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Why Is Transgender An Identity But Anorexia A Disorder?

source: http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/27/why-is-transgender-an-identity-but-anorexia-a-disorder/

Normalizing gender dysphoria pushes other mentally ill people further into the shadows.

The furor over the “bathroom bill” in North Carolina has given the trans movement the perfect kindling to continue fostering their campaign of nationwide acceptance. It has also sparked a semi-hysterical “transphobic” backlash of self-righteous traditionalists.

I do not consider myself in either camp. I approach this topic with a wrenching awareness of what it feels like to be disconnected from your body, to hate with every fiber of your being the way you look in the mirror, and to be willing to undergo great feats of self-mutilation to achieve a vision that is always just out of grasp. My perspective on the matter, however, probably would not go over well among most LGBTQ individuals. As a person who has struggled with anorexia nervosa since puberty, the transgender anguish resonates with me. The similarities between the two illnesses are striking. Yet one is an identity, and the other is a disorder. Why?

At the heart of gender dysphoria is a paradoxical desire to be characterized as something one simultaneously declares is ineffable (i.e. gender roles are illusory cultural constructs, but I yearn to concretely embody that illusion). The contradictory desire in transgenderism is similar in hopelessness as the desire in anorexia. The goal is to be thin, and one is never thin enough until one is dead. The goal is to be a sex other than one’s biological makeup, and one cannot alter one’s chromosomes and genetic makeup.

f a man wants to wear makeup, dresses, even get breast implants, who are we to stop him? If he wants to legally change his name to Maureen, great! But language policing, the implication that by misusing a pronoun we are savaging a person’s very core, is untenable. Using “he” instead of “she” may very well hurt someone’s feelings, but that is a level of sensitivity on par with agoraphobia (fear of crowded or enclosed public spaces). The onus is on the person to find ways of coping. The world cannot be responsible for validating a confusing, opaque issue that has been too quickly transferred from “disorder” to “condition,” from irrational to heroic.

An All-Consuming Desire to Alter One’s Self

Advocates insist that gender dysphoria is not a pathology. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) describes a disorder as “a description of something with which a person might struggle, not a description of the person or the person’s identity.” This is an absurd string of verbiage. A person’s identity is not his or her biological sex. That is part of a person’s identity.

However, many individuals with gender dysphoria feel they must try to change their outward appearance to match this inner ideal. Due to the physiological makeup of the human body, however, this attempt is often a mighty undertaking. One may even go so far as to say it’s a struggle. The intensity of this all-consuming desire to alter one’s self is what I find most similar to my own illness. We cannot rest until the outside matches the inside.

read more at:  http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/27/why-is-transgender-an-identity-but-anorexia-a-disorder/