Friday, September 11, 2009

Gender Identity is NOT a Disease

If you're interested in trans-rights and issues of gender identity, you should definitely help Stop Trans Pathologization 2012 on October 17th. They're holding an international action to protest the inclusion of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the revision of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

STP2012 is loosely organized and is relying on local trans-groups and allies to help in their protest. You can e-mail stp2012 [at] or click here to find out more.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the issue, STP2012 is an organization that demands the following things:

1. The retirement of GID from the international diagnosis manuals (their next versions DSM-V and ICD-11)
2. The retirement of sex mention in the official documents
3. The abolition of the binary normalization treatments to intersex people
4. Free access to hormonal treatments and surgery (without the psychiatric monitoring)
5. The fight against transphobia: working for education, social and labour insertion for trans people

GID imposes several restrictions on a trans individual. The obvious one is that psychiatrists are given the right to block a trans person's transition into their gender identity. If a trans person wants to recieve hormone therapy or surgery or change the gender on their ID, they often times have to rely on a psychiatrist's permission to do so.

The right to live unencumbered by one's gender identity is a right that should be extended to all people. This campaign will be instrumental in securing a few basic rights for transgender people around the world. While I by no means think that this campaign will eliminate transphobia and the challenges transgender people face, it is an important institutional step in recognizing the validity of gender expression outside the traditional male/female binary.

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