From: "Christine Burns"
To: "'Press for Change News Distribution'"
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:11 PM
Subject: Goodbye HBIGDA - Hello WPATH

Twenty four hours can be a long time in Internet-powered trans politics.
In fact twelve hours can sometimes be quite enough...

Last night I published a news item about the First World Congress for
Sexual Health, with a quote from Australian campaigner Tracie O'Keefe
challenging the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria
Association (HBIGDA) to drop "Gender Dysphoria" from its name.

This morning, my first message of the day was from a practitioner in
Belgium, pointing out that the association named after trans therapy
pioneer Harry Benjamin had got there already -- and is now in the
process of introducing everyone to its' new name : The World
Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

The first visible evidence of the change is on a new page advertising
the association's 20th International Syposium, planned for Sep 5th-8th
2007 in Chicago IL. See

As yet there is no formal Press Release on the change of name, but
Stephen Whittle (the association's president elect) confirmed today that
the change is definitely happening -- it's just that something like that
takes time to work though.

In fact it's probable that many people in this field will go on
referring to the "Harry Benjamin" standards for years to come, even as
new literature and announcements from the association adopt the new
WPATH name. But the change of name is enormously significant - sending
yet another signal that the professional community is getting the
message that trans campaigners have been repeating for years.

Two steps have already now been taken to stop thinking and referring to
sex and gender variant people in the language of illness and disease.
It's a start. And it is particularly significant that WPATH's new name
puts the new emphasis on people's health -- which is something everyone
can hopefully agree to wanting from health practitioners. It reflects us
all saying, "Give us the benefit of your skills - not your labels - to
help us lead happy, healthy and productive lives".

We are expecting the American Psychological Association (APA) to publish
a report very shortly from the task force that it set up last year on
Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions. In fact the
report was promised by "the end of June". The APA Task Force's work has
been seen as controversial by trans campaigners because of the choice of
representatives on the task force panel (see for
background). The big question as we await THAT report is what they will
now bring to the party.

- Christine Burns

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