The DSM-5 was released this past Saturday and for gender non-conforming individuals everywhere it is an historic moment. In this revision “Gender Identity Disorder” has been reclassified to what most of us have known for years as “Gender Dysphoria,” or a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.
At this point, even if you don’t have a clue, say “wow!”
This classification is several years in the making and has been overlooked in the last two DSM manuals. It may not sound all that spectacular, but this forever changes the societal landscape for transgender individuals. No longer being classified as a “mental disorder” or, in other words a sickness of the mind, opens the floodgates to many things for transgender individuals. For example, opponents of transgender civil and medical rights have often used the previous disorder classification in the fight for equal access to restrooms, adoption, and employment for transgender individuals. No longer can they use this argument. No longer can they use the DSM as a weapon against a trans-person’s right to pee, be a parent, or get a job.
On the other side of the coin, this momentous change waylays what was a major fear over the disorder declassification from within the gender non-conforming community. Many within the transitioning portion of the community have argued to maintain this classification in fear that medical treatment, insurance coverage, and prescriptions would be denied to those seeking transition. However this is not the case as the APA also released new health guidelines for transgender patients as well as a position statement affirming transgender care and civil rights. Both documents align with a new standard for respecting trans people in the medical community.
If you said wow before, say “holy friggin awesome Batman!”
So not only, are we not classified as mentally diseased, but we get to keep our standards of care and coverage for transition related healthcare! Pretty sweet if you ask me.
Put this along side the fact that prisoners are getting state-covered SRS, it is only a matter of time before all insurance companies will be required to have transition-related healthcare covered as a standard.
Mark one up for the underdogs.
Rebecca Chapin serves on the Board of Directors and also facilitates the Transgender Initiative for the LGBT Center of Raleigh. Her partner, Kim, also volunteers regularly at the Center and they reside in Raleigh, NC.
published on 12/4/2012 • written by Rebecca Chapin