Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Follow up on DSM-still-considers-trans-folks-"disordered" post

First, thanks to everyone re-tweeted, re-posted, shared links, and commented on my Trans people still “disordered” according to latest DSM blogpost yesterday. The response has been overwhelming, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to respond to people's comments and questions...

As I alluded to in that post, I was disappointed that the DSM's Transvestic Disorder diagnosis received so little attention at the time. But this latest interest/outrage encourages me that we may be able to work toward completely removing this diagnosis from the next revision of the DSM (DSM-VI?).

There are a few things that I want to add here as a postscript:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Trans people still “disordered” according to latest DSM

[This essay has recently been revamped (with additional material!) as a chapter in my third book Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism]

This morning, I woke up and found my Twitter feed full of article links celebrating that transgender people are no longer “disordered” according to the DSM (that is, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - often referred to as the "psychiatric Bible" because it contains all of the official psychiatric diagnoses). The DSM gets revised every 10-20 years or so, and diagnoses sometimes get modified, expanded, or completely removed. The change that people are now celebrating is the fact that the previous diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) has now been changed to Gender Dysphoria.

Admittedly, the new Gender Dysphoria diagnosis is an improvement over GID for a number of reasons - Kelly Winter of GIDreform.org describes some of these improvements, as well as many of the lingering problems with the new diagnosis. Despite the remaining drawbacks (for instance, that gender variance is still formally pathologized in the DSM), many people seem excited that transgender people are no longer described as being "disordered" in the DSM. But the problem is that this is patently untrue.