Report of the APA Task Force on GID

Mon July 02, 2012


For Information Contact:
Eve Herold, 703-907-8640                                                                                                                                                                                Release No. 12-33
Erin Connors, 703-907-8562

Report of the APA Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder Calls for Development of Practice Recommendations and Official Position Supporting the Rights of Gender Variant Persons

 ARLINGTON, Va. (July 2, 2012) — A report from the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) recommends the development of clinical practice guidelines as a resource for psychiatrists caring for patients who are transgender, and the development of position statements regarding the health care and civil rights of people who are gender variant or transitioning gender. The Task Force report, approved by the APA Board of Trustees as a Resource Document in September, 2011, was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The Task Force was charged with reviewing the scientific literature regarding GID at different ages in the lifecycle, examining the research and clinical evidence relating to treatment, and providing an opinion as to whether or not APA should develop practice recommendations.  The literature regarding treatment of gender dysphoria in individuals with disorders of sex development was also assessed.

The Task Force concluded that the quality of research evidence pertaining to most aspects of treatment for GID is not robust, but that clinical consensus is sufficient to support the development of recommendations for the clinical management of GID in all age groups.

The Task Force also recommended that the APA create a separate mechanism for assessing the mental health needs of individuals with disorders of sex development (DSDs, intersex conditions), whether or not gender dysphoria is present.

In addition, the report also recommended that the APA issue statements clarifying its positions on several issues, including supporting the medical necessity of treatment for GID, defining the ethical issues regarding treatments for minors with GID or other manifestations of gender variance, and  supporting the civil rights of persons of any age who are gender variant, transgender, or transsexual. 

The Task Force was formed to address concerns different from the diagnostic aspects of GID that were being considered as part of the development of the fifth edition of the DSM, due for publication in 2013. Although psychiatric diagnosis and treatment are linked, they are separate aspects of clinical mental health practice, and the DSM does not make recommendations for treatment. 

The APA first introduced GID as a diagnostic condition in the 1980 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but has not taken any official position on treatment or other concerns of transgender persons. 

Task Force Chair William Byne, M.D. , Ph.D., noted that “the American Medical Association has adopted a resolution supporting insurance coverage for medically necessary treatment for individuals diagnosed with GID,” and recommended that “the APA adopt a similar position, and issue other statements in support of the rights of gender variant persons.” 

For use in specific policy development by the APA and other health care organizations, the Task Force report includes an Appendix identifying health care policy and civil rights issues important to transgender persons and their treating clinicians.

Members of the Task Force include APA members William Byne M.D., Ph.D. (Chair); A. Evan Eyler, M.D., MPH; Edgardo J. Menvielle, M.D., M.S.H.S.; Richard R. Pleak, M.D., and D. Andrew Tompkins, M.D. (Early Career Psychiatrist). Non-APA members were Susan J. Bradley, M.D., Eli Coleman, Ph.D., Richard Green, M.D., J.D., and Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Dr. rer. nat. APA staff included William E. Narrow, M.D., M.P.H., and Erin Dalder-Alpher.

The full-text article is available online.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental health including substance use disorders.  Visit the APA at


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