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covered it all
I know this sounds totally bass-ackwards coming from my mouth, but I'm totally cool with GID being in the DSM and with people being (properly) diagnosed with it.

Before you all start yelling at me saying how being gender-different isn't a disorder, it's just the way we are, let me say... I AGREE WITH YOU. As someone who was born with girlie parts, who was assigned the gender female, but is genderfluid, I know better than most that sometimes I'm a girl, sometimes I'm a boy, and mostly I'm just me, which is more boy than girl.

Then why do I want it in the DSM? Why do I want people to be diagnosed with it?

Because lots of us need therapy dealing with our genders (NOT to change us, but to help us navigate them, and to help us navigate a society that sucks re: our genders), and plenty of people who are FtM and MtF would like to have hormones and/or surgery.

But you know what? INSURANCES WON'T COVER THESE THINGS W/O A DIAGNOSIS. No diagnosis = no diagnosis code = no appropriate treatment. No therapy. No hormones. No surgery. As someone who's gone through years of therapy, and often times have had to deal with BS diagnoses on paper just so I could get the therapy I desperately needed, I understand this more than most. (Not to mention being someone whose Mom worked as an office manager and did all the billing and insurance company work in a large psychiatric practice for many many years.)

So before trying to get rid of GID, how about changing the insurance system so that trans issues are covered? Because right now, I know lots of folks are fighting for trans stuff to be covered at all.

Or, of course, there's always the other option. The controversial one that I'm not supposed to talk about. (But I'm going to anyway, even though I'm terrified I'm going to lose some of my friends.) Which is the option that maybe it is a disorder... BUT THAT'S OK. There's this prevalent thought that if you have a disease or a disorder, that it's BAD and that it must be removed, or at least managed and the person pitied.

As a person who's had to live with a disorder all hir life, and who's been diagnosed with one since age 8, I've TOTALLY fought with the whole self-esteem + acceptance of what I have thing. I've totally gone "if what I am is ok, if there's 'nothing wrong with me', how come there's clearly something wrong with me? " Fuck, I STILL struggle with this. (Ask morningboon about the freaking out, screaming and crying.)You may say left, right and center that being ADHD is ok, or even that there's "no such thing; rather, a society that's not set up for you", but it NEVER changes the fact that I still have my symptoms, and I STILL struggle with everyday tasks. And when you're in the middle of breaking down because you can't do something stupid and simple, it's hard to remember that you are still an ok person.

I think the problem is we equate "ok person" with "normal"... STILL. Despite our acceptance of diversity, we still want to see that diversity as "normal". Which I understand. But I also realize that some things AREN'T normal, and what's fucking wrong with that? Why is it that not normal is judged as bad, and normal is judged as good? Why can't we say "I'm abnormal, and I'm good." and "I'm not normal, and I'm ok."? Normal doesn't mean good or even ok. Think of it more like "average" or "standard deviation". (Would that be sigma 0 or sigma 1? That is, what's the top of the bell curve called? I forget.)

With transgender/GID, the truth is, external gender DOESN'T match internal gender. And so some corrections need to be made. AND WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IS THE EXTERNAL GENDER, *NOT* WHAT'S INSIDE. Saying that "nothing's wrong" and "we're fully normal" is screwing ourselves over. There IS something wrong, and many transpeople know it. Their outsides don't match their insides. But that being wrong DOESN'T mean it's BAD. And it doesn't mean we need to fix the insides to match the outsides. Society has tried that, and it doesn't work. (Not to mention in our world we find it a lot more distasteful to try to change someone's personality than their bodies... or have we? [Therapy does seem to be more acceptable than body mods.]) We've found that matching the outsides to the insides works a hell of a lot better, so it's what we do. We don't do "reparative therapy", we play with hormones and clothing and surgery to correct what Nature got wrong, or however you choose to put it.

So, yeah, maybe trans IS a disorder. I mean, it's clear the outsides don't match the insides. But the disordered part is the OUTSIDE, not the inside.

And for those who feel that they don't want it to be called a disorder because of the shame associated with disorders... what about me and my ADHD? And my depression? And my Seasonal Affective Disorder? If I have to live with at least 2 mental disorders and learn to be ok with myself despite that horrible word, perhaps you can learn to be ok with yourself despite that diagnosis. How is it fair to me? By you saying that you need to get rid of the word "disorder" in the term, you're saying that there's something wrong with having a disorder. Which implies that there's something wrong with me having ADHD, SAD, and whatever other Ds, which brings us back around to "if there's nothing wrong with me, why is there something wrong with me?". Nowhere in the word "disorder" is there a word that means "bad". There are parts that mean "lack of order". (And, once again, we assign the value judgement "good" to "order", and let me tell you... as a naturally disordered ADHD person [I can't keep anything tidy, chaos feels better to me than too much order], I get real fucking sick of that value judgement.)

And for those whom the diagnosis doesn't actually help, who are just gender-variant but don't require any kind of physical correction, because they're ok with their bodies, because they're just tomboys or femmeguys, I'm sorry you got misdiagnosed.

And for those who are genderqueer or genderfluid or simply no-ho, no-op, but still feel like the body is wrong, then good on you for choosing (or having to live with) the body you have.

And for those who are genderqueer or genderfluid or no-ho, no-op but are ok with the bodies they have, then good on you for being ok with your body.

I guess in the end I'm saying that if we're going to keep GID as a diagnosis, then the problem isn't having GID as a diagnosis, but the problem is the way it was treated in the past. Remember, diagnoses don't necessarily have to be thrown out... you can just change the treatment.

EDIT: The more I'm learning about the specifics of GID, the more I'm learning how it can be used to screw gender-variant kids over. I think the diagnosis as it lays would be more helpful to be used for adults only. And the whole part of (paraphrased) "causes distress in the home or workplace", whereas that's standard criteria for other disorders, and works well for them (which is why I do actually support paraphilias being in the DSM... but that's another post I'm going to post momentarily), can't really be an accurate assessor when you're talking about a behavior that's considered (wrongly) socially unacceptable. It's society that's fucked up here, not the person.

Questions? Comments (hopefully not too hateful)? Lemme at them!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
You always have an interesting perspective on this stuff. :D
Nov. 9th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm just terrified that I'm going to be quoted out of context (oh, so much bait for that in here) or that people can't see past their own conceptions and can't get past their own fear (which I understand... there's stuff *I* can't get past MY own fear with) to see what I'm saying and consider it as possibly valid.

And I hope someone reads this over and, if they find a hole in my logic, they point it out so I can fix it. Because, to me, this is kinda obvious, and I'm kinda surprised no one has conceived of this before.
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
It's a shame pragmatism isn't a more popular perspective.
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
It's disturbing how pragmatic I'm becoming in my old age. Or, rather, I suppose more accurately, it's disturbing how pragmatic I'm figuring out I've actually been all along.

And yet, somehow, I'm still an idealist. Can one be a pragmatic idealist? Or an idealistic pragmatist?

I think I'm just an idealist who's pragmatic until the idealism becomes reality. :-)
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
This is a very illuminating post.
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
In what way? I'm curious what specifically you learned.
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
Yup. Its such an incredibly basic concept. Dont fuck with the diagnosis while theres no way of getting stuff covered. Basic. i hear SO MANY PEOPLE who do not live with disabilities talk about how "horrible" it is to be lumped in with those of us who do (i mean, how can i even live with myself??). Thats nothing more than ableist nonsense, and i call bullshit on that whenever it comes up, whether its other trans folks saying it or not.
Nov. 9th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah. You know, for everyone always telling me "it's ok to have a mental illness", people rarely ACT like it's ok to have a mental illness. And the "discretion" that was used surrounding it in my childhood years at school only taught me that it was something to be ashamed of... because, I mean, if it wasn't, how come it was a secret? (Things would have been SO much easier had someone just came in and taught the kids what being ADHD was all about. The lack of dialog surrounding it really didn't help.)
Nov. 10th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
Gosh, people would de-friend you for that?
I think that people, our bodies, our brains are all very complicated and there are a multitude of theories/ideas/goals/etc's on "why we do what we do"..all can be right, or wrong. But thinking is always good.
anyway.. thanks for rambling this, it was interesting to read.

Slightly related - it's like when i call myself a "Fat Grrl" and people start the OMG, yer not fat!~gasp~ and i give them the face like *they* are on crack, and say.. Um.. Yes, Yes i am Fat. it's not a bad thing. I'm also white and i have purple hair, it's just a fact. Chill. ... and i like to think they look at me differently then. (how, i dunno..)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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