The draft of DSM-V, the latest revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, has been released and reactions are beginning to be posted. The excellent Zoe Brain has a long analysis of the implications for trans and intersex people for those who are interested.
On the plus side, it isn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. All of the suggested language about classifying all trans people as sexual perverts appears to have been dropped. Only the poor transvestites are still left at the mercy of Ray Blanchard’s mad fantasies.
The best part is most definitely the addition of an “exit clause” whereby people diagnosed with the new Gender Incongruity condition (which replaces Gender Identity Disorder) can be said to be cured once they have transitioned to a gender they are comfortable with, rather than having to live with the stigma of mental illness all of their lives as was the case before.
The worst bits are a result of the general desire to expand the scope of the DSM to catch ever more people in the psychiatrists’ net. For example, intersex people who have been brought up in a gender that is uncomfortable for them are now to be regarded as mentally ill even though all that is wrong is the way other people treat them. Equally it used to be the case that a transvestite who was happy with his life could not be diagnosed as mentally ill. Now he has no escape. In a similar vein, here’s The Guardian talking about how things like temper tantrums and binge eating are being added to the ever-growing list of mental illnesses. Thank goodness Blanchard is not in charge of the whole thing, or they’d all be classified as sexual perversions.