Gender Dysphoria vs Transgenderism | The Disorder vs the Condition

There’s been an ongoing debate happening, a lot of deliberation as to validly of Transgenderism as a rational position, and as a Transgender woman I feel this discussion is taking place without me, so this is me joining the fray.

The first issue I want to discuss here, and this is something I hear come up a lot, is the assertion that Transgenderism is a mental illness. And I’m here to say that’s completely false. Transgenderism is no more a mental disorder than Drapetomania is. But Genderist still say otherwise.    

But people who normally use this argument equivocate the use of the term’s Transgenderism with Gender Dysphoria and treat the two terms as if there synonymous, they’ll usually quote rehashed ideas or known misnomers from the DSM series or the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in support of this claim. But what they don’t understand is that the two terms are indifferent, and regardless of the politics surrounding the APA, the APA does not treat Transgenderism as a mental psychosis.

The truth is not all Transgender people have Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is a mental illness when it becomes a dysphoria – a distress for the person who may be struggling with accepting or understanding their gender identity. This definition is reflected in the official term “Gender Dysphoria” which emphases Dysphoria – distress for the individual. This is clearly stated in the DSM5 fact sheet which states

“It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”

And if you go through the APA classification of Transgenderism vs Gender Dysphoria fact sheet it states quote.

A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder.

This is also reflected in the APA standard treatment for Transgender individuals helping them cope and accept who they are, it’s in no way treated as a mental psychosis.

In fact clinical psychologist Dr. Robin Rosenberg is quoted as saying it does not cause the individual distress! For instance, many transgender people, those who identify with a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth, are not distressed by their cross-gender identification and should not be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Now if you think this is some wild accusation or conspiratorial theory tell me if this sounds familiar. When the APA struggled to update the DSM2 in 1973 with newer progressive views on homosexuality. An updated was made to the DSM3 in 1980 which replaced homosexuality with “ego-dystonic homosexuality”—homosexuality that causes distress for the person; that diagnosis; however, was completely removed in 1987 and is obviously no longer considered a mental disorder.

You see this is the same playbook we see here with Gender Dysphoria and if I’m Nostradamus here maybe it’s going to go the same way. But for now let’s treat the term as it’s officially used and practiced by the APA and the British Psychological Society, that Gender Dysphoria happens when you’re distressed ‘over’ being Transgender, not that fact that you are Transgender.