More than three decades after the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, those who do not conform to their assigned birth-sex, either by inner identity or outer social expression, are labeled mentally ill in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), with grave consequences to their human dignity and civil liberties. For transsexual individuals, the current diagnostic categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Tranvestic Fetishism also pose barriers to access to medical transition procedures. As the APA works toward its fifth revision of the DSM in 2012, these gender diagnoses provoke growing controversy while perpetuating harmful stereotypes that fail to explain the existence of countless well-adjusted transsexual, gender queer and gender transcendent people who have contributed to society for millennia.
Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays from the Struggle for Dignity provides an overview of the literature and attitudes behind the current diagnostic nomenclature and a historical snapshot of the issues and challenges faced by gender transcendent people on the eve of publication of the Fifth Edition of the DSM. This book contains a collection of essays from the struggle for transgender dignity and health care access. They are expanded from pieces posted to the GID Reform Advocates web site in 2008 and incorporate the generous feedback and discussion from advocates and critics.
For students of psychology, sociology, anthropology and gender studies curricula, this book provides an overview of the literature and social context that led to the current diagnostic nomenclature. It offers a historical snapshot of the issues and challenges faced by the trans-community on the eve of publication of the DSM-V. For gender transcendent people, this book is a call for respect and celebration of the broad diversity that exists within our community. Yet, it is also a call for unity and solidarity in demanding change for psychiatric policies and stereotypes that harm all trans-people. For mental health clinicians who work with transitioning clients, this book is intended to provide some insight, from a trans-perspective, into the barriers to social legitimacy and access to medical care that are posed by the categories of current Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism.
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