Gender Dysphoria

What is Gender Dysphoria? Should I be concerned?


Gender Dysphoria is a rare condition characterized by an incongruity between biological sex and gender identity. Individuals with Gender Dysphoria experience distress related to their biological sex and express frequently a desire to change their gender with surgical or hormonal means and tend to identify themselves and behave accordingly as belonging to the opposite gender (Rajkumar, 2014).

Possible causes of Gender Dysphoria (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014)

  • Biological theories - prenatal hormones on brain development
  • Psychosocial theories - role played by parents and encouragement
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Hypothalamus - cluster of cells plays role in sexual behaviors

Treatment options for Gender Dysphoria

Talk with Dr. Klein today - Therapists can help individuals clarify their gender identity and their desire for treatment.

Cross-sex hormone therapy - stimulates development of secondary sex characteristics and helps to suppress characteristics of the birth sex. Estrogens are used to feminize hormone therapy for male-to-female. Testosterone is used in female-to-male individuals to induce masculinization.

Full-time real-life experience - individuals who wish for sex reassignment surgery will spend up to a year, or more living full-time in their desired gender. Even if you do not want surgery or hormone therapy, you can choose the option of living full-time.

Sex reassignment surgery - This option requires a series of surgeries and hormone treatments which will provide the genitalia and secondary sex characteristics of the desired gender.

(Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014)

"Gender reassignment surgery should not take place unless the surgeon has received referrals from two separate gender psychiatrists. If applied properly, this stipulation should avert the possibility that gender reassignment surgery is subsequently regretted and surgery to revert to the original gender is requested. No gender surgery should take place without proper psychological evaluation (Selvaggi, & Bellringer 2011, para 4).


  • Gender-nonconforming behavior and identities are a result of something the parents did
  • If you just made them behave like a proper boy/girl, it would fix the "problem"
  • You are whatever your genitalia says you are

How do I find help if I have gender dysphoria?

There are many ways to receive support and help if you have gender dysphoria. The first place to start is the huge amount of information which is available on websites. These pages have lots of information about gender dysphoria and the treatments for it. They can put you in touch with other people who have had similar feelings and problems. There is lots of support for family and friends as well, to help them understand what you are going through.

Visiting your doctor would be another good start. Your doctor will want to know all about how you are feeling, and how long it has been going on. They will ask about exactly what type of help you wish to receive. They may refer you for counselling to help your mind get to grips with the way you feel. Professional help may help you decide what you wish to do about having treatment to change your gender.


Feldman, Jamie, and Katherine Spencer. "Gender dysphoria in a 39-year-old man." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 7 Jan. 2014: 49+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Feb. 2016.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rajkumar, Ravi Philip. "Gender identity disorder and schizophrenia: neurodevelopmental disorders with common causal mechanisms?" Schizophrenia Research and Treatment (2014). Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Feb. 2016.

Selvaggi, G., & Bellringer, J. (2011). Gender reassignment surgery: an overview. Nature Reviews Urology, 8(5), 274+. Retrieved from