News - August 1996

New book alleges US spends millions "treating" gender-variant kids

New York City -- According to Phyllis Burke's new book "Gender Shock," for almost three decade the US government has been funneling millions in taxpayer dollars to locate, diagnose and "treat" scores of children for being gender-variant.

States Burke, "Government records indicate that, since the early 1970's, at least 1.5 million dollars was awarded from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) alone.The institutions that received these funds include UCLA, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the Roosevelt Institute in New York City, Fuller Theological Seminary, and the Logos Reassert Institute."

Noting that many of the NIMH records on these grants have since been destroyed and that tens of thousands of additional funds have been awarded from other agencies to a variety of individual researchers, "[this] leads me to believe that 1.5 million dollars awarded to institutions is probably the tip of the iceberg."

The diagnosis most often used against genderqueer children was "Gender Identity Disorder. GID, well-known for its application to transexuals seeking sex reassignment surgery, is still also routinely applied to diagnose and treat non-complaining crossdressers, transgendered people, and children suspected of homosexuality or homosexual behavior. The protest group Transexual Menace picketed the American Psychiatric Association at their national meeting in New York City in May, demanding an end to GID and pathologizing gender-variant behavior.

Burke states that the largest documented governmental case involves UCLA researchers O. Ivar Lovaas, George Rekers (who claimed to have been funded himself for over a half a million dollars by NIMH), and Dr. Richard Green. Green, whose work on genderqueer boys was detailed in his 1987 study The Sissy Boy Syndrome, was the "principle analyst" at UCLA's feminine boy project.

"Treatment" across programs has run the gamut from basic psychotherapy, to round-the-clock reward/punishment regimes of behavioral modification, to forcible institutionalization in a psychiatric ward -- sometimes complete with thorazine, haldol or other psycho-active drugs.

Daphne Scholinshi is one such child who was involuntarily committed by her parents at 14, after being diagnosed by doctors with GID. ".She was athletic, she did not want to wear dresses and she refused to be submissive. After the first three months, Daphne attempted suicide by drinking Sea Breeze, a facial astringent."

Daphne would not be released until 4 years later when she was 18. "Most people die after they get out. The recovery from the system is what gets people in the end. Life expectancy of my friends is pretty low. Most of my friends are dead."

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