National Groups Seek Dialog On GID Reform

A broad coalition of groups today sent a letter to the new President of the American Psychiatric Association, requesting the start of a "productive dialog" to explore reforming the diagnosis known as Gender Identity Disorder, or GID.

The letter was signed by the Executive Directors of GenderPAC, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Organization for Women (NOW), Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), the Gender Identity Project of the NYC Lesbian and Gay Community Center, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), and BiNet USA.

On December 11, 1996 Ms. Kerry Lobel, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, first wrote to then APA President, Dr. Harold Eist on the issue of GID reform. Her letter concluded that "gender-variant youth, whether they grow up to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or not, should not be stigmatized or mistreated because of a GID diagnosis." And second, that "no one -whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex- should have to accept being pathologized as mentally ill in order to attain wholeness, completeness and civil equality."

In her letter, Ms. Lobel called for the "reform," but not removal, of GID-meaning its removal in diagnosing and "treating" gender-variant youth, and its reform to a non-stigmatizing but medically reimbursable physical condition, perhaps similar to pregnancy, in adults.

During the intervening, years a range of national organizations dealing with issues of gender have reached similar conclusions to Ms.Lobel's. Yet, while a broad consensus now exists among such groups, there has been little institutional movement to change the diagnosis. Said one signatory, "We believe a constructive and open exchange will promote a much needed dialogue on reforming GID."

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