ETA, Monday, October 12: Those people who are still subscribed to Mr Hambridge’s STP Facebook group have received the following message:
After due reconsideration and-> most valued advice from Transpersons, Intersexual persons or those who work in conjuntion with them, in majority<-it as been agreed and/or decided to cancel the above rally for this years STP 2012 campaign.
I understand that, as a consequence, the proposed counter-protest has also been cancelled.
We are a group of trans activists who wish to make known our concerns about a demo, claiming to support the depathologisation of trans people, in London on 17th of October. The facebook group for the demo can be found here:
The description of the event reads:
“Being transgendered is not a mental illness. We are simply part of the diversity of humanity. Gender Identity Disorder is therefore not a valid diagnosis. Homosexuality we removed as a mental health diagnosis in 1987. For us to achieve true liberation and recognition we need to throw off this unjust stigma. We are not ill, just different”
A large number of people were invited by the demo organiser, a non-trans man by the name of Dennis Hambridge, and some of us were initially concerned by the rationale for the demo. In particular, we were worried that campaigning for the removal of Gender Identity Disorder as a medical diagnosis without proposing an alternative mechanism by which transsexual people would be able to access medical transition resources was premature and dangerous, especially in a climate where NHS primary care trusts need only a minimal excuse to deny funding for our hormonal and surgical procedures. We do not support the labelling of our gender identities as disordered, and realise that our relationship with the medical community is far from ideal, but do not wish to support a movement which may give the impression that we seek complete divorce from the medical community.
These concerns were put to the Facebook group by a number of trans activists. Rather than address them, Mr Hambridge entrenched his position, making claims that gender dysphoria was an artefact of society and the medical community, and that removal of any form of classification of gender dysphoria by the WHO was “non-negotiable”.
In moves more reminiscent of the actions of transphobic radical feminists than supposed allies of trans people, Mr Hambridge started deleting some of the comments from those trans people who were concerned about our future access to hormones and surgery. Subsequently he banned a number of those trans people from the group, silencing them in that space.
To reiterate – Mr Hambridge, who is organising a demo which is allegedly supporting the rights of transsexual people is using his position as a group organiser to silence and shut out the voices of the very people he claims to support.
In light of Mr Hambridge’s intransigence and refusal to listen to the voices of actual transsexual people, we are calling on all activists who support the concept of transsexual people having a say in our own medical care to boycott this demo. We further call on Mr Hambridge, who is not trans himself, to stop claiming to speak on our behalf when he is ignoring our protestations and silencing our voices, and to call off his demo.
Please spread this open letter widely.
Previous posts about the DSM on this blog:
- TGEU call for action/support – “Stop Trans Pathologization 2012” (August 29, 2009)
- IFGE calls for action from APA (May 18, 2009)
- Transsexuality will no longer be classified in France as a mental illness (May 17, 2009)
- APA protest – San Francisco, May 18 (May 16, 2009)
- Looking back, pushing forward (April 30, 2009)
- APA Task Force reviews possible Gender Identity Disorder treatment guidelines (April 29, 2009)
- Close the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic – Facebook group (April 28, 2009)
- OII receives a letter from Dr Zucker’s legal representatives (March 21, 2009)
- Lynn Conway targeted by Kenneth Zucker for speaking out against his appointment to the APA Task Force (March 5, 2009)
- TGEU Policy Statement on DSM Reform (November 3, 2008)
- Developing DSM-V in Secret (October 17, 2008)
- Reminder: Demo against Zucker at RSM tomorrow (1st October 2008) (September 30, 2008)
- Demonstration against Kenneth Zucker at RSM, 1st October 2008 (September 22, 2008)
- Zucker *still* to speak at RSM conference (September 9, 2009)
- Zucker to Speak At Royal Society of Medicine Conference (August 15, 2008)
- WPATH Clarification (July 19, 2008)
- With God on Our Side (July 7, 2008)
- Crazy love (June 1, 2008)
- Still mad: more on DSM-V/Zucker/Blanchard (May 18, 2008)
- Mad as hell (May 6, 2008)
Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia