Janice G. Raymond
January 24, 1943
|Occupation||Author, professor, activist|
|Employer||University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Known for||Lesbian radical feminist activism|
Janice G. Raymond (born January 24, 1943) is an American lesbian radical feminist and professor emerita of women's studies and medical ethics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is known for her work against violence, sexual exploitation and the medical abuse of women, and for her controversial work on transsexuality and transgenderism.
Raymond is the author of four books: The Transsexual Empire (1979), A Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection (1986), Women as Wombs (1993), Not A Choice, Not A Job (2013); co-author of RU 486 (1991) and co-editor of The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism (1990). She has published numerous articles on prostitution and lectures internationally on many of these topics via the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Her opposition to gender rights of trans women and calls for their disenfranchisement have been criticized by many in the LGBT and feminist communities as transphobic.
Raymond received a BA in English Literature from Salve Regina College in 1965, a Masters in Religious Studies from Andover Newton Theological School in 1971, and her PhD in Ethics and Society from Boston College in 1977.
Raymond is professor emerita of women's studies and medical ethics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst from 1978 on. When she retired from the University in 2002, the Boston Globe included her among the several "marquee talents" lost to the campus.
Since 2000, Raymond has also served as an Adjunct Professor of International Health at Boston University School of Public Health. She has been a faculty member of the Five Colleges (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst) Professor of Women's Studies and Medical Ethics (1975–78), Visiting Research Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990–91), Visiting Professor at the University of Linkoping in Sweden (1995), and Lecturer at the Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, Center for Women Studies, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2002).
From 1994–2007, Raymond was the Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). She is currently on the Board of Directors of CATW.
During her tenure, CATW expanded its international work, especially in the Baltics and in Eastern Europe.
In January 2004, Dr. Raymond testified before the European Parliament on "The Impact of the Sex Industry in the EU." In 2003, Raymond testified before a subcommittee of the United States Congress on "The Ongoing Tragedy of International Slavery and Human Trafficking." She was an NGO member of the U.S. Delegation to the Asian Regional Initiative Against the Trafficking of Women and Children (ARIAT), Manila, the Philippines, hosted by the governments of the Philippines and the United States. In 1999–2000, as an NGO representative to the UN Transnational Crime Committee, in Vienna, she helped define the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Raymond is a former member of the Sisters of Mercy. She later left the convent and is now an open lesbian.
In 2007, Raymond received the "International Woman Award, 2007" from the Zero Tolerance Trust, in Glasgow, Scotland.
In 1986, Raymond's book A Passion for Friends: a Philosophy of Female Friendship was named the best non-fiction book of the year by the UK magazine, City Limits.
Raymond has been the recipient of grants from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. National Institute of Justice, the Ford Foundation, the United States Information Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Norwegian Organization for Research and Development (NORAD), and UNESCO.
In her 1993 book, Women as Wombs: Reproductive Technologies and the Battle over Women's Freedom, Raymond examined how reducing infertility to a disease in the West has helped to promote the use of new reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy. At the same time, women's fertility is rejected in the East promoting technologies of forced sterilization, sex predetermination and female feticide. The book was one of the first to look at the international reproductive trafficking of women and children as organized by the adoption, organ and surrogacy trade.
Women as Wombs, as the San Francisco Chronicle reviewer wrote, "is a strongly written, carefully reasoned critique of ...'reproductive liberalism'." The Library Journal reviewer stated that "...it is hard to resist her conclusion that many reproductive experiments can represent another form of violence against women."
Raymond's 1986 book, A Passion for Friends: a Philosophy of Female Affection, deviates from her work on medical technologies into the realm of feminist friendship as a basis for a broader feminist theory and politics. Carolyn Heilbrun in The Women's Review of Books wrote: "Hers is a brave undertaking, and she begins by facing the central issue of women's friendships: the necessary relation of these friendships to power and the public sphere...Raymond's is the most probing and honorable discussion of female friendships we have..." Published also in a UK edition, A Passion for Friends received the City Limits award for the Best Non-Fiction Book of 1986. Novelist Jeanette Winterson wrote that "It's a complex, food-for thought book that rewards the time and concentration that it needs."
See also: The Transsexual Empire
In 1979, Raymond published a book on transsexualism called The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Controversial even today, it looked at the role of transsexualism – particularly psychological and surgical approaches to it – in reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes, the ways in which the medical-psychiatric complex is medicalizing "gender identity" and the social and political context that has helped spawn transsexual treatment and surgery as normal and therapeutic medicine.
Raymond maintains that transsexualism is based on the "patriarchal myths" of "male mothering," and "making of woman according to man's image." She claims this is done in order "to colonize feminist identification, culture, politics and sexuality," adding: "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves… Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive." In a 2014 interview, Raymond said that she had "used rape as a metaphor" in the sense of a transgender person's demanding "access to women's bodies" not as sexual property, but through hormonal or surgical construction to become women, and said that the metaphor was not appropriate and one which she would not use again in the same context.
These views on transsexuality have been criticized by many in the LGBT and feminist communities as extremely transphobic and as constituting hate-speech against transsexual men and women.
In The Transsexual Empire, Raymond includes sections on Sandy Stone, a trans woman who had worked as a sound engineer for Olivia Records, and Christy Barsky, accusing both of creating divisiveness in women's spaces. These writings have been heavily criticized as personal attacks on these individuals. In response, Stone wrote her 1987 essay, "The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto".
In 2000, Raymond co-published one of the first studies on trafficking in the United States entitled Sex Trafficking in the United States: Links Between International and Domestic Sex Industries. In 2002, she directed and co-authored a multi-country project in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States, entitled Women in the International Migration Process: Patterns, Profiles and Health Consequences of Sexual Exploitation.
Among the many articles she has published, her work entitled "Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution" has been translated into over 10 languages. This essay looks at the legislative models that have legalized or decriminalized the prostitution industry and the rationales supporting them, and argues that legitimating the sex trade has made its harm to women invisible. Raymond supports the alternative legal model of rejecting legalization and decriminalization of the sex industry, and penalizing the male demand for buying women and children for sexual exploitation.
In The Transsexual Empire, I used rape as a metaphor as in the figure of speech, 'rape of the earth,' to describe the male transgender person's demand for access to women's bodies in undergoing treatment and surgery to become women. It was not an appropriate metaphor, and I would not use it again in this context. I was trying to point out the age-old patriarchal presumption that women's bodies should always be made available to men and the unique way in which transsexual surgery mimics this access to women's bodies, with men gaining entrée to the female body not as sexual and/or reproductive property, but through hormonal and surgical construction. In this case, rape was not a proper metaphor because it minimized the distinct meaning of rape and took on a critical life of its own rather than illuminating the point I was trying to make.