Showing posts with label gay community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay community. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Defining "Transgender"

Imagine my surprise when I saw the story about the military gay pride march in San Diego. Sure, there a plenty of gay pride march stories which have absolutely no bearing on my life as a transgender woman. The surprise came when Yahoo News ran a supporting story on new transgender diagnostic terms.
I don't pretend to be any sort of an expert in psychiatric terminology- unlike a person such as Sherri Lynn but this article got my attention.
It seems to me the new diagnostic terms being debated could take the transgender community out from under the mental illness tag we have lived with. (That's was my first stop at the Veteran's Administration.)
Before I pass along a few excerpts from the article, I need to mention the nation's psychiatric establishment is  working to overhaul its diagnostic manual for the first time in almost two decades. This process just doesn't happen very often.
Being labeled mentally deficient is bad enough and that is only the beginning.  Read on:
"The most symbolic change under consideration so far for the manual's fifth edition, known as the DSM-V for short, is a new name for Gender Identity Disorder, the diagnosis now given to adults, adolescents and children with "a strong and persistent cross-gender identification." In the manual's next incarnation, individuals displaying "a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender" would be diagnosed instead with "Gender Dysphoria," a term that comes from the Greek word for emotional distress.
While the shift may seem purely semantic, switching the emphasis from a disorder that by definition all transgender people possess to a temporary mental state that only some might possess marks real progress, according to Dana Beyer, a retired eye surgeon who helped the Washington Psychiatric Society make recommendations for the chapter on "Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders."
"A right-winger can't go out and say all trans people are mentally ill because if you are not dysphoric, that can't be diagnosed from afar," Beyer said. "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."

Historically, what is happening does resemble what the gay community went through years ago:

" But while there are parallels, achieving what the APA did for gays four decades ago is more complicated for people who identity as transgender, an umbrella term that encompasses transsexuals, cross-dressers and others whose self-concepts otherwise do not align with the male or female label they were given at birth. Unlike sexual orientation, the accepted protocols for treating many patients expressing profound discomfort with their given gender call for medical intervention."

I have taken you as far as I can on this extremely important and complex subject. For more go here.
One final comment.  A huge debt of gratitude to Dana Beyer and so many other transgender and transsexual men and women who did not go stealth and decided to make a difference!


The Gender Waltz

Image from Clarisse Meyer on UnSplash Since the beginning of time, the two binary genders have done a special dance with each other.  Being ...