Some of you may have already heard this, but it was news to me. After the readings this week, I went online and found this pretty relevant article:
In the most recent DSM, the DSM-V, “Gender Identity Disorder” became “Gender Dysphoria,” defined as, “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.”
The article states that this is a huge step for the trans community, as they will no longer be stigmatized as disordered. Rather than doctors pathologizing trans people or, as the Spade piece discusses, determining who is a “true” trans person, “It no longer matters what your body looks like, what you want to do to it, all of that is irrelevant as far as the APA goes,” according to Dana Beyer. There is hope that the American Psychiatric Association will support the trans community legally as it supported the LGB community after removing the stigma of mental illness from homosexuality.
Would this kind of change help those seeking surgeries in spite of not wanting to fully become a man or woman, like Dean Spade discussed? Hopefully.
On the one hand, I could maybe see the medical establishment’s pause about just giving gender reassignment surgery to anybody that asks for it, given the seriousness of it and possibility for later regret, but on the other hand, there are obvious problems that we saw represented in the article. And as stated, the roots of most of those problems were in the binary gender system.
Spade states that the definition for Gender Identity Disorder was, “[a] strong and persistent cross-gender identification.” The old definition clearly supports this binary gender system, while the new one simply states an incongruence between one’s experienced gender and assigned gender, which leaves much more room for interpretation.
There could, however, be complications with this new definition, as the APA states on their website that payment for health care treatment from insurance or other assistance must be for a specific disorder.
I could speculate, but I can’t be sure what the future will bring. I do know that this is at least a couple steps in the right direction. It might also bring complications, but those must be dealt with accordingly. I’m just glad that it sounds a lot less gatekeepery and brings hope for the future.