A Navy Seal Fights a Gender Battle

September 5, 2014
H. Steven Moffic, MD

"That brother is my sister," says the commander of a former Navy Seal who who has now transitioned into being a female.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE NEWS

Occasionally, I might recommend an upcoming news show if I think it is of psychiatric interest. I, by chance, just saw the preview for a CNN special tonight at 9 (ET) called, I believe, "Lady Valor Goes National".

It is the story of someone who was a Navy Seal for over 20 years who has now transitioned into being the female gender. She says, though, that her inner identity as a person remains the same, and that she will continue to fight for those who can't fight for themselves. Now, that fight will be for those struggling with their gender identity. She is getting support, even from a former commander, who apparently said: "That brother is my sister."

I worked for many years as the medical director in a clinic specializing in gender identity issues, and posted regular blogs here in years past on the transgendered. Over the years, psychiatry's view of this challenge has changed, so that the consensus is that this is a biologically-based gender dysphoria, though what to do with young children who convey some degree of gender identity fluidity is still controversial. All that is crystal clear is that these individuals of any age need the support of both society and psychiatry.

This former Navy Seal promises to teach us more on how to do so, and help us conquer or undo fears of the unknown and different.