Me: ‘Are transsexuals mentally ill castration fetishists?’ Experts: ‘Maybe!’

Thanks to the loyal 5FF reader who sent this in, knowing this is one of my favorite topics.

Straight Dope writes:

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. (…)

Fact is, most transsexuals agree there’s something wrong with them. The difference is they think it’s with their bodies, while unsympathetic outsiders say it’s with their heads. (…)

Not to get all peace-and-love about it, but the core issue really is unhappiness. DSM-III dropped the old classification of homosexuality as a disorder because of the dawning realization that whatever gays and lesbians might be unhappy about [Actually, THIS is what happened -- gay bullies disrupted a private meeting and bullied doctors into removing it from the manual]  it wasn’t about being gay or lesbian as such — the main issue was social disapproval.

In contrast, even with all the social acceptance in the world, transsexuals are still going to think they’re the wrong sex.

The surgery part is what makes some people recoil. They cite another condition listed in the DSM, body integrity identity disorder, characterized by the wish to have a part of your body amputated, typically the left arm or leg. You don’t see anybody claiming BIIDers are paragons of mental health and doctors should merrily saw away [Yet...]. (…)

The question is whether reassignment makes transsexuals happy. Most studies say yes, but that conclusion was questioned by the UK newspaper the Guardian in 2004. Having interviewed several SRS patients who said they were no happier after surgery and felt they’d made a big mistake, the paper commissioned the Aggressive Research Investigative Facility (ARIF) at the University of Birmingham to review the medical reports.

ARIF’s conclusion: most studies of SRS outcomes were fatally flawed, the major failing being that a huge percentage of SRS patients dropped out of sight. (…)

For example, one study found that of 727 subjects who had undergone male-to-female SRS, 539 had a known address, 420 of those had a correct known address, 417 of those were still alive [the 300+ dead ones being unavailable for comment!]

Some are surely dead. A large-scale 2011 study from the Netherlands found treated transsexuals had much higher than normal death rates due to suicide, drug abuse, AIDS, and so on.

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