On Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association’s board of trustees approved changes to the latest version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) that will remove the term “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID) which has historically been used by mental health professionals to diagnose transgender individuals. Simultaneously, the term “Gender Dysphoria” will be used to describe emotional distress over “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.”
Some transgender advocates see this approved change in the DSM-V as an important step toward removing stigma against transgender people based on false stereotypes about gender identity and expression, as well as the word "disorder." Transgender people may no longer be subject to a lifelong default diagnosis of their mental health. This approved change follows previous statements from the APA on mental healthcare for transgender people. However, other transgender advocates note the barriers this change may create to accessing trans-related medical care, which could already be difficult to access and prohibitively expensive even before the change.
It is important that journalists and others in the media be aware of this approved change in the DSM-V and acknowledge that the term "Gender Identity Disorder" (GID) will no longer be used by many healthcare professionals. As has always been the case, it is still unacceptable for media outlets to lend credibility to anti-transgender activists who continue to draw false connections between being transgender and certain behaviors. Additionally, it is crucial that journalists realize the limitations of reporting that focuses on issues of importance to the transgender community, such as this change to terminology in the DSM-V, without seeking input from transgender people themselves.