is Gender Dysphoria?
also known as Gender Identity Disorder, applies to someone who is
unhappy with their biological sex and who wishes to belong to the
example, your daughter may say that she wants to be a boy, or your
son may identify himself as a girl. Or perhaps you are worried about
your child's cross gender behaviour, but they won't discuss it with
you, and instead are isolated and withdrawn.
it may be you, as a young person, and you feel that your body is
wrong, and that you should have been a girl if you were born a boy,
or a boy if you were born a girl.
identity is the sense of belief that "I am male" or "I
am female". A child becomes aware of its gender identity before
or around the age of five years, in many cases as early as 2 or
3 years of age. In most people their gender identity is the same
as their sex, i.e. a woman or girl feels she is female and a man
or boy feels he is male, but in a few people their gender identity
and their sex do not match, and this can cause problems.
identity issues vary considerably, some may be transient in nature,
and some may not. They may arise when a child exhibits cross-gender
behaviour to some degree or other. Some may be boys who prefer to
take the female role or vice versa; others may have a compulsion
to play with toys mostly used by the other sex (for instance, a
boy who predominantly plays with dolls or a girl who always plays
with action men and 'army toys'). Some children may only feel comfortable
when playing with peers of the other physical sex, or may cross-dress
from time to time.
may be unhappy about their own biological sex and either wish to belong
to the other one, or feel that they actually do; some adolescents may
experience a crisis over a problem of gender identity or sexual orientation,
or both. These situations can lead to considerable concern and distress
for all those involved.
school, children or teenagers with a gender identity issue are often
subjected to abuse. Bullying can take many forms; isolation and
exclusion, insults and name-calling, and even physical attacks.
The child or teenager may have great difficulty in dealing with
school life, and can struggle to respond appropriately. However,
education about gender identity issues in the school environment
is very important and can be highly effective when dealing with
with gender identity issues describe difficulties in childhood. Often
they complain of having been very unhappy children and teenagers, and
that their suffering had not been recognised early enough by parents and
this suffering can be recognised, then with the right support and treatment,
young people can be helped to tolerate living in these distressing conditions
until, having found a solution to the identity conflict, they can experience
a happier and less traumatic adulthood.
recognises that awareness of gender identity issues at an early
age should be promoted, and that help is provided to families or
individuals in order to alleviate any problems that might arise.
It is often helpful to talk to others who have gone through, or
are going through, similar problems. Contact with others, whether
by telephone, letter, or in person, can help to deal with the feelings
of loneliness and alienation that can arise.
can provide strength and understanding in very difficult situations. Discovering
that we are not alone can bring great comfort.