By Diane Bruce

Gender dysphoria, also known by the terms gender incongruence and transgenderism , is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its International Classification of Disease as “a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex.” In North America, the term gender dysphoria is more common, and is used in the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Standard Manual .

Gender dysphoria should not be confused with gender identity disorder (GID). The terms are not interchangeable. The older GID often incorrectly diagnosed children with a disorder they did not have. Further, the “disorder” was also misused as a rational for a form of conversion therapy. As documented in Daphne Scholinski’s book The Last Time I Wore a Dress , when parents observed their daughter displaying qualities that were deemed “too masculine,” for example, they might seek a doctor who was willing to treat GID to “cure the gay.”

The fact that transgender women and men have existed in mankind for thousands of years and in various cultures demonstrates that this condition is a natural phenomenon. There is growing scientific evidence that certain brain structures of transgender individuals do lie closer to the identity they claim . It is therefore important to note that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. In fact, the WHO has moved the diagnosis into the sexual health category. Just as homosexuality was once considered but is no longer considered a mental illness, it is now obvious that transgenderism is similarly not a mental illness.

This article appears in the October 2019 version of Critical Links.