April 17, 2010

Petition Opposing the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5

You may want to take a look at GID Reform Weblog's arguments for signing the petition against the inclusion of the transvestic disorder and autogynephilia in the the Fifth Edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

Kelly Winters argues that the proposed version is:

  • Punative: It punishes gender expression that differs from expectations of male birth-assignment and enforces conformity to masculine social stereotypes.

  • Sexist: The diagnostic category is limited to those assigned male at birth, holding them to a stricter standard of conformity than birth-assigned females. It labels behaviours and gender expression that are ordinary or even exemplary for birth-assigned women as pathological for others.

  • Stigmatizing: Transvestic Disorder is classified as a “paraphilic” sexual disorder, grouped with diagnoses of such harmful behaviors as pedophilia and exhibitionism. The resulting stereotypes of sexual deviance deny human dignity and civil justice to gender variant and transgender people.

  • Needlessly Pathologizing: This diagnosis pathologizes erotic crossdressing, a harmless consensual sexual expression, that does not meet any definition of mental illness.

  • Harmful to Closeted or Self-rejecting Crossdressers: This diagnosis pathologizes crossdressers who are distressed by internalized shame and societal prejudice, very much as the previous diagnosis of Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality in the DSM-III pathologized victims of social homophobia.

  • and more.
As I have argued before quite a few crossdressers and crossdreamers (autogynephiliacs or men that have feminization fantasies) have psychological problems, mainly because they find no room for this part of their identity in current society. Keeping an important part of your life secret out of fear of condemnation and the loss of your friends and family does that to you.

But this does not mean that crossdressing and crossdreaming are mental illnesses in themselves. Because of this they do not belong in a manual for mental diseases.

See my post DSM-V: What about autogynephilia? for a more detailed presentation of the DSM, transexualism, crossdressing and crossdreaming.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!