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Dianne Berg and transgender people

Dianne Ranae Berg (born 1964) is an American psychologist. Berg’s work has focused on transgender and gender diverse adults and youth. She also studies compulsive sexual behavior and nonconsensual sexual behaviors.

 She is a member of the Child and Adolescent Committee of WPATH.


Berg grew up in Moose Lake, Minnesota. Berg was a standout volleyball player at University of Missouri, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1985. Berg earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health.

She serves as an Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota. She and Katie Spencer are Co-Directors of the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, a division of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health. They developed the Gender Affirmative Lifespan Approach (GALA).

2018 Atlantic article

Berg was quoted in a 2018 Atlantic article by Jesse Singal on the ex-transgender movement. Similar to the ex-gay movement, the people who promote the medicalized concepts of “desistance” and “detransition” believe that being trans is a disease that can resolve on it own or through medical intervention. Proponents of these loaded terms make several assumptions that are not value-neutral and therefore not scientific.

Singal later presents Berg and fellow clinicians Laura Edwards-Leeper and Erica Anderson as therapists who have “concerns” that more affirming care for minors may lead to negative transition outcomes:

Clinicians are still wrestling with how to define affirming care, and how to balance affirmation and caution when treating adolescents. “I don’t want to be a gatekeeper,” Dianne Berg, a co-director of the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, at the University of Minnesota, told me. “But I also worry that in opening the gates, we’re going to have more adolescents that don’t engage in the reflective work needed in order to make sound decisions, and there might end up being more people when they are older that are like, Oh, hmm—now I am not sure about this.”


“Under the motivation to be supportive and to be affirming and to be nonstigmatizing, I think the pendulum has swung so far that now we’re maybe not looking as critically at the issues as we should be,” the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health’s Dianne Berg told me. 


Singal, Jesse (July 2018). When a child says she’s transThe Atlantic.

Selected publications

Becker-Warner R, Candelario-Pérez L, Rider GN, Berg, D (2021). “Childhood gender nonconformity.” In H. L. Armstrong (Ed.), Encyclopedia of sex and sexuality: Understanding biology, psychology, and culture (pp. 110-112). ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-61069-874-0

Spencer KG, Berg DR, Bradford NJ, Vencill J, Tellawi G, Rider GN (2021). The Gender Affirmative Lifespan Approach: A developmental model for clinical work with transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents, and adults. Psychotherapy, 58(1), 37-49. 

Munns R Dickenson J, Candelario-Perez L, Kovic A, Rider GN, Berg D, Coleman E, Girard A (2021). Psychotherapies in the treatment of CSBD. In R. Balon & P. Briken (Eds.), Compulsive sexual behavior disorder: Understanding, assessment, and treatment (pp. 109-128). American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 978-1615372195

McGuire J, Berg D, Catalpa J, Morrow QJ, Fish JN, Rider GN, Steensma T, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Spencer K (2020). Utrecht Gender Dysphoria Scale – Gender Spectrum (UGDS-GS): Construct validity among transgender, nonbinary, and LGBQ samples. International Journal of Transgender Health21(2), 194-208.

Bradford NJ, Dewitt J, Decker J, Berg DR, Spencer KG, Ross MW (2019). Sex education and transgender youth: “Trust means material by and for queer and trans people.” Sex Education19(1), 84-98.

Strang JF, Janssen A, Tishelman A, Leibowitz SF, Kenworthy L, McGuire JK, Edwards-Leeper L, Mazefsky CA, Rofey D, Bascom J, Caplan R, Gomez-Lobo V, Berg D, Zaks Z, Wallace GL, Wimms H, Pine-Twaddell E, Shumer D, Register-Brown K, Sadikova E, Anthony LG (2018). Letter to the Editor. Revisiting the link: Evidence of the rates of autism in studies of gender diverse individuals. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(11), 885-887.

Bradford NJ, Rider GN, Catalpa J, Morrow QJ, Berg DR, Spencer, KG, McGuire J (2019). Creating gender: A thematic analysis of genderqueer narratives. International Journal of Transgenderism, online ahead of print May 25, 2018.

Catalpa JM, McGuire JK, Fish JN, Bradford NJ, Rider GN, Berg, DR (2019). Predictive validity of the genderqueer identity scale (GQI): Differences between genderqueer and transgender individuals. International Journal of Transgenderism. 10.1080/15532739.2018.1528196

Milhausen RR et al, Eds. (2019). Handbook of sexuality-related measures (4th ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-1138740846

  • McGuire JK, Berg D, Catalpa JM, Rider GN, Steensma TD (2020). “Genderqueer Identity Scale.” pp. 355-359.
  • McGuire JK, Rider, GN, Catalpa JM, Steensma TD, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Berg D. “Utrecht Gender Dysphoria Scale—Gender Spectrum.” pp. 359-362
  • McGuire JK, Berg D, Catalpa JM. “Genderqueer identity scale.”

AK Tatum, J Catalpa, NJ Bradford, A Kovic, DR Berg Examining identity development and transition differences among binary transgender and genderqueer nonbinary (GQNB) individuals. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

D Berg, L Edwards-Leeper Child and family assessment. American Psychological Association


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