Today sees the publication of the first full article from the Trans Pregnancy project team, in the journal American Psychologist:
Transnormativity in the psy disciplines: Constructing pathology in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and Standards of Care
[click here to read in American Psychologist]
[click here to read free open access version]
In this article we provide a brief history of how certain narratives and expectations around how trans people should behave and be treated have been constructed through the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis, especially in a US context.
It is part of a great new special issue on Histories of psychology after Stonewall, edited by Peter Hegarty and Alexandra Rutherford.
We examine how the interests of cisgender clinicians and transgender patients have variously been opposed and entwined, and contextualise this in relation to wider structures of racism, sexism, colonialism, and binary thinking around sex and gender. We focus especially on how guidance for diagnosing trans people and managing trans healthcare has been contested across various versions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the International Harry Benjamin Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA, later WPATH) Standards of Care.
This article does not focus specifically on questions of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth (although we briefly touch very on this topic). Rather, it provides important historical background on the evolution of certain medical services which have help to shape how trans people are treated and percieved. We are also currently writing a number of articles that will report on specific research findings from the Trans Pregnancy project, and I am really looking forward to sharing them also when they are published!
Lyndsey’s talk at TRED 2011, which formed the introduction to an open discussion of numerous topics including psychology, pathologisation, and the place of gender variant voices in academia.
In the talk Lyndsey explores a number of issues centring around counselling and therapy, including:
- the (lack of) training practitioners receive on gender issues.
- the attitudes that many trainee and practising counsellors and therapists hold regarding trans people
- experiences of teaching PhD candidates about gender and sexuality
- the impact of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
A number of videos from the Trans* Education and Determination teach-in, kindly filmed by Natacha Kennedy, are now available on Vimeo.
There isn’t yet footage available for every speaker, but more videos are due to follow soon. I hope these will fulfil a key promise of the event: to reach beyond those able to attend on the day, and stimulate wider discussion.
It is in this spirit that I hope others might consider filming or writing responses and/or their own thoughts on the consequences of psychology, psychiatry, academia and feminism for trans people and trans rights.
Perhaps you could organise your own teach-in? TRED organisers and participants are already discussing possibilities for future events, but there’s no reason why any given group of people can’t put one together. Some notes for the future are available on the TRED blog.
On a slightly different note, I’m considering an event based upon the TRED videos at my own university. It shouldn’t be too hard to screen some of the footage from the even as a starting point for discussion.
Finally, I’ll be posting each presentation from the first TRED on this blog, along with a transcription. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did on the day!