It's nice to be in charge.
Notice that not one of these statements mention research data, advances in medical technology, or achieving the best possible treatment outcomes. Everyone knows that the medical categorization of transsexuals -- mentally ill vs a biologic phenomenon -- is entirely a political decision, made by the leadership of the American Psychiatric Association and WPATH.
Those leaders chose mental illness in order to achieve their own personal political ends. They justify their decision with the excuse that DSM coding is the only way transsexuals can get medical access.
Their excuse, of course, is ridiculous. A coding book doesn't determine an individual's diagnosis; the diagnosis determines the code. Demanding the use of a psychiatric code blocks access to medical care for transsexuals. It also undermines insurance coverage for any medical treatment that might be offered.
Transsexuality can be coded medically as ICD-10 Q52 (male) or Q55 (female). No one's permission is required.
The real question is why didn't the mental illness myth fade into oblivion decades ago?
Transsexuals will never achieve quality of life and civil protections until the mental illness myth does go away.
In her authoritative book Transgender Emergence, Arlene Lev, LCSW, devotes an entire chapter to criticizing the DSM & WPATH's “mental illness” approach. Here are some excerpts:
[Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families, Haworth Press (2004), see especially Chapter 5, Diagnosis and Transgenderism: The Creation of Pathology; pp 147-181.]
“The diagnostic system as it is currently organized might be creating more problems than it is offering solutions. The diagnostic process currently insists that a client must be diagnosed mentally ill in order to be approved for treatment….” (p 179)
“This raises the question of whether it is possible to protect civil liberties for gender-variant people, or to develop such liberties if gender-variant people’s identities are based on receiving psychopathological diagnoses.
“Reform of the GID diagnosis is necessary or the basic civil liberties for transgendered and transsexual people will remain elusive.” (p 180)
“In order to receive medical treatment, transgendered and transsexual people must prove themselves ‘disordered.’ In order to be granted civil rights, transgendered and transsexual people must prove themselves mentally sane.” (p 181)
Yet Arlene Lev was on the committee that wrote Version 7 of the WPATH Standards of Care.
The Fenway Guide is a 500+ page textbook on all aspects of LGBT medical care, published for medical practitioners by the prestigious American College of Physicians (2008). This is what it has to say:
“Current clinical thinking suggests that gender dysphoria is not a sign of mental pathology. However, cultural intolerance can leave many transgender people with few social and financial supports needed to respond to the medical and emotional challenges of being gender variant; consequently, mental health issues often arise.” (p 360)
“On the positive side, inclusion of this category [in the DSM] legitimizes gender research; it also validates the need for clinical care, which may in turn help facilitate change in medical insurance policies that currently exclude coverage for care related to gender identity issues. …
“On the negative side … it suggests that gender identities held by transgender people are not legitimate, but instead represent perversion, delusion, or immature development.” (pp 336-337)
“While there is currently a movement toward removing gender identity disorder from the DSM, this designation continues to be listed as a bona fide diagnosis to this day. This inclusion is troubling, because it implies that people with gender identity issues are mentally unbalanced, contributes to a lack of willingness to consider prescribing hormone treatment, and dismisses sex reassignment surgeries as purely “elective” or “cosmetic” procedures.” (p 5)
And to top it off, Dr Kelly Winters has created an entire website that discredits the “mental illness” approach – along with the names of scores of professionals & social leaders who agree. [See http://gidreform.org] The following is her vision for the future:
“The vision of GID Reform
“It is time for the medical professions to affirm that difference is not disease, nonconformity is not pathology, and uniqueness is not illness.
“It is time for culturally competent psychiatric policies that recognize the legitimacy of cross-gender identity and yet distinguish gender dysphoria as a serious condition, treatable with medical procedures.
“It is time for diagnostic criteria that serve a clear therapeutic purpose, are appropriately inclusive, and define disorder on the basis of distress or impairment and not upon social nonconformity.
“It is time for medical policies which, above all, do no harm to those they are intended to help.
Dr Kelly Winters was on the International Advisory Group for the WPATH Standards.
The third major guide to transgender health is The Transgender Child, Cleis Press, Inc (2008). The book's authors [Stephanie Brill (author & cofounder of Gender Spectrum Education and Training) & Rachel Pepper (Coordinator of LGBT Studies at Yale University) wrote:
“Many people do not believe that being transgender is a 'mental disorder,' and they want [Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder -- GID] to be reconsidered, and possibly removed from classification in the DSM, as homosexuality was in 1973. Until GID is removed from the DSM, being transgender will be seen as a psychiatric condition and not a medical condition. A GID diagnosis allows for insurance coverage for psychotherapy, but it effectively prevents insurance coverage for gender-related medical care.” (p 200)
The New Gender Paradigm
Everyone's been told that transsexuality is a mental illness -- a belief that has brought a great deal of misery to the trans community. Here's how the whole crazy thing works:
(1) Psychiatry's DSM is supposed to provide a diagnosis
It sort of tells who's transsexual and who isn't.
(2) Meet WPATH
They're the people who dictate how transsexuality should be treated.
They also determine public policy regarding the gender community.
(3) On this page, read what the experts actually think
The fact is, no expert really believes that transsexuality is a mental illness.
...Even though those same experts are writing the mental illness policies.
(4) The Mental Illness Myth reflects the religious beliefs of a few well-placed individuals
WPATHis a powerful international organization considered by most to be the Final Word on the diagnosis, treatment, and origins of “transgender” individuals. Taking their cues from Psychiatry's DSM, WPATH has ingrained the mental illness myth into healthcare, government policy and the public at large. ...Reporters consult WPATH before they start reporting. Legislators use WPATH quotes and terminology in their laws. Even the Pope used the DSM & WPATH Guidelines to exclude transsexuals from Catholicism.
WPATH's messages that It's all right to be mentally ill and Even mentally ill people have rights have only led to social rejection, religious exclusion, unemployment, poverty, violence, denial of civil rights, and a ban from health care.
Strangely, WPATH's own leadership predicted that adhering to the Mental Illness Myth would be catastrophic for the trans community. It turns out that nobody really believes that transsexuality is a mental illness.
The experts have spoken: A "Really a Man with a Mental iIlness" categorization leads inevitably to trans exclusion, legalized discrimination, harassment, bad healthcare ...And locked restroom doors. But WPATH and the APA have also spoken; and so-called "advocacy" groups feel bound to obey. For example, Parents and Family of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG: www.pflag.org) is a large nationwide organization with local chapters in most cities. It's an important source of information for parents, families and schools on LGBT issues. And so they obediently teach parents that their children need a psychiatrist:
"In 2013 the APA replaced the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder with Gender Dysphoria in the DSM V. Explaining that replacing the term 'disorder' with ''dysphoria' was both consistent with current 'sexology terminology, as well as less connotative of a patient having a disorder, the APA stated that it was nonetheless still keeping it as a "psychiatric diagnosis." The APA stated that "...removing the condition as a psychiatric diagnosis -- as some had suggested -- would jeopardize access to care.... Many of the treatment options for this condition including counseling, cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender. To get insurance coverage for the medical treatments, individuals need a diagnosis."
Conditions will never change until someone stands up and says, NO MORE!