Transgender people are no longer considered ‘mentally ill’ by the American Psychiatric Association.
The mental health organization’s decision to replace the term ‘gender identity disorder’ with ‘gender dysphoria’ means transgender is no longer categorized as a mental illness and comes after years of campaigning by activists.
‘It no longer matters what your body looks like, what you want to do to it, all of that is irrelevant as far as the APA goes,’ said Dana Beyer, a retired eye surgeon who helped the Washington Psychiatric Society make recommendations for the chapter on ‘Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders’.
She told the Associated Press: ‘A right-winger can’t go out and say all trans people are mentally ill because if you are not dysphoric, that can’t be diagnosed from afar.’
The change will have an impact on legal cases, with courts unable to use a person’s gender identity against them, but also meaning trans people can’t use their ‘disorder’ as a defense.
The move is being cited as the step big step in the LGBT rights movement since the APA announced in 1973 that homosexuality was not a mental illness, paving the way for greater tolerance and acceptance in society.
‘All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context,’ Jack Drescher, a New York psychiatrist and member of the APA subcommittee, told the Associated Press.
‘We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.’