We’re Here, We’re Normal, Fix Us: The Incongruity of Transgenderism

One of the first major successes of the “gay liberation” movement in the United States was the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the “DSM”). Early activists in the movement knew they would never persuade the public that they were normal as long as doctors said they were sick. The fact that the decision was more political than scientific complicates the history, but the goal was clear.

Like homosexuals, transgender activists have long been offended at the idea that trans people have a “disorder.” As a recent online article puts it, they believe “experiencing gender as different from the one assigned at birth is not a disorder or a disease – but rather a natural variation of human experience.”

Addressing that issue is more complicated for transgender activists than it was for homosexual ones, though. Homosexuals felt no “treatment” for their identity was necessary. However, those who identify as transgender often seek cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery, to alter their bodies to more closely resemble those of the preferred sex.

They could pay for such procedures themselves, but that’s expensive. So to justify forcing third parties (insurance companies or taxpayers) to pay for these procedures, they need a diagnostic code from the DSM.

They could pay for such procedures themselves, but that’s expensive. So to justify forcing third parties (insurance companies or taxpayers) to pay for these procedures, they need a diagnostic code from the DSM.

At one time, the APA defined merely being transgender—that is, experiencing “an incongruence between assigned sex (i.e., the sex recorded on one’s birth certificate) and gender identity”—as a “gender identity disorder.” In the DSM-5 (2013), the APA did away with the term “gender identity disorder,” and declared such “incongruence” was not a “disorder” at all. However, “the distress that may accompany the incongruence” could be classified as a disorder—now renamed “gender dysphoria.”

This was a partial fulfillment of transgender demands (“Gender incongruence is not a disorder!”), but it meant that if people obtained a “gender dysphoria” diagnosis in order to get hormones or surgery, they would still bear the “stigma” of having a “mental disorder.” Transgender activists and their allies continued to search for a new way of threading that needle.

Continue reading here.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Peter Spriggs and originally published at The Federalist. Title changed by P&P.]


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