Today on twitter via QueersUnited, I was made aware of something that I had no idea about - evidently, per Queers United blog:

...the APA considers individuals who crossdress to be suffering from "transvestic
disorder".

That's right, kids! A preference in clothing = mental disorder.

You may say, "Now wait a darn minute, Pinko. We're not talking about just a preference in clothing! Stop purposefully misrepresenting the issue!"

The fact is, I'm not misrepresenting anything. I personally, like everyone else who is sane, wear clothes in which I feel comfortable. Technically, I would be considered a cross dresser given that I wear pants 99.99% of the time and I have a vagina. Joe blow misogynist might try to say that my desire to wear pants, even though I have said vagina, is indicative of some deep mental issue I have toward my own femininity. What he's really saying, however, is that he likes it when chicks wear skirts and because I'm a chick and I don't wear a skirt, there's something wrong with me. He is perpetuating his personal perception of normal as an objective measure of normality.

For men who prefer to wear woman's clothes, the issue and the judgment is far worse and honestly, nothing to laugh at.

It's people who think they are justified in assuming someone has a mental disorder if they don't conform to some imaginary, objective 'normal' standard who are misrepresenting the issue.

The APA often reflects the misinformed mainstream assumptions regarding behaviors and lifestyles as mental disorders, but luckily there are people who are actively vigilant about this and take steps to petition the APA for change. Here's a link to the petition to get this ridiculous classification for crossdressing removed from the APA. The listed arguments are irrefutable, in my opinion:

1. Crossdressing involves no inherent harm to the individual engaging in it, to other people, or to society. Its presence in a psychiatric manual (whether for reasons of diagnosis or for research) is anachronistic, trivializes the DSM, and diminishes the psychiatric profession;

2. By the 1980s, laws against crossdressing were abolished virtually everywhere in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe with almost no controversy as they were recognized to be anachronisms, unworthy of attention by law enforcement officials. The psychiatric diagnosis, however, remained in place;

3. In many other countries around the world, crossdressing is still a criminal offense, and the continued presence of this diagnosis in the DSM promotes the oppression of gender diverse persons by local authorities;

4. The mere grouping of crossdressing alongside criminal behaviors that can cause grave harm to non-consenting persons needlessly stigmatizes people who engage in harmless gender-diverse behavior;

5. The application of this diagnosis only to male persons is obvious evidence of sexism;

6. The arbitrariness of this diagnosis is compounded by its proposed extension to cover gay and bisexual men who were explicitly exempted in the past, and by the questionable reasoning given to justify the change;

7. The proposed "Transvestic Disorder" diagnosis would no longer be limited to crossdressers. It also now targets many transsexual women with the new specifier of "autogynephilia," a pejorative label implying that transsexual women transition for reasons other than harmony with their gender identity. This mischaracterization of transsexual women is already being exploited by political extremists to undermine their civil rights and human dignity.

8. The psychiatrist and former chairman of the DSM-4 Task Force, Allen Frances, M.D., recently wrote in the Psychiatric Times, "As psychiatrists, we have our hands full taking care of the suffering and distress caused by real mental disorders. There is no need for us to expand our purview to cover sexual thoughts and behaviors that are private and harmless."

9. In February 2010, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, following the earlier lead of Denmark (1995) and Sweden (2009), invalidated the diagnostic code for "Fetishistic Transvestism" in the standard Norwegian psychiatric manual. The Directorate of Health observed, "There have been no changes in these diagnoses for over 100 years... At best these diagnoses are completely superfluous. At worst they are stigmatizing minority groups in society."

So, in the spirit of labeling shit you don't like as a mental disorder and for those who think those who crossdress have a mental disorder, I feel there are other fashion choices which deserve this unflattering distinction FAR MORE than crossdressing. Feel free to add to the list as you see fit.

Wolf T-shirts. While often accompanied by rat tails and confederate flag stickers in the mid-west where the disorder is rampant, they can be found in rural areas outside the mid-west as well, usually being worn by a guy with a 'sweet' fantasy dagger collection.


Crocs. 'Nuff said.

Chicks who wear those sweatpants with a word written across the backside.  Nothing says 'I'm clinically desperate for attention' like a wearing a pair of pants that force everyone around you to look at your ass.


ICP fans, aka "Juggalos". I feel this mental disorder is serious enough to warrant mandatory sterilization.  I know, I know - I just don't 'get it'.

Ugly Christmas sweaters that additionally incorporate American patriotic zeal. Nothing says Christmas like a snowman with a flag. Wait, what?

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In some places "juggalos" are considered a gang, by the police.
I've never heard the term 'Juggalo' before. This reminds me of KISS... damnit, I'm too young to be this out of touch. They all seem pretty hard core with their Coke Zeros though.

On the subject of cross dressing, I think it's an interesting topic. Clothing itself is just clothing. The only notions of gender clothing really has are those notions our cultures assign. Apart from that, it's just fabric.

Although I don't really identify cross dressing as wearing clothing intended for the other gender, but rather choosing clothing with the specific intent of resembling, or in some way identifying with the other gender. I don't really see how that would be a disorder though. I don't even see how that could fall under any single cause.

I imagine that many heterosexual men fantasize about dressing up like women. Curiosity, a sense of adventure, wanting to explore their feminine side, maybe they just think they'd look pretty... doesn't matter. I don't think it's that big of a deal in itself. In some cases there is an issue of gender identity, but people are far too quick to group and oversimplify such things. Gender isn't simple.

In terms of women cross-dressing... it seems quite down-played relatively in most of modern Western society. We're a bit sexist that way though. Overall, there's more acceptance for wanting to fulfill traditional male roles than there is for wanting to fulfill traditional female roles. I have to admit that if I had a son, and he wanted to wear flower-print dresses to school, I don't know how I would react. I'm all for it if that's his choice, but I'd be nervous as to what he might suffer for it. If I had a girl that wanted to wear boy's jeans and t-shirts, I might have mild concerns in the same vein, but it's less of an issue.

So maybe what I'm saying is that cross-dressing is definitely a psychological disorder, not for the individuals who do it, but for the cultures that can't manage to get their heads around it.

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