Gender identity is a person’s sense of who they are and how they see themselves either as a man, woman, both, neither or anywhere on the gender spectrum, they believe they belong. This might be the same as, or different from, the sex they were assigned at birth. Whilst most people will identify as male or female, which can also be referred to as binary, other people think of themselves as agender, gender diverse or non-conforming and this can be referred to as non-binary.
Gender dysphoria is a feeling of unease distress or discomfort that a person feels when they believe their gender is different to the one they were assigned when they were born. Transgender and gender diverse people can also experience feelings of gender dysphoria during their lifetime.
Many people who have gender dysphoria can have an intense and enduring desire to live a life that is compatible with the gender they identify with. Some will do this by changing their behaviours or appearance, whilst others may choose to use hormones or have gender reassignment surgery.
It is important to remember that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, but that it can cause some people to develop mental health problems because of the way people perceive or treat them. Gender dysphoria has nothing to do with sexual orientation so can affect people who identify as asexual, homosexual, bisexual or any other sexual orientation.
Signs of Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria will cause both children and adults to have a different inner and outer gender identity that will last at least six months, and will be identifiable by no less than two of the following:
· A change in their physical appearance, mannerisms and behaviours
· They will show a strong desire to be treated and referred to as another gender
· Have a strong belief of feeling like another gender
· A desire to change their genitals to match the gender they identify with
Gender dysphoria can make it extremely difficult for people in all aspects of their daily life and activities, this can include:
· Being unable to dress the way they want at school or work
· Using public toilets or changing rooms
· Suffering harassment or abuse
· People refusing to use different pronouns when referring to them or a different name they have chosen
· Feeling pressure to accept their assigned birth sex
· Being afraid to express their identity for fear of how people will react or treat them
· Having problems at work or school causing them to under achieve
· Relationship problems
· Neglecting their wellbeing
· Becoming withdrawn and socialising less
Associated Mental Health Conditions
Having gender dysphoria can have a negative impact on someone’s mental health leaving them feeling isolated and misunderstood which can lead to:
· Low self-esteem and self-worth
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you feel you are struggling with any aspect of your gender or sexual identity you should consult your doctor who can refer you to a mental health professional. They can help you to explore and understand your gender identity and find the role that feels right for you.
Treatment can include changes in gender expression and role, behavioural therapy as well as hormone treatment or reassignment surgery. Your treatment will be tailored to your specific needs. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.