The Science and Politics of Gender Identity Disorder

july, 2010

22jul(jul 22)12:00 am24(jul 24)12:00 amThe Science and Politics of Gender Identity Disorder

Event Details

Presented By:

Francisco J. Sánchez, Ph.D.

UCLA Center for Society & Genetics

Abstract

Behavioral genetics is advancing our understanding of human sexuality.  This area of research includes explaining the exhibition of atypical behaviors that violate social norms.  Yet, such scientific findings can be a blessing and a curse.  Such is the case with the psychiatric diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID)—a mental disorder characterized by a strong and persistent cross-gender identity causing clinically-significant distress.  Although finding a genetic basis for GID would validate the experience of transsexuals as a “normal” variation, it could potentially strip them of access to the healthcare they seek during their transition from one sex to the other.  This presentation will examine this paradox by focusing on the controversy revolving around GID.

GID is an official diagnosis in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  The manual is currently being revised, and the presenter will review the proposed changes to diagnostic criteria for GID.  He will also summarize the reasons why GID is seen as controversial, which include the belief that (a) it pathologizes normal variation in gender role behavior; (b) it further stigmatizes people who are suffering; (c) the research of some of the Working Group Members is “homophobic”; and (d) the diagnosis is needed to justify treatment.  Finally, the presenter will explain and evaluate the main areas of biopsychological research on GID including the role that hormones play in gender identity; correlations between various phenotypes and gender identity; and genetic variations found among transsexuals. Although such research could help define GID as a biological variant, it could also harm the community that is seeking medical help for their distress.

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Time

22 (Thursday) 12:00 am - 24 (Saturday) 12:00 am

Location

Stanley Hotel

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