In The Life


An announcement was recently made by the American Psychiatric Association regarding the names work group members that would be mandated with the task of reviewing information developed to the institution’s fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on patients suffering from Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Dr. Kenneth Zucker was appointed the Gender and Sexual identity disorders chairperson. Dr. Zucker is popularly known from his treatment works children with gender variances through reparative. He considered this a curative approach and is largely considered as an effective treatment choice by mental health professionals, whether tantamount or ill advised to child abuse. The appointment of Dr. Zucker in the committee was based on his research and clinical care expertise. Ultimately, Dr. Zucker’s inclusion as a member of the committee caused significant controversy.


In the “In The Life” episode, “Revising Gender,” the appointment of Dr. Kenneth Zucker to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) subcommittee is regarded a controversial issue by trans activists and allies. Through “In The Life” comes an overview of the controversy rage from trans activists and allies over the inclusion of Dr. Kenneth Zucker’s Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM committee. This controversy raises significant efforts aimed at removing the Gender Identity Disorder consideration or reclassifying it. At the risk of making sweeping and oversimplifying generalizations, trans activists and allies are placing their reliance Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis an assessment can be made on surgery hormones, etc. The challenge however rises with the de-stigmatization of trans activists and allies by both Dr. Kenneth Zucker and the medical profession.

The APA (American Psychiatric Association) consequently established a task force on matters concerning Gender Identity Order treatment. This move was fostered to address the issues relating to the lacking of evidence-based treatment as well as determining whether guidelines have to be developed. The creation of the task force was created through APA committee recommendation on Bisexual, gay, and lesbian issues. The committee requested the task force to make itself available for communication with the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual subcommittee on the Gender Identity Disorder controversy, something that can resource the task force on diagnostic issues.

In particular, following the DSM-V work membership, the American Psychiatric Association received numerous inquiries concerning the appointment of Dr. Kenneth Zucker to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) subcommittee rather than diagnostic criteria and DSM text issues. While treating and diagnosing, mental disorders remain inextricably linked, separating the diagnostic mission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual work groups is in particular fundamental. The position of many relevant parties to these issues maintain that even though Dr. Zucker is an expert in the gender identity disorder field, he is ethically obligated to recluse himself from work group participation or a member of the task force.

Gender Identity Disorder Method

At times referred to as transsexualism, gender identity disorder diagnoses the conflict between an individual’s actual identities against his or her actual gender. Dr. Zucker coined this term to describe individuals who feel they have wrong body and sex characteristics. Dr. Zucker based his method of diagnosis on mental issues published by the APA. He defined the disorder as a persistent, severe discomfort feeling regarding one’s anatomical sex accompanied with the desire to be changed into the opposite sex. For example, an individual with male physical gender qualities may act and feel like a girl and desires to be transformed into one. The method of identifying the condition lay behind its propensity of affecting young children rather than adults. He maintains that parents of affected children may begin to notice acts stereotypic to the opposite sex. This may involve a boy with an interest in wearing female clothing or may be a girl who adorns boy clothing and plays a “tough guy act”. Consequently, these children endure a great deal of rejection from their families, their peers, and adult caretakers. Notably, these children come from families with psychopathology cases in one or both parents.

Zucker’s Goal

Preventing transsexualism and homosexuality was the main goal of Dr. Zucker’s study. As he stated, “my studies mainly focus on preventing transsexualism”. Zucker admits that the transsexual women are not much of a new phenomenon in this field. However, public emergence of feminine males has led to the creation of complications for psychologists, motivating others towards efforts of preventing further emergence. Zucker chronicles the disagreeing premises that erupt between physicians and psychologists concerning an individual’s gender transition. This disagreement comes over whether transsexuals should be given the go-ahead to align their inner identities with their bodies.

Clinicians have nevertheless referred to Zucker’s ideology as an aspect disturbingly close to homosexual reparative therapy. In this case, the prevention of transsexualism has been taken to contribute to the reduction of GID chances in adults. One clinician, Phyllis Burke maintains that Zucker’s therapeutic intervention goals amount to child abuse. However, little evidence exists to suggest that Zucker’s kinds of psychological treatments have a significant effect when an individual’s gender identity is changed even though some treatment centers continually promote this ideology as an aim. Zucker nevertheless maintains that a therapist has to place his reliance on accumulated clinical wisdom to utilize largely untested conceptual models to inform treatment decisions and approaches.

Adult Transsexualism and Transgender and Transsexual Community

Zucker established that Sexual orientation, age, and sex pose significant relationship with transsexual psychological functioning. Contrary to common belief, Zucker maintains that few differences regarding psychological functioning can be found between adult and adolescent transsexuals, apart from a clinical scale difference. In this case, Zucker was able to establish that more adults post high clinical range scales in the clinical range compared to adolescents with gender identity disorder. He advises that medical intervention should be administered early and should therefore, be recommended to individuals in the adolescent stage. In this case, he considers therapeutic intervention to help children and adolescents become comfortable with their body therefore, preventing gender identity disorder in the adult stage.

On social issues, Dr. Zucker is regarded as an advocate for the transgender and transsexual community. Dr. Zucker works to lower gender dysphoria, lessen ostracism, reduce psychiatric co-morbidity in children, and make them become more comfortable with their status. Therapy with an affected individual aims at identifying and resolving underlying factors, encouraging identification of one’s birth assigned sex and encouraging friendships of the same sex. Zucker also advises on parent counseling by setting limits on cross gender behaviors from children and encouraging sex typical activities. Dr. Zucker can therefore, in this case be considered an advocate of the transgender and transsexual community. In his own view, he acts to make a change in the best interests of society.


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