sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies


Language is an important part of the way gender nonconformity is legislated and medicalised. In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) changed the nomenclature of the ‘gender identity disorder’ (GID) to ‘gender dysphoria in the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to reduce the social stigma attached to transgender identities. While the recognition of gender nonconformity by the medical authorities has led to some beneficial consequences, scholars have shown that the language of pathology has narrowed the definitions of gender nonconformity and has created social stigma. I use the web pages of five major health providers of English-speaking countries and corpus-based software and tools to demonstrate how the language change of the DSM-5 is yet to be implemented by the medical authorities of five major English-speaking countries. Contrary to the goal of the APA, I show that the language of pathology used by major health providers seems to restrict the definition of some identities outside the binary. My findings reveal that the terminology used in the five websites is incoherent with the new standards created by the providers themselves, and it constructs a non-inclusive description of pathology.

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