May 23, 2013

Some good news from the DSM and the Gender Dysphoria working group

There is some cause for transgender celebration
 in the DSM (
The male to female crossdressers and crossdreamers who feel distress from their condition are still to be considered mentally ill by American psychiatry. That is the bad news from the new edition of the DSM-5, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

There is some really good news to be found in there as well, though.

The Gender Dysphoria working group has clearly had wiser leadership than the paraphilia working party of Ray Blanchard.

First: gender dysphoria is no longer called a "disorder". It is no longer considered a mental illness (although it is still included in a manual of mental illnesses).

Secondly: they refuse to give in to the notion that there are two distinct types of transsexuals, where one is perverted and the other is not.

Being -- or having been -- a crossdreamer does not disqualify you from being recognized as transsexual.

I have gotten hold of the "Gender Dysphoria" chapter and this is what it says about crossdreamers (in the text referred to as "an individual with transvestic disorder"):

"An individual with transvestic disorder who has also clinically significant gender dysphoria can be given both diagnoses. In many cases of  late-onset gender dysphoria in gynephilic natal males, transvestic behavior with sexual excitement is a precursor."

It is as if the Gender Dysphoria group has looked at all the pain the paraphilia subworkinggroup will cause transsexuals through their Transvestic Disorder text and decided to do something about it.

What the Gender Dysphoria texts says is basically what I have said for a long time: Crossdreamer fantasies are symptoms of an underlying gender variance. In some crossdreamers this condition is strong enough to cause gender dysphoria (i.e. distress caused by a mismatch between biological sex and sex/gender identity).

This is important, because it makes it harder for Blanchard-supporters, militant HBS classic transsexuals and radical feminists to use the DSM to stigmatize transsexual crossdreamers.

This does not mean that everything is well, though: MTF transsexual women, who have experienced crossdreamer fantasies, will have to live with the fact that according to one section of the DSM they are sexual perverts, while according to another they are not.

Still,  they may at least use the Gender Dysphoria chapter for what's it is worth.

Non-transsexual transgender are not protected

Non-transsexual MTF crossdreamers do not have this protection,. Paradoxically, you have to transition to get to the good side of the DSM.

This means that there remains a lot of work to do for those who want to see crossdressers, crossdreamers and girfags generally accepted.


I am still more than a little frustrated by the use of the term "late-onset transsexual" in the gender dysphoria chapter, as it reflects the idea that all gynephilic (woman-loving) transsexuals transition late.

This probably used to be true, as most of these trans women tried hard to adapt to a "manly" life in order to find love with a woman. Lately, however, we have seen more and more transsexual crossdreamers transition early.

Not only are the general attitudes towards sex and gender changing in parts of the world. The Internet has also given them a support system that helps them understand themselves at an earlier age.

The early-onset/late-onset binary was an artifact caused by the cultural context. The androphilic trans women could find support and acceptance in the gay community. The gynephilic ones could not.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!