Boyhood Effeminacy: It's Diablogical!

In the Sedgwick piece "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay," she states how the decision to drop homosexuality as a psychological pathology from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) wasn't approved until 1973. That in itself was disconcerting, but what's even more troubling is the revised edition's substitute for homosexuality. The version of the DSM that was published in 1980 had an entry labeled as "gender identity disorder of childhood." This "disorder" was identifiable by numerous symptoms exhibited by boys and girls. The prerequisite for girls to have acquired the disorder was the belief that she has or will eventually grow a penis. Cause for concern in this scenario may be appropriate, but it seems the authors of the manual overreacted regarding the symptoms expressed by young boys. The symptoms include the belief that it would be better to not have penis, instances of cross-dressing, or the incredibly vague "a compelling desire to participate in the games and pastimes of girls."

According to the DSM, I have exhibited many of the symptoms during my childhood that would suggest that I have succumbed to psychopathology. I identify as straight, but I have always been sensitive, opting for playing with stuffed animals or having tea parties as opposed to entering competitive activities or playing sports. Fortunately, neither my parents nor my caretakers expressed any sort of concern revolving around my boyhood sensitivity. I don't believe that reading the DSM would have persuaded them in any way, either.

What's most troubling to me (besides the lack of resistance against this new substitute for homosexuality in the DSM) is that the basis for psychology is almost all purely speculation. There are some psychologists that believe that memory itself does not exist. So how can the human psyche, with its infinite depth and complexity, be illustrated, arranged and catalogued within a manual? The belief that masculinity belongs in the male sphere and femininity in the feminine is completely problematic. It's hard for me to understand how people cannot see the benefits in both traits; femininity consistently being demonized, especially in men. If anything, the acceptance of my inherent femininity has granted me with rich social skills, such as a deeper sense of empathy and the ability to more easily relate to others. I wish it were possible for the masses to understand that people are just different, and that attempting to catalogue the wealth of human difference will only further divide us instead of helping us relate to one another

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