What is Gender Dysphoria?
Here’s the Wiki explanation, that is pretty hard to understand. I’ll break it down though:
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. … Gender dysphoria is classified as a disorder under dual role transvestism in the 2017 ICD-10 CM. GID was reclassified to gender dysphoria by the DSM-5.
Those with gender dysphoria feel strongly that physically, they are not the gender they appear to be. Like a male having a penis, but wishing it was gone, and having genitalia of a woman. That’s the simplest way to explain it. She would have an enhanced desire to have a females body, and accepted to others as a female. She would feel her identity is female.
Feeling that your body doesn’t match your gender identity can cause some severe symptoms such as
- Severe distress
Gender dysphoria can be severe that presenting as the gender you do not feel to be can cause problems in your daily life.
Gender dysphoria is in the DMS and the ICD as a mental disorder, however, it’s the symptoms, such as anxiety and distress that qualify it as an illness. It also has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. It is no longer classified as a sexual disorder and now has a class of its ownThe treatment for gender dysphoria is to support the individual’s preferred gender through hormone therapy,
gender expression and role, or surgery.
Signs in children
- Disgust at their genitalia
- Social isolation from peers
- Anxiety, loneliness, depression
Signs in Adults
- Anxiety, depression, poor self esteem
- Suicide (41% have attempted suicide)**
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides for one overarching diagnosis of gender dysphoria with separate specific criteria for children and for adolescents and adults.
In adolescents and adults gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:
- A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
- A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
- A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
- A strong desire to be of the other gender
- A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
- A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender
- A strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that one is the other gender
- A strong preference for wearing clothes typical of the opposite gender
- A strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe play or fantasy play
- A strong preference for the toys, games or activities stereotypically used or engaged in by the other gender
- A strong preference for playmates of the other gender
- A strong rejection of toys, games and activities typical of one’s assigned gender
- A strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy
- A strong desire for the physical sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender
For children, cross-gender behaviors may start between ages 2 and 4, the same age at which most typically developing children begin showing gendered behaviors and interests. Gender atypical behavior is common among young children and may be part of normal development. Children who meet the criteria for gender dysphoria may or may not continue to experience it into adolescence and adulthood. Some research shows that children who had more intense symptoms and distress, who were more persistent, insistent and consistent in their cross-gender statements and behaviors, and who used more declarative statements (“I am a boy (or girl)” rather than “I want to be a boy (or girl)”) were more likely to become transgender adults.
** It was also found that suicide attempts were less common among transgender people who said their family ties had remained strong after they came out, but even transgender people at comparatively low risk were still much more likely to have attempted suicide than the general population
Criteria from the DSM-5