Alex Blaze

France demedicalizes transsexuality

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 18, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: DSM V, France, transgender, transsexual

France TransgenreatParis2005.JPGhas demedicalized transsexuality by taking it out of its list of mental disorders.

I don't know if this is just a net or an unadulterated positive for French trans people, considering the French have one of the best universal health care systems in the world, and such a declassification could stop coverage of related medical procedures and help.

The Association of Homosexualities and Socialism, a French LGBT org, is quoted in La Provence as saying (translationed by me):

The Association of Homosexualities and Socialism (HES) also "hailed" this announcement, which they said responds to "a long-standing demand" of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans community in France. For HES, it's "time, right now, to move on from symbolic to concrete actions, in fighting the violence and discrimination trans people face."

Inter-LGBT, another LGBT org, said:

Because beyond "the declassification, there is still much to do for the transsexuals (...) in order for them to be recognized as first-class citizens," insisted Inter-LGBT.

Basically, they're calling it symbolic.

France's largest trans organization, Trans-Aide, was not quoted in the article and hasn't updated its website for a week. I emailed them some questions about coverage of gender-related treatments and discrimination and I'll translate and publish them when I get responses.

So, the $64,000 question back here in the US and Canada: how does this affect workgroup charged with rewriting entries related to transsexualism for the DSM?

(H/t Trans Group Blog)


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Anne-Laure | May 18, 2009 12:36 PM

Alex, I notice when you quote from French news sources you usually don't link to them. I'm sure I'm not Bilerco's only bilingual reader, and I'd love to be able to link to the full original articles if that's possible. Keep up the good work, though! I'm here every day.

You're right, my linking wasn't good this time.

Usually, if I find an article through another blog, I link to them so that people have to click through them to get to the article. That raises awareness of the other blog, gives them clicks, and gives them credit for finding the article, while still giving readers a chance to click-through and read the original source.

I linked Trans Group Blog that way here because I followed a link on their blog to find the original article. I should have added in a "via" at the end to give them credit verbally.

I mean, they're doing awesome work over there, and anyone interested in this article would probably be interested in their site. So, y'know....

I don't know if this became a habit, though....

raid_iink | May 18, 2009 12:58 PM

My only hope is that they continue to provide mental health care for transgender people that need/want it and both HRT and surgical procedures for transgender people that need them.

I'm pretty sure you don't need trans-specific coverage for related mental health counseling. That includes stuff like depression, anxiety, etc. that all people can develop. In fact, I know people here in the states that get disability and medicaid based on these other things. Don't forget trans is excluded from the ADA anyway.

The medical side, hormones and surgery, would have to be covered under a medical diagnosis as soon as it was removed, a sort of fait accompli. The AMA said it is necessary, and if the psych industry drops the issue they will be forced to pick up the slack or eat their words. The mental things that accompany the condition would be covered under the normal provisions that all people use. So what do we have to lose?

Discussion of the issues, and a link to the French original.

So I'm not bonkers in France, though I am elsewhere. Yet it seems crazy to me that this was a political decision, rather than one arrived at by medical authorities.

Never mind. Remember I'm legally female in Australia, and legally male in the UK. Except when it comes to my UK passport. This seems equally Pythonesque in its absurdity.

We - and the psychiatric establishment - have been treading on thin ice for decades now. The patient has to be diagnosed with the "mental illness" GID (Gender Identity Disorder) in order to qualify for surgery, but anyone with a severe "mental illness" cannot possibly give informed consent. There is a basic contradiction here, one that everyone has ignored because "the system works". Well, it's only a matter of time before someone notices, and legislation is passed to prevent surgery.

Hopefully the French move is not just a cost-cutting exercise to stop the French health system from having to pay for treatment. Hopefully this spurious "mental disorder" that isn't actually mental will be replaced by the congenital (we think) physiological neurological cross-gendering condition that masses of evidence suggest it is.

We need *a* diagnosis - just not a fictitious one. Just the way people born with cleft palates need one too. They're not considered "mentally ill" because of the distress their somatic condition causes.

And a lot more besides.