Trans Activists Seek New Terms
Some transgender advocates are seeking to have the psychological establishment change its terminology as the profession overhauls its main diagnosis manual for the first time in almost 20 years.
Advocates have spent years lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to rewrite or even remove the categories typically used to diagnose transgender people, arguing that terms like Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism promote discrimination by broad-brushing a diverse population with the stigma of mental illness. "The label of mental defectiveness really places a burden on trans people to continually prove our competence in our affirmed roles," Kelley Winters, a Colorado scholar who has helped lead the push for changes, said.(Tipped by JMG reader Jack)
Although the association's new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is not scheduled to be printed until the end of the year, the updates are taking shape after three rounds of proposed changes. Professionals who have been part of or closely observing the amendment process say the latest wording, while not going as far as many advocates wanted, respects the broader shift in society's understanding and acceptance of what it means to be transgender since the last major revision of the manual was published in 1994.