It's been a while since I reviewed the latest draft of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual, Version 5 - the encyclopedia of recognized psychiatric conditions by the American Psychiatric Association.
It comes with plesant surprise to take note that transsexualism has been completely separated from transvestic fetishism. It's great to see that this committee is finally listening to global experts on this matter. Traditionally, transsexualism was considered a mental illness in which it was assumed that the patient was undergoing an uncontrolable impulsive sexual fetish of percieving oneself as the opposite sex. This theory was coined by Ray Blanchard of CAMH fame, and even given specific terms - Autogynephilia (for lesbian and bisexual identified transwomen), and Homosexual Transsexual (for straight identified transwomen).
While many trans patients and experienced trans medical professionals may not have doubted the existence of said 'diseases', it has been proposed that this is not the only reason why one might identify as trans or gender-dysphoric.
The latest draft now indicates that Gender Dysphoria and Transvestic Disorders are two completely separate categories. the draft also goes on to specify that Gender Dysphoria will be declassified as a mental illness and will now sit as an unclassified condition - neither psychiatric or medical, which is commonly accepted as a condition that requires physical intervention via hormones and/or surgery, to resolve.
The document also makes reference to the term 'specifier' which indicates that post-transitioned patients can be considered in partial or full remission, due to the lack of symptoms for Gender Dysphoria.
In short, transsexuals will no longer be recognized as mentally ill, nor will they be directly linked to fetishism. These proposed changes to the DSM-V were tabled back in May 2011, and can be expected to become official in May 2013 - the date of the next APA annual conference.
A complete listing of the latest drafts can be viewed here on the APA's page for Gender and Sexual Identity Disorders.
As an aside, I find it disturbing to see such a huge list of newly-created mental illnesses - many of which would appear to be biological conditions. Nonetheless, from the scope of reviewing this as someone who retroactively would have been labeled with Gender Dysphoria and without Transvestic Disorder, and who would retroactively be classified as in remission, I can't help but feel estatic and elated to have the APA doctors apply labels that are congruent with what I have been saying all along.
Bottom line, I am not, nor have I ever, been 'mentally ill' nor a 'fetishist' for being trans. As a post transitioned patient, while I may be labed with an unclassified medical condition for life, I can also lay claim to permanent remission - hence the medical condition has absolutely no negative factor as far as my mental health is concerned.
So, what does this mean? I'd like to hope that this can validate the claims of trans health professionals that transition is medically necessary, and diagnosis of transsexualism can be made by any psychiatrist. I can only hope that this will bring an end to the CAMH monopoly in Newfoundland, as far as gatekeepers for sex reassignment surgery funding, and bring an end to province's refusal to recognize sex reassignment surgery as a medically-necessary procedure for all patients diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria.
Finally, what this also validates, is the concept that rather than 'being trans', I may simply refer to myself as a 'woman with a history' (to steal a line from Jenna Talackova's now infamous Thailand youtube interview).
So where do I go from here? Having just recently lost my battle with the Newfoundland health care and human rights system over funding for said-mentioned surgery, notwithstanding a future civil law suit against these offices, it would appear that I have run out of things to fight for, at least from the perspective of me as an individual. I could fight for others, then again, those others who may or may not exist, showed absolutely no interest in alligning with me, while I undertook these battles. It would seem that the time has come for me to distant and severe myself from the trans label and the trans community, and focus on the rest of my life as simply, a woman. But I will save any formal announcement for my next blog post.