Gender Dysphoria

The American Psychiatric Society’s categorization of gender dysphora in its DSM-5 is controversial. (Sennott, 2011; Dannecker 2010) Many people believe that transgender experiences reflect alterative rather than pathological ways of experiencing one’s gender identity. There is even an argument that transgender experiences that bring about unhappiness should not be considered a disorder. The opposite end of this spectrum is the argument that gender dysphoria is in fact a medical problem that may produce personal unhappiness and that it should not be considered a psychological disorder, just as kidney disease or cancer are not categorized as psychological disorders, although they are medical conditions that certainly produce unhappiness.

A Huge Mistake

Most people feel and identify themselves as males or females, consistent with their gender at birth. But society has come to understand that some people do not experience their gender with such clarity. Instead, they begin to believe their actual gender is different from their anatomy. DSM-5 categorizes these individuals as having Gender Dysphoria, a disorder in which people persistently feel that a huge mistake was made – they were born as the incorrect sex, and consequently gender change would be best.


Gender Dysphoria is the condition by which a person feels an inconsistency between their assigned gender at birth and their experienced gender lasting more than six months. This individual has…

  • A strong desire to be rid of their sexual characteristics which they feel belong to the other gender, or
  • A strong desire to be treated as a member of the other gender, or
  • A strong conviction they have the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender, and
  • Most importantly, suffers significant distress or impairment.

Adults and even some children with Gender Dysphoria typically would like to change their primary and secondary sex characteristics to acquire those of the other sex. (APA 2013, 2012) Men with the disorder outnumber women by as many as two to one. Some individuals experience anxiety or depression, and may have thougts of suicide. (Hoshai et al., 2010) These reactions may be linked to the prejudices often experienced. (Iantaffi & Bockting et al., 2011; Bouman et al., 2010) Studies also suggest that some people with gender dysphoria additionally display a personality disorder. (Singh et al., 2011)

Today the term Gender Dysphoria has replaced Transexualism, yet the lable “transsexual” is still commonly applied to these individuals who desire and seek a full gender change.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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