• Question: Do you think that gender identity disorder is a socially sensitive label, and do you think there is any benefit in diagnosing people who consider themselves transgender with it?

    Asked by Jessus to Vassilis, Tirso, Matthew, Jane, Dawn, Alexandra on 15 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Dawn Rose

      Dawn Rose answered on 15 Mar 2019:


      Interesting question, thanks for making me think.
      I think all labels are socially sensitive, in part because they make people think and for some people this makes them adjust their ideas but for others it can make them more intransigent i.e. stick to the opinions they already have. And this can breed stereotypes which are unhelpful in terms of progressing our thinking.
      What is interesting to me is that less than 50 years ago, people were having these conversations about being homosexual. Is there something genetic about it etc. etc. .
      Gender is a social construct, and I don’t think people should have to adhere to a binary principle if they don’t want to. In fact, there is so much sexism, why would anyone even want to? Unless your are a 40+ white male who gets all the benefits of those prejudices.
      So, is there any benefit in diagnosing people with such a label?
      Well, for some people it might be a disorder and having a diagnosis might help them to get the help they need. But just labelling people because they don’t confirm has a long history in terms of being an abuse of human rights, so I do not think it is beneficial in general.
      This is just my opinion of course, but I hope it is early considered and helps other people think about theirs too.

    • Photo: Vassilis Sideropoulos

      Vassilis Sideropoulos answered on 15 Mar 2019: last edited 15 Mar 2019 11:20 am


      Great answer Dawn! I want to add though that gender identity is used a lot for categorisation of people. We tend to group people in specific categories and this itself makes the gender identity of someone to be perceived as socially sensitive depending on the group they belong.

      When talking about GID, we talk about people who have different experiences around their gender and how comfortable they feel. There’s a lot of fuzz around this because people are still biased and they want to consider only two genders and ignore the other option a person might have.

      For this reason, we start perceiving GID as a socially sensitive label, although we shouldn’t. As I said in a different section, we think we do good, but we harm a lot too when we research such issues. In my opinion, it is a benefit to be diagnosed with GID and work your way around it – it’s all about expressing yourself and who you are, and a great percentage of people “diagnosed” (I don’t like this word) with GID find their way out of it by embracing truly themselves. But I would agree with Dawn and say we shouldn’t be labelling people and we shouldn’t be so fixated with why people are identifying themselves differently than us! You might like this video, it’s short and explains a few things around GID 🙂 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMH8D6DE9dA 🙂

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