Philosophical Puzzles about Transgenderism

BY Edward J. Furton, MA, PhD, director of publications at The National Catholic Bioethics Center.

The most remarkable feature of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is that its description of gender dysphoria strongly implies that the human mind can exist in the wrong body. Because of this, the DSM-5 does not recommend a psychiatric cure for this condition. Instead, it recommends that the body be altered to conform to the patient’s (apparently correct) mental perception. (Such distress may, however, be mitigated by supportive environments and knowledge that biomedical treatments exist to reduce incongruence.” Supportive environments refers to settings that affirm that the person is indeed a member of the opposite sex. Biomedical treatments refers to cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery). In earlier editions, psychiatric measures were considered the norm for treating gender dysphoria (listed under another name), but the DSM-5 now says that the distress experienced by these patients does not result from any underlying illness.

The psychological distress is caused, instead, by the extraordinary fact that the mind finds itself in the wrong body. A secondary cause of distress, the manual adds, is society’s reaction to the patient’s correct estimation that he or she is indeed in the wrong body. The denial that a person is wrongly sexed causes the patient further harm.

Read the rest of the story on Philosophical Puzzles about Transgenderism — The National Catholic Bioethics Center (

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments