Bright Blessings family! I wanted to share this letter with you that I wrote to the Dean of Instruction at the college I am attending for my continuing education classes for my work:
We just finished the unit on Mental Disorders in our Human Diseases class. I am very disturbed that gender identity issues are included as a disorder. Someone's gender identity is NOT a mental disorder. It is a complicated and integral part of the person's identity, and the stereotype of transgendered people as being mentally disordered can not be tolerated. I'm curious if this is the opinion of the author, the position of (the college) or the position of (the accrediting body)? In any scenario, this must be challenged. This is no different then when homosexuality used to be included on the APA's list of mental illnesses. Please advise so I will know how to direct my response. Thank you.
Unfortunately brother and sisters the fight is not over. The basic mental health of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered issue is still under attack in this country. Please send your energy as you feel appropriate for a successful resolution of this issue. Love ya (mean it!).
True Oberon , the fight is not over. And this goes for so many issues ,Racism, Religious intolerance as well as the issue you bring up here.
Things are slowly getting better across the board but we must continue to apply pressure and to educate.
Keep it up!!
Oberon, I am very pleased you brought this to our attention! It was an issue of mine back in the 70's, when I was first in college, and I was firmly told that it WAS indeed a 'mental disorder'! I thought SURELY that by now, better than 50 years later, that at least the college level course would have corrected this thinking!! I am and always have been firmly heterosexual, but I don't see where being transgendered is any different! I have always thought it is possible to be born into the 'wrong'-gendered body, and genetic testing has indeed proven that at times, it is so. I rather suspect the book wasn't chosen by the professor for this reason, and indeed, the professor who chose to use it may not even have noticed that transgender issues were in that section, or cared, as that was what HE was taught as an undergraduate. It is only vigilance by people such as yourself that will change the way things are taught, by the choices of the books used to teach... Thank you for all of us! I would truly hate to have my grandchildren taught this outmoded point of view!!
Good on you for bringing this up with your Dean. I had a similar issue with a set book when I was teacher training. It contained negative, untrue and blatantly obsolete opinions on race. As the only black student in my year I was a lone voice in my disapproval, but I did not give up until the book was removed from our reading lists. Not only was our college doing future school children a disservice by sending new teachers into schools with misinformation, But it would also back fire on those new teachers. The thought of any of my fellow college classmates going into inner city schools teaching racist information to multi-cultural children, filled me with dread for their safety & future careers.
You can do something about this Oberon. Good Luck, we are all behind you.
You know my prayers are with you my brother. To me when someone speaks of another's gender identity as a "mental disorder" or even say it is a "choice" really gets my skin to crawling. Keep up the good work, the only way we change can this is to continue to challenge it.
Saldly, if it's on the DSM - IV TR (I'll check later) or in the CIE-10 (I can't check that one, don't have it) it is a mental disorder. What you have to understand is that mental disorders become disorders when they are not normal, it doesn't matter weather it is a bad or harmfull thing (Any half-decent psychologist would not mind it unless it actually causes a problem) but as long as it is outside the norm it is a mental disorder.
For example, right now i can clasify you all, including myself as having a personality disorder: we're all schizotipical people, because we all have "magical" ideas of the world. This doesn't cause a problem to us, in fact it is a resource, and so long as it remains like that it should NEVER be adressed by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Now why is it a personality disorder? Because we're outside the norm
Sadly, that's how things are. I strongly disagree with the APA on this kind of things. I really wish the show was ran by humanist psychologists instead of psychiatrists. As you may have noticed i don't have much faith in psychiatry.
DSM - IV TR or whatever they're using this round can classify anyone has having a mental disorder, because we are all - predictably - not normal. This 'normal' that psychologists and psychiatrists talk about, it's not present in the majority of people (some could argue any person). Also, if a mental disorder was truly just something 'outside the norm', homosexuality would still be a mental disorder.
The reason the diagnosis of the mental disorder concerning gender used to be so important was because you could not get hormone treatment therapy without it. I've heard you can do so now, but I'm not sure on the accuracy of that, and plenty of doctors still won't treat you with hormones unless you have the diagnosis (I know, since I've had arguments with my doctor over this).
That seems rather silly to me - If people can get elective surgery to have larger boobs or a smaller nose, then why can't they take hormones to change their body as well? It's a circular argument, IMO. It's all cosmetic anyway - we are who we BELIEVE we are. I know for some trans-gendered, the outward appearance is indeed important, and the concomitant social acceptance as being of that gender.
There is another consideration, however, to my mind. Perhaps these folks CHOSE to come back in a body of the 'wrong' gender to learn a lesson they could not learn any other way, perhaps after abuse, (unthinking or otherwise,) of the opposite sex in their previous life?
"There is another consideration, however, to my mind. Perhaps these folks CHOSE to come back in a body of the 'wrong' gender to learn a lesson they could not learn any other way, perhaps after abuse, (unthinking or otherwise,) of the opposite sex in their previous life?"
I don't think I'll be able to explain to you how, well, offense this is as a non-traditional-male. I don't need my existence explained away, much less with spiritual theories like reincarnation.
Did you CHOOSE to come back in the body you are because you suffered abuse at the hands of the sex you are in now? Why would that theory only apply to trans people? Would you tell a homosexual, 'Oh, you were really just a [opposite sex] in your past life, that's why you like [same sex].' I hope not, though I know some people who honestly believe that.
"It's all cosmetic anyway..."
Seeing as how most trans people are severely depressed and sometimes kill themselves over not being in the right body I think it's a bit more than serious than breast surgery or a nose job.
I agree with everything you say about gender, Tristan. As I've said before, re: reincarnation, none of us will know for sure until after we're dead, so whatever one believes is fine by me - LOL!
Didn't mean to sound like I don't take this issue seriously, Llwewllyn~ I tossed the idea out for consideration, not as a 'one size fits all' theory for the transgendered. (And I believe that as a theory, it would apply to everyone, not the transgendered in particular, BTW.) If you don't believe in reincarnation, that's fine - we each believe what resonates with ourselves.
I believe the problems come into play for the individual simply because of the animosity of society to anyone who is 'different' from the 'norm' of society. I know two people, one male, and one female, who are transgendered, and both are close enough friends that they discussed with me their interest in surgical change to the 'correct' gender a few years back. Both decided against it, but for different reasons. Ultimately, they both decided that if some people don't like who they are, it's the problem of those who don't like it, and not THEIR problem.
The female, (in her early 30s at the time) seemed to have an easier time of it however, she said. She attributed that to the Women's Lib movement, and the fact that a woman who acts and dresses as a man is not conspicuous in society, whereas a man tends to look more out of place dressed as a woman.
The man was in his late 40s, and was the origin of the idea that he came back as a woman because of something he did in a past life~ He decided that he had struggled that long in the wrong body, and still learned to like himself and value himself, so why change things? His 'wife' was ok with the whole thing, and was willing to support whatever choice he made, and his kids didn't know - it was none of their business, in his opinion.
"It's only cosmetic..." also came from him. He felt that it was more important for him to like himself for who and what he WAS, rather than to dwell on what he WASN'T...
I'm confused if you are referring to a transmale (man-in-a-woman's-body for lack of better terms) when referring to your first friend. Also, I'm not sure what the quotations around wife are about - are they not married or...???
Some differently gendered people don't undergo hormone therapy (which is different from surgery, which many trans people don't undergo because it's too expensive), but most who are firmly identified in a gender 'opposite' their current body do. Plenty of gender queer people or third gender people don't feel a need to take hormones, but those people probably wouldn't receive a diagnosis of a gender ID disorder.
I like my body and myself just fine (after all, I'm able to dress up in frilly clothes and skirts and play up the Japanese lolita fashion very well thanks to this body), but my gender-dissonance comes from my just being a man and my body not reflecting that. I'm a really feminine, cross-dressing boy, and not only does my body not reflect this, I am consistently labeled female even when I speak out against such and am sneered at by others in the trans community because I'm not 'man enough'. The only way that dissonance will be eased is by transitioning into a 'more-male' body, that way I feel comfortable when I get out of my fancy-clothes and go strutting about the house in ratty pajamas. Of course, the gender spectrum is huge, so no one is going to have the same experience or needs, but for most trans people, hormones are vital to their development as healthy, happy people.
He was fortunate enough to find a woman who was comfortable in the 'husband' role of their marriage, and he considered himself the wife - that's why the marks are on the word wife.
My female friend is one of my cousins, who is a man in a woman's body, and she never married or had kids, having never found a truly compatible mate. She tried both men and women, and decided at 45 that both were too much hassle, and lives her life as she pleases. She says her neighbors pretty much consider her 'butch' and it's just easier to leave it at that.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. It's interesting that you receive rejection because you seem to have fewer problems with cross dressing and being accepted. Do you think some of that is simple envy of your ability to appear feminine?