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Ellyn Kaschak, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita of Psychology, San Jose State University

Watch out for Dr.Kaschak as she’s violated the first rule of Trans Club – You don’t talk about Trans Club…

 

“The diagnostic of “gender dysphoria” actually came into existence as “gender identity disorder” and replaced the pathologizing of homosexuality (eliminated in 1973) in the DSM, the psychiatric bible. These diagnoses are adopted by popular vote of the American Psychiatric Association members, democratic rather than scientific. They have the strongest investment in construing psychology in terms of health and pathology. The association members had been convinced by lobbying groups and research, to vote to “normalize” homosexuality. In doing so, they wanted to leave a diagnostic possibility for those who remained conflicted about their sexual orientation. Diagnosis permits treatment via the official approval of the insurance companies, who today control the professions to a frightening extent. Thus was born “gender identity,” seemingly a harmless and even generous compromise.

Proponents of the transgender movement actually hijacked this diagnosis, along with the 50 years of feminist theory, practice and discoveries about the social construction and contextual nature of gender and spun them into a human rights movement, but not one for women. In fact, this movement actually infringes on many of the hard-won rights of women, including not only the right to assemble as a sex-based group but the right to call ourselves women, mothers and daughters. It even attempts to destroy the very concept of sex by conflating sex and gender, but make no mistake, lifetimes of research support unequivocally the difference between sex and gender. They may influence each other, but they are not the same thing. And sex can not be changed. It is a biological reality.

Perhaps the cruelest cut of all is to use our own half-century of feminist research and writing against us. These ideas are not an extension, but a perversion of feminist thought. The most radical goal of gender research, which has been only partially successful, has been to eliminate gendered categories and strictures rather than to multiply them. Feminists tend for obvious reasons to be social constructionists. But physical constructionists never. Feminists tend to respect and live in accord and peace, not try to dominate Mother Nature, not to outdo her or destroy her. We come in peace.

Here are some more important questions. If psychologists and psychiatrists are going to pathologize and diagnose, a questionable practice at best, then shouldn’t they diagnose carefully, as lives depend upon it? Are they then considering and eliminating such diagnoses as narcissism or sociopathic disorders, sexual fetishes, dissociative disorders or even delusional disorders? Is transitioning more like self-cutting or eating disorders than like homosexuality? Increasingly many patients are self-diagnosing, a practice not offered by the professions to any other group.”

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