Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) creates a standard for diagnosis amongst mental health professionals. The current version is the DSM-IV-TR, but the APA is currently working on the DSM-V slated for publication in May 2013. But what does the DSM have to do with gender?
A few weeks ago, I went down to the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in my city and filled out the paperwork for my name change. It was a fairly painless process, and I received the court order signed by the judge within a week and a half. But once you do have your name changed legally, how do you go about changing your documentation: your driver’s license, your bank accounts, your insurance?
Children are often much more willing and able to explore gender than adults. Societal rules are more relaxed in childhood, so children can be open and able to experiment without the risk of feeling the pressures to conform. Some parents and teachers do not feel comfortable with this exploration, but many do. Some of these children are trans*, others go on to be satisfied with the gender congruent with their biological sex.
On Wednesday, I went down to the courthouse to change my name. After all my research and apprehension, it was a very quick process. After leaving my phone in the car and leading my best friend through the maze of downtown to the courthouse, we managed to find the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. A woman came over and asked what I needed, then handed me three forms and helped me to fill them out. She informed me of the fees involved ($41 plus a fee for the credit transaction), told me a judge would look over it soon and the order would be out to me within two to three weeks, and we were done. We walked out of the courthouse, and my best friend danced around me on the steps.