DSM-5 Falls Short on gender dysphoria revision, ICD 11 Update

image from GIRESUK (other images added as a visual aids for non experts on transgender issues understanding)

The following are aspects of the a presentation by a leading transgender and Gender Dysphoria Reform advocate, it is a summary by Kelly Winters Ph. D of recent changes to gender related diagnostic categories in the DSM-5, published last month by the American Psychiatric Association, and proposed changes for the ICD-11, scheduled for publication in 2015 by the World Health Organization.  It is based on proposed revisions to the ICD-11 presented by Drs. Geoffrey Reed, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis and Richard Krueger at the National Transgender Health Summit in Oakland last month and on discussions at the Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) Civil Society Expert Working Group in Buenos Aires last April.

There are two primary issues in medical diagnostic policy for trans people. The first is harmful stigma and false stereotyping of mental defectiveness and sexual deviance, that was perpetuated by the former categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Transvestic Fetishism (TF) in the DSM-IV-TR. The second is access to medically necessary hormonal and/or surgical transition care, for those trans and transsexual people who need them. The latter requires some kind of diagnostic coding, but coding that is congruent with medical transition care, not contradictory to it. I have long felt that these two issues must be addressed together –not one at the expense of the other, or to benefit part of the trans community at the expense of harming another.

also see from my sister blogs:  Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder ?…………… and Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5 ……. The “D” Switcharoo? plus more HERE

The DSM-5 Falls Short, Despite Some Significant Improvements

The new revisions for the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis in the DSM-5 are mostly positive. However they do not go nearly far enough. The change in title from Gender Identity Disorder (intended by its authors to mean “disordered” gender identity) to Gender Dysphoria (from a Greek root for distress) is a significant step forward. It represents a historic shift from  gender identities that differ from birth assignment to distress with gender assignment and associated sex characteristics as the focus of the problem to be treated. This message is reinforced by the August 2012 Public Policy Statement from the American Psychiatric Association, affirming the medical necessity of hormonal and/or surgical transition care. In another positive change, the Gender Dysphoria category has been moved from the Sexual Disorders chapter of the DSM to a new chapter of its own. Non-binary queer-spectrum identities and expression are now acknowledged in the diagnostic criteria, and the APA Working Group has rejected pressure to add an “autogynephilia” specifier to falsely stereotype and sexualize trans women. Children can no longer be falsely diagnosed with this mental disorder label, strictly on the basis of nonconformity to birth assignment.

However, the fundamental problem remains that the need for medical transition treatment is still classed as a mental disorder. In the diagnostic criteria, desire for transition care is itself cast as symptomatic of mental illness, unfortunately reinforcing gender-reparative psychotherapies which suppress expression of this “desire” into the closet. The diagnostic criteria still contradict transition and still describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental illness. The criteria for children retain much of the archaic sexist language of the DSM-IV-TR that psychopathologizes gender nonconformity. Moreover, children who have happily socially transitioned are maligned by misgendering language in the new diagnosis.

More troubling is false-positive diagnosis for those who have happily completed transition. Thus, the GD diagnosis, and its controversial post-transition specifier, continue to contradict the proven efficacy of medical transition treatments.  This contradiction may be used to support gender conversion/reparative psychotherapies– practices described as no longer ethical in the current WPATH Standards of Care.

Finally, the Transvestic Disorder category in the DSM-5 is even more harmful than its predecessor, Transvestic Fetishism. Punitive and scientifically capricious, it only serves to punish nonconformity to assigned birth roles and has no relevance to established definition of mental disorder. The Transvestic Disorder category has been expanded in the DSM-5 to implicate trans men as well as trans women, with a new specifier of “autoandrophilia,” apparently pulled from thin air without supporting research or clinical evidence.

The ICD-11, a Historic New Approach

icd-11-book-cover

The 11th Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) is scheduled for publication in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a global diagnostic manual that contains chapters for both physical medical conditions and mental conditions. In contrast to the DSM-5, the ICD-11 holds promise for unprecedented forward progress on both issues of social stigma and barriers to medical transition care.  At the National Transgender Health Summit in Oakland last month, members of the ICD-11 Working Group for Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health confirmed proposals for  substantive changes in gender and transition related codings.

The Working Group has proposed a historic shift of transition related categories, now labeled “Gender Incongruence,”  out of the Mental and Behavioural Disorders chapter (called F-Codes) entirely. It is to be placed in a new, non-psychiatric chapter, called “Certain conditions related to sexual health.” The Incongruence title is distinct from DSM-5 dysphoria title, to clarify that this is no longer a mental disorder coding.  They have also proposed to eliminate victimless sexual paraphilia categories from the manual, including: F65.1: Transvestic fetishism. A similar category describing dual gender individuals, F64.1: Dual-role Transvestism, would be deleted as well. These changes have the potential for enormous progress in reducing both stigma and barriers to medical transition care, for those who need it.

When implemented, they would effectively obsolete the new psychopathology categories of Gender Dysphoria and Transvestic Disorder in the DSM-5.

There are also questions and shortcomings in the current  ICD-11 proposals.  While the proposed children’s coding of  Gender Incongruence of Childhood is no longer a mental disorder label,  any pathologizing coding of happy gender nonconforming or socially transitioned children, who are too young to need any medical transition or puberty-blocking treatment, is highly controversial among clinicians, families and community members.  The diagnostic criteria for children, like those in the DSM-5, still emphasize nonconformity to anachronistic gender stereotypes as symptomatic of sickness. The adult and adolescent criteria have copied ambiguous language from the DSM-5 that cast desire for transition, in itself, as pathological. Worse yet, false-positive diagnosis of happy post-transition subjects inadvertently contradicts rather than supports medical transition care.

The ICD-11 Working Group for Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health should be commended for advancing these historic reforms. However, it is important that Group members listen to the remaining concerns of community members and supportive care providers.  Adults and adolescents needing access to medical transition care, or pubescent youth needing puberty blocking medications, require a clearer description of the problem to be treated. Young children, who may only need information, monitoring and support, have very different diagnostic needs and diagnostic risks than adults and adolescents.

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US study says Gay dads may experience lifestyle shifts that could reduce HIV risk

Gay parents face many of the same challenges as straight parents when it comes to sex and intimacy after having children, according to a new study of gay fathers published in the journal Couple and Family Psychology. The findings suggest that gay male couples who are raising children may experience lifestyle changes that could reduce their HIV risk.

“When gay couples become parents, they become very focused on the kids, they are tired, there is less time for communication and less desire for sex,” said Colleen Hoff, professor of sexuality studies at San Francisco State University. “They go through a lot of the same changes as heterosexual couples who have kids.”

Nationwide, approximately one in five gay male couples is raising children. Hoff and colleagues studied whether becoming a parent causes gay dads to change their lifestyle in ways that protect them from risky sexual behavior, or if the stress of parenting leads to increased health risks such as infidelity and unprotected sex with outside partners. The researchers interviewed 48 gay male couples who are raising children together.

“We found that gay fathers have less time for sex and less emphasis on sexuality, which could mean they are at less risk for HIV,” Hoff said. “Many fathers said they feel a sense of responsibility toward their children which motivates them to avoid risky sexual behavior.”

Many of the couples reported that having children increased their commitment to each other and deepened their relationship. Fathers reported they gained a new admiration for their partner as they observed them parenting.

Couples said they have sex less frequently since becoming parents, but few found this to be problematic. “From the fathers we studied, there was this pragmatic acceptance that this is what happens at this stage of life,” Hoff said.

One surprising finding is that becoming parents did not affect the couples’ sexual agreements — the contracts that many gay male couples make about whether sex with outside partners is allowed.

“There wasn’t the shift that we thought we might find,” Hoff said. “For the most part, those who were monogamous before becoming parents said they stayed with that arrangement. Those who had open relationships before having children reported that they kept to that agreement.”

While some of the lifestyle changes associated with parenthood might reduce HIV risk for gay couples, the study highlighted some changes that could raise problems for couples with open sexual agreements. These couples had fewer opportunities to discuss their sexual agreements with each other, and a few men said that once they became a parent they felt uncomfortable talking to their friends or their doctor about the fact that they are in an open relationship.

“Some men felt that there is this assumption that if you are a gay parent you are monogamous,” Hoff said. “This kind of stigma around gay parents’ sexuality could be a concern if gay fathers are reluctant to talk to their physician about their sexual agreement and get tested for HIV.

The study warns physicians and counselors against making assumptions about gay fathers and stresses the importance of offering them opportunities to discuss their sexual agreements and access to testing services. In particular, the study highlights the need for HIV prevention programs to find alternative ways to reach gay fathers since they spend less time in gay social venues where sexual health messages are typically promoted.

Source: San Francisco State University

The Gay Gene: New Evidence Supports an Old Hypothesis

Daniel Honan

What’s the Big Idea?

If a so-called “gay gene” exists, what is the evolutionary logic for it?

After all, you would expect that homosexuals would have fewer children than heterosexuals, so that any genetic cause of homosexuality would have been selected out of the gene pool a long time ago.

The answer, as you might expect, is a bit complicated (if it’s even the right answer).

A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has found a link between homosexuality and female fertility. The mothers and maternal aunts of gay men have “increased fecundity compared with corresponding maternal female relatives of heterosexual men,” the authors of the study write.

This study, which the authors note was based on a small sample and “would benefit from a larger replication,” supports the so-called “balancing selection hypothesis.” The gay gene — or genes — are thought to exist on the X chromosome, and “increase the reproductive value” of the female relatives. In other words, it makes the women more attractive to men, allowing them to produce more offspring. So while the ‘gay gene’ may not be passed down directly, it will survive over the course of many generations.

Not only are the maternal relatives of gay men more attractive, more fertile and subject to fewer complications during pregnancy, the study also found these women are extroverts and generally happier. In other words, if you’re the mother of a gay man, you’re pretty awesome.

Can this idea survive scrutiny?

Bryan Sykes, the author of the new book, DNA USA, tackled this subject in a previous work, Adam’s Curse, and more recently in an interview with Big Think.

According to Sykes, “there is some evidence that there is a genetic predisposition to male homosexuality.” And yet, in Sykes’s view, it is highly unlikely there exists “a simple gay gene” that you either have or don’t have. To put it another way, the idea that a simple gay gene exists “as a kind of mutation” is downright ludicrous, according to Sykes.

However, Sykes also points out that there is some evidence that suggests the possibility of a genetic association with homosexuality without the existence of a mutated gene. He tells us:

I think you could explain it by the way that mitochondria–that piece of DNA which I’m full of admiration for because they aren’t interested in men at all–are inherited down the female line. And they have ways, I think, of getting rid of male embryos and making sure that they’re propagated at the expense of males.

One way that mitochondria might do this, Sykes says, is to influence some male fetuses during early development so these fetuses “do not turn into heterosexual males.” This controversial idea, according to Sykes, “would explain how you can have a genetic association without there being a mutant gene.” But why would mitochondria act this way? While it may sound weird, Sykes says this type of activity has been observed in many other animal species. He tells us:

It’s the basis of how beehives work. There are bees working away for the queen bee with no hope of having their own DNA propagated in the next generation. I think there’s a possibility, at least it’s something to argue about, that a similar thing is operating in humans as regards male homosexuality.

What’s the Significance?

If the existence of the ‘gay gene’ is ever proven conclusively, it is unlikely to have much of an impact on the beliefs of some people who reject homosexuality as a “lifestyle.” After all, some of those people simply reject science. Indeed, there are some people who want to bury their heads in the sand, and that is an issue that impacts the field of genetics in general, gay gene or no gay gene.

So what does genetics have to teach the rest of us about who we are? Quite a lot, says Sykes, if we’re in fact willing to find out. The other significant question, of course, is how much is our behavior pre-programmed in our genes and to what extent can we change ourselves and grow after we are born? Sykes has a good answer.

While it’s “perhaps too deterministic” to say that your genes determine everything you do, Sykes says your genes are like a deck of cards. You’re dealt these cards, you’re influenced by these cards, but the rest depends on what you do with them.

Watch the video here:

bigthink on gay gene

Rectal Formulation of Tenofovir Gel Found Safe and Acceptable in Early Phase Clinical Study

Follow-up study planned to further assess gel’s potential as a rectal microbicide to prevent HIV
March 5, 2012 – A gel formulation of the antiretroviral drug tenofovir designed specifically for rectal use was found safe and acceptable, according to a Phase I clinical study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), and presented today at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). The results of the study, which included HIV-negative men and women who used the gel rectally once a day for one week, serve as an important step toward the development and testing of arectal microbicide to prevent HIV from anal sex. 
Microbicides, products applied on the inside of the rectum or vagina, are being studied as an approach for preventing or reducing the sexual transmission of HIV. The majority of microbicide research has focused on products to prevent HIV through vaginal sex, yet the risk of becoming infected with HIV from unprotected anal sex may be 20 times greater than unprotected vaginal sex. Developed as a vaginal microbicide, tenofovir gel was reformulated with less glycerin, a common additive found in many gel-like products, in the hopes of making it more appropriate for rectal use. 
The study, known as MTN-007, began in October 2010 and enrolled 65 men and women at three sites – the University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Fenway Health in Boston. It is a follow-up trial to an earlier study, RMP-02/MTN-006, which assessed the rectal use of the vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel. That study found the gel produced a significant antiviral effect when used in the rectum, but gastrointestinal side effects were problematic.
In MTN-007, study participants were randomly assigned to one of four study groups. Three of these groups were assigned to use one of the following products for a one-week period: a rectal formulation of tenofovir gel; a placebo gel containing no active ingredient; or a gel containing the spermicide nonoxynol-9. A fourth group did not use any gel but took part in all of the study-related procedures and tests, including physical and rectal exams.
Study results indicated no significant differences in side effects among the three gel groups. Eighty percent of participants reported only minor side effects related to the use of study products, while 18 percent reported moderate side effects. (Two study participants reported severe adverse events, but they were not deemed to be related to use of the study products.) Participants’ adherence to the use of their assigned study products was high, with 94 percent using the products daily as directed. When asked about the likelihood that they would use the gel in the future, 87 percent of the participants who used the rectal formulation of tenofovir gel indicated they would likely use the gel again, compared to 93 percent of the placebo gel group, and 63 percent of the nonoxynol-9 gel group. In addition to assessing safety and acceptability, researchers also conducted preliminary gene expression testing, and noted changes in the activation of some genes in the tenofovir gel group, which they are continuing to evaluate to understand more fully.
“These findings tell us that the ‘rectal-friendly’ version of tenofovir gel was much better tolerated than the vaginal formulation of the gel when used in the rectum,” said Ian McGowan, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the MTN and professor of medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We are very encouraged that the rectal gel was quite safe, and that most people who used it said they would be willing to use it in the future.”
As follow-up to MTN-007, researchers are now planning a Phase II, multi-site trial called MTN-017that will involve186 men who have sex with men and transgender women at clinical sites in Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. Participants will cycle through three study regimens: rectal tenofovir gel used daily, rectal tenofovir gel used before and after anal sex, and daily use of the antiretroviral tablet Truvada®. MTN-017 will allow researchers to collect additional information about the gel’s safety and acceptability in the rectum, and compare it to the use of Truvada.                                         
In addition to Dr. McGowan, other authors of MTN-007 are Craig Hoesley, M.D., University of Alabama; Ross Cranston, M.D., University of Pittsburgh; Philip Andrew, FHI 360; Laura Janocko, Ph.D., MTN and Magee-Womens Research Institute; James Dai, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Ph.D., Columbia University; Ratiya Kunjara Na Ayudhya, BSMT, MTN; Jeanna Piper, M.D., Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Ken Mayer, M.D., Fenway Health.
MTN-007 is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of AIDS (DAIDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health, both components of the NIH. Tenofovir gel was developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., of Foster City, Calif., which assigned the rights for tenofovir gel to CONRAD, of Arlington, Va ., and the International Partnership for Microbicides of Silver Spring, Md., in December 2006. 
The reduced glycerin formulation of tenofovir gel that was evaluated in MTN-007 is not the same formulation developed for vaginal use. The vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel was found safe and effective in reducing the risk of HIV in women who used it before and after vaginal sex in a study called CAPRISA 004. More recently, however, MTN researchers conducting the VOICE Studyclosed the tenofovir gel arm of the trial after a routine review of study data determined that the gel, while safe, was not effective in preventing HIV among the women in that study group, who were asked to apply it vaginally every day. In the meantime, a Phase III trial called FACTS 001 is currently evaluating the vaginal formulation of tenofovir gel using the same regimen as CAPRISA 004, with results expected in 2014. 

International Sex Workers Rights Day ……………

Today is such a day and is marked worldwide by conferences, sessions, some public education activity to sensitize persons as to the need to view this part of our community as human beings as well not to be ostracised and scorned as we are good at doing. The term sex worker rights encompasses a variety of aims being pursued globally by individuals and organizations that specifically involve the human and labor rights of sex workers.

The goals of these movements are extremely diverse, but generally aim to destigmatize sex work and ensure fair treatment before legal and cultural forces on a local and international level for all persons employed in the Sex industry. In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers of all kinds are stigmatized and marginalized, which can prevent them from seeking legal redress for discrimination. Not to be confused with the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which is observed annually on 17 December by Sex workers, their advocates, friends, families and allies.

First celebrated in 2003, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is the brainchild of Dr. Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA), an American Sex Worker’s Rights organization.

Originally conceived as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, it has evolved into an annual international event. The day calls attention to AIDS, hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe as well as the need to remove the stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by custom and prohibitionist laws that has made violence against sex-workers acceptable.

The red umbrella has become an important symbol for Sex Workers Rights and it is increasingly being used on December 17: “First adopted by Venetian sex workers for an anti-violence march in 2002, red umbrellas have come to symbolize resistance against discrimination for sex workers worldwide.”

Sex Workers Association of Jamaica the Kingston Chapter has been doing ground work in bringing the issues to public attention, in 2010 PANOS released a report on CSW: ORAL TESTIMONIES OF JAMAICAN SEX WORKERS

The lure of easy money, peer pressure, economic difficulties and lack of education and training seem to be the factors which prompted most of the interviewees to begin sex work. Boy Blue regards his entry into the industry as responding to a higher calling although he hints that none of his previous jobs was as lucrative as sex work. A few of the oral testimonies reveal that early sexual abuse combined with economic hardship helped drive some young women into sex work,

The sex workers have had mixed experiences regarding working conditions
in the sex industry. Some of the women lived on the same premises where they worked. Most have worked in bad conditions as well as in good places where they were satisfied with the treatment they received. Violence is mentioned as a constant threat to sex workers and some shared their experiences of this. They also speak of exploitation at the hands of both club bosses and clients, and of some employers who keep strict control over their actions. Some sex workers feel the police make no effort to protect them as citizens or to respond seriously to any complaints they make.Boy Blue’s oral testimony is in stark contrast to those of the female sex
workers. He sees himself as the star of his own show. He says he negotiates what he does and where. He travels as he likes, chooses what acts he will perform and most importantly enjoys the sexual intercourse (unlike most female sex workers interviewed who said they were careful to separate business from pleasure).

In as far as LGBT persons are concerned especially homeless Men who have sex with men (MSM) this issue of commercial sex or transactional sex in Kingston mostly but also seen in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann and Montego Bay is worrying as many of the brothers mostly have been thrown out of their homes and communities have had to resort to sex work to survive along with other illegal activity including the illegal lotto scam allegedly. With the treatment meted out to this group of persons by the LGBT community itself through rigid stigmatization and discrimination, classism and literal scorn and outright overlooking by the advocacy groups with no serious intentions for street based interventions thus far one wonders where and when will this group get the attention they desire urgently? As someone who was temporarily displaced in 1996 through to early 1998 by virtue of my public case and family ostracism sans the existence of any advocates at the time I now all too well the struggles to find bread and temptations to engage in sex work with the ugly sides of such activity all too real with the loss of friends or police interventions/harassment on those who were caught in the act leading to all other kinds of problems that bedevil them for years on end in a few cases.

The civil disobedience some homeless men had to resort to against the advocacy structures albeit their own behaviour was not squeaky clean is not to be forgotten in August 2011 which came from some of the men who were displaced by the advocacy structures themselves after the closure of a shelter project due to so called bad behaviour bearing in mind no proper psycho social support mechanisms, tweaking of the original project or keeping the facility open were entertained or kept in place and no attempt was made to correct it instead the men were put to pasture. The we wonder why members of the population resort to commercial sex work? while putting their very lives at risk. Since 2012 alone several instances of chases, attempted beatings/mobbings and more join the homeless as they find themselves put out of their family homes, influentials in the community have limited resources to assist and can only do so much. As for the buggery law that too has caused some problems in proper outreach for msms involved in commercial sex work, we are told for example government through the Ministry of Health cannot be seen directly engaging msms since buggery is illegal and or the misconception especially overseas that homosexuality is illegal when it is not.

also see from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………. (Jamaica Observer)

Damage Control from the establishment on the Homeless MSM issue:

Doing ‘business’ in New Kingston … Jamaica Observer on MSM Homelessness ….. JFLAG should be ashamed

I implore persons to seriously consider this section of the community who have been overlooked for decades as funds are spent on HIV/AIDS interventions supposedly to include this group without any rehabilitation effort or psycho social support yet we have ended up with an infection rate of over 31% as the new study conducted last year seems over the original 31% rates in 2007. Homeless MSMs and CSWs are only good for statistical dartboarding more so than helping these persons to improve their living situations it seems.

Peace and tolerance

H

The psychological strategy of the homosexual lobby BY DR Leahcim Semaj

(a note, the day before he appeared on CVM TV’s Live @ 7 where he postured the long held point on paedophilia becoming the next rights push item he produced this piece via his FACEBOOK pageand website, the supposed strategy by the us the gay lobby is to move to paedophilia after legalizing buggery as he tries to put forward here) 

ALSO SEE:  CVM TV’s Live @ 7 – Gay Brain Drain … on my sister blog which also had as guest from overseas now asylee and former advocate Maurice Tomlinson who left Jamaica under very dubious and cloudy circumstances and married a man in Canada although both do not reside there now.

Now here is Mr Semaj’s piece:

The psychological strategy of the homosexual lobby

BY DR Leahcim Semaj Sunday, Jan

Feburary 8, 2012

I take issue with the recent discussion describing Jamaican people who see homosexuality as dysfunctional or deviant as being sick people. This is what is done when one subscribes to the concept of “homophobia”.

Once persons refuse to accept the agenda that homosexuality is normal and healthy behaviour, they are labelled as sick, they have a phobia. How did we get into this mess?

Psychosexual Disorders can be grouped into two main categories: The first is sexual dysfunction: when physiologically normal functions fail, eg inability to respond to erotic stimulation with arousal, erection or orgasm, or when interest in sex is diminished or absent.

The second is sexual deviance: when a sexual behaviour violates the laws, or social norms of a social group or society. Prior to 1973, Psychosexual Disorders were defined in the following categories:

. Homosexuality, . Paedophilia (children), . Incest, . Voyeurism, . Zoophilia (animals), . Frotteurism (rubbing on strangers), . Necrophilia, . Transvestism (cross-dressing), . Urophilia (urine), . Mysophilia (filthy surroundings), . Coprophilia (filth, brown shower), . Klismaphilia (enema), . Troilism (sharing your partner and watching), . Masochism, . Sadism, and . Various fetishes.

Most of these have been retained in the psychological literature, but in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the official manual that lists mental and emotional disorders.

Two years later, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution supporting the removal. For more than 25 years, both associations have urged all mental health and other professionals to help dispel the stigma of mental illness that many people still associate with homosexual orientation.

Yet all the other psychosexual disorders and perversions have been retained. Why?

Since 1976, the APA has divided homosexuality into two categories, Egosystonic and Egodystonic. This distinction proposes that people who are sexually attracted to their own gender and happy with that situation are normal, while those who are unhappy need help. Why this one disorder? Why not any of the others?

In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, removed paedophilia as a sexual perversion. This event was followed in 1999 when the American Psychological Association released an APA Bulletin report, A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples.

In this report, Bruce Rind, et al, claimed child sexual abuse could be harmless and beneficial. This led to a situation in which Illinois State Representative Bob Biggins introduced House Resolution 325 damning the APA Rind study.

Later that year, the US Family Research Council held a press conference in Washington, DC. Here a coalition of members of Congress, child protection advocates, child abuse victims and public policy groups charged the APA to renounce the Rind study. This conference was largely ignored by mainstream media in the USA.

Concern is being expressed that the American psychological and psychiatric establishment are now setting us up to engineer a cultural endorsement of incest in the same way that the endorsement of homosexuality was orchestrated.

On July 28, 2004, the American Psychological Association finally showed its hand and announced its support for legalisation of same-sex civil marriages and opposition of discrimination against homosexual parents.

They concluded that denying same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage is discriminatory and can adversely affect the psychological, physical, social and economic well-being of homosexual individuals.

The report stated that prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is discriminatory and unfairly denies such couples, their children and other members of their families the legal, financial and social advantages of civil marriage.

We now understand the full agenda: It begins with tolerance, then acceptance, then endorsement, then finally that we recognise same-sex marriages. This is inconsistent with my understanding of the order of the universe.

Years ago, Suzanne Dodd proposed that: “The Western World is quickly adopting the concept that homosexuality is a viable alternative lifestyle. If your son decides to marry another man, you are supposed to smile and say, ‘That’s nice’.

Be aware that soon enough we will be expected to see two men get married, and unless we smile and say, ‘That’s nice’ we might lose all our foreign aid.” (Money Index #366; page 46) Are we now there?

Alice in Wonderland approach to sexual behaviour

The use of the word “gay” is an attempt to remove the negative connotation inherent in the concept of homosexuality. The word “homophobia” implies that anyone who does not endorse and ‘big-up’ homosexual acts is sick.

The objective is for us to be on the defensive.

  1. Why is it a “phobia” to not love homosexual acts and other perversions and to resist the pressures to give private perversions the status of public acceptance?
  2. If we accept homosexuality as “normal” behaviour, why not accept all the other perversions and dysfunctions also?
  3. If we believe that persons with the other perversions and dysfunctions are in need of help, why are not the homosexuals?

The poet Haki Madhubuti reminds us

That which is normal for us Will never be normal for us As long as the abnormal defines what normality is

Are there historical precedent and consequences for these actions? I believe that it is time for Jamaican psychologists to be straight with the people of Jamaica as to what our position is.

Are we following the dictates of the American Psychological Association? Or do our experiences, history, culture and heritage tell us otherwise? Mine do. I do not accept that homosexuality or any of the other perversions or psychosexual dysfunctions be endorsed as being part of what we identify as normal and healthy behaviours.

I would like the homosexual lobby to provide me with some answers to the following questions.

  1. As we try to understand order versus disorder, I realize that two central components can guide us. The first is THE MODEL OF PERFECTION. This tells me that in any society there are certain values which are passed on from parent to child. These help us to understand what the ultimate values are. For example, we will hear parents say “I would love for my son to be happily married and have a family” or “I would love for my son to get a good job.” Have you ever heard someone say or will you yourself say “I would love for my son or daughter to grow up to be a homosexual”?

2. The second component we can refer to as THE MODEL OF NATURAL ORDER, i.e. any behaviour which facilitates our collective survival is automatically good. It may be pleasurable for the individuals to engage in behaviours which do not fit this profile but we cannot give the behaviour endorsement or public acceptance because to do so could pose a threat to our collective survival. If everyone started to do so, the consequence would be quite disastrous. Does homosexuality fit within the model of natural order?

3. One a writer raised the issue of homosexuality being about love, “how can we be against love”? Well, why do we not also endorse those who are in love with donkeys, sheep, goats, and dogs? We refer to these behaviours as zoophilia or beastiality. What about those who are in love with dead bodies? Should we also publicly accept these private perversions?

4. The DSM III defines homosexuality into two categories, egosystonic and egodystonic – this says that people who are homosexual and happy with it are normal, while those who are, and are unhappy need help. Can we expand on this? What about those who are into zoophilia (animals), transvestism (cross dressing), pedophilia (children), incest, voyeurism, frotteurism (rubbing on strangers), necrophilia, urophilia (urine), mysophilia (filth), coprophilia (filth), klismaphilia (enema) and various fetishes; As long as they are happy with themselves, should we not consider them normal?

SEXUALITY AND THE BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE

This term I teach the Physiological Psychology at the University of the West Indies. As expected, the North American text has a section dealing with homosexuality and the biological causes. They explore a range of data and a number of findings but interestingly, the conclusion is as follows;

“There remain also the possibility that a person’s lifestyle may affect the structure of parts of his or her brain; thus, the difference as mentioned… could be the result of people’s sexual orientation rather than the cause.” Foundations of Physiological Psychology, page 278

I wonder why we are motivated to look for biological causes of same sex preference. Why don’t we also look for biological causes for fetishes, animal preference, dead body preference, stranger preferences while we are at it? The evidence points in the direction of a group of individuals wishing for public acceptance for their private perversions.

Leahcim Semaj is a consulting Psychologist:

LTSemaj@Gmail.com

The Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey is underway

PRESS RELEASE

The Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey is underway

16 January, 2012 A groundbreaking anonymous online study of the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean is underway now. CARIMIS, the Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey (available at http://www.carimis.org) aims to learn more about this group while for the first time testing the potential of the internet to conduct research with key populations in the region. The initiative is led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Caribbean Regional Support Team (RST) and involves several individuals, non-governmental organisations and partner agencies throughout the region.

UNAIDS Caribbean RST Director, Dr. Ernest Massiah, explained that the approach presents exciting possibilities for responding more meaningfully to the realities of MSM.

“Almost everybody’s online,” he said. “That’s where people are and that’s where the survey needs to be. It’s the most modern, effective way to connect with communities to find out more about their experiences and their needs. Good data provides the evidence that allows countries to make good decisions about their HIV response.”

Article 29 of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS notes that many national HIV prevention strategies inadequately focus on populations that evidence shows are at higher risk. In June governments committed to identifying the specific populations that are key to their epidemic and response, “based on the epidemiological and national context”. CARIMIS will contribute to this goal by offering new insight into the realities of Caribbean MSM communities at country-level, including respondents’ behavioural risks and their access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

Participants in pilot tests done in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago revealed that they responded to questions about their sexual behaviour during the survey that they would not answer in face to face interviews.  Importantly, the approach will reach across boundaries of class, race, socio-economic status and professed sexual identity as anyone with 15 minutes of internet access can participate anonymously.

“Studies among MSM have been conducted in the larger Caribbean countries using traditional sampling methods. While these methods have been useful they have always excluded sub-groups within the MSM community who cannot be reached through public venues or network systems. The internet holds the potential to reach a wider spectrum of MSM and could in the future be used to connect with other hard-to-reach groups,” explained Research Associate, Sylette Henry-Buckmire.

In the Caribbean HIV prevalence among MSM is estimated to range from 0.71 percent in Cuba to 32 percent in Jamaica. The average adult HIV prevalence for the region as a whole is one percent.

The survey is available on www.carimis.org It is targeted toward people who are 18 years or older, were born male and either are attracted to men, have sex with men or think they might do so in the future. Eligible participants must provide informed consent online before completing the survey. No information will be collected that would identify respondents. The website includes links to local referral services for those who require emotional or medical support. CARIMIS has been approved by the Ethics Committee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The website and its supporting technology underwent a rigorous certification and accreditation process to assure security.

Contact

UNAIDS Caribbean| Cedriann Martin | tel. +868 623-7056 ext. 283 | martinc@unaids.org

UNAIDS

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative United Nations partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Learn more at unaids.org.

 

 

 

The Dance of Difference, The New Frontier of Sexual Orientation part II

In part one we looked at the book below on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch where a preview of the first chapter can be seen via Kindle, also see the Smile Jamaica interview HERE – See the TVJ interview HEREAuthor Shirley Anderson-Fletcher, is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience as an applied behavioural scientist, organisation systems analyst, executive coach and group facilitator.

Shirley Anderson Fletcher continued her promotional tour of sorts of her book The Dance of Difference where it was launched in Kingston Jamaica at Bookophilia   Thursday November 17.  She pushed the need for heterosexuals to rethink their stance on homosexuals and the associated stereotypes while speaking to Profile host Ian Boyne on Sunday November 20, 2011. Among other things she commented many of the points already outlined by advocates and independent LGBT voices over these many years.

I have been concerned about the oppression of racism and sexism for most of my adult life. However, I turned a blind eye to the oppression of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals until my fourteen-year-old son confronted me. I was forty-one years old at the time. He had overheard his dad and me laughing at a so-called ‘gay joke.’ He looked us in the eye and asked, “Would you really be laughing if there was someone gay in this room? Do you really think this is funny?” He looked at us long and hard before striding out of the room. I was mortified.

That was twenty-nine years ago. We made a commitment then to monitor our own prejudices and biases regarding gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. We’ve been intentional about building our awareness. And the reality is we still have a long way to go.


Shirley then employs a model called “Dialogue with Difference” for exploring this prejudice by presenting a transcript of a discussion about sexual orientation with a gay African American colleague, the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington. That transcript comprises the middle section of the book, and it is revealing in many ways. This particular technique is based on the societal construct of dominance and subordination, but it turns that relationship on its head by permitting the subordinated group member in the dialogue to have the opportunity and authority to decide the focus of the discussion.

I was skeptical about this type of presentation but found myself drawn into the discussion and learning a lot about the issue and, like Shirley, my own preconceptions and prejudices.

This is the first of a series of books on prejudice by Shirley, collectively entitled The Dance of Difference. If you want a break from traditional fluffy summer beach reading, it is well worth your time.

Publication Date: April 15, 2011
It is rare for heterosexuals to acknowledge, much less write about, their own homophobia. This black grandmother who grew up in the homophobic culture of Jamaica in the 40’s and 50’s offers a moving look into the challenges faced daily by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) because of the learned biases, attitudes and behavior of heterosexuals. The author, a behavioral scientist, who migrated to the United States 30 years ago, shares examples from her early life experiences as well as examples from her long career as an organizational consultant in the United States and Europe. The centerpiece of the book is a spontaneous dialogue between the author and a gay pastor about the realities of life for members of the gay community.

On the matter of rights to gays such as marriage she commented that she does not see a reason why homosexuals shouldn’t have them just as heterosexuals. She asked “Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?” when pressed on the Leviticusal arguments presented by mainly religious personalities, she continued that “…the Bible has been used to justify slavery, it has been used to justify racism and it has been used to justify the oppression of women so in a way I’m not surprised that the Bible is now being used to justify the oppression of people who are gay lesbian etc…….. I am also aware of the fact that Christ never said a word about homosexuality” 

” ……. I can certainly understand this can be a challenging issue for people who are religious for people who are Christian and I would just say I want to encourage my Christian brothers and sisters to go back to the teachings of Christ and ask yourself, Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?”

She continued “There is no evidence that I can name that would um you know that would describe homosexuality as a lifestyle, I believe homosexuals are by nature who they are in the same way that heterosexuals are by nature, they didn’t make that choice, a moment for me, right, a lightbulb moment, a lightbulb went off in my head when I thought did I choose my sexual orientation? and I know I never did any such thing all of a sudden at about age 12/13 the same boys who I thought were horrible all of a sudden were looking very very cute there was no choice it just was my evolution and I believe that gays and lesbians evolve in similar ways.”

In an interview with the Gleaner’s Flair, Anderson-Fletcher pointed out that growing up in Jamaica, she learnt to be homophobic at an early age, something that most Jamaicans learn from their elders and parents. In contrast, Jamaicans are always described as the most loving set of people on the earth, and as told through music, Jamaica is synonymous with love, an irony, considering we are also one of the most homophobic people on the planet.

She hopes that after reading the book, parents will be able to use it to look at themselves and the negative behaviours they have learnt and taught. “It is a useful resource that organisations and others can use in the development of programmes geared at avoiding discrimination against gays at the workplace and elsewhere,” the author said. She noted that it can also be used by psychologists and psychiatrists with their patients who are grappling with the issue.

Discrimination against the lesbian and gay community is everywhere, particularly because homophobic people do not stop to ponder why someone would deliberately choose a lifestyle that sees them being constantly vilified, hated, stigmatised and shunned as outcasts.

Her wishes

Anderson-Fletcher would like Jamaicans to read the book and if they are interested in changing their behaviour, to look at themselves and the subtle ways in which they learnt to be homophobic, understanding that they were not born with prejudices. They should also reflect on those prejudices in relation to race and gender. Finally, look at what happens to the gay community in society, take the bold step to talk to them, find out what their life is about, who are they beyond the sexual orientation?

The author is happy with Jamaica’s progress to date, she is pleased that the organisation Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays is now affirming itself and speaking out about prejudice. “Unless the subordinated group rises up against its opponent, nothing will happen, it’s like the American civil rights movement, nothing was achieved until the brave stood up and said ‘no more’,” she noted. She further said she was fully aware of what it takes to live in a society that sees your behaviour as sinful and deviant, but if you are not speaking out, you are willingly giving up your freedom. “The question gays need to ask is: ‘am I going to hide or be self-actualised and speak out for justice and human rights?’

http://danceofdifference.com/index.html

She said she remains passionate about her work because she finds it gratifying. she hopes that Jamaicans will move out of their comfort zone and begin to accept all minority groups in the society.

her sister said:

“Anderson Fletcher’s voice is authentic as it is courageous. Her decades of work as an Applied Behavioral Scientist specializing in Diversity – facilitates the process whereby the reader experiences the trauma of homophobia and the way it seeps into our Being and impacts our world. More importantly, because of the methodology of the book, she shares powerfully not only her own experience with us, but invites us to share ours through reflection and enquiry. The methodology of the book is critical for discussing not only sexual orientation but is applicable to any area of discrimination. Anderson Fletcher points out all are inextricably linked.”

– Beverley Anderson Manley, Broadcaster, Political Scientist, former First Lady of Jamaica

Here is a piece of the audio from the Profile Interview as at post time the video was not uploaded to the Television Jamaica (TVJ) site:

 Shirley Fletcher’s Dance of Difference on Profile 20.11.11

Peace and tolerance

H

Buggery And Health – What The Gay-Rights Lobby Doesn’t Tell You

Byron Buckley

Byron Buckley

ALTHOUGH IT is fashionable to frame the discussion about the reform of buggery laws in terms of human rights, a more serious look at the issue from a public policy perspective indicates that it is essentially a public-health matter.

So, before Jamaica rushes headlong to appease the wishes of international donor ‘masters’, like the British government, to repeal our buggery laws, let us determine whether we can afford to provide for the health-care challenges that come with embracing gay rights.

Studies conducted in the developed countries of France and Australia, where effective treatment of HIV with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is available, have shown a consistent increase in HIV incidence among homosexual men since the late 1990s. A 2008 study in France found HIV incidence highest among homosexual men – 1,006 per 100,000 person-years. In contrast, the HIV incidence in other groups was nine per 100,000 person-years for heterosexual men and 86 per 100,000 person-years for intravenous drug users. The study found that although overall HIV incidence in France decreased between 2003 and 2008, it remained comparatively high and appeared out of control among the population of men who have sex with men (MSM).

Readers should note that homosexuality has been legal in France for centuries. In deed, France is socially liberal regarding sexuality in general. However, the existence of both a liberal human rights and public-health framework in that country has not abated the rise of HIV among homosexual men. This is something for the Jamaican society and policymakers to ponder. Will legalising homosexuality necessarily result in better health management among that section of the population?

No guarantee of safe sex

A 2007 report by the University of New South Wales in Australia found a high incidence of HIV infection in homosexual men linked to unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). This is despite the excellent treatment response to HAART among Australian MSM. The infection rate remained the same as prior to the use of HAART.

In other words, the progress made in HIV treatment was being undermined by the efficient transmission of the disease through anal intercourse. The lesson for Jamaica is that legalisation of homosexuality does not automatically guarantee safe sex. It is not as simple as that – scarce resources would have to be spent in trying to modify sexual behaviour, as is the case with heterosexual behaviour.

Can we afford the cost to provide the equivalent level of health care to an unrestrained domestic homosexual population as in developed countries? A study conducted by the HIV Research Network in the United States – where gay sex is legal – found the mean annual total expenditures per person for HIV care in 2006 as US$19,912 (J$1,672,608). The research concluded that “HIV health care in the United States continues to be expensive, with the majority of expenditures [sic] attributable to medications”.

It follows that if Jamaica relaxes its buggery laws, like some advanced economies, we are likely to increase the burden on our under-resourced health-care system. In so doing, we would be dooming more of our people to a life of ill health, since we can’t afford the expensive treatment.

Women’s rights infringed

If there is a human-rights component to the campaign to reform Jamaica’s buggery laws, it is that innocent heterosexual women are being preyed upon, and their health compromised unknowingly, by bisexual men, that is men who have sex with men and women (MSMW).

In September 2010, the United States-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grouped homosexual and bisexual men and reported the incidence of HIV as 44 times that of heterosexual men. This demonstrates the substantial health risk to a female from having sex with MSMW.

Furthermore, data from Trinidad and Tobago indicate that the MSMW group comprises 25 per cent of MSM – that is, bisexual men make up a quarter of men who engage in gay sex. And they regularly have sex with women.

Of course, gay-rights advocates can counterargue that there is no prohibition to risky or unsafe sexual activities among the heterosexual population. Gay-rights sympathisers also point to other health behaviours that have negative consequences, but are not subject to a legislative ban. Smoking and the consumption of alcohol are two obvious examples.

However, what policymakers have to weigh is the cost impact of the risk related to each type of health behaviour; hence, for example, the prohibition of the use of marijuana and other hard drugs. Conversely, smoking and alcohol abuse may very well be overdue for prohibition because of their negative impact on the health of the population. The point is that policymakers must bear in mind public-health consequences, even when making decisions regarding the protection of human rights.

For a struggling, developing country like Jamaica, it would be foolhardy for us to take a decision – to appease foreign donors and investors – that could result in increased burden on our already hobbling health system, as well as a possible rise in morbidity and mortality levels.

Are we that yet developed? Or is it that developed donor countries will cough up the money needed to provide the public-health infrastructure required to support the health fallout brought on by gay rights.

Byron Buckley is an associate editor at The Gleaner. The views expressed in this article are personal. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and byron.buckley@gleanerjm.com.

ANAL-SEX HEALTH CHALLENGES

Anal sex presents several health challenges:

• People who engage in anal sex are vulnerable to illness because the lack of lubrication in the rectum, compared to the vagina, results in increased likelihood of small tears which afford easy access of the HIV and other virus to the bloodstream.

• The cells lining the vagina are like those of the skin. It is several layers thick and designed to handle wear and tear. The lining of the rectum is a single layer thick and is not designed for wear and tear.

• Anal sex increases the risk of cancer from the human papillomavirus, the same virus associated with cervical cancer.

• Anal sex contributes to Lymphogranuloma venereum, which leads to procto-colitis.

• Compared with other sexually active adults, MSM are more frequently infected with several pathogens, including cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B virus, and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus.

Offences Against the Person Act

Unnatural Offences

76. Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding 10 years.

77. Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour.

ENDS

My response on the Gleaner page which I doubt they will publish:

” if Jamaica relaxes its buggery laws, like some advanced economies, we are likely to increase the burden on our under-resourced health-care system. In so doing, we would be dooming more of our people to a life of ill health, since we can’t afford the expensive treatment.” (cute way of saying we are nothing but AIDS carriers)

……. and the mistake again that repealing buggery will suddenly equals gay rights kmt, good thing I did this yesterdayhttp://soundcloud.com/glbtqja6/homosexulaity-is-not-illegal anal sex if far more safer and tidier (microbicidal technology and PEPFAR getting funding added) than decades gone by.

Better he postured his argument on the possible relaxed guard towards safer sex and prevention messages some gay/bi men have adopted who practice anal sex have gotten since we aren’t dropping like flies anymore and also realise that NOT all gay/bi carry out anal penetration regularly although they are in minority but any cute way to keep us in the closet eh?, why not suggest outercourse or non penetrative same sex as an option since he is so afraid of AIDS? yet again substitutional sex and situational homosexuality are left out of the equation although he poorly pointed out the bisexual linkages to HIV/AIDS infections ……….. he needs to get in the know a little more.

Bisexuals need not apply: A comparative appraisal of refugee law and policy in Canada, the United States, and Australia

By Sean Rehaag, Osgoode Hall Law School

This paper offers an analysis of refugee claims on grounds of bisexuality. After discussing the grounds on which sexual minorities may qualify for refugee status under international refugee law, the paper empirically assesses the success rates of bisexual refugee claimants in three major host states: Canada, the United States, and Australia. It concludes that bisexuals are significantly less successful than other sexual minority groups in obtaining refugee status in those countries.

Through an examination of selected published decisions involving bisexual refugee claimants, the author identifies two main areas for concern that may partly account for the difficulties that bisexual refugee claimants encounter: the invisibility of bisexuality as a sexual identity, and negative views held by some refugee claims adjudicators towards bisexuality as well as the reluctance of some adjudicators to grant refugee status to sexual minorities who differ from gay and lesbian identities as traditionally understood.

International refugee law and sexual minorities It is well settled in international refugee law that non-citizens facing persecution abroad on account of their sexual orientations are eligible for refugee status?4 The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees,25 however, does not explicitly include sexual orientation.

The Convention defines a refugee as any person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

Some sexual minority refugees have – with varying degrees of success – attempted to argue that their fear of persecution stemmed from their ‘political opinion’. The argument has, thus far, proved to be particularly effective for human rights activists who encounter heteronormative persecution as a result of their efforts to enhance the rights of sexual minorities.

Political opinion, however, has been interpreted vel)’ broadly in international refugee law to cover ‘any opinion on any matter in which the machinel)’ of State, government, and policy may be engaged’. As a result, one could plausibly argue that ‘political opinion’ covers sexual minorities who face persecution for challenging both traditional gender norms as well as the inevitability of heterosexuality. With respect to the former (i.e. traditional gender norms), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Guidelines on Gender-Related Persecution state that political opinion ‘may include an opinion as to gender roles. It would also include non-conformist behaviour which leads the persecutor to impute a political opinion. , This is significant because persecution targeting sexual minorities often aims to ‘foster and maintain “appropriate” gender role behaviour’ .

Meanwhile,with regard to the latter (i.e. challenging the inevitability of heterosexuality), the argument would find some support in the commonly made claim that the heterosexually structured family is the fundamental socio-economic unit, one that is supported through a variety of state policies?2 Sexual minorities, by their vel)’ existence, may be understood as challenging both the heterosexual family and the state policies that support it. In other words, sexual minorities may have political opinions regarding gender roles and the heterosexual family imputed to them, and may be persecuted on that basis?

One might also plausibly contend that hetero-normative persecution sometimes involves not only persecution on grounds of ‘political opinion’ but also persecution on grounds of ‘religion,. The UNHCR Guidelines on Gender-Related Persecution, for example, state that………..