Should transsexualism (gender dysphoria/gender identity disorder) be considered a mental disorder or a normal expression of human sexuality? This question has been largely debated in the past several years, particularly around the release of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013. The previous version of the DSM, volume 4tr, categorized transsexual persons as having gender identity disorder, meaning that to be male or female and identify as the opposite gender, is disordered. The DSM-V, however, changed the language from gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria, emphasizing the distress frequently felt by a person who does not feel that their expressed gender matches their assigned gender. This approach de-emphasizes identifying as transsexual or the gender opposite of one’s assigned gender as being disordered, recognizing that many people are distressed by this incongruence. As the DSM-V puts it, “Gender dysphoria…reflects a change in conceptualization of the disorder’s defining features by emphasizing the phenomenon of “gender incongruence” rather than cross-gender identification per se, as was the case in DSM-IV gender identity disorder” (p. 814).

Interestingly, the removal of homosexuality from the DSM in 1973 followed the same logic, but has progressed further in the modern world of psychology. It could be summarized as follows:

(1) Experiencing same-sex attraction is disordered

(2) Experiencing same-sex attraction is only disordered/problematic if someone is distressed by it

(3) If someone is distressed by their same-sex attraction, then they have been poorly socialized and are experiencing internalized homophobia

This last statement is how many pro-LGBT mental health professionals think today. This can be problematic, however, because it can force clients to either fully embrace their same-sex attractions or else be labeled homophobic. In other words, it (perhaps inadvertently) forces persons who do not feel comfortable with their same-sex attractions to choose their sexual values over other values (e.g., ethical or religious values) that may be considered more important to the person. Clearly, this is where the discussion about transsexual persons is heading, i.e., acceptance or bigotry, despite the fact that mental healthcare professionals have not adequately, scientifically, researched the phenomenon, and many mental healthcare professionals still consider identifying with a gender incongruent with one’s sex to be disordered.

Be sure to base your discussion on the resources provided for this assignment, demonstrating in the body of your discussion where you paraphrased (don’t quote directly) your resources. Additionally, list the references used at the bottom of each of your posts. Also, be sure to remain polite and academically appropriate (e.g., no name calling) during this discussion, affording each person whith whom you communicate the dignity and respect they deserve as human persons.

Remember, your original post must be at least 600 words in length, and you must reply to at least three of your fellow students’ posts, with replies at least 200 words in length each. Your original post and your replies should discuss only content related to the topic of this discussion board, and should apply sound, rational, scientific thinking in explanation of your position. This is not just an opportunity for you to voice your opinion, but rather to demonstrate how to apply what you’ve learned to a highly important and dynamic real-life issue. Opinion-based posts will not recieve credit.


Dhejne et al. (2011) – gender dysphoria and suicide.PDF

Mayer & McHugh (2016) – SexualityandGender.pdf

Anderson & Blosnich (2013) – Disparities in adverse childhood experiences-1.PDF

Heylens et al. (2014) – suicide and mental health of trans.pdf

Tebbe & Moradi (2016) – trans

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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