After years of campaigning by trans activists, the American Psychiatric Association has removed “gender-identity disorder” as a mental illness, and replaced it with the more neutral diagnostic term “gender dysphoria.”
“The label of mental defectiveness really places a burden on trans people to continually prove our competence in our affirmed roles,” says activist Kelley Winters.
Previously, an individual’s gender identity could be used against them in custody battles and other legal cases. But removing it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) could cost trans people insurance coverage for hormone treatments and gender-reassigment surgery.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a member of the APA subcommittee handling the revision, told the Associated Press, “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.”
The move comes almost 40 years after homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the APA in 1973. Just this week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement confirming the Affordable Care Act protected against discrimination based on gender identity.