OII takes concerns to the APA

OII takes concerns to the APA

LAST UPDATED // Thursday, 07 June 2012 17:01 Written by // Alex Dunkin

The Organisation of Intersex International (OII) Australia has today released a submission to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in response to a draft version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition.

The submission, made along with OII Aotearoa New Zealand, raises concerns to the APA who currently regard gender non-conformity to be a mental disorder, including in the case of intersex people.

OII Australia president Gina Wilson said that in the submission they are opposing some of the language used by the APA in the manual’s draft.

“We regard the proposed classification of ‘gender dysphoria’ as problematic in the way it relates to intersex people who reject an arbitrarily assigned gender,” she said.

“We also reject pathologising language that defines intersex variations as ‘disorders of sex development’.

“We regard ‘gender dysphoria’ to be a form of minority stress, a result of problematizing gender variance."

In the submission OII refers to other evidence presented to the APA in a separate submission from the British Psychological Society which claims the manual places some problems out of context.

"We are concerned that clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences;” the society said in their submission.

“Responses which undoubtedly have distressing consequences which demand helping responses, but which do not reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.

"We believe that classifying these problems as ‘illnesses’ misses the relational context of problems and the undeniable social causation of many such problems."

Michelle O’Brien from OII Aotearoa New Zealand said all frameworks regarding the issues of intersex people should be completed with consultation from the appropriate people.

"The issues some intersex people may have in dealing with earlier gender assignments they are uncomfortable with are not to be conflated with transgender health issues,” she said.

“All standards of care for intersex people, whether they have gender assignment issues or not, should be developed in full consultation with intersex individuals themselves, and organisations that represent them, just as has been the case with standards of care for transgender people."

The OII submission is also being presented to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s 7th Standard of Care which addresses intersex people for the first time.


Alex Dunkin

Alex Dunkin

Alex Dunkin is a news journalist based in Adelaide. He has been writing on LGBT issues for three years and has represented Australia’s interests on sexual and reproductive health and rights internationally.

Comments (1)

  • Stuart Baanstra

    08 June 2012 at 11:39 |
    Well, one area that is "gender neutral" is the bum, and I'll be showing that when I next stand for council.


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