In a big step for transgender rights, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has removed being transgender as a mental illness. Rather than being labeled as mentally unfit, transgender individuals will now be diagnosed with something called gender dysphoria – which suggests emotional stress when it comes to gender identity. This is a major change from when gender identity disorder was listed as a mental disorder 20 years ago.
In an interview with The Advocate, APA’s Jack Drescher said, “All psychiatric diagnoses occur within a cultural context. We know there is a whole community of people out there who are not seeking medical attention and live between the two binary categories. We wanted to send the message that the therapist’s job isn’t to pathologize.”
So rather than to suggest that somehow gender identity can be treated, if not cured, the new classification will ideally bring more acceptance. In the legal world, it could also have positive implications as many transgender individuals risk losing their jobs and children when the case is made for mental incompetence.
Keep in mind that homosexuality was also considered a mental illness up until 1973.