We, the undersigned, call for the complete removal of Transvestic Fetishism (302.3) as a diagnostic category from the future DSM-5 that is in the process of development.
In support of our recommendation, we note that:
1. Crossdressing by both binary genders was for many years a criminal offense that was applied most commonly to members of the LGBT community as a method of social control and stigmatization;
2. By the 1980's the criminalization of crossdressing was abolished in virtually all jurisdictions with almost no controversy, as it had become an anachronistic offense unworthy of attention by law enforcement officials;
3. The act of crossdressing, regardless of whether it has sexual content or motivation, involves no inherent harm to the individual engaging in it, to other parties, or to society as a whole; its presence in a psychiatric diagnostic manual (whether for the purpose of diagnosis or for the ambiguous purpose of "ascertainment") is as anachronistic in the year 2010 as was its presence in the criminal statutes prior to the 1980s, and this trivializes the seriousness of the DSM and diminishes the psychiatric profession as a whole;
4. The mere grouping of the behavior called "Transvestic Fetishism" with behaviors such as Pedophilia or Exhibitionism that ordinarily cause grave harm to non-consenting persons and which are justifiably considered serious criminal offenses unnecessarily pathologizes individuals engaging in a harmless gender-variant behavior;
5. To the extent that crossdressing is a feature of gender incongruence for some individuals, their issues are more appropriately dealt with in the diagnoses bearing that name (302.85 or 302.6).
6. The application of this diagnosis only to male persons is prima facie evidence of sexism;
7. We note with approval the recent statement by Allen Frances, M.D., in the Psychiatric Times: "As psychiatrists, we have our hands full taking care of the suffering and distress caused by real mental disorders. There is no need for us to expand our purview to cover sexual thoughts and behaviors that are private and harmless."