Transgender people get a status update

From The Guardian UK:

The term ‘gender identity disorder’ is being replaced with ‘gender dysphoria’ in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists. But the move has split the trans community

Posted by Paris Lees
Sunday 9 December 2012

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) no longer sees transgender people as disordered. Well, sort of.

Gender identity disorder (GID) – the psychiatric term given to people who wish to undergo gender reassignment – is being dropped from its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Say hello instead to gender dysphoria, “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender”. Hurrah! Gender identity disorder is dead, long live gender dysphoria! Or something like that.

The move has split the trans community. Many claim gender dysphoria describes the mental pain they feel about their birth sex, and the model does provide grounds for treatment through the NHS and progressive medical insurance. Still, others ask, must we categorise trans people’s discomfort?

As a student I developed social phobia and stayed indoors for weeks. Back then I didn’t “pass” so well and would sometimes get street insults such as “tranny!” or “Are you a bloke?” (It’s always “bloke” in these situations, never “man”.) When friends asked me why I didn’t visit, I told them I had problems leaving the house. Did I have a problem, though? Or was it just a rational response to abuse?

Labelling, most trans people agree, is tricky. Previous DSMs classed a range of behaviours as “disordered” – including homosexuality until the 1970s. And today you can be diagnosed with a plethora of psychological conditions that apparently didn’t exist 40 years ago. Psychiatrists had yet to dream them up.

In a petition denouncing the APA’s desire to medicalise natural human variation, academic Y Gavriel Ansara argues that “pathologising human expressions, identities and experiences harms civil rights and violates international human rights standards”. The manual, he says, ignores evidence from various cultures that celebrate trans identities, rather than see them as problem.

Then there’s US sexologist Ray Blanchard, best known for his … well, problematic concept of autogynyphelia: the idea that trans women are actually men who feel attracted to their female-selves. Yes, really. Blanchard has expanded the DSM’s “paraphilia” section (where crimes such as paedophilia and exhibitionism go) to include transvestic disorder. That’s cross-dressing to you and me and, according to Blanchard and the APA, there are two types – fetishism and autogynephilia. That’s not all: “transvestic disorder can be applied to any person who is sexually active while wearing clothing incongruent with their birth-assigned sex.” So female-born humans who wear “men’s” clothes while aroused will have “autoandrophilia”. Annie Lennox, in a suit, feeling raunchy? Androphile! Just what is “incongruent” clothing is not specified by the DSM – but watch out for unisex hoodies, just in case.

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Are We Really Out of the DSM?

From Tranifesto:

by Matt Kailey
December 10, 2012

As last week went on, the headlines got curiouser and curiouser, but the general theme seemed to be “transgender is no longer in the DSM” and “being transgender is no longer a disorder” – and this was cause for a lot of celebration on Facebook and elsewhere.

But while there are some minor changes in the DSM-5 that might be cause to crack a small champagne bottle, the reality is that “transgender” never was in the DSM. Gender Identity Disorder, the official mental health diagnosis that leads some people to identify themselves as transgender or transsexual, or that leads some therapists or physicians to do so, was in the DSM (and still is, until the new version comes out next year).

And while GID is being taken out of this new edition, Gender Dysphoria is replacing it, with only some minor adjustments in diagnostic criteria. This could be considered a slight improvement, but most people diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria will likely continue to self-identify as transgender or transsexual, or will be identified as such by mental health professionals. GD appears to be basically the same diagnosis as GID – just with a new coat of paint.

“The change in title is positive, there are some minor positive changes in diagnostic criteria, and GD (will) be moved out of the sexual disorder chapter,” says Dr. Kelley Winters, founder of GID Reform Advocates and author of Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the Struggle for Dignity. “But most of the criteria, like the old GID, continue to contradict rather than support social and medical transition and describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental disorder. Blanchard’s unconscionable Transvestic Disorder has gone from bad to worse, stigmatizing even more trans and GV people.”

The good news, according to Winters, is the fact that Gender Dysphoria is being reclassified and will no longer fall under the Sexual Disorder category, which she says “represents forward progress for trans and especially transsexual individuals.”

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Dominican Republic: Transsexuals demand equal treatment, respect

From Dominica Today:

December 10, 2012

Santo Domingo.-  Dominican Republic’s Transsexual Community (Cotrave) on Monday demanded treatment without discrimination and equal access to basic services.

In a press conference, the heads of Cotrave noted that today marks the day of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for which the group’s coordinator, Nairovi Castillo, revealed that despite that 18 transsexuals and sexual workers have been killed in just one year, no indictments have been made.

He said fully into the 21st century, the country lags further and further behind in discrimination in education, health and freedom of movement for that sector.

For Eddy Flores, a mother of a transsexual, her son isn’t a monster and proudly proclaimed that she loves him the same as any other mother.

Quoted by, she said she’s outraged because she once took his son to a public hospital but had to leave because of the criticisms, and was forced to find money to go to a private clinic.

Cotrave said their organization groups more than 1,200 transgender and transvestites.

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Oregon’s governor declares December as Transgender Youth Awareness Month

From Lexie Cannes

By Lexie Cannes
December 9, 2012
Creative Commons Permission

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber proclaimed December 2012 as Transgender Youth Awareness Month. The governor also gave nod to Portland Oregon’s transgender youth organization, TransActive. I previously wrote about the great work that organization is doing for trans kids:

Here’s an excerpt from the governor’s proclamation:

“Whereas: Transgender and gender nonconforming children and youth are among the least understood, most marginalized and underserved populations of Oregonians despite constituting at least one percent of all children and youth; and

Whereas: Transgender children who receive the love and support of their families, friends, neighbors, communities, schools and culture have every opportunity to thrive and be successful; and

Whereas: Transgender adolescents deserve access to pediatric medical care and healthcare coverage that affords them the opportunity to experience physical puberty in a way that is congruent with their gender identity.

Now, Therefore: I, John A. Kitzhaber, M.D., Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby proclaim December 2012 to be Transgender Youth Awareness Month in Oregon and encourage all Oregonians to join in this observance.”


Governor Kitzhaber is now serving his third term as Oregon’s governor after 8 years out of office. My congrats to the voters of Oregon for returning someone whose top priorities include transgender kids.

A pdf of the actual proclamation:

More about TransActive:

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Conservatives Must Stop Blaming Victims for Violence Against Them

From RH Reality Check:

by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
December 10, 2012

The horrific misogyny underlying social conservatism has really come out in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Kasandra Perkins at the hands of her boyfriend (and the father of her infant daughter) Jovan Belcher. In midst of the usual defend-guns-at-all-costs excuse-mongering that conservatives engage in after every national news story about a gun death, Dana Perino latched on to the favorite strategy of anti-feminists everywhere: Blame victims of domestic violence for hitting and murdering themselves.

PERINO: I think it skirts the issue that women are victims of violence all the time –

CO-HOST: They should have guns!

PERINO: Well, maybe, or make better decisions.

The gross willingness to simply accept these kinds of crimes on display here is breathtaking in its cruelty. Fox News has been hitting hard the notion that Perkins could  have somehow saved herself if she owned her own guns, and the fact that she did own her own guns and died anyway is being ignored. But Perino’s comment just laid bare how conservatives will defend male privilege in all circumstances, even those where it leads to women being raped, beaten, and murdered.

Charles Cooke at National Review doubled down, ‘splaining that the problem isn’t that men hit women, it’s that women are so easy to hit.

Dana Perino — who, despite being a Republican, is a woman — was not “blaming” women who are the victims of abuse. She was accepting both that men who mistreat women are villains and should be prosecuted for their abuse to the fullest extent of the law and that women who choose to go back to men who abuse them are making a mistake. After all, it wouldn’t be a mistake if the man wasn’t a problem would it? If you choose to go into a war zone, do you not carry some of the blame if you get hurt? Sure, you didn’t start the war. And, yes, it would be much better if the people who did start the war were not choosing to run around killing anybody who gets in their way. But if you know that there is a war going on and you still choose to walk right into it, is this not a bad decision?

Note: Outside of trying to blame Perkins for practically murdering herself, conservatives actually tend to see men who go to fight in wars as heroes, not as idiots who can be accused of having no understanding of autonomy or personal responsibility. But then again, they are men, so their choices are interpreted in a more forgiving light than women who struggle to escape abusive relationships. Note: Perino’s female identity is not a preventive against either misogyny or victim-blaming. Indeed, women often are more eager to blame other women for being easy to hit/rape/murder, because by blaming victims, they can convince themselves they are immune to being victimized by male violence.

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Atheists, Humanists Suffer Persecution World Wide, Report

From Huffington Post:

By Robert Evans

(Reuters) – Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012”, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”

Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”

The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.

The IHEU – which links over 120 humanist, atheist and secular organizations in more than 40 countries – said it was issuing the report to mark the U.N.’s Human Rights Day on Monday.

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See also Raw Story:   Christian privilege in U.S. reinforces prejudice against non-religious: report

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Right Wing Hate Monger Matt Barber: The Freedom From Religion Foundation are Bullies Who Need to be Punched in the Mouth

Careful Matt, some atheists are gun owners with concealed carry permits and we have the same rights of self defense as everyone else.

From Right Wing Watch:

by Kyle Mantyla
on Monday, 12/10/2012

Matt Barber is quite fond of likening organizations that dare to disagree with Liberty Counsel’s radical right-wing agenda to bullies who just need to be punched in the mouth.  And that is exactly the remedy he suggests people use when dealing with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, since the group is trampling the Constitution while engaging in “religious cleansing” and needs to be taught a lesson:

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