Toronto is a lovely and tolerant city full of amazing resources for LGBT people and their allies. My many visits resulted in nothing but the fondest of memories. However, Toronto/Ontario taxpayers unwittingly harbor and nurture the most reactionary sexologists in the world. They are all clustered at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), formerly the Clarke Institute, nicknamed "Jurassic Clarke" for its antiquated views on sex and gender minorities.
Now CAMH "experts" have set their sights on declaring many of you mentally disordered because of your sexual preferences. Do you prefer people who are "too fat," or "too skinny," or "too tall," or "too short"? Do you think transgender people are beautiful, or do you prefer to date disabled people? Do you get tingly watching sexy cartoons or prefer dressing up and roleplaying during sex? Do you like dating people who are "too old" or "too young" for you? Under the expanded definition of "paraphilia" which CAMH experts hope to codify in 2013, you will likely become a mentally ill paraphilic. This diagnosis could then be put in your medical records and other databases, with all the attendant joys of being declared mentally disordered.
And if that diagnosis doesn't fit, there's always "video game addiction" and "internet addiction," both under discussion for inclusion in the APA's 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Read on, future sickos.
Image: So i herd u liek web pr0n and exbawks. Images via Wikimedia Commons
Let's start with "paraphilia." Currently led by U.S. imports Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard, Toronto's CAMH "experts" have weaseled their way into key positions in the government, in Toronto universities, in most sexology trade groups, as well as in the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Because the field of sexology commands little academic respect, it's a bit of an intellectual vacuum where a lot of mediocre minds find a home.
Zucker and Blanchard have spent the last three decades setting the tone for the academic pathologization of transgender people, and now they are eyeing many of you. They're poised to extend their influence even further by broadly expanding the definition of "paraphilia." The concept of "paraphilia" was created in the 1920s to cover all criminal sexual interests. Homosexuality used to be classified as a paraphilia, but since sexology is just a bunch of politicians in labcoats, they eventually changed their minds about that. They also changed their minds about homosexuality being a mental disorder in 1973, but they kept paraphilia in place.
Ray Blanchard, who refuses to publicly acknowledge his own sexuality, is leading the push to expand paraphilia. His new proposed definition classifies paraphilia as sexual preference for someone who is not "phenotypically normal." Blanchard and pals are also seeking to make a wide range of sexual interests into thoughtcrimes. You can be diagnosed even if you never act out your fantasies, but just think about them. Before, paraphilias were only diagnosed if they caused "clinical distress," but under the current definition, even those who have self-acceptance about their sexual interests can be diagnosed as mentally disordered. Did I mention that having "too much" or "too little" sex, or painful intercourse are also mental illnesses? These are usually diagnosed for women, where "paraphilia," according to these guys, afflicts men. They consider paraphilia an "erotic target location error," part of a range of "courtship disorders" that can occur in men.
In 2008 Toronto taxpayers shelled out CDN$325,000 to pay Zucker and Blanchard for all their hard work pathologizing people worldwide, including the previously mentioned reparative therapy on gender-variant children.
As for internet and video game addiction, there's a growing movement that questions the very concept of "addiction," which is a big problem for a place named the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. We argue that "addiction" is a metaphor that couches human habits in pseudo-medical language, and as Thomas Szasz says, the only reason to make the distinction between habit and addiction "is to persecute somebody."
If you are living in Ontario, do not under any circumstance seek services at CAMH. Go to the Sherbourne Clinic or to The 519, or to many other better options that won't treat your interests as addiction and disease. And for the rest of you, enjoy the next three years while you're still legally sane.
Time's up for psychiatry's bible (New Scientist)