Psychiatrists Revising the Book of Human Troubles
The New York Times carries an article today focusing on the three-year project to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, also known as the DSM. The revision of this manual, considered the “bible” for psychiatrists and psychologists who use it to diagnose mental disorders, has been controversial for many reasons, and especially to people in the LGBTQ community.
In this revision, the DSM focuses more specifically on gender identity, which the manual defines as “strong and persistent cross-gender identification.” This definition is “already burning hot with some transgender people,” so goes the article, who objected to the presence of two members of the research team “whose work they considered demeaning.” The article goes on to say that “transgender people are themselves divided about their place in the manual.”
“Some transgender men and women want nothing to do with psychiatry and demand that the diagnosis be dropped. Others prefer that it remain, in some form, because a doctor’s written diagnosis is needed to obtain insurance coverage for treatment or surgery.”
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (and guest speaker at the PFLAG Mountain West Regional Conference in Boulder in September, hosted by PFLAG Boulder County) said that “the language needs to be reformed, at a minimum …. Right now, the manual implies that you cannot be a happy transgender person, that you have to be a social wreck.”
Read the full article in the New York Times >>