Overview of Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

Transgender people must undergo psychiatric evaluation before electing transgender surgery and before taking hormones. The American Psychiatric Association defines the criteria for GID in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There are two essential criteria. The person must demonstrate a consistent identification with the other gender, which is apparent in the desire to be a member of the other sex. And the person must demonstrate a consistent aversion to his or her sex and its associated gender role, which is apparent in the desire to escape it. GID causes duress and impairment on social and personal levels.

GID is distinguished from the behavior of some people who do not support stereotypical gender roles and who do not feel an aversion to their genitals or their sex. The desire to transition to the other sex, where the associated gender role is comfortable, by electing transgender surgery or hormone therapy is the distinguishing factor.

When evaluating a patient's readiness for surgery or hormone therapy, a mental health care provider relies on the criteria set forth in The Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders, by the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA).

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Aug 2005

Last Modified: 18 Nov 2011