Gender dysphoria can become a concern for someone when and if their gender identity continues to remain incongruent with their assigned sex. Gender identity, gender roles and stereotypes may often lead to discomfort and incoherence, especially at the onset of adolescence.
“Perhaps our greatest distinction as a species is our capacity, unique among animals, to make counter-evolutionary choices.” – Jared Diamond
Gender and Sex – The basics.
Let’s first understand the difference between ‘gender’ and ‘sex’. Gender is defined as the sociological attributes of an individual while ‘sex’ defines their biological attribute. Gender identity refers to the way in which a person perceives his/her gender. Adolescence is a period when teens explore their own gender and often associate with their assigned sex and the gender stereotypical behaviors.
It’s NOT a Match and That’s Okay!
Gender Dysphoria is a concern which highlights the distress and discomfort caused when the gender of an individual doesn’t match with the assigned sex. For example, a girl might enjoy building blocks, playing football or wearing masculine clothes while a boy might enjoy cooking, fashion or other stereotyped female behaviors. What’s important here is to inculcate a mix of feminine and masculine traits which may lead to a healthy and well-groomed individual.
Gender Dysphoria can be considered a cause for concern if a person’s experienced /expressed gender and primary sex attributes don’t match for at least six months, has a strong need to detach from the primary sex characterastics, has a strong inclination towards the sex characteristics of the other gender, has a strong need to be treated as the other gender, and/or a strong desire of feelings and reactions associated with the other or an alternative gender.
If at least two of the aforementioned symptoms are recognized, and if they create impairment in the person’s functioning like social relationships, school or work life, then gender Dysphoria can be considered a possible concern.
It’s important to understand that even if you might feel some irregularity and uncertainty in this spectrum, it can be managed with therapy, gaining more knowledge and an open mind to learning and exploring more about oneself and others.
As adolescents begin to grow and develop, they also mature in the understanding of gender, gender identity and gender roles. A combination of both masculine and feminine attributes can be a nurturing personality rather than being completely rigid to an extreme pole of traits.
Rushing into finding a gender identity of oneself can be problematic as the adolescent enters adulthood. It’s necessary to remain patient and find your comfort. Gender identity can be influenced by families, cultures, hormones, peers, siblings, beliefs, values and everything that engulfs our life.
Discovering yourself is an ongoing process which can take time to reach a place of comfort and acceptance. Going through this journey is sacred and unique for each individual.
Note – Please do not treat this article as a diagnostic tool. It’s only for the purpose of sharing information about gender Dysphoria and related concerns.