An abbreviation for “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition.” The DSM is the classification system used in the United States to define and organize mental disorders for diagnostic purposes. It’s international counterpart is the ICD-11. The fifth edition of the DSM was published in 2013. In this edition, the diagnosis “gender identity disorder (GID)” was removed and replaced with “gender dysphoria.”

While being transgender is no longer considered a mental disorder in and of itself in the DSM-5, the new criteria narrowed the diagnosis to dysphoria – the pain experienced when gender and body are incongruent. This sets up a medical gatekeeping situation: to obtain care, individuals must often have a diagnosis of dysphoria. However, as criticism of the DSM-5 states, dysphoria is not a universal transgender experience. There are many transgender people who do not experience dysphoria but who still seek transition related medical care.

e.g. Kiergan had to educate himself on the DSM-V in order to better understand how to obtain care under his insurance coverage.

Further reading to gain expanded context:

DSM–5: Frequently Asked Questions | American Psychiatric Association

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