Sunday, December 02, 2012

Normality

This is of interest to me, it may be of interest to you.

In what are easily two of the most socially and historically significant changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka "DSM" - the leading though not exclusive manual by which professional psychiatry diagnoses and classifies patients) since the publication removed Homosexuality from the list of mental-disorders two decades ago; a major change has been made to the guidelines for diagnosing the Autism Spectrum that effectively removes Asperger's Syndrome as a seperate diagnosis... and Gender Identity Disorder has been rendered a "disorder" no longer.

While Autism itself will continue to be classified as a disorder (though one with a broader spectrum than previous,) Aspergers and other High-Functioning forms of such will now be incorporated into the broader Autism Spectrum diagnosis. The change, the subject of debate for awhile now, has been praised by some advocacy groups but disdained by others. One imagines that "Aspergers" will still be used as a colloquial shorthand for a long time, given how visible and mainstream the term has become.

While likely effecting fewer individual patients/persons overall, the Gender Identity change is perhaps more long-term significant: The condition previously classified as "Gender Identity Disorder," i.e. persons who feel that they have been born the wrong gender, will now no longer be classified as a "disorder" - instead, it's official medical/psychiatric title will be "Gender Dysphoria."

The second change that has been hard fought for by many in the Transgendered community, but will now likely raise a new set of legal issues to be fought over since the "disorder" diagnosis has allowed for some trans people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits in certain cases (wrongful termination, for example); and the legal wrangling over insurance companies' obligations in regards to gender-reassignment surgery - already certain to be a heated issue in the age of Obamacare - will likely intensify.