Last week, the national press reported on a 56-year-old high school biology teacher in California who plans to undergo a sex-change operation (i.e. cosmetic surgery) and to return to the classroom appearing as a woman. “To have a teacher be authentic ultimately is good for students and for the community,” said Jennifer Levi of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, or GLAAD, an advocacy group in Boston.
Sadly, the situation is far more complicated and confusing than advocates of gender confusion or their allies in the media will admit.
Although the American Psychiatric Association dropped the diagnosis of gender identity disorder in 2012, the APA merely renamed the condition gender dysphoria in its manual of mental disorders (the DSM-5). What was the reason for the change? To reduce stigma while maintaining access to medical care.
Understandably, most people suffering from a serious mental illness would like the stigma of their medical conditions to magically disappear. But simply renaming “bipolar disorder” as “intensely sporadic mood swings” does not remedy a patient’s condition any more than rechristening “gender identity disorder” as “gender dysphoria.”
In fact, in a USA Today article on gender confusion, Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist who helped revise the APA’s DSM-5, stated, “[Gender Dysphoria is] different from other mental disorders.”
“Usually with a mental disorder, we try and change the person’s mind. This is the only mental disorder where the treatment is changing the body. In a typical mental disorder, we try to make those symptoms go away. Here the treatment has emerged to align the person’s body to match their gender identity.”
He went on to say,
“The truth is we actually don’t know what it is. Is it a mental disorder or does the cause of gender dysphoria lie somewhere else? We don’t know what causes it, so there’s no absolute reason why it has to be in the mental disorders section, except as a fact of history, it’s always been there.”
Does Dr. Drescher’s last sentence not sound like one Alice might have encountered among the symbolic nonsense she endured in her Wonderland dream?