Slave Like Acquiescence to the GID Diagnosis

Accepting, no claiming an absolute need for GID to remain in the DSM because otherwise people will not get health insurance coverage for treatment is akin to a slave not wanting freedom because then the master will no longer take care of him or her.

It is like going down to the crossroads and selling your soul for a pittance without even acquiring the skills too become the father of modern blues guitar playing.

About 20 years or so ago I read a piece by the late philosopher, Foucault regarding the evolution of homosexual as paradigm from sodomite abomination to sexual pervert to mentally ill homosexual and finally out and proud gay liberationists.  From Foucault I learned the power “experts” assert in altering the way we view ourselves.

In the 1970s I lived on Sunset Blvd in LA and considered myself a serious student of film.  In the later part of that decade we had the first gay and lesbian film festivals.  At one of those film festivals I first saw the work of Rosa von Praunheim,  an openly gay German film director and gay rights activist.  I remember being particularly struck by his film, “It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Live”.

Adding Foucault to the liberationist attitudes of the 1970s creates an ideological synergy that makes it impossible to see GID as anything but a highly oppressive paradigm.

McHugh, whose Taliban Catholicism was responsible for Johns Hopkins discontinuing its sex reassignment program, played a crooked game with a marked deck right from the start.  The Meyer’s “study” had a pre-determined outcome.

Most of us never expected SRS to change us into totally different people with completely different life histories or prospects.  We wanted to feel whole within our own skins.  Any reasonable person would or should realize the absurdity of expecting even such a radically transformative process as sex reassignment surgery to erase the scars of childhoods filled with abuse and alienation.

But that is exactly what McHugh and the Meyers study set as the definition of a successful outcome.  With the standard being conformity to a white, middle class heteronormative feminine mystique ideal.  And they expected this at a point when feminism was cresting at the high point of the Second Wave.  Most post-SRS women that I knew at that point were as caught up in the redefining of what it meant to be a woman in modern society as their assigned female at birth peers.

To paraphrase von Praunheim, it was not the women born with transsexualism who were perverse but rather those who were authoring the definition.  Those who were writing us into the DSM were the same lot of religious fanatics who were fighting a rear guard battle against the removal of homosexuality from the DSM.  They represented the vanguard of the Moral Majority, the predecessors of all the Catholic led neo-con reactionary forces of today who are fighting same sex marriage.  Indeed one has only to compare their use of various framing templates to see the interchangability of their rhetorical models.

The same world that is going to end if pre-SRS transsexual to female people and TG women use the ladies room is the same as the reason to not pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

In the Meyer’s study only heterosexual marriage to a man was given a positive of +2 points, living alone was given a neutral score of 0, living with another women, even if only as room mates with separate bedrooms was given a -2 points.  At a time when many women were choosing to not marry or marry at a later age.

Why do we put up with this self negation of our real life experiences?  For a pot of Fool’s Gold?  What is the payoff?  As I said earlier this journey to the crossroads doesn’t seem to offer much except permanent stigma.

Indeed much of our acceptance of this stigmatizing label seems based on fear.  They might not pay for SRS or other treatment if we don’t let them treat us as though we are mentally ill.  But most often within the US they do not do that now and even the craven pandering liberals who support a single payer option are too cowardly to defend things like contraception, abortion and SRS out of fear that the worshipers of the imaginary sky daddy will get their panties in a knot over government support of something even minimally sex positive.

This is but one element as to why GID is in the DSM.  Another more more suspect reason has to do with the viewing of people with transsexualism as consumers.  Our corporate/consumer based economy is based on separating the money earned by workers and channeling it back to the more powerful.  The use of GID creates a mandatory consumption that requires us to pay for the indoctrination into the ideology of being mentally ill in order to acquire the physical medical treatment we require.

Mandatory consumption of psychiatric services for treatment that may be neither necessary nor desired whether or not that treatment is reimbursed by an insurance provider or not should be anathema  to those who do not consider themselves to be mentally ill as it requires them to act as co-conspirator in the perpetration of a vile fiction.  This goes far beyond the mere being compelled to pay a bribe to the psychiatric professional in order to gain access to the required medical treatment.  Indeed even if the money paid to these psychiatric professionals were treated as a loathsome and unethical  bribe, it would be far better than what the person with transsexualism is asked to do which is to take upon themselves the label of mental illness.

Ask someone like Dylan Scholinski as to the difficulty in escaping having been labeled as mentally ill based on a diagnosis of GID.

There was a more enlightened time before Reagan, Thatcher and the religious fundamentalist backlash of the 1980s when transsexualism was treated as transsexualism and not exoticized  into some form of bizarre mental illness.  Indeed, I went to several psychiatrists at the behest of social workers in Berkeley while trying to build a case for Medicaid coverage of SRS. The experiences validated conversations I had with Dr. Evelyn Hooker.  The Turing test for a mental illness diagnosis has to be based not on some scripted DSM entry but rather on an unbiased evaluation.  Granted appearance plays a role in such an evaluation and there is a far greater disconnect between interviewing someone who looks like a member of the sex they are transitioning to and some wne who looks like a member of the sex they are transitioning from.

But here the principle of prior assumption of mental illness prejudices the interview.  If the assumption is that of mental illness then nothing will dissuade from mental illness and the assumption will over ride all reasonableness on the part of the person being evaluated.

Thus we become the crazy people force to argue our case for sanity in front of a judge who wrote the very definition of our being crazy.

Further the assumption of GID as settling the matter precludes study that might show innate causes such as the influence of environmental hormonal receptor disruptors.  Or transsexualism as intersex conditon.  While the maintenance of GID helps to reinforce all sorts of people’s ideologies of gender and validate their Ph.Ds it does so at the expense of our oppression.

Out of Work, Too Down to Search On, and Uncounted

New York Times Labor Day 09-07-09

They were left out of the latest unemployment rate, as they are every month: millions of hidden casualties of the Great Recession who are not counted in the rate because they have stopped looking for work.

But that does not mean these discouraged Americans do not want to be employed. As interviews with several of them demonstrate, many desperately long for a job, but their inability to find one has made them perhaps the ultimate embodiment of pessimism as this recession wears on.

Some have halted their job searches out of sheer frustration. Others have decided it makes more sense to become stay-at-home fathers or mothers, or to go back to school, until the job market improves. Still others have chosen to retire for now and have begun collecting Social Security or disability benefits, for which claims have surged.

Rick Alexander, a master carpenter in Florida who has given up searching after months of effort, said the disappointment eventually became unbearable.

“When you were in high school and kept asking the head cheerleader out for a date and she kept saying no, at some point you stopped asking her,” he said. “It becomes a ‘why bother?’ scenario.”

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I have known way too many sisters both transsexual and transgender who are overly educated and under employed in the best of times.  The retail clerks with master degrees.  The sex workers with BAs.

The unemployment stats for TS/TG folks are up in the 50-60% rates in places where these stats are kept.