Now the shrinks are getting into the fray. The American Psychiatric Association is in the middle of massive revisions to its Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders. A proposal to relabel "gender identity disorder" as "gender incongruence" is sparking a heated dispute, but not along the usual fault lines. Today's culture war is a fight between those who want gender identity disorder to follow homosexuality all the way out of the mental disorder box, and those who prefer their human rights with public subsidies attached.
Many gender-fluid people live happily without ever seeing a psychologist, Oakland, Calif., psychologist Diane Ehrensaft -- who opposes any mental disorder around gender identity and expression in the manual -- told LiveScience. "Our job is to support children, adolescents and adults to be able to carve their own path."
There's just one problem with this progressive strategy: If gender identity is not a disorder, then insurance won't pay for sex-reassignment surgery or hormone therapy. How to keep the perks of having your orientation defined as a mental illness while losing the social stigma? Aye, there's the rub. The new human rights battle for the 21st century has begun.
(Maggie Gallagher is president of the National Organization for Marriage and has been a syndicated columnist for 14 years.)
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.