The reality of trans pathologization in Russia
By Yana Kirey-Sitnikova
Note: The article contains descriptions of violence and involuntary medical treatment.
Psychiatric treatment of transgender people has recently received attention in media and medical literature in response to strong international campaigns for depathologization, organized by transgender activists. The debates grew even stronger surrounding the drafting of the 5th version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which resulted in the replacement of “Gender Identity Disorder” with arguably less stigmatizing “Gender Dysphoria”, as well as current drafting of the 11th version of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Psychiatrization of gender variability has been criticized as nothing more than social control, on the basis of the poor validity of diagnostic criteria, cross-cultural evidence, etc. Focusing on global theoretical issues, the analysis of many authors uncritically examines the impact of the diagnosis on the lives of transgender people; in particular, the legal and political contexts, especially in countries outside the USA and Europe. While social stigmatization associated with the pathologization of trans expression is central in these debates, the experience of transgender people in psychiatric institutions is less often discussed.