Responding to a letter written by ran reader. We get a chance to find a little more about LGBT people
By: Cecil Adams
In a recent Straight Dope Message Board thread about transsexuality, one commenter offered the following: “People who have gender identity disorders … are just dudes dressing up as chicks and/or dudes who have gotten a doctor to mutilate them to have imitation female genitalia (or [the other way around for women], I guess.) … GID patients have a mental illness and society should be looking into ways to eradicate that mental illness through some form of treatment that isn’t the equivalent of giving a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks he’s Napoleon a bicorn hat and a saber.”
Care to comment?
– Startled Lurker
Cecil replies: I’m not inviting that guy to the next meeting of my LGBT support group. However, from a certain perspective, he’s got a point.
Standard medical opinion is that transsexuals are mentally ill. The revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders offers a long description of gender identity disorder that boils down to this: you think you’re the wrong sex, and you’re not happy about it. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems calls it transsexualism and defines it this way: “A desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one’s anatomic sex, and a wish to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex through surgery and hormone treatment.”