What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria refers to the psychological stress that occurs when one’s gender identity doesn’t match the biological sex assigned to them at birth. For example, someone born with a female body may identify as a male, neither male nor female, or some combination of both. In the past, medical specialists labeled gender dysphoria as “gender identity disorder.” However, they have realized in more recent years that not identifying with one’s biological gender does not constitute a mental illness. Instead, the problem stems from the associated experiences of discomfort, depression, anxiety, and stress that one might feel daily.
What are the Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria?
For many, gender dysphoria begins during early childhood and continues throughout adulthood. While there are no physical signs of the condition, those experiencing it often display various behaviors that are distinct for children, teenagers, and adults. Some of these behaviors can include:
- Believing they’re of the opposite sex
- Disliking clothes typically worn by their sex or wanting to wear clothes typically worn by the opposite sex
- Disliking or refusing to engage in activities associated with their sex and wanting to engage in activities related to the opposite sex
- Wanting to play with children of the opposite sex
- Wanting their genitals to change
- Feelings of extreme distress at the physical changes caused by puberty
Teens and adults
- Knowing without a doubt that your gender identity does not match your biological sex
- You’re only comfortable when using your preferred gender identity
- You have a strong desire to remove or hide physical signs of your biological sex
- A desire to get rid of or a strong dislike of the genitalia of your biological sex
Please know that these are not extensive lists of the behaviors that those experiencing gender dysphoria often exhibit.