Fordham Gets Hip

I went to Fordham for a split second, and it’s cool to see the university is finally giving health benefits to same-sex partners:

Faculty members fought for four years to extend equal benefits for every member of the faculty, regardless of sexual orientation. Previously, legally domiciled adults (LDAs) were not recognized in the faculty’s benefits package. This means that same-sex marriages and partnerships, including relationships between two men, two women, or between an unmarried man and woman, were not afforded the same benefits as marriages between heterosexual individuals.

What’s more interesting to me, & more precedent-setting, is the final sentence of the same paragraph:

LDA benefits also extend to faculty members who may be responsible for caring for an elderly parent or another dependent adult in their household.

Which is how it should be: anyone should be able to name their own dependent.

Not Vaccines

As it turns out, the risk of Autism has nothing to do with vaccination.
It has everything to do with the age of the mom, or in cases where the woman is younger, with the age of the father.

In an analysis of nearly five million births and more than 12,000 autism cases, every five-year increase in maternal age at delivery was associated with an 18% greater risk of the child later being diagnosed with autism, according to Janie Shelton, MPH, a doctoral student at the University of California Davis, and colleagues.

Mothers who gave birth when they were 40 or older had a 51% increased risk of having a child with autism compared with those who were 25 to 29, the largest age group (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.35 to 1.70), the researchers reported in the February issue of Autism Research.

Nature unfairly targets career women and guys who marry younger women. Go figure.

DSM V Preview

For those of you who are following the DSM revision controversy as it unfolds, here is a recently launched website by the Association for Women in Psychology Committee on Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis, spearheaded by Paula Caplan. It takes on the problems with a number of categories, including Gender Identity Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, and Female Sexual Dysfunction.

Some highlights of the upcoming DSM V:

[1] The Paraphilias Subworkgroup is proposing two broad changes that affect all or several of the paraphilia diagnoses, in addition to various amendments to specific diagnoses. The first broad change follows from our consensus that paraphilias are not ipso facto psychiatric disorders. We are proposing that the DSM-5 make a distinction between paraphilias and paraphilic disorders. A paraphilia by itself would not automatically justify or require psychiatric intervention. A paraphilic disorder is a paraphilia that causes distress or impairment to the individual or harm to others. One would ascertain a paraphilia (according to the nature of the urges, fantasies, or behaviors) but diagnose a paraphilic disorder (on the basis of distress and impairment). In this conception, having a paraphilia would be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder.

This approach leaves intact the distinction between normative and non-normative sexual behavior, which could be important to researchers, but without automatically labeling non-normative sexual behavior as psychopathological. It also eliminates certain logical absurdities in the DSM-IV-TR. In that version, for example, a man cannot be classified as a transvestite—however much he cross-dresses and however sexually exciting that is to him—unless he is unhappy about this activity or impaired by it. This change in viewpoint would be reflected in the diagnostic criteria sets by the addition of the word “Disorder” to all the paraphilias. Thus, Sexual Sadism would become Sexual Sadism Disorder; Sexual Masochism would become Sexual Masochism Disorder, and so on.


Transvestic Disorder
A. Over a period of at least six months, in a male, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, or sexual behaviors involving cross?dressing. [11]
B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Specify if: [12]
With Fetishism (Sexually Aroused by Fabrics, Materials, or Garments)
With Autogynephilia (Sexually Aroused by Thought or Image of Self as Female)


302.85 Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults
Gender Incongruence (in Adolescents or Adults) [1]
A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by 2* or more of the following indicators: [2, 3, 4]
1. a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [13, 16]

2. a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [17]

3. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender

4. a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

5. a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

6. a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

With a disorder of sex development
Without a disorder of sex development
[14, 15, 16, 19]


For the adult criteria, we propose, on a preliminary basis, the requirement of only 2 indicators. This is based on a preliminary secondary data analysis of 154 adolescent and adults patients with GID compared to 684 controls (Deogracias et al., 2007; Singh et al., 2010). From a 27-item dimensional measure of gender dysphoria, the Gender Identity/Gender Dysphoria Questionnaire for Adolescents and Adults (GIDYQ), we extracted five items that correspond to the proposed A2-A6 indicators (we could not extract a corresponding item for A1). Each item was rated on a 5-point response scale, ranging from Never to Always, with the past 12 months as the time frame. For the current analysis, we coded a symptom as present if the participant endorsed one of the two most extreme response options (frequently or always) and as absent if the participant endorsed one of the three other options (never, rarely, sometimes). This yielded a true positive rate of 94.2% and a false positive rate of 0.7%. Because the wording of the items on the GIDYQ is not identical to the wording of the proposed indicators, further validational work will be required during field trials.

Continue reading “DSM V Preview”

Health Insurance

I’ve talked to a bunch of people about health insurance in this country but I want to talk about how it goes for someone like me.

I don’t think anyone can argue that I don’t contribute, am a deadbeat. I’m not poor enough to get Medicaid & I’m not old enough for Medicare. I want to pay my medical bills.

Now that I’m employed by a university, I can get good health insurance for $250/month.

As a freelancer, though my union, I could get shoddy health insurance for $1000/month.

That’s what Obama is trying to fix. Someone like me, who works part-time, or contractually, has very few options that are competitive as per a capitalist system.

It’s not socialist or anti-capitalist to want the free market to work.

Right now, however, it’s not: the health insurance companies have become a kind of monopoly, or trust, that enables only the biggest corporations and institutions to get a fair shake.

I’d like health insurance that’s affordable and good without being part of a corporation. From things I read, I get the idea that more & more people are employed in the way I am. We are not unproductive members of society. We’re often entrepreneurs, self-employed, or artists of some stripe or another.

I’m tired of being treated like a second-class citizen because I’m on the cusp of tradtional & non-traditional employment.

Matt Barber’s Lobotomy Was Covered, Apparently

Matt Barber, the former policy director of Concerned Women for America, is raising the bogeyman of funding for trans genital surgeries being covered by the health care proposed by the Obama administration.

As a commenter at Pam’s House Blend has pointed out, however, there is no such plan.

An article at Oregon magazine quotes some of the language Barber is interpreting as being about transgender people/diagnoses:

“Page 972 of the House version of the bill (H.R. 3200) provides for “standards, as appropriate, for the collection of accurate data on health and health care” based on “sex, sexual orientation [and] gender identity.” The Senate draft indicates that the government will “detect and monitor trends in health disparities,” requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to “develop standards for the measurement of gender.” (i.e., officially recognize subjectively self-determined “transgender” or “transsexual” gender identities). It further mandates ‘‘participation in the institutions’ programs of individuals and groups from…different genders and sexual orientations.”

which comes straight from Barber’s article/press release which also appeared in Canada’s Free Press (which bills itself as a “conservative free press”). The bolded bits are Barber’s interpretation of what the House & Senate versions actually say.

You can email Matt Barber directly at

No More Abstinence Only Funding

This morning, the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor HHS) eliminated traditional sources of funding for abstinence-only programs by passing the appropriations bill for FY 2010.

The Labor HHS subcommittee and the Obama Administration has recognized what we already knew: abstinence-only sex education programs do not work. The evidence is irrefutable that spending for abstinence-only education is not only wasteful, but also the programs put young women’s health at risk. A 2004 study by the House Committee on Government Reform, conducted at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-30-CA) found that over 80% of the curricula used in the largest federally funded abstinence-only programs contained “false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.” >In addition to pulling the plug on funding for failed abstinence-only sex education programs, the bill eliminates a ban on syringe exchange programs, which have been proven to be a highly effective strategy for preventing HIV.

(via email from