The DSM-V Updates It’s View On Gender Identity
Over the years we have come to understand more more how complex our identity is when it pertains to our gender. In the new DSM-V ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) now suggests that issues or situations involving dysphoria are not always pathological. Here’s more:
The latest edition of the mental health manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose disorders reveals a change in thinking on gender identity. The perspective change is similar to a decision made in 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association eliminated homosexuality from its disorders’ list.
In the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5), released on May 22, the now-defunct diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) receives a new name, gender dysphoria, which reflects a new emphasis.
Both GID and gender dysphoria describe a condition in which someone is intensely uncomfortable with their biological gender and strongly identifies with, and wants to be, the opposite gender. Some of these people may live as their desired gender, and may even seek gender reassignment surgery that can allow them to trade, for example, a penis for a clitoris and a scrotum for a vagina. [5 Surprising Facts About Gay Conversion Therapy]
In the old DSM-IV, GID focused on the “identity” issue — namely, the incongruity between someone’s birth gender and the gender with which he or she identifies. While this incongruity is still crucial to gender dysphoria, the drafters of the new DSM-5 wanted to emphasize the importance of distress about the incongruity for a diagnosis. (The DSM-5 uses the term gender rather than sex to allow for those born with both male and female genitalia to have the condition.)
This shift reflects recognition that the disagreement between birth gender and identity may not necessarily be pathological if it does not cause the individual distress, said Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook “Abnormal Psychology” (Worth Publishers, 2009). For instance, many transgender people — those who identify with a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth — are not distressed by their cross-gender identification and should not be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, Rosenberg said.
This new outlook on the phenomenon can only help us garner a greater understanding and respect for those in the transgendered community as they come to terms with who they are and their body.