Mila Pavlin of Trans-Ponder has posted the first video from the GID Reform Now protest at the American Psychiatric Association 2009 Annual Meeting. She edited the video as well.

Here is the approximately 7-minute speech of Madeline Deutsch, M.D., that she made to the approximately 150 protesters at the event. A transcription of a large portion of the speech begins below the video.

My name is Madeline Deutsch, M.D., and I am a queer, transgender woman. And I’m here to tell Dr. Zucker and the rest of the world that my identity is not pathological. My identity does not belong miscategorized in your book. We live in a society based on individual liberties and informed consent. Each individual should be allowed to make decisions about how to live their own life.

It is true that transgender people do, in many cases, suffer from other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, etc. But, the question is how much of that is due a stresses of being a transgender person in a transphobic world? My answer: Most, if not all of it.

I look at the world around me, and I see a world full of personality disorders, behavioral disorders, and psychotic disorders, which are undiagnosed, untreated, or unattended to. But no one forces these people into a psychotherapeutic environment. It is time to stop forcing the same on transgender people. It is time to change society, and change the system, rather placing the social, financial, and psychological burden on transgender people.

This reminds me of a Martin Luther King Jr. quotation:

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.

Resuming the transcript:

Transgender persons who transition have been shown to have [satisfaction and success rates] in up to 99% in some outcome studies. I challenge you Dr. Zucker, Dr. Blanchard, Dr. Lawrence, or anyone else to find other conditions with such his satisfaction and success rates after treatment.

We live in a world where you can walk down any city street, and buy a McDonalds’ Big Mac, A pack of cigarettes, a case of beer, and a box of Twinkies. You can do this regardless of your health status, if you have diabetes, or if you have recently have had open heart surgery at the expense of Medicare tax dollars.

In fact, a McDonalds was recently opened in the food court at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country — the Cleveland Clinic. Imagine that: In Ohio, transgender people are so pathologied, in part of as the result of the DSM-V categorization, that they are not allowed to change their birth certificate — ever! Yet, if you have open heart surgery in Ohio, at the expense of taxpayers, you may stop by the hospital cafeteria on your way out for a big make and fries.

We need to change these double standards; we need to change the system.

This reminds me of another Martin Luther King Jr. quotation:

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

[More transcription of the speech below the fold.]

The argument that we need to be in the DSM for insurance purposes are often flawed. As I mentioned, earlier, tobacco, alcohol, fast foods are all for sale on any block in this or any other city. Kaiser Permanente, has an extensive smoking cessation support program. Literally, billions of Medicaid and Medicare dollars are spent annually on treating the…effects of  these harmful habits. So why do we continue to allow the sale of toxic substances and then pay billions of dollars in medical costs, yet refuse to cover the relatively low cost of transgender healthcare, even though its been shown to be effective. It’s time to change the system.

If you worry about insurance will not cover this, then we should work to change perception, and work change the system, not create more categories, restrictions, exclusions, and pathologisation of whatever subgroups we feel are not yet deserving of basic civil rights, workplace protections, and healthcare…

This time, a Bayard Rustin quotation:

When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.

I only transcribed about half of the speech. I would hope that you would listen to the rest of what Dr. Deutsch has to say about the DSM and how Gender Identity Disorder (GID). If you’re lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and come out since 1973, you likely haven’t experienced the pathologization of your LGBT experience — you haven’t had the majority culture oppress your community as a group because of your identity. This is exactly what is still happening to trans people, and will continue if GID isn’t reformed for DSM-V.

But you should listen and remember that your trans brothers and sisters — like me — deserve more than pathologization of our lives. And, if DSM-V still pathologizes us for being trans — well, trans people like me deserve better. We deserve basic civil rights, employment and housing protections, and adequate healthcare that recognizes the realities of our lives without pegging us for the rest of our lives as being disordered.


Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen