very separated
off areas of the mind

What is gender identity?
1 – Definition: The permanent perception of whether one is a male or a female, ordinarily primarily a result of
of one’s biologically determined genitalia. It results in a range of behaviors that are strongly influenced by
the hormones in preponderance during fetal development and in the early years of life. These biological and
physiological influences can be reinforced or undermined by emotional experiences with parents. The
greatest influence of the relationship with the parents on later manifestations of gender choices occurs long
before language has developed.

2 – The impact of hormones on gender
– e.g. group in ? Scandinavia who have faulty androgen receptor and are born with male genitalia but behave
as though they are female and are sterile

3 – Its relationship to mom and dad as individuals

4 – Its relationship to mom and dad as a couple

5 – The role of siblings in the overall situation

Overview of Definitions Pertinent to a Discussion About Gender Identity:
1 – “Homosexual behavior” versus “homosexual object preference”

2 – “Bisexuality” as a product of loving identifications

3 – The “Oedipus Complex” as a healthy reaction to loving each parent and wanting to be their partner

4 – Key differentiations to be made in thinking about sexual identity:
e.g. libidinal versus destructive impulses (aiding the distinction between “good” and “bad” sexual behavior,
or polymorphous and perverse sexual states of mind)

e.g. adult versus infantile sexuality

e.g. good versus bad parts of self and objects

5 – Infantile polymorphous sexuality

6 – Adult polymorphous sexuality

7 – Infantile perverse sexuality
Childhood Experiences Interfering with Specific Parent as a Model of a Desired Object:
1 – Mason has seen lesbian females who were sexually molested by brothers or fathers

2 – One parent is absent a lot in infancy and other uses the infant for comfort until spouse returns
– war, prison

3 – Early difficulties with mom leading to splitting the difficulties off into dad to preserve relationship to mom

4 – Any ongoing serious disturbance in relation to either parent

The Role of the Pubertal Resurgence of Baby States of Mind in Final Gender Identity Choices:
1 – Gender roles and identity do not crystallize into their potentially permanent adult states until the growth
spurt and hormonal changes at puberty bring the baby core of the personality back to the surface for

– baby core back to surface due to (?): – hormones
– are you child or adult confusions as body changes
– anxieties about moving into adult life and adult responsibilities

2 – Confusions that erupt at pubery follow along three categories of differentiations:
– libidinal and destructive impulses

– adult and infantile sexuality

– good and bad parts of self and objects

An Overview of the Earliest Processes of Identification:
1 – An introjection of a good mom and good dad at part object levels is necessary to form a stable foundation
for future introjections to create a good adult version of mom or dad as whole persons (objects)

– the geography of phantasy for the infant starting immediately after birth is mother and her body, both
inside and outside

– e.g. at the beginning of life outside the womb, the breast is actually seen as two objects, a nipple
(spigot/conduit) and a breast (reservoir)

– the nipple/spigot will be likened at some point to a penis and take on the significance of a

2 – The earliest objects, i.e. part objects, form the earliest versions of mom and dad, and may or may not be
elaborated and grown into more whole, mature, realistic versions of a mom or dad. As a result,
identifications with these earliest, primitive versions of mom or dad can, and often do, remain as the main
source of an object to be identified with, in either “good or bad” versions of the object

e.g. when mother is felt to be going away all the time, the version of her that predominates can be the aspect
of her that is viewed as she is leaving, i.e. her backside and buttocks

3 – Where the relationship to a part object version of mom or dad remains the domninant view of that parent,
the part object allows for manic denial of the full emotional significance of that parent to the baby or child

e.g. envy of the mother’s creative or feeding capacities, jealousy of dad’s relationship with mom, envy or
jealousy of a sibling’s relationship to either parent, etc. can be manically denied in the outside world
and recreated in one’s inner world by idealizing a relationship to buttocks, penises, etc.

– this dismantling of the parent’s body into parts can be carried to more remote objects as can be seen
the creation of a “fetishistic plaything” (as Meltzer calls it)

Types of Breakdowns in the Earliest Relationship to the Primal Good Objects:
1 – Excesses of persecutory anxiety related to a parent in infancy (envious perversions or inhibitions):

– the role of excessive early envy of the qualities, capacities, and creative functions of the parents at
part and whole object levels

– externally driven separations from mom or the breast including attempted breast feedings that ended
in the first days or weeks after birth

– a parent who is violent, frighteningly angry, cruel, alcoholic, etc.

– a parent who is crazy, narcissistic, confused, borderline with boundary intrusions, rejecting, etc.

– depressed and/or anxious moms and infants with excesses of depressive anxieties that become persecuting

– psycho-physiologic reactions in the infant like asthma and colic

2 – Excesses of depressive anxiety related to a parent in infancy:

– concern for the welfare of a ill, depressed, unhappy parent

– fear that one’s own needs, requests, etc. are damaging one’s good object (common with colic)

– confused or overburdened mom’s who themselves have in inadequate or faulty developmental or
gender differentiations

Developmental Immaturities and Confusions in the Internalized Relationships with Mom or Dad:
1 – Where the parent is confused about parenting, gender roles, what is adult and what is infantile, etc.
The infant will have difficulty recognizing and developing a sense of such distinctions

– the result is often inadequate, confused, or faulty understanding of the roles of parts of parents which are
then equated with gender functions

e.g. the two breasts, being mirror image twins, go off and have a continual banquet feeding each other,
later seen a phantasy of mom and dad as a circle with breast in mouth and penis in vagina

e.g. poop = food; nipple = penis = tongue = stool; mouth = vagina = anus
mouth, eyes, ears, and anus can all be organs or orifices for acquisition

e.g. what you see on the surface = what you are inside (breasts, muscles, tattoos, blond hair, perfume, etc.)

e.g. an adult male lives life as if an erect penis were more important than going grocery shopping

e.g. a good mother is always feeding a baby or being loved by a baby but never frustrating it by setting
limits for it

e.g. an adult commands respect rather than earns it

Meltzer makes a clinical guide to the disturbances of sexual life met with in analytic practice as follows:
Perversions: (a) expressions of narcissistic organization (sado-masochistic)
(b) defenses against depressive anxieties (inverted object choice with zonal confusions)
Inhibitions: (a) Excesses of persec. anx., usually coupled w/ some form of narc. masturb. perversion
(b) Excesses of depressive anxiety usually w/ intense splitting of bisexuality (obsessional)

Immaturities: (a) Poor differentiation of adult and infantile polymorphous tendencies
(b) Intensified polymorphous tendencies due to infantile zonal confusions
(c) Inadequate genital responsiveness due to defective introjective identification
(identification with defective objects – closely related to obsess. type of inhibition)

The Potential Impact of Psychoanalytic Understanding of Infantile States of Mind:
1 – One must first have models of preverbal development as the patient cannot make links to it consciously
or consciously remember the important details of how infancy went and how it felt.

– these earliest relationships will be externalized and acted out because they are the “only game in town”
= the classical “repetition compulsion”; = “acting in” and “enactments” in therapy

2 – It is necessary to have a detailed history of infancy and early development including:
– birth order and sibling spacing

– whether the pregnancy was uneventful, taken to full term, and if there were difficulties with delivery

– whether breast feeding was attempted even for a day, how long it lasted, any food fads, allergies, etc.

– did the baby have colic, asthma, eczema, illnesses, etc.

– were there any separations in the first year, did mom work, etc.

3 – One needs to differentiate depressive concerns for a parent from unconscious envious difficulties with a

– the envy will show up in the transference as a difficulty in allowing the therapist to be a good parent from