Being Transgender Is Not a Disorder
January 2, 2013
It’s official! Being transgender is no longer listed as a mental disorder. My first reaction when I read this in the news was to wonder why it was even labeled one in the first place. But, considering the fact that being gay or lesbian was considered a mental disorder until 1973, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
“Gender identity disorder” is the term that was once listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and used to diagnose transgender people. This term has now been replaced with the term “gender dysphoria.” The difference between the new and the old term is that “gender dysphoria” refers to conflicting internal feelings between one’s gender identity and the gender a person was assigned at birth, while “gender identity disorder” implies some medical abnormality.
Even though I was a little disappointed to learn that until about a week ago, being transgender was considered a mental disorder, I am glad to see the American Psychiatric Association taking steps to be more accepting of people who are transgender. While, in my opinion, this change should have come sooner, it is progress. It may only be several words and a rephrasing of a definition, but this revision is a historic step in the right direction.