The idea of “autogynephilia” being used as a weapon against classic transsexual women has been one of my concerns in the past. The way it’s written, thinking of oneself as a woman when having sex more or less, could be interpreted broadly to attack the legitimacy of our condition. My question to those who point to this as evidence of sickness is “How SHOULD a woman think of herself in sexual fantasies? As a man?”. This also leads into something I’ve been meaning to ask those transwomen who support HSTS model. Do you see yourselves as men in your sexual fantasies, since you claim only “AGP” types see themselves as women in those sorts of situations? This is seems to be a major point of difference in that false dichotomy, and its something they should answer before pointing fingers at people for being sexually obsessed.
So here comes the DSM. Some people are trying to rally support against the revision based on this threat of AGP being used against actual transsexual women. But after reading through this, I have to say I don’t really feel it. They do seem to be slowly separating the classic transsexualism out, and beyond that the whole autogynephilia thing seems to be mostly self-diagnosed by people who have lost control over their sexually compulsive crossdressing. The fact they put it specifically in the transvestic fetishism section, apart from the areas addressing transsexual syndrome, speaks volumes.
So while it’s not the perfect solution yet, things are moving in the right direction. I would expect that as time goes on and science builds the case for transsexual syndrome the psychs will eventually let it go. The other troubling part, the intersex inclusion, is another negative aspect of this area but I believe the resolution to that situation is much closer than people think. If psychiatry wants to remain a relevant discipline it will have to bow to progress in other fields such as neurology and other related sciences. When viewed from that perspective, easing John Money’s paradigm out of the trade and letting biologically-based conditions out of your field seem like small prices to pay to stay in business.
That’s the core of the issue here- science is evidence in court. Those who want to take a civil-rights-only stance instead of a civil-rights-plus-immutable-condition stance are whistling in the wind and have made an extremely poor political choice. This choice was made solely to insert crossdressing, aka transgender, into the mix. That was the point of colonization all along and now the price of that act is becoming clear. Transgender is holding back the rights of everyone and as time goes on more and more people realize the injustice of the situation.
Traditionally-intersexed people have a very strong case in court, and the case for classic transsexualism is building too. If the psychs do not address these issues soon they could be faced with massive lawsuits which will cause them and the doctors they are trying to cover no end of legal pain. And possibly a black eye for their trade that it can’t really afford at this point when their very legitimacy is under assault by powerful forces of public opinion that could turn into political action.
Intersex and transsexual people have a strong position to bring action against organizations like the APA, and in all of this trans business they in fact are the only ones who do. If you remove intersex and transsexual people from the DSM, the impetus behind the remove-GID-now crowd is completely gone. Crossdressing is not a civil rights issue no matter how activists couch the language. It doesn’t seem that “transvestic fetishists” are sufficiently moved to political action, outside of certain transgender participants, so why should the rest of us be so concerned? To each their own.
Moving towards complete removal of bio-conditions is a smart move for the APA. By shedding themselves of legal liability they are free to treat and study the people who present to them with “gender issues”. I personally believe that most of these “gender issues” will mysteriously disappear as TG goes out of fashion- and transsexual is not available for colonization. That should produce some interesting theorizing from the gender studies crowd and the gender therapists alike.
Due to the nature of male sexuality, there will always be “fetish” to some degree in that population. Whether it is for clothing or “imagining oneself as a collection of woman parts”, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that if something is causing someone distress, if a person’s behavior gets so out of control that it ruins their life, there should be resources available to help them without stigmatization. I’m no fan of Blanchard or his cronies, but we have to acknowledge that some people have the sorts of issues he talks about. His real “crime” is that he applies them too broadly. This isn’t going to change with Blanchard or Zucker because they are steeped in Money’s gender paradigm- but it will change. Absent the moralistic value judgments there is a valid reason for studying sexual obsession.
The task ahead is to continue the separation of biological conditions from the psych world, as well as the GLBT. People need to have their choices restored and not be forced into things they want no part of. The DSM changes are a step in the right direction. If the APA can be encouraged further along this path we are close to the end of our issues there, and soon will be moving towards the next big challenge. If this is a bribe from them as some say, we need to let them know that they have to do better. Temporary payoffs can be rescinded at a later date.
They can buy us off… but the price is full freedom.