December 3, 2012
APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder

“Mainstreaming, normality, being normal.  I understand how much everybody likes to fit into that mainstream gay and lesbian community.  You know, it used to be a wonderful thing to be avant-garde, to be different from the world.  I see us revert into a so-called liberated closet, because we, not we, yous of this mainstream community, wish be be married, wish for this status.  That’s all fine.  But you are forgetting your grass roots, you are forgetting your own individual identity.” Sylvia Rivera, 2001

On Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-V.  Moving away from Gender Identity Disorder, the new manual diagnoses transgender people with “Gender Dysphoria,” which describes the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.”

While many people are praising this as a movement towards acceptance and equality, i find this ruling really complicated. A lot of low income, trans people of color and incarcerated trans people rely on GID diagnosis in order to access Social Security benefits, housing and much needed medical care that would be “cosmetic” otherwise.  As the brilliant activist Kiara St James said: 

“i have been saying that trans women of color,were able to access housing/medical and even higher education! through the now obsolete dsm.it shows the great divide in our community,and i for one,find it sad.”

A divide that is very much along racial, class, disability lines.  Because its not just about access to care and benefits we need to survive, but there’s also an underlying current of anti-mental illness and the push back to not be described as “crazy” or mentally ill, rather than pushing back against the pathologizing process/medical system in general.

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    Something so wonderful comes with such divide :(. I hope that there is a way to provide help to all low-income...
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    AS TRANS PEOPLE, WE CAN SAY “FUCK THE MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX” ALL WE WANT, BUT HOW WILL PEOPLE ACCESS THE CARE THEY...
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