Interesting. I’d need more examples to really be able to put myself in your shoes though.
What makes you think it’s not a psychological disorder? Or do you think that even if it is, the appropriate treatment is to undergo gender reassignment surgery or HRT, or alternatively, that it’s harmless enough that it’s pointless to label it as such?
OK, so, to the best of my knowledge, those who work in Psychology and Psychiatry believe that being trans in and of itself is not a disorder, but the distress that derives from it can be treated as if it were one. Indeed, the DSM-5 stresses that Gender Dysphoria is about the distress, not the fact that they identify as another gender identity. The International Classifications of Disease 11th edition, (the draft of which was released in June) will shift what it calls gender incongruence out of the mental health section, and into the section on Sexual health matters.
Thanks for the reply. It seems to me to be pretty arbitrary sometimes what is classified as a disorder and what isn’t–I recall the National Geographic article on transgenderism saying that an unusual amount of estrogen in a guy or testosterone in a woman was one cause of gender dysphoria, and other comparable biological phenomena could play a role as well. I googled the definition of “psychological disorder”, and it’s officially:
“A syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.”
My understanding was slightly different, but the definition still seems to apply to gender dysphoria. Clearly, the level of “disturbance” is much lower, but based on your anecdote about your friend having “vivid dreams of being a mother and [waking] up crying because that can’t happen” sounds like a disturbance in behaviour. The suicide rates of transgender people (regardless of whether they’ve transitioned) is abnormally high, which is strange if it isn’t in fact a disorder, unless the suicides are due to social rejection.
What think you?
The problem is mostly in the baggage the term disorder carries, as well as where that label begins and ends.
Would some parts of being trans fall under the clinical disorder label? Yes, very specific elements do. Namely dysphoria, which is defined specifically as the resultant distress. The diagnosis was changed to Gender Dysphoria because psychologists felt it described the problems they wanted to address in clients better than the old “Gender Identity Disorder” label did. It is a matter of curing the distress, not the variant identity.
However, most people who argue whether the disorder label applies are not arguing from this stance. Instead, the argument tends to go that the gender variance itself is disordered thinking, and that transition or supporting transition is an act of enabling said disorder. This, implies, if it’s not directly stated, that the cure shouldn’t be transition, and that transition makes us feel worse instead of better.
Now, of course, the people who make that argument tend to conveniently ignore that transition does help. Is the suicide rate still higher than average? Yes, but the fact that it goes down as much as it does after transition indicates that it’s worked better than alternatives. Why is it higher? I’m not an expert, but my guesses involve lack of positive depictions in media (it’s getting a little better now, but this was definitely a factor for the generation before me and when I grew up,) The possibility of friends and family ghosting you or turning hostile, the demonization from things like recent bathroom bills, dysphoria itself, how shitty access to transition care can be…
I could go on.
It used to be labelled a disorder, but changing understanding of both dysphoria and what psychiatrists are aiming to cure led to a name that they felt was more accurate. Most people who srgue that it should be labelled a disorder still tend do be doing so from bad faith and a lack of understanding of the science behind it.