The movement of the World Health Organization (WHO) to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder is simultaneously a step forward in affirming the personhood of gender minority individuals, and a step backward in diagnoses that adequately reflect their health needs. The solutions posited by the WHO reveal the systemic influence of health insurance policies in defining not only medical disorders, but also social categories.
Currently, in the United States and abroad, in order to qualify for health insurance coverage for gender affirming surgery or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), mentally healthy transgender individuals must receive a diagnosis indicating a gender-related mental disorder based on either the WHO classification or the “gender dysphoria” diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In the hopes of fostering greater acceptance while still satisfying insurers, after 25 years, the WHO is considering a new diagnostic category: “Conditions related to sexual health.”
According to Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Director of the Center for Ethics Education and Professor of Psychology at Fordham University, the new terminology, while well-intentioned, “runs the risk of perpetuating stereotypes that conflate gender identity and sexual orientation and lead to continued misclassification of transgender personhood as a sexual problem.”
Posted in In the News
Tagged Celia B. Fisher, civil rights, Conversion Therapy, DSM, gender affirming surgery, gender dysphoria, gender identity, Health insurance, LGBT youth, Transgender, World Health Organization
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues, Evidence-Based Ethics
Tagged Brian Mustanski, Celia B. Fisher, Fordham University, Justice, LGBT youth, Mental health, mental health research, Research Ethics, sexual health, Substance use
Central America hosts a thriving sex work industry that is a key source and transit region for sex trafficking and undocumented migrants engaged in sex work. Sex workers – particularly those who are migrant – are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as physical abuse and in some cases murder. However, the existing network of international, national, and local criminal and human rights policies applicable to sex workers can be confusing and contradictory, not only in the context of access to sexual health preventions and interventions, but also for investigators seeking to conduct that can lead to effective sexual health services.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Celia B. Fisher, Central America, Elizabeth Yuko, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute, Health disparities, Human rights, international law, key populations, Lianne Urada, migration, NIH, Public Health, Research Ethics, Risks and benefits, Sex Workers, Shira Goldenberg, Vulnerable populations
The following is an interview with the American Public Health Association’s Ethics Section with Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher who served as an advisor for a White House panel on conversion therapy.
In April of this year, President Barack Obama announced his support for state efforts to pass Leelah’s laws. Such laws seek to ban conversion therapy, a practice which claims to change individuals with LGBTQ identities to a heterosexual identity and is named for an American transgender girl who committed suicide after undergoing conversion therapy. Celia B. Fisher is the Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University and an Ethics Section member. She served as an advisor for a White House report released last fall, Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth.
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues
Tagged APA, APHA, Celia B. Fisher, Conversion Therapy, Ethics Section, Fordham University, Leelah Alcorn, Leelah's Law, LGBT Ethics, Mental health, pseudoscience, Public Health, RELAY, SAMHSA, White House Report
By Melani Shahin
In October 2014, Oregon became one of the few states to cover hormone suppressant therapy for transgender minors under Medicaid. The purpose of this treatment is to temporarily suppress puberty in transgender young people via hormone suppressant drugs, such as Lupron. While Oregon’s coverage of puberty blockers for minors under the state Medicaid plan increases the accessibility of this treatment, an interesting ethical question emerges for taxpayers, healthcare providers, and families: can minors truly give informed consent to this kind of medical treatment?
Posted in Fordham University Student Voices
Tagged Aristotle, gender dysphoria, gender identity, LGBT Ethics, Lurpon, Medicaid, Nichomachean Ethics, NPR, Oregon, puberty blockers, transition
The Fordham HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute is delighted to announce that the following individuals have been selected as the 2016 fellows:
By Christopher S. Kovel, M.A.
Today’s society is built and shaped by technology and scientific discovery but, surprisingly, pervading scientific denial lingers. Irrational skepticism and flat-out denial of uncontroversial theories is not just a rebuke of the facts of science and an insult to toiling scientists in their respective fields, but should also be seen as a moral dereliction, capable of great harm if not remedied.
According to recent Gallup polls, two scientific theories in particular – evolution and anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change – struggle to gain widespread national acceptance. In 2014, 42% of Americans said they believe that God created humans in their present form (i.e. evolution never occurred). In the same poll, another 31% said they accept that humans evolved, but under God’s supervision and direction (commonly referred to as intelligent design). Only 19% said they believe the current scientific explanation of the origins of humans—that we evolved like every other organism on earth, through a natural process following biological principles.
Posted in Fordham University Student Voices
Tagged Christopher Kovel, Climate Change, Denial, Environment, Environmental Ethics, evolution, fossil record, Gallup, God, Immoral, intelligent design, M.A. in Ethics and Society, Science