Understanding Gender Dysphoria
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‘I told my mum I thought I was really a girl. She told me, don’t be silly, you’ll grow out of it.’‘All my friends thought I was just one of the lads. I couldn’t tell them how I was really feeling. The only way I could survive was to pretend. I was living a lie.’
‘I couldn’t pretend any longer. I was feeling so depressed and frustrated, so I decided to take a risk and tell my family I was a transsexual. At first they didn’t believe me, they thought I was joking. Once they got over the initial shock, they have been understanding and supportive.’
Most people never question the gender they are assigned at birth. But for some people it is the most important question they can ask.
Those who feel they have been born into the wrong gender are often aware there is ‘something wrong’ early in childhood. Because society places great emphasis on sexual and gender classification, and on gender-appropriate behaviour, a child who senses that there is something wrong often feels very different from their peers and uncertain about their identity. The medical term now often used to describe anxiety or confusion about gender identity is ‘gender dysphoria’.
This feeling of being the wrong gender may come and go over the years, but it can pervade all aspects of life. Some people may only have a mild anxiety about their assigned gender, and perhaps cross-dress occasionally. For others, anxiety about being ‘in the wrong body’ can be the major driving force within their lives, leading them to seek gender reassignment – commonly known as sex-change. Still others question the rigidity of gender roles, and seek to establish a ‘transgender’ identity.
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Citation: Mind Publications <http:www.mind.org.uk>