Skip to comments.Gender Identity Disorder: Has Accepted Practice Caused Harm? (Next on the list)
Posted on 05/22/2009 2:17:14 PM PDT by Maelstorm
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.
When she trained in the late 1960s, Ehrensaft said, the attitude of psychiatrists who taught her about such matters was that children with gender identity issues other than normative are confused and are suffering from dysphoria and need to be reoriented. That is diametrically opposed to what has been found since, she added.
To document the harm that has been done, she cited a January 2009 article in Pediatrics that found homosexual and bisexual young adults to have highly significant increases in a history of depression, illegal drug use, unprotected sex, and attempted suicide if their parents had rejected their sexual orientation.3 That study, in turn, cites numerous others over the prior decade with similar results, although none had previously examined parental rejection.
Ehrensaft said she would advise psychiatrists at her presentation that their role today is to help children understand their gender identitywhich may not be what the birth certificate saysand to support rather than pathologize or malign their parents. Theres more evidence of harm now than even 10 years ago, she added, and also a developing field of practice that clearly demonstrates means of helping these kids.
Protestors are also focusing on the fact that the DSM-V Task Force on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders is being led by Kenneth Zucker, PhD, psychologist-in-chief and head of the gender identity service in the child, youth, and family program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as well as professor in the departments of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Toronto. Zucker has been on the record as saying that parents and clinicians should work to socialize very young children who behave in ways discordant with their physical gender so that they come to identify with itbut that teens who have not done so should be helped to adjust to their discordant gender identity.
A program at Childrens National Medical Center in Washington, DC, takes a different approach, offering in-person and online support groups to help families adjust to and help their children work through their own gender identity issues. Edgardo Menvielle, MD, MSHS, director of the program, was curious whether children seen in Washington have different mental health profiles than kids involved with the Toronto program. Based on Child Behavior Checklist ratings, he reported that the Washington youth showed less pathological tendencies, suggesting that peer support may lessen manifestations of pathology in the child.4
Speaking by telephone before the conference, Menvielle hastened to distance himself from that conclusion. The implications are not very clear, he said. Were dealing with a population that appears healthier overall, but it could be that we attract different families.
Menvielle also said there is a lot of anger about these issues, and added, I hope I dont receive any tomatoes.
Psychologist Ehrensaft said shes eager to see studies that compare adults who received treatments intended to normalize their gender identities as children with those treated in more accepting environments. Meanwhile, she said, there is a move afoot to change the membership of the Task Force so that it is more balanced. She added that she hopes the protests do succeed in reorienting psychiatrists thinking about GID.
We got homosexuality out of the DSM because of protests at the APA, she pointed out. Now its time to do the same with GID.
Thank God I'm drinking ... it's so much easier to puke
I meant GAY and GIDDY
Won’t be long before pedophilia is normalized
What these activists don’t seem to realize is that simply giving a clinical name to the phenomenon of wanting to be other than the sex you were born with is a huge step forward in its being accepted by the community at large. For we no longer live in the Dark Ages when “homosexuality” was a mental disease and society was justified in locking homos up so they would infect the rest of us, or whatever it is we did. We live in an age (maybe a dark one as well, but you can never know whether you’re living in a dark age. That has to be decided by people looking back on you.) when mental disease has no stigma. Or at least no more stigma than the common cold.
Disease isn’t the fault of the sufferer. Maybe it makes them more noble, even. Anyway, naming the disease gives it legitimacy. No longer is it socially acceptable to call them perverts (though the term would literally still apply). And what’s better, naming the disease gives the “cure” credence. Now boy-girls and girl-boys can undergo surgery in the open, with professionals, probably paid for by insurance.
The next step, of course, is to stop refering to it as a disorder and proceed to call it just another lifestyle. But remember activists. The medical community dubbing it a legitimate disease was a pretty decent way to get people to accept it as normal.
1. Boys who think they are girls, but like boys
2. Boys who think they are girls but like girls
3. Girls who think they are boys but like boys
4. Girls who think they are booys but like girls
Then you have those who dress as the other sex for fun and can either be gay or straight, or when they dress up can be gay or straight in character.
Wasn't that called being a tom girl?
I’m beginning to think that is the ultimate goal.
“Wasn’t that called being a tom girl?”
Yeah, except tom girls didn’t build themselves fake penises.
Or did they?
Mainstreaming mental illness.
taking it out of the DSM doesn’t make them well. A quick look at the rates of drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, suicide, you name it, confirms that these people are in need of help.
Hey, why not. If it is acceptable for a male to be in a female’s body, and female to be in a male’s body, then why would not be acceptable to make the claim of an adult being in juvenile’s body, and thereby capable of mature love. I don’t see how they can avoid that if the accept the premise of the first.
I liked GIGGY better.
Silly you...it means that *we* are in of help since our bigotry is causal to these things...
What’s next, POD — property ownership disorder?
What’s next, POD — property ownership disorder?
I have a former brother-in-law who is no longer... never mind. English grammar can’t even handle these situations.