Friday, July 8, 2011

Frankenstein's Monster

I have been asked to speak at an abnormal psychology class about transgenderism. The significance of this is far greater than you might think. True it is, that normalcy is not on my bucket list. But abnormal? Not transgender people. If anything is abnormal here, it is the people who continue to espouse the idea that gender identity outside the boy/girl binary is a mental disorder.

Part of the problem lies in the assumption that biology trumps psychology. There is no reason to assume this, and quite frankly, we only do this in the arena of gender. In every other socially constructed and socially appropriate arena, we identify the person by what's on the inside.

Frankenstein is Dr. Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is famous for forcing gender-variant children into reparative therapy to conform to his expectations for male and female behavior in children. He considers transsexual women a "bad outcome" for gay men. Zucker is a darling of the "ex-gay" movement because of his work "curing" gender-variant children. (tsroadmap, 2011)

Zucker is Frankenstein. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) is Frankenstein's Monster. Zucker continues to be a major barrier to removing transgender from the DSM. If Gender Identity Disorder is a psychological problem, why is the solution biological?

Another significant part of the issue is the blatant and purposeful failure to recognize the natural and normal diversity in human development both biologically and psychologically. The question often asked is, "Why are some people transgender?" The question should be, "Why wouldn't some people be transgender?"

Finally, it's the connotations that come with the word, "abnormal". No one called Michael Jordan abnormal. However, when someone doesn't fit in the girl/boy box, they are called deviant, abnormal, and sick. There is nothing wrong with people who are transgender. The abnormal psychology belongs to the people who think there is.

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