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Supporting Transgender and Gender-Creative Youth

Schools, Families, and Communities in Action, Revised Edition


Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Annie Pullen Sansfaçon

Supporting Transgender and Gender-Creative Youth brings together cutting-edge research, social action methods, and theory on the topic of transgender youth and gender creative kids. The chapters included specifically address issues in education, social work, medicine, and counseling as well as challenges and recommendations for families and parents. It is well researched and accessible to a broad audience of individuals invested in improving the social worlds of gender diverse children and youth.
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Chapter Three: Working Together for an Inclusive and Gender-Creative Future: A Critical Lens on ‘Gender Dysphoria’



Psychiatric diagnoses related to gender expression have been the focus of much change and speculation, while continuing to accumulate. In the infamous nineteenth-century text Psychopathia Sexualis, Krafft-Ebing (1892) described two diagnoses related to gender-creativity (‘fetishism of female attire’ and ‘hermaphrodism’) whereas the recent DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association [APA], Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) describes ten.1 This changeability has, in part, been influenced by the demedicalization of homosexuality (Conrad & Angell, 2004) due to the perceived interdependence between sexuality and gender identity, but it also illustrates a long history of medical attention and intervention despite a lack of consensus and understanding. Thus, ‘gender identity disorder’2 (or its current descriptor, ‘gender dysphoria’) defines the boundaries of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ gender expression with significant consequences. It is of mutual interest to feminist (e.g., Caplan, 2011), transgender (e.g., Winters, 2011a), and intersex communities (e.g., Morgan, Wilson, & O’Brien, 2012) that, despite their differences, all are concerned with psychiatric diagnoses and gender-creativity. This chapter will reflect on the conflicted history of the diagnosis, as well as describe a collaborative project challenging its implementation. This project addressed the DSM-5 Chair of the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Section and involved contributions and support from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and feminist activists, academics, and clinicians (Tosh, 2011a). The acceptance ← 41 | 42 →of diverse differences in relation to philosophical or political issues was nurtured through the commitment to a common goal: the condemnation of psychiatric intervention with young, gender-creative children. This politically engaged...

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