American Medical Board Says Transgender Identity Is Not A Mental Disorder, Yet It Is Classified As One

A 2016 research study revealed that transgender identity is not a mental disorder. However, two years later, it is still classified as one.

Transgender is not a mental illness
Ink Drop / Shutterstock

A 2016 research study revealed that transgender identity is not a mental disorder. However, two years later, it is still classified as one.

Transgender identity has been removed from the sexual disorder category and was put into a class of its own in the DSM-5. While many people believe that it isn’t a mental disorder, it has not been removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly called DSM-5. In 2016, a research study claimed that it isn’t a mental disorder and shouldn’t be listed in the DSM-5 at all.

According to Vox, major medical organizations such as American Medical Board do not think that transgender people are mentally ill and they shouldn’t have a classification in the DCM-5. They believe that instead of saying transgender people have “gender identity disorder,” they should say they have “gender dysphoria,” which explains their condition more accurately.

Gender dysphoria is emotional distress caused by how someone’s body or gender they were assigned at birth conflicts with their gender identity. It is a medical condition that, if untreated, could result in severe mental issues, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

The treatment includes allowing the transgender person transition, including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgeries, without placing a social stigma.

In other words, being trans isn’t the medical condition. However, living as trans is the treatment of the medical condition of gender dysphoria.

The fact is, not all trans deal with severe dysphoria. Many transgender people have a mild case, or none at all. For a small percentage, it is mentally debilitating.

The psychological distress and disability isn’t inherent to being a transgender person, so just being trans doesn’t meet the definition of a mental disorder.

For example, military regulations state that gender dysphoria is untreatable and a lifelong mental condition. Of course, most people realize that is not true. However, the military’s stance on transgender people is to ban them from serving since the condition would be difficult for them to manage.

The problem is that gender dysphoria is a temporary and treatable condition. It’s impossible to know how it will affect one trans person to the next, since the symptoms are from mild to severe.

In June, the AMA told the military that there is no medical reason why people in the military cannot serve, as the condition is usually easily managed after treatment. However, the military refused to update their policy. The AMA suggested the military put trans friendly policies in place immediately. In December, the military announced they would begin accepting transgender recruits in 2018.