The subject of Gender Identity Disorder involves a lot of discussion that, to say the least, borders on the ridiculous. Because of this I want to make it clear up front that this is not a parody.
Mental illness is a serious subject – and Gender Identity Disorder adds complexity by involving the intersection of opinion, science, psychology, health, nature and morality.
One definition of this psychological disorder reads:
“A person with a gender identity disorder is a person who strongly identifies with the other sex. The individual may identify with the opposite sex to the point of believing that he/she is, in fact, a member of the other sex who is trapped in the wrong body.”
The issue of gender identity is a hot topic right now. Earlier this month the Miami Herald reported on the case of a 5-year-old suffering from “gender dysphoria.” There is a July 24, 2006 article in Newsweek about a woman who “became” a man (or maybe it was the other way around – I only glanced at the piece).
Appropriately, homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals to have locked arms with the transgendered. They argue that all these lifestyles are genetically determined “sexual orientations,” and that their search for “equality” is to be compared with the civil rights struggle of African Americans.
Those defending traditional morality, on the other hand, say it’s a discussion about behavior – and what’s good for the social fabric and what isn’t. Earlier generations didn’t waste time debating whether it was normal or abnormal when a man thought he was a woman (or visa versa). Their basic assumption was that a screw was loose.
The goal of the “Left Elite,” as author and activist Tammy Bruce wrote, is to create a world where there is: “No judgment, no conclusions, no reality, no rules, no personal responsibility. No guilt or innocence.” She could’ve added “and no mental illnesses.”
Bruce writes that the “Left Elite” also sees “all behaviors as morally relative and beyond judgment.” To push that agenda on a society with a rich Judeo-Christian heritage is a big job. There has to be an all out effort to “literally change what things mean.”
One important task was to stop the American Psychiatric Association from defining homosexuality as a mental illness. In his book “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis,” Dr. Ronald Bayer chronicled how aggressive homosexual activists successfully pressured the APA in the early 1970s to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The APA claims it did so because of science.
This is a good example of why you can’t, as the saying goes, leave war to the generals, science to the scientists, or mental health to the psychiatrists.
In reaching their decision, the APA chose to ignore the important characteristics of homosexual behavior and instead made a political decision based on the personal values of certain APA members.
The definition of Gender Identity Disorder sounds very much like the definition of transgendered: “appearing as, wishing to be considered as, or having undergone surgery to become a member the opposite sex.” This is where we get close to parody. There is a movement to take this malady off the list of mental disorders as well. Proponents believe it’s perfectly healthy not only to believe you’re the opposite gender, but also to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Coincidentally, just as the list of mental illnesses is getting shorter, the list of physical diseases is getting longer. Theodore Dalrymple recently wrote in the London Times that pretending that heroin addiction is a disease is “perverse.” Harm results, he says, because a message gets sent to addicts –
“…that they are ill and in need of treatment rather than they have chosen a disastrous path in life. It conceals from people their responsibility for their own lives, a responsibility we all find irksome at times, but acceptance of which is the only basis of a meaningful life.”
Mental health or mental disorder. Normal or abnormal. Volition or genetics. Defining terms and making judgments about what is what is a critical aspect of the discussion over “sexual orientation.”
The “homosexual rights” movement sees the application of any standard as wrong. Our side believes that like the human body, a mind (and an entire society for that matter) resides somewhere on the spectrum line connecting good and ill health.
Part of the challenge we face as humans in seeking the structure of society that works best (the ancient Greeks called this “the good”) – is facing up to the fact that at times, judgments have to be made about what’s healthy and what’s not – what’s normal and what’s not.
Those whose feelings are hurt by such judgments should seek counseling rather than trying to impose ridiculous views – such as the idea that gender confusion is not a mental illness – on the rest of society.