Transvestic Disorder? Really?!

Posted by – June 6, 2011

Yes, really. The proposed idea is for DSM V, the same book that wants to change Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Incongruence is also planning on changing Transvestic Fetishism to Transvestic Disorder. (You can see all the relevant proposed changes in a previous post.)

The entry in the current DSM on Transvestic Disorder, like the former entry on Transvestic Fetishism, is authored by Dr. Ray Blanchard of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (formerly known as the Clarke Institute). Blanchard has drawn outrage from the transcommunity for his defamatory theory of autogynephilia, asserting that all transsexual women who are not exclusively attracted to males are motivated to transition by self-obsessed sexual fetishism. He is canonizing this harmful stereotype of transsexual women in the DSM-5 by adding an autogynephilia specifier to the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis.

Worse yet, Blanchard has broadly expanded the diagnosis to implicate gender-nonconforming people of all sexes and all sexual orientations, even inventing an autoandrophilia specifier to smear transsexual men.

For those who don’t see why this is a problem: let me posit the idea that there is no such thing as cross-dressing. That is, you can’t wear/get turned on by clothes of the opposite sex is the sexes aren’t oppositional. That is, a guy can wear a skirt and then it’s a guy’s skirt, just as a woman’s jeans are just jeans.

4 Comments on Transvestic Disorder? Really?!

  1. AshleyP says:

    Why is it that Blanchard and his ilk are even listened to anymore? I would have thought that the APA et al would have stopped listening to this clown after the autogynephilia episode. Apparently not.

    While the “That is, a guy can wear a skirt and then it’s a guy’s skirt” is a nice idea, in our present culture that is not realistic. Whether a person is turned on by wearing “cross-sex” clothing I suppose can be a disorder, it would only rise to a disorder if it starts to interfere with day-to-day living. Since most crossdressers are relatively successful in their daily life, I don’t see how this even rises to a disorder.??

    Now should the psychiatric folks be involved at all with transitions? Yes, but only to determine if there’s an underlying psychosis.

  2. Julian Morrison says:

    It’s perfectly possible to get turned on by essentially cosplaying a gender. Can’t see how it counts as a disorder though.

  3. Diane Frank says:

    I suspect that if you look at the wording, it’s not a disorder if it’s merely about getting turned on. There are probably qualifiers about causing problems elsewhere in life.

  4. JennL says:

    Just follow the recent work of Dr Charles Moser if you want to see how lame the autogynephillia ‘theory’ really is.

    To create the medical diagnosis of a disorder, I would think one needs far more than a highly controversial theory. Hopefully the APA will see this before making an enormous mistake.

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