In a historic move, the American Psychiatric Association agreed on Saturday to remove the term “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID) from the new version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

The manual is used in the US and around the world by psychiatrics and mental health professionals. The previously-included GID term was used to describe transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

The manual will now instead include the term “Gender Dysphoria” to describe emotional distress over “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender”.

This is an important move as it now no longer indicates that transgender individuals are disordered. Gender activists say that the change will allow for more affirmative treatment and transition of trans people without the past stigma.

Mara Keisling, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told LGBTQ Nation that the news was an “amazing step forward and while not perfect, is a huge improvement for diagnosis and treatment”.

However, some gender advocates fear that the update may make it more difficult for trans people to access healthcare funds for trans-related medical expenses.

The removal of the GID term from the DSM is similar to when the American Psychiatric Association deleted homosexuality as a disorder or mental illness from the manual in 1973.

The process of updating the manual, last revised in 1994, has taken over a decade to complete. The DSM V will be published in May 2013.

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