Trans Men and Women No Longer Considered Mentally Ill

Earlier this month, the American Psychiatric Association¬†decided to remove Gender Identity Disorder (GID) from the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s (DSM) list of mental disorders. GID was defined as a condition in which the person experiences dissatisfaction with the sex they were assigned at birth and with the gender stereotypes associated with that sex, often leading to dysphoria, or intense feelings of discontent.

This is welcome news, since GID is being replaced by the term “Gender Dysphoria,” which is less pathologizing since it does not signify a mental disorder or that something is “wrong” with the person who identifies as a trans man or a trans woman. Instead, the focus is placed on the distress experienced by the person undergoing the transition.

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New Treatment Protocols for Transgender Youth Announced

transgender youthLast week the Endocrine Society announced new treatment guidelines for transgender teenagers. The country’s oldest endocrinology organization recommended that transgender youth be given hormone blockers to delay the onset of the physical changes that result from puberty, and that hormone therapy should only be given to teenagers after the age of 16 so that teens can be absolutely sure that they are transgender. According to the LA Times:

Those guidelines come at a time when many of those with “gender dysphoria”–persistent distress over one’s gender at birth–are asking to begin gender reassignment hormonal therapy and/or surgery at an earlier and earlier age. While surgeons have been reluctant to do gender reassignment surgery on a patient under 18, endocrinologists often face pressure from would-be transsexuals to offer earlier, interim treatment. The new guidelines are likely to set a standard that many endocrinologists will follow in such cases.

“Transsexual persons experiencing the confusion and stress associated with feeling ‘trapped’ in the wrong body look to endocrinologists for treatment that can bring relief and resolution to their profound discomfort,” said Dr. Wylie Hembree, a Columbia University endocrinologist who chaired the committee drafting the guidelines. The new guidelines, he added in a news release, are intended to provide “science-based recommendations” for practitioners to provide “safe and effective treatment” to those diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. [Read more...]