All too often the APA acts in its own interests rather than in the interests of people it pathologizes.
In many ways APA is more akin to a religion than to a science. And like other religions there may be good and nice people involved in something that is systematically rotten.
Part of the problem started with the popularity of psychology and psychiatry as academic fields that were not examined with the same sort of scrutiny one would expect of a “science”.
The DSM has become a profit generating tool. Erasing individual differences and non-conformity is looked upon as a cash cow.
There are a great deal of politics involved in who among the LGBT/TQ alphabet soup gets pathologized.
Transsexuals were not in the DSM in 1973, the year they removed homosexuality from the DSM.
In 1973 transsexuals were being reviled by a number of lesbians and gay men. We were considered reactionary by lesbians, told we were the creators of gender stereotypes when we were as influenced by those patriarchal gender roles as women/girls, who were assigned female at birth. Gay men thought the only reason we got SRS was to be able to have sex with straight men. They also regularly described transsexual to female people having SRS as ditsy queens getting their cocks chopped off.
Feminists held transsexual to female people to extremely high and often contradictory standards that they didn’t hold assigned at birth female people to. It didn’t matter that AFAB women called each other girls or dressed in micro-mini dresses and wore make up as they were “socialized into that role”. This was an argument that excluded the possibility that WBTs were also subject to the same sort of generalized socialization which said this is what women do, this is how women dress and act.
Transgender wasn’t yet a functioning social construct, even though there were people who fit the earliest and most specific definition of transgender.
Sex Reassignment Surgery was still considered “Experimental”.
We were screened to insure we weren’t mentally ill. This is a position we should perhaps consider reverting back to.
The accusation laid upon us was that we read the texts and rehearsed our stories to fit what the doctors wanted.
While that sounds good, it isn’t accurate. Other than Dr. Benjamin’s book we had Green and Money’s book, Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment. Benjamin’s book was often our first step in self-discovery while Green & Money provided us with nut and bolt information we could give doctors regarding things like hormone dosages as well as information regarding what we were doing with our bodies or perhaps more accurately what we wanted from the surgeons.
Most of the doctors were male and thought that any person assigned male at birth would be insane to want to be reassigned female via sex change surgery. Can we say, “Projection of their castration anxiety”?
But there was something else working. Here were a bunch of people who often had interrupted educations telling doctors in fairly abstract terms what transsexualism was all about. We were the experts, they weren’t.
Pathologizing us was a way for doctors to regain the upper hand.
But GID was also a way for surgeons performing SRS to continue to do so in the face of a rising tide of opposition from the Christian right wing, which was becoming an increasingly thuggish force in American politics and which was exerting a great deal of pressure upon the University hospitals to end their SRS programs.
Transgender Inc was the enemy of transsexual to female people right from the start. Virginia Prince started laying the ground work for our being pathologized years before becoming Virginia (living as transgender).
The organizations founded by Prince were part of pushing the whole gender line. The idea that transsexualism was all about gender.
They have also pushed the idea that there was one community and that community was “Transgender”. The idea that transsexuals are just transvestites that went too far is straight from Virginia Prince.
GID actually encompasses far more oppressive terminology and ideas that are a cancer within the transsexual community.
The idea that some who get SRS aren’t really transsexual because they did this, that or the other thing.
I’m an existentialist the proof is in the doing not the claiming of an identity.
As for things like gender identity confusion. I can see a point when I was “confused” due to lack of a vocabulary with which to articulate my feelings. Confused in the face of the seeming impossibility. But this is something that is resolved by coming out and short of detransing, gender identity confusion doesn’t much apply to post-SRS women and men.
As for the sexuality of women born transsexual. Well, our having a sexuality is problematic according to so many people I can almost understand people saying that, “It isn’t about sex, it is about gender.” But that right there is allowing our having the same sorts of sexual feelings that cis-sex/gender people have to be perversified. You have BBLand Z as well as those who are sucked into the BBL & Z AGP/AP paradigm claiming that being one or the other validates their being transsexual. Then you have one of the self proclaimed “classic transsexuals” who claims that she is one of the only real transsexuals since she was totally asexual prior and according to one of the right wing mental illness pushers (Lionel Ovesey) having sex with anyone prior to SRS means you are a pervert and not a real transsexual.
Sometimes… I swear we are our own worst enemies.
I’ve listened to too many people pre-op TS and TG who hang their legitimacy on that damned GID diagnosis. They are perhaps legitimately afraid the forces of conservative darkness will use removing GID from the DSM as a path to denying them access to medical care and legal rights.
On the other hand, Jesse Helms saw to it GID was explicitly excluded from the Americans with Disabilities Act to prevent the AWDA from offering non-discrimination protections.
Now it is being used to exclude TS/TG folks from the repeal of DADT. So, ending DADT is another act that protects gay and lesbian people while leaving TS/TG people over in the corner fuming about how the L/G community has betrayed us once again.
My partner, Tina has always said, “There is no future in being the “T” in LGBT.”
Their understanding of transsexual to female people and our needs seems to begin and end with drag queens. Our brothers seem to fare better in their relationship with the queer alphabet but none of us fare particularly well.
What pisses me off big time is how I went and marched as well as argued for the removal of homosexuality from the DSM but haven’t seen a whole lot of lesbians or gay men arguing for the removal of GID from the DSM.
In fact there is a substantial segment of the “Lesbian Community” that is as hateful towards us as anyone of the Christo-Fascists in the “Kill the Gays Movement”.
I’m almost afraid that when the struggle to pass ENDA is again brought to the forefront TS/TG people will yet again be a bargaining chip to be discarded because after all we are mentally ill. Just look at what the DSM and the equivalent of Charles Socarides and Joseph Nicolosi have to say about us.
Shit we even have sisters who find validation in Bailey, Blanchard, Rekers, Lawrence, Zucker and Ovesey.
I fear GID being in the DSM poses a serious road block to any chance of TS/TG people making progress in the pursuit of non-discrimination laws or other matters of social justice and equality.