Sign a Petition to Protest Bigots Heading Committees to Rewrite DSM-V Psychiatric Definitions

I was hoping something like this existed! Thanks to reader Nicole for sending the link.

Some real anti-science, anti-equality jerks have been nominated to the committees for revising the DSM defitnitions for paraphilia (for those who don’t know the word, here’s a *very* loose definition: sexual fetishes which have become pathological… obviously, a highly controversial topic) and gender identity disorder.

The jerk on the committee for redesigning gender identity disorder was recently featured on an NPR special which discusses how two families grapple with sons’ gender preferences (h/t Holly’s extremely moving post The Sissy-Whupping Method). Zucker’s attempted “treatment” for the boy he was working with was to try to “cure” him by separating him from all varieties of femininity:

to treat Bradley, Zucker explained to Carol that she and her husband would have to radically change their parenting. Bradley would no longer be allowed to spend time with girls. He would no longer be allowed to play with girlish toys or pretend that he was a female character. Zucker said that all of these activities were dangerous to a kid with gender identity disorder. He explained that unless Carol and her husband helped the child to change his behavior, as Bradley grew older, he likely would be rejected by both peer groups. Boys would find his feminine interests unappealing. Girls would want more boyish boys. Bradley would be an outcast.

Carol resolved to do her best. Still, these were huge changes. By the time Bradley started therapy he was almost 6 years old, and Carol had a house full of Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets. She now had to remove them. To cushion the blow, she didn’t take the toys away all at once; she told Bradley that he could choose one or two toys a day.

“In the beginning, he didn’t really care, because he’d picked stuff he didn’t play with,” Carol says. “But then it really got down to the last few.”

As his pile of toys dwindled, Carol realized Bradley was hoarding. She would find female action figures stashed between couch pillows. Rainbow unicorns were hidden in the back of Bradley’s closet. Bradley seemed at a loss, she said. They gave him male toys, but he chose not to play at all.

“He turned to coloring and drawing, and he just simply wouldn’t play with anything. And he would color and draw for hours and hours and hours. And that would be all he did in a day,” Carol says. “I think he was really lost. … The whole way that he knew and understood how to play was just sort of, you know, removed from his house.”

His drawings, however, also proved problematic. Bradley would populate his pictures with the toys and interests he no longer had access to — princesses with long flowing hair, fairies in elaborate dresses, rainbows of pink and purple and pale yellow. So, under Zucker’s direction, Carol and her husband sought to change this as well.

“We would ask him, ‘Can you draw a boy for us? Can you draw a boy in that picture?’ … And then he didn’t really want us to see his drawings or watch him drawing because we would always say ‘Can you draw a boy?'” Carol says. “And then finally after, I don’t know, a month or two, he just said, ‘Momma, I don’t know how. … I don’t know how to draw a boy.'”

Carol says she finally sat down and showed him. From then on, Bradley drew boys as directed. Male figures with anemic caps of hair on their heads filled the pages of his sketchbook.

Clearly, this man should NOT be involved with the DSM definition of gender identity disorder. So, go sign the petition. Here’s an excerpt:

>On the Task Force, named as Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Chair, we find Dr. Kenneth Zucker, from Toronto infamous Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly the Clarke Institute). Dr. Zucker is infamous for utilizing reparative therapy to Ccure gender-variant children. Named to his work group, we find Zuckers mentor, Dr. Ray Blanchard, Head of Clinical Sexology Services at CAMH and creator of the theory of autogynephilia, categorized as a paraphilia and defined as  man paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman

The letter I attached to my petition signature:

It is imperative to psychiatry that it remain a valid field by sponsoring the work of men and women who do good science and who are progressive in terms of civil rights. There is no place for bigotry and bad science in the ranks of psychiatry. The DSM has done well to remove homosexuality from its listing. It would do well to continue in that vein instead of idly permitting more shameful and regressive acts to be committed in its name.

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11 Responses to Sign a Petition to Protest Bigots Heading Committees to Rewrite DSM-V Psychiatric Definitions

  1. 1
    lilacsigil says:

    I couldn’t see a link in your post (though it is late at night and I’m not at my best) but found it via googling.

    I said this: As a little girl, I chose to dress as a boy for a few years. This was completely irrelevant to my adult life (as a woman), and I am glad that my parents (unlike the people mentioned here) did not pathologise this choice and try to “treat” me. I would hope that other people have the chance to have accepting family, rather than fall under the supposed care of Dr Zucker and his allies.

  2. 2
    Eva says:

    The story about Zucker’s treatment of the transgirl is a story of soul murder.

    It makes me feel just awful, and scared, for children who are probably being treated this way right now. You bet I signed the petition.

    I’m also confounded about the paraphilia. Since when does being turned on by imagining oneself as the opposite sex harmful to oneself or anyone else? Does this Zucker person (and his cohorts) not have anything better to do than create pathology where there isn’t any???

  3. 3
    Mike says:

    Makes you wish Evelyn Hooker were still alive, doesn’t it?

  4. 4
    Dianne says:

    Ok, I just signed, with my full set of titles and comment in complete medicalese. Just to try to point out that medical professionals have noticed that Zucker’s a quack at best.

  5. 5
    lori says:

    I also signed. I’ve raised a transgender child into a male-identifying adult. This approach to gender identity and expression is just wrong.

  6. 6
    Bjartmarr says:

    I heard the NPR report on the radio while driving home the other day. I had to pull over and hit things for a little while before I felt safe to drive again. What absolutely floored me was that the parents didn’t catch a clue when their kid STOPPED PLAYING. Newsflash: if your kid is playing happily along, and you do something that causes them to stop playing, then whatever you did is wrong.

    Now that I’m calmer, I realize that the other thing that really bugged me about the report was that the reporter, who is presumably an intelligent adult, didn’t seem to express any dismay or outrage at the treatment Bradley was getting. I realize the value of neutral POV reporting, but reporters are supposed to be critical as well. By presenting both approaches noncritically, without addressing the borderline abuse that Bradley was subjected to, she lent Zucker’s approach an air of credibility which it did not deserve.

  7. 7
    Roberta says:

    I signed. I included this comment:

    For me this is an argument of conjecture. Where is the science proving that these are medical disorders? Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. But to classify things such as disease states without solid scientific backing is, at the very least, archaic.

    Which was my way of dancing around, because it’s a good argument but I hardly even have the medical terminology right.

    It’s not, of course, the argument I care about. But I couldn’t very well write This is utter bullshit, you motherfucking fear-based fag-bashing bullies, now could I?

  8. 8
    Thene says:

    Roberta – one problem here is that many transfolk benefit from medical recognition of the ‘disease state’. To some – especially noho/no-op folk – it’s detrimental that doctors are (in the UK, at least) positioned as gatekeepers to legal rights. To others, it’s of benefit that doctors can make a GID diagnosis, prescribe hormones & other treatments that are paid for like normal medical treatments (eg. free in the UK, by insurers in the US) if so desired, and give someone’s real gender recognition and medical support.

  9. 9
    glt says:

    Boys would find his feminine interests unappealing. Girls would want more boyish boys. Bradley would be an outcast.

    But I’m a girl and I want more girlish boys! Stupid conformity!

  10. 10
    Roberta says:

    Thene, that’s totally true.
    And glt, that quote was so ugly to me on so many levels. Because everything about ourselves is about normalcy and popularity, right?

  11. 11
    Kelly says:

    Being a counselor in training who is interesting in working with the GLBT community I have a vested interest. I went to sign the petition and it states that it is closed. Is there another petition or another way that I could help remove this man and his bigoted ideas from the DSM-V panel?