News concerning the DSM – V. (a.k.a. “uh-oh.”)

The following was posted on Transadvocate.com website. I’m reposting it because like Mercedes, I see this as a very consequential and momentous event in the psychological and medical treatment of transgendered people. — Lori Davis
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(crossposted in several places, and people are welcome to forward this on freely to others in the transgender and GLBT communities, as I see this as being very serious — Mercedes)

A short time ago, I’d discussed the movement to have “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID, a.k.a. “Gender Dysphoria”) removed from the DSM-IV or reclassified, and how we needed to work to ensure that any such change was an improvement on the existing model, rather than a scrapping or savaging of it.

Lynn Conway reports that on May 1st, 2008, the American Psychiatric Association named its work group members appointed to revise the Manual for Diagnosis of Mental Disorders in preparation for the DSM-V. Such a revision would include the entry for GID.

On the Task Force, named as Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Chair, we find Dr. Kenneth Zucker, from Toronto’s infamous Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly the Clarke Institute). Dr. Zucker is infamous for utilizing reparative (i.e. “ex-gay”) therapy to “cure” gender-variant children. Named to his work group, we find Zucker’s mentor, Dr. Ray Blanchard, Head of Clinical Sexology Services at CAMH and creator of the theory of autogynephilia, categorized as a paraphilia and defined as “a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman.”

Drs. Blanchard, Zucker, J. Michael Bailey (whose work has even gone so far as to touch on eugenics) and a small cadre of others are proponents of dividing the transsexual population by sexual orientation (”homosexual transsexuals” vs. ”autogynephilic”) and have repeatedly run afoul of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, formerly HBIGDA), and openly defied the Standards of Care that WPATH maintains (modeled after the original SoC developed by Dr. Harry Benjamin) in favor of conversion techniques. Blanchard and Bailey supporters also include Dr. Alice Dreger, who re-stigmatized treatment of intersex, controversial sexologist Dr. Anne Lawrence, and Dr. Paul McHugh, who had set out in the begining of his career to close the Gender Clinic at Johns Hopkins University and has been one of our most vocal detractors.

An additional danger that gay and lesbian communities need to be cognizant of is that if Zucker and company entrench conversion therapy in the DSM-V, then it is a clear, dangerous step toward also legitimizing ex-gay therapy and re-stigmatizing homosexuality.

I am not familiar with others named to the Work Group. It would be worthwhile looking into any history with WPATH that they might have, to know if we have any positive advocates on board, or just more stigmatizing adversarial clinicians. They may be appointed primarily to address other listings categorized as ”Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders,” I don’t know. They are:

* Dr. Irving M. Binik, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
* Dr. Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam
* Dr. Jack Drescher, New York Medical College, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY
* Dr. Cynthia Graham, Isis Education Centre, Warneford Hospital, Oxfordshire, UK
* Dr. Richard B. Krueger, NY State Psyciatric Institute and Columbia University, NY
* Dr. Niklas Langstrom, Karolinka Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
* Dr. Heino F.L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Columbia University, NY
* Dr. Robert Taylor Segraves, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland

The APA press release states that for further information regarding this, to contact Rhondalee Dean-Royce (rroyce@psych.org) and Sharon Reis (sreis@gymr.com), though it’s possible that they may govern the press release only, rather than have any involvement in the decision to appoint Zucker. The APA itself is headquartered at 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825, Arlington VA, 22209. Their Annual General Meeting is currently being held (May 3-8, 2008) in Washington, DC.

I’m poorly situated (Western Canada, with no travel budget) to lead the drive for this, which I see as a very serious danger to the transgender community. So I am calling on the various Transgender and GLBT organizations to band together to take action on this, and will assist in whatever way that I and AlbertaTrans.org can.

I am also calling upon our allies and advocates in the medical community and affiliated with WPATH to band together with us and combat this move which could potentially see WPATH stripped of its authority on matters regarding treatment of transsexuals.

– Mercedes Allen, May 5, 2008

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4 Responses

  1. I believe Blanchard’s phalocentric obsessions say more about him and his issues than it does about his “patients”. Newsflash Dr. Blanchard: The penis is the center of the universe in YOUR mind, not mine. In fact, having one is widely overrated.

    All I can say is that the DSM “guidelines” have no relevance to my life. I would never be a slave to some gatekeeper who used the DSM as some sort of “test” to see if I’m “trans” enough. My therapist never diagnosed me as such, and I never asked for it. And she has a PhD and is a WPATH member! I mean, how I feel is so obvious. While not exactly the same, it is analogous to saying you need a medical diagnosis of “homosexual” to validate that you are gay. Like people today would say “I don’t believe you’re gay. Did you get a second opinion?” Yawn.

    I just wanna subvert Zucker, Blanchard, Bailey and their co-conspirators from peddling this kind of snake oil to their eager reactionary right-wing benefactors and reactionary family members who selectively “research” for ANY alternative to gender transition. Let me know if electrical shock aversion therapy comes back in vogue. Reactionary right wing backlash can be a bitch sometimes.

    BTW “autogynephilia” as a theory is the single most damaging thing that has happened to transwomen in modern times. It has forced countless transsexual women to hide or deny feeling sexually positive by how they look and feel, in order to be “genuinely” transsexual. As if it is somehow a perversion for any woman to feel good sexually about their femininity. Hello!?!

  2. I can only say that I concur with every last word here, Becky. The concept of autogynephilia has always baffled me. After all, I thought it was my MIND and sense of being that I couldn’t alter, therefore I can change the body to fit the mind. I despise this theory that attempts to sexualize my identity soley based on a sexual urge or response to a stimuli.

    And I’m glad the DSM guidelines have no relevance to your life. My own therapist chooses to let ME dictate the course of my life as well. Unfortunately, a majority of transsexual women see therapists and counselors who follow the standards set forth by the American Psychiatric Association and the DSM-IV-R currently. Being able to point more professionals to a valid and appropriate DSM-V will at least ensure more transsexuals are treated with the right level of respect and care.

    I sure hope the APA does not miss the mark…again.

  3. […] Zucker: Is he a DSM-Villain or not? Posted on May 14, 2008 by Kynn If you’ve been reading any transgender blogs or journals lately, you’ve doubtless seen concern about the appointments to DSM-V working groups on gender identity disorder. (If you haven’t, here’s an example from TRANScend GENDER.) […]

  4. Report on Zucker:
    Zucker: Manipulation of Young Feminine Boys
    By Curtis E. Hinkle
    http://www.intersexualite.org/Zucker_boys.html

    Kind regards,
    Curtis E. Hinkle
    Founder, Organisation Intersex International
    http://www.intersexualite.org/

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