Following up on guidelines generated by a report on transgender healthcare last month, the American Psychiatric Association has issued official position statements on the care and civil rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The new statements reflect this year’s editions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-V) that will identify being transgender as “Gender Dysphoria,” removing the classification of “Gender Identity Disorder.” The APA explained the importance of standing up for the trans community, citing the “significant discrimination, prejudice, and the potential for victimization from violent hate crimes, as well as denial of many basic civil rights, protections, and access to health care, to the severe detriment of their mental health. Here are the new position statements:
APA POSITION STATEMENTSThe American Psychiatric Association:
1. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.
2. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.
3. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician.
The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.
2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people.
3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.
A lot of public education remains to be done about transgender identities, but no longer designating them as a “disorder” is an important step. As with non-heterosexual orientations, affirmation is key to supporting the mental health of all members of the LGBT community.