Authors Name: 
Florence Chan
University: 
University of Toronto
Category: 
Psychology
Highly commended

Gender Identity Disorder: The Pathologization of Gender Variance in Psychology

Gender identity disorder (GID) is a controversial diagnosis both within and outside the psychological community. The pathologization of gender variance that results from the existence of such a diagnosis continues to fuel the debate over its inclusion in the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Proponents of GID as a diagnosis state that it is supported by existing paradigms of pathology and statistical models of deviant behaviour; economic issues of access to treatment, and genuine concern for affected individuals are also cited as reasons for the necessity of the diagnosis. However, opponents take issue with its pathologization of gender variance, such as marginalization linked to having a mental disorder, issues with the arbitrariness of the diagnostic criteria, and the potential for abuses of power by clinicians. Therefore, one must take into account these opposing perspectives when debating the merits of GID as a diagnosis. A well-considered opinion must weigh the benefits and disadvantages of both sides instead of resorting to a myopic endorsement of one side over the other.