The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced on the National Transgender Day of Remembrance that they will drop “Gender Identity Disorder” from its list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS). However in their latest edition of the manual, they will include “Gender Dysphoria”, in categorizing people with “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender”, to give light to the “emotional distress” that gender non-conforming and transgender people experience. This change would allow for an affirmative intervention without the stigma of being labelled as a disorder.
With Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)’s newly released statement describing it as a “historic change” and instructed the media to “acknowledge that “Gender Identity Disorder” is an antiquated idea among the health care community.
Earlier this year, APA also released a new “health guidelines for transgender patients” as well as a stance that promote “transgender care and civil rights“, which will pave the way for respect towards gender non-conforming and transgender people in the medical community.
GANDA Filippinas (A trans women’s advocacy group in the Philippines) founder, Naomi Fontanos, commented that the removal of “Gender Identity Disorder” merely shifts daignosing trans-identities as a mental disorder to highlighting the distress brought about by one’s sex assignment at birth, which will be known as “Gender Dysphoria”.
Furthermore, that the remaining definitions relating to trans-identities are “not exactly something to cheer about” yet they allow and welcome such reclassification.
The fifth edition DSM V has been approved by the APA’s board of trustees and the removal of “Gender Identity Disorder” will take effect in May 2013.
‘We believe that DSM V reflects our best scientific understanding of psychiatric disorders and will optimally serve clinical and public health needs,’ said APA President Dilip Jeste.
‘Our hope is that the DSM V will lead to more accurate diagnoses, better access to mental health services, and improved patient outcomes.’
The bottom line is such change marks a historic milestone for people who are transgender and gender non-conforming, as their identities are no longer classified as a mental disorder.
- American Psychiatric Association drops Gender Identity Disorder from manual by Anna Leach. Retrieved December 06, 2012. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/american-psychiatric-association-drops-gender-identity-disorder-manual041212
- APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder by Zack Ford. Retrieved December 06, 2012. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/12/03/1271431/apa-revises-manual-being-transgender-is-no-longer-a-mental-disorder/?mobile=nc
- Is This Progress? APA Reclassifies Gender Identity Disorder As Gender Dysphoria by Sunny Bjerk. Retrieved December 06, 2012. http://www.housingworks.org/advocate/detail/is-this-progress-apa-reclassifies-gender-identity-disorder-as-gender-dyspho