Identity Defying Biology

Gender Dysphoria

What is Gender Dysphoria?

Gender identity is the gender someone believes themselves to be and those who have gender dysphoria are not content with their biological sex otherwise known as transgender. Biologically a person may be born with another sex than that of their gender identity and being transgender is not a mental illness but the stress and anxiety that might weigh on a person who feels they have the wrong body can have negative impacts on their lives. Gender dysphoria is the stress, depression and other negative emotions that may come with gender idenity issues. If a person feels they are born in the wrong body and have enough stress and depression that it interferes with their day-to-day lives, then treatment should be sought out (Meyer, 2005).

It is important to remember that gender identity is different than sexuality preference of a person and is, rather than who they prefer to have relationships or sex with, a reflection of what gender they believe themselves as in their own minds.

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What causes Gender Dysphoria?

Experts have not isolated a cause for gender dysphoria but most agree that it could be based on biological factors such as hormones. Experts do not rule out that there could also be social factors that contribute to gender identity issues (Zucker, 2013).
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Treatment Options for Gender Dysphoria

Treatment for gender dysphoria is primarily to help a person with gender identity disorders feel more comfortable and less stressed with their situations. Treatment can be more psychiatric focused with talk therapy and antidepressants or it can also be more medically focused with hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgeries.

Myths about Gender Dysphoria

A few of the common myths and misconceptions related to gender dysphoria are:

People choose to be transgender. FALSE. Most experts believe that gender dysphoria has a biological basis (Blunden & Dale, 2009).

All people who are transgender want to change their body to have the sexual organs of the other sex. FALSE. Not all people who have gender dysphoria want to have gender reassignment surgery. Many cases of extreme gender dysphoria will feel the need for surgical alteration but many transgender individuals live healthy lives with the body they were born with.

Transgender individuals are homosexuals. FALSE. Sexuality is an independent variable to gender identity. A person's sexual orientation is not changed because they feel born in the wrong body (Zucker, 2013).

Seek support for Gender Dysphoria

Treatment for issues related to gender dysphoria is important to get for anyone suffering from negative emotional effects of gender identity issues. A master's degree in a behavioral science field with studies focusing on sexual disorders would be the minimum credentials needed for a professional qualified to treat adult gender dysphoria issues. Treatment for children with gender dysphoria issues would include additional training in childhood and adolescent developmental psychology. Medical doctors who specialize in hormone treatments and plastic surgeons who specialize in gender reassignment can also be vital in treating severe cases of gender dysphoria (Meyer, 2005).
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Blunden, P., & Dale, J. (2009). Gender dysphoria: time for positive thinking. Mental Health Practice, 12(7), 16-19.

Meyer, W. (2005). The standards of care for gender identity disorders, sixth version. Minneapolis, MN: Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association.

Zucker, K. K., Cohen-Kettenis, P., Drescher, J., Meyer-Bahlburg, H., Pfäfflin, F., & Womack, W. (2013). Memo Outlining Evidence for Change for Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-5. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 42(5), 901-914.