Gender Dysphoria Organization

contact: Janet Lynn Thomas

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Gender Identity Disorder

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About Gender Dysphoria

Gender identity disorder, as identified by psychologists and physicians, is a condition in which a person has been assigned one gender, usually on the basis of their sex at birth (compare intersex disorders), but identifies as belonging to another gender, and feels significant discomfort or being unable to deal with this condition. It is a psychiatric classification and describes the problems related to transsexuality, transgender identity and more rarely transvestism. It is the diagnostic classification most commonly applied to transsexuals.

The core symptom of gender identity disorders is gender dysphoria, literally being uncomfortable with one's assigned gender.

This feeling is usually reported as "having always been there" since childhood, although in some cases, it appears in adolescence or adulthood, and has been reported by some as intensifying over time.[1] Since many cultures strongly disapprove of cross-gender behavior, it often results in significant problems for affected persons and those in close relationships with them. In many cases, discomfort is also reported as stemming from the feeling that one's body is "wrong" or meant to be different.

Some medical and psychological professional have tried to cure (dissuade) individuals from their transgender behavior/feelings at least since the mid-19th century. Only occasionally have such cures been reported, and almost all such reports lack substantiation. While in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and many believed sexual identities were finally freed of medicalized stigma, today many LGB and "gender non-conforming" youth and adults remain vulnerable to diagnosis of psychosexual disorder under the GID diagnosis which replaced homosexuality in the DSM version III in 1980. Thus many LGB and gender variant youth and adults, including transgender individuals, are still directed to conversion therapies.

Today, most medical professionals who provide transgender transition services now reject conversion therapies as abusive and dangerous, believing instead what many transgender people have been convinced of: that when able to live out their daily lives with both a physical embodiment and a social expression that most closely matches their internal sense of self, transgender and transsexual individuals live successful, productive lives virtually indistinguishable from anyone else.

"Transgender transition services", the various medical treatments and procedures that alter an individual's primary and/or secondary sexual characteristics, are thus now considered highly successful, medically necessary interventions for many transgender persons, including but not limited to transsexuals, especially those who experience the deep distress of body dysphoria.

[Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Gender Identity Disorder]

What Causes Gender Dysphoria?

Little is known about the causes. One theory is that changes in the brain before birth cause certain parts of it to develop the opposite pattern to their sex. Significant proportions of male transsexuals have abnormally low levels of HY antigen. HY assists in the masculinizing effect of the Y chromosome in men. Work done in the Netherlands also suggests that the problem arises in the hypothalamus in the brain. This is involved in the early development of sexual differences within the brain, and controls the production of sex hormones throughout life.

Others believe that experiences, especially in early childhood, affect the outward expressions of gender behavior. People learn early on in life how to behave appropriately for their gender, and society places great store by this. People who don't conform may be reprimanded and even shunned. The problems arise, therefore, from society's attitude rather than in the person. The fact that psychiatry labels people as having a 'disorder' because they find they can't 'fit in' with sexual stereotypes is a case in point.

Transsexuals have normal male (XY) or female (XX) chromosomes for their sex. There are no identifiable physical characteristics for gender dysphoria, and there is no 'test' for the condition. Hermaphrodites and others with ambiguous sexual characteristics at birth are not transsexuals, and don't necessarily experience gender dysphoria.

Gender Dysphoria Organization