"Gender identity" is mental illness

I strongly support gay rights including marriage equality, but I can’t help but agree strongly with the following from Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University in the 1970s who shut down its “Gender Identity Clinic,” which had been established in 1965:

Well, even if it’s a mental illness (is that proven somehow? feeling that one is female or male as the case may be doesn’t strike me as necessarily pathological) if it can be cured with sex-change surgery, why wouldn’t we want to cure it?

Liposuction for anorexics isn’t done because 1) no reason to cure the condition 2) no lipo to suck (that sounds silly but I mean it wouldn’t even make the person thinner as their condition makes them wish to be).

In contrast, sex-change surgery is at least designed to solve he problem. I’m not very knowledgeable but I do know one woman who had it and she and her wife are quite happy and useful.

That strikes me as a dubious “cure”, and let’s face it: their sex is not changed. Their body is mutilated, but that is not the same. (And no: I have no piercings or tattoos, and I am against them including ear piercing for women.)

why would you be against such things? I know some folks don’t want them for themselves, but why would you care if someone else pierced or tatted herself?

Same reason I was against it when my friends in high school would cut on their arms or burn themselves with a curling iron. It is self-harm and disturbing. Obviously it is on a continuum and in moderation it is just something I find distasteful but not something I am going to lose a lot of sleep about.

Can anyone find the invalid predicate in this quote from the OP?

Put another way, someone who is emaciated but who believes he is fat is verifiably wrong. But you cannot falsify the statement “I am the mind of a woman trapped in the body of a man.” While you can verify the body, you cannot know another’s mind.

Several of the previous discussions, so far, this year:

Transgendered person kicked out of a gender divided bathhouse/spa
Why are US prisoners not allowed sex changes or methadone?
Is the notion of transsexuality incompatible with the concept of socially defined gender?
Trans issues, or the politics of transsexuality
? about breasts and M to F transexuals.
About transgenders (transexuals?) and sexual orientation.
Any scientific studies proving the physical origins of gender dysphonia?
Transgendered 6 Year Old Wins Rights Case

The above should not be taken as a “we’ve already talked about this” comment (or I’d be posting a lot more links in the theist/atheist feuds); several of these threads provided links to specific studies or personal observations. (And no, I am not going back through the previous 14 years to find all such threads.)

Everyone has some gender identity. You don’t mean we’re all mentally ill, right? You only mean that transgenders are mentally ill. Just to clarify.

Right, except I’m only talking about those that were born with a single set of unambiguous genitalia.

In other words, with someone 40 or so years out of date. Gender identity and its disorders have a known physical cause and are as real as a broken bone.

May I ask your psychological credentials, please? What schools you attended, and what degrees you hold in which fields, and any papers you may have written?

If the answer to the above is “none” as I highly suspect, what makes you think you have anything of substance or value to contribute? Do you understand that people spend many years studying these conditions, and have come to the opposite conclusion? Do you also second guess other doctors and scientists?

Why should anyone care what you think?

For myself, me, personally, I kind of agree. I’ve thought, in the privacy of my own brain, “Maybe what you need isn’t the other gender, but to expand the scope of what you view “a woman” or “a man” to be.” So at that level, yes. Sure. Why shouldn’t a man wear skirts and makeup if that makes him happy? Why can’t you be a woman and bind your breasts and wear jeans? I’m not particularly invested in my gender. Society told me I’m a woman, and, yeah, okay, that works. I like dresses and cooking, and I like pants and building fires, but if you were to come to me tomorrow and say, “Oops, we made a mistake…you’re actually a man, and now you have to live your life as a man,” I don’t feel like much would change in my life. I would probably stop doing some of the things I do now so as to avoid being beat up and discriminated against, but it wouldn’t feel like a huge fundamental loss to me. I’d be a pretty femme man, but sure, I’ll be a man if that’s what people want to call me.

But…totally missing the point. It’s not about what I think - it’s about what *they think. It’s about people who would literally rather kill themselves - at a much higher rate than the general population - than continue living what they perceive to be a lie. And when we “let them” get hormones and surgery to fix that, they feel better. Not always and not for everyone, but it’s the best treatment we have so far. It works better than counseling alone, better than “conversion therapy,” and way, way better than telling them to suck it up and just deal with it.

To put my personal feelings of gender on them is as silly as my saying to a diabetic person, “Well, I don’t know what the hell your problem is…I can eat nothing but cake and soda for three days and feel fine!”

We don’t give liposuction to treat people with anorexia nervosa, because it doesn’t help. They can’t be thin enough - that’s part of the illness. Give an anorexic person liposuction, and his eating disorder doesn’t stop.

If, someday, we have some therapy or brain medicine which helps as much as hormones and surgery, then I have no problem making that option available to people, with full informed consent and published studies showing success rates, side effects, morbidity and mortalities. I don’t think we should make it mandatory just because surgery squicks us out, though. Surgery for carpal-tunnel syndrome squicks me out when physical therapy and anti-inflamatories work as well or better, but I still think people have the right to choose their own treatment strategies for their own medical conditions.

*I mean…really? “Let them”? Who talks like that about any other medical condition? Do we “let” people with high blood pressure take antihypertensives? Do we put cisgendered people through years of therapy and require multiple doctors to sign off before they can get a boob job or a face lift? Of course not.

Everyone could post this as a rebuttal on every thread here. It wouldn’t make for a very interesting board, of course; but they could do it. It would have a certain sort of broken-record validity.

But miss elizabeth’s argument comes down to an Argumentum ad verecundiam, an appeal to authority, which is not a fallacy so long as the authority is relevant to the question. It is a fact that psychologists know more about gender-identity matters than non-psychologists do. “You are talking outside your area of expertise and contradicting the experts” is a perfectly valid criticism.

I don’t think very many people will argue that there is a cause for this phenomenon. The issue is the cure. To use your analogy, the current treatment is akin to cutting off a limb with a broken bone instead of curing it.

The issue I have with sex reassignment surgery is that the evidence of its effectiveness is not solid enough to justify the drastic nature of the surgery. Until a proper study has clearly shown that surgery + therapy is better than just therapy or some other less extreme treatment, I don’t think it should be accept as the best treatment.

BG, I would argue that a general interest debate board like this dies from appeals to authority. Just off the top of my head, one could demand criminology credentials on the death penalty and prison reform thread; climatology credentials in the climate threads, etc. But then how to check one’s credentials?

And if something like that is offered, there will be transgendered people picketing their offices to insist that this is an attempt at a kind of genocide. Hell, we even have that now with deaf people opposing cochlear implants.

Should Michael Jackson have been allowed all those plastic surgeries?

P.S. Hate to abandon the thread, but I am late keeping a promise to myself to take a 24 hour “fast” from computers, phones, and TV, and catch up on my dead-tree reading. I will be back tomorrow evening.

Most of the posts on this board aren’t thinly veiled hate speech against marginalized groups.

Since you refused to answer my other questions, I assume the answer is no, you have no knowledge or expertise in this area. Nor are you interested in learning, since the question wasn’t “I don’t understand the diagnoses and treatment of trangenderism” but “‘Gender Identity’ is a metal illness”. Which doesn’t even make any sense, as has been pointed out, but then, I don’t expect intelligence from someone who would start a thread like this. I’m going to go ahead and assume you’ve never knowingly met a transgendered person either.

You have nothing to add to this conversation, and your “questions” are offensive and stupid. If you had a modicum of tact, you would have asked in a way that didn’t deny the lived experiences of all the transgendered individuals on this board, and you could have educated yourself. You could have googled it, or gone to a library, or called the GLBT community center in your city and asked for information. You could have behaved like a decent, intelligent, kind-hearted person, but you chose not to.

You are not entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion, which you do not have. Stop flaunting your stupidity.

We don’t use credentials, we use cites, often to relevant authorities.

Do you think that every transgendered person now has gender reassignment surgery? They don’t, not even all of those who have been cleared for it. Some of them do indeed opt for therapy or therapy and hormones and never get the surgery. Some learn the risks and benefits and decide that it’s not for them after all. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Will *some *people squawk? Probably. Someone always does. No skin off my nose.

And yet cochlear implants are widely available anyway. So why should we care about those who oppose them, as long as they’re not preventing those who want them from getting them?

Yes. Not my call. His face, his call, as long as he was mentally competent to understand the risks and benefits of those procedures.