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Understanding new revisions to ‘Harry Benjamin Standards of Care’

Commentary: Trans Progressive

If you’ve ever wondered about the mechanics of “treating” transgenderism, as it were, there are specific guidelines called the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. A newly-revised edition of the Standards of Care was released Sept. 25, at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) conference in Atlanta.

There are significant changes to the psychiatric and medical care of the T people of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in these revised standards of care, and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has put out a list of ten items that trans people should know about WPATH’s revised edition. Here’s that list:

• Recognition that gender nonconformity in and of itself is not a disorder.

• Strong affirmation that attempts to change a person’s gender identity through “reparative” therapy are ineffective and unethical.

• Strong affirmation that transition-related treatments such as hormone therapy and surgery are medically necessary for many individuals and should be covered by insurance.

• Continued emphasis on the individual nature of transition-related care and the flexibility of treatment guidelines.

• Additional guidance on the treatment of adolescents and children, including guidelines for puberty-delaying treatment.

• Near elimination of the “real-life experience” requirement as a prerequisite criteria for medical transition in adults, with the exception of some genital surgeries.

• Discussion of a wider range of treatment options, including voice and communication therapy.

• Discussion of the preventive care needs of transgender people.

• Clarification that the Standards of Care should be applied in their entirety to those who are incarcerated or otherwise living in an institutionalized setting.

• A call for health professionals to advocate not only for their patients – for example by helping them obtain updated identity documents – but also for larger policy and legal reform promoting tolerance and equality.

Let me expound a bit on a few of the ten listed points.

To begin with, that first point that NCTE listed – that gender nonconformity in and of itself isn’t a disorder – is significant for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Gender Identity Disorder (GID), the current diagnosis for transsexual people found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version four, (DSM-IV), suggests that cross-gender identity is itself disordered or deficient.

Gender Identity Disorder of Children is a separate diagnosis, and it’s a diagnosis for gender nonconforming youth. The diagnostic criteria are in two parts: Part A criteria are as follows:

• Repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is the other sex.

• In boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing.

• Strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.

• Intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex.

• Strong preferences for playmates of the other sex.

The Part B criteria are as follows:

• In boys, assertion that his penis or testes are disgusting or will disappear, or assertion that it would be better not to have a penis, or aversion toward rough-and-tumble play and rejection of male stereotypical toys, games and activities.

• In girls, rejection of urinating in a sitting position, assertion that she has or will grow a penis, or assertion that she does not want to grow breasts or menstruate, or marked aversion toward normative feminine clothing.

If a child exhibits four of five of the Part A criteria, or one of the Part B criteria, then a child is diagnosable as having Gender Identity Disorder of Children. Lots of LGBT youth fall under those diagnostic criteria.

Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. is a founder and past president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). In his book, A Parents Guide To Preventing Homosexuality, he states, “The odds are that a boy [with Gender Identity Disorder of Children] has a 75 percent chance of growing up homosexual, bisexual or transgender.”

Nicolosi advocates gender-norming children to prevent homosexuality and transsexuality.

Which leads us to the second point that NCTE states is important about the revision of the Harry Benjamin Standards Of Care: WPATH considers attempts to change a person’s gender identity through “reparative” therapy as ineffective and unethical.

That should be welcome news not only for all of us gender nonconforming adults, but for gender nonconforming youth – including our LGBT youth.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Oct 6, 2011. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

15 Comments for “Understanding new revisions to ‘Harry Benjamin Standards of Care’”

  1. I find it interesting that Sandeen is either being suddenly honest, or a else a bit clueless. He refers to himself as gender nonconforming, which puts the lie to his claim of being a transsexual. A transsexual attempts to conform to his/her internal gender, whereas someone who is gender nonconforming (i.e. someone who is “transgender” does not. They rebel against their natural gender and attempt to impersonate the opposite gender.

    This of course, is a major reason that many, if not most transsexuals want nothing to do with “transgender.”

  2. Jennifer Usher (aka Just Jennifer) : why are you so obsessed with Autumn. Could it be because Autumn is a legitimate , recognized and honored spokesperson for transgendered issues whereas you are confined to your Tenderloin Housing Clinic room and not recognized by any trans organization ,mailing list or blog as anything other than a royal pain in the behind? Could it be that you are jealous of other transwomen successes? I mean you are hardly stealth as anyone who has seen your public pictures ( https://picasaweb.google.com/jenniferrusherr/AllAboutMe ) can attest.

    Why all the hate Jennifer? Would your pastor at Church of the Advent of Christ the King approve of this. You let everyone know that you are the newsletter editor there ( http://www.advent-sf.org/staff/jennifer-usher.htm ) . Your pastor calls his Church an “inclusive congregation”. Would he be happy that one if his staff spends her time harassing transgendered people on-line?

    • Well, first off, I am not obsessed with Mr. Sandeen. He is one of several transgender extremists I comment on. Confined? Where do you get this stuff? I am not “confined” anywhere. And do you REALLY think I want to be “recognized” by any trans organization? Really, do you think before you post this stuff? Actually, I honestly hope I am seen as a royal pain in the behind by the transgender extremists, and believe me, I am. Why do you think you have so much misinformation about me? I suppose I could ask you why you are so obsessed about me. Thanks…you let me know I am having an effect. I do like that you seem to support cyberstalkers.

      And no, I don’t hate. (Gee, that is ironic coming from someone repeating lies, and trying to out someone.) Mr. Sandeen himself tried outing me to my church. It didn’t work. And no, I am not “staff.” I am a volunteer at my church. Here is the story of his attempt at cyberstalking: http://justjenniferblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/sandeen-goes-cyberstalking.html

      Really, why no try actually dealing with facts, and not personalities. Oh wait, you have no facts… Yes, the truth hurts….

    • Thank you Pam, for posting the link to Jennifer’s church. I’ve heard that Autumn has already contacted Jennifer’s pastor to ask for an intervention. Maybe what is needed is for more people to do the same.

      • Well, it is nice to see that you too are a cyberstalker. Granted, I could care less. Several joined the effort, and were all ignored. As they will be if there is another round. But hey, knock yourself out. All you are doing is proving that you can’t handle the truth. Again, why not provide real arguments? Oh, I forget…you have none.

  3. Even though this is the most used tool in the LGBTee-Gee’s tool box,
    Outing people accomplishes nothing Pam.

  4. Well if it isn’t Sue Ann Robins! ( http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/susan-ann-robins.html ). One thing just got accomplished. I see that Jennifer Usher’s hate speech commentary just got deleted from LBGT Weekly. Yet another one of the hundreds of places that have had enough with such nonsense.

    We need real LBGT activists like Autumn out there fighting for us rather than wannabes or self-haters like yourself and Jennifer Usher.

    • Whoops, spoke too soon. And are you really so completely clueless? No, I am not a “wannabe.” I oppose Sandeen’s idiocy. I am doing what I can to counter it. And, of course, I am not the only one. We are your worst nightmare. A voice of reason, counter to your insanity. And no, I am not the one who is self-hating. I get a good laugh from your lame attempts to cyberstalk me. But when I speak the truth, you go absolutely to pieces. That is why you use lame attacks like “wannabe” and “self-hating,” If I am so wrong, then respond with real arguments, or admit you can’t, Oh wait, that is, in effect, what you have already done. You attack people, not their arguments.

  5. Autumn……… I read somewhere that a couple of transgender-related bills were recently signed into law, one concerning how one goes about changing her birth certificate Well, congratulations to you and to the other transgenders who will now have an easier time than before!

    • Yes, an easier time of defrauding the government (becoming a eunuch does not make one female) and deluding themselves (changing his birth certificate will also not make him a female either). All the change will really do is render California birth certificates worthless (assuming the courts interpret the law the way Sandeen is hoping,

      • There is no objective definition of femaleness, may as well call you fraudulent due to your inability to produce large gametes.

  6. Really? You really want to go with that? I think science, the law, and the vast, overwhelming majority of the human race would disagree with you. They would also agree that Sandeen is not a female, and I am.

  7. I just looked at their site, and have serious concerns, we need to be very careful on wording they say “gender identity disorders” because being Trans is not a disorder. Being Trans is completely open to individualistic interpretation meaning is up to the person to decide what sex if any they identify as.

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