Monday, March 22, 2010

Remove Crossdressing from the DSM-V

A petition to remove cross-dressing as a mental disorder is being submitted to the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Currently the APA considers individuals who crossdress to be suffering from "transvestic disorder"

Crossdressing should not be considered a mental disorder for a host of reasons. The diagnostic criteria operates on sexist and gender conformist principles. People who crossdress present no harm to themselves and/or others and are not conflicted about their desire to dress. The only distress associated with crossdressing is the unfair stigmatization that comes from a society that does not accept nor understand this behavior.

Sign the DSM-V petition demanding that the new APA manual remove 'transvestic disorder'


Sally Heap said...

I'm honestly asking this out of curiosity, as I have no experience with cross dressing. But isn't it possible for cross dressing to be a disorder, not by its nature of course, but if an individual has the urge to cross dress but doesn't want to? If it does bother the person and they can't help it, or if it becomes a paraphilia they can't function without? Again, not that cross dressing HAS to be a disorder, but can't there be a disorder if it becomes compulsive? Can there be such a thing as transvestic disorder separate from well-adjusted cross dressers? Like the line between bd/sm and violent non-consensual sadism.

Rose W. said...

I would also add that they only cite one researcher under Rationale. This just doesn't make good scientific sense.

Queers United said...

chronic that some argument has been used to pathologize homosexuals who don't want to be gay. The fact is there is nothing wrong with being gay or crossdressing and those who struggle with it are suffering due to societal bias which must be countered. I don't think one can discuss crossdressing on par with non-consensual sadism because crossdressing does not harm anyone. The individual is at will to decide to crossdress and it is a personal decision.

Dharma Kelleher said...

Remove cross-dressing from the DSM and replace it with a new entry for Teabagging, which is characterized by an irrational behaviors, delusion, compulsive lying, racist ideation and megalomania.

Anonymous said...

Like many disorders, Transvestic Fetishism has the criterion:

B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

This would not affect "well-adjusted" cross-dressers.
So it is kind of hard to argue with that, it is following the same criteria as regular fetishes. Although I do not understand why it needs a separate category.

And while it is true that it is an individual's choice to crossdress, if it does indeed become a fetish, by the nature of the term fetish it would become a sort of 'obsession' or necessity for someone to get off, and thus even if that person did not want to crossdress, they may feel the need to do so to be sexually pleased. This can become a problem, and think that this is what the are referring to.
Again, I don't understand why it would need a separate category, as it would fall under regular Fetishism.

Anonymous said...

I really really hate the dsm-v sometimes. They still site "hysterical pregnancies" among a reason to discount pretty much *any* female health problems.

If doctors were any smarter, they'd be vets...

Diane J Standiford said...

Seriously? I had no idea this was considered a disorder. Will we NEVER evolve?

Nox said...

I think like a few things in the DSM it suffers from over-specificity... any emotional trouble caused is a result of social acceptability and compulsion, not the specific action... and the "treatment" is effectively the same... having a separate diagnosis is not only pointlessly stigmatizing, but also redundant

Unknown said...

@chronicbliss:- ... isn't it possible for cross dressing to be a disorder, not by its nature of course, but if an individual has the urge to cross dress but doesn't want to?

You could say the same thing about smoking, or playing rugby or knitting. They equally deserve to be listed as mental illnesses, along with every other aspect of life. Psychiatrists have real mental illness to help people with, they should not be acting a mere tools of social control. Cross-dressers are weird - yes, but mental they are not.

amandaw said...

People who crossdress present no harm to themselves and/or others and are not conflicted about their desire to dress.

Neither do the vast majority of people with mental illness (of numerous varieties).

I don't think cross-dressing should be stigmatized or medicalized. I also don't think mental variation should be stigmatized and medicalized.

I wonder what would be a good comparable - perhaps multiplicity? Currently a medicalized mental illness (it's not "normal" to have more than one personality per body) but really closer to a difference in identity than anything else. I imagine cross-dressing would be similar? (If I have any off assumptions, please do give me a kick here.) It's not something wrong about you, it's just something about you.

I just always cringe when people complain about being associated with mental illness and/or disability -- there are ways to complain about the stigmatization without continuing to hold up PWD as an example of something no one would ever, ever want to be because it's so terrible and tragic and broken.

Anyway, I want to make sure that I communicate that this is a show of support- just a small complaint about the avenues we can take to g et to the same destination. <3

Queers United said...

amandaw if the person with multiple personalities has all sane personalities why should it be stigmatized? I'd only be concerned if they had any personality that was aggressive in some sense.

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