London trans activists call for boycott of sham demo on October 17th

October 11, 2009

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.

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STP-2012 logoWe 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:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=147494409183

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.

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Previous posts about the DSM on this blog:

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

5 Responses to “London trans activists call for boycott of sham demo on October 17th”

  1. Rebecca Ashling Says:

    What the #€%&ing hell! Who does this Hambridge person think he is? He should be put in a sensory deprivation chamber and forced to listen to the Dollhouse theme until he’s driven mad, then wrapped in foil and left under a sun lamp, and finally fed to a starving rabid toothless pig. GRRR!

  2. Helen G Says:

    Yeah – with allies like him…

  3. cheekycat Says:

    Copied from discussion on tzone last year.

    You guys on this site seem to be missing a trick! Surely the idea should be de-classification from DSM V as it is undoubtably stigmatizing, is a lifelong diagnosis and does not take account the lived experience of the many trans people who are post transition and have no mental health problems at all. The issue should most certainly be declassification from DSM V and reclassification in ICD 11. The following comments are from Tzone last year that expand on this idea;

    by CheekyCat on Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:42 am

    Squigglefish wrote:
    “Cheeky, I vaguely recall you offering previously to detail how GID could more accurately be moved to another listing, to hence reduce the DSM-V stigma and yet retain access to medical care and funding.

    If I’m correct in remembering this, I’d like to hear your thoughts”

    Sorry, I don’t have the time (nor the inclination) to post extensively on tzone, but it is an important topic. But the differing views with-in the trans community can be found by comparing and contrasting the original article that you posted on a while back Re: the need to retain DSM classification (link??) with the opinions posted on the GID Reform site (link above).

    I would thoroughly endorse the views of Kelley Winters and think that she provides an excellant and well balanced view of the issues in a number of essays on the GID Reform website. (Including many reasons why the current Diagnostic Criteria are actually a hindrance in gaining medical cover through insurance companies)

    The additional point I was going to make was regarding the revision of the DSM and the Mental Disorders section of the ICD. These revisions will run concurrently (there is a Liason Committee between the two organisations to omit discrepancies in the nomenclature) and as such it offers scope for removal of GID / Transsexualism from DSM and ICD.

    At the same time Gender Identity / Gender Variance / HBS / Transsexualism (whatever they decide to call it!) could be Re-Classified with-in ICD 11 as a non Mental/Psychiatric condition. (Again, not without problems and the crux of the matter would relate to the diagnostic criteria if classifying as a Non Psychiatric condition).

    This is a huge subject of debate and there are a lot of contentious issues. But this is a once a decade (or longer actually) opportunity to re-classify GID and to remove some of the stigma and negative legal connatations that exist in regard to current psychiatric definitions of GID, both in this country and others. Not to mention the possible knock-on effects that re-classifiction may have on the provision of medical services!

    It’s an important issue and has consequences in medical, legal and social fields that will affect trans people. Be aware of the issues as they will affect your life for the next couple of decades!Cheeky Cat!

  4. cheekycat Says:

    Continued:-

    by CheekyCat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:59 am

    Squigglefish wrote:
    “However, as you state, the diagnostic criteria for a non-psychiatric condition would be virtually impossible given the current state of research, and would be hard to do in such a manner as to ensure treatment for all”

    No, there is much more flexibility with-in the ICD classification to remove GID/Transsexualism from the list of Mental Disorders yet retain diagnostic criteria that classify it as an emotional and behavioral condition (in lieu of the current situation where there is no definitive biological marker).

    For example, Chapter 18 of ICD Classification is for “Symptoms and signs involving cognition, perception, emotional state and behaviour”. And furthermore these specifically “Excludes: those constituting part of a pattern of mental disorder ( F00-F99 )”

    And condition R45 (Symptoms and Signs involving emotional state) and condition R46 (Symptoms and signs involving appearance and behaviour) are in my view suitable areas for inclusion of Gender Variance Anxiety or Gender Variance Identity and new suitable, non-stigmatizing diagnostic criteria could easily be incorporated into this chapter.

    This solution would retain a medical classification for insurance company purposes and remove the stigmatising label of Mental Disorder from trans people.

    Link to relevant online section of ICD 10:-
    http://www.who.int/classifications/apps … d10online/


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