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Debating 'Gender Identity Disorder' and Justice for Trans People

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Gay Voices (The Huffington Post)
|
December 6, 2012
Issues: 

Chase Strangio: "On Saturday, the Board of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved changes to the newest addition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM), including changes to the diagnostic criteria for Gender Identity Disorder (GID). After years of pushing the APA to re-evaluate the inclusion of GID in the DSM, many trans advocates celebrated changes to the diagnostic criteria as a victory and a step towards full elimination of GID and related diagnoses from the DSM altogether. However, there are also many trans and disability advocates who have raised important questions about what this change will mean for trans communities and how to frame our advocacy moving forward. It seems like there are two distinct but related questions being raised in response to the APA's approval of new language regarding the inclusion of "Gender Identity Disorder" and related/updated diagnoses in the upcoming DSM-V. First, there are questions about the effects of this change on the ability of individuals, especially low-income trans people and trans people of color, to continue to access discrete benefits under the new diagnostic regime. Second, there are questions about how our conversations about the DSM and GID implicate larger questions of trans and disability justice and the ways in which medicalization and stigma frame our understanding of the role of the DSM in our resistance strategies."