Naming and Claiming
I read that psychiatrists have renamed the diagnosis, from “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria”.
This is not an improvement, even if some trans folk think it is, or asked for it. Before transition, my gender identity did not fit my chromosomes or gonads. I think this is a “disorder”- it makes life and procreation significantly more difficult.
Now, the word “dysphoria” is in the diagnosis, as if the discomfort were the thing which was sick. Generally, a diagnosis names an illness, kidney disease is a problem with the kidneys, the new name “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” states that a person’s inability to control his temper is the Problem. We M-Fs experience ourselves as female, and our experience is not deluded, or psychotic, or sick: the problem is being thought to be male, and what follows from that.
The problem is not the word “disorder”, but the inclusion in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Being trans is not a mental illness. I recognise, however, that a surgeon will need confirmation from a psychiatrist that she should do a vaginaplasty and orchiectomy.
So there should be two possible diagnoses: “Gender identity incongruence”, which is a physical health problem, requiring physical intervention, and “Psychotic delusion of gender identity incongruence”, a mental health problem, where the belief that one is really of the opposite sex arises from mental illness. I don’t know whether anyone actually suffers from the latter, but the concept allows the psychiatrist, physician and surgeon to work together: the psychiatrist says No, I am certain your patient does not suffer from psychotic delusion, so the appropriate treatment is hormones and surgery.
Gender identity incongruence would continue to be self-diagnosed, as now. “Yes, I know I have testicles, but I also know that I am a woman, and want hormones. Therefore I have GII.”
Self-diagnosis is important. Someone else, who an outsider might think to be very similar to a person with GII, might say, “I am a man. I have testicles, and I want to retain them. However sexually I am a femme lesbian, and I want to express myself in ways which my culture considers feminine.” Or whatever. Only those of us who want surgery or hormones need come into contact with scientists or doctors at all.
And each individual is the one to classify themself. If anyone else does it, that is oppression.
While on classification, there is no word I hate more than “non-homosexual”. The scientists refer to the “homosexual transsexual”, a M-F attracted to men. That is, they call her a man. So what do they call us gynephiles? Heterosexual would be the obvious word, we are attracted to women- though, under the pressure of being forced to jump through hoops, some of us claim to be Bi or asexual. But “Heterosexual” would make us appear almost normal, and that would never do. “Non-homosexual” it is, not even homosexual, not even as normal as that. Rational scientists, with their Objective terms! Using the word “gynephile” would have just a tincture of kindness, and that would never do.
More detail on DSM5 than even some trans women will want, here.