Saturday, January 12, 2013

The "T" Among LGBTQ Parents

My column/blog from
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Imagine a parent — whether in a supposed same-sex or straight relationship — who lives with heartache after years of quiet wrestling and silent suffering, and who comes to terms with their gender, finally having the courage to embrace the person one was created to be.
In the alphabet abbreviation of my community — LGBTQ — the “T” stands for “Transgender,” in which a person has started on the path from a culturally assigned gender identification to a true gender identity. There are those who move from being understood as “man” in our society to understanding and identifying one’s self as “woman,” and vice versa.
The importance of highlighting this move is precipitated by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, Fifth Version), which will no longer carry the label “gender identity disorder.” This term was used since 1980 in order to make being transgender pathological, i.e., a mental illness.  Instead, DSM-5 will now have “gender dysphoria,” which relates only to individuals feeling distress over their assigned gender identity. In other words, those who simply identify differently from the gender assigned to them at birth. More importantly, “gender dysphoria” in the DSM-5 will allow people who are transitioning between genders to get coverage for hormone treatments or surgery by simply pointing to a medical problem within the DSM.
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