Gender dysphoria is when an individual feels that their emotional or psychological gender identity is the opposite of their current biological sex.
It can lead to extreme distress and discomfort as individuals do not identify with the gender they were assigned to at birth.
Gender dysphoria lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following in adults, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):
- A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
- A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
- A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
- Strong desire to be of the other gender
- A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
- A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender
In children, gender dysphoria diagnosis involves at least six of the following:
- A strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that one is the other gender
- A strong preference for wearing clothes typical of the opposite gender
- A strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe play or fantasy play
- A strong preference for the toys, games or activities stereotypically used or engaged in by the other gender
- A strong preference for playmates of the other gender
- A strong rejection of toys, games and activities typical of one’s assigned gender
- A strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy
- A strong desire for the physical sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender
Individuals may choose to respond to these symptoms by transitioning. They can choose to transition socially, medically and/or legally. You can read more about transitioning here.