The DSM-V, the newest edition of the diagnostic manual used to classify mental illnesses, will rename the entry for “Gender Identity Disorder” to “Gender Dysphoria,” representing a major change in how the medical community views trans people.
According to sources cited in this AP article, this change has been long time coming from activists and mental health professionals who argue about the harmful stigma that results when trans people are labeled as disordered. The term “dysphoria” implies only a temporary mental state that some people have, they say, which is certainly better than claiming that all trans people have a “disorder.”
While some people are still calling for a description of a trans-related condition to be removed entirely from the DSM-V, other trans activists think there are upsides to having some kind of diagnosis to refer to. One is insurance: procedures like gender reassignment surgery are more likely to be covered with a diagnosis to back them up.
Another is discrimination: if a trans person is discriminated against because of their gender identity, a diagnosed condition makes it easier to stand up for that person in a courtroom and explain that being trans is not a superficial “phase,” but a recognized, legitimate identity.
Of course, these may not outweigh the harm that being labeled a “disorder” might cause. The AP article above has tons of quotes from assorted specialists making lots of different claims about this. What’s your take?