“A Normal Person”

Photo: Flickr user Bjørn Heidenstrøm

A conservative Twitter users views challenged

The following is a fairly one-sided Twitter discussion prompted by Chelsea (Bradley) Manning’s announcement about her transgender state and desire to go forward with her life as a woman. My reaction was predictable given my personal knowledge of what people who identify themselves as transgender or transsexual go through to achieve peace in their lives and the dramatic results that are possible when freed from the stigma around the process to achieving physical and gender “peace” for themselves.

His first post was:

“When political correctness meets mental illness” with a link to a story in USA Today “What ‘transgender’ means, and how society views it”

To which I responded:

“The words “mental illness” weren’t used in the article.”

Which was followed by the following, I feel, overblown, political and off-topic tirade:

The diagnosis is in the DSM 5. Having such a disorder needs to be treated. Like the article says, this is the only disorder where the mental health practitioner “goes along” with the patient’s state of mind rather than attempting to change it. If a person were schizophrenic & thought they had a radio in their head, we wouldn’t perform surgery & fake taking it out we’d try to help them realize that the radio wasn’t real.

Why is being a transgender the only disorder we treat differently unless there’s a social & political drive that actually prevents practitioners from providing responsible treatment? From a political correct view, that sounds wrong, but what is “normal” about being born male & believing you’re female? Unfortunately, a certain predominant social agenda and the news media are driving public opinion. You don’t treat someone based on public opinion and how people “feel”. You treat based on the distress the disorder causes the person involved.

There are three different issues raised by the commentator:

1) The inference, while supported in some psychiatric journals, that this is the “only” disorder where the mental health professional “goes along” with the patient’s state of mind is inaccurate. There are many disorders where the mental health professional “goes along” with the patient to facilitate changes that will benefit the patient.

2) To compare a transgender diagnosis to schizophrenia is whole irresponsible.

3) That “social and political” drive that prevents treatment implies that the patient isn’t suffering, that it is somehow a matter of choice much like the argument about being gay being a matter of choice and not reality. Or that somehow it’s all a matter of how people “feel”.

  • The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder adolescents, and adults has called for changes in the DSM as follows:
    The APA should help identify mental health service providers with expertise in gender discomfort and sex development disorders.
  • The APA should establish a separate method for evaluating the needs of people with sex development disorders.
  • Specific APA treatment guidelines are particularly important because they would likely positively impact the number of psychiatrists willing to help transgender patients.
    The APA should create workshops for educating mental health care providers about transgender care.
  • The APA’s silence — coupled with its stigmatizing diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” — is a failure to facilitate access to care for transgender people.
  • The transgender community has emerged as a recognizable political group with a claim to civil rights. Therefore, patient care must evolve beyond a mere “ability to conform to majority cultural expectations.”

Although research is limited, there is enough consensus to support the development of recommendations for all age groups: children, adolescents, and adults.
To read the entire article about the APA Task Force report – click here.

Note that the Task Force is forceful about the APA’s stigmatizing the diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder”. This is exactly what the commentator is doing.

The bottom line for me is simple. We should embrace life in all it’s forms and do everything we can to protect it – including the many variations we’re learning about as it applies to “human life”. Mere tolerance is not enough, although in many cases it’s the best we can expect, especially in the face of the abundant false religious doctrine to the contrary.

People like the commentator feel that anything that deviates from their view of what “normal” is should be fixed. That is exactly the attitude of people like Michelle Bachmann and, sadly, the Twitter commentator.

UPDATE: For more about Social Media “Rage” and trolling – click here.

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