Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, Isn't This Special?

Those who have had dealings with Alberta Health on issues related to mental health have known for years how parochial our government can be. In yesterday's Vancouver Sun, we learn that the government is using a diagnostic coding scheme from 1975 ... and it was out of date then!

Alberta’s current diagnostic codes were last updated in 2005, the same year that British Columbia removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders and four years after China did so.

In Alberta, homosexuality still falls under the heading of Mental Disorders: Sexual Deviations and Disorders. It is at the top of the list and is followed by bestiality, pedophilia, transvestism, exhibitionism, transsexualism, disorders of psychosexual identity, frigidity and impotence.

Neither Zwozdesky nor Alberta Health and Wellness spokesman Howard May could explain why Alberta’s diagnostic codes have not been revised.

“These are not Alberta’s codes, they were developed by the World Health Organization, under international guidelines, and are in use in many provinces,” May said.

Asked why Alberta’s current codes are based on the 1975 ICD-9 and not on the 1990 ICD-10 that drops homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, May said in an email: “The codes are extremely complex. It would be a vast undertaking to change them.”

"A vast undertaking"??? WTF? Horsefeathers. Even if it is a large amount of work, it is a gross injustice to Albertans that our health care system has chosen to remain in the dark.

It also explains why Alberta's approach to funding GRS prior to 2009 looked like one of the Gender Clinic programs out of the 1970s in terms of the hoops that it insisted transsexuals jump through - and was dramatically out of step with the Standards of Care that HBIGDA/WPATH publish. (like them or not, they do represent an evolving protocol).

iberal MLA Laurie Blakeman first raised the issue in the legislature in 1999.

“It’s just so wrong, it’s sickening,” she said. “Here we are in 2010 and the Conservatives are still living in 1950 ... I still hear some of them talk about how this is a ‘lifestyle decision.’ ”

[Note:] CBC Radio is reporting that Alberta is changing its position on the listing of homosexuality this morning - I'll be watching to see if I can find a confirming article for this. [Update 17:30] Here it is

H/T: Commenter "SB"

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