Take the Politics Out of Classifying Mental Disorders

For almost fifty years, same-gender sex activists have waged an unrelenting war of violence and intimidation on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) during the psychiatric group's conventions and meetings, repeatedly shouting down the main speakers' discourse, frequently taking over the stage and microphone, and ridiculing psychiatrists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder.

In 1971, homosexual activist Franklin Kameny worked with the Gay Liberation Front collective to demonstrate against the APA's convention.  At the 1971 conference, Kameny grabbed the microphone and yelled, "Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate.  Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us.  You may take this as a declaration of war against you."  Kameny wrote a letter to the Psychiatric News threatening the APA with not only more, but worse disruptions.  He stated, "Our presence there was only the beginning of an increasingly intensive campaign by homosexuals to change the approach of psychiatry toward homosexuality or, failing that, to discredit psychiatry." 

Another homosexual activist, Barbara Gittings, exclaimed that "it was never a medical decision – and that's why I think the action came so fast.  It was a political move.  That's how far we've come in ten years."  In 1968, the APA published DSM-2, the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  In the new manual, homosexuality was removed from the category of sociopathic personality disturbances and placed under the general category of sexual deviations alongside gender identity disorder, sadism, masochism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, transvestitism, necrophilia, rape, pedophilia, zoophilia, and more.  In the face of unrelenting attacks on the APA, in 1973, the APA voted to downgrade homosexuality to a "Sexual Orientation Disturbance."  In December 2012, transvestitism and sexual identity disorder were removed. 

The latest victory of the LGBT crowd was celebrated in the media. "The APA announced this month approved changes in its official guide to classifying mental illnesses."  Among the major announced revisions to the manual, known as the DSM-5 was the elimination of transvestitism and the term "gender identity disorder," a term "long considered stigmatizing by mental health specialists and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists."  On December 5, 2012, the Huffington Post proudly ran an article that proclaimed "The End of Transgender as a Mental Illness."  A couple weeks, later CNN reported, "Being Transgender No Longer a Mental 'Disorder' in Diagnostic Manual." 

There seem to be three players in the game of tug-of-war for the control of the content of the DSM: the activists, the majority of APA members who capitulated and voted to turn a long-standing mental illness into normal behavior, and the minority of APA members who voted to keep the classifications.

Ryan Sorba has chronicled the left's fifty-year history of activism against the APA, its DSM, and the classification of sexual deviations and disorders.  The winning side has found that violence and intimidation to achieve a political end – the definition of terrorism – has been successful.  As Barbara Gittings said, "now we even have the American Psychiatric Association running scared."  

"Many LGBT activists felt that the gender dysphoria diagnosis could be a powerful legal tool when challenging discrimination in health insurance plans and services."  The National Center for Transgender Equality said it was pleased with the change.  "It will mark a significant lowering of the stigmatization that many trans people have faced," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the center.  "The changes help make clear that there is nothing pathological about having a transgender identity, and that the role of the mental health profession is to affirm and support individuals in being themselves in the face of societal misunderstanding," she said.

On the losing side of the APA vote to remove sexual identity disorder from the DSM, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, continues to be cited nationwide for his 2015 article (and update in May 2016) "Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution."  He is succinct and direct, and his arguments are supported by common sense and clinical research.  "Transgenderism is a 'mental disorder' that merits treatment, that sex change is "biologically impossible," and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder." 

"This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects.  The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken–it does not correspond with physical reality.  The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes."

"The transgendered person's disorder," said Dr. McHugh, "is in the person's 'assumption' that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature.  It is a disorder similar to a 'dangerously thin' person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are 'overweight.'"

Dr. Paul McHugh is fighting back against the activism and terrorism that saw the left wing of the APA ignore the longstanding fact that sex change is "biologically impossible" and that people who promote "sexual reassignment" surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

"Let's address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade the idea that the exchange of one's sex is possible.  Transgendered men do not become women nor do transgendered women become men.  All become feminized men or masculine women, counterfeits and impersonators of the sex with which they 'identify.'  When the shouting and tumult dies, it is not easy or wide to live in a counterfeit sexual garb."

The Department of Defense uses the DSM as its source reference for psychiatric diagnoses and metal disorders.  With President Trump's announcement to void the Obama transgender policy and reinstate the U.S. military ban on transgender people, is this the opening salvo in the fight for control of a reasonable and accurate DSM?

Most Americans have little knowledge of the DSM, its contents, and its implications.  The DSM "offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders."  It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers.  In the United States the DSM serves as the universal authority for psychiatric diagnoses. 

Ben Shapiro is on target:

It's cruel to allow a mentally ill person to exploit himself in public, but the political left is happy to do so in order to perpetuate the pseudo-scientific nonsense that a man can magically turn into a woman.  Their agenda: If men and women are the same but for hormone therapy, implants and repeated surgical intervention, then all disparities between male and female can be attributed to societal biases.  And those societally created "gender constructs" can be corrected only by massive government intervention, including re-education of children.  Bruce Jenner is merely a tool in this quest for redefinition of gender.

Common sense and reasonableness have been turned upside-down with the APA's cowardly "majority decision" to declare in their updated DSM that those people previously diagnosed with a "gender identity disorder" are no longer classified by the medical community as mentally ill.  The National Institutes of Health need to reject the compromised "universal authority for psychiatric diagnoses" and decertify the APA's DSM-5.  Repeal and replace with the previous version, the DSM-IV.  Take the politics out of classifying mental disorders.

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