Alternative Treatments For Gender Identity Disorder

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Artist-Philosopher Chriss L. Pagani, statement and biography
Artist's Statement & Bio


        Thanks to the work of Dr. Harry Benjamin and the research of Johns Hopkins University and others, there is a well-organized system for helping transsexuals become who they feel they are inside. It's a bureaucracy  complete with superstars and lots of rules and regulations that are peer-enforced.  I  support the right of the transgendered person to receive hormones and surgical care as this system offers it, but I have a BIG problem with the fact that few therapists are willing to even consider treatment alternatives when gender reassignment is not practical.

        A bit of history: Prior to the founding of the sex-change business, treatments for gender dysphoria revolved around psychotherapy which often focused on a perception of bad parenting and such. The "medical"  treatments available  were as severe as electroshock, and as far as I know, completely  ineffective. As we moved into the 60's, medications were added to scheme - the so-called "major tranquilizers". These treatments were not particularly successful, either.

       One needs to bear in mind, however, that in these prior times our knowledge of depression and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder was incomplete and - in many cases - just plain WRONG. Today, we are aware that these are medical issues, which are subject to medical treatment.

While I really do not wish to discourage anyone from transitioning, I want you to understand that you have at least some degree of choice. Maybe you don't have any GOOD options, or maybe the only viable option for you is to take hormones and go through the gender reassignment process, but that's still a choice. Don't let anyone tell you that this is sinful or wrong: we all need to make decisions for our own lives that will let us keep living. On the other hand, don't let anyone tell you that you have no options. Even if ultimately transition seems like the only workable solution, I believe that underlying issues should be dealt with before steps toward changing one's gender are taken - if nothing else, just to be sure that those steps are really needed.





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