Kelley Winters

Protesters call for Reform of Gender Disorders at American Psychiatric Association Convention

Filed By Kelley Winters | May 17, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: American Psychiatric Association, cindi creager, danielle askini, DSM V, gender identity, gender identity disorder

Thanks to Danielle Askini for this media advisory:

What: A coalition of transgender community advocates and mental health providers will gather in San Francisco May 18 to protest how the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is handling revisions to "gender identity disorder" and related diagnoses in their fifth edition of the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM-V).

When: Monday May 18th Protest starts at 6:00pm

Where: At the corner of 4th and Howard Street, San Francisco - Outside the Moscone Center

Who: A coalition of medical and therapeutic professionals, gender-variant, transgender people, and allies working under the name GIDreformNOW who have grave concerns about the current diagnostic classification and lack of disclosure by the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group about plans for the DSM-V.

Key leaders and advocates for Transgender civil rights will be present to speak, they include Julia Serano, PhD; Madeline Deutsch, MD; Masen Davis, MSW; Kelley Winters, PhD; Danielle Askini, MSW; Mara Keisling; Andrea James, MA; Lore Dickey, MA; Michele Angello, PhD; and Rebecca Allison, MD.

Great Visual Opportunities

Organization contact: Danielle Askini, [email protected] (415) 655-3317

Media Contact: Cindi Creager
(917) 331-5684

For more information:

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Thanks for this. There are some great people there for this. I didn't see Jamison Green's name on the list. Please write an article and post pictures after the protest. I can't wait for your report.

I am a transsexual woman who will be attempting to utilize GID in a court case to force a state to alter my birth certificate. It is a state that refuses to do so even after proof of surgery is presented.

If Transgender activists have GID removed as a clinical diagnosis, then they have absolutely screwed me.

i will be left with no other recourse i can see to completely reform my sex and get on with my life, which has been the number one fixated obsession of my broken life.

It will effectively enslave me to the GLBT movement, which i have supported in every way i have been capable since before and after dealing with my transsexuality.

Should this occur, and i cannot achieve my life-saving goal because of the actions of the Transgender community, i will consider it a betrayal too devestating for words.

And though i am nothing more than one insignificant little t-girl, i will spend the rest of my foreseen future reacting to that betrayal accordingly.

If you read the actual protest literature what they are advocating is just a switch from a DSM diagnosis to a physical condition diagnosis and hormones and surgeries would be seen as medically necessary for treatment. Unless of course, just like with any sort of other medical issue, the patient opts out of either treatment.

Don't use GID. GID says you are a mentally ill man, and we already have one such case on the books that ended in failure. Read through the Littleton decision! People who take court action based on the psychological model will be branded as their sex assigned at birth forever.

Thanks, Anonymous, for reminding us of important points about the necessity of medical transition treatments and legal recognition of social transition. This is why a great many of us call for reform and harm-reduction of the GID diagnosis, rather than removal of all diagnostic coding. In my view, there is a need for diagnostic nomenclature that supports and respects transitioning individuals, while the current GID diagnostic criteria and supporting text contradict transition and encourage gender-reparative therapies instead.

I also feel it important to remove the Transvestic Fetishism classification, which is defamatory to all CD and gender nonconforming people assigned male at birth as well as many TS women.

The current GID and TF diagnoses underlie false stereotypes that equate transition itself to mental illness. It is time for reform that will reduce these barriers for all of us.

I have lived 12 years as a pre-op trans woman and have not once needed a changed birth certificate for anything important in my life. I was born in South Carolina and all they will do is amend it, but they keep the original information on it for all to see. So, what good with that do me? I have bought cars, changed driver's licenses, bought a house, applied for credit and had at least two surgeries that my insurance paid for.

A birth certificate is needed for vertically nothing these days, except joining the military and getting a driver's license for the first time at age 16. (I know, I know. There are a few other things.) At age 58 what will I ever need to show my birth certificate for? Passport? When will I ever afford to travel overseas? A person can survive quit nicely without ever needing to show their birth certificate.

Monica, I used to be disinterested in birth certificate changes because I didn't feel the need to change mine; and like you, I didn't think there was much use for one much beyond the age of 16.

However, WA. recently changed its requirements to get gender markers changed on driver's licenses. They now want a changed birth certificate to do it (which is absurd). I should quickly add that they're supposed to issue waivers if you cannot get your birth certificate changed. But it's several extra hassles, and the policy is so new that they're not even sure of how to implement it or when to issue the waivers.

I should also add that because of this requirement, WA. has changed its procedure for changing birth certificates. It is no longer required for you to have SRS to get a new WA. birth certificate, making it the easiest state in the country to do so. That's great if you happened to be born in WA., but in today's mobile society, there are many residents here who weren't.

Apparently, there are also other states that won't change your driver's license without a changed birth certificate. And having an incorrect license is a very big deal.

For those of us who live in border states, we have an "enhanced ID" program, so we can use our licenses instead of a passport. That program is probably not an option for those of us with "hinckey" birth certificates.


Amended *is* changed. My state will do *nothing*.

You have insurance that paid for your surgeries.

Good for you.

Having you list off why *you* don't need an amended birth certificate isn't something that has anything to do with my situation.

i'm half your age. A passport is at the top of my list of priorities. It's nice that you were able to afford surgery without leaving the country.

i'm not so lucky.


i have responded at my blog. Feel free to respond if you like.

My surgeries were the removal of my gallbladder and my knee being worked on. That's the surgeries I was talking about. Any surgery related to me being trans is not payed for by my insurance. (You missed the "pre-op" sentence.) And, if a person can see what was on my original birth certificate, how is that any better then an unchanged one? Since I'm still pre-op, it is still with its original info anyway. Post or pre, I'll always have a birth certificate that would out me. That's a thrill . . . not.

And, the state department will give you a one-year passport with the "F" on it if you are going overseas for surgery. Why would you need a passport after that?

You may be able to get a correct US passport anyway, regardless of an incorrect Birth Certificate. Others have.

Remember also that having a BC corrected will not be recognised in a number of jurisdictions.

Transsexuality - "GID" - has a problem with its basic definition as a mental rather than a congenital physical condition. That is, in order to qualify for surgery, you must be "diagnosed" with the "mental illness" GID. But if "mentally ill", you cannot give informed consent, so cannot consent to such surgery. They have to make an exception saying that you're not actually mentally ill, except you are for the purposes of diagnosis.

This glaring contradiction has been present for decades, and it's only a matter of time before it's used to legislatively prevent surgery, as well as removing existing human rights from trans people, as it is being now.

BTW - I'm unable to get my BC corrected too. But I have a correct passport etc. It took a court case for this, but it can be done in some jurisdictions. Good luck with yours, and if I can help in any way, please let me know.

A- i read the actual protest literature. You must have not read my response elsewhere. My issue is what seems to be between the lines.

ariablue- i know. My advisor says he believes there are a couple of critical new differences he can work with to give us a chance. i still haven't decided exactly what to do yet.

Zoe- i would very much appreciate getting your opinion and advice in the near future. Particularly with the court case you went through.

Monica- It is my understanding with a couple of people who went through the process that getting a temporarily amended passport was a hassle they were not prepared for. Maybe it was a fluke for them, and it it easy. i don't know. As you apparently haven't gone through the process, i'll take into consideration their opinion over yours.

i know you're pre-op. But anybody knows that standard surgeries don't involve a bc. So when you mentioned them, i assumed they were trans related somehow. Since they weren't, i don't know why you brought them up to begin with.

As for forcing my bc change through a court case, i'll do it purely on principle if i have to. Maybe altering it to reflect the truth has a much more profound meaning for me than it does for you.

If so, i'm happy your life is working out great for you. i'm not you.

And i'm beginning to resent your tone that hints that i should 'be satisfied' just because you are. Before this gets hostile, i'll just say that i'm done explaining myself.

As much as you might think so, i don't have to.

Please forgive and correct me if I'm getting you wrong. You are saying that you "suffered" from GID and were cured by SRS. After SRS you are (excuse the phrase) just another woman?

As a gay man I am enriched by the GL community.

What you are saying is that in your current reality you don't feel that the GL community addresses your life while you are still hopefully supportive of our goals? (I leave out the T because there is such a thing as Post-T)

So to put it like Denzel Washington in Philadelphia who asked clients to explain it like he was a six year old -- You're saying you had GID and your treatment (SRS) cured you. You are cured so there is no stigma.

Well that's the way i understand it.

i don't have the slightest idea what in the hell you are trying to ask me.

i'm backing out of this thread now, because just like i thought, it's starting to feel like i'm on trial for having an opinion that on *this one instance* differs with most.

Don't worry, i've learned my lesson.

Sorry you're getting jumped on here. I hope you're still listening, though, because I just went through the process of changing my passport and thought I'd offer you my experience, as well. I can certainly say that even without going through the temporary passport, it was quite a hassle. It took 3 months when my cissexual partner applied at the same time and got hir passport in 2 weeks. And in the end, I only got it when I did because they finally agreed to pay their extortion -- ehem, expedition fee.

I don't know about the temporary passports, but my experience leads me to believe that it's simply a trans-ignorant if not transphobic bureaocratic mess that requires a lot of patience. And of course, like almost all government bureaocracies, it's based entirely on surgery -- which in most cases is the real hard part.

I've heard that sometimes different passport officials make up new rules on the spot, at least when I went through it, though, it had nothing to do with birth certificates or even state law. The only thing they wanted was a letter from a surgeon (either saying you've had SRS or, for the temporary passport, that you are about to). Unless you run into a passport official who's being a jerk, it shouldn't matter what state you are in or what's on your BC.

Good luck with your court case, too. Though, you might want to be careful about references to the ADA, as it specifically has an exemption written into it that nothing in the act applies to GID. That's one of the reasons why I prefer when I can to argue for fair treatment as a matter of equal protection, human dignity, and ethically necessity. Though, I certainly know that some jurisdictions, at least at this point in time, won't listen to that at all, so I'm willing to support people in using whichever argument is most effective in the situation.

Please tell us how the protest goes, Kelley. Would you consider posting a copy of your speech online?

The reason I mentioned my non-trans surgeries pertains very much to this conversation. I am considered female by my company and the medical insurance company that covers my company. I didn't have to show anyone of them my birth certificate, and I've been with this company for 19.5 years and transitioned on the job 12 years ago. My birth certificate hasn't stopped me from getting insurance, so, it hasn't stopped me from getting non-trans surgeries, hormones and other medical coverage.

Also, I've been an activist for 11 years, so I've been on the front line for many of the issues facing the trans community, including passports. A person doesn't need to apply for a passport without knowing what takes place. There are places on line that can back up what I say. NCTE comes to mind.

I'm sorry you are going through these issues to get your birth certificate changed. NCTE is also working on the issue of allowing all trans people to get a passport that reflects their legal gender, regardless of surgery status. This is to trump the three states that will not change birth certificates, such as ID, OH and TN. If they succeed, they your efforts in court will no longer be necessary. If I see a need for a passport, I'll wait for their efforts to go through.


You are obviously young and inexperienced, so I will explain it to you like to six year old.

SRS cure the condition, nothing ever cures the stigma. That's the lesson.

We are women, but society doesn't always see it that way. Not fair, but life isn't always fair is it? As a gay man I think you understand that, don't you? It's just a little bit harder for us T people. Changing your sex is hard, with surgery or not. Coming out as a gay man can be difficult as well, but you're not changing your sex. You're embracing your sexuality, which is a good thing, a healthy thing to do. Coming out as gay isn't easy for everyone, more difficult for some than others, coming out as trans is almost always an arduous task. An for some T-people it costs us our homes, our jobs, our sanity or our lives.

The fact you bothered to read the article says good thinga about you, Greg. Keep asking questions. As long as people are polite most of us don't mind questions. Never ask a T-person about their genitals, unless they bring it up.

Good luck to you anonymous, life is never boring is it? You are brave to try and you are right to want your womanhood if it is right for you. And only you know that. I hope you win!

All our paths are different, but we're all looking for the same things. Just to be ourselves, to be loved or valued and not to be hassled by the man.

Thank you for calling me young. I am not as experienced around these thing as I should be. Thanks for clearing up the stigma part.

I wasn't trying to disrespect Anonymous T girl. I rambled a bit too much and my question got lost.

They don't get it Anon.

They never "get it".

It's like your talking to yourself and everyone else is scratching their heads.

It's like trying to explain to a seeing person, what it is to be blind, and worse, to have those seeing people legislate for stronger eyeglasses on your behalf.

I was scrolling down the comments to post one asking how the protest went, but I can see that Bil already did. :)

Allison Elise | May 24, 2009 3:38 PM

Many of our clients, myself included, experience the daunting and totally frustrating challenge of navigating the legal system to get their documents to contain the desired information about their identity. In Vermont, I had to sue the sitting judge to have him removed from hearing my case on having my birth certificate amended after he flatly stated to me in his office that he would not change the gender on my birth certificate, a simple procedure under Vermont law. I have yet to update my passport with these changes, and, also, with the changes in the requirements for documents to obtain a drivers license here in Oregon I will need to produce these documents when I renew my DL in a few years.