Joan Hoff

    All of us, whether we know it or not, are affected by a great myth that
    has been "documented" by the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or
    DSM III-R, as it is commonly known. This manual defines crossdressers
    in the context of a mental disorder tied to fetishistic behavior. As
    you can see, this distorts our emotions and paints a false picture of
    our lifestyle. Unfortunately, this manual is the guiding light for most
    psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. The result is
    misunderstanding, even hostility, and a denial of medical benefits.

    The situation, and our concerns, are best described by Tere
    Frederickson and Linda Phillips of the Boulton & Park Society. They

    Public awareness of transgendered behavior in genetic males is fraught
    with many misconceptions. The most immediate image of a transvestite is
    that of an effeminate homosexual, referred to as a "drag queen," as in
    the film La Cage Aux Folles, or as shown at gay rights parades on
    television. However, exposure to transgendered individuals is largely
    through the entertainment media, where the transvestite or transsexual
    is typically cast as either the evil, bloodthirsty villian...Dressed to
    Kill, Psycho, and Silence of the Lambs...or as a comical exaggeration
    of a woman, as in Some like it Hot. Nothing could be further from the

    Over the past years there has been very little positive press in
    regards to crossdressing and transsexualism. However, in the recent
    past, some positive education has taken place. Television talk shows,
    such as Joan Rivers and Sally Jessy Raphael, and a book by Mariette
    Pathy Allen, Transformations, Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them,
    have been produced. In these cases, typical transgendered males are
    artfully and accurately depicted. Unfortunately, these positive efforts
    are oftentimes overshadowed by sensationalism and negativism. Thus, the
    myth of transgendered behavior continues in the eyes of the public.
    Transgendered people therefore frequently suffer unwarranted
    discrimination and social stigma when their secret is discovered or
    revealed. Very little factual literature on the subject is readily
    available to the general population to correct the misconception of
    popular social mythology.

    Current opinions of European North American psycho-socio professionals
    today is that transgendered behavior is manifested in two basic forms
    of mental disorder. This opinion is reflected in the Diagnostic and
    Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III-R) of the American
    Psychiatric Association.

    First, placement of transgendered behavior in this document tends to
    lead one to the conclusion that transgendered behavior ia s mental
    disorder; implying some sort of mental disfunction or deficiency. This
    adds to the myth of transgendered behavior as depicted in Dressed to
    Kill, Psycho, and Silence of the Lambs.

    Second, this manual defines two narrowly-focused types of transgendered

    1. fetishistic transvestism, and
    2. gender dysphoric transsexualism.

    Regardless of the psychiatric or psychological school of thought that
    is applied to any research, every interpretation is made in the DSM
    III-R frame of reference. In other words, the veracity of DSM III-R is
    accepted as fact.

    It is this fact and some of the societal myths that must be challenged.

    The Boulton & Parks Society is spearheading a national effort to
    correct this travesty. They need to accumulate data from the TV/TS
    community to disprove the "accepted wisdom of the professionals." They
    have prepared an in-depth questionaire. It deeply explores our feelings
    and emotions. By completing and submitting the questionaire, we can
    help ourselves.

    This is very important. YOU MUST HELP. THE MYTH MUST BE DESTROYED.


    NOTE: The above is reprinted from the October issue of "Rosebuds", the
    newsletter of the Tiffany Club of New England with permission of the
    author. A copy of the Boulton & Parks Society survey is posted on the
    board under the filename "SURVEY". Please download, complete the survey
    and forward it to the Boulton & Parks Society. The address is in the
    survey. Thank you.

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