A milestone change by the APABottom Highlights, Trans Progressive Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Commentary: Trans Progressive
Saturday, Dec. 2, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced that their governing body has voted to replace Gender Identity Disorder (GID) with Gender Dysphoria (GD). It’s a milestone for transgender and transsexual people, as well as for those who identify as both transgender and transsexual; the decision has medical, political and psychiatric implications.
From a medical and political standpoint, Dr. Dana Beyer sums it up in a recent Huffington Post piece:
“The board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has ratified the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the fifth edition of what is known colloquially as the ‘psychiatrists’ bible,’ so as of Dec. 1, trans persons are no longer classified by the medical community as mentally ill, this decision coming 39 years after homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the same organization.”
Kelley Winters, Ph.D. is a writer on issues of transgender medical policy and founder of GID Reform Advocates. She wrote on the GID Reform Advocate Web site:
“Some of the proposed gender-related revisions in the DSM-5 are positive, however they do not go nearly far enough. The Gender Identity Disorder category (intended by its authors to mean “disordered” gender identity) is renamed to Gender Dysphoria (from a Greek root for distress). Though widely misreported today as “removal” of GID from the classification of disorders, this name change is in itself a significant step forward.
“… a worse problem in the DSM-5 is the Transvestic Disorder (formerly Transvestic Fetishism) category. It is punitive and scientifically capricious – designed to punish nonconformity to assigned birth roles. It has been expanded to stigmatize even more gender-diverse people and should be removed entirely from the DSM.”
Julia Serano, the author of the trans-feminist book The Whipping Girl, wrote on her Web site:
“While the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis supposedly targets ‘heterosexual males’ who cross dress, the psychological literature regarding autogynephilia repeatedly claims that lesbian, bisexual and asexual trans women are really just heterosexual men with a fantasy problem. Therefore, according to this proposal, a queer-identified trans woman (such as myself) could theoretically be diagnosed as having Transvestic Disorder any time that I have any kind of sexual urge while wearing women’s clothing.”
Autogynephilia is defined as a paraphilic interest in having female anatomy.
The Transvestic Disorder diagnosis also will be gender neutral now. So by extension, butch lesbians who buy clothing from the male side of a department store, and have sexual urges while wearing that clothing, could also be diagnosed with Transvestic Disorder.
The changing of GID to GD is a step in the right direction, but other changes to the DSM are not only not so good for trans people, but arguably not so good for the broader LGBT community.
So how soon is it until they start working on DSM-6?
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=32153