Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Onwards to the LBGT Trades Union Conference


Prospect motion:

Conference calls on the TUC to lobby the Government to introduce protections for trans people equal to those for persons protected on sexual orientation grounds.

Unite amendment

Delete full stop and add including:

I. Immediate exclusion of transsexual and transgender people from the Mental Health Act and abolishing the mental illness classification
II. Removal of the medical qualification from the Gender Recognition act and
III. Extending the new proposal to make incitement of homophobic hatred illegal to cover transgender and transsexual people

In February 2008 at the Unite LBGT conference I challenged Trevor Phillips Head of the UK Equality Human Rights Commission to respond to my question:

Can transsexual people count on the Equality Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to remove the mental illness classification?

Will EHRC see that “gender dysphoria” is confined to the dustbin of history and that laws are amended to bring transsexual people the same human rights as the rest of the LGB community?

His response was I don’t understand what gender dysphoria is and I have no intention of finding out! Being transgender is not a mental illness.

So this amendment from my Union is a continuation of the campaign.

The words transsexual and transgender are used, as whilst transsexual has an accepted medical & legal definition transgender doesn’t.

It is important that whatever label an individual chooses the law protects them.


In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association under pressure & direct action from Gay activists removed homosexuality as a listed mental illness from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

However a new diagnosis, "ego-dystonic homosexuality," was created for the DSM's third edition in 1980. This meant someone who had "distress" about their sexual orientation.

So this was a “slight of hand”!

In 1986, the diagnosis was removed from the DSM but the vestige of "ego-dystonic homosexuality" in the revised DSM-III reoccurred under "Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified," which included persistent and marked distress about one's sexual orientation.

So it was still there!

The DSM 4th Edition (DSM-IV) was published in 1994, followed in 2000 by the DSM IV, Text Revision, or DSM-IV-TR. included "transvestic fetishism" and "gender identity disorder" (GID) as disorders.

So homosexuality was traded for transsexual and transgender!

Recent revisions of the DSM have made these diagnostic categories increasingly ambiguous, conflicted and over inclusive.

They reinforce false, negative stereotypes of gender variant people and at the same time fail to legitimize the medical necessity of sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) and procedures for transsexual women and men who urgently need them.

The result was that widening segments of gender non-conforming youth and adults being subject to diagnosis of psychosexual disorder, stigma and loss of civil liberty.

But it now gets worse!

Dr Kenneth Zucker will head the review of gender dysphoria at the American Psychiatric Association for DSM V.

Dr Ray Blanchard will help Dr Zucker.

This pair is famous for believing that transsexual women are gay men without penises (Blanchard) and that gender dysphoric children can be cured by conversion therapy (Zucker).

That translates as gender affirmation surgery is not justified and beat the shit out of children if they seem gender variant.

Zucker & Blanchard ignore the fact that there is no valid empirical evidence for their perverted theories. Their theories are based on selected feedback from selected subjects many of whom were desperate to gain access to medical treatment such they would say and feedback whatever their interrogator wanted to hear.

Professional norms simply do not support the idea that being “transgender or transsexual” is a form of mental illness or is inherently linked to psychopathology.

It is time for the medical professions to affirm that difference is not disease, nonconformity is not pathology, and uniqueness is not illness.

Scientists now accept the evidence that sexual orientation is set in the womb but dither about gender because of the influence of heterosexual male dominated organised religion’s powerful political lobby.

For the LBGT community there is now no option other than forcing psychiatrists by law to accept that the same set in the womb evidence that applies to homosexuality also applies to transsexual & transgender people.

The time for negotiation is long past!

The UK Mental Health Act of 2007 widened the application of the provisions of the 1983 Act to cover all mental disorders, not just those which fell within one of the four original categories.

The Act covers disorders that were forms of personality disorder which would not be considered legally to be "mental illness" and which do not fall within the current definition of psychopathic disorder because they do not result in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned.

That translates as anyone who has Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder is subject to the Mental Health Act that could result in their sectioning, for example, by refusing to accept the mental illness classification!

This is the most appalling State intervention and denial of individual Human Rights and must not be allowed to continue.

This can only be achieved by the abolition of the mental illness classification for transsexual & transgender people.


The Gender Recognition Act sets out a procedure for applying to a Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

You can apply if:

You are at least 18 years of age

Have or have had gender dysphoria

Have fully lived in the acquired gender for at least two years

Intend to continue to live in your acquired gender for the rest of your life.

The Act is bad law as it confuses law and medicine enshrining the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and psychiatric treatment when all that is required is recognition of permanent change.

The medical questions include

Has your patient undergone surgical treatment for the purpose of modifying sexual characteristics?

Yes. If you are able to, please list the surgical procedures undergone.

No. Please explain why no surgery has been undertaken for this purpose!

Whilst these questions do not require primary surgical intervention to have taken place they indicate that it should be intended.

This of course is the same basis as the qualification for transsexual people to have employment protection under the Sex Discrimination Act.

Intention to undertake gender reassignment must be replaced with intention to live permanently in a gender different to that assigned at birth in that Act.

The existing act fails to recognise that diagnosis can only be determined by the individual concerned.

There are no tests that provide a definitive diagnosis and that surgery is a personal decision and has no bearing on identity.


Transsexualism is neither a ‘lifestyle’ choice nor a mental disorder, but a condition that is now widely recognised to be largely innate and somatic.

It has been shown that the condition cannot be cured by any conventional psychiatric interventions, psychoanalytic, eclectic, aversion treatment, or by any standard psychiatric drugs, it is not responsive to psychiatric treatments.

The diagnosis of this condition can only be derived from the self-reports of those experiencing it; and research indicates that neurodevelopment of the brain before birth is implicated in severe gender dissonance.

Transgenderism may or may not be a permanent change of gender and may even be no more than a temporary androgynous presentation.

Regrettably society contains elements that will unchecked by the rule of law take it that they have a divine right to abuse or punish anyone who fails to conform to what they consider their binary heterosexual norms.

Transsexual & transgender people live in constant fear of confrontation and physical attack based on bigotry and prejudice.

Whilst existing laws can be used to prosecute those that inflict physical injury or harassment the people that incite these actions are left immune from prosecution.

For example any transsexual who has transitioned in a shop floor environment can testify that it is not the bullies themselves that are the problem it is the people behind them inciting the hatred. Existing laws are inadequate in this area.

In Trevor Phillips address to the Unite LBGT Conference he stated that no religious group should be exempt from incitement to hatred and this must be made law in terms of transphobia.

Most transsexual people and some transgender people see their gender presentation in terms of expression of their core identity rather than their sexuality but the general public simply cannot grasp this distinction.

That means that primary legislation is required so that this lack of distinction is not exploited to exclude any transsexual or transgender people from the protection of the law.

These amendments aren’t about evolution they are about revolution.

The TUC must be a leader in the battle that replaces sin and disease with pride and strength, and these amendments are only the beginning.

You do not need anyone’s permission to change gender.

You do not need anyone’s approval to change gender.

Changing gender is NOT a mental illness.

Acknowledgements to:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


It's long past time that this issue was addressed head-on and not danced around. Win or lose you have done a great service by placing the issue squarely before the public and as a result it will be that much easier for the next person.

Good luck at the conference, and fear not! History was not made by the timid or the appeasers.