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May 30, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(5):391-396. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690050015006

Transvestism has been defined as the desire to appear in the clothes of the sex to which the person in question, according to his or her external genitalia, does not belong. The word is derived from trans: opposite, and vestitus: dress, and was coined by the German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld.1 In the English-speaking countries the term eonism is sometimes applied. As with "sadism" and "masochism," it is derived from the name of an actual person; in this case a French diplomat, Chevalier d'Eon (born 1728, in Bourgogne, died 1810, in London). There have been a number of reports on transvestism.2

Transvestism, in the widest sense of the term, must be regarded as a symptom that may appear in a number of conditions, and only by thorough clinical analysis is it possible to distinguish between these various states. There are fetishists who, as a consequence of neurotic obsession, concentrate

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