May 8, 2012 11 Comments
Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
GID Reform Advocates
The American Psychiatric Association announced a third and final period of public comment on proposed diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), ending June 15. Criteria for the draft diagnostic categories of Gender Dysphoria in Children and Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents or Adults (formerly Gender Identity Disorder, or GID) are unchanged from the second round proposal in May, 2011. The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup of the DSM-5 Task Force only partially responded to concerns raised about the GID diagnosis by community advocates, allies and care providers. Their specific diagnostic criteria continue to characterize gender identities and expressions that differ from birth-assigned roles as pathological and therefore contradict access to medical transition care, for those who need it, rather than lower its barriers.
Worse yet, the punitive and scientifically capricious diagnosis of Transvestic Disorder (formerly Transvestic Fetishism) offers no medical justification for its continued inclusion in the diagnostic manual, despite growing insistence on its removal. Many in the trans and allied communities are outraged at defamatory “autogynephilia”/”autoandrophilia” specifiers in this diagnosis that falsely stereotype many transsexual women and men as self-obsessed sexual fetishists. An online petition, sponsored by The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) now has over 6,700 signatures, calling for complete removal of the Transvestic Fetishism/Disorder category from the DSM.
What You Can Do Now
- Ask the APA to fix the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis– rejecting diagnostic criteria and categorical placement that currently contradict transition or depict transition itself as symptomatic of mental disorder. Ask them to clarify that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and being victims of societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology. Demand that the APA remove the defamatory Transvestic Disorder diagnosis entirely. Go to the APA DSM-5 web site, click on “register now,” create a user account and enter your statement in the box. The deadline for this third period of public comment is June 15.
- Sign the IFGE sponsored petition to remove the cruelly hurtful Transvestic Disorder category from the DSM-5.
- Ask your local, national and international GLBTQ nonprofit organizations to issue public statements to clarify that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and being victims of societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology.
- Ask mental health and medical professionals who work with the transcommunity to voice their concerns to the APA.
- Spread the word to your network of friends and allies.