The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. It provides standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. In 1994 the DSM-IV committee replaced the diagnosis of ‘Transsexualism’ with ‘Gender Identity Disorder’. In 2013 the new DSM-V changed the term ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ to ‘Gender Dysphoria’. This shows a shift to no longer seeing gender variance as a ‘disorder’.
Can we categorise identity?
In the past, and still continuing today, understandings of transgender people come from Psychiatry. In the past science and medicine reinforced a binary system of gender through its attempts to ‘cure’ those who did not comply to gender norms. The medical world has moved away from ‘curing’ to a notion of ‘treating’ individuals who wish to transition from the gender they were assigned at birth. People who are unhappy with the gender that they have been assigned at birth can be referred to Gender Identity Clinics by their GP.