The WPATH Board of Directors strongly urges the de-psychopathologisation of gender variance worldwide. The expression of gender characteristics, including identities, that 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 characteristics and identities reinforces or can prompt stigma, making prejudice and discrimination more likely, 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 organizations to review their policies and practices to eliminate stigma toward gender-variant people.
Gender expression that differs from social expectations of assigned birth sex does not meet any medical or scientific definition of mental pathology. Difference is not disease.
2. Stigma of Sexual Deviance
Transvestic Disorder is classified as a “paraphilic” sexual disorder, grouped with diagnoses of such harmful behaviors as pedophilia and exhibitionism. The resulting stereotypes of sexual deviance deny human dignity and civil justice to transgender and gender variant people, including transsexual individuals, who consequently lose their jobs, homes, families, children, freedoms and access to public accommodation.
In the United States, these false stereotypes were exemplified in a full-page newspaper ad campaign in 2008 by Focus on the Family, a political extremist group opposed to civil rights for transpeople in the state of Colorado. A transwoman was depicted in a photo as a disheveled suspicious male in dirty work boots, lurking in a women’s restroom as a little girl stepped out of a stall. The ad contained the headline, “Colorado Just Opened Its Bathrooms to Either Sex!” with the phrase, “sexual predator.” The association of transwomen with sexual predation and threat to children was in reference to the association of transwomen with “paraphilia” in the DSM.