Tag Archives: USA

Gender-reparative therapy

In the recent post about DSM V, I alluded to concerns within the trans community about the composition of the APA workgroups.  The opposition has many facets but a core objection is that the APA has not spoken against reparative therapy and that some workgroup members still seem to advocate reparative therapy.

Reparative therapy is a an emotive subject for trans people.  Those transitioning in middle age are very much aware of the treatment they could have expected had they transitioned (as most would have wished) in adolescence.  I’ve now found an article at the GID Reform sitewhich describes some of the horrors of raparative therapy that transsexual people have been subjected to.  This is not something which has been made up: I have trans friends who have suffered exactly this sort of treatment. 

On the same site there is also a good page on some of the problems with the DSM.


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Another anti-discrimination law revoked

Fresh on the heals of the reports from Gainesville Florida, it seems Kalamazoo, Michigan has beated Gainesville to it.   In December Kalamazoo passed an ordinance protecting LGBT rights.  Barely a month later, it’s been revoked in the face of protests.

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Gainesville again

OK I’ve found a bit more:

Firstly the Citizens for Good Public Policy have their site here, which describes what the proposed amendment will do, and links to a copy of the draft amendment.  They intention is stated as follows:

The proposed amendment, if approved by the voters of Gainesville, will require the city’s civil rights categories (contained in the Code of Ordinances) to match the State of Florida’s civil rights categories. This action will remove two current categories—sexual orientation and gender identity disorder—as well as nullify current laws, such as the Gender Identity Ordinance, that specifically pertain to these categories.   

That’s a particularly evil (and I use the word advisedly) ordinance as it completely removes all legal protections from anybody who is gay or trangendered. 

There’s also a decent Associated Press article which summarises the state of play and includes a little map to show where Gainesville lies in Florida.

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Transphobic ordinance on bill in Florida

This video has been released by those campaigning to change the equality laws in Gainesville, Florida.

Placard with slogan

Placard with slogan

It’s exceedingly pernicious hatred that equates trans women with paedophiles and is a cornerstone of the local campaign to reduce rights for transgendered people.  The campaign is trying to introduce a new city ordinance removing anti-discrimination protections for LGTB people, and is headlining the campaign with images of men using women’s restrooms, while the ordinance is actually far ranging in its effect as described in this TV footage.  The Gainesville City Attorney has confirmed that the ordinance, if passed, would remove human rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The ordinance goes to the ballot on 24th March.  There’s a good write up of the current state of play in the Orlando Sentinel but I’ve so far been unable to find a copy of the draft ordinance.  If anybody finds one, I’d appreciated it if you could please post a link to it in a comment.

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Maine considering same sex marriage law

While the media attention is focused in Prop 8 in California, the issue of same-sex marriage is live on other States. There is good news from Maine as a Democratic Senator Dennis Damon has introduced a Bill entitled “”An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedoms” which would legalise same-sex marriages in Maine.

The Bill is interesting in a number of regards:

  • Maine already allows citizens to enter into same-sex Domestic Partnerships.  We keep saying that the UK’s Civil Partnerships are discriminatory and that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.  The discrimination inherent in disallowing same-sex marriage is amply shown in Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services document describing Domstic Arrangements:
  • It is important to remember that a registered domestic partnership is NOT the same as a marriage and does not entitle partners to rights other than those for which the registry was intended. This registry is intended to allow individuals to have rights of inheritance as well as the rights to make decisions regarding disposal of their deceased partners remains.

    For instance, a Domestic Arrangement is terminated automatically if either partner marries.

  • The Bill recognises that allowing same-sex marriage is a matter of religious freedom.  LGBT couples should have the same legal rights as all other couples.
  • The Bill could set Maine on a collision course with Obama who has gone from being pro-same sex marriage in 2004, to being neutral in 2006 but has recently said that he would resist efforts to change Federal Law to legalise same-sex marriages, favouring instead Domestic Arrangements – like those in Maine that fall far short of being able to marry in church and enjoy full legal status as a couple. 

The issue of same-sex marriage is an important one for many trans people – partly because it is estimated that only 1/3 of MTFs are straight, because they may already be in a marriage when they start to transition, and because of difficulties in getting their change of gender recognise in a timely and complete manner.  It’s something I will continue to report upon so I have decided to add a new category of Marriage, although won’t go back and re-tag previous posts.

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Many transsexual people find the classification of gender identity disorder(GID)  as a mental disorder inaccurate and offensive.  It harks back to the time when homosexuality was also classified as a mental disorder: fortunately that has now changed.

To blame is DSM-IV-TR, version 4 ( updated by a text revision) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  A review is underway to produce version 5, DSM-V.  The APA has recently announced their intention to publish a draft in 2010 and the final version in 2012. 

By way of background, it is of great interest to the international trans community whether GID will be reclassified as either a physical or intersex condition.  There is concern in the trans community that this won’t happen.  Although most specialists, particularly in Europe, do not see GID as a mental disorder, the composition of the working group Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Group includes controversial individuals like Kenneth Zucker who are expected to fight to retain the existing classification.

Despite the APA’s recent publication of a timeline for the release of DSM-V, little information is coming out of the workgroups.  It is understood that members have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements, in sharp contrast to the more open approach being adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in their update of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ISM), which contains the other key internationally recognised definition of GID.  This accusation has been stated very forcefully by Robert L Spitzer MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University a Former Chair of Work Group to Develop DSM-III and DSM-III-R.

The most recent report of the Report of the DSM-V Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group, released in November 2008, is very brief and in terms of gender issues includes only the following paragraph: 

Apart from the literature reviews, the Gender Identity Disorders sub-work group has addressed feedback from interested advocacy groups and other stakeholders. It has developed a formal survey seeking input from various organizations that advocate for and represent transgender adults. Surveys were sent to more than 60 organizations, with a closing date for response in October, 2008.


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Prop 8: The Resolution

There is a gathering and live concert this Saturday in at the West Hollywood Auditorium, California in support of overturning Prop 8 and against the Defence of Marriage Act.  For more details, refer to FaceBook.

Prop 8 is something many trans people feel strongly about and the trans community is for – or once! – pretty united it seems in wanting to stand with the LGB movement in support of same sex marriages.  The dynamic is even stronger in the USA as Some states still don’t allow trans people to change their birth certificates so the ban on same sex marriages can also become a double whammy for some trans people.  For example a trans woman in Ohio wanting to marry a man cannot do so: she cannot get her female gender recognised and therefore her desired marriage is considered a same sex marriage.

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