Dr. Marshall Forstein, Chair of the Work Group on Practices Guidelines on HIV Psychiatry for the American Psychiatric Association (not to be confused with the American Psychological Association), has written a reply to the drive to have Drs. Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard removed from the Work Group developing the revisions for “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders” for the planned DSM-V. In it, he writes:

“I hope that what I have written makes us pause a bit before we do something to alienate even our supporters and friends in the American Psychiatric and the American Psychological Association who have been very pro-gay and pro-trans in their deliberations so far. There will always be a vocal minority that claim otherwise, but the process is vetted by many people committed to scientific integrity and evidence.”

I and others have been accused of scaremongering in the ongoing debate(s) surrounding this issue. Dr. Forstein has some excellent points for us to examine. Some of the other aspects and debates, though, I still stand behind.

For those who are concerned about the establishment of an adherent to reparative therapy (Dr. Kenneth Zucker) and another seeking to entrench “autogynephilia” (a pathologization of treatment of non- “homosexual transgender” transfolk) in the DSM-V, there have been some new happenings.

One letter writer reports receiving an email from the APA which states that:

“The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group, chaired by Kenneth J. Zucker, Ph.D., will have 13 members who will form three subcommittees:

* Gender Identity Disorders, chaired by Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Ph.D.
* Paraphilias, chaired by Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.
* Sexual Dysfunctions, chaired by R. Taylor Segraves, M.D., Ph.D.”

In recent years, the GLB community has been more receptive to (and even energized in) assisting the transgender community, but regularly asks what its needs are. One that is often touted is the “complete depathologization of Trans identities” (quoting from a press release for an October 7, 2007 demonstration in Barcelona, Spain) by removing “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID) from medical classification. The reasoning generally flows in a logic chain stating that with homosexuality removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM, the “bible” of the medical community) in 1974, gay and lesbian rights were able to follow as a consequence – and with similar removal, we should be able to do the same. Living in an area where GRS (genital reassignment surgery) is covered under provincial Health Care, however, provides a unique perspective on this issue. And with Presidential candidates proposing models for national health care in the U.S., it would obviously be easier to establish GRS coverage for transsexuals at the ground floor, rather than fight for it later. So it is important to note, from this “other side of the coin,” how delisting GID could do far more harm than good.

Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it

And the reaction will be passionate

Give ’em the old hocus pocus ….

Give ’em the old three ring circus”

— Richard Gere as Billy Flynn in the song “Razzle Dazzle” from the movie “Chicago”

What the hell is up with being trans?

Seriously, why is it such a heinous scandal to have someone attached to anything hinting of crossdressing or transsexualism? One would think that in 2007 we’ve progressed beyond that stage, but clearly that’s not so.

A couple of items jumped out at me this week prompting this rant. One was a tabloid (Star or Enquirer, can’t remember which) with a blaring headline replete with photos showing a sad looking Cher, and an alternate photo of daughter Chastity Bono in what appears to be a man’s suit. The headline was: Cher’s Heartbreak Over Chastity’s Sex Change Decision.

The other item concerns photos released of Oscar DeLaHoya and trumpeted as lead story on Entertainment Tonight for multiple nights in a row, even bleeding over into the nightly six o’clock local news at one point. The photos have what appears to be the boxing champ in a fishnet bodysuit, spike-heeled pumps and even wearing a wig with a jaunty fedora in one photo.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all ….

Just a couple weeks ago, President George W. Bush let loose what we in Texas parlance (at least among polite company) term “a whopper” (no, not the hamburger). First he went on news saying how we needed to get more results from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s Administration, and start seeing real progress. This coming right on the heels of the Iraqi ministry taking a month of vacation while the life-or-death issues of this “fledgling democracy” teetering on the brink are put on hold with all the urgency of reviewing a bill on water allocation to farmers. Seemingly, give-‘em-hell-George appeared to be lighting a fire under the Prime Minister.

Then at almost breakneck direction change, the Mr. Bush calls another press conference to reiterate his “unwavering” support of Al-Maliki, and blasting critics calling for his ouster. He goes on to chide the critics of Al-Maliki, noting, “it’s not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position. That is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship.”

Odd that Georgie would bring that up because a mere year and a half ago, it was Ibrahim Al-Jaafari that appeared poised to be re-elected as Prime Minister in Iraq. Unfortunately for him, the White House wanted none of that. The Bush Administration insisted Al-Jaafari step down, and Al-Jaafari dug in his heels initially and refused. With no small amount of arm-twisting, and some help by enlisting the cleric Ali Sistani to show that Al-Jaafari’s obstinance would hold the nation back, the man who the Iraqi Parliament would’ve elected stepped aside.

The man that Iraq’s Parliament on whole were not so keen on (especially the Sunni segment), was instead “democratically elected” – with a little help and wisdom from their neighbors halfway across the globe! Hey, we would expect nothing less in our own democracy, right?

And while Bush’s words sounded like the typical beat-up-a-Democrat, Congress-been-keeping-me-back rhetoric, he was actually responding to critics within his own party.

The astonishing part of all of this was … Bush did this with a straight face! More impressive, virtually no one called him on it!

It’s something we’ve seen a startling increase in, especially in the 21st century: Real-Time Revisionism. Unlike other examples in history, these days revisionism can’t wait for the history-book writers to massage the facts in a decade or two. No, history is now revised now in the span of a mere year or two.

This brand of nuanced politic-speak has been perfected to an art form by the Bush / Cheney Administration, most notably with the Iraq War mission creep. Revisionism has also become a well-used defense or attack strategy by the RNC, and to good effect. And in typical RNC fashion, as long as you say it loudly enough and long enough (especially if you shout the challengers down) it becomes fact. It’s notably helpful to have the press in your pocket, where they can participate in spreading the desired outcome of what’s already past.

To be sure, this isn’t strictly a conservative trait. Indeed some of their counterparts have watched their success with revision and wish to duplicate for themselves.

It’s become a concept that’s in vogue in the GLBT political community as well. It’s not a new approach by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as they’ve used this to lesser success over the years. Lately, however, it’s become much more forward, particularly with a sales push to the transgender community.

Claims made about their historical “support” of inclusive language in either Hate Crimes or Employment Non-Discrimination bills fly directly in the face of reality. In later years they’ve taken note of the pressure of other GLBT organizations pushing them to get with the program that most others adopted years ago: actively pushing for trans-inclusive language. It hasn’t stopped them from trying to support language such as the Senate bill that has gender only as they attempted to slide with in the previous Congress.

Now, with the assistance of a few trans leaders they tap to assist in getting their marketing message to the transgender community, the message is all about how they’ve supported us all along. Ahem, nice try.