TGEU call for action/support – “Stop Trans Pathologization 2012″

From Helen G at Bird of Paradox

August 29, 2009

STP-2012 logoTGEU has issued a statement in support of the international campaign by the Trans Depathologization Network for the removal of the Gender Identity Disorder category from the international diagnosis manuals (the DSM and the ICD).

The five demands of the STP-2012 campaign are as follows:

  1. The retirement of GID from the international diagnosis manuals (their next versions DSM-V and ICD-11)
  2. The retirement of sex mention in the official documents
  3. The abolition of the binary normalization treatments to intersex people
  4. Free access to hormonal treatments and surgery (without the psychiatric monitoring)
  5. The fight against transphobia: working for education, social and labour insertion for trans people

In addition, TGEU is calling for these additional actions:

  • The creation of an alternative non-pathologizing category in the ICD 11, recognizing that our gender identities are not mental health disorders while still enabling hormonal and surgical medical assistance to be provided for those trans-people who seek such assistance.
  • The funding of hormonal and surgical medical assistance for trans people by national health insurance.
  • The creation of processes for changing legal name and gender without compulsory treatment or any form of diagnosis.

TGEU also adds:

In 2008 the Steering Committee of TGEU already published a declaration, stating “that the stigmatization, which in part is grounded in the mistaken assumption that gender variance is prima facie a medical disorder, is discriminatory” and demanding that “[a]ny revision of the DSM and the ICD must be carried out with full compliance to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (see Yogyakarta Principle 18 “Protection from Medical Abuse”).

The Steering Committee of TGEU very much welcome and support the position taken by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in his Issue Paper “Human Rights and Gender Identity”:

“The first aspect in discussing health care for transgender persons is the existence of international and national medical classifications defining transsexuality as a mental disorder… Such classifications may become an obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights by transgender people, especially when they are applied in a way to restrict the legal capacity or choice for medical treatment… Alternative classifications should be explored in close consultation with transgender persons and their organisations. From a human rights and health care perspective no mental disorder needs to be diagnosed in order to give access to treatment for a condition in need of medical care.”

Campaign Background:

The campaign “Stop Trans Pathologization: Goal 2012″ of the Trans Depathologization Network aims at initiating and monitoring actions directed against the “Gender Identity Disorder” category in international classifications of diseases, especially focusing.

The revision of the DSM IV will finish in 2012 with the publication of the new DSM V. The Network has intensified its actions, and decided to have coordinated demonstrations and other actions demanding the depathologization of trans identities in as many cities as possible around the globe always in October until the year 2012.

A joint action among French and Spanish trans groups in 2007 was the starting point of the Trans Depathologization Network. Since then they have broadened their scope and have continued organizing demonstrations against trans pathologization in every October. In 2008, already 11 European cities participated in joint actions. This year the set date for demonstrations in cities worldwide is October 17th. To date, more than 80 trans organizations and allies from more than 40 cities in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe have confirmed their participation or expressed their support and many more are expected to join in over the next few weeks.

Click here to download a PDF (in English) of the TGEU’s supporting statement

The Two Way Street of Compromise

So far I’ve chastised post-ops for their name calling that goes beyond just TS vs. TG . The name calling has gone beyond TS vs TG to become one of I’m better than other TSs because I’m straight or “classic”. Time for the name calling to stop.

Yet for an issues based coalition to work on specific issues to transcend the inter group fighting perhaps it is time for some of the proponents of Transgender as Umbrella to give up some deeply cherished thinking  too.

One of those ideas is that we are all transgender. What ended the fighting between gay men and lesbians was gay men accepting that many lesbians  felt gay as umbrella was erasing them and their uniqueness.  Gay and Lesbian came about as a way of recognizing there were differences even as there were common political goals.  Transsexual and Transgender represent the same sort of compromise and no they will not satisfy every one particularly those who see their transness as a post-modern rebellion against the confines of some sort of ideological gender binary.

Transgender and pre-op people need to stop telling post-ops their surgery really doesn’t make a difference.  People who will swear to that belief right up until they go under sedation on the operating room table and often retract it as soon as they have healed enough to pee normally, shower and have sex.  SRS does make a difference.

Speaking of SRS.  In exchange for our stopping comments and name calling that does not respect your hard earned right to not be called by pronouns of your assigned at birth gender, how about you losing the right wing Christo-fascist insults regarding our post-SRS sex organs.  It has taken two parties to make this into a war and if you are insulted by “men in dresses” maybe you should ponder regarding our feelings about “inverted penises” and “artificial vaginas”

A lot of the post-modern stuff is pretty dubious.  Some of gender is probably innate.  Those of you who are comfortable with living a gender role not associated with your birth sex may well have as valid a claim to innateness as transsexuals who get SRS have.  But they are probably two separate conditions and not different reactions to the the same condition.  Respect runs both ways.

I am a child of the 1960s.  I didn’t go to Woodstock as I was too busy transitioning in Berkeley that summer and my limited resources were devoted to making that real.  I was part of an Action Faction, the equivalent of today’s Black Blocs.

I have a deep anarchist streak.  Expecting freedom and equal treatment doesn’t require a whole lot of justification particularly in the US and other places with democratic structures.  Freedom is a given even when those who do not want you exercising those freedoms try to intimidate you out of them.  I’m old enough to have been harassed and arrested for violation of rules on gender appropriate clothing.  We didn’t use a whole lot of rationalizations about gender identity to fight those laws.  We used the idea of freedom and not harming anyone.

Some of the arguments about the primacy of gender over sex in defining who is a man or who is a woman have a serious potential to be used against women who work in non-traditional fields and who live non-heteronormative lives.  If it is transphobic to call people on these concerns it is misogynistic to ignore them.  Particularly when the right to not conform is as basic a freedom as free speech.

A transinclusive  ENDA and transinclusive hate crimes laws are aimed at legitimizing the right to not conform to stereotypical gender roles and still have your rights respected.  They protect both transgender people and transsexual people because even those who assimilate easily can be outed should they ever have to press a sexual harassment case.  Companies will hire investigators to probe the life of any litigant and even post-SRS folks are currently unprotected.

As I have said to post-op sisters there are real enemies out there including Porno Pete LaBarbara and the entire religious right.  It would be better by far to stop the inter group horizontal hostility and focus on working for things that benefit our own groups even if the needs of post-SRS people born with transsexualism tend to be different form those who are either transgender or pre-op.

This “Real ID” as well as the continuing pathologizing of both transsexualism and transgenderism by the APA are prime examples of issues that oppress or potentially oppress both our groups.

As a 1960s radical I remember Dr. King being murdered in 1968 and how his murder came almost a year to the day after he started speaking out against the war in Vietnam.  How by that time he had come to see that poor people no matter their race all suffered the same sorts of oppression and should work together on fighting for things that would benefit them all.  Putting aside personal interests to fight for a common goal was also the idea of the IWW, a union for all from the early 20th century.

The powers that be love to see us fight among ourselves.  As long as we do that we are not working to improve our own lives and we are doing the work they would have to do by keeping each other down.  That is the essence of the message Audre Lorde was communicating when she said “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”  As long as we put so much time and energy into fighting each other we will never manage to get GID out of the DSM or pass ENDA and Hate Crimes Laws.  Will never be able to move on to guaranteed health care and housing issues.

Republican Family Values

I live in Texas, I meet and listen to a lot of Republicans, I am finding the health care debate as well as the debate about economic recovery measures extremely enlightening.

Republican Family Values can be summed up as, “I got mine, screw you!”

Honestly I have never seen a more self centered group of people and I lived in Hollywood, a place many describe as the land of the lotus eaters.

It is a mind set one often finds in the poor white trash set.  One of I may be poorer than dirt with appliances and broken cars in my front yard but at least I am white and therefore better than those blacks across the street.

It is a poverty of spirit that refuses something beneficial to oneself if it might benefit the person one thinks themselves better than but who is in pretty much identical circumstances.

I hear a lot of that among sisters who should know better.

I actually hear sisters who don’t want a trans-inclusive ENDA because it would benefit the undeserving transgenders.  They use the rationale that they are women.  But many are unaware of the fact that if they find themselves in a position of being sexually harassed and file a complaint the companies will hire investigators who will discover your past history and use it to blackmail you out of a legitimate case.  Or that if you do not drop your case you may well find that laws against sexual harassment do not cover you.

Cutting off your own nose to spite your face is what my pro-union working class family used to call it.

A working class way of saying horizontal hostility.

Doing this blog I read a lot of news feeds from which I occasionally select particular items or stories. One aspect of this is awareness that both WBTs and transgender people get the Jerry Springer treatment when much of anything happens to us.  And yeah that blows.

Except for one thing when I step back and watch some of the goings on between the transgender identified and the “I am a real woman, how dare you remind me I had an operation set” it is pretty much like watching the Jerry Springer Show.

It helps prevent any of us getting anything that might just make our lives better and with the rates of transsexual and transgender unemployment in even liberal cities like San Francisco that one pretty much sucks.

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“Classic Transsexual”

I’ve been seeing this one getting a lot of air play lately and I wondered what it was code for and what particular values it embraced.

See I know what a classic guitar is.  It is one with nylon strings, 12 frets and a slotted machine head whereas my Martin has steel strings, 14 frets and a non-slotted machine head.

I know what classic cars are and if “classic transsexual”  meant someone more than 25 years post-op I wouldn’t find it problematic.

But that would preclude some of the nasty twits using it.  One in particular from San Francisco who likes writing nasty crap about me.

I noticed that some of the people using it had a seriously homophobic element to their writings.

They also displayed a propensity for obfuscation when asked for a definition. Not a good move especially in the invoking of Dr B. to some one who had him write a letter to Dr. Laub as part of her surgery recommendation.

Embracing “Classic Transsexual” is sort like embracing autogynephilia. Indeed Bailey uses it as a synonym for androphilic or homosexual transsexual. I was sort of amused to discover this one because the other couple of people I banned were self identified autogynephilics. Neither set particularly strike me as folks I would want to hang out with.

Language can be a tricky thing and it is all to easy to slip into oppressive modes of usage out of shear laziness.

I used to use primary and secondary a lot. I used them in a non prejudicial way as short hand to describe a couple of different demographic groups and because I thought them less prejudicial than the Bailey/Blanchardisms. Then I reread Stoller’s Sex and Gender and discovered the baggage those terms carried.

So now I use young emerger and middle age emerger.  A few more letters to delineate the same basic demographic sets but with less baggage.

Words have meaning, words have weight and carry concepts some more biased than others.  Anyone of any group that has had their life at one point or other affected by a trans-prefixed word has to dance on the knife edge of words and their meaning for those words can cut both ways.  It is difficult to to embrace one side of the BBZL coin without embracing the entire pile of bigoted BS.

This isn’t the first time I’ve cast a jaundiced eye on horizontal hostility and I doubt it will be the last.

Real US unemployment rate at 16 pct: Fed official

From Yahoo News

Wed Aug 26, 2:24 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The real US unemployment rate is 16 percent if persons who have dropped out of the labor pool and those working less than they would like are counted, a Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.

“If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking — so-called discouraged workers — and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent, said Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart.

He underscored that he was expressing his own views, which did “do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee,” the policy-setting body of the central bank.

Lockhart pointed out in a speech to a chamber of commerce in Chattanooga, Tennessee that those two categories of people are not taken into account in the Labor Department’s monthly report on the unemployment rate. The official July jobless rate was 9.4 percent.

Lockhart, who heads the Atlanta, Georgia, division of the Fed, is the first central bank official to acknowledge the depth of unemployment amid the worst US recession since the Great Depression.

Lockhart said the US economy was improving but “still fragile,” and the beginning stages of a sluggish recovery were underway.

“My forecast for a slow recovery implies a protracted period of high unemployment,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to stimulate jobs through additional public spending.

“Further fiscal stimulus has been mentioned, but the full effects of the first stimulus package are not yet clear, and the concern over adding to the federal deficit and the resulting national debt is warranted,” he said.

President Barack Obama’s administration has resisted calls for more public spending, arguing that the 787-billion-dollar stimulus passed in February needs time to work its way through the economy.

Lockhart noted that construction and manufacturing had been particularly hard hit in the recession that began in December 2007 and predicted some jobs were gone for good.

Prior to the recession, he said, construction and manufacturing combined accounted for slightly more than 15 percent of employment. But during the recession, their job losses made up more than 40 percent of all US job losses.

“In my view, it is unlikely that we will see a return of jobs lost in certain sectors, such as manufacturing,” he said.

“In a similar vein, the recession has been so deep in construction that a reallocation of workers is likely to happen — even if not permanent.”

Payroll employment has fallen by 6.7 million since the recession began.

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Health Reform Could Help ERA Ratification

From Women’s e-News

Run Date: 08/26/09
By Laura Callow
WeNews commentator Women’s Equality Day today commemorates U.S. women’s suffrage. It also marks the date the ERA was proposed in 1923. Laura Callow’s account of suffrage and ERA’s “invisible enemies” includes a look at today’s insurance lobby.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Today, August 26, women across the country will be celebrating Women’s Equality Day, the 89th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.

It was a hard-won victory that took 72 years to achieve, so women everywhere should do their best to honor it.

This is also the 86th anniversary of the introduction of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in 1923 by suffragist Alice Paul, who knew that suffrage ended only one of many forms of discrimination that women face.

The ERA was introduced into every Congress until it was finally approved in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification. However, Congress attached a seven year time-limit; one-seventh of the time it took to get it approved by Congress.

Opponents said this would keep the amendment “contemporaneous,” a confusing reference that has confounded the status of the ERA ever since. When the ratification process stalled at 35 states, Congress granted another three years and three months extending the time to June 1982. When that failed it appeared that ERA proponents would have to start-over.

But then came a rescue line, in 1992, when Congress approved the ratification of the Madison Amendment, first proposed in 1789, it was ratified by six states by 1800 and then lay dormant for almost 200 years before it was ratified.

Why Not the ERA?

ERA proponents asked, if an amendment like that–requiring Congress to stand for election before receiving a pay raise–could take so long, why can’t the ERA have more time?

Then with the backing of legal counsel, they decided the time limit on ERA ratification could be ignored for the following three reasons:

  1. The Constitution does not mention time limits for amendments.
  2. The ERA’s time limit is in the proposing clause ? not in the body of the amendment.
  3. Congress has already extended the time limit.

With this opinion, we embarked on a three-state strategy working for ratification in various unratified states.

Currently ratification efforts of varying degrees are ongoing in eight of 15 of those states.

Meanwhile a Start-over ERA has been reintroduced into every Congress since 1982 — most recently on July 21 of this year.

It’s such a long hard slog, we have to ask ourselves why.

Economic Historic

One answer: Powerful economic opposition, from the liquor industry prior to Prohibition to the current-day health insurance industry that fears losing its legal right to charge women higher premiums based solely on their gender.

The liquor lobby opposition began because many suffragists were also prohibitionists (social reformers who hated seeing families become impoverished by alcoholism).

The liquor industry at that time–fearing that enfranchised women would vote for prohibition–formed an anti-suffrage lobby that represented and was paid for by a levy on the brewers of beer, distillers of whiskey, and dealers who sold alcoholic beverages.

They formed alliances with manufacturing and railroad interests, each forming “mutual defense” alliances on special legislative problems. This was the early days, in other words, of what we now know as the big special-interest lobbies.

Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, claimed that combinations of these interests worked with the Republican Party in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; with the Democratic Party in Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska; and with both parties in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and New York.

‘Invisible Enemy’

Chapman Catt referred to the opposition as the invisible enemy3.

Today, many in the ERA push see another invisible enemy in today’s heath insurance industry, which can still legally discriminate against women by charging us higher rates. (See yesterday’s article on this in Women’s eNews.)

At a hearing held by Senator John Kerry, representatives of the insurance industry promised to stop using gender as a basis for setting rates, but backtracked the following week.

However, most versions of Health Insurance reform–if not all–currently contain requirements to end this form of discrimination.

If this reform can be obtained, it will remove a significant source of anti-ERA funding. And this bodes well for the ERA.

Laura Callow has been advocating for women’s rights since 1969. She continues to work for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment because she firmly believes that sex discrimination should be just as unconstitutional as discrimination on account of race, religion or national origin.

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day

In the United States, today (August 26) is Women’s Equality Day, a celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which guaranteed women  the right  to vote.

It is a mere 89 years since the ratification of that right to vote so it seems somewhat negative to point out at the time Emma Goldman dismissed the suffrage movement by saying the equivalent of, “If voting actually changed anything they would make it illegal.”

The march to equality is never finished.  It is like many things an ongoing struggle to erase many millennia of systematic oppression.  The struggle for women’s equality shares much in common with struggles against racism and classism as well as the struggle against anti-LGBT/T bigotry.

The struggle for women’s equality is a struggle against misogyny and male supremacy.  It is a struggle against institutions such as religion that serve mainly to prevent people from seeking justice within this life span.

It is a struggle against Corporate Capitalism that reduces women to demographics of consumer units to be marketed to and targeted as buyers of specialized and often times exploitatively over priced items.

It is a struggle against the Corporate marketing industry that sells us insecurity and creates fears by telling us to worry about things we had never thought to worry about.  This same marketing demands a rigid division of gender roles telling men they are superior because they will go out and indiscriminately murder the men, women and children of another nation in the name of patriotism but in actuality because these murders called war are in the interests of the rich owners of the corporations.

The struggle for equality is a struggle for equal liberation not for equal oppression or the ability to join the rich boys at the top of the ruling elites in the oppression of the people of the lower classes be they women or men.

Emma Goldman was right getting the vote did not solve much of anything, it merely marked a milestone in the struggle for liberation from the forces of oppression.

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