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International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013

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Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood

The International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013 took place on Saturday, October 19, 2013, called to action by STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization.

On this day and throughout the month of October, more than 100 actions for trans depathologization were organized in 48 cities worldwide, among them demonstrations, political rallies, conferences, discussion forums, information activities, workshops, film screenings, theatre, performances, music events, photography actions and murals. Activities from different world regions were focused on this year’s slogan, “Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood”.

STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization is an international activist initiative that works for the depathologization of trans gender expressions, trajectories and identities. STP is supported by more than 370 groups, organizations and networks in six continents, as well as numerous individual supporters. In the past seven years, during each month of October coordinated activities for trans depathologization have been organized in cities of different countries, and in the past five years these have been under the title STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization. Since 2009, the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization has been celebrated in a total of 137 different cities of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania, in many of them more than once.

The Call to Action 2013 of the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization was launched under the slogan “Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood”, with the objective to express concern regarding the continued diagnostic classification of gender diversity in childhood and the presence of dynamics of medicalization, pathologization and psychiatrization of non-normative gender expressions in childhood, observed in the health care, educational and social contexts.

STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization demands the removal of the proposal of including a category of “Gender Incongruence of Children” / “Gender Incongruence of Childhood” in the ICD-11, the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 11th Revision, World Health Organization (WHO). This proposal of inclusion is announced in two recent articles published by members of the WHO working group in charge of reviewing the trans-specific categories in the ICD (Drescher, Cohen-Kettenis, Winter, 2012; Drescher 2013). STP also demands the elimination of the category “Gender Dysphoria in Children” from the DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association (for a more detailed reflection on a diagnostic classification related to gender diversity in childhood: see STP Communiqué “Reflections from STP regarding the ICD Revision Process and DSM Publication”, August 2013).

Furthermore, STP demands the right to free gender exploration and expression. The Campaign recommends avoiding a medicalization of gender diversity in childhood and proposes to work towards a recognition of gender expressions which differ from the social expectations related to the birth-assigned gender in family, social and educational contexts, a respect of fluid and non-binary gender expressions and identities, as well as the provision of support to children with non-normative gender expressions in situations of discrimination and transphobia.

Meanwhile, the main demands of STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization remain standing, among them the removal of the diagnostic categories ‘Gender Dysphoria’ / ‘Gender Identity Disorders’ and ‘Transvestic Disorder’ / ‘Fetishistic Transvestism’ from the diagnostic manuals DSM and ICD, public coverage of trans health care, as well as the substitution of the current assessment model by an approach focused on autonomy, informed decision making and accompaniment. With the aim of facilitating state-funded coverage, STP proposes the introduction of a non-pathologizing reference of trans health care in the ICD-11, as a health care process not based on illness or mental disorder. Moreover, STP demands the removal of medical requirements from existing gender identity laws, as well as the approval of new gender recognition laws based on a depathologization and human rights perspective.

After the DSM-5 publication and while the ICD revision is still in process, the demand of depathologizing trans gender expressions, trajectories and identities in general, and specifically gender diversity in childhood, acquires a specific relevance.

The Coordination Team of STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization, would like to thank all groups, organizations, activist networks and individuals for their participation in the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013.

Stop Trans Pathologization!
Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood!

Coordination Team of STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization, October 19, 2013

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