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Psychiatric Times: "Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?"

From MedPage Today‘s APA: Major Changes Loom for Bible of Mental Health:

Some familiar disorders may be dropped and diagnostic criteria for others are in line for substantial revision in the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

Schizoaffective disorder and gender identity disorder are among those that may be on the chopping block, according to members of the working groups leading the revision who spoke here at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

…The elimination of homosexuality as a mental illness in the third DSM edition issued in the 1970s, for example, is now widely viewed as a watershed development in changing society’s view from outright hostility to varying degrees of acceptance.

…A four-member group has been charged with developing recommendations and two of its members appeared at a separate forum here.

As described by its chairwoman, Peggy Cohen-Kettinis, Ph.D., of VU University in Amsterdam, the group is facing three main options: keep gender identity disorder approximately as it is, jettison it entirely, or change the name and diagnostic criteria.

From Psychiatric Times‘s Lois Wingerson at Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm?:

As transgender activists protested outside the American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting, speakers at the meeting were presenting on the same topic: gender identity disorder (GID). Some of their words would add clinical weight to the political slogans.

Some of the speakers are activists themselves, including Rebecca Allison, MD, cardiologist who is transgender, widely published author Sarah Hoffman, whose son is gender variant, and Hewlett-Packard engineer Kelley Winters, PhD, founder of GID Reform Advocates. Winters1 has called on the APA to use the DSM-V revision to affirm that “in the absence of dysphoria, gender identity and expression that vary from assigned birth sex are not, in themselves, grounds for diagnosing a mental disorder.”

Some mental health professionals made the same point in their own presentations. Sidney W. Ecker, MD, a former clinical professor of urology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, and chief of urology at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, was scheduled to review studies documenting that factors that influence gender identity are present before birth. While social and hormonal influences act later during childhood, he wrote, “gender identity is determined before and persists despite these effects.”2

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, Calif, had a message more difficult for psychiatrists to hear. “The mental health profession has been consistently doing harm to children who are not ‘gender normal,’ and they need to retrain,” she told Psychiatric Times. Ehrensaft has specialized in therapy for foster children as well as for children with gender issues…

Trans-Ponder‘s Jayna L-Pavlin and Mila Pavlin have promised us some video from the protest after they’ve processed it.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a message that the approximately 150 GID Reform Now were sending to the American Psychiatric Association:

“We got homosexuality out of the DSM because of protests at the APA,” [Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California] pointed out. “Now it’s time to do the same with GID.”


Further reading:

* The Advocate: Trans Activists Protest APA Conference



* Framing Gender Identity Disorder In DSM-V

* Unwanted Endorsement?

* Protesters To Call For Reform Of Gender Disorders At American Psychiatric Association Convention

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Autumn Sandeen

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