Gender Dysphoria literally means a feeling of acute distress over one’s sex. From my earliest memories, I felt an incongruence between my own sex and the gender roles that came with it. Of the six criteria psychologists look for, I meet every single one. In 2017, I finally reached the pressure point and reached out to my doctor for help. The whole story can be found here. Today, I decided to chime in on an issue that seems to confuse the general public so much.
Gender Dysphoria Is Not Gender Nonconformity
In 2017, I witnessed a phenomenon on Tumblr unlike anything in my lifetime. Some trolls posted a crazy list of “genders” that people identify as. By the logic presented there, anyone could identify as anything. Ergo every person represented a different gender. Most of those involved began claiming that they were transgender. That’s just bananas.
Consequently, some people who suffered from Gender Dysphoria began speaking out against this insanity. So the masses of self-identified strange began attacking them on social media like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Some of them, like Blaire White, Elle Grant, Miss London, and others fought back. They argued that this insanity made it more difficult for trans-women specifically to simply assimilate and live out their lives in peace.
Gender nonconformity refers to the extent to which a person’s gender identity, role, or expression differs from the cultural norms prescribed for people of a particular sex.The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). (2011). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People [Pdf]. https://www.wpath.org/media/cms/Documents/SOC%20v7/Standards%20of%20Care%20V7%20-%202011%20WPATH.pdf
Someone may reject, even fundamentally, the roles associated with their gender. This simply proves the amazing uniqueness everyone possesses. It completely fails to prove that more than two genders exist. However, the idea that one must conform to an archaic gender norm seems ludicrous as well. That means that anyone bending normal falls into the category of nonconformity.
Defining Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria refers to discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth.The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). (2011). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People [Pdf]. https://www.wpath.org/media/cms/Documents/SOC%20v7/Standards%20of%20Care%20V7%20-%202011%20WPATH.pdf
The state of identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming does not depend on actually suffering from Gender Dysphoria. However, having a dysphoria diagnosis enables doctors to formulate a treatment plan appropriate to the patient. Dysphoria causes debilitating distress in those who suffer from it. In first-hand terms, it sucks and makes life more difficult and painful than most people want to live through. Fortunately, throughout history, therapeutics make it substantially more bearable.
Therapeutics For Gender Dysphoria
WPATH created a flexible set of guidelines for treatment of Dysphoria. These guidelines cannot possibly fall into the one-size-fits-all category. However, they do give medical professionals a baseline upon which to build a treatment plan. The most common include:
- Changes in gender expression and role;
- Hormone therapy;
Not every person with Gender Dysphoria wants or needs all four of these. Additionally, all four of them come with so many variances. Every person with Gender Dysphoria receives a care plan that helps them.
Suicide Rates in The Transgender Community
Among the transgender community, 40% of all trans-men, and 20% of trans-women attempt suicide. It’s still unclear how many external factors complicate this, but for the most part, it seems to relate to pre-existing conditions and external factors.
Maguen, S., & Shipherd, J. C. (2010). Suicide risk among transgender individuals. Psychology & Sexuality, 1(1), 34–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419891003634430
Strangely enough, it seems like few people outside the transgender community want to really help. They seem more concerned with appearing virtuous than actually supporting the trans community.
Some Final Thoughts
Thanks to social and news media, politicians, and the activists who give them all ammunition, living with an already misunderstood condition seems worse. As such, trying to fit into a society that polarizes everything, seems impossible. That’s why I try and write my blogs. I hope something about this short explanation helps someone, somewhere feel less isolated.
You are not alone.