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No to surgery – WPATH and Obama Push the Boulder.

During June The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) released statements urging “governments and other authoritative bodies to move to eliminate requirements for identity recognition that require surgical procedures.”
The WPATH Board of Directors said that in the interest and well-being of transgender and transsexual people world-wide, no person should have to undergo surgery or accept sterilisation as a condition of gender recognition.
“If a sex marker is required on an identity document, that marker could recognise the person’s lived gender, regardless of reproductive capacity.”
The Board of Directors of WPATH also called for the de-psychopathologisation of gender variance world-wide and in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). The psychopathologisation of gender characteristics and identities makes prejudice and discrimination more likely, they say.
“The expression of gender characteristics, including identities, identities, which are not stereotypically associated with one’s assigned sex at birth is a common and culturally-diverse human phenomenon which should not be judged as inherently pathological or negative.”
The psychopathologisation of gender identities reinforces or can prompt stigma rendering transgender and transsexual people more vulnerable to social and legal marginalisation and exclusion, and increasing risks to mental and physical well-being.
“WPATH urges governmental and medical professional organisations to review their policies, and practices to eliminate stigma toward gender-variant people.” Says their release.
Transgender people are diagnosed with Gender identity Disorder in the DSM IV. In the DSM V, which has not yet been published, this diagnosis could change to Gender Incongruence. In South Africa, treatment can only be started once the transgender person is diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.  
Meanwhile, the USA has accepted standards and recommendations from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) regarding gender markers on passports. This means that gender surgery is no longer required for a transgender traveller in order to change their stated genders on US passports. The announcement was made by the State Department recently and was enthusiastically received by the National Centre for Transgender Equality.  
The State Department explained that a transgender person applying for a US passport will just need to show a doctor’s certificate stating that the applicant has “undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” to declare a new gender on a passport. Under previous lesgislation the State Department would only change the sex on a passport if the person had completed Gender Reassignment.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Centre for Transgender Equality said this could mean anything from surgery for some and non-surgical care for others. “The previous policy put some transgender people in jeopardy when they travel through countries where changing genders is illegal and could be dangerous,” she said.
In South Africa, a transgender person first has to apply for a gender change on the ID document and driver’s licence and passport would follow automatically. No surgery is required but the transgender applicant has to show through letters from at least two doctors that the transgender person has undergone some treatment, whether it is psychotherapy, hormonal or some form of surgery.


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