DSM-5 pathologizes gender variance

The much anticipated 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the renown American Psychiatric Association (APA) continues its misguided tradition of pathologizing gender variance. And they have newly expanded the patient base by including intersex individuals who reject their sex of rearing. Mounting evidence continues to demonstrate that gender is hardwired into our brains at a very early age. Indeed most children know their gender identity by age three and adamantly attest to it; no amount of social pressure, environmental factors or psychiatric persuasion can alter this. For individuals whose bodies do not match their gender identities, the only “cure” (normal variation is not disordered and thus does not necessitate cure) is gender reassignment either by physical presentation alone or aided by hormones and/or surgical modification.

According to the APA, “For a mental or psychiatric condition to be considered a psychiatric disorder, it must either regularly cause subjective distress, or regularly be associated with some generalized impairment in social effectiveness or functioning.” Thus in 1973 the APA concluded that “Clearly homosexuality, per se, does not meet the requirements for a psychiatric disorder since, as noted above, many homosexuals are quite satisfied with their sexual orientation and demonstrate no generalized impairment in social effectiveness or functioning.” It is baffling to me how these same conclusions do not apply to gender variance. Both the homosexual and the gender variant are capable of living full rich lives; only they who deny their inner truth and they who are socially tormented for revealing it are so impaired.

And why include the intersexed? After being surgically modified as infants and subsequently forced into living within the socially imposed system of binary gender roles these individuals are somehow disordered for rejecting this suppression? Apparently the medical community who altered them and inaccurately chose their sex of rearing cannot be at fault. What a travesty it is that the medical community continues to rubber stamp society’s aversion to gender minorities by pronouncing them disordered and thus justifying their mistreatment.

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