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What is gender dysphoria?

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What is gender dysphoria?

• Refers to feelings of distress and discomfort when one's assigned gender does not match their gender identity
• May also include feelings of distress/ discomfort over traditional gender roles expected of their assigned gender
• Effects of gender dysphoria can differ from one person to the next
• For some people, these feelings may affect self-image and behaviour
• Others might desire to alter their gender expression

Symptoms of gender dysphoria

1.

Desire to no longer have the primary sex characteristics of birth-assigned gender

2.

Desire to be treated as the other gender

3.

Desire to have primary, secondary sex characteristics of preferred gender identity

4.

Insistence that they are of a different gender

5.

Preference for cross-sex roles

6.

Strong rejection of items associated with assigned gender

7.

Wearing clothing associated with opposite gender

Diagnosis

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria as an adolescent, adult, or child, an individual must experience clinically significant distress or impairments in social, work, and other important life areas. These feelings must last for at least 6 months and be accompanied by some of the symptoms.
The symptoms exhibited in children might be different from those in adolescents and adults.

Causes

Exact causes of gender dysphoria are not entirely understood, but include:
1. Genetics, hormonal influences during prenatal development
2. Environmental factors
Onset of gender dysphoria is often during early childhood. The sex assigned at birth often determines how they are raised and how others interact with them. As they grow older, there might be a mismatch between their gender identity and assigned sex. This might lead to gender dysphoria.

Treatment

1.

Medical options (e.g. cross-sex hormones/ gender-affirming medical procedures)

2.

Psychotherapy - to help people feel more comfortable in their identity and expression of gender

Challenges

1.

People who are gender non-conforming and their families are often at an increased risk of stigma and discrimination

2.

Those who pursue medical treatments may face difficulties in accessing healthcare/ insurance coverage

3.

Feelings of dysphoria and lack of social support leads to mental distress and issues

Coping

1.

Find support

2.

Reduce discomfort

3.

Care for yourself

4.

Affirm your identity

5.

Plan for the future

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