Archive for the 'One door closes and another one shuts' Category

Transsexuality will no longer be classified in France as a mental illness

May 17, 2009

Flag of FranceVia Le Provence, mangled into English by Google Translate:

Transsexuality will no longer be classified in France as a mental illness, a government decision Saturday qualified as “historic” by the associations, on the eve of World Day against homophobia and transphobia.

Health Minister, Roselyne Bachelot, has taken these days “High health authority for a decree transsexuality leaving the category of psychiatric disorders”, said a spokesperson of the ministry.

So far, transsexuals enjoyed an exemption from user fees for medical care under a long-term ALD23 classified for “persistent or recurrent disorders”.

For the Department of Health, it is a “strong signal to the whole community”, transsexuals feeling “this admission ALD23 as stigmatizing”.

This classification, derived from that of the World Health Organization (WHO), was also linked to the fact that transsexuality was on the list of diseases identified in the medical manual DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which refers the medical profession, just as homosexuality was there a few years.

In an article published in Le Monde dated Monday-Sunday, many people [including] first secretary of the Socialist [party] Martine Aubry, the Communist Marie-George Buffet, Green Daniel Cohn-Bendit and the Nobel Prize [winners] Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (medicine) and Elfriede Jelinek (literature), have requested WHO “to no longer consider transsexuals as mentally disordered.”

This is because the WHO had decided on 17 May 1990 [to remove] homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, that date was chosen for the World Day against homophobia celebrated from Saturday and Sunday in many places .

It is symbolic that France chose that moment to be “the first country in the world” to “delete [transsexuality from] the list of mental illnesses,” commented the IDAHO Committee (International Day Against Homophobia and transphobia).

This “historic decision” is also “an explosion of hope for all trans people in the world,” said Joel Bedos, Secretary General of the IDAHO Committee.

The association Homosexualités et Socialisme (HES) has “welcomed” the announcement that also answers “to a claim of long-range” of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans de France (LGBT). For UAS, it is time now to move from symbol to action, fighting against violence and discrimination […].

image from Le Provence

(The full text of the announcement in French can be found in this PDF of a Microsoft Word document originally posted on the IDAHO website)

I absolutely agree that classifying transsexuality as a ‘psychiatric disorder’, a ‘mental illness’, a ‘disease’, is wrong – it stigmatises us in ways that only compound the negative, discriminatory and profoundly damaging views of trans people that mainstream cis society already holds.

What does concern me is if, in the forthcoming DSM-V revision, the condition is either completely decategorised (I believe that would allow healthcare authorities such as Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and specialist healthcare insurers worldwide to stop offering support and essential services to us) or recategorised into such an extreme paraphilia that we are even more stigmatised by its pathologisation.

Worryingly, this second proposal has already been outlined by Ray Blanchard (chair of the Paraphilias Subcommittee and inventor of the mental illness he terms autogynephilia) in a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) in April 2009 (link here; see also Julia Serano’s piece for Feministing, “Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM”, link here).

My fear is that this unilateral move by France, although initially seeming to be a positive thing, may actually provide ammunition for the members of the APA Task Force and Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup in their quests to medically mandate us out of existence. Janice Raymond must be proud of them.


Previous posts about the DSM on this blog:


Ohz noez! Not *another* 2008 roundup…

December 31, 2008

Bird of Paradox logoBeen a funny old year, one way or another. The online trans community is, by definition, not only global, but also far-flung to the point of attenuation. As such it’s an almost impossible task to pick out the traditional 10 best posts, so I’ll totally cop out of that and instead, point you in the direction of my blogroll and suggest you go straight to the source(s).

Having decided to break with the ’10 best posts’ tradition, I thought it might be interesting (for me, at least) to browse through some of the comprehensive collection of facts’n’ figures in the BoP blog stats vaults. I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised – and you know how much I like to share!

19012ETA, 10.30pm: My usually irritating attention to detail meant that I couldn’t log out of BoP for the night without one last obsessive glance at the stats page… And… ZOMFGWTFLULZ!!!1!!!1!! In the last hours of the last day of the year, BoP has passed the 19,000 hits mark! How amazing is that – 19,012 unique views! Yay all my bloggy visitors and yay Bird of Paradox!


Where was I? Oh yes: so, without further ado, BoP loudly presents the first and final blog stats update for 2008…


  • Total views: 19,012
  • Busiest month: November – 5,085 views
  • Busiest day: Friday, 3 October – 717 views
  • Views per day (overall average) – 78 views

Top Posts for all days ending 2008-12-31 (Summarized)

Search Terms for all days ending 2008-12-31 (Summarized)

  • bird of paradox – 84 views
  • kellie telesford – 37 views
  • angie zapata – 25 views
  • pregnant man – 18 views
  • julie bindel – 16 views
  • transgender day of remembrance 2008 – 16 views
  • lgbtory – 15 views
  • angie zapata murder – 14 views
  • thomas beatie – 13 views
  • ken zucker – 11 views

tg_black-on_pink_100x107My favourite search terms would have to be transsexual neck, wizard medical and smultron female – but I think I like this one the best: ordinary middle aged transgender women… Yep, I know that feeling!

A big hand for the spam monster: “Akismet has protected your site from 936 spam comments already, but there’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment”. Just as well, really, I still take it unnecessarily personally when some idiot spambot decides I need to remortgage my p3n15. “Too late!”, I rage futilely at the screen…

20081225-240x389And, last but not least, a big thank you for all the support and encouragement I’ve had from the huge number of people who’ve visited the site. Friends, bloggers, friendly bloggers, everyone – and no, I’m not naming names, you know who you are :)

When I took this blog out of cold storage in May and started to post more regularly, I didn’t for one minute imagine it would ever be as well-supported as it has been, so to have received nearly 19,000 views in such a short time is as confidence-boosting as it’s humbling.

May the coming year bring you everything you wish for yourselves.