Proposed DSM-5 Changes: Derogatory Labeling & Pathologizing The Identity Of Trans Persons

(reprinted from GID Reform Weblog)

by Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
GID Reform Advocates
http://www.gidreform.org
kelley@gidreform.org

On May 5th, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a second round of proposed diagnostic criteria for the 5th Edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These include two diagnostic categories that impact the trans communities, Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder, or GID) and Transvestic Disorder (Formerly Transvestic Fetishism). While GID has received a great deal of attention in the press and from GLBTQ advocates, the second Transvestic category is too often overlooked. This is unfortunate, because the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis is designed to punish social and sexual gender nonconformity and enforce binary stereotypes of assigned birth sex. It plays no role in enabling access to medical transition care, for those who need it, and is frequently cited when care is denied (Winters 2010). I urge all trans community members, friends, care providers and allies to call for the removal of this punitive and scientifically unfounded diagnosis from the DSM-5. The current period for public comment to the APA ends June 15.

Like its predecessor, Transvestic Fetishism, in the current DSM, Transvestic Disorder is authored by Dr. Ray Blanchard, of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly known as the Clarke Institute). Blanchard has drawn outrage from the transcommunity for his defamatory theory of autogynephilia, asserting that all transsexual women who are not exclusively attracted to males are motivated to transition by self-obsessed sexual fetishism (Winters 2008A). He is canonizing this harmful stereotype of transsexual women in the DSM-5 by adding an autogynephilia specifier to the Transvestic Fetishism diagnosis (APA 2011) . Worse yet, Blanchard has broadly expanded the diagnosis to implicate gender nonconforming people of all sexes and all sexual orientations, even inventing an autoandrophilia specifier to smear transsexual men. Most recently, he has added an “In Remission” specifier to preclude the possibility of exit from diagnosis. Like a roach motel, there may be no way out of the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis, once ensnared.

What You Can Do Now

  1. Go to the APA DSM-5 web site (APA 2011), click on “register now,” create a user account and enter your statement in the box. The deadline for this second period of public comment is June 15.
  2. Sign the Petition to Remove Transvestic Disorder from the DSM-5 (IFGE 2010), sponsored by the International Foundation for Gender Education.
  3. Demand that your local, national and international GLBTQ nonprofit organizations issue public statements calling for the removal of this defamatory Transvestic Disorder category from the DSM-5. Very few have so far.
  4. Spread the word to your network, friends and allies.

For more information, see GID Reform Advocates (Winters, 2010)

HRC On Board In Montana

I’m glad that the Human Rights Campaign is paying attention to us….

Last spring HRC supporters teamed up with other advocates in Missoula to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation and gender identity. Now, conservatives at the State Capitol in Helena think they know better than the people of Missoula. HB 516 would take power away from local governments and make it illegal to pass anti-discrimination protections that are stronger than those in Montana state law. Take action now and send a message to your legislators asking them to oppose this bill and support equality!

Not only is this bill destructive for all future attempts to secure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Montanans, it’s also retroactive which calls into question any personnel policy or resolution that a locality has already passed.

We will need a strong presence at the Capitol supporting dignity, fairness and equality Monday afternoon.  Please come testify or talk to your legislators. While we ask that everyone who comes to the Capitol bring a copy of written testimony to submit for the record, we expect the Senate Local Government committee to treat people with fairness and give a reasonable amount of time for testimony.

Senate Local Government Committee Hearing
Monday, March 14 | 3:00 p.m.
Room 405 | Montana State Capitol | Helena, MT

If you can’t make the hearing in person, please send a letter to your legislators now!

Thank you,

Marty Signature
Marty Rouse
HRC National Field Director

For The Love Of Montana President’s Day Rally

Plus, there’s more!