December 3rd, 2012 — A New Era Begins

There is one official document that’s the basis of professional standards as to mental health classification in the US.  It’s named “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

The decision-making body, as to what’s in the document, is the board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association. Until about thirty years ago, being gay was officially classified as a mental disorder. Then, the decision-makers voted unanimously to declassify being gay as being a mental disorder.

On December 3rd, 2012, the board decided to do away with classifying being transgender as a mental disorder.

Of course, a board deciding that 2+2=4 doesn’t make it any more so. For example, someone who was alive in both 1972 and 1974 was gay in both years, and his mental health is the same, even if in 1972 he was considered to have a mental disorder and in 1974, not so.  The only way to interpret the 1973 decision is retroactively.

Similarly, transgender girls and guys didn’t suddenly lose an inherent mental disorder on December 3rd. We were just officially recognized as not having one.

The decision by the board is good news, and I’m happy about it. It’s good that official policy has caught up with this particular aspect of reality.

By implication, the old phrase “gender identity disorder” no longer makes sense to use except in studies of historical fallacies, and the phrase “gender dysphoria” is the technical term for diagnosing someone who is experiencing distress due to being transgender.

Many transgender girls’ lives include rude people who presume to be mental health specialists in this particular field, even though they have no insight or authority.  Screaming “you’re sick” at transgender girls is now one slot further away yet from decent human behavior.  In addition to the many bad things that can be said about such rude behavior, it not just factually dead wrong, but officially so, too.  And, soft-spoken similar opinions are equally mistaken, officially so.

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