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Transgender Argumentative Essay Sample: Transgenderism - a Disease or a Disorder?

As a part of the fast-evolving society that uses cutting-edge technologies and has access to the relevant yet previously unknown information, we have all the necessary tools to explore, study, investigate, and learn how to embrace the contradictions of our existence. Moreover, it is our civil and moral duty to facilitate the progress we have achieved over the last century. For this reason, the controversial gender topics such as discrimination of transgenders, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals should be not only thoroughly researched but also widely popularized. If you keep asking “what is transgender?” while looking up an androgyny definition and cannot recognize a transgender pride flag, it means you lack sufficient knowledge to form an objective opinion about one of the most vital issues of the LGBT community.

How do you define transgenderism: a disease or a disorder? This question has impelled the government officials and researchers to elucidate the nature of this identity label. According to the transgender definition provided by the American Psychological Association, this umbrella term is used to identify “persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth”(“Transgender people, gender identity and gender expression,” n.d.). At the same time, transgenderism has been henceforth deemed a mental disorder, but the recent studies have urged the WHO to reconsider such definition in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). So which is transgenderism: a disease or a disorder? Despite being classified as a mental illness, transgenderism is neither a mental disease nor a disorder but a human state that requires legal depathologization.

Being transgender can no longer be viewed as a psychological condition since the new evidence suggests it is not the case. A mental disorder is characterized as a psychological state causing a consequential distress or disability (“Transgender people, gender identity and gender expression,” n.d.). Therefore, a transgender mental illness is seen as a psychological disorder resulting in a pathological condition. However, the findings of the field study of 250 transgender adults expose the fallacy of the statement that transgender is a mental illness by proving that all types of dysfunction and distress were caused by violence and social rejection (Robles et al., 2016). Since the primary cause of a mental distress experienced by many transgender individuals lies in the external social factors such as rejection and violence, the WHO should exclude it from the ICD. The results of the study at Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz proves that it is wrongful to classify transgenderism as a mental illness, which justifies the necessity to depathologize it.

High rates of depression and anxiety in children who suffer from transgender mistreatment cannot attribute to the definition of a mental disease either due to the social factors responsible for the detected symptoms of distress. The results of a recent study show that transgender children aged from three to twelve years who grew up in a supportive environment do not experience greater mental health problems (Olson, Durwood, DeMeules, & McLaughlin, 2016). The findings prove that transgender children who succeeded in social transition and received support from their family are less inclined to endure psychopathological consequences of social rejection. The study indicates lower rates of psychopathology among those children whose gender expression has been accepted and supported (Olson et al., 2016). Therefore, transgenderism cannot belong to the mental disease category as the abnormalities common for mental disorders are not observed among transgender children.

Another misconception that led people to consider transgenderism a mental disorder was based on the belief that it was caused by a hormone imbalance. As a result, a person experiencing body dysphoria and gender incongruence was automatically labeled as mentally ill. However, the study of transgender youth aged from 12 to 24 revealed that the physiologic parameters of the participants were within normal range, which contradicts the assumption of transgenderism resulting from a hormone disproportion (Olson, Schrager, Belzer, Simons, & Clark, 2015). The findings of this observational study also prove that transgender youth recognize gender discomfort they experience by the age of eight but disclose to their family by the age of 17 (Olson et al., 2015). Since the study showed that approximately half of the participants acknowledged considering suicide and 30 percent attempted to commit it at least once, the authors conclude that depression and suicidal thoughts accompany transyouths when they experience traumatized social transition and stigmatization (Olson et al., 2015). Consequently, the remaining belief that hormone imbalance is accessorial to transgenderism can no longer persist and neither can a gender identity pathologized as a disease or disorder.

Even though limitless human potential has been exploited to uncover the universal mysteries and expose enduring myths, some of us remain inveterate towards new discoveries. Ironically, our narrow-mindedness and apathy to accept new truths often result in spreading prejudice and stereotypes. For this reason, it is crucial to research controversial topics like transgenderism so that no more bias exists and no more people are ostracized. Waving a transgender pride flag and participating in heated discussions over gender topics are not enough to solve the issues transgender individuals are facing. The present studies indicate that transgenders who experience social stigma of having a mental disorder are not in fact mentally ill. The findings reveal that prevalent violence and social rejection raise the levels of depression and suicidality among these people since the early age. Consequently, the precarious status transgenders currently maintain should be reconsidered to avoid human rights violations and guarantee the appropriate health care. To incite further research, transgenderism should be depathologized and approached with equal professionalism and benevolence.