Everything you need to know about Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID).
What is it?
I will try and explain this in the simplest terms possible based on my knowledge and experience. But keep in mind: My experience is not the same as everyone else’s, and we will get more into that later on. To me, GID, simply put is, “Things are not matching up” — my mind says female, my body, and doctor says male and so does the rest of society as I endure the endless sea of being referred to as “sir.”
Thankfully there are pills for that.
Now if I was a bit too bold or brash there is the medical definition, and it dives a bit deeper than my rather simplistic approach to GID.
The DSM-5 defines gender dysphoria in adolescents and adults as a “marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and their assigned gender, lasting at least 6 months,” as manifested by at least two of the following:
- A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
- A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
- A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
- A strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
- A strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
- A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
What does treatment look like?
So you’ve gotten the thumbs up from your doctor that you’ve checked the boxes, and that you are indeed transgender, now what? It’s an exciting feeling to feel validated and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it isn’t a train, now begins the decision process. To transition, or not, and to what degree?
The DSM-5 stated that “people who are transgender may pursue multiple domains of gender affirmation,” including several aspects of affirmation, such as:
- social (e.g., changing one’s name and pronouns);
- legal (e.g., changing gender markers on one’s government-issued documents);
- medical (e.g., pubertal suppression or gender-affirming hormones); and/or
- surgical (e.g., vaginoplasty, facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation, masculine chest reconstruction, etc.).
“Of note,” the DSM-5 continued, is that “not all people who are transgender will desire all domains of gender affirmation, as these are highly personal and individual decisions.”
Typically, what we will see is someone start ingesting or injecting hormones to start the transition process. I personally call it “Puberty 2: The Awakening” and it essentially is a second go at puberty, just the right way this time.
If you’re Male-to-Female you can see the following occur:
Decreased libido, slowing of scalp hair loss, softer, less oily skin, testicular atrophy(shrinking), breast development redistribution of body fat, decreased muscle mass and decreased facial and body hair growth.
If you’re Female-to-Male you can expect the following changes to occur:
Oily skin and acne, cessation of your period, voice deepens, facial and body hair growth, body fat redistribution, clitoral enlargement and vaginal atrophy(shrinking), increased muscle mass and strength, and scalp hair loss.
Even after Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), many do still opt for gender affirmation surgeries such as top or bottom surgeries to either add or remove breasts, and to change genitalia from one to the other.
However, it should also be noted that not conforming with the gender binary doesn’t necessarily mean that one is transgender. There are also nonbinary (enby, NB, etc.), genderqueer and gender nonconforming folks who do not feel as though they fit with any particular gender.
Sometimes, they may fluctuate between genders from one day to the next based on how dysphoric they’re feeling. Other times, they don’t feel as though they fit any gender inside or outside the binary.
It’s also important to keep in mind that gender identity is of the mind and gender expression is of the body. That results in identity and expression being rather fluid, thus creating a spectrum of gender identities and expressions.
There are trans women who don’t wear dresses (such as myself), some trans men who do wear dresses, some trans women who don’t get top or bottom surgery, and some trans men who also don’t get top or bottom surgery.
It all depends on the individual and what makes them happy, safe and comfortable.