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How Gender Identity Disorder Works

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How Gender Identity Disorder Works: Author's Note

When I was given this assignment, I wanted to focus on the facts -- what the disorder is, what its symptoms are, how it's diagnosed and how it's treated. Personally, I disagree with the decision to list GID as a psychological disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) -- the cause is unknown, but current theories suggest it could be a result of genetics, hormonal imbalances in the womb and/or social and environmental factors. I hoped to add truths to the conversation about how we identify with our personal sex role and gender roles in larger society. At the very most, I didn't want to disappoint those in the transsexual community.

Gender Identity Disorder: Cheat Sheet

  • Mental health professionals offer three components that make up our gender identity: 1. our sexual orientation, 2. behavior and mannerism preferences and 3. core gender identity (that gut feeling you have that tells you what gender you are).
  • Gender identity disorders (GID) are currently considered psychological disorders, and must be diagnosed by a mental health professional. There is no test to determine whether or not a person has a gender identity disorder, and the cause remains unknown. Theories suggest it may lie in genetic abnormalities, hormone imbalances or other endocrine problems in the womb and social factors.
  • Transgendered individuals have been found to suffer from higher-than-average rates of depression, anxiety, suicide and self-mutilation. Left untreated, GID may disclose itself through associated disorders and emotional issues.
  • Adults diagnosed with GID may choose to undergo a series of treatment therapies. These include support groups and counseling, hormone therapy, real-life experience and gender reassignment surgery.

Sources

  • "Answers to Your Questions about Individuals with Intersex Conditions." The APA Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions. American Psychological Association. 2008. http://www.apa.org/topics/intersx.html
  • "Gender Identity Disorder." Psychology Today. 2005.http://psychologytoday.com/conditions/genderid.html
  • "GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER: What is Gender Identity Disorder?"Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). http://www.glad.org/GLAD_Cases/ODonnabhain/GID_Fact_Sheet.pdf
  • "Gender Identity Disorder Reform." GID Reform Advocates. 2008.http://www.transgender.org/gidr/
  • Hausman, Ken. "Controversy Continues to Grow Over DSM's GID Diagnosis." Psychiatric News. Volume 38 Number 14. 2003.http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/psychnews;38/14/25
  • "Mental Health: Gender Identity Disorder." WebMD. 2005.http://www.webmd.com/sex/gender-identity-disorder
  • "Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders." Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.http://www.psychiatryonline.com/content.aspx?aID=9855
  • Vitale, Anne. "Rethinking the Gender Identity Disorder Terminology in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV." 2005.http://www.avitale.com/hbigdatalkplus2005.htm
  • Wells, Ken R., Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit. "Gender Identity." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health. Healthline Networks, Inc. 2006.http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/gender-identity-1
  • WPATH Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders, Version 6. 2001. http://www.wpath.org/publications_standards.cfm

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