Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria stems from a innate feeling of one’s assigned gender or gender characteristics being different from their experience or expressed gender. All babies are assigned a gender when they are born. Typically this is just “male” or “female” and based exclusively on what genitalia can be seen. But gender isn’t necessarily experienced from sex organs, and sometimes sex organs do not develop properly or do not regulate hormones in the way healthy organs do. Society also creates how we look at gender and what we expect from different genders. In these and many other ways, we experience gender. Gender dysphoria happens when the person feels as though their experience of gender (for example: male, female, or non-binary constructs) and their body characteristics do not match up with the typical sex characteristics(for example: penis, vulva, ovaries, testicles) of the gender they experience. Because of this feeling, they also have a strong desire to rid themselves of their primary and/or secondary sex characteristics, be of a different gender, and be treated like another gender. Gender dysphoria creates a strong sense that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the gender that they prefer. All of this produces clinically significant distress and disruption of functioning. Treatment consists of psychotherapy, hormone treatments, sex reassignment surgery, or a combination of those. The course of treatment primarily depends on the individual’s needs, gender identity, and personal identity.