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Why Transgenderism Should Not Be Classified As A Mental Illness

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A mental illness “is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom”. Currently, transgenderism is classified as a mental illness, it is called “gender dysphoria” by the DSM-5. However, it should be noted that what constitutes a mental illness has changed over time, for example, homosexuality was a mental illness until the 1970s. Essentially, “DSM-IV notes that “… although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder.’ The concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations. All medical conditions are defined on various levels of abstraction”.

With this in mind, there are clear mental illness. Afflictions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are real illnesses that impair, cause distress, and severely cause suffering for the person with the illness. However, manipulation of science for the benefit of overarching social norms is also a human phenomenon which has historically had tragic endings, such as classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. There is evidence to support the claim that there are biological components to transgenderism, as there are obviously biological components to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, to argue this is the entirety of a reasonable assertion that biological components equate a disorder is incorrect.

For some, being transgender is a disruptive experience. Most likely everyone has adjustments to make and changes to adhere to as a result of being transgender. For most, having mental illness is disruptive, and most everyone has to make adjustments and changes as a result of having a mental illness. However, similarities are not exactitude. For transgender children, most happily embrace their identity because they have not been conditioned to fear gender blending and transgenderism. For mentally ill children, most suffer and are in a level of pain because they are experiencing symptoms of serious illnesses.

Gender is a socialized institution. Sex is a biological component of an animal. One prescribed set of criteria exists for one sex and another for the other, however, that paradigm is incorrect and misleading itself. There are actually naturally many biological sexes, including intersexed persons, and there are many gender combinations that play off the diversity in natural biological sex. This has not yet been a legitimized concept within the heteronormative societal structure because it threatens the idea of the gender binary and that heterosexualism is the normative and default sexuality.

If variation in biological sex is natural, and gender is a social  construction, then how can it be logical that transgenderism is a mental illness? It makes much more sense to accept that transgenderism is a natural outgrowth of the diversity nature has to offer within the animal kingdom than to label it a mental illness. The upset and instability that transgender people may experience due to their identity has less to do with the chemicals in their brain and more to do with the nonacceptance transgender people experience in daily life.

Gender dysphoria supports itself as a mental illness by claiming sufferers are experiencing distress due to not being the opposite gender. While this may be true, it should theoretically be easy to transition into the other gender; the person dresses as that gender, adapts the mannerisms of that gender, and goes by a name identified with that gender. The experience many have, such as Caitlyn Jenner, is one of fear that they will not be accepted and rejected by others around them because of their gender identity, one which has been labelled as both abnormal and a mental illness. This then causes them distress and harm which then gets labelled as a mental illness.

The next goal of the trans movement must be to get “gender dysphoria” of the DSM-V because it is degrading to those who identify as transgender and disrespectful to those with legitimate mental illnesses; people should not be labelled as mentally ill just because they are different.

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Author: gzeu

intellectual queer femme who lives to maximize the experience of the beautiful assault that is our world. bohemian queen and hip hop scholar. I always tell the truth, even when I lie.

2 thoughts on “Why Transgenderism Should Not Be Classified As A Mental Illness

  1. Pingback: Writing About Mental Illness | philosofunk

  2. I’m doing much personal research to develop a cogent opinion on this subject. This article lacks greatly.

    “If variation in biological sex is natural, and gender is a social construction. ..”

    You are begging the question here. I am not closed off to the idea that this could be true, but you have accepted as true what is not evidently true in and of itself. Gender variation in our sex appears to be biologically related as you have discussed, but currently it appears that if not a mental disorder, transgenderism is a physical one. Just because a genetic variation occurs naturally does not make it a good outcome of evolution or a desirable trait. The mutations that result in transgenderism and homsexuality are of the same type of mutations (the completely random kind) that resulted and result in sickle cell anemia, cancers, cystic fibrosis, any disease of a malformed genetic sequence.

    I’m not advocating anyone be judged wanting because they have a deficiency or defect, but it is in the best interest of proper thinking to call a spade a spade. I would love a child who is transgender the same as one who has Down syndrome as I would any child, but I can’t call Down Syndrome normal development anymore than I could call transgender or homosexuality normal development.

    Again, these are not lifestyle judgments but scientific determinations I am attempting to make. I want to see the argument for why an abnormal development should not be referred to, in an academic sense, as abnormal. I think it does no one any good to look at a flaw and come up with new ways to not call it a flaw. We are all flawed.

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