"We are One"

Read it and weep! The DSM-5: take IMMEDIATE action or we're going to be labeled as psychos or worse!

Filed By Kelley Winters, PhD
May 28, 2011 10:00 AM | 28 comments

On May 5, the American Psychiatric Association 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 categories that impact the trans community: Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder) 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 a diagnosis of Transvestic Disorder is designed to punish social and sexual gender nonconformity and to enforce binary stereotypes of assigned birth sex. It plays no role in enabling access to medical transition care for those who need it, and it is frequently cited when care is denied.

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.

The entry in the current DSM on Transvestic Disorder, like the former entry on Transvestic Fetishism, is authored by Dr. Ray Blanchard of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (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.

He is canonizing this harmful stereotype of transsexual women in the DSM-5 by adding an autogynephilia specifier to the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis.

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 website, 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.

[NOTE: Safari may not load that web page. Use Firefox or another Browser instead]

2. Sign the Petition to Remove Transvestic Disorder from the DSM-5,
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.
So far, very few have.

4. Spread the word to your networks, friends, and allies. for More Information

Cross-posted with additional comments at the
GID Reform Advocates Blog.

Views: 71

Comment by Vallin SFAS on May 31, 2011 at 9:42am
Just reposted from your link here.
Comment by Traci O'Gara on May 31, 2011 at 1:14pm
Cerise and Kathryn...excellent posts! You have the ability to see the forest from the trees here...Julia, Teagan, your "vision" is too short this DSM will no doubt lead to legislation regarding civil rights, it really does
play an important role for that process, one that will bot be overlooked or selected as needed...99.99% of the population is totally ignorant of gender issues and those making the laws will go by whatever published nonsense is given, and when they view the "credentials" and "serious study" of that "esteemed" group of Zucker, Blanchard, and Lawrence, will utilize their findings as gospel. It has the real potential to set our community back to the dark ages.
Comment by Traci O'Gara on May 31, 2011 at 1:24pm
Thnx Chloe...maybe they will isten to you! Thi does have long term ramifications for our future!

Traci xoxoxo
Comment by Vallin SFAS on May 31, 2011 at 2:20pm
re: "fodder for AdultFriendFinder"--were it not for that I would have never graduated here. We all start somewhere.
Comment by Christine Beatty on May 31, 2011 at 3:24pm
Unbelievable that a quack like Blanchard was even able to slither onto the DSM committee in the first place, much less have his laughable, *unproven* pet "autogynephilia" theory dignified as any kind of a criteria. It was sex-obsessed Ray and his kinky theories that gave even a smidgen of "respectability" to J. Michael Bailey's breathless little catalog on fantasies entitled "The Man Who Would Be Queen," which I excoriated in a review published in several periodicals. I have it archived in the writing section of my my personal website if anyone is interested.
Comment by Sylvia on May 31, 2011 at 4:46pm
Seems to me there are a number of issues being debated here.
1) is what the DSM 5 actually says.
2) is what some are afraid will happen if it gets published as revised - based on the credentials and known beliefs of the people who are primarily responsible for the revision.
3) are the various opinions that people have of the different terms being used in the debate - cross-dresser, transgender, transsexual etc. and what meanings and judgments they are attaching to those terms and the people who they consider those terms applicable to.

My comments are this - in reverse order:
3) When opinions get thrown around as fact, it doesn't serve any of us. Indeed, all it does is cloud what is fact in doubt. That is a classic propaganda tool and one that is used against "us" all the time. The barricades and hard lines that some of us want to draw between the various terms that are commonly used both by ourselves and by others to describe us is a futile endeavor. The people who make up, fall into or are placed into these different classifications are just too diverse and at the same time, too much the same for that to work. We are just too interwoven to separate without tearing the entire fabric of our community. To me, it is sad to see those who support this and especially those who actively engaged themselves in doing just that - ripping our community apart. I am also saddened by the few outspoken ones who seem to go out of their way to disrespect, wrongly classify and then judge others based on their own closed minded opinions.

The fact is that all humans are sexual creatures. Part of our sexuality involves fantasies, masturbation and so on - this is a NORMAL part of being human. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that anyone who is in denial of their human sexuality is probably the one most likely to need therapy - not the other way around. For most of us there is a gender identity disphoria that we suffer from. Some apparently do not have that - they "know" what their gender is and their disphoria is about the mismatch between their "known" gender and their physical body they were born with. Well - good for them, but that does not make them special, it just means they have figured it out for themselves. They deserve congratulations in my opinion - but not special treatment. Many however, do not have it so easy. For various reasons - their disphoria is about their identity and how this manifests in their lives and how they deal with it can take on many forms.
There are many who once considered themselves to be a cross-dresser who over time come to the realization that it is more than that for them and perhaps begin to think of themselves as transsexual. For these people, they are in the process of awakening and learning about themselves and who they really are. There are some who do not ever come to this realization though and so choose stay somewhat invested in the middle, between the two gender worlds. There are some who come to the realization that its more than about dressing, but decide that they believe the best course for them is to make or reach some sort of compromise with themselves, between who they are and their life circumstances. All these people are doing what they can within the context of their own circumstances and non of them should be thrown under the bus because they didn't come to the same conclusion that someone did or in the same amount of time. In my opinion, those who have taken it upon themselves to decide for these people, based on their own experience or on the experiences of the few people that they know, what "category" or "class" or "label" of TG they should be placed in so they can choose the right derogatory remarks to make (in fact these days, simply calling them TG as though it were a slur seems to be appropriate enough) and have clear delineation between them and the place where they see themselves is just plain ugly arrogance, no matter how it is disguised.

To go further, and label someone as a fetishist (or autogynephiliac) simply because they might have sexual fantasies that involve themselves in a cross-gender role, masturbate while cross-dressed, or anything like that is just absurd. Its also ignorant, unfair and extremely judgmental.
I am growing weary of this separatist argument. Its never worked in past struggles and it wont work this time either.

We can't let the fear mongers jeer us into submission to go along with their views. I see some of the same tactics that are used by the ultra conservative religious right, some of who would like to see all trans people outlawed, to paint us all as sexual deviants and "unnatural freaks", being used by people within our own trans community to smear others in the same way.

Yes, it's sickening and disturbing to me and it makes me want to consider abandoning the online community altogether sometimes - but I am gonna hang in there because we need more moderate voices to be heard - not less.

2) You can't kill the message because you are afraid of what you think someone might do once it gets published. To do otherwise is just more fear mongering. There is enough of that going around already and I am not going to fall for that here either.

1)Though far from perfect, the revised version seems to provide a lot of freedom for individual therapists to diagnose or not diagnose a patient to have or not to have a particular disorder. There is always politics, egos and power plays involved in these types of releases - as an outsider - I can't pretend to know what those are but I am also not so stupid to believe that is not taking place here too. There are obviously mixed opinions about this - but overall I see things moving in a positive direction and do not feel threatened by the revision.
I will discuss with my therapist who's opinion I trust and value highly as she is very knowledgeable and active in this field and my final support or non- support of this will be based on the outcome of that discussion with her.
Comment by Christine Beatty on May 31, 2011 at 5:40pm
Let's not allow semantics and miscommunication to create arguments where they needn't be. With regard to a debate whether "crossdressers can become transsexuals" all I can state is my own experience. I am a postop MTF whose first evidence of a gender issue was crossdressing. So, by virtue of *behavior* I was a crossdresser, though that label ultimately did not accurately describe me. So, yes, in that sense it is possible that "crossdressers can become transsexuals." Let's not get sidetracked like that. The issue is whether we let people, supposedly doctors, claim (like Bailey does) that there is no cross-gender identification; that it's all some kind of elaborate kink.

Still can't believe that quack Blanchard on the committee. That's like inviting Timothy McVeigh on a homeland security commission.
Comment by Christine Beatty on May 31, 2011 at 7:23pm
"If you really think about it, the word 'transsexual' connotates us having a sexual attractiont towards only trans people."

That's an interesting interpretation but one that flies in the face of nearly fifty years of accepted use. If you look at the progression of the terminology, there were only "transvestites" and "transsexuals" fifty years ago. "Transgender" was first used by early (1970s) activists like Suzan Cooke in grant writing to get money for helping the non-op (or "shemale") community receive medical services and outreach. It was later claimed by Charles "Virginia" Prince to differentiate himself from transvestites. "Crossdresser" came into accepted use in the late 70s by hetero males who didn't like the fetishistic connotation nor the identification with drag queens. "Transgender" because an umbrella term in the 90s to cover the entire gender spectrum.

It is in the wide spectrum that word becomes problematic. When you describe yourself as "transgender" what meaning will anyone attribute to it? Are you a straight guy who dresses up on weekends? A female impersonator? A "she-male"? Perhaps it "shouldn't" matter how anyone identifies, but it does to many. This is especially true when it comes to employment non-discrimination legislation. An umbrella term is a double-edged sword in that respect.

With regard to the question, "when post-ops argue that their transition doesn't involve gender...then....wouldn't you then have men looking exactly like men...uhh.....with girl parts?" I would then look back on the definitions: "gender is what's between your ears and sex is what's between your legs." Since there is no operation to reassign one's gender identity, the best we have right now is surgery to reassign the sex that is assigned at birth by the delivering physician, based on a glance between the legs. I hope that clears that up.
Comment by Becky Salisbury on May 31, 2011 at 8:09pm
I just want to add on to what others are saying. Transvestism is really only considered a fetish if and only if you go to a therapist and seek help. Other wise its just getting aroused in womens clothing.

Also the word transsexual has absolutely nothing to do with having sex. It literally means "an individual who is changing their sex" Sadly the word Transgender means " an individual who is changing their gender". No sex is involved in either case.

Also Kathryn is right. These people are considered the smartest people on the planet when it comes to transsexualism. They know more about it than us even though we live it. They also base their recommendations on the DSM based on research. Which we really haven't helped our cause with. When homosexuality was removed in 1974 it basically took a large group to stand up and say we need to be researched. Transwomen won't do this because they want to be stealth after a while. In order to change their views we need to change what they see. If all they see are people walking like ducks in their research they will assume everyone who walks like a duck has a disorder. Its that easy. Everyone wants us to transgender to be an umbrella term, well now we are. Transvestites are also under that umbrella. But just like straight people, a shoe fetish is under the same umbrella for them.
Comment by Brenna Miller on May 31, 2011 at 8:24pm
I am not a member of the transgender community, but a strong supporter and advocate for anyone who lives an (I hate this term) "alternative lifestyle". Also, I use the DSM regularly, and am an addictions counselor. (Not a sex therapist or anything like that.)
I have to disagree a bit with you on a few key points.
Just to disclaime, ANY AND ALL "labels" are simply diagnoses for billing. Thats it. No matter what we have or what symptoms we carry, we all have to have a diagnosis with a corresponding number so insurance companies or private payers may be billed. Hence the NOS diagnosis for people who don't fit full criteria.
The first is in your "Subject". "Psycho" isn't a good work for anyone. Psycho in our society (at least people assume) refers to the schizophrenic or schizoid population. This isn't true. It ACTUALLY means psycho path aka sociopathic. NO ONE in the field would EVER "label" anyone a sociopath without certainty. So certain in fact, that there is NO NOS diagnosis for these people. These people go beyond all societal norms, they purposely break laws for ill humor, they hurt people, and these people are dangerous.
Second... the definition of disorder is anything that impairs comfortable functioning. In that it means something that causes anxiety which is a side effect of compulsions or obsessions. So, IF someone IS indeed experiencing anxiety from something there is a "disorder" diagnosis that goes along with it.
My last thought... Transvestic Fetishism sounds to me as just a thought, a fetish involvings transvestics. Transvestic Disorder means there is a pervasive impairment on someone's life or functioning due to transvesticism.
I hope this helps. The DSM-5 is suppose to remove flaws from previous editions. Its not meant to label or harm anyone's diagnosis, its to make the diagnosis more accurate. Also, its compiled by the greatest Psych experts in the world.
Love, Bren<3


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