Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Being Trans is No Longer A Mental Disorder According To The American Psychiatric Association

This is big news - though not as widely reported as it might be.

As the CNN article by Miriam Falco about the new changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders explains,

The DSM is considered the "bible" of psychiatry because it's the criteria mental health professionals use to diagnose their patients.

It is also used by insurance companies, schools and other agencies responsible for covering or creating special provisions for individuals with developmental or mental disorders.

What the CNN article doesn't mention, and what's exciting for our Queer Community, is covered in the article APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender is No Longer A Disorder by Zack Ford at ThinkProgress,

"...the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-5. This marks a historic milestone for people who are transgender and gender non-conforming, as their identities are no longer classified as a mental disorder. Homosexuality was similarly declassified as a mental disorder in 1973.

Until now, the term “gender identity disorder” has been used to diagnose people who are transgender. For conservatives, this has provided rhetorical carte blanche to describe the entire trans committee as disordered, delusional, and mentally ill. In some cases, this diagnosis has even been used to discriminate against trans people, with claims that they are unfit parents or employees, as examples. On the other hand, insurance companies have been more willing to cover the expenses associated with transition under this language, because treatment for a disorder is considered medically necessary, rather than cosmetic.

The new manual will diagnose transgender people with “Gender Dysphoria,” which communicates the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” This will allow for affirmative treatment and transition care without the stigma of disorder."

It's an important step towards equality for our Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming siblings! 

But come on, CNN.  Do another article about this, too!



maddox said...

Lee - it's not all peachy as it sounds. You should read the latest critiques on the new DSM. Matt Kailey at Tranifesto has a great explanation and summary.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hi Maddox,
I appreciate that link. I'm glad for the forward movement this shows, and recognize there's still more to go!