June 23, 2011

"You are not one of us!" said the separatist transsexual

The separatists  transwomen intensify their attacks on crossdressers and "transgender", immensely fearful of contamination by association.

White Pride

Separatist ideologue and HBS International general, Rose White, has now declared war on the presence of drag queens in Pride Parades in Calder-dale, Britain. The argument:

“Drag queens – homosexuals dressed as women – and drag kings, women dressed as men, performing as stereotypical crossdressers promote, foster and reinforce the belief among the audience that any bloke in a frock must be a homosexual.” she says. “If these people are allowed to perform in the town in the Pride, they must have a prominent sign stating ‘We are homosexual men – not transexuals’."

In other words: "You are not one of us!"

This is the same woman who in a recent book called grouped everyone she did not like into the following toxic salad:

"The enemies are Fouratist homos, the public, the press, bigots and fools, ignorant medics, penny pinching political manipulators, BRSS dykes, religious pedophiles, closed homos and unfortunately the unaccepting homos a.k.a. Manginas who themselves try to become HBS [Harry Benjamin Syndrome] in the vain hope that masquerading as a woman will help them refuse to confess that they are just homos and not HBS."

The "closet homos" also include crossdressers and crossdreamers.  We are all disgusting gay men in her view.

Rose is definitely at the extreme end of the separatist scale, but the fact is that there are quite a few that share  similar conspiracy theories of there being a Transgender Borg Collective of men masquerading as women.

The Borg

Suzan, who writes one of my favorite blogs on transsexual topics, dislikes Rose White intensely. She nevertheless falls into the same trap of turning all non-transsexual transgender people into a conspiracy: 

"The Transgender Borg collective are the real problem. They are like a cult demanding every one use the exact same language to describe their personal experiencing of what it means to have been born with transsexualism.

June 20, 2011

The British Psychological Society asks for crossdressing and other types of sexual behavior to be removed from the DSM-5

The British Psychological Society has been asked to give the American Psychiatric Association a comment on  the new proposed edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

They argue that many of the classifications in the proposed manual lacks scientific foundation and that they are mostly based on social norms. As they say: "The criteria are not value-free, but rather reflect current normative social expectations."

As i have noted before, the transvestic disorder/autogynephilia chapter clearly reflects the personal hang ups of the researchers.

The Brits also point to the need to understand the social context of many of the conditions included as "disorders". They believe many of these conditions may just be reflections of natural variation shaped by social forces.

On paraphilias

This is what they say about paraphilias ("sexual perversions"), crossdressing included:

"As stated in our general comments, we are concerned that clients and the general  public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their  natural and normal responses to their experiences; responses which undoubtedly  have distressing consequences which demand helping responses, but which do not  reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.  

We believe that classifying these problems as 'illnesses' misses the relational  context of problems and the undeniable social causation of many such problems. For  psychologists, our well-being and mental health stem from our frameworks of  understanding of the world, frameworks which are themselves the product of the  experiences and learning through our lives. 

All these comments apply also here.  Again, of particular concern are the subjective  and socially normative aspects of sexual behaviour.  It is a matter of record that  homosexuality used to be considered a symptom of illness.  The Society would not  be able to support considering sexual differences as symptoms of illness. 

We, finally, have severe misgivings about the inclusion of "Paraphilic Coercive  Disorder" in the appendix.  Rape is a crime, not a disorder.  Such behaviours can, of  course, be understood, but we disagree that such a pattern of behaviour could be  considered a disorder, and we would have grave concerns that such views may offer  a spurious and unscientific defence to a rapist in a criminal trial."

On gender dysphoria

They would also like to see the removal of the Gender Dysphoria category, making more or less the same argument. They add:

"Of particular concern are the subjective and socially normative aspects of sexual  behaviour.  We are very concerned at the inclusion of children and adolescents in  this area.  There is controversy in this particular area – the concept of a 'diagnosis' of  a 'psychiatric disorder' disputed."

Again the argument is that the research is not solid enough to support such a label. They are right about this.

Psychology versus psychiatry

The British Psychological Society, incorporated by Royal Charter, is an academic and professional body for psychologists in the United Kingdom.

I note that they mostly focus on social factors in their comment. They point out that there is little evidence of biological causation.

I am not sure this should be made into a major point. After all, a mental condition may be a disease even if it is spurred by social factors (poverty and alcoholism comes to mind). And natural variation may also have a biological basis -- like some personality traits. Being at one or the other end of a gradient of natural variation does not mean that the condition is a mental illness. 

In many ways the disagreement between the British Psychological Society and the psychiatrists manning the DSM-5 committees reflect their different academic background. The psychologist focus on the life experience of the individual. They know that this variation cannot be fully captured by simple labels. 

The psychiatrists, on the other hand, -- who are trained as doctors -- focus on the medical part of the analysis.They look for the broad patterns, as is the case in the natural sciences. They therefore risk forcing complex processes into narrow categories that do not really fit the complexity of the human mind.

The truth, as is often the case, requires both perspectives.

Note that the DSM-5 web site period for comments has been extended to July 15.

June 7, 2011

Gender Reloaded 4: The Sexual Orientation Model

My discussion on an alternative view of gender and sex continues. In this post I will focus on the model that shaped the autogynephilia theory.

There was one big problem with the biological sex model. It was created within a society that valued a scientific discourse within a democratic culture. As long as the social mores fit with the theory, science could be used to suppress women, blacks and homosexuals. But as soon as the democratic process liberated one group after the other, it became abundantly clear that working class people were not stupid, that women could become excellent scientists, that Irishmen and black people could (in the end) become presidents and that homosexuals could marry and establish loving  families.

And scientists who were convinced that this were so, used their power and their influence to demask the racists and the sexists. But in some cases the scientist were forced to stop labelling groups as sick perverts, not because they stopped believing this was so, but because it became politically impossible.

In  1973 homosexuality was removed from the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The old belief system had crashed into the revolution of 1968 and it had to go into hiding in order to survive. It did so by redefining the unit of analysis.

Note that in the biological sex model, what is found between your legs define your natural behavior and your place in the world. Women, that is human beings with vaginas and uteruses are weak, passive etc.etc. And they are also exclusively attracted to males, because males are the only ones who can give them babies. And women are programmed by nature to love babies.

The natural  existence of same-sex relationships could no longer be denied, however. There were too many of them. The two Kinsey Reports on human sexual behavior, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male  from 1948 and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female from 1953, by Dr. Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy and others, had shown that even white Anglo-Saxon Americans did not do what they preached. Women were horny and men had sex with men. Lots of it. Kinsey also found that there were no clear cut boundaries between heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality.

June 3, 2011

Dr. Allen Frances and his arguments against modern psychiatric madness

Doctor Allen Frances has caused uproar with his attack on the new American manual for mental diseases. This is highly relevant for crossdressers and crossdreamers.

Those who have followed this blog for a while know that I am very concerned about the fact that both crossdressing and crossdreaming  (“autogynephilia” and “autoandrophilia”) are classified as mental diseases and are included in the American psychiatric manual (the DSM) as well as the WHO ICD counterpart.

I have argued that these phenomena might as well be the psychological expression of natural human diversity as regards gender and sexuality, and that it is the fact that it is society – including psychiatrists who insist on calling this a perversion or a “paraphilia” – that causes the real mental anguish of these people.

I have also argued that the idea that something is true just because it has been published in a peer reviewed research journal is dangerously naïve. Scientists are regular human beings like the rest of us, with their own personal baggage of prejudices and narrow-mindedness, and if their very world view is wrong it does not matter if they follow strict scientific procedures. The end result will be crap, regardless.

You might think that it is only weirdoes like me (and some obscure French post-modernist philiosophers, maybe) that think this way, but the fact is that these are problems that are discussed intensely among the psychiatrists themselves.

Recently there has been a very interesting discussion going on regarding the new version of the DSM (the DSM 5), instigated by the father of the current version of the psychiatric manual, the DSM IV: Dr. Allen Frances.

Frances argues that American psychiatrist have gone too far towards believing that their diagnoses are scientifically proven descriptions of real phenomena. They are not, he says.

June 2, 2011

DSM 5 and Transvestic Disorder -- What you can do about it.

Guest Post by Kelley Winters, PhD

Crossposted from the GID Reform Advocates Blog.

On May 5, the American Psychiatric Association released a second round of proposed diagnostic criteria for the 5th Edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These include two categories that impact the trans community: Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder) and Transvestic Disorder (formerly Transvestic Fetishism).

While GID has received a great deal of attention in the press and from GLBTQ advocates, the second transvestic category is too often overlooked. This is unfortunate, because a diagnosis of Transvestic Disorder is designed to punish social and sexual gender nonconformity and to enforce binary stereotypes of assigned birth sex. It plays no role in enabling access to medical transition care for those who need it, and it is frequently cited when care is denied. http://www.gidreform.org/blog2010Oct15.html

I urge all trans community members, friends, care providers, and allies to call for the removal of this punitive and scientifically unfounded diagnosis from the DSM-5. The current period for public comment to the APA ends June 15.

June 1, 2011

On Lou Sullivan and what female to male crossdreamers mean for our understanding of transgender

Another look at women who dream about having sex as men.

Among the many interesting discussions going on over at Crossdream Life, I would like to draw your attention to the one initiated by a female to male crossdresser and crossdreamer (or "autoandrophiliac").

Ariadna tells us that although she is sexually attracted to men with a strong feminine side, she have always wanted to take on the male role in bed:

"I dream of being a man since I can remember. I always felt aroused by the thought of me having a male body. I always wanted to have a penis. I always considered men are lucky for having that powerful and strong body, that ability to penetrate (with the amazing pleasure it implies) and be dominant. 

"I always had envy of males, of their powerful roles in society. So, it's not only I want to have a male body or to feel sexually as a man, I always wanted all the prerogatives and benefits that being a man implies. I also envy masculine clothes: They are confortable, so cool."

The existence of "autoandrophiliacs" requires a new explanation for "autogynephiliacs"

I do not think neither researchers nor most crossdreamers have understood how important the very existence of persons like Ariadna are for our understanding of human sexuality and gender roles.

Normally male to female  crossdreaming and crossdressing has been understood as a misdirection of a typical male sexuality, i.e. either as a fetish or as a man's way of fully conquering a woman's body.

In the latter case the idea is that a crossdreamer's dream of having a woman's body, has the same cause as a regular man's desire to have sex with a woman. That is: There is nothing feminine about his desire at all.

But in the case of female to male crossdreamers this makes no sense. Ariadne's "biggest dream and desire is to penetrate somebody", preferably a man. That can hardly be interpreted as a misdirection of a typical "reactive" female sexuality!

That means that her desire to be the penetrator most likely has an instinctual "masculine" basis. She is wired for having sex as a man.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!