Monday, April 27, 2009

Drafts from the DSM-V workgroup are out and they're continuing to pathologize trans people

When the infamous Ray Blanchard was appointed to the work group revising the American Psychiatric Association's "Manual for Diagnosis of Mental Disorders" -- the standard reference book used by psychiatrists in North America, there was widespread worry that he'd used the opportunity to push his pathologizing and discredited theories about trans people all being sexual fetishists.

What a surprise... Blanchard reportedly has done exactly that the recently presented "Provisional Report by the DSM-V Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders" according to the GID reform advocates, who are calling on trans people and their allies to voice their concern about the direction the work group is heading.

I don't have a copy of the report itself, but a related presentation Blanchard made at the same conference seems to support the reported account.

Blanchard proposes keeping the current disagnostic criteria for "transvestic fetishism" -- only now it's a "transvestic disorder," which by definition, according to Blanchard, can only occur among hetero men. (Apparently gay crossdressers and women who crossdress don't exist in his world.) Blanchard would also add two subcategories -- "transvestic disorder with fetishism" and "transvestic disorder with autogynephilia" -- based on "unpublished research, which I conducted specifically for the Paraphilias Subworkgroup." [emphasis mine]

Blanchard's research claims that:

The results showed that transvestic patients who acknowledged autogynephilia had higher odds of reporting past or current desires for sex reassignment than transvestic patients who denied autogynephilia. The opposite result was found for fetishism, that is, transvestites who reported fetishism were less likely to report a desire for sex reassignment. It is noteworthy that these predictors were independent to a large extent.
But either way under his proposal by definition people with this "disorder" are always sexual fetishists, i.e. you're either "sexually aroused by fabrics, materials, or garments" or "sexually aroused by the thought or image of self as female."

Hmmm... I guess it's too much to ask that proposed diagnostic criteria, one that affects a huge number of people's lives, be based on research that's withstood peer review...


VĂ©ronique said...

based on "unpublished research, which I conducted specifically for the Paraphilias Subworkgroup." [emphasis mine]Dear Dr. Blanchard: please submit your research for peer review. Real scientists do.

I don't know how this all works, but I hope there is enough oversight built into this process that in the end nothing irresponsible is published.

melissa said...

Ray Blanchard is as dumb as a rock. He need to be put in a mental hospital. Medicinal science has proven that there is a genetic different in transsexuals,

TheDeviantE said...

This makes me feel like crying. It's like the fucking bad old days.

Dr. Jen said...


Please get in touch with me. I am from another group dealing with the DSM-V and I have had it! I am trying to get all groups together to take action. I am a psychologist myself and enough is enough. Please email me. Dr. Jen Brout