Did you know the chances are high that you either know or are acquainted with a person who identifies as transgender? This has led to a surge in popularity regarding gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is defined by stress, anxiety, and depression caused by the inner conflict of a person identifying as one gender while having the anatomy of another. While this may seem like an isolated issue for a small percentage of the population, studies show that almost 1 in 10 people have some degree of gender dysphoria. The majority of these people remain anonymous and live out their lives without revealing their secret to anyone else. What is gender dysphoria? How does it affect you? Keep reading to learn more about this condition and its implications on society today.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is the anxiety and depression that comes from a person having the anatomy of one gender while identifying as another. It is also known as gender identity disorder and is a condition that affects a person’s identity. Gender dysphoria is a condition that causes a person to experience extreme discomfort or distress due to their biological sex. Specifically, individuals who experience gender dysphoria feel that their gender identity (i.e., their innate sense of themselves as being male, female, both, or neither) differs from their biological sex (i.e., their physical attributes, such as their bodies, hormones, genes, etc.) For example, a person who has a male anatomy (e.g., penis) but feels that he is actually female has gender dysphoria.
Signs of Gender Dysphoria
People who are suffering from gender dysphoria can experience a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, and a desire to transition to the opposite sex. Anxiety – Those who have gender dysphoria often experience anxiety, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Depression – As outlined above, anxiety can lead to depression. Those with gender dysphoria are also at higher risk for other mental health issues, such as eating disorders, self-harm, and substance abuse. Self-harm – People with gender dysphoria are more likely to engage in self-harm, such as cutting or binding their bodies to feel more comfortable in their skin. Desire to transition – Those with gender dysphoria may express a desire to transition to the opposite sex through changing their appearance, taking hormones, or undergoing surgery.
Why Does it Matter to You?
People often wonder, “Why should I care about someone else’s gender identity?” Let’s break it down. – Discrimination – One of the most common reasons for caring about another person’s gender identity is discrimination. Unfortunately, many people experience discrimination based on their gender identity, which can lead to feelings of shame and fear. – Health Risks – Another reason to care about someone else’s gender identity is for their health. People who experience gender dysphoria may engage in self-harm or use drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions. These behaviors put their health at risk. – Mental Health – Mental health is another reason to care about another person’s gender identity. People who are experiencing gender dysphoria often have a higher risk of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. – Suicide – Suicide is the number one reason to care about someone else’s gender identity. People who experience gender dysphoria are more likely to commit suicide, often due to shame and isolation.
How Does it Affect You?
Trans people face a high risk of depression, anxiety and suicide. – Depression: The rates of depression in trans people are staggering. According to one survey, 41% of trans people have thought about suicide, and 35% have attempted it. – Anxiety: Anxiety is also a common side effect of transition. A survey of British trans people found that 78% of them had experienced anxiety. – Suicide: Although these rates have decreased in recent years, trans people are still at a higher risk for suicide than cis people. – Health: Trans people face an uphill battle when it comes to their health. They have higher rates of STIs, mental health issues, substance misuse, and poor mental fitness.
How to Help Someone With Gender Dysphoria?
The best way to help someone with gender dysphoria is to listen to them. It can be tempting to tell them they’re wrong or to try to “fix” their feelings, but the most helpful thing you can do is lend them an ear. It can be tough being in a position of feeling misunderstood, but the sooner you learn more about what they’re going through, the better. If you are friends with a trans person, try to be as inclusive as possible. Ask their pronouns and use them. Rather than defining them by their gender, ask what their hobbies or interests are. Similarly, try not to gender-police their clothes, makeup, or other aesthetics. If you are a parent of a trans child, try to be open and accepting. Remember that there’s a difference between understanding and feeling. If you understand what your child is going through, great. If not, try to learn more.
Gender dysphoria is a serious condition that affects thousands of people. The best way to help people with gender dysphoria is to listen to them and be as inclusive as possible. It’s important to remember that the condition isn’t the person’s fault, and they deserve to be treated with understanding and respect.