Gatekeepers and the proverbial slippery slope

T-Notes

This concludes a four-part series on the DSM, gatekeeper mentality, reparative therapy and other fallacious theories, such as autogynephilia. Conformity to a rigid and myopic world structure, viewed through the lens of patriarchy, found its zenith in the male dominated professional clinics that first set out to define and understand gender diversity. Johns Hopkins University was the first. The University of California at Los Angeles, Stanford University and Northwestern University followed. While, in many cases, these doctors, therapists and clinicians assumed the guise of supportive caregivers, the real agenda was to establish and affirm what they considered to be socially acceptable and to set aside anything they felt fell outside the bounds of “normalcy” as deviant. John Money, Paul McHugh, Ray Blanchard, Ken Zucker and a host of other alleged trans caregivers have all been complicit in defining nomenclature and the boundaries of what is to be considered not only acceptable and unacceptable, but medically available, to those whose lives are gender diverse.

In the late 1970s, the DSM III was modified to include new diagnoses; transsexualism was added in 1980. By the time of the DSM IV in 1994, transsexualism had been replaced by gender identity disorder. It is obvious that these, along with a myriad of other pseudo diagnoses, like fetishes and other so-called paraphilias, are recent creations. Motives for such nomenclature and classification can be for no other reasons than to superimpose a value system upon what is, in reality, merely personal and idiosyncratic and in no way pathological.

J. Michael Bailey’s book “Man Who Would Be Queen” is predicated upon one of these pseudo diagnoses, namely autogynephilia, the purported desire of a man to view himself sexually and erotically as a woman. Bailey, a former psychology chair at Northwestern University and a disciple of Ray Blanchard, has been widely criticized, not only for his methodology, but also for his ethics and result interpretations. The same has been the case with his apologists: Alice Dreger, Anne Lawrence, Kenneth Zucker and, of course, Blanchard himself. The theory is simply this: men with GID fall into two categories. They are either homosexual men, identifying as women to rationalize their attraction for other men; or, they are autogynephilic and merely in love with the idea of themselves as women to satisfy a fetishistic sexual drive.

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While it is undeniable that some gender diverse individuals do have erotic drives associated with crossdressing, there is no evidence to posit any cause and effect between eroticism and gender identity. Further, there is no good reason to ascribe any valuation hierarchy to what we do in our sexual and erotic lives, which is the customary result of these pseudo diagnoses. Most modern thinking clinicians recognize that gender identity and sexual orientation are not identical. That they often coexist or even intersect is more a statement on how patriarchalism has conflated the two than on any kind of causation. In a society which sends mixed messages, which suppresses sexuality while using it to sell its wares, it is not unthinkable that repression of gender identity might result in some type of erotic expression. When these specious diagnoses are directed into treatment regimens, aberrations can manifest, such as the reparative therapy advocated by Ken Zucker and well documented this past year on NPR as well as by the Atlantic Monthly. Aversion therapies start clinicians like Zucker,Blanchard and Bailey down that proverbial slippery slope already traversed by NARTH and others.

What’s at the bottom of that slippery slope? Not too long ago, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary conceded that there might be a biological etiology for the incidence of homosexuality. His reasoning takes reparative therapy one step further.

“If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin,” he wrote.

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Imagine this methodology with those determined to be pre-natally gay, lesbian or trans! The spectre of eugenics, of usurping nature’s role in natural selection, is overwhelming.

In 2001, along with Aaron S. Greenberg, J. Michael Bailey submitted an article entitled “Parental Selection of Children’s Sexual Orientation to the Archives of Sexual Behavior.” This same subject of eugenics was raised, as it relates to prenatal testing for those with that “gay” or “trans” gene, and Bailey even mentions repeatedly the ethics of such determinations in the light of Nazi eugenics programs. The bottom line is that Bailey seems to dismiss ethical misgivings as not germane to the argument, that it is a parent’s right to do what he or she thinks is best for the child. In the paper’s conclusion, the authors state “We believe that many people find parental selection for heterosexuality intuitively troubling or even abhorrent. We also believe, however, that this is one of those intuitions that does not stand up to rational analysis — we see no reason, in the case of the selection of a child’s sexual orientation, to deprive parents of the freedom (taken for granted in a multitude of other contexts) to determine what their children will be like.”

Pretty scary stuff, this trying to weed out the “unfit” before they can be born. Unfortunately, this would be the acceptable course of action for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and the Albert Mohlers of the world — which leaves us at the bottom of that proverbial slippery slope with the other bottom feeders. And this from persons whose religious views preclude abortion! It is appalling that our alleged caregivers have adopted similar world views!

— You can email any comments, criticisms or corrections to robbi_cohn108@yahoo.com.

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