APA Task Force reviews possible Gender Identity Disorder treatment guidelines

April 29, 2009

DSM-IV TRA possibly interesting development (or is it a stitch-up?) with regard to the DSM revision process seems to be suggested by this press release from the APA yesterday (link here to PDF):

ARLINGTON, Va. (April 28, 2009) – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees has established a task force on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorders (GID) to address concerns about the relative lack of evidence-based treatment guidelines and to determine if guidelines should be developed. The task force was created on a recommendation by the APA Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues.

The board asked the task force to review the literature on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorder at different ages and to report back with “an opinion as to whether or not there is sufficient credible literature to take the next step and develop treatment recommendations.”

The board asked the task force to communicate with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) work group on Gender Identity Disorder, which can serve as a resource on diagnostic issues during the term of the task force.

After the May 2008 announcement of DSM-V work group membership, the APA received many inquiries regarding the Gender Identity Disorders work group on treatment. These inquiries most often dealt with treatment controversies for GID in children, rather than issues related specifically to the DSM text and diagnostic criteria. While the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders are inextricably linked, separation of the diagnostic mission of the DSM work groups from the evaluation of treatment issues is especially important.

At first reading it suggests that the APA is actually taking seriously the criticism received regarding (a) “the relative lack of evidence-based treatment guidelines” and (b) “treatment controversies for GID in children“.

Both these points seem to refer to reparative treatments for the condition – treatments which don’t appear to have had any meaningful success and indeed may have caused more harm than good.

But, of course, when the Task Force has been asked “to communicate with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) work group on Gender Identity Disorder” – chaired by Ken Zucker – whose reparative techniques are under criticism here – and with Ray Blanchard (chair of the Paraphilias Subcommittee and inventor of the mental illness he terms autogynephilia) – well, it doesn’t really inspire confidence that this will be an unbiased, objective and independent review.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…


(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)


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3 Responses to “APA Task Force reviews possible Gender Identity Disorder treatment guidelines”

  1. Wiserube Says:

    A class based issue as well

    Wow that’s an incestuous lil ball of academtia…

    Carrie Buck anyone?


    There is a VERY HIGH PRICE to pay for pathology….

    For those of us who can’t afford SRS, does this imply we must become/self identify as a permanent walking pathology?

    See, if I don’t have a disorder…I can’t access a counselor, HRT…et all.

    At the same time…I understand that historically the Western medical tradition seeks less to alleviate pathology, than to eradicate it…


    I’d rather like to stick around

    I’m so very frustrated


  2. Helen G Says:

    Wiserube: I kind of hear you about Carrie Buck, but where her appalling treatment had almost eugenicist overtones, the way it looks to be going with the DSM-V fiasco makes me think more of the implacably sinister quote of Janice Raymond:

    I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.

    In my view, if GID is eliminated from the new DSM then it won’t be a question of “discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)” (Wikipedia) because there will be no medical diagnosis to identify (pathologise) us with, and without that, not only will we ‘technically’ cease to exist, but access to state-funded medical services will also no longer be available. Hey presto, rocketing suicide rates, and the ‘problem with transsexualism’ mandates itself out of existence. Cis people and the medical profession get rid of us with a clean conscience and not a drop of our blood on their hands. Very neat, very tidy. And very convenient for them.

    I’m not sounding very optimistic here, am I?

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