One of the biggest problems transsexual women face is having self-appointed community “leaders” who think they need to engage in activism. There is a reason that do-gooders are almost universally reviled throughout the ages. Here’s an example of one that bothers me.

Dr. Kelley Winters has taken it upon herself to get involved with the DSM V, the rewrite of the diagnostic handbook where the silly notion of “gender identity disorder” has become enshrined in the pseudo-medical literature. John Money cackles from his grave every time that diagnosis is made.

On her blog she details her participation in the “GID” workgroup, the latest being a presentation made in June along with two others. Here is a summary of their position from her blog, under a heading of “What We Think”:

* Winters – Individuals whose gender identity or expression differ from assigned birth-sex are labeled mentally disordered in the DSM-IV-TR, inflicting harmful social stigma and barriers to transition care.
* Ehrbar – Practically, diagnosis is needed for access. Conceptually, it makes sense to categorize gender dysphoria as a mental health disorder.
* Gorton – GID (by any name) belongs in DSM-V. Revisions can foster acceptance among consumers without compromising scientific accuracy. Diagnosis facilitates insurance coverage and disability protections.

While Winters states that she has a problem with the stigma, the other two people strongly believe that “Gender Identity Disorder”, a clear fiction, is indispensable and necessary. It is necessary to label people who are different, it “makes sense” to say that the people in question have a mental health disorder, and it is “scientifically accurate” to boot.

I don’t have a problem with Winters viewpoint, and I agree with her. I just don’t think anyone is listening to her. The problem is that she associates with people who do not have our interests as women at heart. They have the interests of the pseudo-medical industry in mind first and foremost. Winters’ presence at the conference appears to be largely ornamental.

Having a token transsexual person on board gives the Psych Industry the veneer of propriety it wants in continuing its cruel domination of not only those who are born differently, but those who think differently as well (the transgender). It is the crassest form of politics practiced against society’s most vulnerable members. But this is completely in character for the so-called mental health profession as a macro business entity. Individual therapists may be good people and help their clients, but organizational needs override any good that may come from books like the DSM. Simply put, the Psych Industry wants to keep its customers, even if those customers must be victimized to do so.

The Public Option

Those like Dr. Winters who live steeped in transsexuality are not doing good for the cause, whatever that cause is. Being born part of a tiny minority carries with it a very different set of rules than such things as race, creed, or any of the identity-based movements that trans-politics tries to model itself after. Being flawed from the inception, the political activism that “transpeople” engage in are inevitably harmful in the end.

When you make your life about a birth defect, certain questions arise in people’s minds, questions that are not what the activists think they are. People question your sanity, as they cannot imagine exposing themselves to such ridicule when it clearly isn’t necessary. Far from supporting “the cause”, being out, loud, and in your face is extremely bad public relations. Media organizations create a freak show, predatory organizations like the APA rub their hands in glee thinking of the research grants they will get to experiment on the marginalized. Being a public figure for publicity’s sake, a favorite pastime of the professional transsexual, has done more harm than those people will ever know.

Take that situation and add a dash of collegialism, the hint of inclusion for a person who feels marginalized, and the promise of a better time to come. This is the recruiting poster for tokens. It’s the way minorities have been solicited in the past to provide an example of “one of the good ones”.

Every person must make their own choices, and live their own life. Nobody should do these things in a complete vacuum of reality, and that is the situation the professional transsexuals find themselves in. The choice facing such people is if they are willing to put their own emotional needs above the good of many others like themselves, or if they will do the right thing and think hard about how their choices affect others before they act.

In the US, we have created a narcissistic society that has bred generations of people who think they are superstars. What will it take to temper the hubris?


14 Responses to Collaborators

  1. Take that situation and add a dash of collegialism, the hint of inclusion for a person who feels marginalized, and the promise of a better time to come. This is the recruiting poster for tokens. It’s the way minorities have been solicited in the past to provide an example of “one of the good ones”.

    That’s a powerful declaration you’ve made there.

    Particularly since i was recently accused of being a ‘token pre-op’.

    i’ve got to think about this.

  2. Lori D says:

    I haven’t made my life around a birth defect, but I have taken very deliberate actions to resolve this “congenital condition” so that the rest of my life isn’t so wrapped up around it. I’m not scholarly enough to understand the complexities of keeping GID in the DSM-V, but I do know that obvious medically necessary congenital defects (like cleft palate) need and can be corrected using current medicine and treatments.

  3. ariablue says:

    But that’s just it Lori, nobody needs to be a scholar to have a say in their own lives. That’s just a lie we’ve been told so that we don’t question the undeserved authority that certain people hold over us. This is exactly what is meant by patriarchal attitude. Minorities are disenfranchised by telling them they just aren’t smart enough to understand the necessity of other people controlling their status and fate. This is the way we are made powerless, and personal sovereignty is surrendered to “experts”.

    Are people born with cleft palate categorized in a book next to pedophilia? Do people born with spina bifida have to prove they aren’t sexual deviants? Most of our current problems with the psych industry can be traced back to Paul McHugh. As I said in my other post, I feel I owe McHugh a special debt for his role in closing down the entire scientific pursuit of understanding our condition in the US.

    When he lied about the science and shut down the program at Johns Hopkins, every major university studying the issue followed suit. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in a country where there was no such thing as a transsexual. There were only drag queens and crossdressers. I think a whole generation of people like us was just buried to make the world sanitary for the delicate sensibilities of the bigots and fools like McHugh. (That is also probably why I happen to be rabidly atheist, if not so much toward the idea that there is a higher power, then precisely toward the idea that one of my fellow monkeys has all the answers)

    I see the transgender construct as part of the same problem. When the truth is suppressed, it allows all sorts of wild conjecture in its place to fill the vacuum. Background noise takes on false meaning when the human mind creates order out of random patterns. All the babble about gender this and gender that it utterly meaningless. It’s fluff designed to sell to people who are looking for answers, without actually telling them the truth.

    As long as people continue to quibble over “gender”, the parasites in the psych industry who have attached themselves to us will continue to speak for us. They’ll tell society that their view of us as sexual idiots is “scientifically sound”. And when you have non-transsexuals who suddenly become transsexual under that scheme of redefinition, it creates a situation where the non-trans people contribute to our victimization as a matter of course.

    It isn’t about surgical status. Anonymous you aren’t a token, but you know that. =) You are a woman with a voice to be heard just like the rest of us. I don’t know who accused you of that, but it is obvious that person believes the process creates the condition. That view is usually held by crossdressers who are reaching “above” their station on their imagined hierarchy. People like that are also part of this problem. They use patriarchy and male privilege to dictate who we are, and do their level best to bury the truth of our lives. How is that any different than what the psych industry does to us?

    It really bothers me how nobody in this discussion can dialog with us at all. The slightest question put towards the transgender construct is greeted with howls and putdowns. That should tell you everything you need to know about TG. I suppose they expect us to shut up and wait for transgender Moses to come down with the 10 tranny commandments. Forget it!

    We don’t owe anything to anyone but ourselves. And I don’t owe the transgender gaggle my silence.

  4. catkisser says:

    Aria has it exactly right Anon…..

    The TGs always recast the discussion to surgery when it is the drive to correct the body in all stages to match the soul that defines the condition not the act of having corrective surgery. This essential point is always, and I believe deliberately, ignored. Token, hardly. Being pre corrected does not change the essence of one’s neurological makeup and all that goes with that.

  5. SA-ET says:

    Very nice piece, Aria.

  6. Sara says:

    Catkisser, can you discuss the term “in all stages” for me? Just looking for this contextual detail to your post. I feel as if I know what you are talking about but want to hear it from you. Do you mean wanting/desiring corrective surgery in all of one’s life stages, i.e., childhood through adulthood?


  7. Jessica says:

    I’m always uneasy when people write about, seem to write about, removing all reference to transsexual people from the DSM or some other document that allows access to the medical services we need.

    I’m not defending the current location of GID in the DSM–or even the GID diagnosis itself–and the probably location of it in the next edition of the DSM.

    But speaking from a country where single-payer health care is a, more or less, universal reality, and given the real income position of most transsexuals–those we don’t usually hear about, the non-professional ones–I’m unwilling to agree with any attempts to remove our condition from the documents that allow us access.

    In my own life, I worked with a community-based transition coach which was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me.

    And though surgery was not listed–that is covered–at the time I had it (I relied upon the settlement of a human rights complaint) I know a woman who wouldn’t have been able to have surgery without it being relisted.

    There are many more.

    It is different in countries like the Unites States–not that many, I believe–that don’t have universal, single-payer health care, where everyone has to do it by themselves.

    I believe those who advocate for the removal of it from the DSM should offer suggestions for how those who cannot afford it themselves will have this life-saving procedure.

    And all that comes before surgery.

  8. catkisser says:

    Sara, I could try to tell you in brief, but if you wanted to misunderstand what I was saying, you still could.

    I have written literally thousands of words on this and haven’t scratched the surface. Although I swore years ago I wouldn’t do it, I might find myself writing a book on the subject. I don’t want to because that brands you forever a tran something, I’m already hated by much of the trans communities and so I doubt it would sell enough to pay for the printing..

    Jessica, I have had many many long discussions on this with a friend who is a psychiatrist. There is no easy answer while the medical communities resist the medical model even in the face of all the evidence and the transgender nonsense has the attention. WPATH has made this situation much worse by mostly switching to transgender and ignoring transsexual not to mention embracing the whole non-op by choice garbage. Transsexual already has lost all real meaning, even medically.

    Many conditions with known physical causalities are still listed in the DSM, the trouble is that the fix is already in with the revision and the Catholic church via McHugh and Dreager have taken the day for now….the transgenders are to be totally screwed but it won’t be pretty for classic transsexuals either. The Standards of Care are to be medicalized, meaning they won’t be considered guidelines anymore but absolutes as far as medical professional are concerned. The return to a one year, possibly two minimum full time prior to hormones will return us to street hormones, shared needles….the transsexual equivalent to coathanger abortions. Surgery letters are going to become very hard to come by. Many, if not most classic transsexuals will have to go to Thailand for surgery and almost no one will be allowed to do it within the US. Bowers career is gonna be toast.

  9. Jessica says:

    The one year full time prior to hormones remains the policy of the old Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, now CAMH in Toronto–the home of Blanchard and Zucker.

    The Sherbourne Clinic in Toronto does it differently. As do the providers in Ottawa who helped me prior to surgery.

    I, too, applaud McHugh’s closing of Johns Hopkins Clinic–though one of my GP doctors did his training there, though did not work with trans people of any description.

    The move to community based providers, as is the demand of the Trans Health Lobby Group in Toronto, which had some success in relisting surgery in Ontario–even as Alberta and Manitoba are delisting it–is to make the process more amenable to us–I believe this.

    Again, the experience on each side of the border is different, though the Standards of Care as well as the DSM are of great effect here in Canada, too.

    Your comment on Bowers might also apply to Pierre Brassard, the surgeon in Montreal–where I went.

    I’m not sure my view on this is as pessimistic as yours–my experience with providers, including those who are members of both WPATH and CPATH (the Canadian association)–has been very positive.

    Extremely positive.

  10. Lori D says:

    I believe that any recommendation of being one year full time before the beginning of HRT is absolutely inane. The ability to be gendered according to one’s internal gender identity is vastly increased when on HRT and having had other procedures like electrolysis. Doing these things, and being on HRT two years before starting the Real Life Experience has proved extremely beneficial to me, especially since I’m one who places high values in looking externally like the female I am internally.

  11. Jessica says:

    I received an email comment from ariablue which doesn’t seem to be here in comments:

    “Jessica, you applaud McHugh closing John’s Hopkins program?”

    I thought the context of my statement above made clear why I “applaud” this closure–and the wave of closures of university-affiliated ‘gender identity clinics’ that is ignited. As its opening ignited a wave of opening of such clinics.

    Although it has not lead to the closing of the old Clarke Institute, now CAMH, in Toronto–home of Blanchard and Zucker–though it is not affiliated to the University of Toronto in the way it was. It is now affiliated to the old Addictions Research foundation. Possibly a step up from being an institution that worked with the “criminally insane.”

    We may just have to wait for Blanchard and Zucker to die.

    I am not the first to remark on the positive value of the closure of such clinics.

    What it does is clear the way for community-based providers, who are more likely to be sensitive to the actual needs of the clients they serve.

    I pointed out the Sherbourne Clinic in Toronto, which was opened not just to serve transsexual people in Toronto–and also transgender people, who also have their, even less well known health needs–but also all those who are marginalized in a city the size of Toronto.

    A “world-class city.”

    The provision of community-based care is one of the demands of the Trans Health Lobby Group, organized by Susan Gapka in Toronto. This group is leading the struggle in Ontario for the provision of medical services for transsexual and transgender people.

    I believe this argument regarding the closing of university-affiliated clinics was also made by Meyerowitz in the 2002 book **How sex changed.** At the time I read it, I wasn’t sure I agreed with the assessment I now have, being of the unexamined belief that the only way to receive care, including hormones, counselling and recommendations for surgery, was through such clinics.

    Having examined this belief, and having experience first hand community-based care, I no longer believe this.

    catkisser, I agree with your statement, “Transsexual already has lost all real meaning, even medically.”

    Even my transition coach, who helped me through not only transition, but the loss of 15 year’s work as a piano teacher at a small piano school AND a human rights complaint, believes transsexuality is a subset of transgenderism.

    Yet, I will never doubt that her compassion and understanding of my needs did not allow this theoretical stance to get in the way of her indispensable help to me.

    These are fine, well, maybe not so fine, theoretical points.

    What we need is intelligent, skilled and compassionate care. I received this from her. I do not hesitate in recommending her to others.

    I probably wouldn’t be here without her help.

  12. ariablue says:

    I was trying to write a more comprehensive question, not sure how that fragment got sent but good enough. =)

    I view the situation very differently. I don’t think transsexual people need care in the sense you seem to. When they closed the university programs, they stopped the *study* of transsexualism. The flow of information froze, and transsexual became fodder for social scientists. I believe this led to the rise of gender theory, and all the damage that has done to transsexual women.

    Maybe its a difference in our two countries, or maybe its generational. My peers here never seemed to need that kind of coaching or help. The biggest problem facing us is wading through the morass of transgenderism to get to the physical truth of our birth condition. The lack of science is the problem here, something that is only now changing with the neurological work being done in Europe.

    To this day in the US, John Money’s and Paul McHugh’s idiotic ideas reign supreme. And your transition coach is proof that the poison extends past the border. Community-based clinics do not exist here. Support groups for us do not exist here. The transgenderism spouted by Money and McHugh has completely destroyed medical care for transsexual women in the United States.

    We don’t need psychiatry or therapy to resolve this. This birth condition belongs squarely in the realm of medical science. We need a diagnostic test and a treatment protocol. We need legal affirmation of our documents, so that courts are forced to respect state and federal law. It is a travesty that our courts are so out of line that they can write law and effectively nullify the legislature at a whim.

    I view the entire field of psychiatry to be superfluous and harmful. They are parasites that prey on us and tell society that certain people are deranged and requires their special brand “treatment” for being different. They push chemicals on people without even knowing what they really do at the behest of big pharma. It has a history of brutalizing the different in the finest primate tradition. Psychiatry is the jack booted agent of social conformity.

    And I don’t feel much better about psychology and master’s level therapists. To me, they are a softer version of psychiatry without the power of medicine. Their job seems to be to fill the role of father-confessor that was forgotten when society changed. We lost shaman and medicine women and got drab offices with a borguoisie attitude. We used to have friends for this sort of thing, now we are so isolated in our personal enclaves we don’t make true friends anymore.

    No, I don’t think we need care the way so many people think. We don’t need people telling us what to do and even the role of guidance counselor that many therapists take with us creates a mindset in the transitioner that ends up being an obstacle in itself. If the clinics are a boon in Canada, I have to think it has more to do with your single-payer system and the possibility that people there don’t completely embrace McHugh’s hate the way they do here.

    McHugh cheated me out of knowledge when tried to bury the truth of our existence. I spent years of my life lost, looking for answers that were hidden because McHugh was successful at stopping scientific inquiry. I’ll never thank that pedophile apologist for what he did. The fact that community clinics arose in other countries to fill the gap left by real medicine is a travesty, not something to be celebrated. We have been taught for too long to accept second best, and I won’t thank the master for those crumbs.

    And I think McHugh will be undone when his plan to blame gay men for the pedophile priests in his church backfires. If he isn’t exposed outright, his personal influence will wane and become miniscule. Maybe it has already happened.

  13. Jessica says:

    What I most wanted to point out was not community-based CLINICS, but community-based PROVIDERS. Its just that the Sherbourne Clinic does, for most of the commentary I have seen–it is in Toronto, I’m in Ottawa–quite celebrates it.

    I’m not sure how you can, on the one hand, criticize McHugh and his ilk, but on the other be concerned with my celebration with the general closing of university-affiliated clinics–with their STUDY of our lives, not sole focus on our needs. Though they would certainly make the argument that is what study is about.

    The “go it alone” attitude is quite American, I’ve noticed, and implies more than a little weakness when someone is unable to do it alone–or when circumstances overwhelm one.

    This is cultural difference–played out, to my mind, in the Health Town “Hells.”

    My doctor here in Ottawa, as well as the social worker–transition coach–I suppose, you can criticize because both have the inevitable connection with the medical establishment. I’m not sure how one can escape this if one wants surgery. Even Brassard is a surgeon–AND a businessman.

    I simply do not think it is a weakness to seek help when one needs it–I was just so very lucky I found people not only willing, but also able and compassionate.

    I accept it is part of the American Dream that there be no mediation between the client and the surgeon. I even accept that one of the foundational reasons for the Standards of Care was to protect surgeons from those, like Allan Finch, who regretted after–as rare as they are, but so influential out of all proportion to their numbers.

    Yet, I do not believe all culture based beliefs are necessarily good simply because they ARE culture based.

    Much of this is invisible from inside the culture one is embedded in. I’m sure there are parts of my culture that are invisible to me–though I’ve had the opportunity to watch both cultures from, to some degree, each other.

    Sometimes, I take the radical libertarian position in favour of repealing ALL drug control legislation, so that people can just go to the pharmacy and order whatever drug they want, in whatever quantity and strength they want.

    A much simpler situation than now, no prohibition on heroin, cocaine, etc, but also no prescriptions for estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, paxcil, prozac, vioxx, warfarin, etc, etc, etc.

    But then I think, for all the terrible advice one does get–and my family has received more than what I believe is our fair share–I do appreciate most of what I get. I simply don’t have the time, unless I become a professional, to learn all the details and acquire all the skills necessary–when I needed it.

    If it is just a matter of getting the cash together–and say, going to Thailand–what happens if something goes wrong? What about aftercare?

    What happens if the motivation is wrong? It does happen, not often, to be sure, but it does happen.

    What happens for those who DO NOT HAVE THE CASH?

    In a country with as much inequality as the United States, I would have thought this would be a top of the mind concern?

    Even though there is significantly less inequality in Canada, this is still something that concerns me. Particularly now I am post correction.

    The very damage evident in what you write–that we all endure–cannot always be overcome by oneself. I couldn’t.

    Maybe you’re more capable than I? I sincerely envy this–but knowing as many people as I do, I don’t think this is a common trait.

    I believe counselling should be part of the package of services available to transsexual people–along with hormones, beard removal, voice training as well as surgery.

    It is part of the demands of the Trans Health Lobby Group which I support.

  14. cassandraspeaks says:

    I don’t have the time for a detailed comment on this subject, so I apologise if this sounds a tad curt. Aria, you are exactly right.I couldn’t have said it better, might have been a tad longer though.
    Classic Transsexual has no business being in a psychiatric handbook. It is the body that is wrong the mind is fine. What is desperately needed is a full medical diagnosis. That one change will bring SRS under the cover of all medical insurance.
    When researchers carry out studies on transsexuals they onlyy think they do. The reality is that there are so very few classic transsexuals and so many pretenders the research is inevitably carried out with transgender.
    Transsexual is emphatically NOT a subset of ANYTHING especially transgender.
    Having said that there is growing evidence that it could be a type of intersex.
    Most people do not realise or understand the deep harm that has been done to women by male transgenderism. It has to stop.