What is now called “Gender Identity Disorder” may become “Gender Dysphoria” as The American Psychiatric Association revises the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This change is supported by transgender advocates as it means that transgender individuals will not be labeled as suffering from a “disorder” and will instead will be diagnosed with “dysphoria defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “A state or condition marked by feelings of unease or (mental) discomfort.”
This change fits with earlier changes (1973) that removed homosexuality as a disorder from the same manual. It also eliminates the blanket labeling of a group of people. The article on the current proposed change also mentioned that the “disorder” language was used in a custody hearing against a transgender individual, and this change would eliminate the potential for such general disqualification.
On the other hand, there is the question as to what happens regarding treatment. Would diagnosis with “dysphoria” lead to coverage for sex change surgery, hormone treatments and other medical inventions the same way a “disorder” would?
I do not know what the answer is exactly, but I find this to be a powerful example of the way language can have very concrete effects on a community’s acceptance in society.