Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Cutting Edge-Auust 26, 2013

Barbara F. Anderson, Ph. D., LCSW

Elaborating on my earlier blog of April, 2013 on the newest version of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revision 5, I have even more information about how differently gendered people feel about the newest edition.  According to the newsletter, “Contemporary Sexuality,” a publication of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), the controversy about including a diagnostic category referring to transgender people continued through the revision process. Despite claims of pathologization, those who wished to retain the diagnosis prevailed, concerned that without a diagnosable mental disorder insurance coverage for necessary treatments would be difficult to obtain.  Additionally, the original diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder was changed to Gender Dysphoria.  This is considered an improvement by some because it recognizes the emotional stress of having a gender identity that is incongruent with one’s physical body rather than considering cross gender identity as a disorder in itself.


Did you know?  ….Joy Ladin is the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution.  She teaches English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. After receiving tenure in 2006, she decided to transition the next year.  She is the author of “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.”

                            ….Amanda Simpson is believed to be the first openly transgender presidential appointee.  She was named senior technical advisor in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security in 2010.  In this capacity she monitors the exports of U.S. weapon’s technology.  She had been active in the aerospace and defense industry for 30 years and was a former test pilot.  While employed by Raytheon she transitioned from male to female.


From the Transgender Law Center comes an announcement that “Gov. Brown Signs Historic Transgender Students Bill into Law.”  The historic School Success & Opportunity Act was passed and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.  It is the first of its kind in the country and requires that public schools “respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.”

Co-authored by Sens. Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara and Assemblymembers Toni Atkins and Tom Ammiano, the bill was backed by numerous leading organizations incl. the TLC, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, ACLU of CA, National Center for Lesbian Rights, teacher and parent organizations and dozens more.  Colorado and Maine already have statewide policies in line with requiring schools to respect students’ gender identity but apparently, California’s law is the first on the books.


Louisa-Jo-Louis Killen, a British folk singer of some renown died on Aug. 9, 2013.  She emigrated to the US in 1967 after which she worked with Pete Seeger and The Clancy Brothers.  A few years before her death, she fulfilled her life’s dream and transitioned to live as a woman.


In an article on the site, “The Atlantic Wire, “ (August 14, 2013), Bradley Manning defended his leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.  He stated this was a reaction to severe mental stress caused by feelings of isolation, having Asperger’s disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome and being transgender. Evidence for the latter is a 2010 e-mail sent to his supervisor “confessing he was transgender and that he joined the Army ‘to get rid of it.’“ On Aug. 21 he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and theft.

In a follow-up article on CBS’ website dated Aug 22, Manning is quoted as saying, “I want to live as a woman named Chelsea.”  She requested hormone therapy and asked supporters to refer to her by this name.  If hormone therapy is not provided, Manning’s lawyer will “do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to.”