Gender Dysphoria: The condition of feeling ones emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite of one’s biological sex.
I must state before going any further, that gender dysphoria is NOT homosexuality. A person’s gender does not always directly correlate to their sexual orientation. Dysphoria in itself is a very real state of being that can evoke feelings of restlessness, anxiety and dissatisfaction. The discomfort related to dysphoria can become so intense that it causes interference with a person’s day to day life – whether that interference involves school, work or other social activities.
Just three short years ago what we know today as gender dysphoria was still classified as “gender identity disorder”. Advocates of the trans community deemed the act of classifying trans people as mentally ill to be both degrading and detrimental. It is hard to believe that just a few short years ago the mismatch between one’s body and internal sense of self was considered an illness versus the true portrayal of an individual’s being.
In 2012, advocates of the trans community were able to celebrate a victory in the ongoing battle of the world’s view on transgender people. In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association announced that all future publications from their association would use the term “gender dysphoria” to replace the unfair label of “gender identity disorder”.
Although the switch of terms was a positive move toward the future, gender dysphoria still negatively affects many people worldwide. People that experience gender dysphoria have higher rates of mental illness that include: mood/anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse and suicide attempts.
I am not a therapist, nor am I a psychologist. What I am is conscientious of the people and world around me. What I am is the same as someone experiencing gender dysphoria – a person.
The goal is not to change how a person feels about their gender, but to show understanding and compassion in an already complex discovery within another person’s true self.
As Caitlyn Jenner so beautifully stated “Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect, and from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society, and a better world for all of us”.
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