Your Gender is a Disorder???
That Can't be Right!
What is Gender Dysphoria? What Causes Gender Dysphoria?
While the exact cause of gender dysphoria is unknown, it is theorized that it may be caused by genetic abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and childhood development. Problems in typical human bonding and child rearing are also thought to be probable causes (Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria, 2014).
What to Look for...
Primary Symptoms Can Include:
- Insisting that they are of the opposite gender
- Feeling extreme distress at the thought of the physical changes of puberty
- Insisting or hoping that the child's genitals will change
- Refusing to wear clothes of their gender / Wanting to wear clothes of the opposite gender
- Boys: Sitting while urinating (refusing otherwise), Girls: Trying to stand up while urinating (Refusing otherwise).
- Disliking or refusing to take part in "typical" games or activities that ones gender would partake in.
*While children with gender dysphoria might display some or all of theses symptoms, in most cases, behavior such as those listed above are just part of childhood and do not mean a child has gender dysphoria*
Teenagers & Adults
*If symptoms continue into adolescences and adulthood, it is likely one is not going through just a phase*
- Without a doubt, your gender identity is at odds with your biological sex
- Comfortable with oneself when in the gender of their preference
- Strong desire to hide certain attributes that come with ones gender (breasts, body hair, muscle tone)
- Strong dislike, or urge to change or be rid of ones biological genitalia
(Gender Dysphoria, 2014).
Assessment & Treatment
Diagnosis is not as simple as it may seem, one must be seen several times, by several specialists over a short period of time. A typical assessment can determine if one has gender dysphoria, and will include the following:
- Is there a clear mismatch between ones biological sex and gender identity?
- Does one have a strong desire to change physical characteristics?
- How is one coping with the difficulties of a possible mismatch?
- How have ones feeling and behaviors developed over time?
- Does one have any support?
Treating gender dysphoria differs through the ages, below we will see treatment options for both children and teenagers and adults.
Once the assessment has been completed and a diagnosis of gender identity has been found, there are many options for children.
- Family therapy
- Individual child therapy
- Parent counseling and support
- Group work for children and parents
- Regular reviews to monitor gender identity development
- Hormone Therapy
GnRH (gonadotrophin-realeasing hormome therapy is a form therapy that is very beneficial when the parents are in full support of the child's treatment and possible gender transition that a child may encounter when older. With GnRH a child's upcoming puberty and physical changes are put on hold, this allows families to properly treat and assess what options they have with their child's disorder. All effects are reversible (Gender Dysphoria, 2014).
*Teenagers & Adults
As a patient with gender identity crisis turns 18, the options for treatment change, at this point more permanent and even surgical treatments are explored
- Speech therapy - used to alter voice
- Hair removal treatments
- Peer support groups
- Family support groups
- Hormone therapy
Cross sex hormone treatments are used for adults. This mean testosterone for trans males and estrogen for trans women (Gender dysphoria, 2014).
Myths & Misconceptions!
1. Myth: It is known what causes transgenderism or transexualism
Truth: There is no pin point answer on what causes gender dysphoria, however it is known that neuro-development of the brain prior to birth and no scientific evidence linking child abuse or other negative experiences is at fault.
2. Myth: People choose to be transgendered or transsexual
Truth: People who identify with gender disorders do not choose to be this way, this is just another variation in diversity in today's population
3. Myth: Those with gender dysphoria want to change their birth sex.
Truth: Not all trans-identified people want to change the bodies they were born with, while some might seek hormone treatment, surgical intervention is not always the end result.
4. Myth: It is just a phase
Truth: As mentioned above, many childhood cases can simply be part of growing up, however, most suffering from gender dysphoria feel a sense of difference in their own bodies from an early age, and once symptoms continue into later adolescence more appropriate treatment is available.
5. Myth: All children who exhibit cross-gender behavior are transsexuals
Truth: 80-90% of children who exhibit cross gender symptoms will no longer exhibit them into adolescence. This is a normal part of childhood and adolescence, further behavior into adulthood permits a diagnosis for transsexuals after thorough assessment.
6. Myth: Transsexual youth can be cured
Truth: Without support from family and those around, youth that are told can be cured and are deemed "mentally ill" by the community around them are seen to have higher suicide rates as well as depression. They can also be found partaking in illegal activities such as drug use, and gang involvement.
(Six common misconceptions about gender identity, n.d.).
Six Common Misconceptions About Gender Identity. (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2014, from http://www.teachers.ab.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments
Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria. (2014, April, 29). Retrieved August 4, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Genderdysphoria/pages/Symptoms.aspx