Ethics & Medics

Volume 42, Issue 7, July 2017

Edward J. Furton
Pages 1-4

A Critique of “Gender Dysphoria” in DSM-5

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the guidebook for psychiatric practice in medicine. In the fifth edition (DSM-5), published in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) significantly revised the section on gender identity disorder, which it renamed gender dysphoria. In previous editions, the conviction that one’s sex did not match one’s gender was treated as a mental disorder in need of psychiatric treatment. In DSM-5, the remedy for that same conviction was changed to hormonal and surgical procedures to give the patient the appearance of the opposite sex. A complete reversal of this sort is surprising, as it implies that all previous guidance on this question was in error. The change is even more perplexing given that little evidence shows that hormonal or surgical interventions actually improve the psychological health of the sufferer.