As last week went on, the headlines got curiouser and curiouser, but the general theme seemed to be “transgender is no longer in the DSM” and “being transgender is no longer a disorder” – and this was cause for a lot of celebration on Facebook and elsewhere.
But while there are some minor changes in the DSM-5 that might be cause to crack a small champagne bottle, the reality is that “transgender” never was in the DSM. Gender Identity Disorder, the official mental health diagnosis that leads some people to identify themselves as transgender or transsexual, or that leads some therapists or physicians to do so, was in the DSM (and still is, until the new version comes out next year).
And while GID is being taken out of this new edition, Gender Dysphoria is replacing it, with only some minor adjustments in diagnostic criteria. This could be considered a slight improvement, but most people diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria will likely continue to self-identify as transgender or transsexual, or will be identified as such by mental health professionals. GD appears to be basically the same diagnosis as GID – just with a new coat of paint.
“The change in title is positive, there are some minor positive changes in diagnostic criteria, and GD (will) be moved out of the sexual disorder chapter,” says Dr. Kelley Winters, founder of GID Reform Advocates and author of Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the Struggle for Dignity. “But most of the criteria, like the old GID, continue to contradict rather than support social and medical transition and describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental disorder. Blanchard’s unconscionable Transvestic Disorder has gone from bad to worse, stigmatizing even more trans and GV people.”
The good news, according to Winters, is the fact that Gender Dysphoria is being reclassified and will no longer fall under the Sexual Disorder category, which she says “represents forward progress for trans and especially transsexual individuals.”
To help sort it all out, here are some recommended posts by Dr. Winters on the GID Reform Weblog:
Readers – thoughts?