The American Psychiatric Association, in the Fifth Edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , makes this assertion:
“DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name ‘gender identity disorder’ with ‘gender dysphoria,’ as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”
So here are six questions for the A.P.A. from yours truly:
1. Regarding the assigned gender referenced in the first sentence, who assigned it?
2. On what basis can the assignee change the assignment? Suppose a student was given an assignment by her Psych 101 professor, namely to write a paper on the origin and history of psychiatric practice. Suppose she submitted Dante’s Inferno to the prof, asserting that she had changed her assignment and felt free to hand in this bold and brazen plagiaristic substitute?
3. What are the “other important clarifications in the criteria” as per the second sentence? Can a mere layperson peer into these arcane mysteries?
4. Regarding the third sentence, BY WHAT STANDARD is the determination made that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder?”
Suppose a person saw and felt himself to be a rhinoceros, although that person was not assigned (again, by whom?) to be born a rhinoceros. Would the A.P.A. say that species nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder? If not, why not and if so, why so? BY WHAT STANDARD are such determinations made?
5. Let’s continue the previous analogy. Would the species nonconformist likely experience “clinically significant distress” if, acting upon what he saw and felt himself to be, he wandered into the heart of Kaziranga National Park in India and was found trying to use his cell phone to text the other rhinos who live there? How would the A.P.A. suggest that individual’s distress be addressed?
6. Finally, how can the statement above from the DSM-5 about “gender dysphoria” be regarded as legitimate medical science? Apparently, irrationality is not in itself a mental disorder…
Have you ever found it difficult to pick from among Baskin-Robbins 31 ice cream flavors? In New York City, it is now illegal to discriminate anyone whose gender is male, female, “or something else entirely.” In May of this year, the mayor’s office released a list of 31 genders approved by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The list is a guide for businesses, which can now be fined as much as $250,000 if establishments refuse to address someone by their preferred pronoun.
The 31 genders listed include “drag king,” “drag queen,” “butch,” “femme queen,” “gender fluid,” “gender blender,” “gender gifted,” “gender bender,” and “femme person of transgender experience.” *
* source: newsmax.com/Newsfront/NYC-releases-gender-list/2016/06/01/id/731809/
Previously published, August 7, A.D. 2016